What about the eating of meat?
As to meat, people think that the people of India abstain from meat-eating on the ground of mercy to animals. It may be that there are some sects that abstain from meat-eating on that ground, but Vedantins at least do not.
Vedanta does not ask you to abstain from eating meat on that ground. O no. Vedantins, and usually Swamis, do not eat meat, but they do not abstain from eating meat on the ground of cruelty to animals. That argument is not right.
According to Vedanta, all pity is weakness. Now, this may startle you, but it is so. So philosophers think this system of pity which is the desire to please others, so to say, to cater to the desires or whims of others. This congeniality in company on the part of men and women is nothing else but a form of vanity, a form of idolatry and weakness. Is this pity or vanity, is this desire to please others a compliment to society? No; these are all properties of ignorance and nothing else.
How many sins, how many mistakes are committed in the name of pity? How many mistakes are made from the desire to be congenial in company?
Here is man who happens to fall into the society of some young gentlemen who like to eat, drink, and be merry. Well, some one of the young men proposes to have a drink. The others consent, and this stranger falls a victim to the desire of being good company, and he begins to drink simply to please them. There is no desire on his part to drink, but to please his fellow associates, he does as the others do. Here is the desire on his part to please others and this desire makes him take liquor. Another time this same gentleman falls in similar company and is again tempted to drink with the sole desire of pleasing others, and so it happens with him from time to time until there comes a time when he becomes abject slave to the habit of drinking.
Similarly, ladies also, with the sole motive of pleasing others, do that which by slow degrees makes them slaves to certain habits. Thus Vedanta says that this desire to please others is at bottom nothing else but ignorance, weakness and vanity combined. Never do a thing with the object of pleasing others. He is brave who can say No. Your strength of character and bravery are manifested by your capacity of saying No.
Now about pity. How many people keep themselves in hell simply because they think they ought to have regard for the feelings of others? Call that which Kama speaks as a diabolical law; but it is that law the virtue of which you will one day realize.
Just mark how many people in the world are in hell, simply because of being pitiful because they think it cruelty on their part to follow the truth, or to behave in obedience to the truth, because their relatives or friends are opposed, or attention you pay to his vanity or his desires, the more you are trying to murder his true Self which is Truth.”Have more regard for Truth than for his outside body.”
Again, how many people are there who are creating hell for themselves by this idea of Self-respect? A terribly misunderstood word, this Self-respect. By the term “Self-respect”, they mean Self-respect for this little body, this little personality.
O Divinity, O God in the form of mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers and children, see that Self-respect means not the respect for these little bodies or the personality, see that Self-respect means regard for Truth, regard for the Real Self. By the kind of Self-respect that you are encouraging, you are slandering your real Self under the cloak of Self-respect.
You respect your Self when you are filled with God-consciousness, when you are filled with the thought of God within, then are you filled with Self respect. By the worship of the body you are committing suicide; you are digging a pit for yourselves.
As to meat, Vedanta says, “Have no clinging to your bodies; mind not whether your body lives or dies; care not whether people worship your body or pelt it with stones. Rise above it.”
Let one person put a garment on the body and let another tear it off, it should not matter.
“No praise or blame when the praiser and praised or the blamer and blamed are one.”
That being the case, if you realize your true Self, if to you the consciousness of this little body is unreal, then as far as you are concerned, regard for the outside flesh and blood of others will disappear.
Rama will break down to-day some of your most favourite superstitions.
Vedanta says, ‘Here is the law:—”You can consider other idols to be real to the same degree as you look upon your own idol, the body to be real.”That is the Law. You can conceive or regard the personality, the body of others, just in proportion as you regard your own personality or your own body to be real. That is the law.
When you rise above the personality and the body, then to you the personality and the body of others will be obliterated, they will be spiritualized and etherialized; they will no longer be gross as before. This being the case, the next thing for a man who has realized the Truth is that it should make no difference to him whether millions of suns and stars are hurled into nothingness. To him it matters not whether goats, sheep or oxen die; no, no, to him it makes no difference, he is above it.
