Radiant Divinities! Beloved seekers of God! On the 14th of July, exactly a quarter of a century ago, that great one, that great being who has been the inspirer, awakener and source of a new light in our lives, and who is still, even today, the light of our life, the very life of our life, completed his earth career. He set aside his physical body and withdrew himself from this active field of worldly vyavaharic life.
He lived and felt for humanity, and he took up a great work. He toiled night and day until his last breath and left for us a legacy, not only proclaimed by him, but, what is more, practised by him in his own personal life. He did not merely come like a comet across the sky, which while it lasts sheds light, but after it is gone there is darkness once again; but, on the contrary, he has left a great light, an eternal light. If we open our eyes and see that light, live in that light, and make that light the illuminer of our path of life, we shall never be in darkness. That is one reason why we should always rejoice for his having been amidst us, amidst mankind, whether we have known him or not, whether we have seen him or not.
He has given us a great treasure. He has been to us an unfailing and undimmed light upon our path of life through his wisdom teachings in which he lives. For in his teachings there is a power, there is a force. In his teachings there is a peculiar transforming quality which is able to communicate itself to anyone who tries to make his teachings one’s inner sustenance, one’s nourishment, one’s support and strength, and what is more, one’s light and life.
As I said, he did not merely preach and proclaim, but more, he gave us truths which he practised in his daily life. And one of the things which he would like us to remember, and to live by, is that God is not only worshipped through private altars and temples, symbols and images, saints and sages, spiritual beings and holy people, but God is also worshipped in His manifestation as virtue. God is also to be worshipped in His manifestation as virtue.
Virtue comprises dharma, and dharma is the presence of God’s Spirit in this world of human activity. Dharma is God’s own Self. Dharma is the manifestation of God in human life. And if you worship God as virtue, then you realise God as the transcendental Essence, as the Cosmic Being, as the Universal Soul, as the Divine Spirit. And he gave us certain fundamental values, fundamental virtues, daivi sampad, not only to live by, but to regard as God, and in our life to worship as God. And I can assure you, if you worship these virtues as God, you will realise God. Your life will be crowned with divine experience, God-realisation.
Worship virtue by practising virtue. This is a way to spiritual transformation and realisation. “My God is truth,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “I worship truth. I do not merely revere truth, practise truth, I verily worship truth. I am a votary of truth; truth is my God.” God is truth, it is true, tat sat, but Mahatma Gandhi boldly said: “Truth is God, and through truth I wish to attain whatever is beyond it, the Reality. Because now I am in this life, so I want to relate myself to something here, now, not something that is unseen, supramundane.” He said: “That tattva, that principle essence, which I shall worship in my life, physically, verbally and mentally is truth.” Worship truth, worship compassion and kindness worship the supreme virtue of not hating anyone, not having ill-will towards anyone, not hurting anyone, not injuring anything. And that is through the active practice of kindness, compassion, mercifulness. Worship shining purity in thought, word and deed. In all states of consciousness—waking, dreaming, sleeping—worship the virtue of purity, celibacy, chastity, brahmacharya. Worship that way of life, that way of conducting your self, that way of conduct and character, that would take you to brahma-jnana, realisation of Brahman—that is brahmacharya, the path of purity in thought, word and deed.
Brahmacharya is the path of asserting the mastery of your higher self over the lower self, the path of asserting the supremacy of sattva over rajas and tamas. It is the path of asserting your control over mean, purely gross, animal passions, asserting your higher divine nature. It is the path of self-control, the path of discipline, the path of samyam (perfect restraint), the path of conquest of desires, the path of mastery over mind, the path of establishing the hegemony of the divine over the merely human. Brahmacharya means all this and much more. Ponder it. But anyhow, worship—try to understand, but worship. Worship brahmacharya, worship satya worship ahimsa, worship compassion and kindness, worship truthfulness in life, worship purity in conduct and character, in thought, word and deed, and let this be your God.
Have no other God. You can contemplate God, you can contemplate eternity, infinity, ocean of bliss, Light of lights beyond all darkness—all these things you can contemplate, think about, reflect over, but you cannot love and worship peace, or ananda, or jnana. Because they are abstruse, abstract concepts, and you want something more, something for which you can live and something for which you can be prepared to die also. That is virtue.
Read the sixteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, you will understand. You may want, you may desire, peace, joy, light, but you cannot love them, you cannot worship them. But twenty-four hours of the day and night, with every breath, you can worship virtue, you can live to fulfil virtue. That you can do. That is sadhana; that is supreme Yoga. Thus worship. God will reveal Himself in His transcendental, concealed form.
Therefore, this great message, this great sadhana that Gurudev left for us, this inner secret of the spiritual life that he bestowed upon us as his special legacy, is that through virtue one can attain the source of all virtue, which is God. God dwells within your heart and is the source of all goodness. He is your indwelling reality, the source of your conduct and character, the source of your virtue and goodness, the source of your truth, purity and compassion, the source of the divine living of your life.
Therefore, be a worshipper of virtue. Worship virtue through your life and conduct, in every action throughout the day and night. Then your life will become sublime and divine. You will become a divine being and you will enter into the highest state of divine experience. God bless you in this sublime task! God bless you in this great sadhana! May Gurudev’s inspiring life, which is ever before you as a shining example, goad you on to persist in this great sadhana of worshipping virtue as your God on earth! May his inspiring example give you the strength and courage and the perseverance to persist in this path, pursue this path to its very logical end, become a glorious divine personality and become established in divine experience!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
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