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Chapter 3 / parts 19 - 23

Workshop on Spirituality - Part 2
 
19  Mirage

   Swami says, "Every movement I make is willed; everything I say has a purpose. It may appear casual, but every movement is determined." It all boils down to what we believe. As we think, so it will be. If we do not think so, it will not be so. It is like that. We create our own world. As I mentioned earlier, Swami said: "Dust if you think, dust you are. God if you think, God you are. You create our own reality with your thoughts." So, these are all steps on the spiritual path. For me there is no question of any free will. It cannot be. Because this being does not really exist. It is just a densification of something much, much finer; and the gross is under the control of that finer current, which is the divinity. This person and its desires have no meaning. It is merely an illusion, a mirage.


   When there is a mirage everyone sees it. If we have a map of the desert and there is no water or oasis indicated on the map, then do we trust our vision and everyone else's vision and go chase after the imaginary oasis? Or do we put our trust in the map maker? The map maker has been there before; he has scouted out the whole territory and he knows the truth of what is and isn't there. Swami is that map maker. He says it is a mirage. Everyone else can say, "No, what I see is the truth." But if we believe in Swami, if we believe in the guru and we have surrendered ourselves to him, then we listen to his words. He says it is a mirage. He knows the landscape and has drawn the map. We don't know any of it, except the limited information we have through our senses.


   For tens of thousands of years, as human beings, we have had the experience that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Everyone has seen it that way. Everyone believed it to be so. If you said otherwise, they would lock you up. But now we know that it is not so at all. The sun never moves. Only the earth turns about its own axis and orbits around the sun.


   I was a pilot. As a pilot if I had followed my experience, I would long ago have been dead. You have to follow the instruments. As a pilot you learn to trust in the instruments, not the seat of your pants. You don't follow your sensations. It may feel like the plane is turning, but if the instruments say 'no' then you follow the instruments.


 

20  Faith and Experience


   Like that, you set aside experience and you go on faith - faith in what you believe is true. Now that belief is very important because that creates your reality. So if your reality is Swami's highest teaching, and you go with that and he says, "Your truth is the divinity. You are the very embodiment of divine love," then there is no need for any further questions in our mind as to what is really true. Our nature is divine. We are the embodiments of divine love. The world teacher who knows us better than we know us has said so. We believe in him with the conviction of our faith.


   We may not feel that we are totally selfless and that we are pure divine love. In fact, we may feel just the opposite. But we can be sure that when we feel that way and are out of love for any reason, we are not being ourselves, at all, but some false self that has imposed itself on our essential nature. I'm not speaking about what happens on the outside but what we feel deep inside that matters. On the outside there will be the play of the three qualities that make up illusion... the dull, the active and the serene. Swami says, it is the qualities that pull the strings of these puppet dolls and make them dance. All these trajectories through the outer world, and all these feeling states in the inner world, are just the dolls dancing to the tune of the qualities, playing in the mind.


   But, I am not that puppet doll. The mind may be dancing but I am not dancing. I am rock solid; unaffected by the dummy play. Do I say that from experience? No, I don't have that experience. Then, do I have it on faith? Yes, one hundred percent! I choose to go with that because the Lord assured me, assured us all, that that is how it is. So, first, affirm your faith. "I am God. I am pure divine love. I am one with everything and everyone. Anything else I feel cannot be me. I am not this body. I am not this mind. I am not this limited individual. I'm not this changing shadow. I'm the unchanging substance. I am pure awareness. I was never born and will never die." This is what I believe and this is how I'll live. The experience of this will come later. But it will surely come. Swami has promised us that.


   Now let's take a little break. I would like to suggest that you don't just go outside and start talking about a lot of worldly things. Think over some of these principles. Swami likes us to keep the talk down. As the Buddha said: 'Before you speak, think to yourself: Is it good, is it true, will it improve upon the silence?' That is really the key to everything. How much do we value the stillness? Only when we are pure inside, when we are empty... only in the very depths of our inner silence, will we be able to hear the promptings of the conscience which is the inner voice of God.


21  Level Confusion


   Question: "I'm still a little confused about what Swami is saying to us. Are we responsible for the state of the world or is God responsible for the state of the world?"
   Answer: Swami says that it is man's doing and not God's doing that has produced the sorry state of the human condition today. But then, how do we reconcile that with what has been said earlier, namely, that everything that happens can only happen because God willed it so? Isn't that your question, basically?


We must be careful not to get into level-confusion. We are speaking of different levels. Swami is the mountain. Every path going up that mountain is Swami. We are on our path. Not everything that Swami has said applies to us on our path. There are many things he says. If he speaks to young students in Prashanti Nilayam, and it gets printed up as one of Swami's discourses, it doesn't necessarily apply to us; at least not every word of it. Swami speaks to different people at different levels and moves each one on to their next stage. Our problem often is that we compare something that Swami has said to one person with something that he said to another person, or something that he said in one place with something that he said in another place, when he was speaking to a different group of people. And that may create some confusion.


   For example, that interview at Kodaikanal was held in the morning. That same evening I was again in the house and Swami was talking to a number of people gathered there. I was the only Westerner. Swami answered some questions and told some stories. I wanted to ask him a question on the topic of the morning interview, but Swami waved it aside and said: "That is too difficult. Not now." So, that was an inappropriate subject for this setting.


