All About HINDUISM
प्रातःस्मरणीय परम पूज्य संत श्री आसारामजी बापू के
On the holy eve of Janmastami, Sri Krishna himself incarnated on Night at 12. Janmastami Night , is one of the Mahaaraatris when doing Japa, Dhyan is uncountable times beneficial than on a normal day. Keeping fast on Janmastami is more than thousand times beneficial than Ekadashi fast. A person, who, on this day, worships Lord Krishna washes away his sins, either great or small, or performed in childhood, youth, or maturity, in seven births.
Sri Krishna Janmastami
Love-incarnate Lord Krishna imparts Supreme bliss to all, right from the simple cowherds to the greatest of erudite scholars.
Vasudev invokes the Lord in his mind, Devaki carries Him in her womb, Yashoda cuddles Him in her hands; but Nanda has established Him right in his heart.
Nand Gher Anand Bhayo…
‘There is jubilation in Nanda’s house’ (Hail Sri Krishna)’
First with the help of Satsang invoke God in your mind. Then with meditation take Him to your heart. Next hold Him lovingly in your arms and finally embrace Him to become established in your very Being. The Lord hungers for love and that is what made Him dance to the tunes of the loving Gopis for buttermilk.
Once Lord Krishna was returning home after killing Arishtasura. The Gopis said, ‘Watch out for Nandalal (another name of Lord Krishna on account of being the son of Nanda). Do not let Him enter the house. See to it that He does not touch us or come near us, for He has just killed Arishtasura!’
The Lord enquired, ‘Pray what sin have I committed? How come I have become an untouchable?’
The Gopis explained, ‘You have killed Arishtasura. Though he was a demon, he came to You in the form of a bull. A bull is a natural offspring of the mother cow. Thus You have committed a sin by killing the offspring of a cow.’
How wonderful is the power of love! Jivas are absolved of their sins by chanting His name; and here is He, being accused by the Gopis of having committed a sin, ‘You are a sinner. Do not touch us.’
Lord Krishna enquired, ‘Is there any way to be acquitted of this sin?’
The Gopis counselled, ‘Go and take a bath in the 68 places of pilgrimage. Then and only then can You talk to us.’
Just as Sri Krishna was all prepared to set out on the pilgrimage, Radhaji approached Him and said, ‘Wait! I will invoke the 68 places of pilgrimage here for You. These Gopis have gone mad. On one hand they pine for You day and night while on the other hand they are forcing You to go on a long pilgrimage.’ Radhaji then began digging a kunda.
As Lord Krishna watched Radhaji digging the Kunda, He thought of helping her. He dug out a separate Kunda and invoked the holy waters from all the places of pilgrimage to accumulate in that Kunda. When the Kunda was filled with the consecrated water, Krishna proceeded to take a bath. The Gopis objected, ‘Are You an ascetic that you will take Your bath alone. You should bathe along with Radhaji and that too first in the Kunda created by her.’
Accordingly Sri Krishna, together with Radhaji, first took a bath in Radha’s Kunda and then came to the Kunda created by Him. But the demands of the Gopis were ever increasing, ‘Bathing once is not enough; You will have to take 68 dips in a row’.
He, who has the power to make the universe dance to His tunes, was willingly obeying the commands of simple cowherd-girls. To invoke the effect of visiting 68 places of pilgrimage, He agreed to take as many dips. So tremendous is the power of devotional love for God!
Etymologically speaking the word Gopi contains two syllables. ‘Go’ represents the senses while ‘Pi’ means imbibing. The nectar of Self-Bliss that Yogis imbibe through meditation is experienced in the same manner and content by the Gopis simply by gazing at Lord Krishna, listening to His ambrosial words and talking about Him.
Had the Lord not incarnated as Sri Krishna, how would have the mankind attained the boon of the joy of Love? In the absence of the joy, bliss and the Supreme Knowledge of the Gita, mankind would have lived in strife, misery and reached the verge of ruin.
In countries that are not blessed with the joy of Krishna (Divine Bliss) and devotional love, people are more depressed, troubled and sick compared to those in India. Only in such countries and communities, where the Lord’s name is not chanted and through Diksha the right direction for life has not been charted out nor followed, a large number of departed souls become ghosts.
श्रीकृष्ण जन्माष्टमी आपका आत्मिक सुख जगाने का, आध्यात्मिक बल जगाने का पर्व है। जीव को श्रीकृष्ण-तत्त्व में सराबोर करने का त्यौहार है। तुम्हारा सुषुप्त प्रेम जगाने की दिव्य रात्रि है।
श्रीकृष्ण का जीवन सर्वांगसंपूर्ण जीवन है। उनकी हर लीला कुछ नयी प्रेरणा देने वाली है। उनकी जीवन-लीलाओं का वास्तविक रहस्य तो श्रीकृष्ण तत्त्व का आत्मरूप से अनुभव किये हुए महापुरूष ही हमें समझा सकते हैं।
ब्रह्मनिष्ठ महापुरूष पूज्यपाद संत श्री आसारामजी बापू के श्रीकृष्ण जन्माष्टमी के उपलक्ष्य में किये गये सत्संग प्रवचनों को पुस्तक के रूप में आपके करकमलों में पहुँचाने का समिति को सौभाग्य मिल रहा है। सेवा के इस सौभाग्य से प्रसन्नता हुई।
आप श्रीकृष्ण के जीवन को अपना आदर्श बनाकर, उसके अनुसार आचरण करके उस पथ के पथिक बन सकें, यही हार्दिक शुभकामना….
श्री योग वेदान्त सेवा समिति
Shri Krishna Janmaashtami
श्री कृष्ण अवतार-रहस्य
(श्रीकृष्ण-जन्माष्टमी के पावन पर्व पर सूरत (गुज.) के आश्रम में साधना शिविर में मध्यान्ह संध्या के समय आश्रम का विराट पंडाल सूरत की धर्मपरायण जनता और देश-विदेश से आये हुए भक्तों से खचा-खच भरा हुआ है। दांडीराम उत्सव किये गये। श्रीकृष्ण की बंसी बजायी गयी। मटकी फोड़ कार्यक्रम की तैयारियाँ पूर्ण हो गयी। सब आतुर आँखों से परम पूज्य बापू का इन्तजार कर रहे हैं। ठीक पौने बारह बजे पूज्य बापू पधारे और उल्लास, उत्साह और आनंद की तरंगे पूरे पंडाल में छा गईं। पूज्यश्री ने अपनी मनोहारिणी, प्रेम छलकाती, मंगलवाणी में श्रीकृष्ण-तत्त्व का अवतार-रहस्य प्रकट किया…..)
जन्माष्टमी तुम्हारा आत्मिक सुख जगाने का, तुम्हारा आध्यात्मिक बल जगाने का पर्व है। जीव को श्रीकृष्ण-तत्त्व में सराबोर करने का त्यौहार है। तुम्हारा सुषुप्त प्रेम जगाने की दिव्य रात्रि है।
हे श्रीकृष्ण ! शायद आप सच्चे व्यक्तियों की कीर्ति, शौर्य और हिम्मत बढ़ान व मार्गदर्शन करने के लिए अवतरित हुए हैं। कुछ लोगों का मानना है कि जैसे, मलयाचल में चंदन के वृक्ष अपनी सुगंध फैलाते हैं, वैसे ही सोलह कला-संपन्न अवतार से आप यदुवंश की शोभा और आभा बढ़ाने के लिए अवतरित हुए हैं। कुछ लोग यूँ ही कहते हैं कि वसुदेव और देवकी की तपस्या से प्रसन्न होकर देवद्रोही दानवों के जुल्म दूर करने, भक्तों की भावना को तृप्त करने के लिए वसुदेव जी के यहाँ ईश्वर निर्गुण निराकार, सगुण साकार होकर अवतरित हुए। लीला और लटकों के भूखे ग्वाल-गोपियों को प्रसन्न करके आनंद का दान करने के लिए आप अवतरित हुए हैं। कुछ लोग यूँ भी कहते हैं कि पृथ्वी जब पापियों के भार से डूबी जा रही थी जैसे, नाव सामर्थ्य से अधिक वजन लेकर चलने से डूब जाती है, ऐसे ही पृथ्वी ने पापियों के पाप प्रभाव से दुःखी हो ब्रह्माजी की शरण ली और ब्रह्माजी ने आप की शरण ली। तब हे अनादि ! अच्युत ! हे अनंत कलाओं के भंडार ! सोलह कलाओं सहित आप पृथ्वी पर प्रकट हुए। पृथ्वी का भार उतारने के लिए, शिशुपाल, कंस, शकुनि, दुर्योधन जैसे दुर्जनों की समाजशोषक वृत्तियों को ठीक करने के लिए, उनको अपने कर्मों का फल चखाने के लिए और भक्तों की सच्चाई और स्नेह का फल देने के लिए हे अच्युत ! हे अनादि ! आप साकार अवतार लेकर प्रकट हुए। कुंता जी कहती हैं-
“हे भगवान ! संसार के कुचक्र में बारम्बार जन्म, मृत्यु और वासना के वेग में बह जाने वाले जीवों को निर्वासनिक तत्त्व का प्रसाद दिलाने के लिए लीला-माधुर्य, रूप-माधुर्य और उपदेश-माधुर्य से जीव का अपना निज स्वरूप जो कि परम मधुर है, सुख स्वरूप है उस सुख स्वरूप का ज्ञान कराने के लिए, आत्म-प्रसाद देने के लिए और कामनाओं के कुचक्र से संसार समुद्र में बह जाने वाले जीवों को तारने के लिए आपका अवतार हुआ है।”
अवतार किसको कहते हैं ?
