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30 May, 2008


                    BY ECHKHART TOLLE

When someone goes to the doctor and says, “I hear a voice in my head,” he or she will most likely be sent to psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way, virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time – the involuntary thought processes that you don’t realize you have the power to stop, continuous monologues or dialogues.

You have probably come across ‘mad’ people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, that’s not much different from what you and all other ‘normal’ people do, except that you don’t do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn’t necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reviving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations. Here it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry. Sometimes this sound track accompanied by visual images or ‘mental movies’.

Even if the voice is relevant to the situation at hand, it will interpret it in terms of the past. This is because the voice belongs to your conditioned mind, which is the result of all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mindset you inherited. So you see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of it. It is not uncommon for the voice to be person’s own worst enemy. Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as disease.


The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing your head perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by ‘watching the thinker’, which is another way of saying, “Listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.”

When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You’ll soon realise, “There is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it.’ This realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.

So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought, but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence – your deeper Self – behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides because you are no longer energizing the mind though identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.

When a thought subsides, you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream – a gap of ‘no-mind’. At first, the gaps will be short, a few seconds perhaps but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with Being, which is usually obscured by the mind. With practice, the sense of stillness and peace will deepen. In fact, there is no end to its depth. You will also feel a subtle emanation of joy arising from deep within, the joy of Being.

It is not trancelike state. Not at all. There is no loss of consciousness here. The opposite is the case. If the price of peace were a lowering of your consciousness, and the price of stillness a lack of vitality and alertness, then they would not be worth having. In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state. You are fully present. It also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body.

As you go more deeply into this realm of no-mind, as it is sometimes called in the East, you realise the state of pure consciousness. In that state, you feel your own presence with such intensity and such joy that all thinking, all emotions, your physical body, as well as the whole external world become relatively insignificant in comparison to it. And yet this is not a selfish but a selfless state. It takes you beyond what you previously thought of as ‘your self’. That presence is essential you, and at the same time inconceivably greater than you. What I am trying to convey here may sound paradoxical or even contradictory, but there is no other way that I can express it.


Instead of ‘watching the thinker’, you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the Now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment. This is a deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware, but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.

In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up an down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all sense perceptions associated with the activity – the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice – the degree of peace that you feel within.

So the single most vital step on your journey towards enlightenment is this – learn to dis-identify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.

One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.


Source: LIVING IN THE PRESENT by Eckhart Tolle published by Chinamaya Publications, “Mananam Series”.

24 May, 2008


The All-Powerful God in the form of ladies and gentlemen,

In a German folk-lore we hear about a man who lost his shadow. That is a very strange thing. A man lost his shadow and that man had to suffer for it. All his friends deserted him, all prosperity left him, and he was in a very sorry plight for it. What will you think of a man who instead of losing his shadow loses the substance? There may be hope for a man who loses only the shadow, but what hope can there be for a man who loses the substance, the body?

Such is the case of the majority of people in this world. Most men have lost not their shadow but their substance, the reality. Wonder of wonders! The body is simply the shadow, and the real Self, the real Atman, is the reality. Everybody will tell us about his shadow, everybody will tell us anything and everything about his body, but how few are there who will tell us anything and everything about their real Self, the real Soul, the real Atman. What are you? What is the use of gaining the whole world and losing your own soul? People are trying to gain the whole world but they miss the Soul, they miss the Atman. Lost, lost, lost. What is lost? The horse or the rider? The horseman is lost. The body is like the horse, and the Atman, the true Self, the Soul is like the rider. The rider is lost, the horse is there. Everybody will tell us anything and everything about the horse, but we want to know something about the rider, the horseman, the owner of the horse. Tonight we propose to know what the horseman or the rider, the true Self, the Atman is. That is a deep subject; that is a subject upon which the philosophers of the world have been racking their brains, upon which each and all have been trying their best. It is a deep subject, and it is hard to do justice to this subject within this short space of one hour or so. Still we shall try to make it as easy as possible by means of an illustration or story.

This subject was explained once to a young boy of the age of about 15 or 16, and he understood it thoroughly in a short time. If that boy of the age of 15 or 16 could understand it, each and all of you will be able to understand the subject thoroughly, provided you pay close, undivided attention. The method of exposition will be the same as was adopted in the case of that small boy.

Once upon a time, the son of an Indian king came to Rama in the mountains, and put this question, "Swami, Swami, What is God?" This is a deep question, a very difficult problem. This is the one subject which all the theologies and all the religions propose to investigate, and you want to know all about "it in a short time". He said, "Yes, sir yes, Swami. Where shall I go to have it explained? Explain it to me." The boy was asked, "Dear prince, you want to know what God is, you want to make acquaintance with God, but do you not know that the rule is, when a man wants to see a great personage, he will have to send his own card first, he will have to send to the chief his own address and name? Now you want to see God. You had better send to God your card; you had better let God know what you are. Give Him your card. Rama will place it in the hands of God directly and God will come to you, and you will see what God is." "Well", the boy said, "It is all right, it is reasonable. I will directly let you know what I am. I am the son of king so and so, living on the Himalayas in Northern India. This is my name." He wrote it out on a piece of paper. It was taken up by Rama and read. It was not put into the hands of God directly, but was given back to that prince and the prince was told, "O prince, you do not know what you are. You are like the illiterate, ignorant person who wants to see your father, the king and cannot write his own name. Will your father, the king receive him? Prince, you cannot write your name. How will God receive you? First tell us correctly what you are, and then will God come to you and receive you with open arms."

The boy reflected. He began to think and think over the subject. He said, "Swami, Swami, now I see, now I see. I made a mistake in writing my own name. I have given you the address of the body only, and I have not put upon the paper what I am."
There was an attendant of that prince standing by. The attendant could not understand it. Now the prince was asked to make his meaning clear to this attendant, and so the prince asked the attendant this question, "Mr. so and so, to whom does this card belong?" The man said, "To me." and taking up a stick from the hands of the attendant the prince asked him, "Mr. so and so, to whom does this stick belong?" The man said "To me." "Well, to whom does this turban of yours belong?" The man said, "To me." The prince said, "All right. If the turban belongs to you, there is a relation between the turban and you; the turban is your property, and you are the owner. Then you are not the turban, the turban is yours." He said, "Indeed, that is so plain." "Well, the pencil belongs to you, the pencil is yours, and you are not the pencil." He said, "I am not the pencil because the pencil is mine; that is my property, I am the owner." All right. Then the prince asked that attendant, taking hold of the ears of that attendant, "Whom do these ears belong to?" The attendant said, "To me." The prince said, "All right, the ears belong to you, the ears are yours. As such you are not the ears. Similarly the nose belongs to you. As the nose is yours, you are not the nose. Then, whose body is that?" (Just beckoning to the body of the attendant.) The attendant said, "The body is mine; this body is mine." "If the body is yours, Mr. attendant, then you are not the body; you cannot be the body because you say that the body is yours; you cannot be the body. The very statement—my body, my ears, my head, my hand proves that you are something else and the body together with the ears and hands and eyes, etc., is something else. This is your property, you are the owner, the master; the body is like your garment and you are the owner. The body is like your horse and you are the owner. Now, what are you?" The attendant understood it so far, and also concurred with the prince in saying that when the prince had put down on paper the address of the body and had meant that this address stood for himself, the prince had made a mistake. "You are not the body, not the ears, not the nose, not the eyes, nothing of the kind. What are you then?" Now the prince began to reflect, and said, "Well, well, I am the mind, I am the mind, I must be the mind."

"Is that so indeed?" The question was put to that prince. "Now, can you tell me how many bones you have got in your body? Can you tell where the food lies in your body that you took this morning?" The prince could make no answer, and these words escaped his lips, "Well, my intellect does not reach that. I have not read that. I have not yet read anything of physiology or anatomy. My brain does not catch it, my mind cannot comprehend it."

Now the prince was asked, "Dear prince, O good boy, you say your mind cannot comprehend it, your intellect cannot reach up to that, your brain cannot understand this. By making these remarks you confess and admit that the brain is yours, the mind is yours, the intellect is yours. Well, if the intellect is yours, you are not the intellect. If the mind is yours, you are not the mind. If the brain is yours, you are not the brain. These very words of yours show that you are the master of the intellect, the owner of the brain and the ruler of the mind. You are not the mind, the intellect or the brain. What are you? Think, think, please. Be more careful and let us know correctly what you are. Then will God be just brought to you, and you will see God, you will be introduced directly into the presence of God. Please tell us what you are."

The boy began to think, and thought and thought but could not go further. The body said, "My intellect, my mind cannot, reach further."

Oh, how true are these words! Indeed the mind or the intellect cannot reach the true Divinity or God within.

The real Atman, the true God is beyond the reach of words and minds.

The boy was asked to sit down for a while and meditate upon what his intellect had reached so far. "I am not the body; I am not the mind." If so, feel it, put it into practice, repeat it in the language of feeling, in the language of action; realize that you are not the body. If you live this thought only, if you work into practice even so much of the truth, if you are above the body and the mind, you become free from all anxiety, all fear. Fear leaves you when you raise yourself above the level of the body or the mind. All anxiety ceases, all sorrow is gone, when you realize even so much of the Truth that you are something beyond the body, beyond the mind.

After that, the boy was helped on a little to realize what he himself is, and he was asked, "Brother, prince, what have you done today? Will you please let us know the works or deeds that you have performed this morning?"

He began to relate, "I woke up early in the morning, took bath, and did this thing and that thing, took my breakfast, read a great deal, wrote some letters, visited some friends, received some friends, and came here to pay my respects to the Swami."

Now the prince was asked, "Is that all? Have you not done a great deal more? Is that all? Just see." He thought and thought; and then mentioned a few other things of the same sort. "That is not all; you have done thousands of things more; you have done hundreds, thousands, nay, millions of things more. Innumerable deeds you have done, and you refuse to make mention of them. This is not becoming. Please let us know what you have done. Tell us everything that you have done this morning."

The prince, hearing such strange words that he had done thousands of things besides the few that he had named, was startled. "I have not done anything more than what I have told you, sir, I have not done anything." "No, you have done millions, trillions, quadrillions of things more." How is that?

The boy was asked, "Who is looking at the Swami at this time?" He said, "I". "Are you seeing this face, this river Ganga that flows beside us?" He said, "Yes, indeed." "Well, you see the river and you see the face of the Swami, but who makes the six muscles in the eyes move? You know the six muscles in the eyes move, but who makes the muscles move? It cannot be anybody else; it cannot be anything extra. It must be your own Self that makes the muscles in the eyes move in the act of seeing."

The boy said, "Oh, indeed, it must be I; it cannot be anything else."
"Well, who is seeing just now, who is attending to this discourse?" The boy said, "I, it is I." "Well, if you are seeing, if you are attending to this discourse, who is making the oratory nerves vibrate? It must be you, it must be you. Nobody else. Who took the meals this morning." The boy said, "I, I." "Well, if you took the meals this morning and it is you that will go to the toilet and vacate, who is it that assimilates and digests the food? Who is it, please? Tell us if you eat and you throw it out, it must be you who digests, it must be yourself that assimilates, it cannot be anybody else. Those days are gone when outside causes were sought after to explain the phenomena in nature. If a man fell down, the cause of his fall was said to be some outside ghost. Science does not admit such solutions of the problem. Science and philosophy require you to seek the cause of a phenomenon in the phenomenon itself."

"Here you take the food, go into the toilet and throw it off. When it is digested, it must be digested by yourself, no outside power comes and digests it; it must be your own Self. The cause of digestion also must be sought within you and not without you."

Well, the boy admitted so far. Now he was asked, "Dear Prince, just reflect, just think for a while. The process of digestion implies hundreds of kinds of movements. In the process of digestion, in mastication, saliva is emitted from the glands in the mouth. Here is again the next process of oxidation going on. Here is blood being formed. There is the blood coursing through the veins, there is the same food being converted into carnatic muscles, bones, and hair; here is the process of growth going on in the body. Here are a great many processes going on, and all these processes in the body are connected with the process of assimilation and digestion."

