Living in Tune with the Infinite
to recapitulate the important points dealt with in this book
on 'Some Guidelines For Inner Life'.
is the goal supreme? It is to realise God, one's real nature.
The question arises as to who is drawn to this goal supreme.
The answer is: first, he who hears a call from within. Secondly,
he who feels a conflict within. Unless we have this inner
conflict - a tug-of-war, so to say, between the two opposite
tendencies, our inner urge for the higher life and the instincts
which take us downwards - it is not possible to feel drawn
towards the Inner Life.
this world there are different kinds of people. There are
those who believe in the grossly materialistic way of life.
They do not bother about the Goal Supreme and so they do not
have any conflict within also. There is no hope for them until
they begin to feel this inner conflict. The spirit wants to
comprehend the Absolute, the Infinite, but because of the
way our body is constituted, we are often pulled down by the
attractions of the objects that the senses contact. It has
been rightly said, 'The spirit is willing but the flesh is
birth is a rare opportunity. Though we may have such an opportunity,
we must first of all have a genuine desire for liberation
and then be fortunate enough to get a competent spiritual
master to show us the way to God-realisation. Even after getting
all these, we may not be eager to take real advantage of them,
because we do not want to undergo any hardship. The fact is,
only a few are ready to pay the price for self-unfold ment.
To realise God, the entire mind is to be given to Him. The
mind cannot be divided into different compartments. We cannot
give some pait of the mind to the enjoyment of worldly things
and the rest to God. No, God wants to occupy the throne alone.
He is in this sense a very jealous God. Therefore, if we want
to realise Him, we must give our whole mind to Him. We may
be practising spiritual disciplines. Whatever we have been
asked to do by our spiritual master, we may be doing. But
we are not really serious as far as spiritual life is concerned.
Half-heartedly and mechanically, we do a little japam in the
morning and in the evening. We find time for all kinds of
works, desirable or undesirable, but for God we cannot find
time. Remembering God a few minutes in the morning or evening
cannot be termed as spiritual life. Unless we constantly practise
the presence of God, unless we bring God into every moment
of our existence, spiritual unfoldment is not possible. Swami
Vivekananda wrote in a letter to Sister Nivedita, 'My ideal
can indeed be put in a few words: to preach unto mankind its
divinity and how to help it to manifest that divinity in every
movement of life.'
in order to assert our divinity, is it sufficient that we
meditate on God, our beloved Ishtam, when we sit for meditation
in the morning or in the evening, and forget Him during the
rest of the time? No, since we are all divine, we should practise
to see divinity in every moment of our life. We attend discourses
on spiritual themes and read inspiring books on the subject.
From this we gain some understanding, but soon we get unsettled.
We gain something only to lose it again. Here is an example
to illustrate this. There is a certain kind of weed which
grows over a pond. We go to the pond to drink clean, cool
water, but we find its surface covered by the weed. If we
want to drink water from it, we must remove this weed by hand,
and having done so, we may somehow manage to take some water
and drink it. The weed, however, has a tendency to cover the
surface of the water again. Similarly, we feel elevated for
the time being when we listen to spiritual discourses or read
scriptures, but such are the temptations and allurements surrounding
us that we again forget everything we have heard or read.
of the most fundamental obstacles is what is called Moha or
Pramada, i.e., carelessness. It means negligence in the matter
of having steady attunement with one's real nature. This inadvertence
is as good as death for a spiritual aspirant after Truth.
Sometimes we have tremendous obsessions. We may be born with
very bad Samskaras. When we sit for meditation, so many evil
desires assail us. We feel this life is going to be a failure
and there is absolutely no hope for us. Against such thinking,
we should have positive thoughts. If one suffers from evil
thoughts at the time of meditation, one must have done some
bad deeds in the past. That is why they are coming to the
conscious level at the time of meditation. Man is the architect
of his own self. If a man is what he is today, be it with
evil propensities, it is certain that he can mould his future
by making the right use of the present. So let us not dwell
on the past.
sometime happens that after we meditate or do Japam for an
hour or so and then return to our active life, we relapse
into the so-called secular activities. No spiritual progress
is possible unless there is spiritualisation of our everyday
life. We must bring God 'from the altar to the market place'
in our day-to-day activities. The emphasis laid is on this
- that at the time of meditation and Japam, we should try
to keep our minds at the lotus feet of our beloved Ishtam
and that we should try to sustain that mood during the course
of our day-to-day activities too. Otherwise, we expose ourselves
to an endless spiritual crisis. When we are in the temple,
we are in one mood. When we come out of it, we are in another.
We become guilty of what is called double movement. Let us
avoid all kinds of double movements.
concept of double movement requires further explanation. We
meditate on our Ishtham (Chosen Deity). We keep the senses
indrawn at that time and feel temporarily elevated. We are
on a high plane of existence. We get some mental peace and
bliss. Later, we also yield to the temptations of the outside
world. Now one is on a high level, on the plane of Atman;
but after sometime one is again on the plane of body-mind
complex. We forget all about the pious resolutions that were
made. This tendency to allow ourselves to be tempted by the
snares of the senses is what is called double movement. To
be saved from double movement, mere discussions of theories
and philosophies will not do. We must be in deep and abiding
contact with our innermost reality. More often than not, undesirable
thoughts come out from our sub-conscious mind during meditation,
and we find they prevent us from making further progress.