‘अवतरति इति अवतारः।’
जो ऊपर से नीचे आये उसे अवतार कहते हैं। जिसे कोई अपेक्षा नहीं और हजारों अपेक्षावाला दिखे, जिसे कोई कर्त्तव्य नहीं फिर भी भागा-भागा जाये। जीव भागे-भागे जा रहे हैं कर्म के बंधन से और ईश्वर जब भागा-भागा जाये तो कर्म का बन्धन नहीं, ईश्वर की करूणा है। जीव कर्मों के बन्धन से, माया के वशीभूत होकर संसार में आता है, उसको जन्म कहते हैं। ईश्वर कर्मबन्धन से नहीं, माया के वश नहीं अपितु माया को वश करता हुआ संसार में जीवों की नाईं ही आता है, जीता है, मक्खन माँगता है, उसे भूख भी लगती है, वस्त्र भी चाहिए और घोड़ा भी चाहिए। माँ यशोदा का प्यार भी चाहिए और समाज के रीति रिवाज के अनुसार चलना भी चाहिए। ये सब ‘चाहिए….. चाहिए’ अपने सिर पर लादकर तो चलता है, हालाँकि उस पर कोई बंधन नहीं। फिर भी चलता है, स्वीकार कर लेता है नट की नाईं ! नट भीतर से तो सब जानता है फिर भी नाट्य नियमों के अनुसार भिखारी भी बन जाता है, राजा भी बन जाता है और प्रजा के साथ भी देखा जाता है। परंतु अंदर अपने नटत्व भाव में ज्यों का त्यों जगा रहता है। ऐसे ही जिन्हें अपने स्वरूप का ज्ञान, स्वरूप का बोध ज्यों का त्यों है फिर भी साधारण जीवों के बीच, उन की उन्नति, जागृति करने के लिए जो अवतार हैं वे अवतार कृष्णावतार, रामावतार रूप से जाने जाते हैं।
तपती दुपहरी में जो अवतार हुआ, अशांत जीवों में शांति और मर्यादा की स्थापना करने के लिए जो अवतार हुआ उसे ‘रामावतार’ कहते हैं। समाज में जब शोषक लोग बढ़ गये, दीन-दुखियों को सताने वाले व चाणूर और मुष्टिक जैसे पहलवानों और दुर्जनों का पोषण करने वाले क्रूर राजा बढ़ गये, समाज त्राहिमाम पुकार उठा, सर्वत्र भय व आशंका का घोर अंधकार छा गया तब भाद्रपद मास (गुजरात-महाराष्ट्र में श्रावण मास) में कृष्ण पक्ष की उस अंधकारमयी अष्टमी को कृष्णावतार हुआ। जिस दिन वह निर्गुण, निराकार, अच्युत, माया को वश करने वाले जीवमात्र के परम सुहृद प्रकट हुए वह आज का पावन दिन जन्माष्टमी कहलाता है। उसकी आप सब को बधाई हो….
आवेश अवतार, प्रवेश अवतार, प्रेरक अवतार, अंतर्यामी अवतार, साक्षी अवतार….. ऐसे अनेक स्थानों पर अनेक बार भगवान के अवतार हुए हैं। एक अवतार अर्चना अवतार भी होता है। मूर्ति में भगवान की भावना करते हैं, पूजा की जाती है, वहाँ भगवान अपनी चेतना का अवतार प्रकट कर सकते हैं। श्रीनाथजी की मूर्ति के आगे वल्लभाचार्य दूध धरते हैं और वल्लभाचार्य के हाथ से भगवान दूध लेकर पीते हैं। नरो नामक आहीर की लड़की से भगवान ने अपने हाथों से दूध का प्याला ले लिया था।
धन्ना जाट के आगे भगवान पत्थर की मूर्ति में से प्रकट हुए। यह आविर्भाव अवतार था। भगवान कभी भी, किसी भी व्यक्ति के आगे, किसी भी अन्तःकरण में, किसी भी मूर्ति में, किसी भी जगह पर अपने भक्तों को मार्गदर्शन देकर उन्हें नित्यतत्त्व में ले जाने के लिए सर्वसमर्थ हैं। उनकी लीला अनादि है। जो अनंत, अनादि हैं वे सान्त व साकार होकर आते हैं और अलौकिक लीलाएँ करते हैं।
अवतार जैसे-तैसे, जहाँ तहाँ प्रकट नहीं हो जाया करते। उनके पीछे बहुत कुछ परिश्रम व संकल्प होते हैं। असंख्य लोगों के अस्पष्ट और अनिर्णित पुरूषार्थ को सही दिशा देने के लिए जो महापुरूष या ईश्वरीय चेतना प्रकट होती है उसे हम अवतार कहकर पूजते हैं। जितना ज्यादा स्पष्ट पुरूषार्थ उतना ही महान अवतार प्रकट होता है।
रामजी को प्रकट करने वाले दशरथ और कौशल्या ही नहीं अपितु और भी कई पुण्यात्माओं के संकल्प थे। बंदर और हनुमानजी आदि की माँग थी। भक्तों को स्पष्ट जीवन का मार्गदर्शन सुझाने की जब अत्यंत जरूरत पड़ी तब ‘रामावतार’ हुआ। अवतार होने से पहले बहुत व्यवस्था होती है। अथाह पुरूषार्थ, अटल श्रद्धा, सतत प्रयास होत हैं और अपने पुरूषार्थ के बल पर नहीं, ‘निर्बल के बल राम’ ऐसा जब साधक के, समाज के चित्त में आ जाता है तब परमात्मा अपनी करूणामयी वृत्ति से, भावना से और स्वभाव से अवतरित होकर भक्तों को मार्गदर्शन देते हैं। समाज को उन्नत करने में अंगुलीनिर्देश करते है। श्रीकृष्ण के गोवर्धन पर्वत उठाने के विषय में विद्वानों का मानना है कि जुल्मी राजाओं का जुल्म और समाज-शोषकों की अति भोग-लोलुपता इतनी बढ़ गयी, समाज का शोषण इतना बढ़ गया कि श्रीकृष्ण को अंगुलीनिर्देश करना पड़ा कि इन्द्र की पूजा कब तक करोगे ? अहंकारी और शोषण करने वाले, जो तुम से तुम्हारा धन-धान्य लिये जा रहे है, तुम्हारे जीवन के उत्कर्ष का ख्याल नहीं करते, तुम्हें जीवनदाता से मिलाने का पुरूषार्थ नहीं करते ऐसे कंस आदि लोगों से कब तक डरते रहोगे ? अपने में साहस भरो और क्रांति लाओ। क्रांति के बाद शांति आयेगी। बिना क्रांति के शांति नहीं।
जर्मनी में युद्ध हुआ, फिर जर्मनी में हिम्मत आयी। जापानी भी युद्ध में नष्ट-भ्रष्ट हो गये, फिर उनमें नवजीवन की चेतना जागी और साहस आया। युद्ध और संघर्ष भी कभी-कभी सुषुप्त चेतना को जगाने का काम करते हैं। आलस्य और प्रमाद से तो युद्ध अच्छा है।
युद्ध करना तो रजोगुण है। ऐसे ही पड़े रहना तमोगुण है। तमोगुण से रजोगुण में आयें और रजोगुण के बाद सत्त्वगुण में पहुँचें और सत्त्वगुणी आदमी गुणातीत हो जाये। प्रकृति में युद्ध की व्यवस्था भी है, प्रेम की व्यवस्था भी है और साहस की व्यवस्था भी है। आपका सर्वांगीण विकास हो इसलिए काम, क्रोध, लोभ, मोह तथा दुर्बलताओं से युद्ध करो। अपने चैतन्य आत्मा को परमात्मा से एकाकार कर दो।
यह कौन सा उकदा जो हो नहीं सकता।
तेरा जी न चाहे तो हो नहीं सकता
छोटा सा कीड़ा पत्थर में घर करे।
इन्सान क्या अपने दिले-दिलबर में घर न करे ?
भागवत में, गीता में, शास्त्रों में सच्चाई से भक्ति करने वाले भक्तों का, योगसाधना करके योगसिद्धि पाने वाले योगियों का और आत्मविचार करके आत्मसिद्धि को पाये हुए ब्रह्मवेत्ताओं का वर्णन तो मिलता है किंतु कलियुगी भगवानों की बात न गीता में, न भागवत में और न किन्हीं पवित्र शास्त्रों में ही है।
भभूत, कुमकुम, अंगूठी आदि वस्तुएँ निकालने वाले यक्षिणी-सिद्ध, भूतप्रेत-सिद्ध या टूणा-फूणा की सिद्धिवाले हो सकते हैं। आत्म-साक्षात्कार करके सिद्ध तत्त्व का, स्वतः सिद्ध स्वरूप का अमृतपान कराने वाले रामतीर्थ, रमण महर्षि, नानक और कबीर जैसे संत, वशिष्ठ जी और सांदिपनी जैसे महापुरूष हैं जिनका भगवान राम और श्रीकृष्ण भी शिष्यत्व स्वीकार करते हैं। अर्थात् जो भगवान के भी गुरू हैं ऐसे ब्रह्मवेत्ता आत्म-सिद्धि को पाते हैं। उनकी नजरों में यक्षिणी, भूत या प्रेत की सिद्धि, हाथ में से कड़ा या कुंडल निकालने की सिद्धि नगण्य होती है। ऐसी सिद्धियोंवाले सिद्धों का गीता, भागवत या अन्य ग्रन्थों में भगवान रूप में कोई वर्णन नहीं मिलता और न ही उच्च कोटि के सिद्धों में ही उनकी गणना होती है।
स्वयंभू बने हुए भगवानों की आज से 20 साल पहले तो कुंभ में भी भीड़ लगी थी। हाँ, उन महापुरूषों में कुछ मानसिक शक्ति या फिर भूतप्रेत की सिद्धि हो सकती है। मगर भभूत, कुमकुम या कड़ा कुंडल ही जीवन क लक्ष्य नहीं है। आत्मशांति, परमात्म-साक्षात्कार ही जीवन का लक्ष्य होना चाहिए।
श्रीकृष्ण ने युद्ध के मैदान में अर्जुन को वही आत्म-साक्षात्कार की विद्या दी थी। श्रीराम ने हनुमान जी को वही विद्या दी थी। भभूत, भूत-प्रेत या यक्षिणी-सिद्धिवालों की अपेक्षा तो हनुमानजी और अर्जुन के पास ज्यादा योग्यताएँ थीं। ऐसे पुरूषों को भी आत्मज्ञान की आवश्यकता पड़ती है। तो हे भोले मानव ! तू इन कलियुगी भगवानों के प्रभाव में आकर अपने मुक्तिफल का, आत्मज्ञान का और आत्म-साक्षात्कार का अनादर न कर बैठना। किसी के प्रति द्वेष रखना तो अच्छा नहीं परंतु किसी छोटे-मोटे चमत्कारों में आकर परमात्मज्ञान का रास्ता व आत्मज्ञान पाने की, सुषुप्त जीवन-शक्तियाँ जगाने की आध्यात्मिक दिशा को भूलना नहीं। श्रीकृष्ण, श्रीराम, भगवान वेदव्यास और वशिष्ठजी महाराज ने, तुलसीदास जैसे संतों ने, रामकृष्ण और रमण महर्षि जैसे आत्मसिद्धों ने जो दिशा दी है वही साधक के लिए, समाज के लिए और देश के लिए हितकर है।
जीवन में सच्ची दिशा होनी चाहिए। हम किसलिए आये हैं इसका सतत चिंतन करना चाहिए। आज के आदमी के पास कुछ स्पष्ट ध्येय नहीं है।
“पढ़ते क्यों हो ?”