"If you take the food, it is you yourself who are the cause of respiration; you yourself make the blood course through your veins; you yourself make the hair grow; you yourself make the body develop, and here mark how many processes there are; how many acts, how many deeds there are that you are performing every moment."

The boy began to think and said, "Indeed, indeed, sir, in my body, in this body, there are thousands of processes that the intellect does not know, about which the mind is unconscious, and still they are being performed, and it must be I that am the cause of all that, it must be I that am performing all that; and indeed it was a mistake I made when I said that I had done a few things, a few things only, and nothing more, a few things that were done through the agency of the intellect or mind."

It must be made further clear. In this body of yours there are two kinds of functions being discharged; there are two kinds of work being done, involuntary and voluntary. Voluntary acts are those that are performed through the agency of the intellect or mind; for instance, reading, writing, walking, talking and drinking. These are acts done through the agency of the intellect or mind. Besides these, there are thousands of acts or processes being performed directly, so to say, without the agency, or without the medium of mind or intellect, for instance, respiration, the coursing of blood through the veins, the growth of hair, etc.

People make this mistake, this glaring blunder that they admit only those acts to be performed by them which are performed through the agency of mind or intellect. All the other deeds, all the other acts which are being performed directly without the agency of intellect or mind, are disclaimed entirely. They are entirely cast aside, they are entirely neglected, and by this neglect and by this mistake, by this imprisoning the real Self in the little mind, identifying the Infinity with the small brain, people are making themselves miserable and wretched. People say, "Oh, God is within me." All right, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, God is within you, but that kernel which is within you, that kernel is yourself and not the shell. Please think over it seriously. Reflect whether you are the kernel or the shell, whether you are He that is within you, or you are the shell that is without.

Some people say, "O sir, I eat and nature digests; O sir, I see but nature makes the muscles move; O sir, I hear but it is nature that makes the nerves vibrate." Mark, in the name of justice, in the name of truth, in the name of freedom, just mark, whether you are that nature or whether you are the mere body. Mark, you are that nature. You are the infinite God. If throwing aside all prejudice, waiving all preconceptions and casting off all superstitions, you reflect over the matter, discuss it, sift it, investigate it, examine it, you will become of the same mind as what you call Rama standing for. You will see that you are the kernel, the nature, the whole nature you are.

Most of you may have understood the drift of the argument; but that boy, that Indian prince, did not understand it thoroughly. "Well," he said, "Indeed, I have understood it so far that I am something beyond the intellect." At this time the attendant of the prince asked, "Sir, make it more clear to me, I have not quite comprehended it yet." Well, that attendant was asked, "Mr. so and so, when you go to bed, do you die or live?" The attendant said, "I live; I do not die." "And what about the intellect?" He said, "I go on dreaming, the intellect is still there." "And when you are in the deep sleep state (you know there is a state called the deep sleep state, in that state even no dreams are seen), where is the intellect, where is the mind?"

He began to think. "Well, it passes into nothingness; it is no longer there, the intellect is not there, the mind is not there." "But are you there or not?" He said, "Oh, indeed I must be there; I cannot die, I remain there." Well, mark here, even in the deep sleep state, where the intellect ceases, where the intellect is, as it were, like a garment hoisted on a peg, hoisted on a post, like an overcoat, the intellect is taken off and placed upon the post, you are still there, you do not die out. The boy said, "The intellect is not there, and I do not die out. This I do not quite comprehend."

Well, the boy was asked, "When you wake up after enjoying this deep sleep, when you wake up, do you not make such statements, ‘I enjoyed profound sleep tonight, I had no dreams tonight.’ Do you not make remarks of that kind?" He said, "Yes." Well. This point is very subtle. All of you will have to listen closely. When after waking up from the deep sleep state, this remark is made, "I slept so soundly that I saw no dreams, I saw no rivers, no mountains, in that state there was no father, no mother, no house, no family, nothing of the kind; all was dead and gone; there was nothing, nothing, nothing there. I slept and there was nothing there." This statement is like the statement made by the man who bore witness to the desolation of a place, and said, "At the dead of night, at such and such a place, there was not a single human being present." That man was asked to write out this statement. He put it on paper. The magistrate asked him, "Well, is this statement true?" He said, "Yes, sir." "Well, is this statement made on hearsay or founded upon your own evidence, are you an eyewitness?" He said, "Yes, sir, I am an eyewitness. This is not based on hearsay." "You are an eyewitness that at the time mentioned on the paper and at the place mentioned on the paper, there was not a single human being present?" He said, "Yes." "What are you? Are you a human being or not?" He said, "Yes, I am a human being." "Well, then, if this statement is true according to you, it must be wrong according to us, because, as you were present and you are a human being, the statement that there was not a single human being present is not literally true. You were present there. In order that this statement may be true according to you, it must be false according to us, because in order that there might be nobody, there must be somebody, must be some body, must be at least yourself, present at the time."

So when you wake up after enjoying the deep sleep state and make this remark, "I did not see anything in the dream;" well, we may say that you must have been present; there was no father, no mother, no husband, no wife, no house, no river, no family present in that state, but you must have been present; the very evidence that you give, the very witness that you bear proves that you did not sleep, that you did not go to sleep, for had you been asleep, who would have told us about the nothingness of that? You are something beyond the intellect; the intellect was asleep, the brain was at rest in a way, but you were not asleep. If you had been asleep, who would have made the blood run through the blood-vessels, who would have continued the process of digestion in the stomach? Who would have continued the process of the growth of your body, if you had really fallen into the deep sleep state? So you are something which is never asleep. The intellect sleeps, but not you. "I am something beyond the intellect, mind and body."
Now the boy said, "Sir, sir, I have understood it so far, and have come to know that I am a power Divine, that I am the Infinite power which never sleeps, never changes. In my youth, the body is different, in my childhood the mind was not the same as I have now, the body was not the same as I have now. In my childhood, my intellect, brain, body and mind were entirely different from what they are now." Doctors tell us that after seven years, the whole system undergoes a thorough change; every moment the body is changing, and every second the mind is changing, and the mental thoughts, the mental ideas which you entertained in your childhood, where are they now? In the days of childhood you looked upon the Sun as a beautiful cake which was eaten by the angels, the Moon was a beautiful piece of silver; the stars were as big as diamonds. Where are these ideas gone? The mind of yours, the intellect of yours has undergone a thorough, a whole-sale change. But you still say, "When I was a child, when I was a boy, when I shall grow up to the age of seventy." You still make such remark which show that you are something which was the same in childhood, which was the same in boyhood, which will be the same at the age of seventy. When you say, "I went to sleep, I went into the deep sleep state, etc,"; when you make remarks of that kind, it shows that there is the true ‘I’ in you, the real Self in you, which remains the same in the dreamland, which remains the same in the deep sleep state, which remains the same in the wakeful state. There is something within you which remains the same when you are in a swoon, which remains the same when you are bathing, when you are writing. Just think, reflect, just mark, please. Are you not something which remains the same under all circumstances, unchanging in its being, the same yesterday, today and for ever? If so, just reflect a little more, think a little more and you will be immediately brought face to face with God. You know the promise was, know your-self, put down your right address on paper, and God will be introduced to you immediately.

Now the boy, the prince, expected that as he knew about himself, he had come to know that he was something unchanging, something constant, something which was never asleep; so he wanted to know what God is. The prince was asked; "Brother, mark, here are these trees growing. Is the power that makes this tree grow different from the power that makes that tree grow?" He said, "No, no, it must be the same power certainly." "Now, is the power which makes all these trees grow different from the power that makes the bodies of animals grow?" He said, "No, No, it cannot be different, it must be the same." Now is the power, the force which makes the stars move, different from the power which makes these rivers flow? He said, "It cannot be different, it must be the same."

Well, now the power that makes these trees grow cannot be different from the power which makes your body grow, it cannot be different from the power which makes your hair grow. The same universal power of nature, the same universal Divinity or the Unknowable, which makes the stars shine, makes your eyes twinkle, the same power which is the cause of the growth of that body’s hair which you call mine, the same power makes the blood course through the veins of each and all. Indeed, and then what are you? Are you not that power which makes your hair grow, which makes your blood flow through your veins, which makes your food get digested? Are you not that power? That power which is beyond the intellect, the mind, indeed you are. If so, you are the same power which is governing the force of the whole Universe, you are the same Divinity, you are the same God, the same Unknowable, the same energy, force, substance anything you may call it, the same Divinity, the All which is present everywhere. The same, the same you are.

The boy was astonished and he said, "Really, really, I wanted to know God. I put the question what God is, and I find my own Self, my true Atman is God. What was I asking, what did I ask, what a silly question did I put! I had to know myself. I had to know what I am, and God was known." Thus was God known.

The only difficulty in the way of realizing this truth is that people play the part of children. You know, children sometimes take a fancy to a particular kind of plate and do not want to eat anything except when it is served to them in the plates which have their fancy. They will say, "I will eat in my plate, I will eat in my dish, I won’t have anything in any other plate." O children! see, it is not this particular plate alone which is yours; all the plates in the house are yours; all the golden dishes are yours. This is a mistake. If the people in this world know themselves, they will find the true Self to be God Almighty, to be the Infinite Power, but they have taken a fancy for this particular plate, this head, this brain. "What is done through this brain only, that is done by me. What is done through this mind or intellect, that is mine, and all else I won’t have; all else I disclaim. I will have only that which is served to me in this particular plate." Herein comes selfishness. They want to get everything done through this plate and to take credit for this plate, they want to have everything accumulated around this little plate, which they call particularly theirs, that with which they have identified themselves. This is the cause of all selfishness, all anxiety and misery. Get rid of this false notion; realize your true Self to be the All; rise above this selfish egoism, you are happy this moment, one with the whole universe you are. This is a mistake of the same character as that which the prince made. The prince was put a catch question. "Where is your place?" And he named the metropolis of the state. "That is my place." O boy, that metropolis of the state is not the only place you have got. The whole state, the whole country is yours. You live in that metropolis, that capital of the state, while that capital is not the only place that is yours, the whole state is yours, this magnificent landscape, these fairy scenes, this grand Himalayan scenery, all this belongs to you, and not only that particular small town.

This is the mistake made by the people. This intellect or brain may be called the metropolis or the capital of your real Self, the Atman. You have no right to claim this to yourself and deny everything else; this little metropolis of the brain, this metropolis of the mind or intellect is not the only place you have got. The wide world, the moons, the earths the planets, the milkyways, all these are yours. Realize that. Just regain your birthright; and all anxiety, all misery ceases.

People talk about freedom; people talk about salvation. What is it that has bound you first? If you want to be free, if you want to get salvation, you ought to know what is the cause of your bondage. It is just like a monkey in the fable. A monkey is caught in India in a very queer manner. A narrow-necked basin is fixed in the ground, and in that basin are put some nuts and other eatables which the monkeys like. The monkeys come up and thrust their hands into the narrow-necked basin and fill their hands with the nuts. The fist becomes thick, and it cannot be taken out. There the monkey is caught; he cannot come out. Queerly, strangely he is caught.

We ask what it is that binds you first. You yourself have brought you under thraldom and bondage. Here is the whole wide world, a grand magnificent forest; and in this grand magnificent wood of the whole universe, there is a narrow-necked vessel found. What is that narrow-necked vessel? It is your brain; this little brain, narrow-necked. Herein are some nuts and people have got hold of these nuts and all what is done through the agency of this brain or through the medium of this intellect, is owned as one’s own. "I am the mind," is what everybody says; everybody has practically identified himself with the mind, "I am the mind," "I am the intellect," and he takes a strong grip of these nuts of this narrow-necked vessel. That is what makes you slave, that is what makes you slave to anxiety, slave to fear, slave to temptations, slave to all sorts of troubles. That is what binds you; that is the cause of all the sufferings in this world. If you want salvation, if you want freedom only let go the hold, free your hand. The whole forest is yours, you can jump from tree to tree and eat all the nuts and eat all the walnuts and all the fruits in the wood, all being yours. The whole world is yours; just get rid of this selfish ignorance and you are free, you are your own saviour.

