Lecture delivered on Sunday afternoon,February 1, 1903
Can a married man aspire to the Realization of the Self?
This question was put to Rama sometime ago and it was fully answered at that time.
Rama will not take up this subject today, but will speak on a subject somewhat like it.
Reference was made there to the nature of desires:—”As to what desire is, and how motives operate upon the nature of man, how desires fulfilled bring happiness, and how desires not fulfilled bring unhappiness etc.”, This is a very long and complicated question, and is one to which Rama has given much earnest thought. The result of Rama’s researches will be put into book form under the title of Dynamics of the Mind.
Can a householder, a man living with his wife and children, or with his relatives or friends,—in other words, can an ordinary man of the world ever realize Truth or the true Self? This is the question.
We shall take up one aspect of the question, Vedanta simply asks, “Can a sword kill your enemies?”
If this question may be answered in the affirmative, then the question “as to whether a worldly householder can realize Truth perfectly,” can also be answered in the affirmative; it all depends upon the use we make of the sword or of the family ties. We can make the same sword kill or protect us from outside attacks: so a man by the misuse of family ties or family relations can kill himself, or retard his spiritual growth, or by the right use of the family relations he can elevate himself, and realize God within him. Thus the question is similarly answered.
Our walks, our daily constitutionals can be a source of enjoyment and recreation; they can be a source of benefit and refinement if we take them properly; but the same walks can become a source of fatigue, annoyance, and sickness to us if we abuse them.
Similarly with our family relations, they may raise and heal or destroy us.
There was a very good man who kept a very naughty and wicked servant. He used to do everything in a wrong way; he used to carry out the commands of his master in a curious way; in fact his way of doing things was such as to upset even the most serious man. This faithful master was never annoyed, but always treated the servant in a most charming manner. At one time one of the guests remonstrated against the servant; he was very much annoyed and displeased with his actions and asked the master to dismiss him. The master said, “Your advice is very good, and it is given with the best intention; I know that you wish me well; I know that you want my work and business to prosper, and it is on that account that you give me this advice; but I know better, I know that my work is being spoiled, I know that my business suffers. But I keep this servant on the very ground or from the very fact of his being so unfaithful; it is his bad conduct and his wicked habits which make him so dear to me. I love him the more because he is a sinner, a wicked and unfaithful servant”. This was a very strange way of speaking.
The master said, “This servant is the only person in the world or with whom I come in contact, that disobeys me; he is the only person who does things which are uncomplimentary, derogatory or detrimental to me. All others with whom I come in contact are so gentle, so pleasant, so loving that they dare not offend me, and so this man is out of the ordinary; he is a kind of dumbbells, a kind of special training to my spiritual Self. Just as many people use dumb-bells, pulleys, or heavy weights to exercise the muscles in order to develop their physical strength, so this servant serves as a kind of weight or dumb-bells by which my spiritual body is strengthened. Through this servant I get strength. I am compelled to do a kind of wrestling with this servant, which brings strength”
So Rama, brings this fact to your notice, and draws your attention to this matter, so that if you think your family ties are a hindrance and a stumbling block, you need not get annoyed. Just follow the example of the faithful master; make difficulties and differences an additional source of strength and power.
Socrates had a wife, the most undesirable in the world. One day he was thinking very deeply, and his wife, as was her wont, approached him and spoke in very harsh, rough language; she reviled and insulted him and called him names; she demanded his attention; she asked him to attend to her, to do this and that thing; but Socrates went on philosophising. His method was never to leave a problem until it was solved.
The wife roared and stormed at him, and still he did not listen. Then getting enraged, she took up a basin filled with dirty water and poured it upon his head. Was Socrates ruffled or annoyed? Not in the least. He smiled and laughed and said, “Today is proven the saying “Oft-times when it roars it rains.”
Always when she roared, it did not rain, but today she roared and stormed, and at the same time there came rain also. After that remark, he continued his philosophizing.
This shows that people must not become despondent about their capability of overcoming their temper. If one man, Socrates, could get such complete control of his temper, then all can. Even today are there not people who have control over their temper, and over their habits? Most certainly there are such people and you can do this also by trying.
The way to realize the Truth, or to realize your oneness with the Divinity the way to realize the unison with the All, or your sameness with the whole world, the way to this Divine realization of the Self can be made smoother through jour family ties if you will.
