“Higher and still higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The deep blue thou wingest
And singing still dost soar,
And soaring ever singest.”
THE HOLY SHADOW
(Translated from French by Rath Craft)
Long, long ago there lived a saint so good that the astonished angels came down from the Heaven to see bow a mortal could be so godly. He simply went about his daily life, diffusing virtue, as the star diffuses light and the flower perfume, without even being aware of it.
Two words summed up his day: he gave, he forgave. Yet these words never fell from his lips. They were expressed in his ready smile, his kindness, forbearance, and charity.
The angels said to God r “O Lord, grant him the gift of miracles.”
God replied: “I consent; ask what lie wishes”.
So they said to the saint: “Should you like the touch of your hands to heal the sick? “
“No,”answered the saint, “I would rather God should do that.”
“Should you like to convert guilty souls and bring back wandering hearts to the right path? “
“No: that is the mission of angels. I pray, I do not convert.”
“Should you like to become a model of patience attracting men by the lustre of your virtues, and thus glorifying God?
“No,” replied the saint, “if men should be .attracted to me, they would become estranged from God. The Lord has other means of glorifying himself.”
“What do you desire then? “cried the angels.
“What can I wish for? “asked the saint smiling.
“That God give me His grace; with that, should I not have everything? “
But the angels wished: “You must ask for a miracle, or one will be forced upon you.”
“Very well,”said the saint, “that I may do a great deal of good, without ever knowing it.”
The angels were greatly perplexed. They took counsel together and resolved upon the following plan: Every time the saint’s shadow should fall behind him, or at either side, so that he could not see it, it should have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow.
And so it came to pass: when the saint walked along his shadow, thrown on the ground on either side or behind him, it made arid paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clear water to dried up brooks, fresh colour to pale little children, and joy to unhappy mothers.
But the saint simply went about his daily life, diffusing virtue as the star diffuses light and the flower perfume, without even being aware of it.
And the people respecting his humility, followed him silently, never speaking to him about his miracles. Little by little, they came even to forget his name, and called him only “The Holy Shadow.”
Sense in English
Let Truth gain such immense proportions for you that before its magnitude all appearances and the vanity-show of purges and persons may volatilize into evanescence. And when your identification with Truth is true and real, the shafts of malice shall not penetrate you, the rhinoceros shall find no point wherein to drive his horn, the tiger shall find no room to fix his claws, the sword shall find no place to thrust itself, cannon balls raining on your body shall not touch you.
Your league should be with Truth alone. Even if you are obliged to stand alone, live with Truth, die with Truth. If on the ethereal heights of Truth-life thou art left alone, the sun of Righteousness should be companion enough for you. Comrades will begin to pour in by taking the living suggestions from you. The organization thus formed will be natural. Don’t run after organizing by compromising. I do not want to make any converts and gather any followers, I simply live the Truth. Truth requires no defence and defenders. Does the sunlight require any apostles and messengers? I don’t spread the Truth, the Truth speeds me and spreads itself.
Say the Evolutionists on adaptation. “The world is not on the whole a hard world to live in, if one have the knack of making the proper concessions. Hosts of animals, plants, and men have acquired this knack and they and their descendants are able to hold their own in the pressure of what is called the ‘Struggle for Existence.’ Yes, one who possesses the Art of Living is a Rishi, all the world must harmonize with him because he harmonizes with all the world. How could obstacles present before a person in accord with the all through renunciation of the desiring little self? But the people are very apt to misapply this principle of Science:”“The child of altruism alone survives”
What is altruism?
Does it mean continuous looking out what the people are expecting, what they would like, desire, and approve of? Does the “knack of making concession” imply conformity to the opinions of the people? or is it the fever of “doing” that constitutes the Service of Humanity?
No. Truthful Individualism is the only true altruism. He who simply keeps himself well attuned to cheerfulness and love and gives out plainly the Truth as revealed to him without distorting it in the name of Concession or Conformity; such a one alone will survive in the long run.