Making a famine where abundance lies,

(is it fair? No, it is not fair, it is not becoming.)

Making a famine where abundance lies,

This thy foe, to thy sweet self so cruel,

Should not be so, should not do this,

Within thine own but buriest thou content,

Thou makest waste and niggarding.

Be not niggardly, be not miserly.

It is niggardliness to give away all this property and confine thyself unto the few things in this little brain only.

You will see that this brain of yours will become of infinite power if you realize your oneness with the All. That is what puts you in perfect harmony with the whole world.

Oh, we can wait no longer,

We too take ship, O soul, (Here the word ‘soul’ means intellect)

Joyous we too launch out on trackless seas

Fearless for unknown shores on waves of ecstasy to sail.

Amid the wafting winds, (thou pressing me to thee, I thee to me, O Soul).

Carolling free, singing our song of God,

Chanting our chant of pleasant exploration

With laugh and many a kiss,

(Let others deprecate, let others weep for sin, remorse, humiliation)

O soul, thou pleasest me, I thee.

Ah, more than any priest,

O soul, we too believe in God,

But with the mystery of God we dare not dally.

O soul, thou pleasest me, I thee.

Sailing these seas or on the hills, or waking in the night,

Thoughts, silent thoughts of Time and Space and Death, like waters flowing,

Bear me indeed as through the regions infinite,

Whose air I breathe, whose ripples hear, leave me all over,

Bathe me, O God, in thee, mounting to thee

I and my soul to range in range of thee

O thou transcendent,

Nameless, the fibre and the breath.

Light of the lights, shedding forth universes, thou centre of them,

Thou mightier centre of the true, the good, the loving

Thou moral, spiritual fountain-affection’s source thou reservoir,

(O pensive soul of me—O thirst unsatisfied-waitest not there?

Waitest not happy for us somewhere there the Comrade perfect?)

Thou pulse—thou motive of the stars, suns, systems,

That, circling, move in order, safe, harmonious,

Athwart the shapeless vastnesses of space,

How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if, out of myself,

I could not launch to those superior universes?

Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,

At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death

But that I, turning, call to thee, O soul, thou actual me,

And lo, thou gently masterest the orbs,

Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,

And fillest, swellest full the vastnesses of Space.

Greater than stars or suns

Bounding, O soul, thou journeyest forth;

What love other than thine and ours could wider amplify?

What aspirations, wishes, outvie thine and ours, O soul?

What dreams of the ideal?

What plans of purity, perfection, strength?

What cheerful willingness for others’ sake to give up all?

For others’ sake to suffer all?

Reckoning ahead, O soul, when thou, the time achiev’d

The seas all cross’d, weather’d the capes, the voyage done,

Surrounded, copest, frontest God, yieldest the aim attain’d,

As fill’d with friendship, love complete, the Elder Brother found,

The Younger melts in fondness in his arms.

Sail on, march on to the real Self; get rid of all this superstition, this superstition of the body.

Get rid of this hypnotism of this little body; you have hypnotized your-self into this brain or body.

Get rid of that, sail on, march on to the eternity, the reality, the true Self; passage to more than India.

Passage to more than India!

Are thy wings plumed indeed for such far flights?

O soul, voyagest thou indeed on voyages like those?

Disportest thou on waters such as those?

Soundest below the Sanskrit and the Vedas?

Then have thy bent unleas’d.

Passage to you, you shores, ye aged fierce enigmas!

Passage to you, to mastership of you, ye strangling problems

You, strew’d with the wrecks of skeletons, that, living, never reached you.

Passage to more than India!

O Secret of the earth and sky!Of you,

O waters of the sea!

O winding creeks and rivers!

Of you,

O woods and fields! of you strong mountains of my land!

Of you,

O Prairies! of you, gray rocks!

O morning red!

O clouds! O rain, snows!

O day and night, passage to you!

Rise above the body, and you become all these, you get a passage unto all these. All these you realize yourself to be.

O Sun and Moon and all stars!

Sirius and Jupiter!Passage to you!

Passage, immediate passage!

the blood burns in my veins!Away,

O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!

Cut the hawsers-haul out-shake out every sail!

Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?

Have we not grovel’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?

Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth-steer for the deep waters only,

Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,

For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go

And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all

O my brave soul!

O farther, farther sail!

O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?

O farther, father sail!

Om! Om!! Om!!!
Source: In Woods of God Realisation by Swamy Rama Tirtha – Lecture delivered on January 7, 1903 at Golden Gate Hall, San Francisco, USA.

16 May, 2008


My own Self in the form of ladies and gentlemen,

Tonight we are going to hear something on the Expansion of Self; you might say on the degrees of life, the grades of spiritual advancement, or you might call the subject, degrees in the refinement of selfishness. Perhaps the conclusion arrived at will be startling.


The diagram that you see before you consists of a straight line and circles. You will say, "What is the use of these? What have circles to do with the unfoldment of the Self?"

Some are saying in their hearts—these are not circles, they are very crooked, they are rather ellipses. But these circles are to denote classes of life, which are not exactly circular, which are crooked and elliptical, so to say, and that justifies the imperfection of the circles; they exactly represent in their deviation and in their imperfection what they have to indicate.

Before beginning with what life is, and the degrees of life, we shall have to say a few words about these circles.

Here is the minutest circle, a very small speck. It ought to have been made even smaller than that, but fearing that if it were smaller it could not be seen, it is drawn large enough to be visible. There we have beyond this a second circle, larger than the minute baby-circle, and outside that a third one and then there is the fourth one. One peculiarity of these circles is that as the circle goes on expanding, enlarging, the centre of the circle goes on receding from the starting point A, on the straight line which is a common tangent to all the circles. The centre recedes, the radius increases and the circle enlarges. If the centre of the circle is very near the starting point A and if it is made nearer and nearer still until it coincides with the starting point, the circle becomes a point. Thus a point is the limiting position of a circle, of which the centre has come extremely near to the starting point, and when the centre goes on receding from the starting point, the radius goes on increasing and increasing until it becomes infinite or the centre moves up to infinity, then the circle becomes a straight line. Thus a straight line is the limiting position of a circle, of which the centre moves up to infinity, or of which the radius is infinite.

Another peculiarity we notice is that the greater the circle, the nearer it becomes to the tangent, straight line and its curvature goes on decreasing as the circle goes on increasing. Thus we mark that the larger circle with centre D is at the point A, very much more like a straight line than the internal circle with centre C is, and then this internal circle is more like a straight line than the circle with centre B, which falls within it. This is why the earth, although really spherical, appears flat when you look at any part of it, the sectional circles of the earth being infinitely large for the naked eye. This will do for the circles.

Life! What is the characteristic feature of life? What is it that distinguishes life from inanimation or want of life? It is motion, energy or activity. This is the popular way of looking at the question. The definitions of life given by Science can also be summed up in this definition. A living man can move forth, walk about, do all sorts of things. A dead mummy cannot manifest these forms of energy or this or that motion, or these movements which the living man displays; a dead animal cannot move about; the living animal walks, runs, does all sorts of things. The dead plant cannot grow; it is devoid of motion, devoid of activity entirely. A living plant grows, exhibits motion.
Grade of life

We see again that generally four distinctions are made in the degrees of Life, or this world is divided into four principal kingdoms: the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the man. In this world we see that man exhibits more energy, more motion, a higher kind of movement than animals do. Animals can simply walk about, run or ascend mountains, but man does all these things and much more. He does many other things. He displays or shows motion and energy to a higher degree. By means of telescopes he can reach the stars. Animals cannot do that. Man can control the animals. He annihilates time and space by means of steam and electricity. He acquires rapidity unknown to animals. He can send messages instantaneously to any part of the world. He can navigate in the air. This is man’s motion, man’s energy, manifestation of power in the world. Animals fall short of man in manifesting or exhibiting energy and we see that animals are lower down in the scale of life than man.

Again compare the vegetable kingdom with the animal kingdom. Vegetables also grow. They move, but their motion is only in one dimension, they can move up in one line, they cannot move from this place to that, they are fixed to one spot. They send forth their branches in all directions and strike their roots very deep; but the manifestation or display of energy in the case of vegetables is far inferior to what it is in the animal kingdom, and there we see vegetables are lower down in the scale of life than animals. Minerals have no life in them. Indeed, if we define Life in the same way as biologists do, then they have no life. But if we mark the grades of life by the revelation and manifestation of energy, we might say that minerals also do manifest a kind of motion; they also do undergo a change; change is indispensable for them, too.

Thus, they also have very small traces of life in them, but their life is very insignificant, being at the bottom of the scale, because the activity, the motion, the energy betrayed by them is insignificant, infinitesimal. Thus, it is clear that life which is characterized by motion is graded in accordance with the degrees of motion or energy.

Nature Repeats Itself

Now, in Nature, the plan is that there should be nothing new under the Sun. We mark that despite this apparent variety, in spite of all this outward multiformity, Nature or the Universe is very poor. The same Law which governs the trickling down of a tear from the lover’s eye also governs the revolutions of suns and stars. From the minutest atom to the remotest star, we find the same simple laws which might be counted on the fingers controlling and governing everything. Nature repeats itself over and over again. This Universe might be compared to a screw or spiral, of which every thread is of the same fashion, or it might be compared to an onion. Take one sheath out and we have another sheath of the same kind; then take that out and we find another of the same kind; peel that off and you have another sheath of the same pattern. In just the same way, what we have in the whole year, we have on a miniature scale during every twenty-four hours. The morning time might be compared to the spring season. The noon might be compared to the summer season. The afternoon and the evening might well compare with the autumn, and the night might be compared to the winter. Here we have in twenty-four hours the whole year reproduced on a miniature scale. Man in embryo repeats with marvellous rapidity all the past experiences of life-forms which it inhabited before assuming the human form. The shapes of fish, dog, monkey, etc., are all, one after the other, assumed by the foetus in the ovum, before reaching the form of man-child. Thus, in accordance with the usual plan of evolution, according to the general law which governs the whole world, we want to find out if in the body or form of man there be practically the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms reproduced.

In the form of man, are there not people who are, as it were, minerals? In the form of man, are there not persons who are in the state of the vegetable kingdom, and are there not people in the shape of man who are in the state of the animal kingdom?

In the shape of man, let us see if there be men who are really men, and in the form of man, let us see if there be men who are gods.

Mineral Men

First, we shall take up the moral and spiritual minerals. The mineral kingdom manifests no motion apparently; it exhibits no energy outwardly, but nevertheless it has some kind of energy, some kind of activity, some kind of motion, because we see minerals undergo change, there is disintegration and development even in the minerals. They crystallize and grow. This earth which we look upon as stable, when compared with the sea, this solid-seeming earth rises, falls, undergoes undulations and changes. Thus minerals also have some kind of motion in them, though exceedingly unnoticeable.

Now, who are those in the shape of man that have only the same kind of motion as minerals? In other words, who have the same kind of motion as a child’s spindle or top has? A spindle or top turns, goes round and round, it moves, and when it is revolving vehemently the children come up and clap their hands and rejoice saying: "It is stationary! It does not move! It does not move!" This is self-centred motion. Motion they have, revolving motion, but the centre of revolution lies within the body, and even when the motion is most violent, seemingly there is no motion at all. We might compare the life-motion of the minerals to the motion of a spindle or top, and represent it on the black-board by the smallest circle, the point circle.

You know, all motion in this world is in circles, no motion in a straight line; all science proves that. For this reason we will make use of circles to represent the manifestation of motion. In Mathematics motion is represented by lines; in the present case circular lines will best serve the purpose.

