Lecture delivered on March 7, 1003
The subject of tonight’s discourse, as announced in the papers, is “The Path of Truth”. This is a heading which might have some meaning to the Western ears; but from the stand-point of Vedanta, this is an erroneous title. The path to Truth or the path of Truth is a contradiction in terms. Truth is not distant. How can there be a path to it then? Truth is with you already, it is your Self already. You are in it already, nay, you are Truth. You are that. So it is wrong to make use of the words -Path of Truth. Your realization of God-consciousness, realization of Divinity is not a thing to be accomplished, it is not a thing to be achieved, it is not a tilling to be done; it is done already. You are that already. You have simply to break through the cocoons of desires which imprison you; you have simply to undo what you have done. You have not to do anything, in the positive sense of the word, in order to realize God. Simply undo what you have done in the way of making your prison house, and there you are God already. Truth personified already. But this undoing of what has been done is to some a very hard task, and thus with reference to the path to Truth we shall discuss the process of undoing. There is some effort to be made in undoing your snares. What are these snares, these chains and shackles which bind you? Your ears may today appreciate it or not, the Americans and Europeans may today mark the beauty of this statement or not, the truth remains there all the same. The truth is that all your attachments, all your loves and hatreds, all your desires are shackles and chains. These bind you. These do not allow you to see God. These are your prison house. Your desires bind you. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve Mammon and God at the same time. You cannot be a slave of the flesh and at the same time the master of the Universe. To realize the Truth is to become the master of the Universe, and to entertain desires is to acknowledge bondage, thraldom and slavery of the things of this world, flesh objects. Everybody desires to become Christ, everybody wants to realize the Truth, to become a prophet, but very few, if any, are ready to pay the price.
There was in East India a great wrestler and athlete. He wanted a barber(The barbers do the work of tattooing in India) to tattoo him, to engrave on his arm the picture of a lion. He told the barber to paint a great, magnificent lion on both his arms. He said he was born when the sign of the zodiac, the Lion or Leo, was in Sinha Rasi, so he was born under the right influence of the sign of the zodiac -Lion, Leo, and he was supposed to be a very brave man. The barber took up the needle to paint or tattoo him, and just when he was pricking a little, the athlete could not bear it. He began to pant for breath, and addressed the barber, “Wait, wait, what are you going to do? “The barber said that he was going to draw the tail of the Hon. This fellow, in reality, could not stand the pricking sensation, but made a very queer pretence, and said, 4i Don’t you know that fashionable people cut off the tails of their dogs and horses, and so that lion which has no tail is considered a very strong lion. Why are you drawing the tail of the lion? The tail is not needed”. “Alright”,’ said the barber, “I won’t draw the tail, I will draw the other parts of the lion.”The barber took up the needle again, and just pricked it through his skin. This too the fellow could not bear. He remonstrated and said, “What are you going to do next?”The barber said, “I am going to draw the ears of the lion.”The man said again, “O barber, you are very foolish. Don’t you know the people cut off the ears of their dogs? They don’t keep dogs with long ears. Don’t you know that the lion which is without ears is the best? “The barber desisted. After a while the barber took up his needle and was again pricking him. The man could not bear it and remonstrated, saying, “What are you going to do now, O barber? “The barber said, “I am going to paint now the waist of the lion,” There the man said, “Haven’t you read our poetry, haven’t you read the accounts given by Indian poets? Lions are always painted as having a very small, thin, nominal waist? You need not draw the waist of the lion.”The barber now threw aside his colours and his painting needle, and asked the fellow to go away from his presence.