   To know what direction applies to us and what we should follow, we must listen to the inner voice of conscience; and for that we must develop the buddhi. The buddhi is our channel to the infinite. There we will get our answer. That is our intuitive intellect, our discriminating faculty which knows in an immediate flash of intuitive apprehension, what is right. It is not at the level of the mind. It is something you feel in your heart or in your gut. You can't explain it, you just know it. You can taste it, and immediately you feel: "Yes, this talks to me; this is what I should be hearing and this is what I should be doing."


   Think, for a moment, how you felt yesterday when I read that interview to you. Do you remember how some of those words went right into your heart and you almost caught your breath in an instant of exalted recognition: "Yes, that's the truth." Swami says that when we get joy from some object, it's really not the object that is giving us the joy. It is our own undiminishable joy in our heart that we experience, when in the immediacy of the moment, the veil that hides our joy is swept aside for an instant, and in a flash, our own bliss is revealed and felt. Similarly, when those teachings come that open the door for us, then the words will have an impact all out of proportion to their ordinary meaning, and in a flash of recognition we will know the truth, for the veil that has hidden it will have been lifted, and for an instant we will experience our own reality.


   So, we have been speaking of non-dualism, and we have not been speaking so much of dualism. Since your question has something to do with the world, you are concerned with dualism. The world is in duality; it has to do with the dream. In that dream all kinds of things take place. And how it affects you has to do with how you view it. But when you are in non-duality there is no world; only God.

22  Seeding



   In the interview I was reading to you yesterday, Swami was sowing seeds of non-dualism and encouraging us not to be so concerned about the world. Perhaps, this process created some inner churning and discontent in some of you. You can call it divine discontent.


   You know, a farmer raises a crop of really fine wheat and he takes it to the market and gets a good price. He is very happy. Some part of the crop he stores away for his own use during the year. That's what he's going to eat and live on; it will give him the energy he needs for the rest of the year. But then the government man comes around and says to this farmer: "Listen, we have developed some much better seeds. We have this new type of hybrid which will give you 30 percent more yield, with higher energy, higher protein, higher pest resistance, it will grow in half the time and will get a much better price. The government wants to give you some of these seeds, so for your next crop you sow these instead of the old wheat variety you have been growing."


   The farmer is very interested. He gets all fired up with planting these new seeds and seeing this new crop come up. But it takes time for the new crop to grow; it takes many months. You have to wait for the growing season to come and then for the grain to be ready for harvest. All during that time what does the farmer and his family live on? They have to live on last year's crop, the old seeds that he has lost all interest in. So, he must get his energy from this old crop and live on what he has already rejected.


   That is divine discontent. Already the new seeds have been sown but we are still stuck with some of the old energy. Our energy, our thoughts, our habit patterns, everything still comes from the old crop. Finally, when that new crop comes up, we taste our happiness once more. But then the government man comes along again and says: "O, we are trying a new kind of grain now, and we have discovered that we can use it to feed animals, we can use it for meat and dairy substitutes, it has 60% more protein. There is a great market for it and we will even be able to export it abroad. So it will fetch a very good price." And again the farmer discovers that he has the wrong stuff. Like this it goes on. There persists this nagging lack of contentment because his life is always lagging behind his latest knowledge.

23  Tendencies

 
   So, what we profess, because we know it to be true from the teachings, and what we actually practice, may be two different things. We have the knowledge but we have not yet been able to embody it. We are still living off last year's seeds. Sometimes Swami says: "Heroes on the platform, zeroes in practice." The habit patterns and tendencies deeply entrenched in our being, are very strong and keep pulling us down. These are deep ruts carved out by our passage along the same worldly track, over and over again.


   These ruts are very hard to climb out of. We have lived, steeped in duality and ignorance, out of tune with our own true nature, for countless previous lives. Now, we must set radically new patterns which will return us to our truth. That is why it takes constant repetition. This is a very important practice, Swami tells us. We have to read and reread and hear and hear again. We have to think on it deeply and come together in spiritual fellowship. We have to allow the word of the Lord to come into us and fill us in many different ways so that we create a new groove, a new pattern for our being.
   Most importantly, we have to put it into practice in our day-to-day life. We have to establish a new way of being that takes us away from that old well-formed path that we have been on for so many lives, which had to do with duality, and which had to do with involvement in the world. We have to climb up out of that.


   Everything will appear to be going downhill and we have to go uphill. We have to swim against the stream. We don't get much support anywhere, except from our fellow devotees or fellow seekers, who are very few. And so we have to develop great inner strength and much patience, and learn to live with divine discontent. And just when we seem to have it all together, then the government man will come around again and give us our next assignment. He brings us both hope and despair; but he also brings the precious new seeds and the information on how to cultivate them; and with his support we carry on. Still, until this next crop comes up and its promise is fulfilled, we have to make do with last year's seeds.


   When the rain of grace comes and the telephone rings, we hear the voice of a Sai brother or sister saying: "Sai Ram", and our joy returns and our difficulties are forgotten. That "Sai Ram" reminds us that Swami is always with us, even in this seemingly God-less world. We've had the sweet taste of that this weekend here in Hamburg. He says, when two or more meet in my name, I will be there. But remember he is here for everyone. Some may not know of it for another ten years or twenty years or thirty years, or for many more lives to come, but everyone is on the return path home, not just we. It is not that we have been especially chosen. Everyone is chosen. But many have not yet ripened into that awareness, and their stream is into the world while we struggle in the other direction. In a forest only a few trees will be in bloom but all will have their turn.

 
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