So we have mineral life possessed of a motion comparable to spindle-motion. It may be best represented in the figure before you by this minutest circle which might be called a point. Who are those among men whose motion is like the motion of a top, whose circle or orbit of movements is simply a point, whose life is the life of minerals? Just reflect. Evidently these are men, all of whose actions are centred around a little point, a false self, the little quarantine of a body, three and a-half-cubits long. They are selfish in the lowest sense of the word. These are people whose all actions are directed towards sensuous enjoyment. These people work in different lines, do all sorts of labour, but the object is simply to seek debasing pleasures. These are people who care not if their wife and children starve; they care not whether their neighbours perish or live; at all costs they must drink, they must make merry, they must obey the dictates of the lower nature. Their demoralizing needs must be satisfied, even if it be at the sacrifice of the interests of their family and community. Let the wife and children starve, they care not, if only their cravings of the flesh are gratified. The centre of all their movements, the focus round which they turn, the sun round which they revolve, the centre of their orbit is simply the little body. Their activity or motion is dead motion. This is the mineral life in man. We have had in the history of the world very beautiful and precious minerals in the shape of man. You know, diamonds also belong to the mineral kingdom; rubies, pearls, jewels and all sorts of precious stones also belong to the same kingdom.

There was a time in the history of Rome, when we had Nero, Tiberius and other Caesars, to mention whose names is to contaminate your ears. We have had mighty rulers, emperors, very precious minerals but minerals only, not men. What would you think of these emperors, emperors of the whole world that was known to them, and yet caring not a straw for the interests of their state, who took no thought about their relatives and friends, but who must satisfy their animal passions, no matter what happens to their queens, subjects and friends. You have heard about them, about the crimes they committed. There was one of them who fell a victim to the passion of eating delicious things the whole day long. When he partook of a most delicious dish, he ate and ate till nature rebelled. With the help of medicines everything was vomited, and when the stomach was relieved, he would return to the table again. This process was repeated over and over in a single day. One of them burned the capital of the world to gratify his desire of seeing a big conflagration. What do you think of them? These were precious jewels, diamonds, no doubt, but not men. These are minerals in the kingdom of man.

Vegetable Men

We come now to the state of vegetables in the form of man. Their circle is larger than the grossly selfish little circle of the mineral man. Their circle is larger and these people are much higher than the mineral man. Their activity might be compared to the motion of a race horse. The race horse describes a larger circle than the spindle or top does. Their circle is represented in the diagram by the second circle of which the centre is B. Who are these people? These people do not pursue their work simply to satisfy the taste of the flesh at the expense of everybody else’s interest. They take into consideration the good of some other associates. These are people who turn round their wife and children, the domestic circle. They are far superior to the selfish mineral men, because these people not only advance the good of their own body, but they advance also the cause of their wife and children. The second circle includes many smaller circles, so do these people advance the good of many little selves besides their own little self, but should they be called unselfish? No, no; in the case of these people the self is expanded only a little. In the case of the mineral men, the self was limited to this little body; and in the case of these people the self is practically identified with the domestic circle, their wife and children. That is also selfishness but selfishness refined a little. They are very good people so far as they go, but just look at this second circle which represents them. It is concave towards all inside it. What is concavity? Concavity is folding and clasping in the arms of love. Let us with our stretched arms form a circle. This is concavity. This circle is concave for the members of family, it is turned towards all the points that it embraces, but it turns its back to the whole universe outside it.

These people are very good so far as they go, so far as their concavity or extended arms go; but they turn their back to the whole universe. The selfishness of these people moving in the second circle of the vegetable man becomes evident when the interests of one family clash with the interests of any other family, and then there is strife and discord wrought by them between all the members of one family and all the members of another family.

Animal Men

Next we come to the third circle. These are animal men, animals in the form of man. This third circle, represented in the figure with the centre C, is larger than the preceding two. It might be compared to the circle described by monsoons or trade winds. It represents people who have identified their self with something higher than this little body or the domestic circle. These people identify their self with their class or sect or their state. They are sectarians, people who identify their self with a caste or craft.

They are very good, very useful indeed, far more useful than the vegetable men are. Their centre is beyond the little body. It is at a much higher, wider expanse than the centre of the vegetable man. The radius of revolution in their case is longer. Blessed are these people. You see their usefulness extends to many families and individuals. They are useful to the people they embrace within the arms of love. They are useful to the people to whom their attitude is that of concavity. These people advance the good not only of their little body, not only of one house or family, but they advance the good of the whole class or sect with which they have identified their self; they are very useful. Are they also selfish? Why, yes; selfish they also are. They seek to benefit their own self which is identified with their sect, at the cost of other sects or castes. If you want to see the shortcomings in them, you will have simply to mark their attitude towards all the points outside their circle. They turn their back to all that is outside. When they crystallize and stereotype their sectarianism, woe unto them that do not accept their version of truth. Here is one class, and there is another class, another circle of the same kind. These being turned against each other, all the individuals belonging to the first class are at war and at dagger’s drawn with all the individuals represented by the second class. Look here, if they do good to some, they do as much mischief, if not more, by declaring war upon all other communities and rival sects. One whole sect quarrelling and fighting with another whole sect on the other side. How much discontent is engendered by that! Still these people are far more preferable to those who are only vegetable men.

The Law of Nature is that you should not stand still in any position: you should go on: march on and on. Be not subject to inertia or averse to change and progress. When the people are in the state of the mineral man, the next higher state will be that of the vegetable man and for the people who are in the vegetable kingdom, so to say, the next higher state will be that of the animal man. If a person, while advancing upwards and making onward progress, passes through the state of the animal man, it is well and good. There is nothing harmful or detrimental for a man in passing through the state of the animal kingdom; it is all right. Things go wrong, everything becomes confused and all produces mischief, when we want to stand still and stop at one place and refuse to make further progress by selling our liberty to this or that dogma or creed. It is natural for everybody to pass through that stage at one time or another; but it becomes wrong for him to stick to it and endeavour to perpetuate it. It becomes wrong and a cause of mischief when he becomes a slave of that particular name and gives rigidity to his position. When the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were being destroyed, Lot’s wife turned back. She was leaving the city, but turned her face back. She wanted to remain in the city; her heart was there and she wanted to go back. And there on the spot she was converted into a pillar of salt. Just so with the people who keep making upward progress and who keep moving away from their previous situation and who refuse not to make advancement, it is well and good for them; but the very moment that they want to turn back and refuse to make onward progress and sell themselves to names and forms, that very moment they change themselves into pillars of salt. Stagnation or fanaticism becomes the cause of misery. These may be good men, animal men, but they must make progress, must go on.

Moon Men

We come now to the fourth circle, the circle represented on the board with the centre D. Here is man in man. Here is a normal man. His circle might be compared to the circle of the moon. The moon describes a circle around the earth, it is more elliptical than circular. The moon man, who is he? A very large orbit he describes: happy is he, perhaps?

He is a man who identifies his self with the whole nation or the whole race; you might call him the patriot. A very large circle is his. He cares not whether those for whom he works belong to this creed or that. Irrespective of denomination, caste, colour or creed, he makes it a point to advance the cause of all those who live in the same land with him. Very welcome is he, he is very good, a man he is, but that is all. You see, the moon brings about revolutions also in the sea, brings about tides, ebb-tides and flood-tides. Besides, lunatics, you know, are also said to be moon-stricken. This is a good circle, no doubt, the moon circle, but just see when moon men stereotype their position, when these people become selfish, and their selfishness is crystallized, the selfishness in their case meaning patriotism, when it is given rigidity, when it is crystallized, what results? It brings revolutions and lunacy. It sets one nation against another, and there we have bloodshed and warfare, thousands—nay, sometimes millions upon millions—of beings shedding, spilling and drinking blood and making the fairy face of this beautiful earth blush with slaughter, blush red with blood. They are very good for those whom they embrace, to whom they are concaved, but just mark their attitude towards those against whom they are convex. Washington is all right for Americans, but ask the opinion of Englishmen about him. The English patriots are very good as far as, what they call, their own country is concerned, but just look at them with reference to those people whose life-blood is being sucked by their patriotism.

Free Men

Last of all, we come to the fifth circle. Here the centre moves up to Infinity, say: the radius becomes infinite, and what about the circle? When the radius moves up to infinity, the circle must become a straight line; all the crookedness is gone. The straight line passes through the whole space equally, fairly; it is concave to none, it is convex to none. The circle becomes a right line, a straight line it becomes. All crookedness is gone; all curvature vanished. These are God men; their circle might be compared to the circle which the Sun is describing. You know that the sun moves in a straight line; the radius of the circle is infinite. The Sun is all glory. Here is a circle of which the centre is everywhere but the circumference nowhere. This is God circle; these are free-men; these are free—free from all sorrow, free from all fear, free from all bodily desires, free from all selfishness. Are they selfish? No, up to this, we had selfishness. Have we no selfishness in this straight line? The straight line is a straight line—no enslaving point can we see anywhere. It passes through the space, no selfish little centre round which it may turn, nothing to turn it round. Here is selfishness destroyed; or, you might say, here is the real Self gained.

You see, we began with the point circle, gross selfishness, and here is that little point enlarged, increased and expanded till it has become a straight line. These are God men. These are people to whom the wide world is home, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, community or country. Be you an Englishman, be you an American, be you a Mohammedan, a Buddhist or a Hindu, or whatever you may be, you are Rama’s Self. You are the Self to him. Here is selfishness marvellously increased, here is a strange kind of selfishness. The wide world is my Self: the universe is the Self of this man: the wide world, the lowest creature, minerals, vegetable, the Self of all these becomes the Self of this man.

To a man who had reached this state of perfect freedom, there came a disciple who sat at his feet for a year or so. When the disciple was going to leave the master, he began to bow down at his feet, to kneel down before him, to prostrate himself before him, as the custom in India is. The master, smiling, raised him and said, "Dear, you have not yet learnt all that you could learn. You lack a great many things yet; stay for some while more." A few days more he stayed in the holy presence of the master, and got more and more of inspiration. His heart was converted into God-consciousness. He was full of the Holy Ghost. He left the presence of the master, knowing not whether he was the disciple or the master himself. He went away looking upon the whole universe, the wide world, as his real Self, and the whole universe being his real Self, where could he, the Self, go? When the Self fills and permeates every atom, every molecule, where can it go? The idea of going and coming becomes meaningless to him. You can go from one place to another, if you are not already at the place where you want to go. Here he found himself, he found his true Self, God within, God everywhere, and how could he think of going and coming? The idea of going and coming became absent for him. He was in the state of Self-realization. The going of body was a sort of reflex action. He was in himself; no going or coming for him. Then was the master satisfied. Thus did the master test him and prove him of sterling worth. The disciple paid no respects or thanks to the master, and rested in unity to such a degree that he rose above all idea of gratitude. Then did the master know that he had really understood his teachings. Here is the master-state, where if you honour the man, he says you are belittling him. "I am not confined in this body; I am not this little body only—I am the wide world, I am you, and honour me in you." Here is the state of a man who sells not anything to you. Here is the state of a man to whom honour and disgrace for the body have become meaningless, both shame and fame are nothing.

There came a man, a prince, to a monk in India, and he prostrated himself before him. The monk asked him as to the cause of homage that the prince was paying him. The prince said, "O sir, O holy sir, you are a monk, and you have adopted this order by giving up your kingdom which you ruled at one time. You are a man of great renunciation, and so I look upon you as God, I worship you." You know, in India, people are not honoured so much for the riches they possess. In India they are honoured for the degree of renunciation they display, and the chief principle of honour is essentially different there from what it is here. More trust is placed in God than in the almighty Dollar. The prince was offering homage to the man of renunciation. The monk replied to the prince, "If that is the reason why you honour me, I must wash your feet, I must kneel down before you, because, O king, you are a man of greater renunciation than all the monks in this world put together." That is very strange. How could that be? Then the monk began to explain, "Suppose, here is a man who possesses a magnificent palace, and this man casts out the dust and dirt of the house; he throws out or renounces only the dust or dirt of the house. Is that man a man of renunciation?" The prince said, "No, no; he is not." Then the monk continued, "Here is a man who treasures up the dirt and the dust of the house and gives away the whole house, the magnificent palace. What do you think of this man?" The prince said, "This man who keeps only the dirt and dust, and resigns the palace, is a man of renunciation." Then the monk said, "Brother prince, you are then the man of renunciation, because the real Self, God, the real Atman, that which is the magnificent palace, the real home, the paradise, the Heaven of heavens, you have renounced, and only the dust and dirt of that palace, which is this body, this little selfishness, you have retained. I have renounced nothing. I am myself the God of gods—the Lord of the Universe."