Krishna was acting as charioteer for Arjuna, when the greatest war of the world was raging. There Arjuna felt dismayed and horrified; the thought of pity and mercy overwhelmed him. Then this hero trembled and quivered; he was overpowered with the thought of mercy. Krishna the incarnation of God, Krishna the greatest man that was ever born, Krishna the Christ of the universe, not only of India, Krishna spoke to Arjuna and told him that this body he was not, this personality he was not, the true actor was the Divinity; Krishna told him that it was the Divinity acting through his body. There Krishna spoke to him and awakened in him God-consciousness, told him plainly what in reality he was, brought him out of fear, brought him out of anxiety and weakness. He told him that his real Self was imperishable the same yesterday, today and forever, that it was incapable of change, that it was immutable and unchangeable, and said to him, “Arjuna, you cannot die. Remove any of the.se bodies and they themselves never die. You never die; and even if you do not realize the whole truth and are confined within the four walls of transmigration, even then realize that it is not your personality nor theirs which is reality; realize the true Self that is God, and that never dies. Why should you shake and tremble? See what your present duty is; if your present duty of the world is to kill all these men, then kill them.”Krishna tells him, “I am the God of gods, the Light of lights and am I not destroying every second millions upon millions of birds and animals, am I not hurling them into nothingness? Here am I, Nature, God, Providence, ever doing these things, yet I am always Immaculate and untainted. God kills, yet is God to blame? No, God is still pure”. Now Krishna says to Arjuna, “If you realize the Truth, if you become one with God, if you realize your True Self, then your body becomes simply an instrument of Divinity. In the name of justice, duty, truth and right, if your body kills and destroys millions upon millions, you are pure, you are intact, you are untainted.”
Such truth has to be realized by the people, but Rama should not refrain from speaking the truth whether you can realize it or not.
That was Vedanta, which did not hesitate to destroy men, even the nearest and dearest relatives of Arjuna, who were his preceptors, his uncles, his brothers and others. Vedanta says that by killing, Arjuna was not tainted. Then how can Vedanta hesitate in killing goats or sheep, oxen or any animals? Yet Vedanta tells you to abstain from meat entirely on other grounds.
Meat-eating puts you in a state or condition where you are not able to concentrate the mind easily. If you cannot abstain from meat-eating, if you cannot overcome the habit, then Vedanta says, “Have it; don’t give it up”. Different kinds of food produce different effects. If a man drinks wine, he becomes intoxicated; if a man takes opium, does it not produce a particular kind of effect; a man takes arsenic and it produces a particular kind of effect; so a particular kind of food produces a particular effect, and so does meat. The effect which meat produces on the body is not the effect which the students of Religion require.
If you are a warrior or a person whose duties are active, then Vedanta says that you must eat meat as you require it and you must not live entirely on vegetable diet. As to other vocations, Rama says that you must try it on your own systems. Some can do better, others worse, without it. The plan of nature is that the fittest must survive. Here we see big whales advance; they survive, and in order to make them survive, nature wishes them to live on small fish. Thousands upon thousands of small fish must perish but the big type must live on; it is the plan of nature. Thus we see in the mineral kingdom, that the earth, the soil perishes, and the vegetable kingdom survives; the vegetables feed upon the soil. Again, in order that animals should survive, vegetables must perish, must be consumed; animals must feed upon vegetables, it is the plan of Nature. It is the plan of Nature that man, the highest type, must live on animals which must serve his purpose: it is the plan of Nature. Rama does not mean to eat animals but to use them; animals must serve man; then we see in the ordinary man of the world, the higher naturally go on advancing. When widespread wars and diseases come, the lower and weaker natures die for the sake of the higher ones; that is the plan of Nature. This Law governs the universe.
Thus Kama says, if by eating meat you can serve the cause of the world better, then eat it; if by abstaining from it, you can advance the higher truth, then abstain from it.
Everybody is to look upon his little self as God’s Self, All are to do everything, according to Vedanta, impersonally and unselfishly. You are to do everything as if you were not doing it. With this little ego, the standpoint of desire and egotism is to be discarded. When your body works in the world as Nature works, distributing work, making work, and finishing work for the All, with no selfish egotistic desire, but work for the whole, for the All. If to advance the cause of the whole world, it becomes as necessary for this bodily machinery to feed upon meat, as it is necessary for certain wheels in a. factory to be greased with oil, if it becomes necessary for your body to be lubricated with meat, as it is necessary for those certain wheels to be lubricated with oil, then do not shrink from eating it. But it becomes a sin when you want to eat meat to enjoy its relish. It will become a sin, as everything else, if you do it with the idea of gratifying your desires. Then it becomes a sin.
