Lecture delivered on February 5, 1903, in the Golden Gate Hall, San Francisco
My own Self in form of ladles and gentlemen,
Here are some questions for Rama to answer.
Question—How can we learn to see ourselves as others see us?
Answer—If you learn to see yourself as others see you, it will do you no good. Others see us as that which we are not; they see us not as we really are. If people looked upon you as God, if they could see the Godhead within you, if they could see you as Divinity, then you would be truly understood. Relatives, brothers, father, mother, friends—all din into your ears that you are what you are not. Somebody calls you son, others brothers, friend, enemy, etc., all these limit you. One man calls you a good man, he limits you; another calls you a bad man, he limits you; another flatters you or puffs you up, he also limits you; another degrades you, denounces you, that also places manacles upon you, limits and binds you. Happy is the man who stands up in opposition to each and all, and asserts his Divinity, his Godhead. The man who realizes his true Atman, his true Self, the man who can stand aright and assert his Divinity before the whole world and before all other worlds around him and recognize his oneness with Divinity, is in a position to defy all these worlds. The very moment you are ready to stand up for your Divinity, that very moment the whole world is bound to regard you God; the whole universe must regard you as God.
Question—Please tell us the meaning of Raja Yoga.
Answer—Raja Yoga means the royal method or royal road to concentration. That is the literal meaning. Raja means royal method or road and Yoga means concentration.
Question—Give us the best method or give us a method such as all may adopt to spread the Vedantic Philosophy.
Answer—The very best method of spreading the Vedantic Philosophy is to live it, there is no other royal road.
People always want to get something material, something gross, something that they can lay their hands on. They want to lay their hands on or get hold of gross material objects and are continually foiled, yet they don’t want to give up that materiality; they want something in the form of hard cash, they don’t want to give up form and figure.
O dear brother, these so-called hard cash forms, these material facts are nothing but illusions of the senses, nothing else. He who relies on so-called facts and figures will never succeed. Relying upon forms and limitations will never bring success; that is not the secret of success. The secret of success is to rely on the subtle principle—Truth, Get hold of that, realize that, feel that, live that, and these names, these facts and forms and figures will seek you.
It was illustrated by two men who were being carried away by a mighty river. One of the men caught hold of a big log and the other caught hold of a fine thread. The one who caught hold of the big log was drowned, while the one who caught hold of the fine thread was saved. Similarly people who depend upon big supports, people who depend upon big names and property, will be foiled in the long run. Depend upon the fine thread of Truth, the fine thread of Reality. If you feel your Divinity, you realize your Divinity, it matters not where you live, in the deep forests or in the crowded streets; realizing Truth will convert everything, will change the whole world.
Here is a table. Suppose you want to move it. If you exert a force at any corner, if you take hold of the table at any corner or at any one of the sides, you can move the table, the table is gone. The whole world is like a great rigid body and your body is like one corner or one point of this table. If you catch hold of this single point, if you lift it, if you elevate it, if you call it God, if you call it Divinity, if this single point be merged, as it were, in Divinity, if this single point be raised with this force, the whole world will be drawn, the whole world will be moved, because the whole world is like a rigid, solid body as the table. Give your personality a lift and you lift the whole world. It is a great blunder, a grand mistake to believe in organizations or big bodies, in great churches and missions. It is a grand blunder, it brings nothing but failure, and it will be seen by the world sooner or later. Similarly people, who depend upon one body only, and not upon organizations and societies, are the people who change the whole world. People who belong to associations and societies, raise dollars, build houses, buy clothing, but such conquest is not spiritual growth.
Jackals in the woods always form great congregations, large associations. They always meet in large numbers, they stand and sit together and also howl together, grand assemblies are they and lots of noise they make. Similarly sheep depend upon their flocks, they congregate and form associations; but are jackals or sheep able to stand up and face the enemy? No, no. Did you ever hear of lions living in numbers, did you ever learn of lions travelling in numbers, did you ever hear of their forming associations or congregations?
Eagles are the kings of the birds. Do they form associations? O, no. It is the tiny, the small birds that fly together. Eagles and lions live alone, but an eagle can put to flight all your congregations of small birds.
Elephants form congregations. They travel in large numbers, it is because of their sociable nature; they are gregarious animals, huge animals in size, but a single lion comes alone and repulses and scatters a whole congregation of elephants. Depend not on associations or congregations, it is the business of each and all to be strong within himself.
Similarly the best way to spread Vedanta is to live Vedanta, whether it be in the midst of others or alone. Live it, the air is bound to take it up; the sun, the moon, the stars, the skies, all are bound to take it up and it must spread.
Did Christ form a congregation? No, no. The poor fellow lived alone. Did Shankaracharya form a congregation? No, the poor fellow lived alone. Each fellow must stand alone, each one must feel and realize the Divinity within. The very moment you feel it, the very moment you realize and live it, that very moment it will gush out of you like the light going out of the Sun.
Remember, mind ye, all these attempts to bring about reform, all these attempts to reform mankind, which are based upon or which depend upon money or outside help or which seek something from others, all these attempts which beg, all result in failure.
This is the Law. Depend only upon the Supreme, Infinite, Reality within, and when aid from outside seeks you, all right, you may condescend to accept it. It should be a condescension on your part, if they are willing to become recruits, willing to become disciples. Depend upon them, the very moment you depend on them, that very moment they will leave you, they will forsake you, this is the Law. Never depend upon outside aid, depend only on yourself, upon the Spirit within, that is necessary, nothing else. These big forms, taken up by people, all these long-tailed titles, all are failures; they miss the mark; they do not release any body, they do not free anybody, they do not make anybody independent, they bring about suffering and trouble.
