XXII - Page 219 Home | Index | Previous | Next

To Reach the Permanent, Go Beyond the Impermanent

Trying to know the Lord through the changing forms found in the gross physical universe, is a type of delusion. The permanent unchanging entity cannot be known through impermanent, changing forms. Whatever knowledge you get this way will be impermanent. Whatever joy you may derive from trying to know him in this way will only be temporary. The basic nature of these five elements is that they are constantly undergoing change. To reach the state of the permanent, you have to go beyond these five elements and their changing forms.

Suppose you go on a pilgrimage to a temple to have a vision of the Lord. Coming there, you may have had to undergo a great many difficulties. Then, when you finally arrive there and have a chance to go into the temple, you stand before the likeness of the Lord with your heart filled with yearning. You look at the sacred image, but immediately you find yourself closing your eyes as you experience the intense feelings of being in the divine presence. Spontaneously, you close your eyes and turn your vision inwards. Having gone to so much trouble to get there to have a look at the holy image, why, once you are there, do you close your eyes and look within yourself? What is the inner significance of this? You turn your sight inward because you realize that in order for you to get a permanent and true vision of the Lord, you have to look inside your heart. You know intuitively that the pictures taken in through your eyes will remain fleeting impressions, superimposed on impermanent thoughts. After having registered these visual images in the thoughts, they must be fixed so that they can become unchanging impressions in the heart.

Although you cannot get a direct experience of the divinity in the physical universe, the indirect vision of the divinity that you can get there will give you some sacred experiences. Just because the physical world is transient and changing you should not renounce these feelings of connectedness with the divinity, even though they may be short-lived. These feelings will give you some temporary joy. First, you will have to secure this temporary joy and then slowly and gradually make the journey towards permanent joy. This journey will take you through the three worlds, the physical, the mental and the causal, going from the grossest to the most subtle. It is only in the causal that you will find the image of real truth. The causal arises from the transcendental state, which interpenetrates these three worlds, and is beyond them. That transcendental source which illuminates the causal is the unchanging light of the atma.