Delivered March 8, 1903
Today Rama will discourse on certain matters which will be of great help to those who have listened to his previous lectures. We will take up Pranayama first. Pranayama literally means ‘control of breath’. The Hindu books on Yoga give eight principal methods of controlling the breath. But Rama will lay before you only one method known as Pranayama, a very important method of controlling the breath. You will put the question what is the use of controlling the breath? In answer to that Rama simply says, “Learn this method of controlling the breath and put it into practice, and your own practice will show that it is extremely useful.” Whenever you feel dizzy, whenever you feel in dumps, in blues, dejected, crest fallen, whenever you feel put out, practise Pranayama, which Rama is going to lay before you, and you will see that immediately you are rested. You will find the immediate use of this way of controlling the breath. Again when you begin to write on any subject, when you begin to think on any subject, and you find that you cannot control your thoughts, practise this Pranayama and immediately you will marvel at the powers you will attain. Everything is in order. Everything is put in the most desirable state. These are the benefits of Pranayama. It will cure you of many physical diseases. You will be cured of stomach ache, heartache, headache, by Pranayama. We will now see what is that. In this country people are trying to control the breath this way or that, but Rama lays before you a method which has stood the test of time, which was practised in India in the most ancient days, and which is practised there even today and all those who have practised it there from the most ancient times to the present time, have found it highly beneficial.
Well, in order to practise Pranayama, you must sit in a most comfortable, easy position; to sit cross – legged is the most comfortable posture, but this posture will kill you, an East Indian. You may sit in an easy chair. Keep your body straight, back – bone stiff, head up, chest out, eyes front. Place the right hand thumb on the right nostril, and inhale the breath slowly through the left nostril. Go on inhaling slowly, until you feel at ease, go on inhaling as long as you can conveniently. While inhaling, let not the mind be vacant. While you are inhaling, let the mind be concentrated on the thought that all Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent divinity is being inhaled, that you are drinking divinity, godhead, the whole world, all the universe. Well, when you think you have filled in the air to your best, then close the left nostril, through which you were inhaling, by finger, and when you stop both nostrils, let not the breath escape through the mouth; keep the inhaled breath within you in the lungs, in the stomach, in the abdomen, al] the cavities being filled with air, the air which you have inhaled, and when the breathed air is in you, let not the mind be vacant, let the mind be centred in the idea, in the truth that you are divinity, the Almighty God that fills, permeates and pervades everything, every atom and molecule in the universe. Feel that. Put forth all your energies to realize that idea, apply all your strength to feel your divinity. Just as the breath fills your body, so realize and feel that you are the truth, you are the power divine that fills the whole universe. Feel that. You want to concentrate your minds on that. When you think that you cannot hold the breath any longer, then keep the left hand nostril shut, open the right hand nostril, and through the right hand nostril, slowly, gradually exhale. There let the mind not remain at rest, let it work, let it feel that just as the breath comes, and impurities of the stomach are being driven off, so is all impurity, unchastity, all that was unclean, all that was wicked, savoring of wickedness, all ignorance are exhaled, driven off, and deserted. All weakness is gone, no weakness, no ignorance, no fear, no anxiety, no pain, no worry, no troubles, all ceased, gone, left you. When you have exhaled, when you have breathed out so far as you most conveniently can, go on exhaling so long as you conveniently can, and when you think that you cannot exhale any longer, then try to keep all air shut out with both nostrils open. Take off the hand from your nose; don’t allow the air to come in for some time, for as long as you can, and while by your efforts the air is not allowed to enter the lungs through the nostrils, let the mind be again at work and let it feel, let it be exerted to its full power and strength, in realizing that this is the unlimited divinity. All time and space is thought by me, my own real Atma, Self, beyond time, space and causation, feel that this divinity is beyond time, space and causation, is not limited by anything in this world. It is beyond imagination, beyond thought, beyond all that, beyond everything, not limited, everything is contained in it, everything is limited by it, the Atma or Self cannot be limited. Feel that. Thus you mark that in this Pranayama, as laid before you so far, there are four processes, both physical and mental. The first process was inhaling. The inhaling part was the physical process, and the idea, the way or feeling and thinking and applying your mind and exerting your energy to realize that divinity, that divinity am I. Divinity is me. This idea was the mental process connected with it. Again while you kept the breath in your lungs, there was a double process, the physical process of keeping it in your lungs, and the mental process of feeling that you were the whole universe, and in the third process you exhaled through the right nostril, and