Take a dead carcass. We can vivify it by electricity, we can make it move its lips, we can make it lift its arms, we can make it bend this way and that way, but Oh! that is not life. Similarly all the aid which comes from outside, all the power that you gain from riches, from wealth, from clothes, all the flattery that is bestowed upon you by the newspapers and all the praise which you gain from the press, all the attention which you get from disciples and devotees, all this aid is simply the aid of electricity to make the carcass move, it brings no life, it removes no suffering, it makes you not free and independent. Life comes not at the beat of trumpets, life grows from the seed, from within and not from without.
Here is a living seed, the small embryo; life is there, it will grow from within, it will take a little time, but it will be real life and no sham.
We can produce instantaneous effects and most astonishing results through electricity by making a carcass move, by making a carcass lift up its head or lift up its hand etc., but life is not there. Life is what we want. Similarly Rama says, let the seeds be sown, let the Truth be dinned and instilled into your ears, the seed once sown we need not bother much about it. Similarly to spread Vedanta, to preach Vedanta, you must realize the Truth yourself; the seeds will be sown; never mind about its further growth; it will continue to grow without your bothering about it.
There was once a sage who had a very devoted disciple, a very devoted follower who used to visit him everyday. It happened once that the sage went away for a time, and when he returned to that place, his former devoted disciple never visited him. Other people came and remarked the continued absence of the disciple, and lodged a complaint against the former disciple who used to keep company with the sage. The sage smiled and said, “Why find fault; why utter any complaint against him; what need is there of his coming to me; why should he attach himself to this body? I am not this personality, I am not this body. If he regards me as this body, if he regards me as this personality, he himself will be crucified. Let him alone see this real Self that I am, this Truth, this Divinity, Supreme Power that I am. Let him be faithful to my teachings, and he will be free, he will be blissful.” Again the sage said, “When a mare is once conceived, she need not again visit the horse; the seed is sown and in due time she will bring forth a colt.” Similarly he said, “Seeds are being sown and I bother not about results, the seed will produce results.”
So it is nothing to Rama whether you continue holding meetings or not; it is nothing to Rama whether you remember the name of Rama or crush it under your feet, it is nothing to Rama, whether you flatter or curse or denounce this body, all the time the seed is being sown, let it produce results. Again why should we bother about the world or whatever there is in it? The moment we stand up as reformers of the world, we become deformers of the world.
Physician, heal thyself.
According to Vedanta, the whole world is nothing else but God, the whole world is perfect, the whole world is Divinity, is my own Self, the whole world is one. In that case, if I take up a method of reform, if I see that you are down-trodden, if I see that you are miserable and wretched through petty desires, that very moment I am deforming you, because I look upon you as something different from myself. So Vedanta says, “O reformers, who take up this role, you look upon the world as sinners, you look upon the world as deformed and abuse them.” Why should the world be so poor as to ask help of you? Christ came and did all he could to raise, to enlighten the people, but the world was not reformed. Krishna came and did what he could. Buddha came, all the many philosophers came, but there is still the same pain, suffering and trouble, the world we find the same. Are people any happier today? Have your railways, your cars, your telegraphs, your telephones, your great ships, all your great scientific productions make people happier? It is just like a fraction whose numerator and denominator have both been increased; the fraction seems different, it seems to be increased, but it is in reality the same fraction increased proportionately. If your incomes or possessions have increased, your desires have also increased. It is like the tail of a dog; if you hold it out straight, it is straight; but the moment you let it go, it curls up as it was before. So those people who stand up or start with a desire of reforming, those who make noise in this way in the universe, are self-deluded. Young men, remember, you make a great mistake by starting something in the world. Throw not your centre of gravity outside yourself. Feel, feel your real Godhead, and the moment you are filled with Divinity, that very moment spontaneously, permanently will flow life, energy and power. That is the way to spread the Truth.
Archimedes used to say, “I can move the whole world if I can get a fixed point,” but the poor fellow never found the fixed point. The fixed point is within you; get hold of it, feel it, feel it, realize it, realize that you are Divinity, that you are the Lord of lords, the Arbiter of all justice, the Source of all beauty, all force, all power, realize that you are the King of the whole world: you are that and this realization of your true Self will of itself conquer the whole world, will give the world life, will set it agoing.
The Sun does all his work according to or on the principles of Vedanta. He is the origin, the source of life and energy of the whole world. The Sun is a Vedantin and acts upon the advice given to you by Rama. The Sun does that. He gives all life, all energy to the world, but he does it impersonally. There is no egoism in him, there is no selfish nature in him, no little self-aggrandizement in him: he fills himself with energy, he is all force, all energy, all light and activity. So when you get up and the Sun comes, does he make any special announcement of his coming, does he write a book or a pamphlet about it, does he make any noise about it? O, no, but you see all this earth, this world of yours is vivified, this earth of yours is brought into life; O, how slowly, how gradually, how slowly but surely Nature wakes up; rivers wake up; you know at night they are frozen, but the Sun comes up, warms them, gives them life, and they flow. Roses and flowers on the banks of the lakes and streams are blown up by the warm, loving rays of the Sun.
