Reminiscences of a visit to Bhagavan by Rajendra Prasad, who was later to become President of India, with the industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj and others, in 1938.
J. B: How is sadbuddhi to be steadily kept up?
Bhagavan: All living beings are aware of their surroundings and therefore intellect must be surmised in all of them. At the same time, there is a difference between the intellect of man and that of other animals, because man not only sees the world as it is and acts accordingly but also seeks fulfilment of desires and is not satisfied with the state of affairs. In his attempt to fulfil his desires, he extends his vision far and wide; and yet he turns away dissatisfied. He then begins to think and reason out.
The desire for permanency of happiness and of peace bespeaks such permanency of his own nature. Therefore, he seeks to find and regain his own nature, i.e., his Self. That found, all is found.
Such inward seeking is the path to be gained by man’s intellect. The intellect itself realises after continuous practice that it is enabled by some Higher Power to function. It cannot itself reach that Power. So it ceases to function after a certain stage. When it thus ceases to function, the Supreme Power is still left there all alone. That is Realization; that is the finality; and that is the goal.
It is thus plain that the purpose of the intellect is to realise its own dependence on the Higher Power and its inability to reach the same. So it must annihilate itself before the goal is gained.
J.B: (quoting) “I do not desire kingdoms, etc. Only let me serve Thee for ever; there is my highest pleasure.” Is that right?
Bh: Yes. There is room for kama (desire) so long as there is an object apart from the subject (i.e. as long as there is duality). There can be no desire if there is no object. The state of no-desire is moksha. There is no duality in sleep, and so also no desire. Whereas, there is duality in the waking state and so desire also is there. Because of duality, a desire arises for the acquisition of the object. That is the outgoing mind (bahirmukha vritti), which is the basis of duality and of desire. If one knows that the Bliss is none other than the Self, the mind becomes inward turned. If the Self is gained, all the desires are fulfilled. That is said to be ‘avaptakama‘ in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. That is moksha.
Jamnalal Bajaj, trying to make himself clear by saying that what is meant by sadbuddhi is not the same as buddhi, but means that which holds fast to the good, the right and the chosen path, wanted to know how such steadfastness could be gained.
Bh: What is wanted for gaining the highest goal is the loss of individuality. The intellect is co-extistent with individuality. The loss of individuality can only come after the disappearance of buddhi, sat or asat. The question therefore does not arise.
J.B: But yet one must know the right thing, choose the right path, practise the right dharma and hold fast to it. Otherwise one is lost.
Bh: True, strength accrues by holding to the right direction, without swerving from it.
J.B: Difficulties are met with. How is one to get the necessary strength to overcome the obstacles which beset one’s path?
Bh: By bhakti and satsang.
J.B: Loss of individuality has just been mentioned as a prerequisite for moksha. Now devotion and association with the wise are advised as the methods. Is individuality not implied in them: e.g., ‘I am a bhakta,’ ‘I am a satsangi’?
Bh: The method is pointed out to the seeker. The seeker has certainly not lost his individuality so far. Otherwise the question would not have arisen. The way is shown to effect the loss of individuality of the seeker. It is thus appropriate.
J.B: Is the desire for political independence right?
Bh: Such desire begins with self-interest. Prolonged practical work for the goal gradually widens the outlook so that the individual becomes merged in the country. Such merging of the individual is desirable and the karma is nishkama.
J.B: If independence is gained after a long struggle and terrible sacrifice, isn’t the person justified in being pleased with the result and elated by it?
Bh: He must have in the course of his work surrendered himself to the Higher Power, whose might must be kept in mind and never lost sight of. How then can he be elated? He should not even care for the results of his actions. Then only it becomes nishkama.
J.B: How can unerring rectitude be ensured for the worker?
Bh: If he has surrendered himself to God or Guru, the Power to which he has surrendered will guide him in the right way. The worker need no longer concern himself about the rectitude or otherwise of his course. The doubt will arise only if he did not obey the master in all details.
J.B: Is there not any Power on earth which can bestow Grace on Its devotees so that they may grow strong to work for the country and gain independence? (Sri Maharshi remains in silence).
J.B: Is not the tapas of the ancient mahatmas of the land available for the benefit of its present day inheritors?
Bh: It is. But it must be remembered that no one can claim to be the sole beneficiary. The benefits are shared by all alike. (After a pause) Is it without such Grace that the present awakening has come into being?
J.B: (After a short pause) Sri Rajendra Prasad is such a noble and selfless worker for the country that he has sacrificed a very lucrative career for this work. The country needs him. And yet he is not in good health, and is always weak and ailing. Why should there be such cruelty to such a noble son of the country? (Sri Maharshi simply smiled benignantly).