When an apparently new and startling idea is struggling out in your breast rest assured that thousands around you must also have at least felt the same way if not definitely conceived the same thought; just as while one melon is ripening in a field, thousand others must also be growing under the influence of the same season. When one leaf, petal or stamen begins to form on a tree or one plant begins to push its way above the ground in spring, there are hundreds of thousands all around just ready to form. A new spiritual, moral, or intellectual birth is ever sacred -as sacred as a child within the mother’s womb -it is a kind of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to conceal it.
In being true to y our Self you will be astonished to find yourself true to All. Concession, Renunciation, Conformity in favour of Truth and Truth alone is sinless Respect for persons, appearances, titles, riches, learning, and forms is idolatry. Worldly wisdom is only excuse of Ignorance.
“With joy the stars perform their shining,
And the Sea its long Moon silvered roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.”
“Bounded by themselves and unregardful,
In what state God’s other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring
These attain the mighty life you see.”
“Resolve to be thyself; and know that he
who finds himself loses his misery.”
Be it life or death I care only for reality. Be it sin or sorrow, I’ll be true to the inner genius.
O Truth, I love Thee; O Love, I am true to Thee.
A great malevolent force is the anxiety on the part of “workers” “to accomplish “something, to achieve ostensible results, that the matters may begin to show, that the registers may record the largest possible number of converts and followers. The anxiety for “facts and figures” works all sorts of mischief. There may be venom enough in a dead body to infect a nation, does it prove the greatness of the carcase? Often times to that amounts the contagious spread of some creeds.
People are too eager to see the trees planted by them fructify and to eat the fruits thereof. This implies lack of faith and selfishness. Jesus, Nanak, and some others made their bodies the humble manure of trees which bore fruit many generations after them.
Some speakers are ambitious only to gather like comets a conspicuous tail of trailing show behind them where the huge nebulous appendix despite
its length and size has practically no weight at all. The fireworks-illumination attracts crowds but directly after the show is over no trace is left behind. And who could ever improve in the firework’s light the restless jumping Jack? It is the continuous steady light -let it be even the humble candle lights—that truly serves and blesses.
Throw not your centre of gravity outside yourself. Pure love and self-sacrifice is the requirement of character, good to others is only contingent.
As journeys the Earth, her eye on the
Sun through the heavenly spaces,
And radiant in azure, or Sunless,
Swallowed in tempests, Falters not,
Alters not journeying equal sunlit or storm-girt,
So, Thou, Son of Earth, who hast force,
Goal, and time, go still onwards.
There is a tendency in India to reject a worker’s service in this line because of his fault in that line, for instance to reject the teachings of a preacher because his personal habits of living are not acceptable. Thus co-operation has become next to impossible in the country. This tendency amounts to rejecting the cow her milk because the cow is not fit for riding purposes or not riding a mare because she yields no milk.
The clear observation of naturalists shows that the race is not “to the swift” nor “the battle to the strong,” but to them who can keep together. Prior to competition is Combination. How is combination to be secured among mankind? Any combination for combination’s sake is doomed to fail. Natural organisms like our body are unconscious. All Science is the outcome of mutual help, co-operation, unity and common work, but no two Scientists need live together. In faithfulness to the same Truth consists the organization of Scientists. Children have a common practical religion of love, play, and innocence all over the world. This unity comes about by the natural faithfulness of each child to his dear sweet Self. The desire to be well thought of by one’s fellows often enough ruins the veracity of character. This is the foundation of hypocritical society. The additional pressure that is brought to bear upon one by his desiring to please others who may have abnormal or perverted tastes leads him into many things he would otherwise desire not to do. Drinking habits are usually induced by sympathy and regard for drinking friends.
Truth is the good. Following truth is the only doing good. Truth makes you strong. Truth makes you free. Independence of outer authority and law is secured by being a law to oneself. This is Honour. Might does not make right, but that which is right will justify itself in persistence and persistence is strength (or might). That which is weak dies. We only know God’s purpose by what he permits. In the Book of Nature, God with His own fingers writes so clearly and unmistakably: There is no Sin but weakness and it is born of Ignorance.