Again the lotuses of the eyes of men are blown up, or in other words, men also wake up and are filled with life and activity; the air is set in motion, the air is full of life and action, because the sun has life and action, and through him flow light and activity to the whole world. He thinks not of taking any credit to himself for vivifying the world, for waking you up, or making the birds sing, or for making the flowers bloom. Everything comes to pass through him, because he depends upon himself, because he lives that life within him. This is the principle—Live that life within you, live that Atman within you, feel that you are the Light of lights, the Lord of lords, the Arbiter of all justice, vigour and beauty, and that all existence is due to you; feel that, feel that! Try these spiritual experience, and then see!
What do they do to keep a little son, a little child happy, cheerful? All these silly mothers and silly fathers, all become disciples of the child. The child’s lessons are learnt by each and all. How are they disciples? They begin to talk like children, they begin to dance like children, they begin to make faces with the child; the child begins to ride their shoulders, this little tyrant! The child lives his innocence; the child is free, he is not afraid of anybody. Those pouting, little lips are more imperative, more impressive, more persuasive than any of your Demosthenes or Burkes. His will must be done. This little tyrant whose physique is so frail, whose hands and limbs are so tiny, has faith in himself, his will must be done. He is strong in his weakness. Filled with faith in himself he does not compromise himself. Parents often sell property, everything is sacrificed for the good of the child, of that little tyrant, and woe to the man who does not obey his commands! The secret power in the child is Vedanta. To him the world is no world, to him this prudence is nothing, to him there is nothing but happiness supreme, and all power; all power is within the innocent sweet little child. This is the secret of success of the child. Similarly live Vedanta, feel, realize that you are the Lord Almighty; the Ruler of the universe, the Lord of lords, God of gods, the Governor and Controller of all the bodies in the world; feel, feel that “I am the Reality” and feel it, live it, and you will get disciples, disciples enough. Children without advertising, without currying favour with any great man, without soliciting favours from the press, get disciples; any one who looks at a child is a disciple. Is it not a fact?
Live Vedanta and you will get people enough to listen to you. When the Moon rises, there is no lack of people who come forth to enjoy its beauty. In India, on new Moon day, all come out of the houses and look at the Moon, and worship the Divinity within. That is called dwitiya which means “Happy Day.” On that day the people eat good and delicious food, and visit relatives and friends, and make merry.
Let the Moon rise in your hearts and do not bother about the modus operandi, the ways and means will seek you, they must seek you. When a rose blooms there is no scarcity of bees. Where there is honey, ants must seek it.
Similarly care only to produce honey within your hearts, bring forth the full grown roses of knowledge within you, then all will come, you will need nothing, you will want nothing. If there is anything you want, it is Divinity, realization within. When you fall back, everything will leave you. When you have a firm hold of the Divinity within, when you have learnt that, when you live it, then the whole world is like a dog, it wants to lick your feet. Do not hunt after it, the secret of all power is within you and nothing else.
There are the Shasta Springs here in California. It is said the water there is very fine. Everybody wants to go there. Shasta Springs ought not to be anxious about visitors, they ought not to have to issue any proclamations, they need not send any advertisements to people. People must and will seek them out.
Similarly the moment the pure, fresh springs of Knowledge, of Life, of Purity and Love gush forth from your heart, that very moment you are possessed of those Shasta Springs, as it were; visitors and people will seek you out. It is the unalterable, immutable law. The one thing needful is to get those springs within you, it matters not whether you remain in one place or go about from place to place. If you remain in one place, people will come to you; if you travel from place to place, people will seek you, when there is real Truth and Spirituality. Nothing is dependent on outside behaviour, the whole effort in getting those springs there consists in letting Divinity flow fresh and free within you.
It is said of Kant that he did not know when he was born, but people know of him all over the world. The secret of success does not lie in keeping at one place. Get spiritual force within you, and you can recline on a sofa and woe unto the world when it does not come to receive Truth from you.
When a magistrate comes and takes his seat in the court, all the plaintiffs, lawyers, all the defendants and witnesses come of their own accord; the magistrate need not trouble about sending for them; he need not bother about arranging the chairs in the courtroom; he need not bother about the arranging of the tapestry of the court-room; he need not bother about sending invitations to defendants, plaintiffs, or witnesses; all things will be looked after by others.
Rama says, get hold of this Kingdom of Heaven, get hold of this Divine Majesty within you. O Supreme Divinity! O Divine Majesty! O Man! walk in your dignity, a king that you are, walk in your Divine Majesty, pass on in your Divinity, a god that you are. Bother not about your business affairs, about your dress, about your railway passage, about your property, about your house, bother not about all these things that is the business of the outside world, that is the business of the powers that be. Come up, realize your Divinity, your Godhead, realize yourself to be the Sun of suns; the moon, the stars and angels will administer to your needs, they must. This is the Law. This is the Truth, and Vedanta preaches this as the secret of success. The moment you are in Divinity, the moment you realize your true Self, that moment will your power be great, that very moment will the world seek you, that very moment will the world solicit your favour.
Look here, it is the great mistake of the people to think that success can be achieved by rules and artificial laws, that success depends upon the dollars almighty, upon aids, helps, money, relatives, servants, friends. O, this is how they work their ruin. Attempts in this direction are the same as the attempt to make the nightingale sing artificially.