The object and the goal of each and all in the world, the end of Evolution is that each and all should realize the Divinity within; that this little self should accumulate experience until it realizes its unity with God, until it realizes its oneness with Divinity. Even at the sword’s point, it must be realized.
That is the goal. If the ordinary man finds the family ties a hindrance, Rama says, the wife and children can be an aid to you.
The earth revolves round the sun. The earth must revolve. The moon wants to cling: to the earth. What is the earth to do? The earth can take up the moon and satellites, and together with them the earth can revolve round the sun.
So, O man or woman, if you have set up the task of being drawn towards the Sun of suns, take your companion with you, as the earth does the moon, and with your companion, like the moon, go on revolving round the Sun of suns, the Light of lights. Thus instead of making this one little body partake of the glory, light and lustre of the Sun, you can make your companion share with you the glory and light and lustre of the same Sun. Thus instead of drawing but one soul, you can draw other souls. Instead of working through just one body, you can work through many bodies. They are all yours. All those bodies (as one body belongs to you) can belong to God, can glorify God. When a man goes to a place and takes only one body with him, but he does not leave the head, the hands, the nose, the eyes, the ears, &c. behind; they all go. Similarly, Vedanta tells you that when you approach the knowledge of heaven, when you realize the Truth, instead of carrying one-half of you to the knowledge of heaven, you can take all; you can take the wife and children, you can take along your head, your heart, your hands, as it were.
Thus before realizing your unity and unison with God, first realize your oneness with your wife and children. How can a man who has not realized his oneness with his wife and children, realize his oneness with all?
The natural way suggested by Vedanta is to begin with those with whom you are connected; let your being merge in those who are near and dear to you. Let your interests be one with their interests; let all the bodies be welded into one; let them become one stream, and then go on experiencing. After that you can take other families in; and rising by degrees, let all families be as your own body; and after you feel all bodies as your own, you can realize your oneness with God; you can take each and all with you.
In the Bible, we read about St. John, the disciple whom Christ loved. Christ loved the whole world. This saying, “The disciple whom Christ loved” should be put in a slightly modified form, and then it becomes “The disciple who loved Christ”. It gives you the clue to the Christian doctrine of Salvation through Christ.
“Action and Reaction are equal and opposite.” If Christ loved his disciple, then the disciple must have loved Christ. Christ could not have kept on loving him if this were not a fact, by the most inevitable law of nature, “Action and Reaction being equal and opposite.” Christ was a man of realization, he was one with the Father, the All. He was one who had merged his mind, his intellect, his personality in the Divinity.
The disciples John, Peter, Paul, or any disciple, by connecting themselves with Christ, by loving Christ (for connection comes through love and affection) and by feeling their oneness with Christ, naturally shared the Divinity of Christ.
Here, suppose we have a body which is electrified. By keeping another body in contact with this electrified body, the non-electrified body receives the electricity from the electrified body.
Similarly, the disciples in those days, by the love of Christ, must partake of Christ’s nature; and thus if Christ saves himself, the others must be saved through that love.
According to Vedanta, nobody can realize God unless his whole being is converted into Universal Love; unless he looks upon the whole universe as his body. This is the first step in the realization of Self or Truth; it is to become the whole world. Then the next step is to rise beyond that.
You remember, the other day, in a lecture, two kinds of illusion were referred to, viz., Intrinsic and Extrinsic Illusion.
To the Intrinsic illusion is due the idea of different personalities, the idea of difference of one from another, to the Intrinsic illusion is due the blindness which does not allow people to see God in each and all. It is the cause of the mental disease which forbids us from realizing the unity in all things in the world. The Extrinsic illusion is the outward variance, the illusion of form and name.
Thus in the worldly man both illusions must be dispelled. It is necessary, in the first place, to realize the unity in all bodies. This man who is to overcome both kinds of illusion, at first feels himself to be the self of each and nil, of the whole universe; he realizes his Atman to be the Atman or Self of all mankind, of the vegetable kingdom, all the trees, ail rivers, all insects and worms; this is one stage of Realization. He is a man who is helped by realizing in the elementary stages his oneness with the wife and children. When he realizes his oneness with the whole world, that is one state. The next state is when all out-ward forms, names and figures disappear, where this Maya entirely disappears, and then the whole world, which was the body, is dismissed; it is merged in the Spirit.
