From REPLIES TO CLASS QUESTIONS chapter, delivered at Golden Gate Hall, Sunday, January 25, 1903
Can a mini realize the Vedanta in this age? Can a man living in the twentieth century civilization realize the Vedanta? And it was suggested that a man must live this or that in order to realize the Vedanta. He must retire into the forests of the Himalayas.
Rama says, ‘No, no, you need not retire into the forests. People say, we haven’t got time, we haven’t got time. Our time is spent in every day vocations, we have to attend to all sorts of business, our relatives and friends take up our time. There is a prayer, “O God, save me from my enemies,” but the prayer which the present day man should offer more properly would be, “O God, save me from my friends.” Friends rob us of all our time, then follow anxieties.
One word in conclusion, Reading or studying, you know, is of different kinds. Some people study only through the tongue, like parrots; some study through the hands, as shipwrights or artists. Rama does not mean to say that all artists are not Scientists; but we have seen artists who are not Scientists. There are people who can swim across a bay, but who know nothing of Hydrostatics. There are people who can navigate the air but know nothing of the Science of the Air. The manufacturers of medicinal articles often know nothing of Chemistry. Now those people who study with their hands are welcome. There are some people who study only with the heart. They are the blessed people of the world. Those who can feel and realize a thing at one glance, those who are clairvoyant, see everything; they are welcome too. But if they study through their hearts alone, their training is of no benefit. They must have intense desire, and at the same time be cultured in order that their knowledge, their true education may be imparted to others. They are one sided if they only follow the heart The people who are of the greatest use in this world are those who act through three edges; who have the head, the heart, the hand and tongue well trained. These are the highly educated, the really cultured.
Similarly Rama wishes you to study and learn the Vedanta, through all these avenues, heart, head, hand and tongue, soul, everything. Let it tingle through your blood, let it course through your veins and arteries, let it permeate and penetrate your heart, let your brain be steeped with it, let all your being be soaked in it, then you will raise yourself, you will be free from every point of view. Then you will realize your supreme Godhead, your true nature; then you will be perfectly free from every stand point.
llama tells you that if you find another difference in this or that body, that if you think a man has not got truly in his heart that which he preaches, that should be nothing to you. Take up the subject for yourself, live the truth in your head, heart and soul. Live it, you will be the higher, better, grander for it. Rama wishes you to be that and to become that.
If Rama have a thousand faults, if he make a thousand errors or mistakes, what is that to you? Rama is responsible for those errors. Rama gives you the Sublime Truth. Make it your life, and it will bring you happiness; it will place you beyond all doubt.
Suppose Rama does not put into practice what he preaches, it may be that Rama is living in circumstances and in an environment which prevent his doing so; but you can live it, you, can experiment with it.
Similarly these Cabins, these Edisons, and all the other great men simply design work with their brains. These models, these designs cannot be made by hand, they require a certain kind of machinery, so they give you the plans. You have the hands, and manipulate the machinery; you may not have the ability or power of bringing forth these designs, but you have hands to take up the same, and put them into practice.
This is the cause of the trouble of the working classes. They do not take up and put into practice the plans given them.
Similarly the reasoning of those people is false who say, “We won’t accept anything from this teacher because he does not practise what he preaches.”
Again, a man sells tonics, milk or sweetmeats. Because he does not take those tonics, because he does not drink milk, because he does not eat sweetmeats, should you not buy of him?
If a doctor is sick, the Vedanta says you are wrong when you do not take medicine from him, even though he may not be able to prescribe medicine for his own malady. The physician is sick because of some malady. He knows the remedy for the malady from which you are suffering, but does not know the remedy for the malady from which he is suffering. It may be that he cannot cure himself, but at the same time he can cure you.
Thus Rama says that while conversing with many people both in India and America, he has found that people don’t read books until they first know the author. Many say, “O here is an author, he has done this and that scandalous thing, and he calls himself God. I don’t want to read his book.” Rama says, “Brother, brother, be not mistaken; the man may be bad, but judge the truth he gives you, take the truth on its own merits.”
In India, water is pumped out of wells by means of Persian wheels, and the water comes out of them and falls into a peculiarly constructed reservoir, and out of this reservoir the water is conducted by means of small canals into the fields. When the water is in the well, alongside it there is no pasture, no verdure, no trees. When the water is in the reservoir, there is still no vegetation. But when the water reaches the fields, the soil becomes fertile and rich, and vegetation appears. Thus we should not argue that water cannot make the fields produce vegetation, because there was no vegetation when the water was in the well or the reservoir.
Similarly Rama tells you that when knowledge comes to you, receive it from any source whatever. Don’t say, “If knowledge comes from India, then why are Indians themselves so low in the scale of nature.” Judge truth on its own merits. That is the only means of making man happy, the only way to true Bliss, God. It raises you above all anxiety; it uplifts you above all misery. This is the only way, there is no other.
Similarly Rama tells you that if Christ’s character was so noble, do not conclude that Christ’s teachings are the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes we see most beautiful young men, who do something very bad. One man’s acts may be noble, his teachings and writings also, but at the same time, all that comes out of him is not good; his blood or his bones are not good.
Similarly in reading the Bible, do not apply all that is in it to Christ’s teachings. Christ is perfect, his teachings are perfect; but do not attribute to one what belongs to the other, take the book on its own merits. Sir Isaac Newton’s work, Principia contains numerous mistakes. Now he may have been the best man in his own day, yet judge his books on their own merits.
Similarly Rama says you have nothing to do with the virtues or vices of Rama. Take the spiritual teaching on its own merits. The teachings of the Vedanta raise and elevate you. Rama does not want you to accept the teaching as coming from him, it is for you, it is yours.
The Vedanta means no slavery. Buddhism is slavery to Buddha, Mohammedanism is slavery to Mohammed, Zoroastrianism is slavery to Zoroaster, but the Vedanta means slavery to no saint. It is Truth, Truth which belongs to everybody.
If we sit out in the Sun, we do not feel grateful, for the Sun is everybody’s. If Rama sits in the sunshine of the Vedanta, you can also sit in that sunshine; it belongs to you just the same as it does to Rama. Truth belongs to you just the same as it belongs to India. Take it, accept it on its own merits; if it is good, keep it; and if it is bad, then kick it out. We bring the Vedanta not as Mohammadanism and Christianity have been brought to India, with sword and money. Rama does not bring it that way. The Vedanta is yours, take it and practise it.
If a friend sits out in the sunshine and does not enjoy it, that is no reason why you should not enjoy it. Just so with the Vedanta. Take it on its own merits; learn it; live it in your character; stand above all personality; stand above all Christs, Buddhas, Mohammeds, or Ramas. Rama says, “Trample this body under your feet. This body I am not, realize that; know that. Know that “I am Reality, know ME §and be free.”‘ Realize that, chant OM, “I am” – Om, Jehovah, the Christ of Christs. Know me and I am you. Realize this, and you stand above all anxiety. Give up all this stumbling and hurry, and then rise above all Christs, all Mohammeds, all friends, all that look upon them as fixed guides.
They are variable; all are fickle; know the Supreme Reality, the cause and root of all these shadows. Know that and be free.