Take the dove. Let it perch on the top of the loftiest cypress tree on the Himalayas, the dove will be inspired of itself, and sweet sounds will come forth. The nightingale on those delectable heights of the Himalayas, perched on the roses, sends forth its delicious melody; full shrill notes come forth. Similarly Rama says, when you get perched on those delectable mountains of realization, when you are settled, when you are firmly rooted in your Divinity, then through your Divinity your actions, your sublime life, your pure conduct, your noble deeds must sprout forth, must of themselves ooze forth, gush out, sprout forth, That is the way.
Reformers want to bring out great men, grand men by laying down laws and rules and they want to dictate to them, and make themselves the examiners of other people. It is unnatural, it will not do.
People say, O! but we want practice. Rama says, “Brother, where is practice to come from?” Look here, this practice by outside acts is like the artificial singing of the nightingale. The sweet songs of the nightingale we could not bring out by taking hold of the throat of the nightingale and saying, “Come down here nightingale, and sing.” The moment the nightingale or dove is free, the moment the nightingale sings and the dove coos. So the moment you are in your centre, the moment you are in Divinity, the moment you are rooted in Godhead, the moment you reach those heights of realization; through your noble practices, heroic deeds will gush forth in the same way as do the cooing of the dove, and the sweet songs of the nightingale when seated in the right place; this is the right way.
Here is, suppose, a piece of iron, and we want this small piece of iron to become a magnet and draw other pieces of iron to it. How can we do that? By magnetizing that small piece of iron. This is the real way, then this small piece of iron may be made to attract other small pieces of iron and hold them. Now this small piece of iron cannot hold another small piece of iron to itself, but in order to do that we must first convert the small piece of iron into a magnet. Now suppose here is a magnet. Let us attach this first piece to the magnet, then the first piece of iron becomes a magnet also, and can attract and hold the second piece of iron. Now this first piece of iron has been converted into a magnet, but detach this first piece of iron from the true magnet and its power is gone, it cannot hold the second piece of iron. Remember, while the first piece of iron is attached to or connected with the true magnet, it is also a magnet, it is possessed of all the properties of a magnet and can hold any pieces of iron to itself. The very moment we break the connection of this first piece of iron with the original magnet, its power is gone, it is unable to hold any other piece of iron.
Similarly here is one body. Suppose we call it Christ. He was a very good, pure man. What is he? During the first thirty years of his life he was like this small piece of iron, nobody knew him, he was the son of a carpenter, he was a very poor boy, the child of an unknown mother, he was looked down upon. Now this piece of iron got itself connected with the true Self, the Spirit, that is the magnet, the source of attraction, the centre of all life and power; he got connected with Divinity, with Truth, with Realization, Power, and what became of him; that piece of iron was also magnetized, he became a magnet, and people were attracted to him; disciples and many people were drawn to him, they naturally began to bow down before him. There came a time towards the end of his life when again the body of Christ, called the piece of iron, was detached from the magnet what happened to the spirit? All the pieces of iron which were attached to it fell off, all his disciples left him, the same people of Jerusalem who loved and worshipped him before, all those who had received him royally before, those who had decorated the city in his honour, all left him, his power was gone; just as the power of the magnet being taken away from the piece of iron, its power is gone, it is no longer possessed of the properties of a magnet. When his disciples left him, when those eleven left him, so much did the people turn from him that they wanted to wreak vengeance upon him, that they wanted to crucify him. That was the time when Christ said, “O Father, why hast Thou forsaken me!” This shows that the connection was broken. See what the life of Christ teaches you. It teaches you that all the power and virtue of Christ lay in his connection with or attachment to the true Spirit or Magnet. When the solid body of Christ was attached to the true Spirit or Magnet, the body of Christ was a magnet also; but when the body of Christ was detached from the true Spirit or Magnet, then his power was gone, his disciples and followers left him. Now Christ regained this union with the Spirit before his death. You know Christ did not die when he was crucified. This is a fact which may be proved. He was in a state called Samadhi, a state where all life-functions stop, where the pulse beats not, where the blood apparently leaves the veins, where all signs of life are no more, when the body is, as it were, crucified. Christ threw himself into that state for three days and like a yogi came to life again and made his escape and came back to live in Kashmir. Rama had been there and had found many signs of Christ having lived there. Up to that time there was no Christian sect in Kashmir. There are many places called by his name, places where Christians never came, many cities called by the same names as the cities of Jerusalem through which Christ passed. There is a grave there of 2,000 years standing. It is held very sacred and called the grave of Esah which is the name of Christ in Hindustani language, and Esah means prince, so there are many reasons to prove that he came to India, the same India where he learned his teachings.
Again the people in India have a kind of magic ointment which is called the Christ ointment, and the story, which the people who prepare this ointment tell, is that this ointment Christ used to heal his wounds with after he came to life; and that ointment really heals all sorts of wounds miraculously.
There is plenty of evidence to show that he went back there; but Rama will not detail it here. Rama is telling you that when Christ got his body attached to the Magnet, to the Divinity, the whole world was drawn to him. How was that connection severed? There were several causes, outside influences, mixing too much with the people, remaining away too long from those spiritual heights. By these things we fall away from that power. You know, Christ had to leave the multitude and retire to the mountains and to one of his disciples he said, “I feel the power has been taken away from me, who has touched me?” This is how living too long with people, living below those heights of spirituality too long, this connection got severed. It is quite human, quite natural. Even the faults of Christ do you good, the life of everybody does us good if we read it aright; the right reading of anybody’s life can do you as much good as that of the life of Christ. Rama says, the moment you sever yourself from the Spirit, that moment you are nothing. Keep yourself within Divinity, keep yourself one with Divinity, descend not from those heights, realize the Truth, and you are the magnet; just as the piece of iron is the magnet. Your body becomes alive, just as in the case of the small child, his flesh is alive, all his tears, his liquid grief, so to speak, is real.
