From INFORMAL TALKS, delivered at Golden Gate Hall
Can a married man aspire to realization, can he realize his true self?
It can be shown that the Vedanta is meant more for married men than for the hermits and Sannyasins. It is meant more for the former than for those who live in the Himalayas.
In every family the husband wants to advance the happiness of the wife/and the wife wants to advance the happiness of the husband, but with their best intentions, what is the result? They, both cause the fall of each other. Who is to blame? Is their interest to blame? No. It is their ignorance that is to blame. They know not in what lies the good of each other – This is the cause of troubles and miseries.
People think that by catering to or pampering the lower sensual propensities of one another, they are advancing the happiness of each other. When they pamper the vanity of one another, they think that is for good. All this idea of good is based upon ignorance. Such ignorance ought to be removed and then every house will be a happy one.
Remember, we cannot change God, we cannot alter nature. The Law of Nature, the Law of Providence is that we shall rise to self-consciousness. All the follies of the world, all the worldly wisdom of men in this world, is tending to advance everyone on the right road to his Divinity, to realize his unity and oneness with God. At the bayonet’s point everyone will have to learn to be a Vedantist.
The Vedanta need not bring sword and flames to convince you. All laws of nature are, as it were, the soldiers and the Great Army of God, that are pushing you on the onward march to self-realization. You must come then, you cannot do otherwise.
If you know wherein consists the good of your neighbour, you will be working in accord with the laws of nature. Every household, every dingy dungeon, will be converted to Him (or into Heaven.
In accordance with the laws of Nature, real good consists in practically realizing your oneness with God. Your one good lies in your becoming free, and you are free only when you realize yourselves to be God alone, the Almighty, the All – powerful, the Infinite, The goal of realization is to feel your oneness with God. Your feeling that “I am the son of so and so,” you must regard that as a dream, a thing of the past, and then Godhead will become clear to you.
As to how your miseries and anxieties tend in the same direction, suffice it to say that with mathematical certainty it can be brought home to your perception that the plan of. nature is that you should lift yourself to that plane of God-consciousness. Suffering consists in your not coming up to that ideal. Come up, rise up to that ideal and there is no sin for you, you are above everything. You are the Perfect, Divine, yourself.
Realization cannot be obtained at one jump. Time is necessary. It took millions of years to build this body up to its present stage of evolution.
In past existence, you were at one time existing as a plant, at another time you were a slave in Africa, at another you belonged to another race and to another country, and so on up to the present time.
To destroy a house takes time, but it does not take so long to destroy a house as to build it. If you have sufficient gunpowder or dynamite or sufficient force, you can destroy it. But many have not sufficient gunpowder so to speak to blow it up.
The Vedanta says that if living with your wife and children, you thoroughly master this philosophy, through the Intellect, you are converted, you are free, you will no more suffer transmigration. You will not have to go by the three paths in order to realize the Godhead in this life. In order to have all the pleasures which are promised to those people after death, those who have an intellectual conviction of the Vedanta must throw it into the language of thought and action. They* must live it and feel it.
They say salvation by acts is prescribed in the Old Testament and salvation by faith in the New Testament. But Heaven, the true state of bliss, is reached by knowledge.
Acts alone cannot bring salvation. Faith in Jesus the Christ cannot bring salvation. Salvation is through your own effort, and you have to understand your own self; that very moment you are free.
Knowing is of two kinds, through the Intellect and through the feeling.
Knowing the true self through feeling is knowledge; salvation is by living faith or living knowledge. This you must have. Run away from it and you are full of despair. You must have it.
What happens in our ordinary households? Husband and wife have to help each other in working out his or her salvation, in acquiring the perfect, the real knowledge of self. If they keep doing that, if the wife help the husband in acquiring living faith, living knowledge of self, she is the Christ or saviour of the husband, and vice versa. As it is, the wife becomes the Judas Iscariot of the husband and vice vena.