“पास होने के लिये।”
“पास क्यों होना चाहते हो ?”
“नौकरी करने के लिये।”
“नौकरी क्यों करना चाहते हो ?”
“पैसे कमाने के लिये।””
“पैसे क्यों कमाना चाहते हो ?”
“खाने-पीने के लिये।”
“खाना-पीना क्यों चाहते हो ?”
“जीने के लिये।”
“और जीना क्यों चाहते हो ?”
“मरने के लिये।”
मरने के लिय इतनी मजदूरी की कोई आवश्यकता ही नहीं है। हकीकत में यह सब गहराई में सुखी होने के लिये, आनंदित होने के लिये करते हैं। अतः परमानंद को हो पाने का ध्येय होना चाहि।
कृष्ण उस पद में स्थित थे। द्वारिका डूब रही थी, कोई फिकर नहीं। छछीयनभरी छाछ के लिए नाच रहे हैं तो नाच रहे हैं, कोई परवाह नहीं। कुछ मिला तो वही मस्ती। सब छूट जाता है तो भी वही मस्ती…..
पूरे हैं वे मर्द जो हर हाल में खुश हैं।
मिला अगर माल तो उस माल में खुश हैं।।
हो गये बेहाल तो उस हाल में खुश हैं।।
श्रीकृष्ण को नंगे पैर भागना पड़ा तो धोती के टुकड़े बाँधकर भागे जा रहे हैं। छः महीने गिरनार की गिरी-गुफाओं में साधुओं के घर प्रसाद पाकर जीना पड़ता है तो जी रहे हैं। कोई फरियाद नहीं। द्वारिकाधीश होकर सोने के महलों में रहे तो भी कोई फर्क नहीं। अपने देखते-देखते सर्वस्व डूब रहा है तब भी भीतर में वही समता। श्रीकृष्ण समझते हैं कि यह सब माया है और हम इसे सत्य समझते हैं। बारिश के दिनों में जैसे बादलों में देवताओं की बारात – सी दिखती है, वह बादलों की माया है। ऐसे संसार में जो बारात दिखती है, वह विश्वंभर की माया है। श्रीकृष्ण तुम्हें यह बताना चाहते हैं कि माया को माया समझो और चैतन्य स्वरूप को ‘मैं’ रूप में जान लो तो माया को भी मजा है और अपने आपको भी मजा ही मजा है।
‘अवतार’ कोई हाथ पर हाथ रखकर बैठे रहने से नहीं हो जाता। केवल आँसू बहाने से भी नहीं होता। फरियाद करने से भी नहीं होता। गिड़गिड़ाने से भी नहीं होता।
अपने जीवन रूपी गोकुल में पहले ग्वाल-गोपियाँ आते हैं और फिर कृष्ण आते हैं। राम जी आये, वह बंदरों और हनुमानजी आदि की माँग थी। ऐसे तुम्हारे हृदय में छिपे हुए राम या कृष्ण प्रकट हो उसके पहले तुम्हारे इस देहरूपी गोकुल को सँवारने के लिए ग्वाल-बाल आ जायें अर्थात् सत्कर्म और साधना आ जाये तो फिर कन्हैया और राधा अवश्य आयेंगे। राधा दस महीने पहले आती है, फिर श्रीकृष्ण आते हैं। ‘राधा’ – ‘धारा’ यानी पहले भक्ति की वृत्ति आती है, ब्रह्माकार वृत्ति आती है, बाद में ब्रह्म का साक्षात्कार होता है। इसलिए कहते हैं- “राधा-कृष्ण, सीता-राम।”
जन्माष्टमी पर पूज्यश्री का तात्त्विक प्रवचन
‘वासुं करोति इति वासुः।’ जो सब में बस रहा हो, वास कर रह हो उस सच्चिदानंद परमात्मा का नाम है ‘वासुदेव’।
आज भगवान वासुदेव का प्राकट्य महोत्सव है। भगवान वासुदेव अट्ठासवीं चतुर्युगी के द्वापर युग में प्रकट हुए हैं। वे अजन्मा हैं, अच्युत हैं, अकाल हैं, काल की सीमा में नहीं आते। वे काल के भी काल हैं। अखूट ऐश्वर्य, अनुपम माधुर्य और असीम प्रेम से परिपूर्ण हैं भगवान वासुदेव। जो अवतार रहित हैं उनका अवतार किया जा रहा है, जो जन्म रहित हैं उनका जन्म मनाया जा रहा है। जो काल से परे हैं, उन्हें काल की सीमा में लाकर उत्सव मनाया जा रहा है। जो सबमें बस रहे हैं, सब जिनमें बस रहे हैं उनका जन्मोत्सव मनाया जा रहा है। ‘अकालमूरत’ को समय में लाया जा रहा है।
जो आदमी जैसा होता है उसकी दृष्टि और चेष्टा भी वैसी ही होती है। मनुष्य काल के प्रभाव में है और जन्मता-मरता है। इसलिए उस अकाल का, अजन्मा का जन्म-महोत्सव मनाता है।
जब-जब समाज अति व्यवहारी, बाह्य स्वार्थ से आक्रांत होता है, तब-तब निष्कामता, प्रेम, माधुर्य, सौन्दर्य का स्वाद चखाने समाज की उन्नति करने के लिए जो अवतरण होता है उसमें भगवान श्रीराम मर्यादा अवतार हैं, नृसिंह आवेश अवतार हैं। द्रोपदी की साड़ी खींची जा रही थी उस समय भगवान का प्रवेश अवतार था। परंतु कृष्णावतार प्रवेश अवतार नहीं है, आवेश अवतार भी नहीं है, मर्यादा अवतार भी नहीं है। वे तो लीलावतार हैं, पूर्णावतार हैं, माधुर्य अवतार हैं, ऐश्वर्य अवतार हैं, प्रेमावतार हैं। भगवान का माधुर्य, ऐश्वर्य, प्रेमयुक्त वर्णन कृष्णावतार में ही पाया जाता है।
रामावतार में दास्य भक्ति की बात है परंतु कृष्णावतार में सख्य भक्ति की बात है। श्रीकृष्ण को या तो सखा दिखता है या वात्सल्य बरसाने वाली माँ दिखती है या अपने मित्र-प्रेमी, ग्वाल-गोपियाँ दिखते हैं। जो अकाल है उसे काल में लाकर, जो अजन्मा है उसे जन्म में लाकर, हम अपना जन्म सँवारकर, अजन्मा तत्त्व का साक्षात्कार करने को जा रहे हैं।
रोहिणी नक्षत्र में, भाद्रपद मास(गुजरात-महाराष्ट्र में श्रावण मास) के कृष्ण पक्ष की अष्टमी को कंस के जेल में श्रीकृष्ण का जन्म हुआ है। कृष्ण पक्ष है, अँधेरी रात है। अँधेरी रात को ही उस प्रकाश की आवश्यकता है।
वर्णन आया है कि जब भगवान अवतरित हुए तब जेल के दरवाजे खुल गये। पहरेदारों को नींद आ गयी। रोकने-टोकने और विघ्न डालने वाले सब निद्राधीन हो गये। जन्म हुआ है जेल में, एकान्त में, वसुदेव-देवकी के यहाँ और लालन-पालन होता है नंद-यशोदा के यहाँ। ब्रह्मसुख का प्राकट्य एक जगह पर होता है और उसका पोषण दूसरी जगह पर होता है। श्रीकृष्ण का प्राकट्य देवकी के यहाँ हुआ है परंतु पोषण यशोदा माँ के वहाँ होता है। अर्थात् जब श्रीकृष्ण-जन्म होता है, उस आत्मसुख का प्राकट्य होता है तब इन्द्रियाँ और मन ये सब सो जाने चाहिए, शांत हो जाने चाहिए। जब इन्द्रियाँ और मन ये सब सो जाने चाहिए, शांत हो जाने चाहिए। जब इन्द्रियाँ और मन शांत हो जाते हैं तब बंधन के दरवाजे खुल जाते है। ‘मैं’ और ‘मेरे’ की भावनाएँ खत्म हो जाती हैं। जब इन्द्रियाँ सतर्क होती हैं, मन चंचल होता है तब मैं और मेरा बनता है। जब इन्द्रियाँ शांत हो जाती हैं, मन विश्रांति पाता है, तब मैं और मेरा नहीं रहता।
भगवान का प्राकट्य हुआ है। वसुदेव भगवान को उठाकर लिये जा रहे हैं, यशोदा के घर। आनंद का प्राकट्य और आनंद के पोषण के बीच, आनंद को देखकर आनंदित होने वाली यमुना की कथा आती है। यमुना जी सोचती हैं कि वे आनंदस्वरूप अकाल पुरूष आज साकार ब्रह्म होकर आये हैं। मैं उनके चरण छूने के लिए बढ़ूँ तो सही परंतु वसुदेव जी डूब गये तो ? वसुदेव जी डूब जायेंगे तो मुझ पर कलंक लगेगा कि आनंद को उठाये लिये जाने वाले को कैसे डुबाया ? अगर ऊपर नहीं बढ़ती हूँ तो चरण-स्पर्श कैसे हो ?