Similarly if you are one with Divinity, you are sacred, you are a piece of iron magnetized, and you become a magnet by remaining in touch with the magnet. This leads us on to another aspect of the same question. We have pointed out the real source, the real cause, the real secret of power, but people mistake it to be something else. Just as in the child the real power comes from realizing the true Atman, the true Self, but people attach all importance to his body, and instead of developing this true source of power in the life of the child, people make the life of the child down-trodden.
Read the life of Christ and just as Christ did, do yourself; depend not upon the body of Christ, but depend on the Spirit of Christ, upon the Spirit within you. That is the true way to become Christ.
Vedanta is not confined to India; it is for the Christians as well as for the Hindus. In the light of Vedanta how is the saving of man in the name of Christ effected, how is this problem solved? This may be illustrated by a story. There was once a mother, not a good sensible mother who made her child believe that the room adjoining the parlour was haunted by a ghost, a terrible monster, something hideous. The child became very much terrified and was afraid to step into that room. One evening the father returned from his office and asked the boy to go into the adjoining room and bring him something that he wanted at that time. The child was afraid, he did not dare enter the dark room. He ran to his father and said, “O papa, I won’t go into that room, for there is a terrible big monster, a ghost, and I am afraid.” The father did not like it and said,” No, no, dear boy, there is no ghost, no monster there, there is nothing to hurt you in that room, so please go and bring me what I ask.” But the child would not budge. The father was very wise and so he thought of a remedy, a cure for this disease, this superstition which the child had contacted. The father called the servant and whispered something into his ears. The servant left the room where the father was, and by a back door entered the adjoining room, the supposed haunted room. He took one of the pillows, and over one corner of it he placed a black cloth and projected one of the corners of the pillow which was covered with the black cloth through a hole in one of the windows of the room; he stuffed it out, and fixed it so that it looked hideous. The attention of the child was drawn to that and the child looked at something strange and terrible-looking. The father said, “That looks like an ear,” (pointing to one corner of the pillow which was sticking out) and the imagination of the child, which was very active, at once made out that it was the ear of the supposed ghost, and cried. “O papa, that is the ear of the monster, did I not tell you that this house is haunted, now we know it is true.” The father said, “Dear boy, you are right, but be brave and strong; get hold of this stick and we will destroy the ghost.” You know, boys are very heroic, they can dare anything, they have great courage, and so getting his father’s beautiful cane, the boy struck a hard blow, a noise was heard and there was heard a tiny cry. The servant in the dark room then drew the supposed ear of the monster back into the room. That pleased the boy and with courage he cried that he was getting the better of the monster. The father cheered him up, puffed him up, praised him and said, “O my dear boy, you are so brave, you are a hero.” But while talking to the child there appeared two ears of the monster in the crack or opening between the doors of the room. The child was urged on and he ran towards the monster and dealt blow after blow upon the head of the supposed monster. He beat it and beat it repeatedly, and cries were heard from within and the father said, “Hear, O child, the monster is crying in anguish, you have conquered, you have conquered. “The child went on beating the supposed monster, and the father pulled out that pillow. The father cried, “O brave boy, you have beaten the monster into pillow, you have converted him into a pillow.” The child was satisfied that it was a fact; the monster, the ghost, the superstition was gone.
The child became brave and jumped and danced with joy. He went about singing and then he went into the room and brought what the father wanted; but would any sane father advise a similar remedy for grown-up boys? O, no. That remedy is very good for small boys, but not for others. For that small child this method did some good, it served its purpose, but grown-up children need no such remedy, as that. From every small child we can drive out any haunting fancies or dreams, if there be time enough to devote to them. Now just mark. Vedanta says, as in this case of the haunted room, the real ghost was not driven out by the beating of the pillow by the child; the real cause of the driving out of the monster was not the beating of the pillow, it was the evolution of the faith in the child that there was no ghost in the room. The child was made to believe there was no ghost, and there was no ghost; the ghost had come into the room through the imagination of the child. The ghost was in reality never there, it was this false imagination which put the ghost in the room, and this false imagination it was, that must be cured.
Grown-up peoples’ imagination can be cured differently. People believe first that we are lost, that we are naturally sinners, that ‘we are on the brink of a dreadful hell which awaits us, that there is a whole lot of sins weighing us down; that through the crime of Adam came our sinful nature, that by nature we are sinful, that we are poor, crawling, weak creatures!’ (You will please excuse Rama for speaking plainly). One part of the Bible makes people believe in their sinful nature. The Old Testament drove into the souls of the poor Christians in this world, it drove into the lighted rooms of your hearts, it drove into your minds, the cellar of your immutable Self, the ghost of the fall, the sinful nature, the ghost of the menial, down-trodden, poor self. These ideas were forced into the hearts of the people, the idea that they are nothing in the world but poor creatures, poor worms, and nothing else, verily nothing else but poor, weak creatures at the mercy of wind and storm, powerless in this world. First was the ghost of superstition driven into the souls of the world.