Originally we have to realize the whole world as our body, and then the whole world which is realized as our body is dismissed, is merged in the Truth, the Self which is my Self.
A man of realization first becomes the whole world, he thus becomes the saviour of the whole world. Thus yon are your own saviour, that is the meaning of Vedanta.
The saying “Through Christ we realize God” means, that through this state, which is the state of feeling the self as one with the whole world, by passing through that stage, the Christ stage, you jump into the indestructible, ineffable Self. Thus before realizing the Truth, before realizing the Self which is indestructible, which baffles all words and all description, which surpasses all language— a state where there are no forms and names, no differences—before reaching that God-state, you must pass through a state where you find the true Self permeating and pervading all name and form. This state is the Christ state. Thus by passing through the Christ state you pass on to God, and this state is gained by gradually developing your oneness with each and all. The elementary lesions which practically teach you this begin when you realize your oneness with the mother, the father, then the wife and children and friends and by slow degrees you realize your oneness with the whole country and then the whole world, and so on. This seems to be a very difficult task, but it is not so difficult. The beginning is difficult but after a while the progress is rapid. When once a man realizes his unity with one person and becomes merged, as it were, in another, he comes to realize himself to be one with each and all. Here Realization practically shows that all affection in this world, by an inevitable law of nature, drives us onward to a state where the object of oar affection will not be on the outride; where it will not be external colour, form, feature or symbols, but in the Soul within, in the underlying Reality more and more.
Everybody, from experience, can say something as to the correctness of this statement. When we grow in years, we find that; the object of our affection becomes more and more refined; the centre of love becomes more and more smooth and intangible; it becomes more and more subtle.
Have not all persons in the world observed this in life to a greater or less extent? The time comes when in the object of our love, we do not mark the lines of the face, the irregularities of the features or countenance; we do not see the wrinkles the external signs and symbols. We love the soul within, the affection within, the heart within; we love the purity within, the love within. Have not all observed or experienced that? Have not all seen that in our object of affection we do not often see the external faults, the defects of the body. We see only beauty, we are blind to all ugliness. If there is in that love, or in that person, or in that object of our love, true affection, our heart melts; it is drawn there. Then there comes a time when the centre of our love becomes more subtle, more refined than the gross, external colour, feature, or signs and symbols; now there is already a step onward, an advance higher. There you are raised from external symbols, from the gross bodies to the refined emotions. Now, beyond that is the next higher stage when the centre of our love is not feeling, emotion, the purity of the mind, or appearance of the object of our love but when we love God or the Divinity within, we see the true Self, the Atman within. Well, when this stage is once reached; when the objects in the world become mere pictures, mere hieroglyphics; when we do not see the objects but see the Immutable behind all objects; when our looks happening to fasten upon this object or that one, enable our heart to see the Divinity or the true Self in them; when that state is reached, it is easy for a man to realize the unity, the oneness with the whole world. That is the Christ state. After remaining in this Christ state for some time, the next higher state will be when you are entirely merged in Divinity; when we are in a state of trance, a state of unison and absorption, a state of immersion; this is the state of God. We call that? Nirvana or Samadhi, a state in which there is no vibration in the mind, no ruffle, no resistance.
How can we make our worldly connections and relations help us in realizing this state by degrees?
In India there are people who worship God in the same way as do the Roman Catholics; they worship God through images and idols. The images of God, of Rama or Krishna are worshipped. Rama and Krishna are the Christs of India.
An old lady came to a saint in India and asked if it was advisable for her to leave her house and her family, and to retire to Brindaban (in India), where Krishna was born. Was it advisaable for her to break her family ties, and sever all her relations with each and all, and retire to that lovely city, Brindaban, the Jerusalem of India?
This lady had her grandson with her. The sage replied, “See please, mark please, what is it that looks into your eyes through the eyes of your grandson? What force, what energy, what I divinity is it that looks at you from every pore of the body of this child?”The lady said, “It must be God. In this dear little baby there is no thought of temptation or wickedness. This dear little baby is innocent and pure. When he cries, in his wailing is the voice of God and nothing else.”Again the sage said, “When you go to Brindaban, you shall have to cling to the one image of Krishna. There in the Jerusalem of India, and there in that image of Divinity, you must worship the Divinity. Is not the body of the child just as good an image of Krishna as the image you shall have to see in that Jerusalem of India.?”The lady was surprised a little; and after thinking and reflecting, she came to the conclusion that she might just as well worship Krishna through the body of this child, by regarding this child as the incarnation of Krishna. For God it is that looks through the eyes of the child; God it is that gives the child its power; God it is that works through the ears of the child; God it is that makes the child’s hair grow; God it is that works through every pore of his body; it is Divinity.
