Lecture-XII, Quistion and answers, Lecture delivered on February 26, 1903.
If Death is like the sleep of the living, does it mean that we do not know what is going on in the sphere of death at that time?
When you enjoy the sleep of death, you live in a world of your own creation. In the wakeful state you live in a world of your own creation; you live in the small, petty world around you. So in the sleep of death you live in a world of your own creation; thus the sleep of death bears the same relation to the world of the wakeful state as the dream world bears to the wakeful state.
What is it that sleeps since the spirit does not require rest?
The Atman, the real God never sleeps. Sleep cannot touch the true Self. This sleeping state as well as the wakeful state, is, according to Vedanta, nothing else but Maya, illusion. Sleep comes only to the mind or the false ego. Sleep attaches itself only to the unreal, the seeming self, the subtle body. Sleep is an aspect of your false ego, Maya, dream, illusion.
Do mediums get communications from departed spirits?
Rama says that even in the wakeful state all communications which you receive are received from within yourself. In your wakeful state all the objects which appear without you are within you. In the hypnotic, mesmeric, or mediumistic state also everything comes from within you. Vedanta lays all stress as to the phenomena of the universe upon the fact of your true reality, lays all stress upon the fact that the sun, the moon, the stars, all the solid-seeming world is but your own creation.
Millions of those spirits and saints are within you. Nothing is without you, nothing is outside you.
There is a beautiful poem in the Persian language, written by one of the greatest poets of the world, Hafiz by name, a poet whom Emerson has translated to some degree. Translated it means,— “O mind, throw aside all this distrust, all this debating. Come, bring me the cup full of ruby wine that gives me the key to unlock the doors of heaven.” It does not mean that you ought to become a disciple of Bacchus, it means let us have that wine, that Nectar of Divinity, let us have something which will create Divine madness. Let us have that sting of the serpent which wakes up the wretched thief in the dream, this way the doors of heaven are unlocked. So Rama says, please throw aside these desires and questions for a while and enjoy with Rama the Divine madness. Rama must speak, he must unbosom himself. Rama can no longer keep himself regardful of your thoughts and desires, he cannot any longer pamper to your tastes.
O people of America and of the whole world, the truth is that you cannot serve God and Mammon, you cannot serve two masters, you cannot enjoy the world and also realize Truth.
Thus in order to get the whole Truth, you must get rid of worldly desires; you must rise above worldly attachments and hatred; you must bid farewell to all the ties and bonds, enslaving and clinging; you must rise above all this. This is the price, and unless you pay the price you cannot realize the Truth. If you are not prepared to pay the price, rest content with the hard lot which you must bear. If you want Realization, if you want God-consciousness, come up please, pay the price, and then you will have everything. Christ spoke these words unflinchingly. O people, how much arc these words distorted today, how they are twisted to give us a meaning that might scratch the toe of an audience and how it is tortured. It reminds Rama of a story. There was a man in India, famous, full of truth, mad with Divinity. He walked through the streets crying at the top of his voice, “O customers of Divinity, come. “He used to go about selling Divinity. “O customers of Divinity, O all desirous of God-consciousness, come; O ye that are heavy laden, come.”He cried in the language of his country, and in that language Nom is the name given for God. He cried in his own language, nom lelo, which literally means “I have an article to sell. Purchase it, O people, and that article is God “and he used the word Nom. Now Nom has two meanings; one meaning is God, and the other meaning of Nom is beautiful, bedecked, jewelled necklace, but that saint used the word Nom to mean God and not jewellery. One day while passing the streets selling Nom and God, a gentleman who wanted to purchase a fine necklace heard him crying through the streets and he thought that this fellow must be an agent for some banker and wants to sell that necklace. When people in India are going to be married, very often they want very precious jewels for adorning themselves or their brides. The man asked where this hawker or sage lived and he went to his house and was amazed. The house of the hawker was very poor and he wondered how the house of a Nom seller could be so poor. He entered the house and did not find the hawker ho knocked at the door and there came out a dear little child and he asked for the master of the house, and the child replied, “My father is away, he will be here in the evening; but, sir, would you mind telling me what business you have with him? “He was very much impressed with the talk of the child and wanted to talk with her, so in order to exchange some words with her, he said that he wanted to purchase Nom. The child smiled and said, “I can give you Nom, it is so easy.”He said, “All right, I will wait.” He waited at the door and she went in. He waited and waited but the child did not make her appearance and he was about to lose his patience, as he had waited twenty minutes and he thought that long enough time to dig out the treasure from under the ground. Losing patience he peeped into the house and there he found the child was whetting her large knife, and he said, “What does that mean?” and he spoke to the child and said, “Child, why are you playing childish pranks? This is no time to trifle with a gentleman of my rank; do not fool with me please; this is no time to try your idle experiments; come out and say that you do know where your parents have buried the jewellery; but the child exclaimed, “Please excuse me; have patience and wait a minute. I am coming “and he said, “Come right away, why sharpen that knife? “She said, “Do you not want to receive Nom? He said, “I want Nom; but please show it to me that I may take it to some banker or to those who can set the right value on the article,” and then she said, “Our Nom is not an article which requires a valuation to be set upon it by the banker or jeweller of the streets. Our precious Nom has already got its value fixed; there is no going up or coming down. The value is already fixed and the price already determined.”He said, “Is it so? Then please come, show it to me, throw aside your knife.”She said, “O, but you must pay the price first and then you get Nom afterwards.”He said, “Do you intend to stab me, why do you sharpen your knife? “She said in the most trustful, pure way, “If you did not know the price of Nom, why did you come here? Do you not know that in order to get Nom, you must lose your life? Life is the price you must pay for Nom. He who will save his life must lose Nom. “ In the Arabic language there is a verse which means -”Die before you are put in the grave, and by so doing make this world a heaven.” In Sanskrit many verses are written which describe the same fact.