Then came the New Testament. Rama speaks not from a biased stand-point. In the New Testament the Father strove to undo the silly superstition, worked into the people by the mother, the Old Testament. In the New Testament the father, St. Paul came and did his best to drive out this ghost from the hearts of the people, and tried his best to rid them of this ghost and to free themselves. What plan did he adopt? Rama says, St. Paul did not do that, but Divinity through the body of St. Paul did that, and told the people how it was to be done. It was told that these sins, this gross sinful nature, this grovelling in the mind, this groping in the dark, this sin, this ghost of a sin and perdition may be driven out by a certain process, regarded by him as baptism by becoming Christians, by joining the Church, by attending services, by asking grace over roasted pigs, by feeding and supporting high priests, by putting on the livery of Christ; by doing all these things you are saved and your name is written in the book of life. Do this process, the beating of the pillow, as it were, perform these ceremonies, do these things, take the name of Christ, sing in the Church, hold services, pay priests, feed them fat and by that method you are saved. Rama says, if people having performed those services, acquire a living faith, if they acquire a living conviction that they are saved, then they are really saved. Rama says if the really true Christian after performing these services in the name of the Church believes himself to be saved, he must be saved; just as the child performed the service of beating the monster into a pillow, the room was no longer haunted, the monster, the ghost was no longer there.
Similarly if you are Christians and get firm conviction that you are saved, as a matter of fact you are saved. Rama does not agree with the free thinkers and agnostics who call the Christians’ living faith lost or gone; he does not agree with these people in denouncing the Christian faith. If your faith gives you courage of mind, and makes you firm in the belief that you are saved, then you are saved; but at the same time Rama says the world is no longer a child, the world is in the state of a grown-up boy. This kind of dogma has saved millions and millions of people up to this time, but it is now high time to drive the ghost out of your rooms by trying to realize that your nature is not sinful, that your room is not haunted by any ghost, by realizing that you are no wretched crawling worm, by realizing that your soul is not downtrodden, is not low. Realize that you have always been pure, that you have always been immaculate, have always been the All-in-all, realize that you are the Holy of holies, the Lord of lords, the God Supreme. Think that, feel that, realize that, live that. What is the use of touching your nose by stretching the arm around the back of the head when you can touch the nose from the front of the face? There is no use believing in salvation by performing services.
Vedanta says if you bring your faith to believe that you have always been saved, you are the saviour of the universe. If you believe that you never were the body, that you never were in thraldom, if you be as grown-up boys and not as silly children, if you realize with Vedanta that you are always saved, if you realize with Vedanta that you are the saving energy, then you are the saviour of the whole world. Waste not your energies in superfluous, meaningless and extravagant ceremonies. Waste not your energies in the puerile ceremonies of beating the pillow in order to save yourselves. Be no longer children. Realize yourselves to be saved, and saved you are. Thus the saving element in all Christianity is Vedanta. Vedanta is the finer process. If after all the ceremonies are over, you become firm in the conviction of “I am saved” and nothing else, just remember, it is Vedanta permeating and pervading your Christianity which saves you. Attach not undue importance to outside names and forms and ceremonies.
In the Crusades during which so much blood was shed, war and struggle were brought on by the Christians in Judea. In one of the skirmishes, the Christians were beaten, were repulsed and driven back. One of the fanatics in the Christian armies, who wanted to win fame for himself gave out that he had a vision in which an angel had revealed himself and told him about a certain lance which had once touched the body of Christ, and which was buried under his feet and that by finding this lance the Christians would be led to victory. The people took up the story and passed it on until it spread to the entire army, and all the people without giving any thought as to the truthfulness or falsity of the story, began to dig and dig, but could not find the lance; they dug from early morn till late at night, but still no lance was found. They became very much discouraged and were about to give up the search when all of a sudden the same fellow began to cry out at the top of his voice that he had found the spot. All went with him to the place where he said the lance was to be found and they found the lance. It was old and rotten, it was eaten up by ants and worms, and he said,” Here is a lance, corroded by the earth, a lance which must have touched the body of Christ “. He held it up where everybody might see it. The Christians jumped around it with joy, their happiness knew no bounds. Being inspired with the finding of the lance covered with earth, being filled with energy and strength, all attacked the enemies again and came out victorious. Afterwards when the Christians came back to Europe, all believed that it was the virtue of the lance which had brought them victory.
But after a while this same man who had told the first story fell sick and was at the point of death. He confessed to the priest who came to bless him and told him that the lance story was a fraud. He said the lance in reality belonged to his great-grandfather who also was in the army. The lance had been wrapped in rags and kept in the house since his great grandfather’s death. It had been used not only by his great-grandfather but had been handed down to him from his ancestors. Now when the Christians were going to Jerusalem, he said he took this lance with him, wrapped up as it was but on the field he found it worthless but when fleeing, the idea came that he might as well be popular, he might as well win a name for himself. So he gave out the story about the lance, and when the people were digging on the opposite side from him he took the lance and threw it into the ditch, and when they came there and began to dig, they found it. Historians played the eavesdropper, divulged the secret and made it out that no virtue belonged to the lance, but the virtue lay in the enthusiasm and perfect faith of the people. They gave out that the victory was not due to the lance, but to the power within the people; the people, they said, manufactured spiritual force within them, and that living faith of the people brought victory and not the lance. Similarly Vedanta says, “O Christians, O Mohammedans, O Vaishnavas, ye different sects of the whole world, if you think you are being saved through the name of Christ or Buddha or Krishna or any other saint, remember the real virtue does not lie in the Christ, or the Buddha, or the Krishna or any body; the real virtue lies in your own Self. Distinguish between creed and faith. The story of the lance was the creed of the people and the living power, the enthusiasm manifested was what might be called the faith of the people. It is the living faith which saves and not the creed. Vedanta says if it is this living faith, this living power, which was the cause of the Christians being victorious, why not take it up and apply that living faith to your own beloved Atman, your own true Self? Why not apply it to the Atman, the true Self within? Why apply living or dead faith in Christ, Buddha, or Krishna and others? Why not apply it to the Atman within, to God within? What an easy process, what a natural application of the living faith!