There are people in India, who in passing through the streets faint at the sight of the dead body of an animal hanging in the shops. They can’t bear the sight, let alone eating it.
It becomes a sin when you eat meat with the idea of gratifying your selfish tastes; but if you take in the same way as medicine, if you take it with the sole object’ of doing important work, and to keep your body at its best to advance the cause of humanity, then it is no sin.
People make taste the primary motive. If a thing tastes good and is also a help to advance the cause of truth, then take it; but to take a thing only because it is sweet won’t do. Usually things which are palatable are also useful, but it is not always so.
This question suggests another. How often are the Scriptures misread, how often are books misinterpreted? This is the great bane of society, this misreading of the Scriptures and the wrong use of the so-called sacred Scriptures or texts.
It is said that a Milton is required to read Milton. Very true! So also it requires a prophet to understand a prophet, and in order to understand Christ you must, become a Christ. To understand the Vedas, you must become the Vedas. How well is this idea put forth by Vedantin writers, whose writings are made use of but whose names are not used. These people realized to such an extent that the body of the reader was their body. In the Vedas we find such expressions, “O people, rise above the Vedas, use the teachings and profit by them.”“Rise above the gods and angels; see what you are. You are everything.”So does Jesus say. We can pick out texts in the Bible which have a meaning of this kind. “The kingdom of Heaven is within you”. People make an entirely wrong use of it; they misinterpret the meaning. This reminds Rama of a story.
There was once a preceptor who being very tired, lay down on a sofa and asked his disciple to come and massage him by treading on his legs. That is a practice most frequently followed in India. So the preceptor asked the boy to massage him, but the boy said, “No, no, master, never will [ do that; your body is too sacred, your personality too holy. I dare not put my feet on your body, that would be sacrilege; I will not commit such a sacrilege; I will do anything for you, I k will give my life for you, but I will not tread on your body.”The preceptor said, “O son, come, I am very tired, come, come, and massage my body.”The boy began to weep but could not be persuaded to commit such a sacrilege. The preceptor said, “O foolish boy, you do not want to tread upon my lower limbs, you do not want to insult my body, but you trample upon my sacred lips, you trample upon my sacred face; which is more sacrilegious? Is it more sacrilegious to trample upon the word of the master or to massage his body?”
People will very readily trample upon the sacred Scriptures of Jesus or Mohammed, or of the Vedas, but will regard this flesh and blood as sacred and holy, the same flesh and blood which Christ asked the people to eat. Did not Christ ask the people to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood at the last supper? When the bread was broken, he said, “This is my flesh, this is my blood.”This is what all prophets see. They see Divinity in all personality, in all bodies, and they wish to master them; they wish them to rise above their bodies, they wish them to tread upon their bodies, but you would rather tread upon their sacred communications than massage their bodies.
Rise above the personality, seek the God within. If Christ ever lived in this world, he lives in your bodies. Let Christ be the starting point of your religion, let him be the starting point of your advancement, let him be your boundary line, and do not let him be a thorn around you. Let him be the starting point of your religion, of your advancement. Become Christ yourself and understand the meaning of Christ.
Well, what happens at present? People who do not wish to get rid of this little false Satanic ego, want to materialize Christ, and they also want to keep God under a veil. They want to keep God personified and objectified. Instead of raising themselves to God, they want to bring God down to their level. This is illustrated by two funny words in the Bible, viz. “The Spirit of God brooded over the waters.”
There was a boy, the son of a wine merchant, in India. He was put to school, and began to learn English.
In India, especially in the Missionary schools, it is the Bible that is taught first. The English reading was concerned with the Bible. Well, when the boy came to this passage “The Spirit of God brooded over the waters”, he was puzzled. The boy knew the word Spirit, and he knew the word brooded and the word water, but he did not know the word God; and he said, “the Spirit of God brooded.”Does God mean barley, corn or grapes? I know spirits come from barley and corn, or grapes &c, and he thought here was queer kind of wine put in the ocean. His father used to mix alcoholic spirits with water, and he was acquainted with that kind of spirits, but here was a queer kind of mixture.
O, this is the way people misinterpret the Scriptures, because they live in wine-shops too much, because they live in materiality too much, and those sublime and sacred Scriptures are taken in the gross sense and materialized.