According to the direction of the saint, she must no longer regard the child as her grandson, or look upon him as related to her in any way, but must regard him as God, and thus break all family and worldly ties. The only tie should be the tie of Godliness or Godhead. This is the way to Renunciation.
Renunciation does not mean asceticism. Renunciation means making everything holy. Renouncing the child does not mean giving up all connection with the child but thinking the child, the grandson, to be God. Realizing the Divinity in each and all: this is Renunciation according to Vedanta. Vedanta asks you to give up your wife or your husband and other relations. Vedanta says, a Give up the wife as related to you, give up the wife as the wife, but realize the true Self, the Divinity within her. Give up the enemy as the enemy, see only the God in the enemy; give up the friend as a friend, but realize the Godliness or Godhead in the friend.”
Renounce the selfish, personal ties; see the Godliness in each and all; see the Divinity in each and all. This is what the Hindu Scriptures enjoin upon every husband and every wife to live. According to the directions of the Scriptures which were put in practice by Rama in his family relations, the wife had to wake up every morning; and while Rama was absorbed in meditation, while Rama was feeling and realizing the Divinity, when he was lost in God, when he was beyond “the body or the mind—when that nectar of sweet Immortality was being taken, then would the wife come, just as the Roman Catholics worship their images so would she come and look at Rama, ignoring the body. Here as Rama had ignored the body had risen above this materiality, had become one with Divinity, so the wife would see only the Divinity, God, nothing else. Thus, sitting at a distance from Rama’s body she would fix her eyes upon Rama’s forehead; she being not so highly advanced, would think of this body and thus while chanting Om, she would keep this body before her mind to such a degree that all other thoughts were shut out; the idea of her own body was entirely lost. She felt herself as trans-formed or merged in the body of Rama, but what about the Spirit? There she felt and realized that her own self was the Self of Rama. She felt and realized that it was not Rama meditating, lost in God-consciousness, but that it was she lost in God-consciousness. Rama’s meditation was hers, and she was feeling herself as one with the whole universe; there she felt and realized that she was the Self and Spirit of the whole world. This way she was a help to Rama, as it were, and Rama was a help to her. Now, how can she be a help? When a, wife regards her husband as God, when such thoughts and such currents tend to make her husband God, will not her mental energy, her force directed in this way, make her husband God? Will it not help the husband in realizing his own true Self to be God? Most certainly.
All Christian scientists know from personal experience that we can make any person feel the way we like.
Here is a wife sending forth such Divine thoughts, sending forth the thought that her husband is God; that thought is helping the husband to realize his oneness with God; so also, when the husband realizes his oneness with God, is the wife helped. O, what a spiritual union that is. What a grand union that is! Both help and are helped. Marriage or love founded on such spiritual union is the happiest in the world. All marriage relations, brought about by attachment to the colour of the face, to the outlines of the countenance, to figure, form, or personal beauty, end in losses, and are very unhappy. Such marriages eventually lead to heart-breaking, anxiety and trouble.
It is the marriage which is based on spiritual union, which takes no account of the colour of the face, or the beauty of countenance or form, but sees the Divinity within, that is the only safe and abiding one. That only can bring happiness and joy.
A lady came to a saint and put the question, “My husband died a few months ago; what shall I do to save him?”Another, a gentleman, came and said he was going to commit suicide because he had lost his only child; he could not bear the separation. Another man said he had lost his wife and he did not think it worth his while to live any longer. Now what answer did the saint make?