This question is put to Rama most frequently. If such is Vedanta, if this is the substance of Vedanta and if Vedanta had its origin in India, why is India so downtrodden? The reason of India’s downfall is that the people do not live Vedanta. Americans live Vedanta more than the people of India do, and they are prosperous. The world has no right to attribute the downfall of India to Vedanta. Rama will prove that by telling a beautiful story. In a village in India a boy became quite a scholar. He had studied in the university and while living in the university town he got some of the European ways. You know in India the people are very conservative and it is of very recent date that English ways and customs have been introduced.
Rama knows many people who have attended English universities, but who never wear English clothes, never speak the English language. The parents would not tolerate such insolence before them. Well, this student purchased a clock in the university town and during the three months’ vacation he lived where his grandmama was. He felt the need of this clock and so he took it with him to his grandmother’s house. Now the grandmama was naturally averse to this intrusion in the house. The young man brought no English clothing with him, but he felt that this clock was indispensable for him in his study. He dared not bring any English chairs or tables, for they were regarded as awful, but he brought the clock at all hazards. The whole family was against it and especially the grandmama. She could not bear this intrusion, it was something terrible. “Oh” said she, “It is all the time giving forth tick, tick, such an odious sound; break it up, destroy it, throw it out, it is a bad omen, it will engender something awful, it will be the cause of some disaster.” She would not be reconciled. The young man did his best to explain, but she would not be pleased. The boy kept the clock in his study despite his grandmama’s remonstrances. It happened that thieves broke into the house and some jewellery and money were stolen. The grandmama got additional evidence in her favour and exclaimed, “Did I not tell you that this clock would bring disaster? Thieves came and stole our jewellery and money but the clock is not stolen. They knew if they took the clock they would be ruined. O, why do you keep this dreadful thing in the house?” The boy was very headstrong and all her ravings were of no avail. The boy kept the clock in his study, and not long after, the father of the boy died and then the grandmama became fearful. She cried, “O audacious boy, throw away this terrible omen from the house. How can you dare to keep it longer?” The boy still kept the clock; and again after a short time the mother of the boy died, and then the grandmama could not tolerate the clock in the house any longer. Like so many other people, she thought the clock to contain a worm, for they had never seen anything run by machinery. So she thought there must be a worm in the clock to make it move, she could not conceive of its ticking and running of itself. She thought the clock to be the cause of all the troubles in the family; so she caught hold of the clock, took it into her private parlour and put a stone under it, and by the aid of another stone she broke the clock into pieces, she wrecked vengeance on the clock. Now mark please! You may laugh at the state of the grandmamas in India, but you are playing the part of these grandmamas in other respects. People put this and that together and jump at conclusions; they say that one thing is the cause of the other. Europeans, are especially prejudiced and jump at the conclusions that Vedanta is the cause of all the downfall of India. In the same manner do they jump at conclusions in their arguments in other matters in this world.
The rise of Europe and America is not due to Christ’s personality. The right cause is Vedanta practised unconsciously. The downfall of India is due to Vedanta being absent in practice. Just here let Rama say a few words as to the part of mother plays in raising the whole world. All the great heroes of the world were sons of great and noble mothers.
It is the mothers who can raise the whole world; it is the mothers who can make the country rise or fall; it is the mothers who can make the tide of nature ebb and flow. It is always the great heroes who are the sons of great mothers. If these truths are instilled into the child in its infancy, if the realization of the true Self is instilled into the child in its infancy, it may grow to be a Krishna or a Christ.
Mothers may spoil the nature of their children, or raise and elevate it. This is the mother’s part. You have heard of the Spartan mother having said to her son who was about to go to the battlefield, “Come either with the shield or upon the shield, come not without it. Come to me either alive or dead, but never come defeated.”
There was a queen in India, who shut the gates of the city against her husband when he returned defeated. She sent this word to him, “Go away, you traitor, you are not my husband, you have allowed yourself to be defeated; I know you no longer, go away, you are not my husband.”
Here is the story of an Indian queen who took the vow of seeing that all her children were perfect. She took the vow of making all her children free from transmigration. The one goal and object of the mothers in India is to make their children free from transmigration. A man of realization is a free soul and is never born again. She also took the vow of making all her territories filled with men of realization, with God-men.
She also wanted to make all her subjects God-men. This was one vow by one mother and she succeeded. Her sons were God-men, they were Krishnas, Buddhas, philosophical men, men of renunciation and they ruled the whole community; all her subjects were made free. One woman did that; and what was her process? She used to sing to her children while very young, she used to sing to her children while she nursed them at her bosom, she used to instil into them with her milk, the milk of Divine wisdom. The milk of Vedanta she drilled into them while she rocked the cradle, while she sang her lullaby to them—
Sleep, baby, sleep
No sobs, no cries, ne’er weep.