threw off all weakness; firm determination to keep yourself rooted, established, seated in the divinity, never to allow any weakness, or any demon temptation to approach you, and then there was the fourth process of keeping the breath outside. Thus the first half of Pranayama is done up to so far in this fourth process. One – half is finished. After going through this fourth process, you may take a little rest. Then allow the breath to fill your nostrils as it may. Inhale and exhale just as you inhale and exhale rapidly after taking a long walk. This natural inhalation and exhalation which will go on very rapidly, is Pranayama by itself. That is the natural Pranayama. So after taking rest this way, after allowing your lungs to inhale and exhale for some time, begin again. Now begin, not with the left hand but with the right hand nostril. Mental process the same as before. Only the nostrils are changed. Inhale through the right hand nostril, and while inhaling, feel that you are inhaling divinity, and after inhaling to your fill, so long as conveniently you can, keep the breath within you, and again, when the breath is within you, feel that you are the breath and life of the whole universe, you fill and enliven the wide world, and after that exhale through the left hand nostril. Exhale through the nostril through which you inhaled in the first half of Pranayama and feel that you are driving off, just as the Sun drives off the mist, fog, cold, darkness; so feel that all weakness, all darkness is being driven off from your mind. No mist, fog, darkness or cold. And then keep the breath outside your nose, and try to elongate and lengthen every process. Altogether we have got eight processes in this. The first four processes form one – half of the Pranayama, and the last four form the second half of the Pranayama. Try to lengthen every one of these processes as long as and as much as you can. Here is harmonious motion; just as a pendulum has got double oscillation, so here you have to make a pendulum of your breath, harmonious motion. You will see by your own experience that you gain immense strength. Most of your diseases leave you; consumption, diseases of the stomach, blood diseases, and almost every disease will leave you if you practise that.
Well, Rama finds that when people begin to practise Pranayama, most of them fall sick. The reason is that they do not adopt the natural course. They begin to inhale and exhale for so many seconds; that will make you sick. Be natural in every part of this breathing. Make efforts, do your best to lengthen every process, but do not fatigue yourself. Do not work much your – self. If after performing only the first two processes, say, the inhalation and keeping the breath in your lungs, you feel tired, stop. Stop, you are under no obligation. The next day be more considerate, and while performing the first process or the second process, try to keep your energies reserved, so that you may be able to continue the remaining processes; be judicious.
Well, this is the only favourable method of controlling the breath. This is a kind of physical exercise.
Those who think that this Pranayama has got something mystical, some divine meaning in it, are mistaken. Those who think that the highest realization culminates in it and that there is nothing higher than it, are mistaken. Pranayama or this control of breath has nothing supernatural in it. It is an ordinary exercise. Just as you go out and take physical exercise, so is this a kind of exercise of the lungs. There is no real significance in it, nothing mystic about it.
One thing more ought to be said in connection with Pranayama. When you begin to inhale or exhale, keep your (you will pardon if Rama uses that word) abdomen, the lower part of the body, drawn in. That will be of great use to you. Again when you inhale or exhale, let the breath reach and fill all your belly. Let not the breath simply go up to the heart and no farther. Let the breath go deeper down. Let every cavity of your body, all the upper half of your body be filled. Well, this will do for Pranayama and those who want to concentrate their minds on Vedantic lines, will find it a wonderful aid to practise Pranayama before they begin to chant OM, before they begin to concentrate their mind on any method they have read of in the Vedantic literature.
Now will Rama lay before you one method of concentrating the mind. This paper you need not begin to read just now. Rama will let you know how to read it. Well, you know this is for those who have been attending Rama’s lectures. Those who have not attended the lectures will not find it interesting; will not be able to find any good in it, perhaps, still the method of reading it will do them some good. They can apply that method to their own prayers. They need not take this paper with them; they may learn the method and apply it to their own prayers. If you think that these typed papers are of any good, you can get them printed, anyone of you for your own use. This is a form of prayer. It is not a prayer in the sense that it begs, asks, or seeks anything from God. It is a prayer in this sense that it enables you to realize your divinity. Most of you have got that red book on “Realization” by Rama. Well, this paper is on the same lines as that book. This paper, meaning the one entitled Soham given at the end of this lecture, you can keep in your pockets all the time, and whenever you feel that the circumstances of your position are too much for you, whenever you feel the burden of cares, worries, anxieties of your everyday life weigh you down, take up this paper, sit in solitude, and begin to read it in the way which Rama will illustrate tonight.