The lady was very despondent and very anxious to save her husband. The saint said, “You can save your husband; you need not be despondent; you should abide by my advice. Every day whenever you feel despondent, or when the thought of your husband comes to you, sit down at once, close your eyes, and place before your mind the body of your husband, and you know that the object of our affection can immediately appear before our mind. When you get this picture before your mind, or when you get the body of your husband before the mind, do not grieve or be sorry, do not sob or cry; by sobbing and crying, by shedding tears you simply make your husband cling to the earth, you fasten him to the world and your work is perverted and degrading. You should not try to bring him down, you should not try to lower him or retard his progress. You can think of the different world of }our husband, you can think of him not as dead, (because with your eyes closed, the picture of the husband comes most vividly before you) but as living. When you have it before you, then feel, feel, realize- that he is God; tell him, preach to him, say continually, pour forth this idea before him, “You are God, Divinity, you are the Lord; in your picture, in your body, in your form, it is the Divinity that is appearing to me.”
“When we approach a telephone apparatus and apply it to our ears, we hear something; we know that the sound does not come from that steel apparatus, but from the friend behind the scenes or at the other end. Similarly, when you see the picture of your departed husband before you, realize that this picture has the Divinity behind it, tell it “You are Divinity, you are God”. This way you can save your departed husband.
Well, if we can save and raise and help our departed friends, we can no doubt save, raise and help our living friends by the same method.
Now, when the husband and wife live this way the whole union is simply one spiritual advancement, a source of happiness to each other. You say that everywhere the husband wants to advance the happiness of his wife, to confer on her everything that will make her happy. On account of Ignorance people think that they have adopted the proper way; they think that the proper way is to pamper to the other’s taste and thus make the other happy, but it is not so. You only degrade yourself and others by such ways. The Law of Nature is that which makes me happy, must make you happy; that which is good for me is good for you; if I advance, you advance; my progress is your progress; I cannot fall sick myself without making the whole world fall sick; by keeping my body hfcalthy, I keep the whole world healthy. Action and Reaction are opposite and equal.
If I am really making you happy, I must also be happy. People think that pampering to one another’s tastes brings happiness. Surely it does not. It brings about hatred and heart-breakings.
By such acts both suffer; both feel they are miserable, heart-broken. They are filled with anxiety and fear.
Well, these fears, these annoyances are due to ignorance as to the method of making each other happy. If you want to make each other happy, you shall have to make this little selfish self advance; you shall have to make it realize the true spirit of the friend, Intense strength you will have to give her; intense strength must be reflected there, You will have to give each other knowledge; thus you will make your companions happy and be happy yourself in the long run. If you are really a well-wisher, you must give the things which are the true cause of happiness, and those things are knowledge and spiritual freedom. Impart it to your friends. It is the duty of every husband to educate the wife. A husband, who is not a professor to his wife, or a wife through whom a husband is not elevated and educated, and from whom he does not receive spiritual freedom and knowledge, cannot be happy in life. She is a sinner; so is the husband a sinner who does not make his house a university for his wife. This is the way really to make each other happy.
As to the Immaculate Conception of Christ, Rama’s explanation is this:—Mary, the mother of Christ, was pure, pious and God-loving, and she was a woman who had reached a certain degree of realization, woman of God-visions. She was one with the Divinity. And the man Zacharius (Joseph stood by her afterwards in order to save her reputation) or if you are not willing to have Zacharius, we will say Joseph was also a very pure, pious, holy man, a man who realized the Divinity in all, who realized God. Both were young, and were of mature age. It so happened that while Mary was entirely absorbed, (I mean, the body of course) and the husband also, and while they were both in a state of absorption, or immersion as it were, on an occasion like that Mary conceived. She afterwards entirely forgot that anything like that had happened. Often a child is awakened at night and given milk or perhaps candy; and on being asked the next day whether he had any milk or candy given him the night before, he will very often reply “O, I never got any, you never gave me anything, you gave it all to sister”. It is a fact that the child took the milk or candy, but he had entirely forgotten it in the morning. The thing is that at night while drinking the milk or eating the candy, the child was in a state of super-consciousness when the mind was somewhere else, or as you know, in a state of somnambulism. Somnambulists walk in their sleep, and do all sorts of curious things, and when asked about them next morning, they know nothing of what was done the previous night. Similarly, Rama’s version of the Immaculate Conception of Christ is that Mary became pregnant either by Zacharius or Joseph, while both were in a state of super-consciousness, in a state of Divine consciousness, in a state of somnambulism. It was a state which makes you forget this little body, but you are in the God-body. In a state of that kind, she became pregnant, and when afterwards she was asked the cause of her being with child, she could say nothing. The Christians said she conceived by the Holy Ghost, which means that being filled with the knowledge of God, being filled with the Holy Ghost, being merged in God-consciousness, she became pregnant; and thus Christ was the son of the Holy Ghost. The Laws of Nature were at that time just the same as they are now, and yet we can say Christ was the son of the Holy Ghost. Thus, Rama says that this is the way the whole world should act that many may come up as Christs. Purify your hearts, do not degrade them, if you wish your progeny to be Miltons, Shakespeares, Christs, or great men, if you wish your progeny to be for the welfare of the whole world or your own families. Rama asks you to live with your wives and children the kind of life which keeps you above these little selfish interests, the kind of life which keeps you in God, in Divinity, in the Holy Ghost, one with the All. If the husband and wife be both filled with holy ideas, such sublime energy and such noble feelings, the children of such parents will be Christs. Christs can be produced today if you like.