Rest undisturbed, all fears fling,
To praise Thee all the angels sing.
Arbiter of riches, beauty; and gifts
Thy innocent Atman governs and lifts;
Sleep, baby, sleep.
Soft roses, silvery dew-drops sweet,
Honey, fragrance, zephyrs genial heat
Melodious warbling, notes so dear.
And all that pleases eye or ear.
Comes from Thy heavenly, blissful home.
Pure, pure Thou art, untainted Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
No foes, no fear, no danger, none,
Can touch Thee, O Eternal One!
Sweet, lovely, tender, gentle calm,
Of sleep Thy Atman doth embalm.
Thyself doth raise the spangled dome
Of starry heavens, O darling Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
The sun and moon Thy playing balls,
The rainbow arch bedecks Thy halls,
The milky ways for Thee to walk,
The clouds, when meet, of Thee they talk;
The spheres, Thy dolls, sing, dance and roam,
They praise Thee Om Tat Sat Om!
Sleep, baby, sleep.
In lilies and violets, lakes and brooks,
How sweet Thy sleeping beauty looks.
Let time and space, the blankets warm,
Roll off Thy face by sleeping arm.
Look half askance as baby lies,
Dear naughty boy with laughing eyes!
Sleep, baby, sleep.
The shrill, sharp echoes of cuckoos
Are whistles, rattles, Thou doth choose,
The sparrows, winds, and all the stars
Are beautiful toys and baby’s cars.
The world is but Thy playfull dream,
It is in Thee, tho’ outside seem.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
O wakeful home of rest and sleep!
O active source of wisdom deep!
O peaceful spring of life and action!
O lovely cause of strife and fraction!
To limiting darkness bid adieu.
Adieu! adieu! adieu!
Sleep, baby, sleep.
The beauteous objects, charming things,
Are flattering sounds of beating wings.
Of thee, O Eagle blessed King,
Or fleeting shadows of Thy wing,
Bewitching beauty half reveals,
And as a veil it half conceals,
The wearer of this veil, Sweet Om,
The real Self, Om, Tat Sat Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
This gives some idea of the lullaby which the queen sang to seven of her sons. When the sons left home, they went abroad filled with Divinity. Through them was Vedanta spread. The eighth child was not trained exactly that way, because the father did not wish this child to leave the throne; he was not wanted to become a perfectly free man. So to this child the mother did not sing this lullaby, but she had to carry out her vow in some other way, that the child should not suffer sorrow or be pained in this life. As the eighth child was not to leave the royal throne it was not brought up the same way as the other seven. The eighth son was placed in the care of a nurse, but when the mother was about to die, this son was brought before her, and she gave him this lullaby which was written on paper and wrapped in some rich, costly material and covered with jewels. She encircled it around his arm, and asked him to keep the amulet most sacred. She asked him to read the paper contained within, she asked him to think it, feel it and it would make him free, it would take away all sorrow. But she told him the amulet was not to be opened except in case of emergency. The mother died and the father died, and the boy became the king and ruled for many years.
One day elder brothers of the boy came to the capital of their father, and sent a message to the boy, Alark by name, and menaced him to leave the throne, because they were the elder brothers, and they were the rightful heirs to the throne. They said, “He ought to leave the throne in favour of the eldest brother.” When this Alark was threatened by the authority of the elder brothers, when he was threatened by the precedence of his eldest brother, he trembled with fear, he was terrified and knew not what to do; he wept at the fear of losing all his grandeur and glory. On returning to his bed at night he noticed this amulet around his arm, and the last words of his mother flashed through his mind. He opened it and read the paper, with tears in his eyes he read, “Thou art pure, thou art immutable, thou art all knowledge, all power, thou art the arbiter of all power, thou art the giver and restorer of all beauty, all joy in the world. Think not yourself to be the body, depend not on worldly things, rise above it, meditate upon it, think it over, friend and enemy ye are!” The son realized it through and through, his anxiety and fear were gone, cheerfulness and joy were brought to him. He sang it again and again. What with the meaning and virtue of the song and what with the good wishes of the mother, he was resuscitated, became himself; all fears and anxiety had fled, and sorrow was gone; he bade adieu to all worldly expectations, all worldly longing, all petty desires. He realized it so much, so filled was he with purity and power that it was gushing out of him; he forgot to go to bed. He dressed and went to the spot where his brothers were, and cried, “Come, brothers and release me of this burden—this head-aching crown—here is the burden, take it, release me from it, I know I am all these bodies desirous of sitting on the throne and ruling the kingdom; I am you, and you and I are one, there is no difference.” When the brothers marked this sacredness on his face, it filled them with joy, and they said that they came not to take the throne, for they were the rulers of the whole world; they simply wanted to give him his true birth-right which he must not lose. They said, “O brother, this is not you who are the dupe of the senses; you brother, you are not the king of the earth only, but the king and ruler of the Sun, the stars, the worlds, and all the lokas that be. O brother, come, realize that you are the Infinite, the Immutable Self, the Sun of suns, the Light of lights.” The prince realized this truth, and he (Alark) went on ruling, but he looked upon the office of the king as an actor’s role in the theatre, imagining himself to be playing that part. Well, this prince was sane and nothing could make him sorrowful. He ruled as a mighty monarch and was a most successful king of the world. Success sought him.
Joy Eternal, Unbroken Peace is yours, nay, you are that. Realize your Centre and be there for ever and ever.
Om! Om!! Om!!!