Delivered on Wednesday, April 6, 1904
Tee loving divinity in the form of ladies and gentlemen,
The question is asked, ‘When did the world begin?’ Now on looking up the definition of ‘when’ we find that it means ‘what time.’ So the question is – At what time did Time begin? Put this way, it is ridiculous of course. Where did the world begin? Where did Space begin? There is also the question ‘ How did the world begin?’ Some bright ones may attempt to answer these questions. But I will leave it for them to do; it is more than I care to undertake. There are those who will spend their days trying to find a solution of these questions, but what of it – they get just so far and then they stop as though confronted by a stone wall absolutely impenetrable.
Now here I have a pair of tongs; the tongs can pick up this and that and other things, but cannot turn back and grasp the hand which holds and guides them. So the trio – time, space, and causation – can hold the phenomena of the world, but it cannot grasp what is behind it – the Self.
Once four men were taken to a hospital because of cataract of the eye, which they hoped to be operated on there. Now naturally all these men suffering from cataract were stone blind and had only the four senses left them. One day they began to dispute as to the colour of the window glass. One said, “My son who is a student at the University was here and told me 4the glass is yellow.’ It must, be yellow.” Another said, “My uncle who is a Municipal Commissioner was here the other day and told me ‘ the glass is red.’ He is very smart and he knows.”
Then the third said that a cousin of his who was a Professor at the University had called on him, and while visiting him told him the glass was green. Of course he ought to know. Thus they quarrelled as to the colour of the glass. Then they began to try and find out for themselves what the colour of the glass was. First they put their tongues on it and tried to taste it, but colour was not to be known that way. Then they rapped it and listened to the sound, but colour could not be distinguished even that way. They tried to smell it and they felt it. But alas! Their senses of touch, smell, taste, and hearing could not tell them what the colour of the glass was.
Similarly we cannot know the Infinite through the senses. Now see how impossible that would be, if you could know the Infinite through the senses; the Infinite would necessarily have to be smaller than the finite. Absurd. It is only through the Cosmic-consciousness, the God-consciousness, that we know the Infinite. Here I take this match – stick in my hand. Now the match – stick is smaller than the hand in which it is held. Do you see how the finite could not perceive the Infinite? The senses cannot perceive that which is beyond them. Do not depend upon anything outside of you to reveal the SELF to you like the blind men who were told the colour of the glass, but did not know for themselves what the colour was, and were taking for granted that it was red because the cousin said so, that it was yellow because the son said so, and so on. I am told that H2O produces water. Do I know it? No, in spite of the fact that all chemists tell me this is true. I only know it when I have gone into the laboratory and tried it for myself; then alone it becomes an actual fact to me. You cannot depend upon any authority outside yourself, whether it be Krishna, Christ, or Buddha. In order to know it, you must know it yourself. You might be told by good authority, by the Professor, for instance, that the glass was red, but you would have to see it in order to know it. A young man says, “My father has a good stomach, he can digest my dinner for me.” Can he? No, the son must digest his own dinner. I bow to those great souls the world has known, but they cannot digest my food for me, that I must do for myself, They cannot convince me of my ONENESS WITH GOD, I must do that for myself.. It is through the Cosmic-consciousness alone that we know the Truth, This I will tell you about later on.
The agnostic and the freethinker say, ‘I will investigate for myself,’ and we see how far they get. He says the light is in this match. Now where shall we discover it? So he cuts the match into little pieces, but cannot find the light. Then he pulverizes it, still he cannot find the light. He takes the body and pulls it to pieces – life cannot be found, he crushes the bones, but life is not there. He says if there is a REALITY; I must be that, but it is unknowable. That is true so far as he has gone, but he has not yet developed the Cosmic – consciousness; he has used the local consciousness entirely to know the Infinite, but that he can never know it in this way is plain. Now let us see, by Reason we can reach up to the Infinite, know that there is an Infinite, but what it is we cannot tell. As when a person comes up from behind and blindfolds me, I know there is someone there, and that it must be a friend, for no stranger would dare take the liberty of doing that, but who it is 1 cannot tell. It is like a ball being thrown against a wall, the ball will reach the wall, but it will rebound. Reason does not penetrate the Infinite, Now if the Infinite could be known, we would have duality established immediately instead of oneness, and neither the knower nor the known would be Infinite. But by the Cosmic – consciousness we see Universality is established.
Now, as to the development of this God-consciousness. First I will tell you a little about the child. The child does not have Cosmic-consciousness, nor does it have local consciousness. Now we have this little tiny baby. What does it know? Do we wait until it knows about itself before we talk to it? No. Do we wait until it knows about the objects with which it is surrounded before we speak of them to the child? No. When the baby is very small, it is given a name, we will say Johnnie. Now the parents call the baby by this name, they talk to it and tell it about different things; tell it how sweet it is, how beautiful, how dear. They tell it about mamma and papa. Now, as the baby gets a little older and plays about by itself, it will make sounds most of which are unintelligible; but hearing ma and pa so frequently, the little thing also imitates those sounds, and then the mother says to the father why the baby is calling you when it says pa. The father says to the baby, “Come here.” Does the child know what that means? No, it is only by the extended arms and coaxing of the father that the child is impressed with the fact that it is to come to him. So we see this local consciousness is developed by association with those in whom it is dive. So the Cosmic – consciousness is developed by associating with those who have it, who realize their Godhead. You need only associate with those in whom grief is strong to feel heavy laden; you need only associate with those who are full of sunshine and life to feel joyful, and so by association is this consciousness kindled. Whether association be with nature, with the illumined or with the writings of the illumined, matters not, but association kindles this within. The parent calls Johnnie, Johnnie, until the child becomes Johnnie; it might just as well have been a Willie. Is that not so? Again three or four children may be sleeping in the same room, Johnnie is called. Johnnie is the one who responds to the call, not Willie. Willie does not awaken in spite of the loud call; it was not he who was called.
