The multifold demands of life and the different claims on your physical and mental powers are likely to keep you all the time strained and in tension. If these outside circumstances he allowed to keep you always on the rack, you are digging an early grave for yourself.
How to avoid it? Rama does not recommend the shirking of work or the giving up of daily pursuits, but recommends to cultivate a habit which will keep you ever in rest in spite of strenuous, onerous, and trying tasks. This advice is no other than Vedantic renunciation. You have to keep yourself all the time upon the rock of renunciation; and taking your stand firmly upon that vantage ground, giving yourself up entirely to any work that presents itself, you will not be tired, you will be equal to any duty.
To explain further. While at work, between whiles, devote spare interval of a moment or so to the thought that there is but one reality, God, thyself; and that as to the body etc., you never had anything to do with it. You are simply a witness, you have nothing to do with the consequences or the result. Thus contemplating you may close your eyes, relax your muscles, and lay the body perfectly at ease, unburdening yourself of all thought. The more you succeed in taking off the burden of thought from your shoulders the stronger you will feel.
Nerves keep up the vitality in the body, and thought is also sustained by the nervous system. The digestive process, the circulation of the blood, the growth of the hair, etc., depend ultimately upon the nervous action. If your thought is distributed and you are hurried and worried by all sorts of ideas, that means too much burden upon the nerves. This action of the nerves in the shape of strenuous thought-exertion may be a gain on one side, but it is a decided loss on the other. Through restless thought and worry the vital functions of the body suffer. If you want to keep up your vitality, to preserve your health, the weight of life to be borne easily by the horse of nervous system, you ought to make the burden of egoistic thought lighter. Let not anxious thoughts and worrying ideas suck the sap of your life. The secret of perfect health and vigorous activity lies in keeping your mind always buoyant and cheerful, never worried, never hurried, never borne flown by any fear, thought, or anxiety.
The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things but enjoy the right things -not merely industrious but to love industry.
MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE
My cup is the hemisphere of heavens and the sparkling light my wine.
Think it not that it is your duty to get clothes, or to win anybody’s love, to make anybody happy, or to achieve this worldly aim or that. Discard all these aims and objects, make it your profession, your business, your trade, occupation, vocation, the aim and object of life to keep your own self always peaceful and happy, independent of all surrounding circumstances, irrespective of gain and loss. Your highest duty in the world laid upon your shoulders by God (your religious duty) is to keep yourself joyful. Your social duty, the demand of neighbours, is to keep yourself well pleased, peaceful; the duty having the greatest claim on you from domestic relations is to keep yourself cheerful; and your duty to yourself demands of you again to keep yourself happy in all states. Be true to yourself and never mind anything else in the world. All other things are bound to bow down to you, yet what does it matter to you whether they bow down or not, you are happy by yourself. To be dejected and gloomy, is a religious, social, political, and domestic crime; and this is the only crime you can commit, this is the only crime which is at the root of all other crimes, falls, and sins. Be full of serenity and dispassionate tranquillity, and you will find that all jour surroundings and environments will of course and of force adjust themselves aright. It is not your duty to worry or hurry about any business. Your only occupation or duty is to keep yourself self-contained, self-poised and self-pleased. No duty upon us, no burden upon our shoulders. You have no responsibility to anybody but to yourself. You are a heinous criminal to yourself if you violate this most sacred law of Cheerfulness and Peace. Let other people, when they get up early in the morning, think that they have duties before them as to rub and rub the rooms, to go to the office, or to do washing or cooking or reading and writing or this and that; but when you get up early in the morning address to yourself always in Supreme happiness. The only duty you have to do is this. This does not mean that you have to shirk other work or neglect other household employments. These things you may feel as secondary matters of play and these things 3Tou will have to do because your spiritual health will demand of you to be doing something. But while doing anything remember that the so-called material work in hand is quite immaterial. The really bounden duty for you is to keep yourself self-pleased. Students, listen, if you hang your joy on the future results of examinations, being content now to oscillate and vacillate the gloom of suspense “you will never be, but always to be blessed.” Like comes to the like. Have joy of God in you—right now and the joy of success must gravitate towards you. That is the law.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you,
Weep and you weep alone:
For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth,
It has sorrow enough of its own:
Sing and the hills will answer,
Sigh! it is lost in the air:
The echoes do bound a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice and men will seek you,
Grieve and they turn and go:
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not want your woe.