Here is a man who asserts that he is lion under the influence of the sign of the zodiac called the Sinha Rasi or Leo. Here is a man who pretends to be a great wrestler, a great athlete; here is a man who calls himself a lion. He wants to have lions tattooed all over his body, but he cannot bear the sting of a needle. Such are the majority of people who want to see God, who want to realize Vedanta, who want to know the whole truth this moment, this second, who want to accomplish everything, to become Christ in half a minute. When the time comes to got that lion -Truth -piinted in their souls, to get that lion of righteousness painted or tattooed in their being, they cannot bear the sting, the stinging sensation, there they hesitate. The price I will not pay, but the thing T want. In order that you may reach the Truth and realize the Divinity, your dearest wants and desires will be pricked through and through, your dearest wants and attachments will have to be severed, all your favourite superstitions and prejudices will have to be wiped out, fell your preconceived notions will have to be torn aside,
Free you will have to become of all the debasing and degrading yearnings, pure you will have to make yourself. Purity, purity. Without paying the price, you cannot reach God, you cannot regain your own birthright. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And what is purity of heart? Purity of heart does not mean only abstaining from conjugal sins, it means that, but it means a great deal more. Whether you relish these words today or not, you will have to relish them one day, you will have to come to the same conclusion to day or to-morrow. The conclusion is that all attachment whether it be the attachment to your house, your clock, or your dog, let it be attachment to anything, father, mother or child, for a man who aspires to the realization of Truth, for a man who wants to gain possession of the whole Truth this moment, for a man of noble aspirations, is just as degrading and weakening as adultery. Purity of heart means making yourself free of all clinging to the objects of the world. Renunciation, nothing short of it. Purity of heart means that. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Gain this purity and you see God.
There is a very beautiful story in the old mythology of Atlanta. They say that every man who wanted to wed her had to run a race with her. Nobody could get ahead of her but one person consulted his god Jupiter and asked the advice of his favourite god as to the way of outrunning Atlanta and winning her.
The god gave him a very queer advice. He told this man to bestrew the path along which they had to run with gold bricks. You know the god Jupiter could not help this devotee of his to outrun Atlanta in any other way. This Atlanta had got from the highest deity a boon which made her the strongest and swiftest being in the whole Universe. But this devotee of Jupiter threw gold bricks all along the race-course, and challenged Atlanta to run a race with him. Both began to run. This man was naturally much weaker than Atlanta. She outran him in one second, but as she had lost sight of him, she saw gold bricks lying along the path and stooped to pick them up. While she was picking up the gold bricks, that devotee went ahead of her. There after a minute or so she overtook him again and again saw to the left of the race-course another brick. She went to pick up that brick and got it. In the meantime that devotee of Jupiter went ahead of her and after a while she got him again, and there she found some more gold bricks. She stooped to pick up those; in the meantime that fellow outran her and so on. Towards the close of the race, Atlanta had got with her a very heavy load of gold. It was very difficult for her to carry it and also outrun him. Finally that man got the better of Atlanta who was won. All the gold that Atlanta had got also fell to the share of the man who outran her, it went to him and she herself went over to that man. He got everything.
Such is the way with most people who want to tread the path of Righteousness and the path of Truth. When you commence to tread the path of Truth, you find all sorts of base lucre and worldly temptations around you. You sloop to pick them up, but the moment you do so and enjoy these worldly temptations and enjoyments, you find you are lagging behind. You are losing the race, procrastinating, making your path dreary, and losing everything. Beware of worldly attachment and materiality. You cannot reach the Truth and also enjoy worldly pleasures. The saying goes that if you enjoy the Truth, you will no longer be able to enjoy worldly pleasures. Enjoy worldly pleasures and Truth will elude your grasp, get ahead of you. Rama is telling you the Truth today. So many people come to Rama and say to him over and over again that they want realization. You may gain realization this moment. Get rid of attachment and at the same time shake off all hatred-and jealousy. What is jealousy, what is hatred? It is inverted attachment. When we hate somebody, it is because we are attached to something else. Here you will ask how you are to get rid of your sons. brothers, and husbands, etc. Well, this is your own look-out. The how and what way is your own look-out. But the truth is, let Truth or God become your father, let God or Truth become your mother, let God or Truth be to you your wife, let God or Truth be to you your grandfather, your teacher, your house, your property, your everything. Have all your attachments severed from every object, and concentrate yourself on one thing, the one fact, one truth, your divinity. Immediately on the spot you gain realization.