There was a man employed in the army. He was in love with a lady, and his superior officer was also in love with the same lady. This lady had given her heart to an officer of the lower rank. The subordinate officer took leave from the army and went home, and the lady embraced the opportunity to be present at his home also. The marriage was arranged and he thought it necessary to get his leave of absence extended; so he wired to his superior officer to extend his leave of absence. The superior officer came to know about the whole affair, and he knew that the leave of absence was wanted that this officer might marry the lady. Now the superior officer was jealous and did not wish to grant the leave, and, in answer, telegraphed this hasty message, in laconic language, “Join at once.”He meant that this subordinate officer should join the army at once. This man was reading the message which said “Join at once”, and he wanted very much to stay away, but the message said “Join at once.”He felt very much disappointed and worried over the mutter. While he was in this state of mind, the lady came in and seeing him so despondent wanted to know the cause. He showed her the telegram. The quick wit of the lady helped her to interpret the message to her own advantage and she put a most gladsome interpretation upon the message, and she was rejoicing and dancing. She asked him why he was so miserable; she thought he ought to rejoice. She was preparing to leave the room when he asked her why she was leaving so quickly, and she replied, “To make all preparations for a hasty marriage.”That is the way people read their own meaning into the sacred Scriptures, Such interpretation might have done well for the lady who wanted to get married, but it won’t do for the interpretation of the Scriptures.
The Scriptures tell us, “The body is the temple of God.”This text is most abused. Indeed the body is the temple of God, but did that text mean that you should make the temple the all-in-all and forget the God within? The object of the temple was not the same as that of the Roman Catholic temples of to-day. People forget the Divinity within and make the temple the all-in-all.
It was meant by that passage that the Divinity, the God within, was to be worshipped and not the temple.
People enter the temple and forget the God within. So when they read, “The body is the temple of God”, they misinterpret the meaning and make the wrong use of it and pamper the body. It is sometimes seen that people want to pay too much regard to the body, and to pamper to their vanity and whims, and they quote this passage to justify such acts. This question is made a fort to guard their vanity, weakness and ignorance.
Here is an abuse of the texts. It is a good thing that they do not make a still grosser use of the word ‘temple’. When a certain student read the text, “The body is the temple of God”, he put the question, “Where are the ears of God?”It is a good thing they do not put a grosser interpretation upon the text; the interpretation already put upon it is gross enough.
If the body is the temple of God, you should forget it, it is intended to be forgotten; the higher use of the temple is to forget it, and not to pamper and burden it with all sorts of treasures. Realize the God within; the temple will take care of itself.
Is not God omnipresent? Is not the temple of God everywhere? The sun is the temple of God. Are not all the stars the temples of God?
Everything is the temple of God. Rama says every object is the temple of God; the body is the temple of God because the body is nearest to you.
Every object teaches you Divinity. The origin of every object is God. As to this, Rama wants to tell you one thing, to give a message from heaven to all those who suffer from heartaches, from inner pangs, anguish, or trouble.
God sends this message in the pages of the past history of the whole universe. God sends that message in your veins, in your nerves, in your brain. God is preaching the message in every household, in every family. Hear this message, attend to it, and save yourselves. Disregard this message, respect it not, and hang yourselves, die, perish; there is no alternative.
How many times a day does a man die? Whenever you feel frightened or feel undue misery, whenever you are in that fearful state, there is death; you forget God within. Listen to it and save yourselves; disregard it and perish that very moment.
This is the Law, unrelenting, inviolable, very severe, and very hard. This is the Law. What is the message? Hear it.”All those who want to be worshipped, must suffer crucifixion.”Christ suffered crucifixion first and was worshipped afterwards. Buddha suffered crucifixion first and was worshipped afterwards. Socrates suffered crucifixion and his body is worshipped today. Bruno died first and he was respected. A thousand prophets in India suffered crucifixion and were worshipped afterwards. These people paid the price first and got the reward afterwards.
It is a fact that all these prophets paid the price first and got their reward afterwards; but what of the other people of the world? What about the men and women in this world? They want to purchase first, and to avoid the price; but the price must be paid.