Be glad and your friends are many,
Be sad and you lose them all.
There is none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by;
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no one can help you die,
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.”
-Ella Whether Wilcox
“Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now.
The place to be happy is here.
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Rama brings to your special attention two important points:
- Denial of little Self.
- Positive assertion of Real Self.
First -Denial, according to Vedanta, is perfect relaxation, relief, rest, renunciation. Whenever you can spare time, just throw down your body on the chair or bedstead as if you never carried that burden or weight and you had nothing to do with it and it were quite as much a stranger to you as any piece of rock. Let the body lie down for a while stretched like a dead carcase, altogether unsupported by your strained will or thought. Let the mind be relaxed of all care and anxiety for the body or anything. Give up and deny all desire, ambition or expectation. This is denial or relaxation. Let your property rest on the ground and not weigh down your heart.
Second -Godhead. Make God’s will your own. Defend His purpose as if it were your purpose whether for weal or for woe; feel yourself above the body and its environments, above the mind and its motives, above the world and its opinions. Feel yourself to be the all-pervading supreme, the Sun of Suns; above causation, above phenomena; and one with the all bliss, the free Rama. Chant OM and sing OM in any tune or tunes that naturally and spontaneously occur to you. Thus will all causes of complaints and maladies leave your presence of themselves. The world and your surroundings are exactly what you think them to be. Let not the world lay heavy upon your heart. Every day and night meditate upon the truth that all the opinions and society of the world is simply your own idea and that you are the real power whose breath or mere shadow the whole world is. The reason why you do not attain to the height of health is that you are more courteous and polite to the fickle, unsettled, hazy judgment of others than to your own nearest neighbour, the Real Self Supreme. Live on your own account, not for the opinions of others. Be free. Try to please the one Lord, the Self, the One without a second, the real husband, owner, master, your own inner God. You will not in any case be able to satisfy the many, the public, the majority, and you are under no obligations to satisfy the hydra-headed mob. You are your own architect. Sing to yourself as if you were all alone and no listeners were by. When your own Self is pleased, the public must be satisfied. That is the Law.
Whoever dwells among thoughts dwells in the reign of delusion and disease -and though he appear wise and learned, yet his wisdom and learning are as hollow as a piece of timber eaten out by white ants. Therefore though thought should gird you about, you need not be tied to it, as a man takes off his coat when hot; and as a skilful workman lays down his tool when done with.
“While at work your thought is to be absolutely concentrated in it, undistracted by anything whatever irrelevant to the matter in hand— rounding away like a great engine with giant power and perfect economy -no wear and tear of friction or dislocation of parts owing to the working of different forces at the same time.
Then, when the work is finished and there is no more occasion for the use of the machine, it must stop equally absolutely -stop entirely -no worrying -as if a parcel of boys were allowed to play their devilments with a locomotive as soon as it was in the shed -and the man must retire into that reign of the Consciousness where his true Self dwells.”
Om! “O my sons! O too dutiful
Toward Gods not of me,
Was not I enough beautiful?
Was it hard to be free?
For, behold, I am with you, am in you,
And if you look forth now and see,
I bid you but be;
I have need not of prayer;
I have need of you free
As your mouths of mine air;
That my heart may be greater within me
Beholding the fruits of me fair
I that saw where ye trod
The dim paths of the night
Set the shadow called God
In your skies to give light;
But the morning of manhood is risen
And the shadowless soul is in sight.
The tree many rooted
That swells to the sky
With frontage red-fruited The Life-tree am I; In the buds of your lives is The sap of my leaves. Ye shall live and not die But the Gods of your fashion That take and that give, In their pity and passion That scourge and forgive, They are worms that are bred in the bark That falls off; they shall die and not live