When your whole being is turned away from the world, when you have suffered, when you have been crucified and have died to the world, then do you live. Be not deceived by the flattering remarks of preachers and teachers. Rama tells you the truth, he does not flatter. There is a beautiful Sanskrit verse in the Vedas which means:—
Man’s body is like a citadel and the senses are the loopholes. At the loopholes of the citadel we place cannon and guns, which are shot off from within, and which shoot outside. Similarly, from you, cannon balls of sight are shot out into the hearts and heads of spectators; from the loopholes of the ears thoughts shoot out. Well, it says, the maker or creator of this citadel, the Atman, has played a funny joke with man. All the cannon balls shoot outside from within you, and man is bewildered. Man thinks that he is gaining and conquering this world; man thinks that he is extending his property, but as a matter of fact he is losing his own self. In this citadel man thinks that he is gaining knowledge, that he is victorious in the world, but as a matter of fact he is starving his true Atman. There the verse says, “He conquers all the world, who can turn the mouths of his cannon and guns and shoot within; whose eyes instead of looking outside look inside or within, and sec the source of sight; whose ears can turn back and hear the true source of hearing, the Atman, the origin and power of hearing; whose mind can look into and see the source of its activity, energy, and power.
Look within! What is it that makes the eyes see, the ears hear, the hair grow? It is the Atman, God. How simple is that! If you care to give this Truth a moment’s thought, you may see that you are nothing else but God. Feel that Divinity within, and be the Master, the Director, the Emperor of the Universe; but this life grows old and then conies death; the seed must be prepared in order that it may grow, The lamp must burn in order that it may shine. So in order to live as God, the little ego, the false self, the outgoing tendency must stop. Will this lead us astray from the story? The girl said, “Sir, did you not know that the price is already fixed? In order to get Nom (Nom meant God to the girl, and it meant the necklace to the man) this head of yours must be cut off with this knife; then and then alone you can get Nom.”Boldly, cheerfully, and unflinchingly the girl made this statement. The poor customer was stricken aghast; he cried aloud and made such a noise that all the neighbours collected. He began to complain. “Look here”, he said, “this poor hut contains butchers and homicides. I presume that the parents of this girl are the worst homicides. This matter ought to be placed before the court; let us call the police.”But the people said, “Don’t talk that way, the parents of this girl are noted for their great piety etc” and he said, “I come to see that all those very pious people are usually very bad; they are not religious; under the cloak of religion they perpetrate religious crimes. “There was a great noise and confusion in their talk and all of a sudden the father of the girl appeared on the scene and this man was about to strangle the father of the girl. The pious father was tranquil and serene, when the queer customer addressed him in very harsh language and said, “Why do you teach even your child to perpetrate such heinous crimes, why do you do such deeds every day as to make your children homicides in their very infancy? “The sage replied, “How is it, sir, what do you mean? “The whole matter was explained and when the sage heard the story, his heart was filled with emotion; his whole being was thrilling with holy thoughts; his soul was saturated with Divinity; tears like great beads appeared on his cheeks and he said, “O prophets and saints, O angels, God! Have matters come to this! Have matters come to such a low pass, is the name of God to be brought down to the power of a child like that, was this to be changed to a small thing like that? Pointing to his daughter he said that it is because the Divinity, God, has been taken up by an innocent, ignorant child, that the name of God, the Divinity has become so ridiculously cheap that the name of God, Heaven, and Immortality is sold at such an awfully low price as the head or heart. O Divinity, O sweet Immortality! Is it dear if it were sold for one life? Let millions upon millions of lives be created and destroyed for the sake of one glimpse of that Reality, Let infinite lives and heads be chopped off and cut to pieces for a moment of that Holy God-consciousness.