यमुनाजी कभी तरंगित होती हैं तो कभी नीचे उतरती हैं। वसुदेव जी को लगता है कि अभी डूबे-अभी डूबे। परंतु यमुना जी को अपनी इज्जत का, अपने प्रेमावतार परमात्मा का भी ख्याल है। बाढ़ का पानी वसुदेव जी को डुबाने में असमर्थ है ! यह कैसा आश्चर्य है ! उसे बाढ़ का पानी कहो या यमुना जी के प्रेम की बाढ़ कहो, उसने वसुदेव जी को डुबोया नहीं, और वसुदेव के सिर पर जो आनंदकंद सच्चिदानंद है उसके चरण छुए बिना चुप भी नहीं रहती। उछलती है, फिर सँभलती है।
आनंद भी अपने जीवन में उछलता है, सँभलता है। ‘मेरा तेरा’ लोक-लाज डूब न जाय, इसकी भी चिंता रहती है, फिर उछलता है। जब तक साधक आनंद के चरणस्पर्श नहीं कर लेता तब तक उसकी उछलकूद चालू ही रहती है।
आनंदस्वरूप श्रीकृष्ण समझ गये कि यमुना उछलकूद मचाती है। वसुदेव को डुबाने से तो डरती है और मेरे चरण छुए बिना चुप भी नहीं रहती। तब उस नंदनंदन ने अपना पैर पसारा है, यमुना जी को आह्लाद हुआ और यमुना जी तृप्त हुई हैं।
संतों का कहना है, महापुरूषों का यह अनुभव है कि निर्विकारी समाधि में आनंद का प्राकट्य हो सकता है परंतु आनंदस्वरूप प्रभु का पोषण तो प्रेमाभक्ति के सिवाय कहीं नहीं हो सकता। योगी कहता है कि समाधि में था, बड़ा आनंद था, बड़ा सुख था, भगवन्मस्ती थी, मगर समाधि चली गयी तो अब आनंद का पोषण कैसे हो ? आनंद का पोषण बिना रस के नहीं होता।
वसुदेव-देवकी ने तो आनंद-स्वरूप श्रीकृष्ण को प्रकट किया किंतु उसका पोषण होता है नंद के घर, यशोदा के घर। वसुदेव उन्हें नंद के घर ले गये है, यशोदा सो रही है। यशोदा के पालने में कन्या का अवतरण हुआ है। जहाँ प्रेम है, विश्रांति है वहाँ शांति का प्राकट्य होता है। जहाँ समाधि है वहाँ आनंद का प्राकट्य होता है।
हमारे शास्त्रकारों ने, पुराणकारों ने और ब्रह्मज्ञानी महापुरूषों ने हमारे चित्त की बड़ी सँभाल की रखी है। किसी एक आकृति, मूर्ति या फोटो में कहीं रूक न जाये। भगवान की मूर्ति में देखते-देखते अमूर्त आत्मा-परमात्मा तक पहुँचे, ऐसी व्यवस्था है कदम-कदम पर हमारे धर्म में।
वसुदेव जी आनंदकंद कृष्ण कन्हैया को यशोदा के पास छोड़ते हैं और शक्ति स्वरूपा कन्या को ले आते हैं। उसे जेल में देवकी के पास रख देते हैं। कंस आता है। कंस यानी अहंकार। अहंकार देखता है कि यह तो बालक नहीं बालिका है। फिर भी इन्हीं की है, कैसे जीवित रखूँ ? कंस उस बालिका को मारता है। वह कन्या कंस के हाथों से छटक जाती है अर्थात् अहंकारी के पास शक्ति आती है तो उसके पास टिकती नहीं। उसका मनमाना काम करती नहीं। अहंकारी की शक्ति छटक जाती है।
‘मैं’ बना रहा, अहंकार बना रहा तो शक्ति आयेगी मगर टिकेगी नहीं। भक्ति हाथ से छिटक जायेगी। इसलिए हे साधक ! धन का अहंकार आये तो सावधान रहना। तेरे से बड़े-बड़े सत्ताधीश इस जहाँ से खाली हाथ गये। सौंदर्य का अहंकार आये तब भी सावधान रहना। अहंकार तुम्हें वसुदेव से दूर कर देगा, आत्मा-परमात्मा से दूर कर देगा।
श्रीकृष्ण :- कर्षति आकर्षति इति कृष्णः।
Wishing all of u A happy Shri Krishna Janmaashtami
The Complet Works of Swami Vivekanada http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info
WORK AND ITS SECRET
One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end. He was a great man from whom I learnt it, and his own life was a practical demonstration of this great principle I have been always learning great lessons from that one principle, and it appears to me that all the secret of success is there; to pay as much attention to the means as to the end.
Our great defect in life is that we are so much drawn to the ideal, the goal is so much more enchanting, so much more alluring, so much bigger in our mental horizon, that we lose sight of the details altogether.
But whenever failure comes, if we analyse it critically, in ninety-nine per cent of cases we shall find that it was because we did not pay attention to the means. Proper attention to the finishing, strengthening, of the means is what we need. With the means all right, the end must come. We forget that it is the cause that produces the effect; the effect cannot come by itself; and unless the causes are exact, proper, and powerful, the effect will not be produced. Once the ideal is chosen and the means determined, we may almost let go the ideal, because we are sure it will be there, when the means are perfected. When the cause is there, there is no more difficulty about the effect, the effect is bound to come. If we take care of the cause, the effect will take care of itself. The realization of the ideal is the effect. The means are the cause: attention to the means, therefore, is the great secret of life. We also read this in the Gita and learn that we have to work, constantly work with all our power; to put our whole mind in the work, whatever it be, that we are doing. At the same time, we must not be attached. That is to say, we must not be drawn away from the work by anything else; still, we must be able to quit the work whenever we like.
If we examine our own lives, we find that the greatest cause of sorrow is this: we take up something, and put our whole energy on it — perhaps it is a failure and yet we cannot give it up. We know that it is hurting us, that any further clinging to it is simply bringing misery on us; still, we cannot tear ourselves away from it. The bee came to sip the honey, but its feet stuck to the honey-pot and it could not get away. Again and again, we are finding ourselves in that state. That is the whole secret of existence. Why are we here? We came here to sip the honey, and we find our hands and feet sticking to it. We are caught, though we came to catch. We came to enjoy; we are being enjoyed. We came to rule; we are being ruled. We came to work; we are being worked. All the time, we find that. And this comes into every detail of our life. We are being worked upon by other minds, and we are always struggling to work on other minds. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life; and they eat into our vitals. We want to get everything from nature, but we find in the long run that nature takes everything from us — depletes us, and casts us aside.
Had it not been for this, life would have been all sunshine. Never mind! With all its failures and successes, with all its joys and sorrows, it can be one succession of sunshine, if only we are not caught.
That is the one cause of misery: we are attached, we are being caught. Therefore says the Gita: Work constantly; work, but be not attached; be not caught. Reserve unto yourself the power of detaching yourself from everything, however beloved, however much the soul might yearn for it, however great the pangs of misery you feel if you were going to leave it; still, reserve the power of leaving it whenever you want. The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death. There are hundreds of thousands of microbes surrounding us, but they cannot harm us unless we become weak, until the body is ready and predisposed to receive them. There may be a million microbes of misery, floating about us. Never mind! They dare not approach us, they have no power to get a hold on us, until the mind is weakened. This is the great fact: strength is life, weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death.
Attachment is the source of all our pleasures now. We are attached to our friends, to our relatives; we are attached to our intellectual and spiritual works; we are attached to external objects, so that we get pleasure from them. What, again, brings misery but this very attachment? We have to detach ourselves to earn joy. If only we had power to detach ourselves at will, there would not be any misery. That man alone will be able to get the best of nature, who, having the power of attaching himself to a thing with all his energy, has also the power to detach himself when he should do so. The difficulty is that there must be as much power of attachment as that of detachment. There are men who are never attracted by anything. They can never love, they are hard-hearted and apathetic; they escape most of the miseries of life. But the wall never feels misery, the wall never loves, is never hurt; but it is the wall, after all. Surely it is better to be attached and caught, than to be a wall. Therefore the man who never loves, who is hard and stony, escaping most of the miseries of life, escapes also its joys. We do not want that. That is weakness, that is death. That soul has not been awakened that never feels weakness, never feels misery. That is a callous state. We do not want that.
At the same time, we not only want this mighty power of love, this mighty power of attachment, the power of throwing our whole soul upon a single object, losing ourselves and letting ourselves be annihilated, as it were, for other souls — which is the power of the gods — but we want to be higher even than the gods. The perfect man can put his whole soul upon that one point of love, yet he is unattached. How comes this? There is another secret to learn.
The beggar is never happy. The beggar only gets a dole with pity and scorn behind it, at least with the thought behind that the beggar is a low object. He never really enjoys what he gets.
We are all beggars. Whatever we do, we want a return. We are all traders. We are traders in life, we are traders in virtue, we are traders in religion. And alas! we are also traders in love.
If you come to trade, if it is a question of give-and-take, if it is a question of buy-and-sell, abide by the laws of buying and selling. There is a bad time and there is a good time; there is a rise and a fall in prices: always you expect the blow to come. It is like looking at the mirrors Your face is reflected: you make a grimace — there is one in the mirror; if you laugh, the mirror laughs. This is buying and selling, giving and taking.
We get caught. How? Not by what we give, but by what we expect. We get misery in return for our love; not from the fact that we love, but from the fact that we want love in return. There is no misery where there is no want. Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery.
The great secret of true success, of true happiness, then, is this: the man who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish man, is the most successful. It seems to be a paradox. Do we not know that every man who is unselfish in life gets cheated, gets hurt? Apparently, yes. “Christ was unselfish, and yet he was crucified.” True, but we know that his unselfishness is the reason, the cause of a great victory — the crowning of millions upon millions of lives with the blessings of true success.
Ask nothing; want nothing in return. Give what you have to give; it will come back to you — but do not think of that now, it will come back multiplied a thousandfold — but the attention must not be on that. Yet have the power to give: give, and there it ends. Learn that the whole of life is giving, that nature will force you to give. So, give willingly. Sooner or later you will have to give up. You come into life to accumulate. With clenched hands, you want to take. But nature puts a hand on your throat and makes your hands open. Whether you will it or not, you have to give. The moment you say, “I will not”, the blow comes; you are hurt. None is there but will be compelled, in the long run, to give up everything. And the more one struggles against this law, the more miserable one feels. It is because we dare not give, because we are not resigned enough to accede to this grand demand of nature, that we are miserable. The forest is gone, but we get heat in return. The sun is taking up water from the ocean, to return it in showers. You are a machine for taking and giving: you take, in order to give. Ask, therefore, nothing in return; but the more you give, the more will come to you. The quicker you can empty the air out of this room, the quicker it will be filled up by the external air; and if you close all the doors and every aperture, that which is within will remain, but that which is outside will never come in, and that which is within will stagnate, degenerate, and become poisoned. A river is continually emptying itself into the ocean and is continually filling up again. Bar not the exit into the ocean. The moment you do that, death seizes you.
Be, therefore, not a beggar; be unattached This is the most terrible task of life! You do not calculate the dangers on the path. Even by intellectually recognising the difficulties, we really do not know them until we feel them. From a distance we may get a general view of a park: well, what of that? We feel and really know it when we are in it. Even if our every attempt is a failure, and we bleed and are torn asunder, yet, through all this, we have to preserve our heart — we must assert our Godhead in the midst of all these difficulties. Nature wants us to react, to return blow for blow, cheating for cheating, lie for lie, to hit back with all our might. Then it requires a superdivine power not to hit back, to keep control, to be unattached.
Every day we renew our determination to be unattached. We cast our eyes back and look at the past objects of our love and attachment, and feel how every one of them made us miserable. We went down into the depths of despondency because of our “love”! We found ourselves mere slaves in the hands of others, we were dragged down and down! And we make a fresh determination: “Henceforth, I will be master of myself; henceforth, I will have control over myself.” But the time comes, and the same story once more! Again the soul is caught and cannot get out. The bird is in a net, struggling and fluttering. This is our life.