Everybody wants to be worshipped. Worship means love and respect and honour; everybody wants to be loved, respected, and honoured, and they want to get devotion all round. They want to get those flatterers all around them. Everybody in the world is suffering from this disease of worldliness, this disease of vanity, this disease of love for the body, this love for the body of others, this deep-rooted disease, this ignorance which makes you believe in the body as the Self, which makes you mistake the body for the reality within you; this ignorance which changes itself into the disease of a craving for worship. This disease, this idea of being worshipped cannot be enjoyed without paying the proper price for it. This Divine Law of God spares not any body, spares neither Christ nor Krishna. Christ had to pay the price; crucifixion first and then he was worshipped afterwards. According to the Law, Socrates paid the price first and was worshipped afterwards.
All the prophets paid the price first and were worshipped afterwards. Your Napoleon, Washington, and others paid the price first and were worshipped afterwards. Newton and others live in the grave, are living in the grave the life which before was a life of crucifixion. They are above the body, above the pangs of hunger and thirst.
Read the life of Newton, and you will sea that many times he forgot to take his meals. These people paid the price first and got the worship afterwards.
This Law spares not; it is no respecter of persons; it respects not your sinners, your saints, your prophets or your philosophers; it is the unrelenting, inexorable Law. Now, who are you to expect a special dispensation in your case, to expect a special regard for your bodies? If you expect to be worshipped, loved, or honoured by others, if you expect to be respected or made much of by others, you must pay the price.
Ill the play of “The Jewess” the Jewess wanted to be worshipped by Joseph. Alright, you may be worshipped first; she was worshipped first, but she had to pay the price. Even if Nature, Providence or God has some regard for you and something is sent to your house, it does not mean that He will demand no price.
If we had paid the price beforehand, it would have been alright, but now He has sent the book, and there is a very keen demand to get the price.
The Jewess got worship from Joseph and had to pay the price. Five years she was raving crazy, mad in love. Ignorance must pay the penalty, the price.
What happens to every hero in every novel or drama happens in the whole history of the world. The Law is to get rid of this little self; then only will you be properly loved and never otherwise.
The way to get the desires satisfied is to give up these desires. There is a beautiful word in the Persian language, called matlab, one meaning of the Word is “desire” and the other is “never ask”. It is a wonderful word. The real desires you possess must be given up in order to be satisfied. Rise above the desires, rise above the personality, this little body.
Here is a lamp. Moths are fond of the lamp, they are in love with the lamp, and they come and burn their bodies for it. Now, burning is looked upon in Asia as a sign of love, and they say, “Here are moths so much in love with the lamp that they burn themselves.”
Vedanta says, “No, no, it is the lamp which burns itself first and then is loved afterwards.”
Similarly, rise above the body, burn up this personality of yours, singe it, consume it, burn it up, then and then only will you see your desires fulfilled. Then will worship be accorded to you, then will the objects of your desires worship you. In other words, “Deny yourself.”It is easy to Bay, but it must be put into practice.
It is not in churches that you are done with God; not in temples, not in going through ceremonies are you done with God and get freedom. It won’t do to have paid court to God. You must deny yourself every day of your life. In ordinary transactions with your friends, in buying things in the market, in your relations with relatives, you have to realize it.
A boy learning the multiplication table is taught the rules of multiplication. The rules of multiplication come to the memory and mind of the boy, but that alone will not suffice. His intellect only has learnt the Rule of Three; he will have to prove and practise until it becomes part of him, so to speak; it will have to be at his fingers’ ends. So long as you know a rule by heart, it is in your brain only and you sometimes make mistakes. Mistakes cannot be avoided unless you work out hundreds and hundreds of sums, and get them at your fingers’ ends; then only are you in a position to work out without making mistakes.
Just so, you read in the Bible “Deny your-self”, and you read it as a boy learns the Rule of Three. It won’t do. You will have to apply it to your every day surroundings; you will have to concentrate your mind upon it; it will have to be worked out and practised over and over again; the sum will have to be worked out by denying yourself.
In your talks to children, apply this rule. While walking in the street, deny yourself. While cracking jokes, apply this rule; you must work out, you must examine this sum. It is not an easy task to learn Vedanta. The book of Vedanta may be easily told, but Vedanta must be learned through yourselves. What makes the work light is constant practice, discrimination, and getting “Vedanta at your fingers’ ends so to speak.