There is a beautiful song in the Indian language, which need not be sung here. The purport of the song is that if your father stands in the way of your realizing the Truth, tread over him, go Beyond him, just as Prahlad, a hero in India, forsook his father, because the latter stood in the way of his realizing the Truth. If your mother stands in the way of your realizing the Truth, forsake her. This is what the New Testament says. The Hindu Bible also says the same. Love Truth for the sake of your parents. Love and honour your parents as far as they do not retard your progress toward the Truth. If your brother stands in the way of your realizing the Truth, shake him off just as Bibhishan did. If your wife stands in the way of your realizing the Truth, cast her aside just as Bhartrihari did. If your husband stands in the way of your realizing the truth, throw him off just as Mira did. If your preceptor, your religious guide, stands in the way of your realizing the Truth, shake him off, cast him overboard just as Bhishma did because, your real relative, your truest friend is Truth and Truth alone. All other relations and companions are only fleeting, for a day only, but Truth is with you always. Truth is your real self; Truth is nearer to you than our parents. Truth is nearer to you than your wife, children, friends, etc. Respect Truth more than kings, parents, children, father, mother, any one.
There is a fine illustration given by the life of a king in India. He trod the path of Truth. It is said that lie was going up the Himalayas to let his body melt down in the snows. There is a long story about it. Rama need not relate to you the whole. For some reason, for a great reason, he was going with his parents, with his wife and wife’s brothers, and his four brothers, on the summits of the Himalayas. It is said that he was treading the path of Righteousness; he was going to seek Truth. He was going ahead, marching on. His younger brother was following him and after his younger brother came his other brother, and so on in the right order, and after the brothers was the wife of this king. He goes ahead, his face towards the good, and eyes set upon the Truth. He found that his wife was bewailing behind him, tottering down she could not follow him, she was fatigued and about to die. Here the king did not turn his face back, he asked his wife to run up to him a few feet and there he would carry her with him. “Come up to me, come up to me.” But she could not go up to him for those three feet. She was lagging behind, she could not manage to go up to him, and he did not turn back: to turn back one step from the Truth is not allowable. Never will King Yudhishthira turn back one step. The wife totters down but for her sake the king is not to turn back from the Truth. Thousands of wives you have had in your previous births, and if you have any future births, you don’t know how many times you will be married again; how many relatives you have had, and how many relatives you will have in the future. For the sake of these ties and relations you have not to turn back from the Truth, go ahead, go ahead. Let nothing draw you back. Have more respect for Truth than for your wife. Have more respect for Divinity. The Truth concerns the whole human race. Divinity or Truth concerns all time, is eternal, and your worldly ties are not so. They are momentary. Bear in mind the law that what is really good for you, must be really good for your wife or your companions. If you see that for urn it is really beneficial to live apart from your wife, remember that for her also it is really good to live apart from you. This is the rule. The same divinity or truth that underlies your personality, underlies the personality or being of your wife also. The wife of King Yudhishthira fell down. But the king went straight on and asked his brothers to follow him. They ran on with him for sometime, but the youngest brother could not keep pace any longer. He was tottering down overtaken with fatigue and was about to fall down when he cried, “Brother, brother Yudhishthira, I am going to die, save rue, gave me” King Yudhishthira did not turn his eyes away from the goal, from the truth on he went, went ahead. He simply calls out to his younger brother to gather courage enough to run up to him those two or three feet, and he would take him with him on that condition, but for nothing, nothing would he go one step behind to give him even a pull. On he goes. The youngest brother dies. After a while the second brother who was at the end of the rope, cried and was about to totter down. He calls for help. “Brother, brother Yudhishthira, help me, help me. I am going to fall down”. But brother Yudhishthira does not turn back. On he goes. This way all the brothers died, but King Yudhishthira did not swerve or turn back a single step. Away he goes, on he goes to the path of Righteousness. The story runs that when King Yudhishthira reached the pinnacle of Truth, when he reached the goal, God himself, Truth personified appeared to him. Just as we read in the Bible that God appeared in the shape of a dove, so in the Hindu Scriptures we read about God appearing to certain persons in the body of an angel or in the shape of the King of Heaven. So the story goes that when King Yudhishthira reached the pinnacle of Truth, Truth personified approached and asked him to go in person to Heaven, to ascend to Heaven. As you read in the Bible about certain people being raised alive to Heaven, so here is the story of King Yudhishthira being asked to ascend to Heaven alive.