I know the difficulties. Tremendous they are, and ninety per cent of us become discouraged and lose heart, and in our turn, often become pessimists and cease to believe in sincerity, love, and all that is grand and noble. So, we find men who in the freshness of their lives have been forgiving, kind, simple, and guileless, become in old age lying masks of men. Their minds are a mass of intricacy. There may be a good deal of external policy, possibly. They are not hot-headed, they do not speak, but it would be better for them to do so; their hearts are dead and, therefore, they do not speak. They do not curse, not become angry; but it would be better for them to be able to be angry, a thousand times better, to be able to curse. They cannot. There is death in the heart, for cold hands have seized upon it, and it can no more act, even to utter a curse, even to use a harsh word.
All this we have to avoid: therefore I say, we require superdivine power. Superhuman power is not strong enough. Superdivine strength is the only way, the one way out. By it alone we can pass through all these intricacies, through these showers of miseries, unscathed. We may be cut to pieces, torn asunder, yet our hearts must grow nobler and nobler all the time.
It is very difficult, but we can overcome the difficulty by constant practice. We must learn that nothing can happen to us, unless we make ourselves susceptible to it. I have just said, no disease can come to me until the body is ready; it does not depend alone on the germs, but upon a certain predisposition which is already in the body. We get only that for which we are fitted. Let us give up our pride and understand this, that never is misery undeserved. There never has been a blow undeserved: there never has been an evil for which I did not pave the way with my own hands. We ought to know that. Analyse yourselves and you will find that every blow you have received, came to you because you prepared yourselves for it. You did half, and the external world did the other half: that is how the blow came. That will sober us down. At the same time, from this very analysis will come a note of hope, and the note of hope is: “I have no control of the external world, but that which is in me and nearer unto me, my own world, is in my control. If the two together are required to make a failure, if the two together are necessary to give me a blow, I will not contribute the one which is in my keeping; and how then can the blow come? If I get real control of myself, the blow will never come.”
We are all the time, from our childhood, trying to lay the blame upon something outside ourselves. We are always standing up to set right other people, and not ourselves. If we are miserable, we say, “Oh, the world is a devil’s world.” We curse others and say, “What infatuated fools!” But why should we be in such a world, if we really are so good? If this is a devil’s world, we must be devils also; why else should we be here? “Oh, the people of the world are so selfish!” True enough; but why should we be found in that company, if we be better? Just think of that.
We only get what we deserve. It is a lie when we say, the world is bad and we are good. It can never be so. It is a terrible lie we tell ourselves.
This is the first lesson to learn: be determined not to curse anything outside, not to lay the blame upon any one outside, but be a man, stand up, lay the blame on yourself. You will find, that is always true. Get hold of yourself.
Is it not a shame that at one moment we talk so much of our manhood, of our being gods — that we know everything, we can do everything, we are blameless, spotless, the most unselfish people in the world; and at the next moment a little stone hurts us, a little anger from a little Jack wounds us — any fool in the street makes “these gods” miserable! Should this be so if we are such gods? Is it true that the world is to blame? Could God, who is the purest and the noblest of souls, be made miserable by any of our tricks? If you are so unselfish, you are like God. What world can hurt you? You would go through the seventh hell unscathed, untouched. But the very fact that you complain and want to lay the blame upon the external world shows that you feel the external world — the very fact that you feel shows that you are not what you claim to be. You only make your offence greater by heaping misery upon misery, by imagining that the external world is hurting you, and crying out, “Oh, this devil’s world! This man hurts me; that man hurts me! ” and so forth. It is adding lies to misery.
We are to take care of ourselves — that much we can do — and give up attending to others for a time. Let us perfect the means; the end will take care of itself. For the world can be good and pure, only if our lives are good and pure. It is an effect, and we are the means. Therefore, let us purify ourselves. Let us make ourselves perfect.
THE POWERS OF MIND
All over the world there has been the belief in the supernatural throughout the ages. All of us have heard of extraordinary happenings, and many of us have had some personal experience of them. I would rather introduce the subject by telling you certain facts which have come within my own experience. I once heard of a man who, if any one went to him with questions in his mind, would answer them immediately; and I was also informed that he foretold events. I was curious and went to see him with a few friends. We each had something in our minds to ask, and, to avoid mistakes, we wrote down our questions and put them in our pockets. As soon as the man saw one of us, he repeated our questions and gave the answers to them. Then he wrote something on paper, which he folded up, asked me to sign on the back, and said, “Don’t look at it; put it in your pocket and keep it there till I ask for it again.” And so on to each one of us. He next told us about some events that would happen to us in the future. Then he said, “Now, think of a word or a sentence, from any language you like.” I thought of a long sentence from Sanskrit, a language of which he was entirely ignorant. “Now, take out the paper from your pocket,” he said. The Sanskrit sentence was written there! He had written it an hour before with the remark, “In confirmation of what I have written, this man will think of this sentence.” It was correct. Another of us who had been given a similar paper which he had signed and placed in his pocket, was also asked to think of a sentence. He thought of a sentence in Arabic, which it was still less possible for the man to know; And my friend found this written down on the paper.
Another of us was a physician. He thought of a sentence from a German medical book. It was written on his paper.
Several days later I went to this man again, thinking possibly I had been deluded somehow before. I took other friends, and on this occasion also he came out wonderfully triumphant.
Another time I was in the city in India, and I was told of a Brâhmin there who could produce numbers of things from where, nobody knew. This man was in business there; he was a respectable gentleman. And I asked him to show me his tricks. It so happened that this man had a fever, and in India there is a general belief that if a holy man puts his hand on a sick man he would be well. This Brahmin came to me and said, “Sir, put your hand on my head, so that my fever may be cured.” I said, “Very good; but you show me your tricks.” He promised. I put my hand on his head as desired, and later he came to fulfil his promise. He had only a strip of cloth about his loins, we took off everything else from him. I had a blanket which I gave him to wrap round himself, because it was cold, and made him sit in a corner. Twenty-five pairs of eyes were looking at him. And he said, “Now, look, write down anything you want.” We all wrote down names of fruits that never grew in that country, bunches of grapes, oranges, and so on. And we gave him those bits of paper. And there came from under his blanket, bushels of grapes, oranges, and so forth, so much that if all that fruit was weighed, it would have been twice as heavy as the man. He asked us to eat the fruit. Some of us objected, thinking it was hypnotism; but the man began eating himself — so we all ate. It was all right.
He ended by producing a mass of roses. Each flower was perfect, with dew-drops on the petals, not one crushed, not one injured. And masses of them! When I asked the man for an explanation, he said, “It is all sleight of hand.”
Whatever it was, it seemed to be impossible that it could be sleight of hand merely. From whence could he have got such large quantities of things?
Well, I saw many things like that. Going about India you find hundreds of similar things in different places. These are in every country. Even in this country you will find some such wonderful things. Of course there is a great deal of fraud, no doubt; but then, whenever you see fraud, you have also to say that fraud is an imitation. There must be some truth somewhere, that is being imitated; you cannot imitate nothing. Imitation must be of something substantially true.
In very remote times in India, thousands of years ago, these facts used to happen even more than they do today. It seems to me that when a country becomes very thickly populated, psychical power deteriorates. Given a vast country thinly inhabited, there will, perhaps, be more of psychical power there. These facts, the Hindus, being analytically minded. took up and investigated. And they came to certain remarkable conclusions; that is, they made a science of it. They found out that all these, though extraordinary, are also natural; there is nothing supernatural. They are under laws just the same as any other physical phenomenon. It is not a freak of nature that a man is born with such powers. They can be systematically studied, practiced, and acquired. This science they call the science of Râja-Yoga. There are thousands of people who cultivate the study of this science, and for the whole nation it has become a part of daily worship.
The conclusion they have reached is that all these extraordinary powers are in the mind of man. This mind is a part of the universal mind. Each mind is connected with every other mind. And each mind, wherever it is located, is in actual communication with the whole world.
Have you ever noticed the phenomenon that is called thought-transference? A man here is thinking something, and that thought is manifested in somebody else, in some other place. With preparations — not by chance — a man wants to send a thought to another mind at a distance, and this other mind knows that a thought is coming, and he receives it exactly as it is sent out. Distance makes no difference. The thought goes and reaches the other man, and he understands it. If your mind were an isolated something here, and my mind were an isolated something there, and there were no connection between the two, how would it be possible for my thought to reach you? In the ordinary cases, it is not my thought that is reaching you direct; but my thought has got to be dissolved into ethereal vibrations and those ethereal vibrations go into your brain, and they have to be resolved again into your own thoughts. Here is a dissolution of thought, and there is a resolution of thought. It is a roundabout process. But in telepathy, there is no such thing; it is direct.
This shows that there is a continuity of mind, as the Yogis call it. The mind is universal. Your mind, my mind, all these little minds, are fragments of that universal mind, little waves in the ocean; and on account of this continuity, we can convey our thoughts directly to one another.
You see what is happening all around us. The world is one of influence. Part of our energy is used up in the preservation of our own bodies. Beyond that, every particle of our energy is day and night being used in influencing others. Our bodies, our virtues, our intellect, and our spirituality, all these are continuously influencing others; and so, conversely, we are being influenced by them. This is going on all around us. Now, to take a concrete example. A man comes; you know he is very learned, his language is beautiful, and he speaks to you by the hour; but he does not make any impression. Another man comes, and he speaks a few words, not well arranged, ungrammatical perhaps; all the same, he makes an immense impression. Many of you have seen that. So it is evident that words alone cannot always produce an impression. Words, even thoughts contribute only one-third of the influence in making an impression, the man, two-thirds. What you call the personal magnetism of the man — that is what goes out and impresses you.
In our families there are the heads; some of them are successful, others are not. Why? We complain of others in our failures. The moment I am unsuccessful, I say, so-and-so is the cause of the failure. In failure, one does not like to confess one’s own faults and weaknesses. Each person tries to hold himself faultless and lay the blame upon somebody or something else, or even on bad luck. When heads of families fail, they should ask themselves, why it is that some persons manage a family so well and others do not. Then you will find that the difference is owing to the man — his presence, his personality.
Coming to great leaders of mankind, we always find that it was the personality of the man that counted. Now, take all the great authors of the past, the great thinkers. Really speaking, how many thoughts have they thought? Take all the writings that have been left to us by the past leaders of mankind; take each one of their books and appraise them. The real thoughts, new and genuine, that have been thought in this world up to this time, amount to only a handful. Read in their books the thoughts they have left to us. The authors do not appear to be giants to us, and yet we know that they were great giants in their days. What made them so? Not simply the thoughts they thought, neither the books they wrote, nor the speeches they made, it was something else that is now gone, that is their personality. As I have already remarked, the personality of the man is two-thirds, and his intellect, his words, are but one-third. It is the real man, the personality of the man, that runs through us. Our actions are but effects. Actions must come when the man is there; the effect is bound to follow the cause.