Sometimes these people, the people who have reached the highest state of advancement, the free souls, are looked down upon by some and are called crazy; but ask them if they would, for one moment, exchange the divine bliss, the supreme happiness which they derive from divine intoxication, for all the wealth and riches of this world. Not at all, not at all. These people look down upon and pity the begging spirit of the so-called wealthy, who go a begging at the door of the flesh, at the door of carnal pleasures. Pleasure is within you. There you can get it. The whole treasure is within you. Then why play the part of the beggar and go about in a miserable plight, in a sad state, and behave like a pitiable atom? Come, realize your true Self, Almighty God, and let this song burst forth from you in fullness of joy—

"I am the mote in the sunbeam,
and I am the burning Sun,

Rest here? I whisper the atom,
I call to the orb, "Roll on!"

I am the blush of the morning,
and I am the evening breeze;

I am the leaf’s low murmur,
the swell of the terrible seas.

The lover’s passionate pleading,
the maiden’s whispered fears;

The warrior, the blade that strikes him,
his mother’s heart wrung fear.

The rose, her poet nightingale,
the songs from the throat that rise,

The flint, the sparks, the taper,
the moth that about it flies.

I am intoxication, grapes,
winepress and musk, and wine,

The guest, the host, the traveller,
the goblet of crystal fine.

Oh! The splendour and glory of your Self makes the pomp of emperors ridiculous.

Such a wondrous Heaven you are, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss you are.
Om! Om!! Om!!!

Source: In Woods of God Realisation by Swamy Rama Tirtha –
From the lecture delivered on 16-12-1902 in the Academy of Sciences,
San Francisco, USA.

08 May, 2008


One of the greatest limitations of the old paradigm was the assumption that a person’s awareness does not play a role in explaining what is happening in his body. Yet healing cannot be understood unless the person’s beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and self-image are also understood. Although the image of the body as a mindless machine continues to dominate mainstream Western medicine, there is unquestionable evidence to the contrary. Death rates from cancer and heart disease are provably higher among people in psychological distress, and lower among people who have strong sense of purpose and well-being.

One of the most publicized medical studies in recent years was conducted by Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel, who set out to prove that the mental state of patients did not influence whether they survived cancer. He felt, as many clinicians do, that assigning importance to a patient’s beliefs and attitudes would do more harm than good, because the thought “I caused my cancer” would cause feelings of guilt and self-recrimination. Spiegel took eighty-six women with advanced breast cancer (their disease was basically beyond help with conventional treatment) and gave half of them weekly psychotherapy combined with lessons in self-hypnosis. By any measure this represents minimal intervention—what could a woman do in a hour’s therapy per week, time she must share with several other patients, to combat a disease that is inevitably fatal in advanced stages? The answer seemed obvious.

However, after following his subjects for ten years, Spiegel was stunned to find that the group receiving therapy survived on average twice as long as the group that received none. It was doubly telling that only three women were alive by this late date, all of them from the therapy group. This study is startling because the researcher expected no effect at all. But a decade of similar findings came in from other researchers. A meticulous 1987 study from Yale, reported by M.R. Jensen, found that breast cancer spread fastest among women who had repressed personalities, felt hopeless, and were unable to express anger, fear, and other negative emotions. Similar findings have emerged for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, intractable pain, and other disorders.

Dominated by the old paradigm, doctors hold a prejudice against such results. As Larry Dossey points out in his insightful book Medicine and Meaning, “The dominant message, incessantly preached from the editorial pages of medical journals and the podiums of medical schools, is that the “inherent biology of the disease” is overwhelmingly important and that feelings, emotions, and attitudes are simply along for the ride.” What the new paradigm teaches us is that emotions are not fleeting events isolated in mental space; they are expressions of awareness, the fundamental stuff of life. In all religious traditions the breath of life is spirit. To raise or lower someone’s spirit means something fundamental that the body must reflect.

Awareness makes a huge difference in aging, for although every species of higher life-form ages, only humans know what is happening to them, and we translate this knowledge into aging itself. To despair of growing old makes you grow old faster, while to accept it with grace keeps many miseries, both physical and mental, from your door. The common sense notion “You’re only as old as you think you are” has deep implications. What is a thought? It is an impulse of energy and information, like everything else in Nature. The packages of information and energy that we label trees, stars, mountains, and oceans could be called Nature’s thoughts, too, but in one important respect our thoughts are different. Nature is stuck with her thoughts once their pattern has been fixed in place; things such as stars and trees follow a growth cycle that runs automatically through the stages of birth, development, decay, and dissolution.

We, however, are not stuck in our life cycle; being aware, we participate in every reaction that takes place inside us. The problems arise when we don’t take responsibility for what we’re doing. In his book The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot draws a brilliant comparison with King Midas: Because everything he touched turned to gold, Midas could never know the actual texture of anything. Water, wheat, flesh, or feathers all turned into the same hard metal the instant he touched them. In the same fashion, because our awareness turns the quantum field into ordinary material reality, we cannot know the true texture of quantum reality itself, either through our five senses or by thinking about it, for a thought also transforms the field—it takes the infinite possibilities of the void and shapes a specific space-time event.

When you call your body is a specific space-time event too, and by experiencing its materiality, you miss the Midas touch that converts pure abstract potential into a solid thing. Unless you become aware of awareness, you won’t be able to catch yourself in the act of transformation.




01 May, 2008

The Spiritual Power That Wins

My own Self in form of ladles and gentlemen,

Here are some questions for Rama to answer.

Question—How can we learn to see ourselves as others see us?

Answer—If you learn to see yourself as others see you, it will do you no good. Others see us as
that which we are not; they see us not as we really are. If people looked upon you as God, if they could see the Godhead within you, if they could see you as Divinity, then you would be truly understood. Relatives, brothers, father, mother, friends—all din into your ears that you are what you are not. Somebody calls you son, others brothers, friend, enemy, etc., all these limit you. One man calls you a good man, he limits you; another calls you a bad man, he limits you; another flatters you or puffs you up, he also limits you; another degrades you, denounces you, that also places manacles upon you, limits and binds you. Happy is the man who stands up in opposition to each and all, and asserts his Divinity, his Godhead. The man who realizes his true Atman, his true Self, the man who can stand aright and assert his Divinity before the whole world and before all other worlds around him and recognize his oneness with Divinity, is in a position to defy all these worlds. The very moment you are ready to stand up for your Divinity, that very moment the whole world is bound to regard you God; the whole universe must regard you as God.

Question—Please tell us the meaning of Raja Yoga.

Answer—Raja Yoga means the royal method or royal road to concentration. That is the literal meaning. Raja means royal method or road and Yoga means concentration.

Question—Give us the best method or give us a method such as all may adopt to spread the Vedantic Philosophy.

Answer—The very best method of spreading the Vedantic Philosophy is to live it, there is no other royal road.

People always want to get something material, something gross, something that they can lay their hands on. They want to lay their hands on or get hold of gross material objects and are continually foiled, yet they don’t want to give up that materiality; they want something in the form of hard cash, they don’t want to give up form and figure.

O dear brother, these so-called hard cash forms, these material facts are nothing but illusions of the senses, nothing else. He who relies on so-called facts and figures will never succeed. Relying upon forms and limitations will never bring success; that is not the secret of success. The secret of success is to rely on the subtle principle—Truth, Get hold of that, realize that, feel that, live that, and these names, these facts and forms and figures will seek you.

It was illustrated by two men who were being carried away by a mighty river. One of the men caught hold of a big log and the other caught hold of a fine thread. The one who caught hold of the big log was drowned, while the one who caught hold of the fine thread was saved. Similarly people who depend upon big supports, people who depend upon big names and property, will be foiled in the long run. Depend upon the fine thread of Truth, the fine thread of Reality. If you feel your Divinity, you realize your Divinity, it matters not where you live, in the deep forests or in the crowded streets; realizing Truth will convert everything, will change the whole world.

Here is a table. Suppose you want to move it. If you exert a force at any corner, if you take hold of the table at any corner or at any one of the sides, you can move the table, the table is gone. The whole world is like a great rigid body and your body is like one corner or one point of this table. If you catch hold of this single point, if you lift it, if you elevate it, if you call it God, if you call it Divinity, if this single point be merged, as it were, in Divinity, if this single point be raised with this force, the whole world will be drawn, the whole world will be moved, because the whole world is like a rigid, solid body as the table. Give your personality a lift and you lift the whole world. It is a great blunder, a grand mistake to believe in organizations or big bodies, in great churches and missions. It is a grand blunder, it brings nothing but failure, and it will be seen by the world sooner or later. Similarly people, who depend upon one body only, and not upon organizations and societies, are the people who change the whole world. People who belong to associations and societies, raise dollars, build houses, buy clothing, but such conquest is not spiritual growth.

Jackals in the woods always form great congregations, large associations. They always meet in large numbers, they stand and sit together and also howl together, grand assemblies are they and lots of noise they make. Similarly sheep depend upon their flocks, they congregate and form associations; but are jackals or sheep able to stand up and face the enemy? No, no. Did you ever hear of lions living in numbers, did you ever learn of lions travelling in numbers, did you ever hear of their forming associations or congregations?

Eagles are the kings of the birds. Do they form associations? O, no. It is the tiny, the small birds that fly together. Eagles and lions live alone, but an eagle can put to flight all your congregations of small birds.

Elephants form congregations. They travel in large numbers, it is because of their sociable nature; they are gregarious animals, huge animals in size, but a single lion comes alone and repulses and scatters a whole congregation of elephants. Depend not on associations or congregations, it is the business of each and all to be strong within himself.

Similarly the best way to spread Vedanta is to live Vedanta, whether it be in the midst of others or alone. Live it, the air is bound to take it up; the sun, the moon, the stars, the skies, all are bound to take it up and it must spread.

Did Christ form a congregation? No, no. The poor fellow lived alone. Did Shankaracharya form a congregation? No, the poor fellow lived alone. Each fellow must stand alone, each one must feel and realize the Divinity within. The very moment you feel it, the very moment you realize and live it, that very moment it will gush out of you like the light going out of the Sun.

Remember, mind ye, all these attempts to bring about reform, all these attempts to reform mankind, which are based upon or which depend upon money or outside help or which seek something from others, all these attempts which beg, all result in failure. This is the Law. Depend only upon the Supreme, Infinite, Reality within, and when aid from outside seeks you, all right, you may condescend to accept it. It should be a condescension on your part, if they are willing to become recruits, willing to become disciples. Depend upon them, the very moment you depend on them, that very moment they will leave you, they will forsake you, this is the Law. Never depend upon outside aid, depend only on yourself, upon the Spirit within, that is necessary, nothing else. These big forms, taken up by people, all these long-tailed titles, all are failures; they miss the mark; they do not release any body, they do not free anybody, they do not make anybody independent, they bring about suffering and trouble.

Take a dead carcass. We can vivify it by electricity, we can make it move its lips, we can make it lift its arms, we can make it bend this way and that way, but Oh! that is not life. Similarly all the aid which comes from outside, all the power that you gain from riches, from wealth, from clothes, all the flattery that is bestowed upon you by the newspapers and all the praise which you gain from the press, all the attention which you get from disciples and devotees, all this aid is simply the aid of electricity to make the carcass move, it brings no life, it removes no suffering, it makes you not free and independent. Life comes not at the beat of trumpets, life grows from the seed, from within and not from without.