Sit at your ease. Sit in the same way as you were asked to sit when practising Pranayama. You may close your eyes, begin in a prayerful mood, or keep your eyes half closed just as you wish.
“There is but one reality, OM! OM!! OM!!! Read that and lay aside the paper, let it rest there. “There is but one reality.” You know that, that is the truth. At least all those who have taken interest in Rama’s lectures know that that is the truth, when you are convinced that that is the truth, feel it. There is but one reality. Say that in the language of feeling, say that with your whole heart, melt in the idea. There is but one reality, OM! OM!! OM!!! Now see, after writing this verse ‘ There is but one reality’ there is written opposite to it OM! OM!! OM!!! What does that signify? That signifies that when you have filled your heart, saturated your mind with the idea that there is but one reality, instead of reading out all these words, one, two, three, four, five, say only one word OM, as this one word represents the whole idea for you. Just as in Algebra, we represent big quantities by x or y, a or b or some other letter, so when you have read out this thought ‘ There is but one reality,’ this name OM, which is the holy of holies, this name OM possessing the highest powers of divinity or God, should be chanted and while chanting it feel the idea that there is but one reality, while your lips are chanting OM, your whole soul should feel the idea that there is but one reality, but at present to you the words ‘There is but one reality’, are most probably mere jargon, they convey no sense to you. If you have heard Rama’s Lectures, you must know that there is but one reality. It ought to have a concrete meaning to you. It means that all this phenomenal universe which dampens our spirits and mars our joy, all this phenomenal universe of difference is no reality, the reality is only one, all the circumstances are no reality. This is the meaning.
The reality is only one, and these baffling circumstances are no reality. Those who have not tried this experiment, and have frightened away their energies, alone deny the existence of this one reality. It is just as much a matter of experience as any experiment performed in any laboratory, it is a solid, stern fact. When you melt your mind, when you lose your little false self in the Divinity, what is the consequence? The consequence is (mark these words of Jesus of Nazareth) that if you have a mustard seed worth of faith and bid the mountain to come, it will come. Live that reality, feel that reality, and you will see that all your circumstances, all your imminent dangers, all the troubles and anxieties that stare you in the face, are bound to disappear. You put more faith in the outside phenomena than in the divinity, you make the world more real than God. You have hypnotized yourself into a rigidity with regard to outside phenomena, and thus it is that you involve yourself in all sorts of sickness and trouble. Take up this paper whenever you are much dejected, and feel that there is but one reality. See that this one statement is a higher statement than all the so called truths insinuated in you through the.
All the so called facts which you believed to be facts, are simply an illusion, a delusion, hypnotized into you by the senses. Be not dupes of the senses. Somebody comes and finds fault with you, and criticizes you, another comes and abuses you, another comes and puffs yon up and flatters you; all these are not facts, all these are not reality, the reality, the stern fact you should feel. When chanting this, dispel and expel all the belief that you have put into the outside phenomenal circumstances, put forth all your energies and strength on this fact, “There is but one reality” feel that. ”There is but one reality OM! OM!! OM!!!” Well, oftentimes you will see that reading out for the first time the idea of “There is but one reality’ will make you cheerful and happy, will keep you above all pain and difficulty, but if you feel inclined to read further, you may, otherwise it is enough, if you can put into practice only one sentence of that paper in your pocket. If you think you require some more strength, read the next sentence, “That reality is Myself.” Now it comes nearer home. Oh, my neighbour is not different from me, I am present there also. That reality is Myself. OM! OM!! OM I!! Mark, some people say that when you are chanting OM or doing this, keep your hands closed; no restrictions of any kind. Feel the idea. It is not necessary when concentrating to throw yourself in any definite position. No restrictions. When you are feeling, feeling and trying to breathe in and take in the idea, then care not about the body, be not concerned about what the people will say. If you are inclined to sing, go on singing. If you are inclined to lie down, lie down on the floor. Feel the idea. If your hands strike that way, let them strike. No restrictions as to the body, feel the idea. Here comes the idea “Omnipotent”, dwell on it. This paper is for those who have attended the Lectures. Those who have not will of course not find it of much interest. Those who have attended the Lectures will know that the real Atma is all power, the Self Supreme is Omnipotent. With regard to that, everything in this world is being done from the Atma, just as through the Sun is everything being done on this Earth, The wind blows on account of the Sun, the grass grows on account of the Sun, the river flows through the Sun, people wake up on account of the Sun, the roses bloom on account of the Sun. Similarly, it is on account of the Atma, on account of the Omnipotent Self Supreme that every phenomenon is taking place in the universe. Omnipotent, Omnipotent OM! OM!! OM!!! Thus all the doubts which weaken and baffle you, all the misunderstandings which make a coward of you, have no right to make their entrance into your holy presence, feel that you are Omnipotent. Just as you think, you become. Call yourself a sinner and you must become a sinner; call yourself a fool and you must become a fool, call yourself weak and there is no power in this world that can make you strong. Feel that Omnipotence and Omnipotent you are.