The ideal of all education, all training, should be this man-making. But, instead of that, we are always trying to polish up the outside. What use in polishing up the outside when there is no inside? The end and aim of all training is to make the man grow. The man who influences, who throws his magic, as it were, upon his fellow-beings, is a dynamo of power, and when that man is ready, he can do anything and everything he likes; that personality put upon anything will make it work.
Now, we see that though this is a fact, no physical laws that we know of will explain this. How can we explain it by chemical and physical knowledge? How much of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, how many molecules in different positions, and how many cells, etc., etc. can explain this mysterious personality? And we still see, it is a fact, and not only that, it is the real man; and it is that man that lives and moves and works, it is that man that influences, moves his fellow-beings, and passes out, and his intellect and books and works are but traces left behind. Think of this. Compare the great teachers of religion with the great philosophers. The philosophers scarcely influenced anybody’s inner man, and yet they wrote most marvellous books. The religious teachers, on the other hand, moved countries in their lifetime. The difference was made by personality. In the philosopher it is a faint personality that influences; in the great prophets it is tremendous. In the former we touch the intellect, in the latter we touch life. In the one case, it is simply a chemical process, putting certain chemical ingredients together which may gradually combine and under proper circumstances bring out a flash of light or may fail. In the other, it is like a torch that goes round quickly, lighting others.
The science of Yoga claims that it has discovered the laws which develop this personality, and by proper attention to those laws and methods, each one can grow and strengthen his personality. This is one of the great practical things, and this is the secret of all education. This has a universal application. In the life of the householder, in the life of the poor, the rich, the man of business, the spiritual man, in every one’s life, it is a great thing, the strengthening of this personality. There are laws, very fine, which are behind the physical laws, as we know. That is to say, there are no such realities as a physical world, a mental world, a spiritual world. Whatever is, is one. Let us say, it is a sort of tapering existence; the thickest part is here, it tapers and becomes finer and finer. The finest is what we call spirit; the grossest, the body. And just as it is here in microcosm, it is exactly the same in the macrocosm. The universe of ours is exactly like that; it is the gross external thickness, and it tapers into something finer and finer until it becomes God.
We also know that the greatest power is lodged in the fine, not in the coarse. We see a man take up a huge weight, we see his muscles swell, and all over his body we see signs of exertion, and we think the muscles are powerful things. But it is the thin thread-like things, the nerves, which bring power to the muscles; the moment one of these threads is cut off from reaching the muscles, they are not able to work at all. These tiny nerves bring the power from something still finer, and that again in its turn brings it from something finer still — thought, and so on. So, it is the fine that is really the seat of power. Of course we can see the movements in the gross; but when fine movements take place, we cannot see them. When a gross thing moves, we catch it, and thus we naturally identify movement with things which are gross. But all the power is really in the fine. We do not see any movement in the fine, perhaps, because the movement is so intense that we cannot perceive it. But if by any science, any investigation, we are helped to get hold of these finer forces which are the cause of the expression, the expression itself will be under control. There is a little bubble coming from the bottom of a lake; we do not see it coming all the time, we see it only when it bursts on the surface; so, we can perceive thoughts only after they develop a great deal, or after they become actions. We constantly complain that we have no control over our actions, over our thoughts. But how can we have it? If we can get control over the fine movements, if we can get hold of thought at the root, before it has become thought, before it has become action, then it would be possible for us to control the whole. Now, if there is a method by which we can analyse, investigate, understand, and finally grapple with those finer powers, the finer causes, then alone is it possible to have control over ourselves, and the man who has control over his own mind assuredly will have control over every other mind. That is why purity and morality have been always the object of religion; a pure, moral man has control of himself. And all minds are the same, different parts of one Mind. He who knows one lump of clay has known all the clay in the universe. He who knows and controls his own mind knows the secret of every mind and has power over every mind
Now, a good deal of our physical evil we can get rid of, if we have control over the fine parts; a good many worries we can throw off, if we have control over the fine movements; a good many failures can be averted, if we have control over these fine powers. So far, is utility. Yet beyond, there is something higher.
Now, I shall tell you a theory, which I will not argue now, but simply place before you the conclusion. Each man in his childhood runs through the stages through which his race has come up; only the race took thousands of years to do it, while the child takes a few years. The child is first the old savage man — and he crushes a butterfly under his feet. The child is at first like the primitive ancestors of his race. As he grows, he passes through different stages until he reaches the development of his race. Only he does it swiftly and quickly. Now, take the whole of humanity as a race, or take the whole of the animal creation, man and the lower animals, as one whole. There is an end towards which the whole is moving. Let us call it perfection. Some men and women are born who anticipate the whole progress of mankind. Instead of waiting and being reborn over and over again for ages until the whole human race has attained to that perfection, they, as it were, rush through them in a few short years of their life. And we know that we can hasten these processes, if we be true to ourselves. If a number of men, without any culture, be left to live upon an island, and are given barely enough food, clothing, and shelter, they will gradually go on and on, evolving higher and higher stages of civilization. We know also, that this growth can be hastened by additional means. We help the growth of trees, do we not? Left to nature they would have grown, only they would have taken a longer time; we help them to grow in a shorter time than they would otherwise have taken. We are doing all the time the same thing, hastening the growth of things by artificial means. Why cannot we hasten the growth of man? We can do that as a race Why are teachers sent to other countries? Because by these means we can hasten the growth of races. Now, can we not hasten the growth of individuals? We can. Can we put a limit to the hastening? We cannot say how much a man can grow in one life. You have no reason to say that this much a man can do and no more. Circumstances can hasten him wonderfully. Can there be any limit then, till you come to perfection? So, what comes of it? — That a perfect man, that is to say, the type that is to come of this race, perhaps millions of years hence, that man can come today. And this is what the Yogis say, that all great incarnations and prophets are such men; that they reached perfection in this one life. We have had such men at all periods of the world’s history and at all times. Quite recently, there was such a man who lived the life of the whole human race and reached the end — even in this life. Even this hastening of the growth must be under laws. Suppose we can investigate these laws and understand their secrets and apply them to our own needs; it follows that we grow. We hasten our growth, we hasten our development, and we become perfect, even in this life. This is the higher part of our life, and the science of the study of mind and its powers has this perfection as its real end. Helping others with money and other material things and teaching them how to go on smoothly in their daily life are mere details.
The utility of this science is to bring out the perfect man, and not let him wait and wait for ages, just a plaything in the hands of the physical world, like a log of drift-wood carried from wave to wave and tossing about in the ocean. This science wants you to be strong, to take the work in your own hand, instead of leaving it in the hands of nature, and get beyond this little life. That is the great idea.
Man is growing in knowledge, in power, in happiness. Continuously, we are growing as a race. We see that is true, perfectly true. Is it true of individuals? To a certain extent, yes. But yet, again comes the question: Where do you fix the limit? I can see only at a distance of so many feet. But I have seen a man close his eyes and see what is happening in another room. If you say you do not believe it, perhaps in three weeks that man can make you do the same. It can be taught to anybody. Some persons, in five minutes even, can be made to read what is happening in another man’s mind. These facts can be demonstrated.
Now, if these things are true, where can we put a limit? If a man can read what is happening in another’s mind in the corner of this room, why not in the next room? Why not anywhere? We cannot say, why not. We dare not say that it is not possible. We can only say, we do not know how it happens. Material scientists have no right to say that things like this are not possible; they can only say, “We do not know.” Science has to collect facts, generalise upon them, deduce principles, and state the truth — that is all. But if we begin by denying the facts, how can a science be?
There is no end to the power a man can obtain. This is the peculiarity of the Indian mind, that when anything interests it, it gets absorbed in it and other things are neglected. You know how many sciences had their origin in India. Mathematics began there. You are even today counting 1, 2, 3, etc. to zero, after Sanskrit figures, and you all know that algebra also originated in India, and that gravitation was known to the Indians thousands of years before Newton was born.
You see the peculiarity. At a certain period of Indian history, this one subject of man and his mind absorbed all their interest. And it was so enticing, because it seemed the easiest way to achieve their ends. Now, the Indian mind became so thoroughly persuaded that the mind could do anything and everything according to law, that its powers became the great object of study. Charms, magic, and other powers, and all that were nothing extraordinary, but a regularly taught science, just as the physical sciences they had taught before that. Such a conviction in these things came upon the race that physical sciences nearly died out. It was the one thing that came before them. Different sects of Yogis began to make all sorts of experiments. Some made experiments with light, trying to find out how lights of different colours produced changes in the body. They wore a certain coloured cloth, lived under a certain colour, and ate certain coloured foods. All sorts of experiments were made in this way. Others made experiments in sound by stopping and unstopping their ears. And still others experimented in the sense of smell, and so on.
The whole idea was to get at the basis, to reach the fine parts of the thing. And some of them really showed most marvellous powers. Many of them were trying to float in the air or pass through it. I shall tell you a story which I heard from a great scholar in the West. It was told him by a Governor of Ceylon who saw the performance. A girl was brought forward and seated cross-legged upon a stool made of sticks crossed. After she had been seated for a time, the show-man began to take out, one after another, these cross-bars; and when all were taken out, the girl was left floating in the air. The Governor thought there was some trick, so he drew his sword and violently passed it under the girl; nothing was there. Now, what was this? It was not magic or something extraordinary. That is the peculiarity. No one in India would tell you that things like this do not exist. To the Hindu it is a matter of course. You know what the Hindus would often say when they have to fight their enemies — “Oh, one of our Yogis will come and drive the whole lot out!” It is the extreme belief of the race. What power is there in the hand or the sword? The power is all in the spirit.
If this is true, it is temptation enough for the mind to exert its highest. But as with every other science it is very difficult to make any great achievement, so also with this, nay much more. Yet most people think that these powers can be easily gained. How many are the years you take to make a fortune? Think of that! First, how many years do you take to learn electrical science or engineering? And then you have to work all the rest of your life.
Again, most of the other sciences deal with things that do not move, that are fixed. You can analyse the chair, the chair does not fly from you. But this science deals with the mind, which moves all the time; the moment you want to study it, it slips. Now the mind is in one mood, the next moment, perhaps, it is different, changing, changing all the time. In the midst of all this change it has to be studied, understood, grasped, and controlled. How much more difficult, then, is this science! It requires rigorous training. People ask me why I do not give them practical lessons. Why, it is no joke. I stand upon this platform talking to you and you go home and find no benefit; nor do I. Then you say, “It is all bosh.” It is because you wanted to make a bosh of it. I know very little of this science, but the little that I gained I worked for thirty years of my life, and for six years I have been telling people the little that I know. It took me thirty years to learn it; thirty years of hard struggle. Sometimes I worked at it twenty hours during the twenty-four; sometimes I slept only one hour in the night; sometimes I worked whole nights; sometimes I lived in places where there was hardly a sound, hardly a breath; sometimes I had to live in caves. Think of that. And yet I know little or nothing; I have barely touched the hem of the garment of this science. But I can understand that it is true and vast and wonderful.