Is there any remedy? Yes, there is a proved remedy. That is
Japa Sadhana. By the repetition of the Divine Name (Mantra),
one can overcome all evil propensities. What is important
and what counts most is purification. By continuous repetition
of the Name of the Lord, all our evil Samskaras or propensities
are uprooted by the spiritual vibrations generated through
the concentrated repetition of the Divine Name. By the continued
practice of this we can overcome our evil tendencies.
may be taking vegetarian food, but if our mind is polluted
with unclean thoughts, vegetarianism alone can do us no good.
So, let our sense impressions be pure. Sometimes when we have
a certain kind of excess energy, we must take recourse to
occasional fasting, vigil and special prayers, and we must
give up all excessive speech and indulgence in regard to food.
Inasmuch as a man panders to his taste, he is deprived of
spiritual bliss. If we go on eating even beyond satiety, we
may suffer spiritually. So we must practise moderation in
have to face constantly a tug-of-war or an 'unseen warfare'
in ourselves. But let us not give up the struggle. If we give
up the struggle, then there is no hope for us. We may fall,
but we should remember the testimony of realised souls that
we fall to rise again. If we fall and think there is no hope
for us, then we are perhaps doomed. If we keep up the struggle,
then it means that we are trying to proceed towards God. Once
we give up the struggle, what happens? We fall away from God
and from His grace, then we go outside of godly life and get
steeped in bodily life. To save ourselves from this, we are
to keep up the struggle and we must pray ceaselessly.
of us are extroverts, that is, outward-going persons. No extrovert
can reach the Goal Supreme. We must take pains to stop the
tendency of the mind to endlessly wander outside. Instead
of allowing the mind to go out of the inner circle and move
about in the pettiness of the ordinary outer nature, we should
learn to live within. We should try to withdraw the mind from
the outside world and keep it fixed at the feet of our beloved
conclusion it is worthwhile pointing out once again that the
goal of human life is to obtain everlasting peace and happiness.
We can have peace and happiness, provided we can go to the
source - the Atman. Swamiji once said, 'Why seeketh thou,
the pleasures of the world? Seek God, who is the fountain-head
of all bliss'. Again Swamiji also said, 'Life on the plane
of the Atman is the only joyful state of existence.' If we
really aspire for this joyful state of existence, then we
must shut out the external world and step into the internal
world. For that we are to meditate constantly and ponder over
thus: 'Oh mind, why do you give so much importance foolishly
to the body-mind complex - to the temptations of physical
life? Are you just a lump of flesh? You are wasting your valuable
time by being enamoured of the body. It is all transient.
This body is going to die and it will be taken to the cremation
ground and burnt and reduced to ashes. Why foolishly be enamoured
of it? In this life, if you are careful enough, you can find
the fountain-head of bliss. You are not a mere lump of flesh
and bones. You are Pure Consciousness. You are 'Caitanya Vigraha'.
Instead of dwelling on your divine nature and on the fact
that you are eternally free, Sat-chit-ananda-swarupa, you
foolishly think of the so-called pleasures of the world and
waste your human life. Why do you attach yourself foolishly
to the non-self, to the complete neglect of the eternal in
you, the Atrnan?'
no scripture is it said that the goal of human life is to
marry and beget children. In no scripture is it also said
that the goal of human life is to become a monk. But it has
been said again and again that the goal of human life is the
realisation of God. 'Be ye perfect even as your Father in
Heaven is perfect.' Realise yourself and be free.
let us end with the following few words of Swami Virajanandaji,
the Sixth President of our great Order, from his valuable
book 'Paramartha Prasanga'. Swami Virajanandaji observes,
'Brothers, we came out of the mother's womb naked and alone'.
Let us all think about this. We all come naked and alone and
one day we are going to depart from this world naked and alone.
When we depart from this world, none is going to accompany
us. The members of the family are happy when we are born,
and when we die, the members of the family are unhappy, and
we also feel miserable. Virajanandaji says, quoting Tulsidas,
that we should behave in such a way that when we die, unearthly
bliss should well up from our countenance. Let others weep
but let us depart from this world with a smile. Who can do
that? One who has been able to realise that he is 'Caitanya
Vigraha' and not this body. This body is perishable, it will
die. But something in us is eternal, non-perishable, birthless,
deathless. Only he or she who realises this supreme truth
becomes free in this life.
we aspire to reach the Goal Supreme, then, as Virajanandaji
says, we must shake off attachment to all that is unreal,
and we must take pains to attune ourselves to our divine nature.
Our goal will be easier to attain, if we are helped by a Sat-guru,
a true Teacher.
we take up spiritual life seriously and may we realise the
Inner Life in this very life! Let this be our prayer to our
Holy Trinity - Sri Ramakrishna, the Holy Mother Sri Sarada
Devi and Swami Vivekananda.
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