It is your own ignorance that is dragging you down, nothing in the family system drags you down. It is the wrong use of those relations that disturbs you. In the home the wife is playing the part of Judas Iscariot. She wishes to make her husband sell his true self for 30 pieces of silver, she sells her true self, her Atma for a few trinkets, a few objects of vanity to adorn her drawing room or herself. So does the husband. The wife is to make the husband independent of her and the husband makes the wife independent of him. The husband wants the wife to believe that she belongs to him, and the wife wants the husband to believe that he belongs to her, and there comes the trouble. She wants to enslave him and he wants to enslave her.
It has been said before that if you tie an ox by a rope and try to hold it by the rope, you not only hold the ox but the ox also holds you.
All property, all possessions are bondage.
According to the Vedanta, every house can be made a paradise, if instead of this property – rating spirit, there is the spirit of giving and not receiving.
Wife and husband alike should do all in their power to add to the benefit of each other. Demand nothing and expect nothing, then everything will come to you. You will be filled with Heaven.
You say “Give me this article; bring me such and such a thing.” It is brought to you. Let it be taken away from you and you suffer from the desire to have that thing. Desire is a disease; it keeps you in a state of suspense.
Perhaps happiness came to you afterwards, when the object of your desire had been obtained; but you had to go through a trying experience of suspense, which after all was brief.
If you give without expecting anything, you will find happiness in giving. It lies in the object in which it is represented. Do not represent your happiness in receiving, but in giving; giving always brings happiness.
When you give $ 50 to your Church, that brings solace to your heart.
Take the position of giver and you are the personification of happiness.
‘The secret of happiness in the household is that both husband and wife should occupy the position of giver and not of the expecter. Then both are happy. Now what should be given? Knowledge, as far as lies in his or her power. You are a true husband or wife only when you are doing something which makes the other purer for it. That is the law.
There was in India a mighty king called He wanted to realize his God – consciousness; and in order to do that, he thought that he ought to give up his family life.
His wife wanted to teach him, but he would not listen to her, for he thought nothing of her.
He renounced everything, including his kingdom, and his wife became the ruler. He went to the Himalayas, and lived there about a year or so.
In the meantime the Empress thought of a plan to bring him real happiness. So one day she put on the garb of a Sannyasin, and walked up to the cottage where her husband then was. She found him lost in a state of meditation; she remained standing beside him and when he came to his senses, he was filled with joy. Thinking her a great Sannyasin, he showered flowers on her.
She was in a blissful mood. He exclaimed, “I think God has become incarnate in you in order to uplift me.” She replied, “Yes, yes.” He wanted her to teach him and she did so. She said, “O king, if you want to enjoy perfect bliss, you will have to renounce everything.” He was surprised, and replied, “I have renounced my empire, my wife, my children.” She said, “You have renounced nothing.”
He could not understand, and asked, “Am I not a man of renunciation, have I not given up my empire, my family?” She answered, “No, no, do you not possess something still?” “Yes,” he replied, “I possess this cottage this staff and this water vessel.” “Then you are not a man of renunciation,” she replied. “So long as you possess anything, you are possessed by that thing. Action and reaction being opposites, you cannot possess anything without its possessing you.” He then burnt the cottage, threw his staff into the river, burnt his water – vessel, and exclaimed, “Now am I not a man of renunciation?” She replied, “Renunciation cannot come from renouncing these objects.” She said, “O king, you have burnt the cottage, but do you not still possess three cubits and a half of clay? It was wrong for you to destroy those things, for you have gained nothing by it. What you possessed then you still possess, namely, that three cubits and a half of clay.” He began to think and determined to burn the body. He piled up wood and made a great fire, and was about to jump into it but the wife prevented him and exclaimed, “O king, when your body is burnt, what will be left?” He replied, “Ashes will be left.” “Whose ashes?” she asked. He replied, “My ashes.” Then she replied, “You must still possess ashes. By burning the body you have not attained renunciation.” He began to think and exclaimed, “How can I renounce, what shall I renounce?”