When he looked at his right hand side, he found a dog with him. King Yudhishthira said, “O God, O Truth, if you want to raise me to the highest heaven, you will have to take this dog also with me. Let this dog also ascend to the highest heaven with me.”But the story says that God or Truth personified said, “King Yudhishthira, that cannot be. The dog is not worthy of being taken to the highest heaven, the dog has yet to pass through many transmigrations, the dog has yet to come into the body of man and live the right life, and live as a pure, immaculate person, then can it be raised to the highest heaven. You are worthy of being taken to the highest heaven in body, but not the dog”. There King Yudhishthira says,”O Truth, O God, I come here for your sake and not for the sake of Heaven or Paradise. If you want to raise me to the highest Paradise and to enthrone me there, you will have to take this dog also with me. My wife did not keep pace with me, she staggered on the path of Righteousness. My youngest brother did not keep pace with me, he staggered on the path of Truth; my other brothers did not keep company with me, they forsook me, they yielded themselves to weakness, they allowed temptations to get the better of them, they did not keep pace with me, but here is this dog, he alone comes up with me. Here is the dog. He shares my pains, ho shares my struggles, he shares my lights, he partakes of my anguish, he labours with me. Here is this dog. If this dog divides with me my difficulties, my hard fights and struggles, why should not he enjoy my paradise or heaven? I will never go to your paradise or heaven if you do not make this dog share equally with me that paradise or heaven. I have no use for your paradise if you do not let in this don with me.”There the story says that Truth personified or (rod said once more to King Yudhishthira, “Please do not ask this favour of me, do not ask me to take this dog with you.”But King Yudhishthira said, “Away, ye Brahma, you are no Truth or God personified. You may be some devil, you cannot be God or Truth, because if you see Truth, then why should you allow any injustice in your presence? Don’t you mark that if you give me the exclusive enjoyment of heaven, and don’t allow the dog to share it, my happiness, then you are unjust to the dog who shared my trouble? This is not worthy of God or Truth personified.”The story says that on this. Truth personified or God appeared in his true colours, and that very dog was immediately found to be no longer the dog but to be in full glory the Lord Almighty Himself. That king was being examined and tried, and in the final examination, in the final trial, he came out successful.
This is the way you have to tread the path of Truth. Even if your dearest and nearest companions, those who are next of kin to you, do not keep pace with you on the path of righteousness, do not look upon them as your friends, and if a dog accompanies you on the path of righteousness, that dog should be the nearest and dearest being to you. Thus make your friends on the principle of favouring your righteousness, select no friend on the principle of favouring your evil nature. If you select your companions on the principle that they enjoy the same kind of evil propensities that you do, suffering, anguish and excruciating pain will be your lot.
