Workshop on Spirituality - Part 2
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
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
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;