Then comes ‘Omniscient.’ Take up this idea, let the mind dwell on that thought, sing OM. The word OM stands for Omniscience, and chant OM. The word or formula to be chanted is OM; Omniscience, OM, OM. Proceed this way and let those wrong notions which hypnotize you into ignorant fools, be dispensed with. The most direct road to Godhead is that.
Take up the similar idea ‘Omnipresent.’ Feel that you are not finite, not this little body; you are not this little Self, this Jiva, this ego you are not. That which permeates and pervades every molecule and atom, that is yourself. Bear in mind not the least doubt about it. Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent that I am, that pervades everything, all bodies are mine. OM! OM!! OM!!!
Well, Rama need not dwell on the remaining sentences, they will simply be read out to you. Practise this method and Rama is wrong if you do not realize divinity and truth in one week.
“Perfect health is me.”
If that body which you call mine is sick, leave it aside, do not think of it, feel that you are health itself, perfect health is yours. Feel that. The body will immediately become healthy of its own accord. This is the secret. Try and you will see whether it is a fact or not. Despite yourself the body will get well. You do not care for this body. “O God, make me well.” There is a beautiful in the Sanskrit Scriptures. “This truth cannot be found by the weak”. Don’t you see when you go to the Presidents the United States or to a King, you are expelled if you go as a beggar, you are not allowed to enter his presence. So when you approach God in a beggarly state, you will be knocked out. Feel that you are healthy, don’t ask anything. I am healthy and healthy you are.
Then comes the next idea “All Power am I.” Keep that in your mind and chant OM! OM!! OM!!! Thus say all power am I.
Then the next idea, “All the universe is but my idea.” Believe that and while reading it, call to mind the arguments which the Vedantin advances to prove that fact. Call to mind all that you know to prove that fact and if you have not read or heard anything which proves that the whole world is my idea, believe it, and you will see that the world is your idea. The world is my idea, chant OM and feel that. Similarly all the rest,
All Joy I am. Om! Om!! Om!!!
All Knowledge I am. Om! Om!! Om!!!
All Truth I am. Om! Om!! Om!!!
All Light I am. Om! Om!! Om!!!
Fearless, fearless I am. Om! Om!! Om!!!
No attachment or repulsion. I am
the fulfilment of all desires. Om! Om!! Om!!!
I am the over soul. Om! Om!! Om!!!
I hear in all ears. Om! Om!! Om!!!
I see in all eyes. Om! Om!! Om!!!
In all minds I think. Om! Om!! Om!!!
Sages aspire only to know the
truth which is myself. Om! Om!! Om!!!
The life and light that shineth through
the Sun and stars am I. Om! Om!! Om!!!
This closes this paper.