While Professor of Mathematics, Rama could solve mathematical problems as fast as he could write them, They were so easily handled. Why? Because the different rules had been learned until Rama had them at his fingers’ ends. Rama was so practised that (for example) taking 18 digits as multiplicand and 17 digits as the multiplier, Rama could tell the result instantly in a single line. Why? By practice. Thus must your temple be not only in your heart. The temple of Vedanta is in the shop, in the street, in the praying find practice of this truth in your bed, in your study, in your dining room, in your drawing room, in your parlour. These are the temples where you have to live and realize the Truth; these are where you have to work out your examples.
When Rama was a boy, he was one day walking along the roadside, rending a book. A gentleman came along and cracked a joke with Rama. He said, “What are you doing here? This is not a school, young sir, throw aside your book.”Rama replied, “The whole world is my school.”Now does Rama realize what should be your school.
If Vedanta is not practised in everyday life, what is the use of it? Vedanta, printed in books and placed on shelves to be eaten up by worms, won’t do. You must live it.
They call Vedanta fire. If Vedanta does not remove our misery and suffering, then this Divine Fire is not even of the same rank as the material fire which cooks your food which appeases your hunger, and which removes your chill. If Vedanta docs not remove your chill, if it does not make you happy, if it does not cast off your burdens, then kick it aside.
You learn to realize Vedanta, you acquire it only when you put it into practice.
There was once a man, Yudhishthir. He was the heir-apparent to the throne of India. There is a story related of his boyhood.
He was reading in school with his younger brothers. There were many brothers. One day the great master, the Examiner, came to examine those boys. This Principal came and asked them how far they had advanced, and the younger boys laid before the master all they had read. When the time came for this boy, the master put the usual question to him, and the boy opened the Primer and said in a cheerful happy tone, not the least ashamed,”I have learned the alphabet, and I have learned the first sentence”. The master said, “Is that all?” and pointed to the first sentence. The master said, “Have you learnt anything more?” The boy said hesitatingly, “The second sentence.”The prince, the dear little boy, said this cheerfully and happily; but the master was exasperated, because he expected him to apply himself to possess high knowledge and great wisdom, and not to be snail-slow. The master asked him to stand before him. He was very cruel and thought ‘ To spare the rod was to spoil the child.”You know Professors think that to break rods upon children moulds them, and the more rods they break the better moulded are the children. That condition of mind made the master very cruel, and he began to beat and thrash the boy, but the latter kept his calm; he was cheerful as before, he was as happy as ever. The master beat him a few minutes, but found no signs of anger or anxiety, fear or sorrow, on the beautiful face of the prince, and his heart relented, even as stones might have melted, so to say looking at the boy’s face. The master reflected and said to himself, “What is the matter? How is it that this boy who by one word can get me dismissed, who is one day to rule me and the whole of India, is so calm? I am so severe on him and he does not resent it in the least. I was harsh to the other brothers and they resented it, and one of them took hold of the rod and beat me; but this boy preserves his temper. He is cheerful; calm and quiet is on his face”. Then the eyes of the master fell upon the first sentence which the boy had learned.
You know, in India the Primers do not begin with dogs and cats. In India Primers begin with God, and with beautiful advice. Now, the first sentence after the alphabet in the book in Sanskrit was “Never lose your temper, never get annoyed, have no anger”. The second sentence was “Speak the truth, ever speak the truth”. The boy had said he had learned the first sentence, but he hesitatingly said he had learned the second sentence. Now, the master’s eye fell upon the first sentence, “Lose not your temper, have no anger”, and then he looked at the face of the boy. One eye of the master was on the face of the boy and the other eye on the sentence in the book; then the meaning of the sentence flashed on his mind.
Then the face of the boy told the meaning of the sentence. The face of the boy was the incarnation of the sentence written in the book, “Never get angry.”The calm, placid, bright, happy, cheerful, and beautiful face of the boy brought home to the heart of the teacher the meaning of the sentence, “Never get angry.”
Heretofore the master had transgressed; he had learned the substance of the sentence originally through the lips. Now did the master know that this sentence was not to be talked out like parrots, but could be lived, could be carried into effect, and then he realized how little was his own knowledge. He felt ashamed within himself that he had not learned the first sentence, when a boy had really learned it. You know the boy, by learning a thing, did not mean learning it by rote; but by learning he meant practising, carrying into effect, realizing, feeling, and becoming one with it. This was the meaning of Learning to this boy.