It is related of a Hindu saint that he was once going through the streets hungry. You know in India saints or sages come down from the mountains and walk through the streets when they are hungry, and beg food for their bodies. On very rare occasions they visit the streets. Usually they live outside the cities in the forests, devoting their time entirely to God-consciousness. The hungry saint was fed. If Rama also takes something, you will have good reason to excuse him. A lady brought to him dainty food to eat. He just took that loaf of bread in his handkerchief, left the house, went out into the forest, as is the way with monks in India. There he put it in water and making it wet ate it. The next day he came again to the streets at the usual time. Again the girl approached him, and gave him something very rich to eat. He went back. The third day also that girl brought him something very good to eat, but while she was giving him this dainty food, she made the remark, “I keep waiting for you. My eyes have become sore in waiting for you, in keeping watch at the door. Your eyes have bewitched me.”These were the words that escaped the lips of that lady. The sage went away. He went to some other door and there he got some food, and eating that food he went out to the forests and threw into the river the food which was offered him by the first lady who expressed her love to him, and the other food that was presented to him by the second lady he ate, and the next day, do you know what he did? He got very hot irons and poked out his eyes, and tied them in his handkerchief and with the aid of a stick, with great difficulty walking the streets felt his way to the house of the lady who had expressed her love to him, and there he found that the lady was waiting for him very anxiously. His eyes were fixed on the ground. The lady did not notice that he had poked out his eyes, and when she brought something very rich for him to eat, he presented hi& eve-balls to her saying, “Mother, mother, take up these eyes because the eves had bewitched YOU, and had caused you so much trouble. You have every right to possess these eyes. Mother, you wanted these eyes. Have them, keep them, love and enjoy them, do with these eye-balls whatever you wish, but for heaven’s sake, for mercy’s sake, do not retard my progress onward. Make me not stumble in the path of Truth.”
Now we see, O people, that if your eyes are the stumbling block in our way, cast them out. It is better for your body to be without light than for your whole being1 to perish in darkness. This is the way.
If your eyes stand in the way of your realizing the Truth, poke them out. If your ears tempt you and keep you backward, cut them out. If your wife, money, property, wealth, or anything stands in the way, away with it. Could you love Truth with the same love as you have for your wife and relatives, could you love Divinity and Atman or realization with the same zest or zeal with which you love your wife, could you love God with even half the love that you show your wife, you would realize the Truth this second. You realize God when you begin to tread the path of righteousness, and overcome some of the temptations which present themselves in the beginning, if you come out victorious over the ordinary temptations, what will you find? You will not find this path all rough and without any beauty, you will not find this path rugged through and through. They say that the path of Truth is narrower than a nee He’s end. In the Vedas it is written that the path of Truth is as sharp and narrow as the razor’s edge, but this is not the whole truth. In the beginning the path seems to be very narrow and sharp, but when you come out victorious over the ordinary temptations, you will find the path to be wonderfully beautiful and exceedingly easy. You will find that the whole of nature helps you and everything stands on your side. These difficulties, these temptations these obstacles, these struggles and oppositions only bully you. They only scare and frighten you, but do not really harm you. If you can outstare them and scare them off, you will find that the difficulties were only seeming difficulties, the difficulties and temptations were only seeming difficulties and temptations. You will find all nature standing on your side, the whole of creation ready to lackey you. You will find that out.
It is said in one of the Hindu Scriptures which is the Iliad of India and which relates the story of Rama, the greatest hero of the world, or at least of India, that when he went to search out Truth, to discover or regain Truth, all Nature offered him her services. It is said that monkeys formed his army and squirrels helped him in building a bridge over the gulf. It is said that even geese came up on his side to assist him in overcoming his foes. It is said that the stones offered him their services. The stones forgot their nature; the stones, when thrown into water, instead of sinking, said, “We shall float in order that the cause of Truth be advanced.”It is said that air, the atmosphere, was on his side, fire held him, winds and storms were on his side. There is a saying in the English language that the wind and wave are always for the brave. All nature stands up on your side when you persist, when you overcome the primitive seeming difficulties. If you overcome the struggles or temptations in the beginning, the nature must serve you. Persist in standing by the Truth, and you will find that you live in no ordinary world. The world will be a world of miracles for you, miracles all around you, and woe unto the gods if they do not lackey you in your advance onward Nature is waiting anxiously upon the ruler of the Universe. You are the master of the Universe, you are the husband of the whole world, if you persist by the Truth.