Here is a living seed, the small embryo; life is there, it will grow from within, it will take a little time, but it will be real life and no sham.

We can produce instantaneous effects and most astonishing results through electricity by making a carcass move, by making a carcass lift up its head or lift up its hand etc., but life is not there. Life is what we want. Similarly Rama says, let the seeds be sown, let the Truth be dinned and instilled into your ears, the seed once sown we need not bother much about it. Similarly to spread Vedanta, to preach Vedanta, you must realize the Truth yourself; the seeds will be sown; never mind about its further growth; it will continue to grow without your bothering about it.

There was once a sage who had a very devoted disciple, a very devoted follower who used to visit him everyday. It happened once that the sage went away for a time, and when he returned to that place, his former devoted disciple never visited him. Other people came and remarked the continued absence of the disciple, and lodged a complaint against the former disciple who used to keep company with the sage. The sage smiled and said, "Why find fault; why utter any complaint against him; what need is there of his coming to me; why should he attach himself to this body? I am not this personality, I am not this body. If he regards me as this body, if he regards me as this personality, he himself will be crucified. Let him alone see this real Self that I am, this Truth, this Divinity, Supreme Power that I am. Let him be faithful to my teachings, and he will be free, he will be blissful." Again the sage said, "When a mare is once conceived, she need not again visit the horse; the seed is sown and in due time she will bring forth a colt." Similarly he said, "Seeds are being sown and I bother not about results, the seed will produce results."

So it is nothing to Rama whether you continue holding meetings or not; it is nothing to Rama whether you remember the name of Rama or crush it under your feet, it is nothing to Rama, whether you flatter or curse or denounce this body, all the time the seed is being sown, let it produce results. Again why should we bother about the world or whatever there is in it? The moment we stand up as reformers of the world, we become deformers of the world. Physician, heal thyself.

According to Vedanta, the whole world is nothing else but God, the whole world is perfect, the whole world is Divinity, is my own Self, the whole world is one. In that case, if I take up a method of reform, if I see that you are down-trodden, if I see that you are miserable and wretched through petty desires, that very moment I am deforming you, because I look upon you as something different from myself. So Vedanta says, "O reformers, who take up this role, you look upon the world as sinners, you look upon the world as deformed and abuse them." Why should the world be so poor as to ask help of you? Christ came and did all he could to raise, to enlighten the people, but the world was not reformed. Krishna came and did what he could. Buddha came, all the many philosophers came, but there is still the same pain, suffering and trouble, the world we find the same. Are people any happier today? Have your railways, your cars, your telegraphs, your telephones, your great ships, all your great scientific productions make people happier? It is just like a fraction whose numerator and denominator have both been increased; the fraction seems different, it seems to be increased, but it is in reality the same fraction increased proportionately. If your incomes or possessions have increased, your desires have also increased. It is like the tail of a dog; if you hold it out straight, it is straight; but the moment you let it go, it curls up as it was before. So those people who stand up or start with a desire of reforming, those who make noise in this way in the universe, are self-deluded. Young men, remember, you make a great mistake by starting something in the world. Throw not your centre of gravity outside yourself. Feel, feel your real Godhead, and the moment you are filled with Divinity, that very moment spontaneously, permanently will flow life, energy and power. That is the way to spread the Truth.

Archimedes used to say, "I can move the whole world if I can get a fixed point," but the poor fellow never found the fixed point. The fixed point is within you; get hold of it, feel it, feel it, realize it, realize that you are Divinity, that you are the Lord of lords, the Arbiter of all justice, the Source of all beauty, all force, all power, realize that you are the King of the whole world: you are that and this realization of your true Self will of itself conquer the whole world, will give the world life, will set it a going.

The Sun does all his work according to or on the principles of Vedanta. He is the origin, the source of life and energy of the whole world. The Sun is a Vedantin and acts upon the advice given to you by Rama. The Sun does that. He gives all life, all energy to the world, but he does it impersonally. There is no egoism in him, there is no selfish nature in him, no little self-aggrandizement in him: he fills himself with energy, he is all force, all energy, all light and activity. So when you get up and the Sun comes, does he make any special announcement of his coming, does he write a book or a pamphlet about it, does he make any noise about it? O, no, but you see all this earth, this world of yours is vivified, this earth of yours is brought into life; O, how slowly, how gradually, how slowly but surely Nature wakes up; rivers wake up; you know at night they are frozen, but the Sun comes up, warms them, gives them life, and they flow. Roses and flowers on the banks of the lakes and streams are blown up by the warm, loving rays of the Sun.

Again the lotuses of the eyes of men are blown up, or in other words, men also wake up and are filled with life and activity; the air is set in motion, the air is full of life and action, because the sun has life and action, and through him flow light and activity to the whole world. He thinks not of taking any credit to himself for vivifying the world, for waking you up, or making the birds sing, or for making the flowers bloom. Everything comes to pass through him, because he depends upon himself, because he lives that life within him. This is the principle—Live that life within you, live that Atman within you, feel that you are the Light of lights, the Lord of lords, the Arbiter of all justice, vigour and beauty, and that all existence is due to you; feel that, feel that! Try these spiritual experience, and then see!

What do they do to keep a little son, a little child happy, cheerful? All these silly mothers and silly fathers, all become disciples of the child. The child’s lessons are learnt by each and all. How are they disciples? They begin to talk like children, they begin to dance like children, they begin to make faces with the child; the child begins to ride their shoulders, this little tyrant! The child lives his innocence; the child is free, he is not afraid of anybody. Those pouting, little lips are more imperative, more impressive, more persuasive than any of your Demosthenes or Burkes. His will must be done. This little tyrant whose physique is so frail, whose hands and limbs are so tiny, has faith in himself, his will must be done. He is strong in his weakness. Filled with faith in himself he does not compromise himself. Parents often sell property, everything is sacrificed for the good of the child, of that little tyrant, and woe to the man who does not obey his commands! The secret power in the child is Vedanta. To him the world is no world, to him this prudence is nothing, to him there is nothing but happiness supreme, and all power; all power is within the innocent sweet little child. This is the secret of success of the child.

Similarly live Vedanta, feel, realize that you are the Lord Almighty; the Ruler of the universe, the Lord of lords, God of gods, the Governor and Controller of all the bodies in the world; feel, feel that "I am the Reality" and feel it, live it, and you will get disciples, disciples enough. Children without advertising, without currying favour with any great man, without soliciting favours from the press, get disciples; any one who looks at a child is a disciple. Is it not a fact?

Live Vedanta and you will get people enough to listen to you. When the Moon rises, there is no lack of people who come forth to enjoy its beauty. In India, on new Moon day, all come out of the houses and look at the Moon, and worship the Divinity within. That is called dwitiya which means "Happy Day." On that day the people eat good and delicious food, and visit relatives and friends, and make merry.

Let the Moon rise in your hearts and do not bother about the modus operandi, the ways and means will seek you, they must seek you. When a rose blooms there is no scarcity of bees. Where there is honey, ants must seek it.

Similarly care only to produce honey within your hearts, bring forth the full grown roses of knowledge within you, then all will come, you will need nothing, you will want nothing. If there is anything you want, it is Divinity, realization within. When you fall back, everything will leave you. When you have a firm hold of the Divinity within, when you have learnt that, when you live it, then the whole world is like a dog, it wants to lick your feet. Do not hunt after it, the secret of all power is within you and nothing else.

There are the Shasta Springs here in California. It is said the water there is very fine. Everybody wants to go there. Shasta Springs ought not to be anxious about visitors, they ought not to have to issue any proclamations, they need not send any advertisements to people. People must and will seek them out.

Similarly the moment the pure, fresh springs of Knowledge, of Life, of Purity and Love gush forth from your heart, that very moment you are possessed of those Shasta Springs, as it were; visitors and people will seek you out. It is the unalterable, immutable law. The one thing needful is to get those springs within you, it matters not whether you remain in one place or go about from place to place. If you remain in one place, people will come to you; if you travel from place to place, people will seek you, when there is real Truth and Spirituality. Nothing is dependent on outside behaviour, the whole effort in getting those springs there consists in letting Divinity flow fresh and free within you.

It is said of Kant that he did not know when he was born, but people know of him all over the world. The secret of success does not lie in keeping at one place. Get spiritual force within you, and you can recline on a sofa and woe unto the world when it does not come to receive Truth from you.
When a magistrate comes and takes his seat in the court, all the plaintiffs, lawyers, all the defendants and witnesses come of their own accord; the magistrate need not trouble about sending for them; he need not bother about arranging the chairs in the court-room; he need not bother about the arranging of the tapestry of the court-room; he need not bother about sending invitations to defendants, plaintiffs, or witnesses; all things will be looked after by others.

Rama says, get hold of this Kingdom of Heaven, get hold of this Divine Majesty within you. O Supreme Divinity! O Divine Majesty! O Man! walk in your dignity, a king that you are, walk in your Divine Majesty, pass on in your Divinity, a god that you are. Bother not about your business affairs, about your dress, about your railway passage, about your property, about your house, bother not about all these things that is the business of the outside world, that is the business of the powers that be. Come up, realize your Divinity, your Godhead, realize yourself to be the Sun of suns; the moon, the stars and angels will administer to your needs, they must. This is the Law. This is the Truth, and Vedanta preaches this as the secret of success. The moment you are in Divinity, the moment you realize your true Self, that moment will your power be great, that very moment will the world seek you, that very moment will the world solicit your favour.

Look here, it is the great mistake of the people to think that success can be achieved by rules and artificial laws, that success depends upon the dollars almighty, upon aids, helps, money, relatives, servants, friends. O, this is how they work their ruin. Attempts in this direction are the same as the attempt to make the nightingale sing artificially.

Take the dove. Let it perch on the top of the loftiest cypress tree on the Himalayas, the dove will be inspired of itself, and sweet sounds will come forth. The nightingale on those delectable heights of the Himalayas, perched on the roses, sends forth its delicious melody; full shrill notes come forth. Similarly Rama says, when you get perched on those delectable mountains of realization, when you are settled, when you are firmly rooted in your Divinity, then through your Divinity your actions, your sublime life, your pure conduct, your noble deeds must sprout forth, must of themselves ooze forth, gush out, sprout forth, That is the way.

Reformers want to bring out great men, grand men by laying down laws and rules and they want to dictate to them, and make themselves the examiners of other people. It is unnatural, it will not do.
People say, O! but we want practice. Rama says, "Brother, where is practice to come from?" Look here, this practice by outside acts is like the artificial singing of the nightingale. The sweet songs of the nightingale we could not bring out by taking hold of the throat of the nightingale and saying, "Come down here nightingale, and sing." The moment the nightingale or dove is free, the moment the nightingale sings and the dove coos. So the moment you are in your centre, the moment you are in Divinity, the moment you are rooted in Godhead, the moment you reach those heights of realization; through your noble practices, heroic deeds will gush forth in the same way as do the cooing of the dove, and the sweet songs of the nightingale when seated in the right place; this is the right way.

Here is, suppose, a piece of iron, and we want this small piece of iron to become a magnet and draw other pieces of iron to it. How can we do that? By magnetizing that small piece of iron. This is the real way, then this small piece of iron may be made to attract other small pieces of iron and hold them. Now this small piece of iron cannot hold another small piece of iron to itself, but in order to do that we must first convert the small piece of iron into a magnet. Now suppose here is a magnet. Let us attach this first piece to the magnet, then the first piece of iron becomes a magnet also, and can attract and hold the second piece of iron. Now this first piece of iron has been converted into a magnet, but detach this first piece of iron from the true magnet and its power is gone, it cannot hold the second piece of iron. Remember, while the first piece of iron is attached to or connected with the true magnet, it is also a magnet, it is possessed of all the properties of a magnet and can hold any pieces of iron to itself. The very moment we break the connection of this first piece of iron with the original magnet, its power is gone, it is unable to hold any other piece of iron.