She asked, “Whose body is this?” He answered, “My body.” “Well, renounce it.” “Whose mind is this?” He answered, “My mind.” “Then renounce it.” The king was then made to ask questions. He said, “Who am I then? If I am not the mind, I am something else, and if I am not the body, I must be something different.” He reflected and the conclusion was that the king realized, “I am the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the Infinite Being, the Supreme Excellence.” He realized that, and said that this Supreme Excellence cannot be renounced, though other things may be. They say that charity begins at home. Renunciation ought to begin with things nearest and dearest. It is that false ego which I must give up; the idea that “I am doing this,” “I am the agent,” and “I am the enjoyer,” the idea which engenders in me this false personality. Take in these thoughts, even though they are not proved. These thoughts must be done away with, “My wife,” “my body,” ” my mind,” “my children.” Unless these ideas are renounced, realization is not attained.
Retire into the jungle and still you are not a man of renunciation, because the thought of making this or that belong to you is in your mind. Hermits do not always get rid of this thought; while kings living in royal state do get rid of it sometime.
The man of renunciation is one who gets rid of this little “Appropriating Self,” this little apparent Self. Can a man who is ever conscious of “I am doing this,” “I am doing that,” “this is mine” etc, ever be called a man of renunciation? No. When he once realizes, and practically feels and knows the Truth, that “I am the one Infinite, the Verity,” that is, the governing power, ruler and owner of the whole world, when he realizes that, then he is the same as the stars, the Sun and the Moon, the air and the water, for all these are his exponents.
The story goes that the wife of this king lived on for some time, and at one time threw off her yogic garb or powers and made the king believe that she was playing false with a former lover of hers, and to his knowledge remained in that state for some time.
She afterwards came to the king and apologised, and said, “O king, you will please pardon me. I am wicked, and have been false to you. Forgive me, I pray you.” The king looked at her and said, “O girl, what is the meaning of these excuses and apologies? Your misconduct would have caused me – pain, had I believed in this body, had I been prompted by ignorance, had I believed that I am the owner of this body, and that you belong to me. If I were a victim of that desire, a victim of that idea of the copy – righting spirit, if I had been subject to that malady, I would have been annoyed and deeply grieved, but as it is, I see no husband in my body; I do not hold in my hands any rope; I possess nothing and am possessed by nothing, I find myself the Infinite. Think, reflect, O girl, you may become pure, but there are other girls in this world who are impure; they are mine also. As the Light of the Universe, I am the owner of the whole world; for what shall I chafe, and for what shall I be pleased?”
If a crime is committed by your neighbour, there is no grief, but if a crime is committed by your wife, oh then, you are deeply grieved. This is the result of this self appropriating, copy righting spirit.
The queen went back to the kingdom and soon returned to the king and exclaimed, “O king, you are a veritable God. What difference does it make where you live? Are the Himalayas more yours than those palaces?” The king replied that he was present everywhere. “All bodies are mine,” said he, “this body is not any more mine than other bodies. This body is not present in the eyes of the Jnani; it is present only in those who do not know the whole truth.”
All this world is created by your own thought. This can be proved by mathematical demonstration. It is a bold statement, but it is literally true.
They took the king to the throne again. He was living in the midst of all the luxury, in the midst of all these uncertainties, pure, no dupe of the senses, not led by his senses. He ruled for 25 years. What was he? He was neither a king nor a monarch but God Himself. This was Renunciation.
To him the pebbles and stones, the thorny roses and velvet cushions, and those silk quilts, those princely, royal magnificent houses are the same.
People say, “Don’t touch this, don’t touch that, and in India they say, have no attachment, but at the same time have no hatred or jealousy.”
Asceticism in India is simply a ladder which leads to the realization of Truth, True Realization comes when you feel Godhead. Artificial Renunciation will not do. You have seen that through his noble queen, the mighty monarch realized Godhead within him. That is the way that married people can and should live together and bring about each other’s Realization, and make a Heaven of their home.
OM! OM!! OM!!!