Now Rama will conclude by relating to you the life of, according to Rama, one of the greatest men in the world, the life of an Indian saint. Shamas Tabrez is his name. This man was born under peculiar circumstances. The story may be true or false, we have nothing to do with it, but there must be some truth in it. It is related about his father that he was once the poorest man in the country. That poorest man devoted his life entirely to God-consciousness. He forgot that his body was ever born, he entirely forgot that his personality ever existed in this world. For him the world had never been a world. He was God, all Divinity. And just when a man’s whole being is saturated with an idea, from head to foot, every pore of his body was alive to God-consciousness. It is related that when he walked through the streets, the people heard through the pores of his body this song “Haq, Analhaq,” which means “God, I am God.”The song on his lips was always “Analhaq, Analhaq, Divinity I am, Divinity I am,” The ordinary people gathered around him. They wanted to murder him. They accused him of heresy. Why is he calling himself God? He was Divinity himself, to him the body was no body, the world was no world. When the words ‘Analhaq’ escaped his lips, he was not even conscious of that. Just as a man snores when asleep, similarly from his stand-point he was entirely lost in divinity, and if those words ‘Analhaq’ escaped his lips, they were like the snoring of a man who is asleep. But the people wanted to kill him. What is that to him, whom will you kill? You will kill the body, but that body from his stand-point never existed. Kill his body, what pain can it cause him? It is related that this man’s body was placed upon a cross. You know that putting a body on a cross is an easy thing, but there the}’ have something worse than a cross. It was a long iron pole, pointed at the end, with a needlelike end, and the heart of the man was placed exactly on the top of the iron pole, the sharp pointed end of the iron pole had to press through the solar plexus. This way was the man put to death in those days. You see this is worse than a cross even! His body was placed upon a cross of that kind, and it is related that while his body was placed there, this man’s face was glowing with glory, and through every hair of his body the same sweet song was all the time coming out— “Analhaq, I am God, I am God. Divinity I am, Divinity I am.” The body dies, to him it makes no difference. There you see that if for the sake of Truth you have to give up the body, give it up. This is the last attachment broken. What to say of giving up worldly attachments for the sake of Truth, for the sake of Truth you have to give up not only worldly attachments, but if there be need to give up the body, give it up. This is how you have to tread the path of Truth. Here when the man was hanging upon that pointed pole, drops of blood fell from his body, and the story says that those drops of blood were gathered by a young girl. This young girl who believed the same way as the saint, this young girl who was of the same thought as the preacher, drank up this blood, and they say that she was conceived. It may be true or false, we have nothing to do with that. According to the Vedanta, if Christ could be of immaculate conception, this could also be true, because here was a man who was not inferior to Christ, really superior to him in many respects. This woman gave birth to a boy who is the sage whose life Rama wants to relate to you. From his beginning, from his very childhood he was all Divinity, even far exceeding his father. There is such a great book, you will believe that, a large work which came from the lips of this hero. This man did not take up a pen and write it, but it is said that through him always poetry came out, all that he spoke was poetry, all that he said was poetry. But what kind of poetry? Not the doggerel of your American poets. It was real poetry in the true sense of the word. It was God-consciousness and nothing else. It was sublime with divine ideas. Every word is worth its weight in gold, if it could be weighed at all.