No sooner did the master understand the meaning of learning than the stick fell from his hand; his heart relented. He took up the boy and clasped him in his arms and kissed his forehead; and then he felt his own ignorance and his lack of practical knowledge to such an extent that he felt ashamed of himself, and he patted the boy on the back and said, “Son, deaf Prince, I congratulate you on having truly learned at least one sentence. I congratulate you that you have properly learnt at least one sentence of the Scriptures. Ah! I do not know even one sentence, I have not learnt even one sentence, for I get angry, and I lose my temper; anything will put me in temper. O my son, pity me, you know more, you are more learned than I”. When the master spoke thus, when he cheered the boy, the boy said, “Father, father, I have not yet learnt this sentence thoroughly, because I felt some signs of anger and resentment in my heart. When I received a five minutes’ thrashing, I felt signs of anger in my heart.”Thus was he speaking the meaning of the second sentence; thus was he speaking out the truth, when there was every temptation to conceal his inner weakness, on an occasion when he was being flattered. To reveal by his own acts the weakness lurking in his soul, the child proved that he had learned the second sentence also, “Speak the truth.”By his acts, through his life, he lived the second sentence.
This is the way to read things; this is the way to learn Vedanta, live Vedanta, practise Vedanta.
Now Rama says nobody can redeem you, you must redeem yourself, you are your own saviours. Early in the morning when you chant Om, make firm and strong resolutions to live it, to practise it. In every act you undertake, before beginning to do it, be on your guard. Just as when , going to the river to bathe, you prepare yourself for swimming, so when you begin a task, when you go to see somebody, when you are to meet some person, before that, just prepare yourself for the way. Just as when you go to the river to bathe, you strip yourselves; just so must you strip yourselves of this false ego, this personality, this temple of God. Strip yourselves of all vanity, feel God, and realize the true Self, and be determined to see God in every body. When you go to a friend, or when you go anywhere, go prepared, and when you are ready to do things, you will not fail; you will keep your balance, you will lose nothing. When a thing is done and-you return from the friend’s house, or from anybody whom you may have met, prepare yourself again.
If your hands are soiled, you wash them. If a lady or gentleman sees a spot on the clothing, they begin at once to cleanse it. Similarly, after having passed in the company of those where your personality and your egoism were made manifest, immediately after leaving them the first work is to wash your hands, then sit in your Godhead again.
Again when you are annoyed or distressed, when your balance is disturbed, what should you do? Follow the very same process of balancing.
The doctors’ balancing scales when exposed to the air are disturbed, they oscillate up and down, and what do they do to remedy it? They keep them in a quiet place and the time will come when the balance will be perfect and the scales will be at rest. Similarly, when your mind is ruffled or annoyed, shut yourselves up in a room; leave the company of your friends and return to solitude. Time and solitude will make you strong; chant Om and think Vedanta, think and realize your Divinity, your Godhead, and you will be quickly restored, you will gain your balance and be at rest.
If you think that your soul is disturbed or annoyed, if you think that your mind is disturbed, if the thought of anger, hostility, anxiety or fear is in your mind, what must you do? O, you have no right to show your face to anybody. A face pitted with small-pox should not be shown to anybody. You should shut yourselves up in quarantine; you are cholera-struck, you are plague stricken; you are infected with a contagious disease, and you have no right to appear in society; heal yourself first, and then come out.
Well, if the face or dress of a lady or gentleman be soiled, O, he or she will never appear in society. Similarly, if your soul is soiled, if you are stricken with a contagious disease, so to say, if your real nature is suffering from cholera, never come out in society. Sit alone, chant Om, feel God and when you think God, when you feel God, then come out. Rama tells you that if you begin to feel this power, you will find a marked change in your life.
People want to eat fruit, but they want to cut down the tree that bears the fruit; they want to be happy and to enjoy themselves, but they do not want to live in the Truth. Enjoyment and happiness come only when a person lives in his Godhead, lives in the Divinity.
People want to get these bodies worshipped, they want to get all the comforts for these little bodies, but they want to avoid the price; but it won’t do. You can live in cities, you can carry on this herculean labour within yourself; it is possible, it depends upon your own stamina.
Rama tells you he is really above fear, above anxiety, above annoyance, but it is achieved by constant practice. It has brought Rama up from a state of the lowest depths of weakness and superstition. At one time Rama was most superstitious; every whiff of wind threw Rama off his balance. If one man can do this, you can.