That which persists and grows must be in line with God’s purpose. A law is only an observed generalization of what is. The Gospel of Nature gives us the following law: “Whatever is right shall justify itself sooner or later by becoming might.”Truth is tough. It will not break like a bubble at a touch I Nay, you may kick it about all day like a football and it will be round and sound in the evening. God is governing the world and Mighty, nay Almighty Truth alone conquers. Be not astonished at. or afraid of the Truth and speak from the depth of your heart “I am God.”
That party alone which demonstrates more of Truth, works more in harmony with the Power Infinite, and reveals more of the Almighty, shall have success and superiority. Truth consciousness brings strength and victory, Shin-consciousness (deha abhiman), even if it be Brahman-consciousness or (Sannyasin-consciousness) makes a cobbler (Chamar, Sudra) of you. It is this leather dealing Chandalhood against which the sane Shruti warns you again and again.
A truthful, self-denying person can bring the noble spirit of Sannyasa to bear upon the leather dealer’s trade. That trade, profession, or business in itself cannot make a Sudra of you. The roots of the tree of Nationality are women, children and Sudras, the proper education and care of all of whom is sadly neglected in India. The so-called higher classes, par excellence, are only the fruit of the tree.
Let us not waste all our time in trying to keep the fruit on the tree. Attend to the root, feed it and water it properly.
Dear Reformers! By catering to the tastes of the rich, your personality might perhaps be exalted for the time, but Truth will advance through the poorer classes, children, and women, and through them alone. So says History. There is a tendency on the part of teachers to compliment themselves when officials attend their speeches. Well, it is true that the Government employees are in these days more intelligent than the rest, and can be of some service, but the uplifting of the nation is not to be expected through them. People who have sold their liberty for a pittance (call it a large salary, whose vitality is sapped by the now necessary evil of routine work and whose energy is sucked by overwork, these honourable stone-Thakur-jees from their pedestal of worshipful confinement and high helplessness -let them enjoy the well earned siren-songs of flattery, soothing lullabies, and homage of their attendants; but real revival will begin with the humble root and root alone.
The chief cause of the failure of ever so many movements in India has been that the workers spent away their energies in watering the fruits and leaves (nobility and gentry). The poor Sudras need light and life. The people will upbraid you for attending to the poor “nothings” as the “lower” classes are considered. But remember even a nothing (cipher) can multiply the value ten times, being placed on the right side of the significant figure 1. Let your 1 be identified with figures or ciphers in the right way. “Tat-Tvam-Asi” That thou art.
Some say “women, children, and Sudras” are not adhikarins (worthy of Brahma-Vidya). It is just that view which has kept Vedanta a great but doubtful formula -a mere formula and no reality.
If every child is worthy of the Sun’s light and air, why not of spiritual light and air? Why shut out Brahma-Vidya from any one? Down with the closed rooms and underground cells of ignorance and weakness. Let Divine Light and air bless all.
Spiritual Pauperism is produced by giving people moral commandments. Hysteric moralists defeat their own end by forcing forms of virtue instead of enlightening themselves and others as to the knowledge of Reality. Everyone is true to his lights. No one will step into a well when he sees it before him. All our “Do’s” and “Don’ts” appeal only to the animal it if in man. When we tell even a boy or girl “Thou shalt do this or that”, the rational in him or her resents and rebels because of being ignored and slighted. Our imperative commandments are like trying to drive away the horse the (animality) from its rider (rationality). We teach children the spirit of rebellion in trying to rule them or exercise on them any authority other than their own reason. Where forced rule does not create rebellion it creates decay and death. According to a law of Psychology the more indirect a hint in the normal state of man, the stronger is its effect. In our forced moral teachings the ordinary person naturally takes a suggestion to the contrary. Desire for anything is increased by prohibition or condemnation.