Similarly here is one body. Suppose we call it Christ. He was a very good, pure man. What is he? During the first thirty years of his life he was like this small piece of iron, nobody knew him, he was the son of a carpenter, he was a very poor boy, the child of an unknown mother, he was looked down upon. Now this piece of iron got itself connected with the true Self, the Spirit, that is the magnet, the source of attraction, the centre of all life and power; he got connected with Divinity, with Truth, with Realization, Power, and what became of him; that piece of iron was also magnetized, he became a magnet, and people were attracted to him; disciples and many people were drawn to him, they naturally began to bow down before him. There came a time towards the end of his life when again the body of Christ, called the piece of iron, was detached from the magnet what happened to the spirit? All the pieces of iron which were attached to it fell off, all his disciples left him, the same people of Jerusalem who loved and worshipped him before, all those who had received him royally before, those who had decorated the city in his honour, all left him, his power was gone; just as the power of the magnet being taken away from the piece of iron, its power is gone, it is no longer possessed of the properties of a magnet. When his disciples left him, when those eleven left him, so much did the people turn from him that they wanted to wreak vengeance upon him, that they wanted to crucify him. That was the time when Christ said, "O Father, why hast Thou forsaken me!" This shows that the connection was broken. See what the life of Christ teaches you. It teaches you that all the power and virtue of Christ lay in his connection with or attachment to the true Spirit or Magnet. When the solid body of Christ was attached to the true Spirit or Magnet, the body of Christ was a magnet also; but when the body of Christ was detached from the true Spirit or Magnet, then his power was gone, his disciples and followers left him. Now Christ regained this union with the Spirit before his death. You know Christ did not die when he was crucified. This is a fact which may be proved. He was in a state called Samadhi, a state where all life-functions stop, where the pulse beats not, where the blood apparently leaves the veins, where all signs of life are no more, when the body is, as it were, crucified. Christ threw himself into that state for three days and like a yogi came to life again and made his escape and came back to live in Kashmir. Rama had been there and had found many signs of Christ having lived there. Up to that time there was no Christian sect in Kashmir. There are many places called by his name, places where Christians never came, many cities called by the same names as the cities of Jerusalem through which Christ passed. There is a grave there of 2,000 years standing. It is held very sacred and called the grave of Esah which is the name of Christ in Hindustani language, and Esah means prince, so there are many reasons to prove that he came to India, the same India where he learned his teachings.

Again the people in India have a kind of magic ointment which is called the Christ ointment, and the story, which the people who prepare this ointment tell, is that this ointment Christ used to heal his wounds with after he came to life; and that ointment really heals all sorts of wounds miraculously.
There is plenty of evidence to show that he went back there; but Rama will not detail it here. Rama is telling you that when Christ got his body attached to the Magnet, to the Divinity, the whole world was drawn to him. How was that connection severed? There were several causes, outside influences, mixing too much with the people, remaining away too long from those spiritual heights. By these things we fall away from that power. You know, Christ had to leave the multitude and retire to the mountains and to one of his disciples he said, "I feel the power has been taken away from me, who has touched me?" This is how living too long with people, living below those heights of spirituality too long, this connection got severed. It is quite human, quite natural. Even the faults of Christ do you good, the life of everybody does us good if we read it aright; the right reading of anybody’s life can do you as much good as that of the life of Christ. Rama says, the moment you sever yourself from the Spirit, that moment you are nothing. Keep yourself within Divinity, keep yourself one with Divinity, descend not from those heights, realize the Truth, and you are the magnet; just as the piece of iron is the magnet. Your body becomes alive, just as in the case of the small child, his flesh is alive, all his tears, his liquid grief, so to speak, is real.

Similarly if you are one with Divinity, you are sacred, you are a piece of iron magnetized, and you become a magnet by remaining in touch with the magnet. This leads us on to another aspect of the same question. We have pointed out the real source, the real cause, the real secret of power, but people mistake it to be something else. Just as in the child the real power comes from realizing the true Atman, the true Self, but people attach all importance to his body, and instead of developing this true source of power in the life of the child, people make the life of the child down-trodden.
Read the life of Christ and just as Christ did, do yourself; depend not upon the body of Christ, but depend on the Spirit of Christ, upon the Spirit within you. That is the true way to become Christ.
Vedanta is not confined to India; it is for the Christians as well as for the Hindus. In the light of Vedanta how is the saving of man in the name of Christ effected, how is this problem solved? This may be illustrated by a story. There was once a mother, not a good sensible mother who made her child believe that the room adjoining the parlour was haunted by a ghost, a terrible monster, something hideous. The child became very much terrified and was afraid to step into that room. One evening the father returned from his office and asked the boy to go into the adjoining room and bring him something that he wanted at that time. The child was afraid, he did not dare enter the dark room. He ran to his father and said, "O papa, I won’t go into that room, for there is a terrible big monster, a ghost, and I am afraid." The father did not like it and said," No, no, dear boy, there is no ghost, no monster there, there is nothing to hurt you in that room, so please go and bring me what I ask." But the child would not budge. The father was very wise and so he thought of a remedy, a cure for this disease, this superstition which the child had contacted. The father called the servant and whispered something into his ears. The servant left the room where the father was, and by a back door entered the adjoining room, the supposed haunted room. He took one of the pillows, and over one corner of it he placed a black cloth and projected one of the corners of the pillow which was covered with the black cloth through a hole in one of the windows of the room; he stuffed it out, and fixed it so that it looked hideous. The attention of the child was drawn to that and the child looked at something strange and terrible-looking. The father said, "That looks like an ear," (pointing to one corner of the pillow which was sticking out) and the imagination of the child, which was very active, at once made out that it was the ear of the supposed ghost, and cried. "O papa, that is the ear of the monster, did I not tell you that this house is haunted, now we know it is true." The father said, "Dear boy, you are right, but be brave and strong; get hold of this stick and we will destroy the ghost." You know, boys are very heroic, they can dare anything, they have great courage, and so getting his father’s beautiful cane, the boy struck a hard blow, a noise was heard and there was heard a tiny cry. The servant in the dark room then drew the supposed ear of the monster back into the room. That pleased the boy and with courage he cried that he was getting the better of the monster. The father cheered him up, puffed him up, praised him and said, "O my dear boy, you are so brave, you are a hero." But while talking to the child there appeared two ears of the monster in the crack or opening between the doors of the room. The child was urged on and he ran towards the monster and dealt blow after blow upon the head of the supposed monster. He beat it and beat it repeatedly, and cries were heard from within and the father said, "Hear, O child, the monster is crying in anguish, you have conquered, you have conquered. "The child went on beating the supposed monster, and the father pulled out that pillow. The father cried, "O brave boy, you have beaten the monster into pillow, you have converted him into a pillow." The child was satisfied that it was a fact; the monster, the ghost, the superstition was gone.

The child became brave and jumped and danced with joy. He went about singing and then he went into the room and brought what the father wanted; but would any sane father advise a similar remedy for grown-up boys? O, no. That remedy is very good for small boys, but not for others. For that small child this method did some good, it served its purpose, but grown-up children need no such remedy, as that. From every small child we can drive out any haunting fancies or dreams, if there be time enough to devote to them. Now just mark. Vedanta says, as in this case of the haunted room, the real ghost was not driven out by the beating of the pillow by the child; the real cause of the driving out of the monster was not the beating of the pillow, it was the evolution of the faith in the child that there was no ghost in the room. The child was made to believe there was no ghost, and there was no ghost; the ghost had come into the room through the imagination of the child. The ghost was in reality never there, it was this false imagination which put the ghost in the room, and this false imagination it was, that must be cured.

Grown-up peoples’ imagination can be cured differently. People believe first that we are lost, that we are naturally sinners, that ‘we are on the brink of a dreadful hell which awaits us, that there is a whole lot of sins weighing us down; that through the crime of Adam came our sinful nature, that by nature we are sinful, that we are poor, crawling, weak creatures!’ (You will please excuse Rama for speaking plainly). One part of the Bible makes people believe in their sinful nature. The Old Testament drove into the souls of the poor Christians in this world, it drove into the lighted rooms of your hearts, it drove into your minds, the cellar of your immutable Self, the ghost of the fall, the sinful nature, the ghost of the menial, down-trodden, poor self. These ideas were forced into the hearts of the people, the idea that they are nothing in the world but poor creatures, poor worms, and nothing else, verily nothing else but poor, weak creatures at the mercy of wind and storm, powerless in this world. First was the ghost of superstition driven into the souls of the world.
Then came the New Testament. Rama speaks not from a biased stand-point. In the New Testament the Father strove to undo the silly superstition, worked into the people by the mother, the Old Testament. In the New Testament the father, St. Paul came and did his best to drive out this ghost from the hearts of the people, and tried his best to rid them of this ghost and to free themselves. What plan did he adopt? Rama says, St. Paul did not do that, but Divinity through the body of St. Paul did that, and told the people how it was to be done. It was told that these sins, this gross sinful nature, this grovelling in the mind, this groping in the dark, this sin, this ghost of a sin and perdition may be driven out by a certain process, regarded by him as baptism by becoming Christians, by joining the Church, by attending services, by asking grace over roasted pigs, by feeding and supporting high priests, by putting on the livery of Christ; by doing all these things you are saved and your name is written in the book of life. Do this process, the beating of the pillow, as it were, perform these ceremonies, do these things, take the name of Christ, sing in the Church, hold services, pay priests, feed them fat and by that method you are saved. Rama says, if people having performed those services, acquire a living faith, if they acquire a living conviction that they are saved, then they are really saved. Rama says if the really true Christian after performing these services in the name of the Church believes himself to be saved, he must be saved; just as the child performed the service of beating the monster into a pillow, the room was no longer haunted, the monster, the ghost was no longer there.

Similarly if you are Christians and get firm conviction that you are saved, as a matter of fact you are saved. Rama does not agree with the free thinkers and agnostics who call the Christians’ living faith lost or gone; he does not agree with these people in denouncing the Christian faith. If your faith gives you courage of mind, and makes you firm in the belief that you are saved, then you are saved; but at the same time Rama says the world is no longer a child, the world is in the state of a grown-up boy. This kind of dogma has saved millions and millions of people up to this time, but it is now high time to drive the ghost out of your rooms by trying to realize that your nature is not sinful, that your room is not haunted by any ghost, by realizing that you are no wretched crawling worm, by realizing that your soul is not down-trodden, is not low. Realize that you have always been pure, that you have always been immaculate, have always been the All-in-all, realize that you are the Holy of holies, the Lord of lords, the God Supreme. Think that, feel that, realize that, live that. What is the use of touching your nose by stretching the arm around the back of the head when you can touch the nose from the front of the face? There is no use believing in salvation by performing services.

Vedanta says if you bring your faith to believe that you have always been saved, you are the saviour of the universe. If you believe that you never were the body, that you never were in thraldom, if you be as grown-up boys and not as silly children, if you realize with Vedanta that you are always saved, if you realize with Vedanta that you are the saving energy, then you are the saviour of the whole world. Waste not your energies in superfluous, meaningless and extravagant ceremonies. Waste not your energies in the puerile ceremonies of beating the pillow in order to save yourselves. Be no longer children. Realize yourselves to be saved, and saved you are. Thus the saving element in all Christianity is Vedanta. Vedanta is the finer process. If after all the ceremonies are over, you become firm in the conviction of "I am saved" and nothing else, just remember, it is Vedanta permeating and pervading your Christianity which saves you. Attach not undue importance to outside names and forms and ceremonies.