Now, if there is any one amongst you who really wants to study this science, he will have to start with that sort of determination, the same as, nay even more than, that which he puts into any business of life.
And what an amount of attention does business require, and what a rigorous taskmaster it is! Even if the father, the mother, the wife, or the child dies, business cannot stop! Even if the heart is breaking, we still have to go to our place of business, when every hour of work is a pang. That is business, and we think that it is just, that it is right.
This science calls for more application than any business can ever require. Many men can succeed in business; very few in this. Because so much depends upon the particular constitution of the person studying it. As in business all may not make a fortune, but everyone can make something, so in the study of this science each one can get a glimpse which will convince him of its truth and of the fact that there have been men who realised it fully.
This is the outline of the science. It stands upon its own feet and in its own light, and challenges comparison with any other science. There have been charlatans, there have been magicians, there have been cheats, and more here than in any other field. Why? For the same reason, that the more profitable the business, the greater the number of charlatans and cheats. But that is no reason why the business should not be good. And one thing more; it may be good intellectual gymnastics to listen to all the arguments and an intellectual satisfaction to hear of wonderful things. But, if any one of you really wants to learn something beyond that, merely attending lectures will not do. That cannot be taught in lectures, for it is life; and life can only convey life. If there are any amongst you who are really determined to learn it, I shall be very glad to help them.
HINTS ON PRACTICAL SPIRITUALITY
This morning I shall try to present to you some ideas about breathing and other exercises. We have been discussing theories so long that now it will be well to have a little of the practical. A great many books have been written in India upon this subject. Just as your people are practical in many things, so it seems our people are practical in this line. Five persons in this country will join their heads together and say, “We will have a joint-stock company”, and in five hours it is done; in India they could not do it in fifty years; they are so unpractical in matters like this. But, mark you, if a man starts a system of philosophy, however wild its theory may be, it will have followers. For instance, a sect is started to teach that if a man stands on one leg for twelve years, day and night, he will get salvation — there will be hundreds ready to stand on one leg. All the suffering will be quietly borne. There are people who keep their arms upraised for years to gain religious merit. I have seen hundreds of them. And, mind you, they are not always ignorant fools, but are men who will astonish you with the depth and breadth of their intellect. So, you see, the word practical is also relative.
We are always making this mistake in judging others; we are always inclined to think that our little mental universe is all that is; our ethics, our morality, our sense of duty, our sense of utility, are the only things that are worth having. The other day when I was going to Europe, I was passing through Marseilles, where a bull-fight was being held. All the Englishmen in the steamer were mad with excitement, abusing and criticising the whole thing as cruel. When I reached England, I heard of a party of prize-fighters who had been to Paris, and were kicked out unceremoniously by the French, who thought prize-fighting very brutal. When I hear these things in various countries, I begin to understand the marvellous saying of Christ: “Judge not that ye be not judged.” The more we learn, the more he find out how ignorant we are, how multiform and multi-sided is this mind of man. When I was a boy, I used to criticise the ascetic practices of my countrymen; great preachers in our own land have criticised them; the greatest man that was ever born, Buddha himself, criticised them. But all the same, as I am growing older, I feel that I have no right to judge. Sometimes I wish that, in spite of all their incongruities, I had one fragment of their power to do and suffer. Often I think that my judgment and my criticism do not proceed from any dislike of torture, but from sheer cowardice — because I cannot do it — I dare not do it.
Then, you see that strength, power, and courage are things which are very peculiar. We generally say, “A courageous man, a brave man, a daring man”, but we must bear in mind that that courage or bravery or any other trait does not always characterise the man. The same man who would rush to the mouth of a cannon shrinks from the knife of the surgeon; and another man who never dares to face a gun will calmly bear a severe surgical operation, if need be. Now, in judging others you must always define your terms of courage or greatness. The man whom I am criticising as not good may be wonderfully so in some points in which I am not.
Take another example. You often note, when people are discussing as to what man and woman can do, always the same mistake is made. They think they show man at his best because he can fight, for instance, and undergo tremendous physical exertion; and this is pitted against the physical weakness and the non-combating quality of woman. This is unjust. Woman is as courageous as man. Each is equally good in his or her way. What man can bring up a child with such patience, endurance, and love as the woman can? The one has developed the power of doing; the other, the power of suffering. If woman cannot act, neither can man suffer. The whole universe is one of perfect balance. I do not know, but some day we may wake up and find that the mere worm has something which balances our manhood. The most wicked person may have some good qualities that I entirely lack. I see that every day of my life. Look at the savage! I wish I had such a splendid physique. He eats, he drinks, to his heart’s content, without knowing perhaps what sickness is, while I am suffering every minute. How many times would I have been glad to have changed my brain for his body! The whole universe is only a wave and a hollow; there can be no wave without a hollow. Balance everywhere. You have one thing great, your neighbour has another thing great. When you are judging man and woman, judge them by the standard of their respective greatness. One cannot be in other’s shoes. The one has no right to say that the other is wicked. It is the same old superstition that says, “If this is done, the world will go to ruin.” But in spite of this the world has not yet come to ruin. It was said in this country that if the Negroes were freed, the country would go to ruin — but did it? It was also said that if the masses were educated, the world would come to ruin — but it was only made better. Several years ago a book came out depicting the worst thing that could happen to England. The writer showed that as workmen’s wages were rising, English commerce was declining. A cry was raised that the workmen in England were exorbitant in their demands, and that the Germans worked for less wages. A commission was sent over to Germany to investigate this and it reported that the German labourers received higher wages. Why was it so? Because of the education of the masses. Then how about the world going to ruin if the masses are educated? In India, especially, we meet with old fogies all over the land. They want to keep everything secret from the masses. These people come to the very satisfying conclusion that they are the crême de la crême of this universe. They believed they cannot be hurt by these dangerous experiments. It is only the masses that can be hurt by them!
Now, coming back to the practical. The subject of the practical application of psychology has been taken up in India from very early times. About fourteen hundred years before Christ, there flourished in India a great philosopher, Patanjali by name. He collected all the facts, evidences, and researches in psychology and took advantage of all the experiences accumulated in the past. Remember, this world is very old; it was not created only two or three thousand years ago. It is taught here in the West that society began eighteen hundred years ago, with the New Testament. Before that there was no society. That may be true with regard to the West, but it is not true as regards the whole world. Often, while I was lecturing in London, a very intellectual and intelligent friend of mine would argue with me, and one day after using all his weapons against me, he suddenly exclaimed, “But why did not your Rishis come to England to teach us?” I replied, “Because there was no England to come to. Would they preach to the forests?”
“Fifty years ago,” said Ingersoll to me, “you would have been hanged in this country if you had come to preach. You would have been burnt alive or you would have been stoned out of the villages.”
So there is nothing unreasonable in the supposition that civilisation existed fourteen hundred years before Christ. It is not yet settled whether civilisation has always come from the lower to the higher. The same arguments and proofs that have been brought forward to prove this proposition can also be used to demonstrate that the savage is only a degraded civilised man. The people of China, for instance, can never believe that civilisation sprang from a savage state, because the contrary is within their experience. But when you talk of the civilisation of America, what you mean is the perpetuity and the growth of your own race.
It is very easy to believe that the Hindus, who have been declining for seven hundred years, were highly civilised in the past. We cannot prove that it is not so.
There is not one single instance of any civilisation being spontaneous. There was not a race in the world which became civilised unless another civilised race came and mingled with that race. The origin of civilisation must have belonged, so to say, to one or two races who went abroad, spread their ideas, and intermingled with other races and thus civilisation spread.
For practical purposes, let us talk in the language of modern science. But I must ask you to bear in mind that, as there is religious superstition, so also there is a superstition in the matter of science. There are priests who take up religious work as their speciality; so also there are priests of physical law, scientists. As soon as a scientist’s name, like some Darwin or Huxley, is cited, we follow blindly.like the rats who followed the Piper and get themselevs drowned in the sea.
It is the fashion of the day. Ninety-nine per cent of what we call scientific knowledge is mere theories. And many of them are no better than the old superstitions of ghosts with many heads and hands, but with this difference that the latter differentiated man a little from stocks and stones. True science asks us to be cautious. Just as we should be careful with the priests, so we should be with the scientists. Begin with disbelief. Analyse, test, prove everything, and then take it. Some of the most current beliefs of modern science have not been proved. Even in such a science as mathematics, the vast majority of its theories are only working hypotheses. With the advent of greater knowledge they will be thrown away.
In 1400 B.C. a great sage made an attempt to arrange, analyse, and generalise upon certain psychological facts. He was followed by many others who took up parts of what he had discovered and made a special study of them The Hindus alone of all ancient races took up the study of this branch of knowledge in right earnest. I am teaching you now about it, but how many of you will practice it? How many days, how many months will it be before you give it up? You are impractical on this subject. In India, they will persevere for ages and ages. You will be astonished to hear that they have no churches, no Common Prayers, or anything of the kind; but they, every day, still practice the breathings and try to concentrate the mind; and that is the chief part of their devotion. These are the main points. Every Hindu must do these. It is the religion of the country. Only, each one may have a special method — a special form of breathing, a special form of concentration, and what is one’s special method, even one’s wife need not know; the father need not know the son’s. But they all have to do these. And there is nothing occult about these things. The word “occult” has no bearing on them. Near the Gangâ thousands and thousands of people may be seen daily sitting on its banks breathing and concentrating with closed eyes. There may be two reasons that make certain practices impracticable for the generality of mankind. One is, the teachers hold that the ordinary people are not fit for them. There may be some truth in this, but it is due more to pride. The second is the fear of persecution. A man, for instance, would not like to practice breathing publicly in this country, because he would be thought so queer; it is not the fashion here. On the other hand, in India. if a man prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread”, people would laugh at him. Nothing could be more foolish to the Hindu mind than to say, “Our Father which art in Heaven.” The Hindu, when he worships, thinks that God is within himself.
According to the Yogis, there are three principal nerve currents: one they call the Idâ, the other the Pingalâ, and the middle one the Sushumnâ, and all these are inside the spinal column. The Ida and the Pingala, the left and the right, are clusters of nerves, while the middle one, the Sushumna, is hollow and is not a cluster of nerves. This Sushumna is closed, and for the ordinary man is of no use, for he works through the Ida and the Pingala only. Currents are continually going down and coming up through these nerves, carrying orders all over the body through other nerves running to the different organs of the body.