The home should be the centre and not the boundary of affection. People make home a boundary of affection, so that affection and love may not go beyond that. The home and the wife should be the centre of affection so that rays of love may radiate in all directions; your love should not be bound there; your wife should not be brought as the boundary of love and affection. Through your selfish thoughts you bring her low, and you bring yourself low; you work the ruin of both. The wife teaches you to love, and you should purify that love and by making it the love of the whole world you should make that love of outside form, figure, colour or body, the love of the Absolute or the Divinity. If you then approach each and all, and with that same love look at the grass, the flowers, the rivers, the hills, mountains and dales, then are you one with the whole world.
She is to teach you how to adjust your position with regard to the whole world; she is not to put you out of harmony with the world. Now llama will tell you some of the spiritual laws. These spiritual laws govern all the affections of this world. Even if Rama does not tell you, you are experiencing them all the time and will continue to do so. But telling you will teach you to be on the alert. When a man driving in a coach, runs across a stumbling-block which gives the coach a jolt, suffers a bad shock, as lie is not aware of what is coining. If we tell him to be on his guard, this warning makes him cautious and enables him to avoid the shock. Similarly, in your worldly affairs, jolting comes, disaster comes, failures and heartaches come. Now when are these heartaches, these failures, disasters and disappointments to be expected? Rama lets you know, and when you know that, you will not be shocked. The way is simple and you will avoid them as far as possible. Here is a law as certain and true as any mathematical law; it is as sure as any physical fact. Whenever a man or woman begins to love any form, anybody, anything material, he is allowed to enjoy that material object for some time, and just when that material object has got itself instilled into his heart, when it has permeated his whole being, just at that time the object will be removed. This is the law. It cannot be avoided. There is no force which can avert, no force or power which can prevent an occurrence like that. From the most ancient times up to the very present day, there has never been an exception to this law.
Attach yourself to any outside object; cling to any name or personality; depend upon any great man; trust him; rely or lean upon him; and that staff will be removed, you will fall down. Lean upon a table, and if the table is taken away, you fall, you feel a shock. Now, what does that teach? It teaches that we are not to make our affections rest upon these gross, material objects. These gross, material objects should not be the objects of our affection, and yet we cannot get any love in our hearts but through these gross, material objects. It is through these gross, material objects that we learn love; but when once that love has been taught to us, Nature tells us that this love cannot be chained to the object. It must be advanced; it ought to approach the Divinity behind. Woe unto the man who does not apply the love which he has learned at the feet of the wife to this Divinity behind. You will be damned if you do not apply it; you will suffer. The wife and husband should grow together; and while she teaches us to love, that love must not be kept in this body, but must be applied to each and all, to the whole universe.
Spiritual development does not germinate in the seed sown in the soil of earthly pleasures. So when the seed of your love is sown in the earthly body of the wife or husband, that seed of love which was sown in the earthly body, is as it were sown in the earth and covered over. That love is good when it dies and comes forth and bears fruit in the open air. Thus in the wife or husband, sow the seed; but in the wife or husband, or in the material object, the seed sown must die and come out in the open air to bear fruit. So far as affection for worldly objects is concerned, there will always be apparent failures. As the seed dies, the Law of Nature is that the same seed will one time make you realize God. A man who has never loved can never realize God; that is a fact.
It is usually taught that Religion has nothing to do with worldly love. Rama tells you that it has; the right use of affection makes you realize God. “All other pleasures are not worth its pain”. Really the same pure love makes you realize God and is the synonym for God.