There is a very remarkable fret related about this man. At one time there appeared to him some people who were connected with some show, you might say, a circus or some other kind of show. When they per-: formed in the presence of the king, he was highly pleased with them, and offered them a thousand dollars. Afterwards the king repented. The king did not think it advisable to give away thousands of dollars every night for mere empty shows and so, in order to get back his thousand dollars, he made a pretence, and asked those people to appear in the garb of a lion, and thus if the lion’s performance was pleasing to the king, he might give them something enormous, something great, otherwise the king would fine them all their property. These people could not give a lion’s performance, they could not put on the garb or assume the shape of a lion and please the king. You see, in India, there are people who put on all sorts of garbs and appear in the shape of some animals and make themselves appear to all intents and purposes the animals they play, but they could not assume the garb of the lion. These people came to this man and were weeping and crying and shedding tears. The story says that this sage being in tune with the universe, in harmony with the whole nature, being one with each and all, natural sympathy overtook his heart, and all of a sudden he spoke to those people to be of good cheer because he was to appear as a lion, and to give the performance of a lion himself. So the story goes that the next day when the king and his courtiers were all standing, waiting to see a man assume the shape and figure of a lion, all of a sudden, as if by magic, a real lion jumped into the pit. This lion at once roared and roared, he took up the child of the king and tore it to pieces. He took up some other boy and threw it out to the sky. You see here was a man who was in reality divinity and God. To this man the idea “I am this little puny body” had become a thing of the past, it had become absolutely meaningless. He was Divinity himself, and the God that appeared in the shape of a lion, the same was he, and he was in a moment’s thought a lion. (Just as you think so you become, and if you have felt and realized your divinity as God, all your thoughts and desires are bound to fructify, to be realized on the spot.) So this man’s thought that he could appear as a lion was immediately realized, and a lion he was. The show was over. The sage after killing this boy went away, because he had not to become a lion and respect this body or that. He was no respecter of persons. But here the king was exasperated, the king and that courtiers were all rage personified, they wanted to wreak vengeance upon this man. They came to him and said, “Sir, sir, please bring this toy to life again. If you can kill him, you can bring him to life also. Bring him back to life, just as Christ used to bring to life the dead, by saying Bismillah—which means ‘Rise in the name of God, glorify God and walk, be alive, come back to life’.”They asked him to make that dead boy come to life in the name of God. The sage laughed and said, “Come back to life in the name of God,” but the boy did not revive. The saint said, “The boy does not come to life in the name of God.”He said again, u Come to life in the name of God.”Still the boy did not come to life. He said again, “Come to life, get up and walk in the name of God the Lord,” but the boy did not come to life. The sage smiled and said, “Qum Bizzini.”“Come to life by my order, through my command, come to life “and the boy came to life. This is the truth, “Qum Bizzini,”“Come to life in my name,” and the boy was all right. The boy came to life, but the people all around him could not bear it. They said, “Here is a man, a heretic. He takes all this credit to himself. He wants to make himself equal to God. He ought to be put to death. He ought to be murdered, flayed alive.”To the sage it meant nothing. The people understood him not. He is not calling the body, the little personality, God. He had already killed and crucified his flesh. The people wanted to slay him alive, and the story says that that man immediately applied his nails to his head, and just as the skin of animals is torn and separated from the body, so with his own nails he tore his own skin, cut it off and threw it away. And there is a fine, long poem written by him on that occasion. The purport of that song is “O self, O self,” he is addressing himself, “to whom the poison of the world is nectar and O self, to whom the nectar of the world (that is to say, the sensuous enjoyments) is poison. Here are people wanting something. The world is nothing else but a dead carcass (and here dead carcass means “sensuous enjoyments “), the worldly pleasures are nothing else but a dead carcass and the people who run after them are no better than dogs. Here are these dogs. Give them this flesh to eat. This story may or may not be true. Rama has nothing to do with it, but the spirit of the story, the moral of the story, you have to bear in mind.