It is the regulation and the bringing into rhythm of the Ida and Pingala that is the great object of breathing. But that itself is nothing — it is only so much air taken into the lungs; except for purifying the blood, it is of no more use. There is nothing occult in the air that we take in with our breath and assimilate to purify the blood; the action is merely a motion. This motion can be reduced to the unit movement we call Prâna; and everywhere, all movements are the various manifestations of this Prana. This Prana is electricity, it is magnetism; it is thrown out by the brain as thought. Everything is Prana; it is moving the sun, the moon, and the stars.
We say, whatever is in this universe has been projected by the vibration of the Prana. The highest result of vibration is thought. If there be any higher, we cannot conceive of it. The nerves, Ida and Pingala, work through the Prana. It is the Prana that is moving every part of the body, becoming the different forces. Give up that old idea that God is something that produces the effect and sits on a throne dispensing justice. In working we become exhausted because we use up so much Prana.
The breathing exercises, called Prânâyâma, bring about regulation of the breathing, rhythmic action of the Prana. When the Prana is working rhythmically, everything works properly. When the Yogis get control over their own bodies, if there is any disease in any part, they know that the Prana is not rhythmic there and they direct the Prana to the affected part until the rhythm is re-established.
Just as you can control the Prana in your own body, so, if you are powerful enough, you can control, even from here another man’s Prana in India. It is all one. There is no break; unity is the law. Physically, psychically, mentally, morally, metaphysically, it is all one. Life is only a vibration. That which vibrates this ocean of ether, vibrates you. Just as in a lake, various strata of ice of various degrees of solidity are formed, or as in an ocean of vapour there are various degrees of density, so is this universe an ocean of matter. This is an ocean of ether in which we find the sun, moon, stars, and ourselves — in different states of solidity; but the continuity is not broken; it is the same throughout.
Now, when we study metaphysics, we come to know the world is one, not that the spiritual, the material, the mental, and the world of energies are separate. It is all one, but seen from different planes of vision. When you think of yourself as a body, you forget that you are a mind, and when you think of yourself as a mind, you will forget the body. There is only one thing, that you are; you can see it either as matter or body — or you can see it as mind or spirit. Birth, life, and death are but old superstitions. None was ever born, none will ever die; one changes one’s position — that is all. I am sorry to see in the West how much they make of death; always trying to catch a little life. “Give us life after death! Give us life!” They are so happy if anybody tells them that they are going to live afterwards! How can I ever doubt such a thing! How can I imagine that I am dead! Try to think of yourself as dead, and you will see that you are present to see your own dead body. Life is such a wonderful reality that you cannot for a moment forget it. You may as well doubt that you exist. This is the first fact of consciousness — I am. Who can imagine a state of things which never existed? It is the most self-evident of all truths. So, the idea of immortality is inherent in man. How can one discuss a subject that is unimaginable? Why should we want to discuss the pros and cons of a subject that is self-evident?
The whole universe, therefore, is a unit, from whatever standpoint you view it. Just now, to us, this universe is a unit of Prana and Âkâsha, force and matter. And mind you, like all other basic principles, this is also self-contradictory. For what is force? — that which moves matter. And what is matter? — that which is moved by force. It is a seesaw! Some of the fundamentals of our reasoning are most curious, in spite of our boast of science and knowledge. “It is a headache without a head”, as the Sanskrit proverb says. This state of things has been called Maya. It has neither existence nor non-existence. You cannot call it existence, because that only exists which is beyond time and space, which is self-existence. Yet this world satisfies to a certain degree our idea of existence. Therefore it has an apparent existence.
But there is the real existence in and through everything; and that reality, as it were, is caught in the meshes of time, space, and causation. There is the real man, the infinite, the beginningless, the endless, the ever-blessed, the ever-free. He has been caught in the meshes of time, space, and causation. So has everything in this world. The reality of everything is the same infinite. This is not idealism; it is not that the world does not exist. It has a relative existence, and fulfils all its requirements But it has no independent existence. It exists because of the Absolute Reality beyond time, space, and causation.
I have made long digressions. Now, let us return to our main subject.
All the automatic movements and all the conscious movements are the working of Prana through the nerves. Now, you see, it will be a very good thing to have control over the unconscious actions.
On some other occasions, I told you the definition of God and man. Man is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere, but the centre is located in one spot; and God is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is everywhere. He works through all hands, sees through all eyes, walks on all feet, breathes through all bodies, lives in all life, speaks through every mouth, and thinks through every brain. Man can become like God and acquire control over the whole universe if he multiplies infinitely his centre of self-consciousness. Consciousness, therefore, is the chief thing to understand. Let us say that here is an infinite line amid darkness. We do not see the line, but on it there is one luminous point which moves on. As it moves along the line, it lights up its different parts in succession, and all that is left behind becomes dark again. Our consciousness; may well be likened to this luminous point. Its past experiences have been replaced by the present, or have become subconscious. We are not aware of their presence in us; but there they are, unconsciously influencing our body and mind. Every movement that is now being made without the help of consciousness was previously conscious. Sufficient impetus has been given to it to work of itself.
The great error in all ethical systems, without exception, has been the failure of teaching the means by which man could refrain from doing evil. All the systems of ethics teach, “Do not steal!” Very good; but why does a man steal? Because all stealing, robbing, and other evil actions, as a rule, have become automatic. The systematic robber, thief, liar, unjust man and woman, are all these in spite of themselves! It is really a tremendous psychological problem. We should look upon man in the most charitable light. It is not so easy to be good. What are you but mere machines until you are free? Should you be proud because you are good? Certainly not. You are good because you cannot help it. Another is bad because he cannot help it. If you were in his position, who knows what you would have been? The woman in the street, or the thief in the jail, is the Christ that is being sacrificed that you may be a good man. Such is the law of balance. All the thieves and the murderers, all the unjust, the weakest, the wickedest, the devils, they all are my Christ! I owe a worship to the God Christ and to the demon Christ! That is my doctrine, I cannot help it. My salutation goes to the feet of the good, the saintly, and to the feet of the wicked and the devilish! They are all my teachers, all are my spiritual fathers, all are my Saviours. I may curse one and yet benefit by his failings; I may bless another and benefit by his good deeds. This is as true as that I stand here. I have to sneer at the woman walking in the street, because society wants it! She, my Saviour, she, whose street-walking is the cause of the chastity of other women! Think of that. Think, men and women, of this question in your mind. It is a truth — a bare, bold truth! As I see more of the world, see more of men and women, this conviction grows stronger. Whom shall I blame? Whom shall I praise? Both sides of the shield must be seen.
The task before us is vast; and first and foremost, we must seek to control the vast mass of sunken thoughts which have become automatic with us. The evil deed is, no doubt, on the conscious plane; but the cause which produced the evil deed was far beyond in the realms of the unconscious, unseen, and therefore more potent.
Practical psychology directs first of all its energies in controlling the unconscious, and we know that we can do it. Why? Because we know the cause of the unconscious is the conscious; the unconscious thoughts are the submerged millions of our old conscious thoughts, old conscious actions become petrified — we do not look at them, do not know them, have forgotten them. But mind you, if the power of evil is in the unconscious, so also is the power of good. We have many things stored in us as in a pocket. We have forgotten them, do not even think of them, and there are many of them, rotting, becoming positively dangerous; they come forth, the unconscious causes which kill humanity. True psychology would, therefore, try to bring them under the control of the conscious. The great task is to revive the whole man, as it were, in order to make him the complete master of himself. Even what we call the automatic action of the organs within our bodies, such as the liver etc., can be made to obey our commands.
This is the first part of the study, the control of the unconscious. The next is to go beyond the conscious. Just as unconscious work is beneath consciousness, so there is another work which is above consciousness. When this superconscious state is reached, man becomes free and divine; death becomes immortality, weakness becomes infinite power, and iron bondage becomes liberty. That is the goal, the infinite realm of the superconscious.
So, therefore, we see now that there must be a twofold work. First, by the proper working of the Ida and the Pingala, which are the two existing ordinary currents, to control the subconscious action; and secondly, to go beyond even consciousness.
The books say that he alone is the Yogi who, after long practice in self-concentration, has attained to this truth. The Sushumna now opens and a current which never before entered into this new passage will find its way into it, and gradually ascend to (what we call in figurative language) the different lotus centres, till at last it reaches the brain. Then the Yogi becomes conscious of what he really is, God Himself.
Everyone without exception, everyone of us, can attain to this culmination of Yoga. But it is a terrible task. If a person wants to attain to this truth, he will have to do something more than to listen to lectures and take a few breathing exercises. Everything lies in the preparation. How long does it take to strike a light? Only a second; but how long it takes to make the candle! How long does it take to eat a dinner? Perhaps half an hour. But hours to prepare the food! We want to strike the light in a second, but we forget that the making of the candle is the chief thing.
But though it is so hard to reach the goal, yet even our smallest attempts are not in vain. We know that nothing is lost. In the Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna, “Those who fail in attaining perfection in Yoga in this life, are they destroyed like the clouds of summer?” Krishna replies, “Nothing, my friend, is lost in this world. Whatever one does, that remains as one’s own, and if the fruition of Yoga does not come in this life, one takes it up again in the next birth.” Otherwise, how do you explain the marvellous childhood of Jesus, Buddha, Shankara?
Breathing, posturing, etc. are no doubt helps in Yoga; but they are merely physical. The great preparations are mental. The first thing necessary is a quiet and peaceable life.
If you want to be a Yogi, you must be free, and place yourself in circumstances where you are alone and free from all anxiety. He who desires a comfortable and nice life and at the same time wants to realise the Self is like the fool who, wanting to cross the river, caught hold of a crocodile, mistaking it for a log of wood (Vivekachudâmani, 84.). “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything shall be added unto you.” This is the one great duty, this is renunciation. Live for an ideal, and leave no place in the mind for anything else. Let us put forth all our energies to acquire that, which never fails — our spiritual perfection. If we have true yearning for realisation, we must struggle, and through struggle growth will come. We shall make mistakes, but they may be angels unawares.
The greatest help to spiritual life is meditation (Dhyâna). In meditation we divest ourselves of all material conditions and feel our divine nature. We do not depend upon any external help in meditation. The touch of the soul can paint the brightest colour even in the dingiest places; it can cast a fragrance over the vilest thing; it can make the wicked divine — and all enmity, all selfishness is effaced. The less the thought of the body, the better. For it is the body that drags us down. It is attachment, identification, which makes us miserable. That is the secret: To think that I am the spirit and not the body, and that the whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but as a series of paintings — scenes on a canvas — of which I am the witness.