The aim of the husband should be the elevation of the marriage tie, and not money-making and the wrong use of family relations. The same articles which originally were the means to happiness are made an end to bring unhappiness. Don’t make the means an end. Money or wealth should be simply the resource to protect you from cold, to quench thirst or appease hunger and to keep you in a room where nobody may disturb you. Now, see how little money we need to appease hunger, quench thirst, or obtain clothing so that we are not caught by cold.
People say, “We catch cold”. It is not cold that catches you, but you catch cold; it is not disease that catches you, it is you who hunt after and catch the disease. This expression is correct. To prevent yourself from catching cold, you must put on clothing, but such clothing is simply to protect you, to prevent you from catching cold. That clothing may be of a rough kind, it may be cheap clothing; it need not be so costly. We can live in small houses, not so dazzling, not so grand as these houses of today. We can have plain, small houses which are quite sufficient to protect us from the attacks of animals or from other people; we have no need of these beautiful houses.
Men have made the beauty and grandeur of their houses the one great aim in itself, the beauty of clothing another thing, the complex nature of the eatables served on the table, as the one end and aim; no, not end and aim, but simply means and end.
In the history of the world, some people lived in small huts -and houses; they were poorly clad and poorly fed, yet they were the heroes of the world.
You know about Plato. The name Plato is Racom which in Persian means “the liver or dweller in a tub or cask”. That was his house, that was where he used to retire from the world.
Just think, people who lived in such poverty did so much for the world.
Shakespeare’s house on Strafford-on-Avon is not a grand house. During the first part of his life he was a poor man; during the last part of his life he accumulated a fortune.
In the first part of his life he took care of the visitors, took charge of the horses of the people who attended the theatre.
Newton was also a poor man. He used to express sorrow when he had no money to give to the poor or to buy books; but never at any other time was he sorry for his poverty. Just see, the people who were poorly fed and poorly clothed were those who did so much for the world. The Hindus in India formerly lived on the fruits of the forests. These people gave to the world its greatest Philosophy, Vedanta, the Philosophy of Freedom and Love.
Try to make great and good men of yourselves. Do not expend your energies, do not waste thought on building beautiful and grand houses. Many of your houses are large and grand, but the men in them are very small. There are large tombs in India, but what do they contain? Nothing but rotten carcasses, crawling worms and snakes.
Do not try to make your wife, your friends and yourself grand, by wasting energy on big houses and grand furniture. If you take this idea, if you realize that, if you perceive and know that the one aim and goal of life is not in wasting energy and accumulating riches, but in cultivating the inner powers, in educating yourself to free yourself, to become God, if you realize that and expend your energies in that direction, the family tics will be no obstacle unto you.
Some people say, “No, no, we can live in a simple style; but there are our guests. If we have but two finger bowls etc., what would they say?”
O dear one, do you live for yourself or for others? Live for yourself. It is no duty of theirs to interfere with your life. When you eat your food, do you eat or do they? Do you digest your food, or do they digest it for you? When you see, is it the muscles of your own eyes, or their eyes that help you to see? Be your own centre of gravity. Be self-sustaining. Have some backbone in you, and care not for tie opinions of your quests. Let not the secret of hospitality lie in board and bedding. People think that if they do not give their guests proper board and bedding, they are not hospitable. This makes the owner of the house an appendage to it. Please do not make yourselves appendages to property, but make that property an appendage to yon. Realize your power.
When a guest comes to you, let him leave your house enlightened, raided, elevated; let him leave it wiser than when he came; let this be your duty to your fellow-men. This is the way to make your household happy. This is the way a house-holder can make his household a stepping-stone instead of a stumbling-block. When a guest leaves wiser than when he came, care not for the food and bedding. Give him something better, give him knowledge and wisdom. Let him share your love. Remember that even though I do not give you a penny, if I do you no bodily service, yet it 1 give you a smile lovingly, sincerely, earnestly, yon cannot but be elevated, raised, and cheered up; a great service has been rendered. Giving a man money is nothing; it is just like a husband giving a wife money and then divorcing her. She does not want money, she wants love. By giving the man money, you play the part of a criminal, you want to dodge him off. Give him love and knowledge; enlighten him, raise him; this is grand hospitality and this you should have; this is the love you should entertain for your wife and children.