Here in order to realize the truth, to tread the path of righteousness, give up all attachment, rise above worldly desires and selfish clingings. If you free yourself of worldly clingings and selfish desires, what about the Truth? Truth you are this moment, Fools pray, “More light, I want more light.”You need not pray that way. You need not waste even a prayer on calling for Light. If you make yourselves this second divested of all desires, if you free yourselves of all worldly clingings, you know that every desire of yours chops out a part of yourself, leaves you only a small fraction of yourself. How seldom it is that we meet a whole man! A whole man is an inspired man, a whole man is the Truth. Every wish or clinging makes you a proper fraction, but in reality an improper portion, insignificant portion of yourself. The very moment you cast overboard these desires, clingings, loves, hatreds and attachments and also throw off even the desire for light and chant OM for a second, freeing yourself from hatred and attachment, well balanced in equilibrium, nothing of yourself left with that person, with that body, or with that object, all that part of yourself which you have left with this object or desire gone, sit still, chant OM and then think who it is within you. Is it not your own self that makes the hair grow and the blood flow through your veins? Is it not your own self who created this body? This wonderful world is also your handiwork. This is your own creation most certainly. Mark it. Who is it that hears through you? Is it not yourself? Who is it that sees through you? Is it not yourself? Who is it that mikes the blood flow in your veins? Is it not yourself? And if that Self of yours could work out such marvellous facts, the world is your own creation. Feel that and rejoice in your own divinity, and derive pleasure from within you, enjoy happiness of your own Atman. Throw aside all abnormal desires and inordinate wishes. Chant OM, OM. If you do that for a few moments, your whole being from head to foot becomes Light. Why pray for Light when Light is your own self? You become Light immediately. Make yourself whole, get rid of desires and attachment, get rid of this repulsion and attraction. It is attachment that detaches. When you reach home, see to what you are attached. If you are attached to name or fame, give up that. If you are attached to the desire for popularity, detach yourself; if you are attached even to the wish, to the desire to help the world, give that up. This seems to be something inordinate. Why should the world be so poor as to be begging help from you all the time?
Rama says take up your duty or work with no notice or desire on your part. Do your work, enjoy your work, because your work by itself is pleasure, because work is the other name of realization. Take to your work because work you have to do. Work leads you to realization. Do not take to work on any other ground. Come to your work in an independent spirit, just as a prince to play football or some other game for pleasure’s sake, so come to your work because pleasure or happiness lives in the garb of work. Independent we feel, not bound by a thing.
People say duty, duty, duty. Why should Duty lord it over you? Feel no responsibility to anybody, you are your own lord. Have no fear. We say you will have to work, but when doing other work, which work you make religious, which you make holy and sacred, you are engaged in that, well and good; when your hands are not employed, when your hands are free and you are sitting in your room, enjoy your godhead, relish your divinity. That is the finest work. There throw aside all attachment you own. People say that attachment is necessary, motives are necessary to make us work. A false idea. Give up all attachment, free yourself of all desires, and the very second you find yourself free, you feel no responsibility or burdens thrown on your shoulders. All the burdens on your shoulders are placed there by yourself. Nobody is required to come and relieve you of the burdens. When you find that there is no burden on your shoulders, when you find all the objects of love are with you, when you live this Vedanta, your whole being is Light, Being the Light of lights, to whom are you to pray for Light? This is the secret. Free you become. Who puts you in bondage? Who it is that enslaves you? Your own desires, nothing else. All the magnetism of the world, all the powers of the world flow from you, all the miracles of the world are your abject slaves, nothing more. Get rid of these desires, free you become this moment, and when you get rid of all desires, what immense joy should it not bring you? No responsibility, no fear. Why should you fear? Because you are afraid that this thing should be lost. You fear this man, you fear that, you fear ridicule, because you desire this good name, you are attached to good name. All fear and anxiety is the result of desires. Headaches and heartaches are the consequence of desires. You cringe and sneak before the President or King, because you desire his good grace. You become the Lord of lords, the King of kings when you are free of desires, when one by one these desires are thrown off. How free and happy you become that moment! Thus Rama says that the path of Truth is not a thing to be accomplished or brought about, your exertions and efforts are that you will have to undo simply the bondage and thraldom which you have already done through your desires.
Pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize turner, its bloom is shed,
Or like the snowfall on the river,
A moment white, then lost forever,
Or like the Borealis race
That Hits ere you can find its place,
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Vanishing amid the storm.