When these words were uttered by the saint, the heart of the queer customer melted and all the bystanders stood aghast. It was then that they came to know that the same word Nom meant something exquisitely sweet for the little girl and for the parents of the girl, and that their own minds were so grovelling in materiality as not to grasp the true meaning.
This story tells you the price you must pay in order to taste the sweet nectar of heaven. It tells you the inevitable value set on Realization.
You cannot enjoy the world, you cannot enter into sordid, petty, low, worldly, carnal, sensuous desires and at the same time lay claim to Divine Realization.
Here is the jewellery shop, and for this jewel, this goal, this heaven, you will have to pay at the cost of your head and your lower nature. If you cannot pay the price, go away. If you cannot enjoy that perfect consciousness, the sole reason is that you do not pay the price; so pay the price and that moment you realize that bliss.
A man fell down and hurt his legs and he began to find fault with Gravity and cried, “O wretched law of Gravity, you made me fall.”Well, it is better for millions of men to fall and break their legs than for the Law of Gravity to be eliminated. Fight not with Gravity; take your steps cautiously and you will have no falls. All your falls, all your injuries, all your hurts, all your anxieties and troubles are due to some weakness within you. Remove that and fight not with circumstances, do not blame your fellow men, throw not the blame on the shoulders of others, but remove your own weakness. Bear in mind that whenever you fall or suffer or are troubled, it is due to some weakness within you. Remember this and fight not with Gravity.
What is this weakness within? It is the dark pitch of Ignorance which makes you look upon the body, the senses, as you. Get rid of it, discard it, and then Power itself you become. When is it that you feel your liver or your spleen? You feel your liver or your spleen when it is out of order. When do you feel your lungs? You feel your lungs when they are out of order. When the nose is alright) you do not feel it.
Similarly, when you feel the body, it shows that there is some disease there. When in perfect health, you feel bold and strong, you feel not the body or the personality; you will be above this mockery, this false self; you will be above the superstition of this little body. To you the whole world will be your body; and the moment you are in that state, Bliss is for you, and you will never feel any desire for this or that. This weakness in you makes you stumble time and again, this weakness, this ignorance makes you feel your body.
There was this question put to a sage, “How is it that when Christ was crucified, he did not feel the cross? “ At that time the sage had some cocoanuts around him. In East India, people visiting friends or sages always bring fruit and these cocoanuts had been brought to the sage. One of the cocoanuts was raw and the other was dried up. The sage said, “This cocoanut is raw. Now if I break the shell, what will happen to the kernel?” They said, “The kernel will be cut or broken also, it will be injured.” “Well,” said the sage, “here is the dried cocoanut, and if I break this shell, what will happen to the kernel? “They said, “If the shell of this cocoanut be broken, the kernel will not be; injured, it will be unharmed.” He said, “Why? “ They said, “In the dry cocoanut, the kernel separates itself from the shell, and in the raw cocoanut the kernel attaches itself to the shell.” Then the sage said, “When Christ was crucified, what was crucified?” They said, “The body.” “Well,” said the sage, “here was a man whose body or outer shell was injured or crucified, but here was a man who had separated the immutable self, the true kernel, from the outer shell; the outside shell was broken but the inside was intact; so why feel sorry, why weep or cry over it? In the case of other men, as in the raw cocoanut the kernel attaches itself to the shell and so when the shell or body is disturbed, the kernel or inside is disturbed or injured also, and that is the difference.”
The weakness or disease in you is this attachment to the shell; this clinging, this slavery to the shell. Thus giving up this clinging, this bondage to the shell is death from the stand-point of worldly men. From the stand-point of your present vision that is death, and unless you suffer this death and detach yourself from this shell and the concerns of the shell, you cannot conquer death, you cannot rise above anguish, misery, disease, or pain. Let the body become as if it never existed. A man of liberation, a free man, is one who lives in Divinity, in Godhead, in such a way that the body was never born.
Rama has many times heard the expression “I wish I was never born.” Dean Swift used to read this passage from Job, “Let the day perish in which I was born.” Rama says, “Brother, this is not the way to make the day in which you were born perish. Let the body, the desires perish, and live in God-consciousness to such a degree that for you there is no day on which you were born, as if there was never anybody, as if the body had never been born. Just as when you enter the deep sleep state, all the experiences of the wakeful state disappear; they are forgotten; so rise to the God -consciousness to such a degree that for you your past relations may become a complete blank. This is the way you have to make the kernel detach itself from the shell, then you conquer death.