The custom is that people cannot spare even God and want Him to wait upon their precious little self, serving them with daily or monthly bread. A customer of mystic power once went to a trader in religion, asking the venerable Siddha (or Pir) to teach him some “divine “formula by repeating which he might gain the worldly end nearest to his heart. The Fakir told the man tram, but imposed a rather queer condition for its fruition. “Let not the thought of a monkey cross your mind while repeating the formula for a prescribed length of time.”The poor fellow returned to the Guru next day complaining: “Sir, the idea of monkey could never occur to me, had you not warned me against it. But now the monkey thought clings to me with monkey-grip, I cannot shake it off”. Thus impurity and other sins would long have left the world had not our blessed teachers kept them up by continual dwelling on them in condemning them. Adam, poor Adam, in the magnificent grand garden of Eden would never have thought of eating the fruit of a particular tree in a neglected quarter, had not the Biblical God distinguished it as “forbidden”.
In the name of reform we carry our dictatory directions to the extremes. A child being once asked his name replied: “Mamma always calls me Don’t! That must be my name,” So have people lost their real Self under the weight of rules and orders, and they fancy themselves to be merest name and form.
The practical Vedanta needs to be commenced in India not through books so much as through health. Vedanta is health -physical, mental, and spiritual. Not only colds, coughs, fevers, diabetes, and the like, but jealousy, laziness, distemper, unclean thoughts, weakness, and other forms of impurity are immediately washed away by restoring health of stomach.
True liberty is the accurate appreciation of necessity. I am that necessity and being that necessity am free. Real health is in knowing me. Unless you have me, your so-called health is only a fair covering of foul disease. The words Health, Whole, Holy belong to the same stock. The feeling of Unity is health. Live in that Unity and be not overwhelmed by the importance of anything in the world. Say what you have to say, not what you ought. The problems of life cannot remain unsolved, for life is the solution of problems. Let the Health express itself free, harbour no motives. The improper property to be immediately renounced are one’s objects. Look straight: which means dare to look at anybody and everybody just as boldly as you look at trees and rivers fearlessly, with no apprehension, as a child, projecting no personality in them, seeing your own self and no stranger in these. Children who play life discern its true laws and relations, more clearly than men who think they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure. Even nettle (Bichhu ghas) will not hurt you if you grasp it unhesitatingly, but set your skin in burning irritation if merely touched, There are some good workers whose private conversation is mostly full of (cautious apprehension of) “Spies” and (wise fear of) “Detectives.”These worthy Reformers, I dare say, are Thieves themselves. Dear Detectives, Sweet Spies, you are entirely welcome, I need you. I shall pay you infinitely more than your previous salary (if any). Please do detect me. Pray, do spy into my secrets, and I will be pleased to give you all I have, all your desires will I wonderfully fulfil, all your wants will be removed, no more will you suffer pain, poverty will be swept away, all the kingdoms you will find at your feet. Bless your secret-seeking heart! Come. Work every healthy person must be doing by the very demands of health. The child has no motives, yet it is one of the most active beings on the earth. Vedanta requires of you to hit hard, play your part manfully, but hang not your joy on the event, let every stroke be propelled and impelled by joy and not always be aiming vainly at joy.
Ye who stand alone in Truth, be not afraid that the vast majority is against you. No. This seeming vast majority of Conservative Ignorance is like the armies of morning dew drops swarming on the fresh leaves and green blades of grass. This melting majority is glistening simply to bid you welcome, O Sun. Identify yourself with Truth, what matters it if a handful of seething millions opposes you, the majority is still on your side. The rocks, trees, rivers, breeze, the sun and stars are with you. Time is with you. The day is yours, centuries are yours. Eternity is yours. All embracing Nature is with you. You surround the opponents and are not surrounded by them. You surround chance and take it captive.
NOT OF OTHERS, BUT OF THEMSELVES
WHO HAVE WON NOT UNIVERSITY DISTINCTIONS,
BUT VICTORY OVER THE LOCAL SELF;
AGE: THE YOUTH OF DIVINE JOY.
APPLY SHARP WITH NO BEGGING SOLICITATIONS
BUT COMMANDING DECISION TO THE DIRECTOR OF
THE UNIVERSE YOUR OWN SELF.
OM! OM! OM! OM!