Homage unto the Divine, the all-pervading ancient One beyond time and space, eternal and infinite, the source and origin of countless millions and billions of universes, anantakoti brahmanda. Homage unto that divine, universal Spirit that is at the back of and beyond all religions; that existed when no religions existed, no scriptures had come into being, no prophet had appeared on earth because there was no earth, there was no creation, all was unmanifest, uncreated. To that ancient Spirit our reverential homage.
Adorations and devotion to the spiritual presence of Gurudev who is the link between us and that ancient Spirit, attaining which one goes beyond sorrow and enters into a state of immortality, Divine-consciousness. In this modern age, Gurudev appeared as a voice from the Eternal, a call from the Immortal. He came as a message, and a messenger, from that ancient Being. He came also as a link. He came as a powerful, inspiring force to turn the attention of the human earth-pilgrim towards his divine destiny and his divine abode. He came to call, awaken, arouse and direct us towards the fulfilment of our life’s divine destiny. And he is still doing it. His spiritual presence is an awakening call, a perennial inspiration and a powerful impetus to the life spiritual. His spiritual instructions form for us a light upon the path.
I wish to place before you this morning two indispensable truths for you to ponder. The first is in reference to the conflict and confusion in seekers, in these modern times, caused by a difference in the teaching of various teachers. Gurudev and those like him preferred to give specific instructions. They advocated following certain practical disciplines. They said: “Have a certain daily routine, take certain resolves, adhere to certain principles.”
Other teachers said: “Be free. Do not bind yourself to anything, to any of that nonsense. It is all self-hypnosis, indoctrination to condition yourself, whereas you must become unconditioned. Conditioning is as bad as anything else—you go from one prison house to another prison house.”
So they declared discipline, system, daily routine, resolving to follow certain principles all to be a prison house: “It is foolish, it conditions you, it makes you a slave. Freedom is your birthright!” As though teachers like Gurudev did not know that freedom is our birthright, that we are the unconditioned Brahman, nitya nirupadhika satta (eternal unconditioned Truth), as though they did not know.
So there are these two extreme views: one, a rigid hide-bound system and pattern of sadhana and discipline, and the other: “Do not bind yourself to anything. Do not enslave or condition yourself. Be free, be free.” This is due to a fundamental lack of understanding. There is a time and place for everything.
There is a time you must bind yourself to discipline; otherwise you will be lost. Rules and regulations are necessary. Discipline is necessary. Taking certain vows is necessary. Making resolves is necessary.
Adopting certain principles for living is necessary. But that does not mean one stays there forever. One gradually evolves, goes beyond, and a time comes when they fall off by themselves. But to say that all these things are nonsense, that they enslave, that they are unnecessary right from the very beginning, is to demonstrate a short-sightedness of vision, a lack of sense of proportion.
It is in this that Gurudev is the ideal modern prophet. He insisted upon discipline—spiritual diary, Twenty Instructions, resolve form, daily routine; he insisted upon all. But, at the same time, if these became mechanical, meaningless, routine, hide-bound, he was ready immediately to say, “Give them up—be free.” He was both, he knew both, he had seen both sides. He knew what was necessary and when you could transcend it, it was no longer necessary for you.
He was both a bhakta, who believed in the sakara saguna Brahman (with form and attributes) and, at the same time, a Vedantin, who believed in the nirakara nirguna Brahman (without form and attributes). However, he never changed his view on one point: that human selfishness and ego die hard, they are not easy to eradicate. Therefore, never leave selfless service. Never leave egoless, motiveless, selfless service. On that one thing he never budged; he stuck to it all his life. Because he knew how difficult it is to remove ego, how difficult it is to give up selfishness, and how much need of compassionate, selfless service there is in this world. So about the indispensable necessity of motiveless, selfless service he never changed his ground. He never budged; he insisted upon it.
Otherwise he was always very flexible, very flexible. However, he did not like sadhaks being lax, having a “don’t care” attitude, having a light-heartedness in their approach to God. He never approved of this, he never appreciated this. He said that unless you discipline yourself you cannot generate spiritual power, you cannot have tapasya.
Therefore, the truth lies between the two extremes. There is a time when system, discipline and the adherence to certain principles is absolutely necessary. There is a time when one gradually transcends them, but one should not foolishly imagine that one has gone beyond and leave them. If they fall off by themselves, it is a different matter. Nature has taken you beyond; you no longer need them.
This is the first truth I share. The second truth is: We say all is pervaded by God. God has become manifest as this universe; He is everywhere in all things. Every atom of matter, every speck of space contains Him. He is all-pervading, immanent. We say that, we quote scriptures, we tell others; but when we say this, we do not apply it ourselves. We do not apply it to ourselves.
If all is God, the power of our speech is God, the vision of our eyes is God, the strength of our hands and feet is God. Our intellect, our mind, our body are also parts of God. If God pervades everywhere, is present in everything, then everything we possess, our body, mind, intellect, our faculties, sight, sound, taste, smell, speech, they are all God. Therefore we should regard them with reverence, use them with reverence.
You should not misuse your speech to harm anyone, to insult anyone, to speak with disrespect, for then you are making perverted, wrong use of God, power that is God. Have purity of sight. Do not use your sight to express ill-will, hatred, anger, for then you are misusing this faculty of God. Hear what will be beneficial to you, that which is pure. As Gandhiji said, “Close your ears”; otherwise you are putting a divine faculty to an undivine, unspiritual use. Let your hands and feet move only in a divine and spiritual way; otherwise you are misusing God’s presence and power in the form of this faculty.
In this way, try to apply the concept or the truth about the presence of God in the form of all faculties in your own self. Knowing this truth, make only divine use of all your faculties that are God, dynamic God, Sakti, Para-Sakti.
If you read the Devi Sukta you will understand what I mean. Our ancients had the concept that all our limbs are pervaded by the presence of Divinity in different aspects. Each limb has an adhisthana devata (presiding deity), and from head to foot we are pervaded by the presence of God in different manifestations. All our faculties, limbs, strength, speech, sight, hearing, movements, everything is presided over by God. Therefore the presence of the Divine is to be felt in us, and as all our faculties, as everything we possess.
“Ya devi sarvabhuteshu buddhirupena samsthita, namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah—I salute that great Cosmic Power Who is present in all beings in the form of intellect.” So the intellect also is pervaded, yet we pull down this divine faculty to a lesser level, which is not meant to be done. Instead, ever try to uplift it, elevate it, take it to a higher and higher level; never bring it down by your misuse of it.
If we misuse it, for that time we are atheists. We forget that God is present in us as this faculty and therefore it is meant to be put to a sublime, noble use. And we also forget that God is present as the witness of all that we do, all that we see, hear, taste, touch and smell, all the movements and manifestations of our lives. When we forget this and act in a contrary way, for the time being, we are atheists. For us, God does not exist.
We need not deny God, say that He is dead. By our very life and actions we demonstrate that, at that time, God does not exist for us. This is worse atheism than the atheism of the communists, who say there is no God. They at least declare that there is no God and go their own way. We have no quarrel with them. But when we say we believe in God and yet live in a way as though He does not exist, as though He is not present, then this is the worst type of non-theism.
Ponder this point. All faculties are divine, therefore they should be regarded with great reverence. They are God in manifestation, Para-Sakti in manifestation. Therefore relate yourself to them with reverence, deal with them in a divine way. This will bring you to your highest good. God bless you!
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