Realization means setting to this new tune all your old songs. The old songs will remain the same, but you must set oil of them to an entirely new tune. You must look at the world from an entirely new stand-point. You cannot mix the two standpoints. It cannot be that you can look at certain phenomena from a worldly stand-point and regard other circumstances or phenomena from the new standpoint. Let your stand-point be entirely changed, look at everything as God, as Divinity. Your relation to the world should become the relation of God to the world; an entire change. This will be illustrated by some stories.
At one time there came a man to a meeting where we all had God-consciousness, and on entering he began to cry and weep and beat his breast; no body attended to him. He was grieving over the death of Rama’s son, and this boy was related to this man. Well, no body attended to him, and he sat down, and then he was asked quietly, calmly, plainly, to hush his anxiety, and to console himself; and he said he could not bear the death of this relation of his (the son of Rama). None of the audience could weep or cry or show any signs of disturbance, for there was the state of God-consciousness; there was that state where everything in the world was looked at from the stand-point of God; there was that condition where the old songs were set to the new music of Divinity. The words or remarks which escaped the lips at that time were as follows —”O brother, the fact that you are a relative, is of the same sort as somebody coining and saying ‘O sir, the wind is blowing;’ but, O fellow, what if the wind does blow, what is unnatural about it to upset us? or O sir, the river is flowing; what if the river flows, it is natural, why should it upset us; the river flows, that is natural; there is nothing abnormal or extraordinary about these statements. Similarly, when you come and say that your son is dead, there is nothing extra-ordinary about it, it is most natural; everyone who is born is born to die. When you enter the University, do you enter to stay but a short time or to make it your home all the time; do you get examined and remain there all your life as a freshman or sophomore? When you enter the freshman class, it is intended that you should leave that class one day and go on to the sophomore class etc.
When you enter a staircase, it is understood that you are not to remain there always, but will leave the staircase after a short time.
When you reincarnate, is it not understood that you must leave that reincarnation or past life?
Similarly when you enter this body, it is understood that you will leave this body. So if that boy whom you call Rama’s boy is dead, it is quite natural, there is nothing remarkable or curious about it. It is not strange, it should not upset you, it is like saying that you had your nails pared today. If the son is dead, all right, there is nothing unnatural about it.
This is the Way to look at your worldly relations and thus keep yourself free; look from the standpoint of Reality, making Rama the true self, Divinity, your home, and look at all your acquaintances, connections, and relations from that vantage ground. Just as from the Lick Observatory people make observations of worldly phenomena, so from the Lick Observatory of your Atman through the telescope of Divine Wisdom look at this world and you will see the Divinity you are, the God of gods, the Light of lights, the Truth. The same am I. Not the body, not the mind, not this little, false, craving Ego, but Divinity I am. Feel, O feel that! Realize it. Realize that you are God. This is the one thing needful. What care I or what care you or what care anybody if this body is in a dingy hut. Keep this God-consciousness, and wherever you are that place is converted into heaven. What need you care if this body of yours is tortured; let God-consciousness be with you and all the treasures of the world are yours, all the treasures of the Universe are yours. Have only this and throw away everything else.
Once there came a man and said to Rama, “O sir, a great prince is coming to pay his respects to you.”Now here is an important point. Rama is about to talk on a critical point, where people usually feel these flattering, puffing remarks of friends. Well, the man said, “Here is a very wealthy man coming to pay his respects to you.”There was Rama looking at everything from the stand-point of Divinity, and these words escaped the lips of Rama “What is that to Rama? “The man said, “O sir, he is going to purchase such magnificent, beautiful, costly things to bring to you.”Rama said, “What is that to me? ““What is a prince to me? Let me have Reality only. Trifles and frivolities, these unreal phenomena, have no interest for me; my Truth, my Divinity, my joy, my Atman is enough to keep me busy. These vain talks, these frivolous, worldly things do not concern me. This prince or these wealthy people come to the body of Rama, and if Rama become interested in these bodies, he would become a veritable interrogation point; but when the point of view is changed and when the old songs have been set to new music, when the observation is taken from the highest stand-point, then what interest can a Lord or Mayor, or an Emperor excite in me? None whatever. So let the stand-point be changed. When newspapers have no attraction for you, when they cease to interest you, then that day you have risen above the body, and have come nearer to God. This gives you one way of applying this Truth in your practice. When that crucifixion is attained, then the True Life in you will manifest itself in ways like that.
These stories are told not that you may simply imitate them. No, no. Feel the Divinity within you, feel God that you are. Feel that and rise above all temptation, fear, and anxiety.
OM! OM!! 0M!!!