A few words might be said now to illustrate this. There is a fine story that stands in Hindi folklore. There was once a great Pandit, a great sage. He was reading out the sacred texts to some people. It so happened that the village milk – maids passed by the Pandit or sage who was reading out the sacred texts to the people. These maids heard from the lips of the sage these words, “The sacred name of God the Holy Being is the great ship which makes us cross the ocean as if the ocean were simply a small pool.” Nothing at all. A statement of that kind they heard. These maids took that statement literally. They put implicit faith in that saying. They had to cross the river every day to sell their milk on the opposite bank. Milk – maids they were. They reflected in their minds. It is a sacred text,*it cannot be wrong, it must be right. They said, “Why should we give a five cent piece to the boatman every day? Why not cross the river by taking the holy name of God and chanting OM? Why should we pay five cents every day?” Their faith was strong as adamant. The next day they came and simply chanted OM, paid nothing to the boatman, began to wade the river, crossed the river and were not drowned. Day after day they began to cross the river, they paid no money to the boatman. After about a month or so they felt very grateful to the teacher who had recited the texts which saved their money. They asked the sage to be kind enough to dine at their house. Well, the request was granted, the sage had to go to their house on the appointed day. One of those maids came to fetch him. While this maid was conducting the sage to their village, they came to the river, and there in a trice the maid went up to the opposite shore and the sage remained on the other bank, could not follow her. In a short while the maid came back and asked the reason of his delay. He said that he was waiting for the boatman. The boatman ought to take him to the opposite shore. The maid replied, “Sir, we are so thankful to you. You have been so kind as to save us full 35 cents piece, and not only this 35 cents piece but all our lifelong we shall spend no money to pay the boatman. Why don’t you yourself save the money and come to the opposite bank with us? We go to the opposite bank uninjured, unharmed through your advice and teaching. You yourself also can go to the opposite shore.” The sage asked what piece of advice was it that saved their money. The maid reminded him of the text he once gave. That God’s name was a ship that carried us across the ocean of this world. He said, alright, alright, he too must practise it. There were other companions. (Don’t go away, here comes the interesting part of the story.) There was a long, long rope. He fastened that rope to his waist and asked his companions to keep the remaining part of the rope to themselves, and said he would” jump into the river, and take the name of God and would venture to cross the river on faith, but if they saw that he was being drowned, they should drag him back. The sage jumped into the river, went on for a few steps and was found to be drowning. They drew him out. So just mark. This kind of faith that that Pandit had, this faith which gives credence to it, is not the saving principle. This is the crookedness in your hearts. When you begin to chant OM or take the name of God, and say “I am health, health,” in your heart of hearts you tremble, in your heart of hearts you have that little quaking, quivering if. “If I sink, draw me out” you have that small faltering if. In your mind, no hypothetical cases here. This is a fact that all differences, all the circumstances in this world are my creation, my doing, nothing else. You are the divinity, the Lord of lords you are; feel that. Realize it this moment. Have firm, unswerving faith, realize knowledge, practical knowledge. You will see that by reading this paper everyday in the way pointed out tonight, all your little ifs that bind you will be driven out. The small if will be got rid of by keeping yourself constantly in touch with your divinity. Read this paper twice every day, if not five times, and all your little ifs will be driven out.
Rama stops the Lecture now and those of you who want to have a little social talk with Rama may do so, after this seat is left. Will leave this seat after chanting OM, OM, OM.
One word more. Those of you who have not heard these Lectures, and so have not been able to follow his lecture will find all this Vedantic philosophy brought out in most philosophical way in a book form. The whole of the Vedantic philosophy will be laid before you. And one word more, all the doubts that you entertain on Vedantic philosophy and all the misgivings you have, have been once the doubts and misgivings of Kama himself. Your experiences and your doubts are the doubts of Rama himself. Rama saw his way through these, and you are assured that all our doubts are perverted ignorance. All these doubts are evanescent, they can evaporate in a second. If any of you wish to have a special talk with Rama on your doubts, you can.
Again it may be said that if you want to get rid of misery, to secure perfect happiness, to regain your salvation, to realize realization, you must realize the Vedanta. There is no other way. All your creeds, all your dogmas, all your realizations, simply lead to the Vedanta. They simply lead to the Absolute Truth. These are hopeful signs, very good signs that most of the recently started cults in America are incorporating and imbibing the Vedanta. They are taking it in. They need not acknowledge their debt to it. Christian Science, New Thought, Spiritualism or Divine Science, etc., these people who are taking us, are divinity; that is a great hopeful sign for America. But Rama tells you that if you want to realize the truth in its full glory and in its whole beauty, there is the Vedanta. You might give it any name you please, but here in the Hindu Scriptures they put it in the boldest, most pronounced language. This is the highest truth that you are the Divinity, the Lord of lords. Feel that, realize that, and nothing can harm you, nothing can injure you, you are the Lord of lords. The world is my idea, I am the Lord of lords. There is the truth. If you are not accustomed to hear such things, be not afraid. What if your parents did not believe in that? Your parents did their best, you ought to do your best. Your salvation is not your parent’s business. Your salvation is your own business. Do not consider the Vedanta as foreign to you. No, it is natural to you. Is your own Atma foreign to you? The Vedanta simply tells you about your own Atma and Self. It would be foreign, if your own soul were foreign to you. All pain – – bodily, mental, moral, and spiritual – is stopped immediately by realizing the Vedanta, and realisation is not a hard business.
OM! OM!! OM!!!