It is through ignorance that a person might ask one who realized his ONENESS WITH THE SELF to make a blade of grass. The questioner might say, “Now see here, you call yourself God – what can you do? God made the universe and you cannot even make a blade of grass; still you call yourself God. Show me what you can do.” Was not Jesus tempted in the same way? He did not heed the taunts of Satan who urged him to leap from the mountain, but said to him, “Get thee behind me.” All power was his, but why should he perform for an unbeliever. Myriads upon myriads of miracles would not make the doubter believe. He would not realize the Self unless he too had the Universal Consciousness in him brought forth. Now when I say, 41 am God,’ what do I mean? This little personality I No, not that: This mind! No, not that. It is like this. Suppose a man were Master of Arts and received the Degree, suppose he were a king and had the title of king, that would be something external to the personality, something tacked on, as it were. Similarly I might say the snake is black; that is not the snake, but something outside the snake, an attribute of the snake. But when I say the snake is rope, that makes it an entirely different proposition. I am a king; king is a title, a position; but I say I am God – that does not mean the little Ego you see, any more than the rope was the snake. That was an illusion. In your ignorance you took the rope for a snake, but that was not the truth, it was really a rope. So this personality is a hallucination. I am God and God alone, the eternal one, the all, there is no rival at all.
To explain this a little further, here we have two waves. Is the water any different in one from what it is in the other? No, the water is just the same. The water in the entire ocean is just the same. Here we have one form and there another. Is the SELF different in this one from what it is in that? No, the ONE ONLY IS ALL, THAT IS WITHOUT A SECOND. These bodies are all bodies of the Self. They are all mine; there is no difference. In different languages, we call “light’ differently. In English it is called ‘ light’; in German ‘licht‘ and so on. It is light in every case, is it not? The light is just the same, even though we know it by different names. Names do not make any difference to the Self, IT MUST BE ALL.
This body is one continuous body. How would it be if the hand undertook to live by itself and say I am the bread – winner, I want all I earn? Instead of putting the food into the mouth, letting the stomach digest it and the nourishment be distributed, the food would be injected into the hand. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Do dollars fasten themselves to the hand? A yellow wasp stings the hand and there is swelling and pain. But if the hand were cut off there would be constant pain and misery; for it belongs to the whole. So when the food is digested by the stomach, the hand gets its due share of nutrition. The whole works together. So it is that when we cut ourselves off from the whole, we suffer and suffer until we realize our universality. There can be no rest in this performance. When the Universal consciousness is developed, we see that all bodies are interdependent; they are all mine, there is no separateness.
Once a Swami went to a goldsmith and said to him, “Bring out your best ring and put it on the finger of God.” Then he went to the shoemaker and said to him, “Bring your best shoes and put them on the feet of God.” Then he proceeded to the tailor and to him he said, “Put your best suit on the body of God,” thereby meaning his body. When the people heard this, they allied him a blasphemer and said, “Away with him, he must be put in prison.” Before they took him away, the Swami asked for an audience, saying that he wanted to tell them something before he was thrown into prison. He said to them, “Whose world is this?” They answered, “God’s.” “Whose are the stars and the Sun? “God’s.” Whose are the fields and all they contain? “God’s.” Do you believe this? They answered, “Most certainly, that is the truth.” He then said, whose body is this? and they said, God’s – whose feet? God’s. Whose finger? God’s. It was God’s indeed. Since by their own reasoning he brought them to see that what he had said was right, of course nothing could be done to him. They were ignorant ones and had not looked as deeply as had the Swami.
In India, when a person is dying they say he gives up the body; here they say he gives up the ghost. The expression there is more correct than the one used here, for it would indicate that the ghost was something other than the body. They also say there, “The breath went out of him.” Once there were three men sitting together and drinking a great deal; they all became very intoxicated. One of them said, ‘Let us have a little picnic,’ and so they sent one of the party for meat and other things that they might all have a good time of it. While he was gone, one of the two remaining began to feel peculiar and said to his partner, “The breath is going out of me.” The other said, – “No, no, the breath must not go out of you,” and he held the nose of the sick man that the breath might not escape; he stopped up his ears and held his mouth shut, thinking thereby to keep the breath in the body, but we know full well what he could accomplish thereby. They did not realise the truth and understand the inefficacy of such a performance.
Krishna was to give a feast. All the ministers were invited, but he had not invited his sweetheart, Radha. The prime minister urged him to send her an invitation, but he would not listen to him and said, “No.” However, the prime minister did not heed him and went to Radha to inform her of the feast which Krishna was to give. She said to him, ‘ When you have a feast, you send invitations to your friends, but you do not send an invitation to yourself, do you? I know that Krishna is to have a feast. We are one’.
One day the sweetheart of Majnun said that she did not feel well and nothing seemed to do her any good. So the Doctor was sent for. As was the old custom, he immediately proceeded to Laili to draw out a little blood, that is, he cut a little gash in the arm thinking thereby to draw out blood, but no blood came from Laili. From Majnun however it’ streamed forth; such was the oneness of these lovers.
I saw, I studied, and learnt it,
This Primer well did Me describe, –
Its letters were hieroglyphic toys,
In different ways did Me inscribe –
This Alphabet, so curious one day,
I relegate to the waste – paper basket,
I burn this booklet leaf by leaf
To light my lovely smoking pipe;
I smoke and blow it through my mouth,
Then watch the curly smoke go out.