In the Crusades during which so much blood was shed, war and struggle were brought on by the Christians in Judea. In one of the skirmishes, the Christians were beaten, were repulsed and driven back. One of the fanatics in the Christian armies, who wanted to win fame for himself gave out that he had a vision in which an angel had revealed himself and told him about a certain lance which had once touched the body of Christ, and which was buried under his feet and that by finding this lance the Christians would be led to victory. The people took up the story and passed it on until it spread to the entire army, and all the people without giving any thought as to the truthfulness or falsity of the story, began to dig and dig, but could not find the lance; they dug from early morn till late at night, but still no lance was found. They became very much discouraged and were about to give up the search when all of a sudden the same fellow began to cry out at the top of his voice that he had found the spot. All went with him to the place where he said the lance was to be found and they found the lance. It was old and rotten, it was eaten up by ants and worms, and he said," Here is a lance, corroded by the earth, a lance which must have touched the body of Christ ". He held it up where everybody might see it. The Christians jumped around it with joy, their happiness knew no bounds. Being inspired with the finding of the lance covered with earth, being filled with energy and strength, all attacked the enemies again and came out victorious. Afterwards when the Christians came back to Europe, all believed that it was the virtue of the lance which had brought them victory.

But after a while this same man who had told the first story fell sick and was at the point of death. He confessed to the priest who came to bless him and told him that the lance story was a fraud. He said the lance in reality belonged to his great-grandfather who also was in the army. The lance had been wrapped in rags and kept in the house since his great grandfather’s death. It had been used not only by his great-grandfather but had been handed down to him from his ancestors. Now when the Christians were going to Jerusalem, he said he took this lance with him, wrapped up as it was but on the field he found it worthless but when fleeing, the idea came that he might as well be popular, he might as well win a name for himself. So he gave out the story about the lance, and when the people were digging on the opposite side from him he took the lance and threw it into the ditch, and when they came there and began to dig, they found it. Historians played the eavesdropper, divulged the secret and made it out that no virtue belonged to the lance, but the virtue lay in the enthusiasm and perfect faith of the people. They gave out that the victory was not due to the lance, but to the power within the people; the people, they said, manufactured spiritual force within them, and that living faith of the people brought victory and not the lance. Similarly Vedanta says, "O Christians, O Mohammedans, O Vaishnavas, ye different sects of the whole world, if you think you are being saved through the name of Christ or Buddha or Krishna or any other saint, remember the real virtue does not lie in the Christ, or the Buddha, or the Krishna or any body; the real virtue lies in your own Self. Distinguish between creed and faith. The story of the lance was the creed of the people and the living power, the enthusiasm manifested was what might be called the faith of the people. It is the living faith which saves and not the creed.

Vedanta says if it is this living faith, this living power, which was the cause of the Christians being victorious, why not take it up and apply that living faith to your own beloved Atman, your own true Self? Why not apply it to the Atman, the true Self within? Why apply living or dead faith in Christ, Buddha, or Krishna and others? Why not apply it to the Atman within, to God within? What an easy process, what a natural application of the living faith!

This question is put to Rama most frequently. If such is Vedanta, if this is the substance of Vedanta and if Vedanta had its origin in India, why is India so downtrodden? The reason of India’s downfall is that the people do not live Vedanta. Americans live Vedanta more than the people of India do, and they are prosperous. The world has no right to attribute the downfall of India to Vedanta. Rama will prove that by telling a beautiful story. In a village in India a boy became quite a scholar. He had studied in the university and while living in the university town he got some of the European ways. You know in India the people are very conservative and it is of very recent date that English ways and customs have been introduced.

Rama knows many people who have attended English universities, but who never wear English clothes, never speak the English language. The parents would not tolerate such insolence before them. Well, this student purchased a clock in the university town and during the three months’ vacation he lived where his grandmama was. He felt the need of this clock and so he took it with him to his grandmother’s house. Now the grandmama was naturally averse to this intrusion in the house. The young man brought no English clothing with him, but he felt that this clock was indispensable for him in his study. He dared not bring any English chairs or tables, for they were regarded as awful, but he brought the clock at all hazards. The whole family was against it and especially the grandmama. She could not bear this intrusion, it was something terrible. "Oh" said she, "It is all the time giving forth tick, tick, such an odious sound; break it up, destroy it, throw it out, it is a bad omen, it will engender something awful, it will be the cause of some disaster." She would not be reconciled. The young man did his best to explain, but she would not be pleased. The boy kept the clock in his study despite his grandmama’s remonstrances. It happened that thieves broke into the house and some jewellery and money were stolen. The grandmama got additional evidence in her favour and exclaimed, "Did I not tell you that this clock would bring disaster? Thieves came and stole our jewellery and money but the clock is not stolen. They knew if they took the clock they would be ruined. O, why do you keep this dreadful thing in the house?" The boy was very headstrong and all her ravings were of no avail. The boy kept the clock in his study, and not long after, the father of the boy died and then the grandmama became fearful. She cried, "O audacious boy, throw away this terrible omen from the house. How can you dare to keep it longer?" The boy still kept the clock; and again after a short time the mother of the boy died, and then the grandmama could not tolerate the clock in the house any longer. Like so many other people, she thought the clock to contain a worm, for they had never seen anything run by machinery. So she thought there must be a worm in the clock to make it move, she could not conceive of its ticking and running of itself. She thought the clock to be the cause of all the troubles in the family; so she caught hold of the clock, took it into her private parlour and put a stone under it, and by the aid of another stone she broke the clock into pieces, she wrecked vengeance on the clock. Now mark please! You may laugh at the state of the grandmamas in India, but you are playing the part of these grandmamas in other respects. People put this and that together and jump at conclusions; they say that one thing is the cause of the other. Europeans, are especially prejudiced and jump at the conclusions that Vedanta is the cause of all the downfall of India. In the same manner do they jump at conclusions in their arguments in other matters in this world.

The rise of Europe and America is not due to Christ’s personality. The right cause is Vedanta practised unconsciously. The downfall of India is due to Vedanta being absent in practice.
Just here let Rama say a few words as to the part of mother plays in raising the whole world. All the great heroes of the world were sons of great and noble mothers.

It is the mothers who can raise the whole world; it is the mothers who can make the country rise or fall; it is the mothers who can make the tide of nature ebb and flow. It is always the great heroes who are the sons of great mothers. If these truths are instilled into the child in its infancy, if the realization of the true Self is instilled into the child in its infancy, it may grow to be a Krishna or a Christ.

Mothers may spoil the nature of their children, or raise and elevate it. This is the mother’s part. You have heard of the Spartan mother having said to her son who was about to go to the battlefield, "Come either with the shield or upon the shield, come not without it. Come to me either alive or dead, but never come defeated."

There was a queen in India, who shut the gates of the city against her husband when he returned defeated. She sent this word to him, "Go away, you traitor, you are not my husband, you have allowed yourself to be defeated; I know you no longer, go away, you are not my husband."

Here is the story of an Indian queen who took the vow of seeing that all her children were perfect. She took the vow of making all her children free from transmigration. The one goal and object of the mothers in India is to make their children free from transmigration. A man of realization is a free soul and is never born again. She also took the vow of making all her territories filled with men of realization, with God-men.

She also wanted to make all her subjects God-men. This was one vow by one mother and she succeeded. Her sons were God-men, they were Krishnas, Buddhas, philosophical men, men of renunciation and they ruled the whole community; all her subjects were made free. One woman did that; and what was her process? She used to sing to her children while very young, she used to sing to her children while she nursed them at her bosom, she used to instil into them with her milk, the milk of Divine wisdom. The milk of Vedanta she drilled into them while she rocked the cradle, while she sang her lullaby to them—

Sleep, baby, sleep
No sobs, no cries, ne’er weep.
Rest undisturbed, all fears fling,
To praise Thee all the angels sing.
Arbiter of riches, beauty; and gifts
Thy innocent Atman governs and lifts;
Sleep, baby, sleep.

Soft roses, silvery dew-drops sweet,
Honey, fragrance, zephyrs genial heat
Melodious warbling, notes so dear.
And all that pleases eye or ear.
Comes from Thy heavenly, blissful home.
Pure, pure Thou art, untainted Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.

No foes, no fear, no danger, none,
Can touch Thee, O Eternal One!
Sweet, lovely, tender, gentle calm,
Of sleep Thy Atman doth embalm.
Thyself doth raise the spangled dome
Of starry heavens, O darling Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.

The sun and moon Thy playing balls,
The rainbow arch bedecks Thy halls,
The milky ways for Thee to walk,
The clouds, when meet, of Thee they talk;
The spheres, Thy dolls, sing, dance and roam,
They praise Thee Om Tat Sat Om!
Sleep, baby, sleep.

In lilies and violets, lakes and brooks,
How sweet Thy sleeping beauty looks.
Let time and space, the blankets warm,
Roll off Thy face by sleeping arm.
Look half askance as baby lies,
Dear naughty boy with laughing eyes!
Sleep, baby, sleep.

The shrill, sharp echoes of cuckoos
Are whistles, rattles, Thou doth choose,
The sparrows, winds, and all the stars
Are beautiful toys and baby’s cars.
The world is but Thy playfull dream,
It is in Thee, tho’ outside seem.
Sleep, baby, sleep.

O wakeful home of rest and sleep!
O active source of wisdom deep!
O peaceful spring of life and action!
O lovely cause of strife and fraction!
To limiting darkness bid adieu.
Adieu! adieu! adieu!
Sleep, baby, sleep.

The beauteous objects, charming things,
Are flattering sounds of beating wings.
Of thee, O Eagle blessed King,
Or fleeting shadows of Thy wing,
Bewitching beauty half reveals,
And as a veil it half conceals,
The wearer of this veil, Sweet Om,
The real Self, Om, Tat Sat Om.
Sleep, baby, sleep.

This gives some idea of the lullaby which the queen sang to seven of her sons. When the sons left home, they went abroad filled with Divinity. Through them was Vedanta spread. The eighth child was not trained exactly that way, because the father did not wish this child to leave the throne; he was not wanted to become a perfectly free man. So to this child the mother did not sing this lullaby, but she had to carry out her vow in some other way, that the child should not suffer sorrow or be pained in this life. As the eighth child was not to leave the royal throne it was not brought up the same way as the other seven. The eighth son was placed in the care of a nurse, but when the mother was about to die, this son was brought before her, and she gave him this lullaby which was written on paper and wrapped in some rich, costly material and covered with jewels. She encircled it around his arm, and asked him to keep the amulet most sacred. She asked him to read the paper contained within, she asked him to think it, feel it and it would make him free, it would take away all sorrow. But she told him the amulet was not to be opened except in case of emergency. The mother died and the father died, and the boy became the king and ruled for many years.

One day elder brothers of the boy came to the capital of their father, and sent a message to the boy, Alark by name, and menaced him to leave the throne, because they were the elder brothers, and they were the rightful heirs to the throne. They said, "He ought to leave the throne in favour of the eldest brother." When this Alark was threatened by the authority of the elder brothers, when he was threatened by the precedence of his eldest brother, he trembled with fear, he was terrified and knew not what to do; he wept at the fear of losing all his grandeur and glory. On returning to his bed at night he noticed this amulet around his arm, and the last words of his mother flashed through his mind. He opened it and read the paper, with tears in his eyes he read, "Thou art pure, thou art immutable, thou art all knowledge, all power, thou art the arbiter of all power, thou art the giver and restorer of all beauty, all joy in the world. Think not yourself to be the body, depend not on worldly things, rise above it, meditate upon it, think it over, friend and enemy ye are!" The son realized it through and through, his anxiety and fear were gone, cheerfulness and joy were brought to him. He sang it again and again. What with the meaning and virtue of the song and what with the good wishes of the mother, he was resuscitated, became himself; all fears and anxiety had fled, and sorrow was gone; he bade adieu to all worldly expectations, all worldly longing, all petty desires. He realized it so much, so filled was he with purity and power that it was gushing out of him; he forgot to go to bed. He dressed and went to the spot where his brothers were, and cried, "Come, brothers and release me of this burden—this head-aching crown—here is the burden, take it, release me from it, I know I am all these bodies desirous of sitting on the throne and ruling the kingdom; I am you, and you and I are one, there is no difference." When the brothers marked this sacredness on his face, it filled them with joy, and they said that they came not to take the throne, for they were the rulers of the whole world; they simply wanted to give him his true birth-right which he must not lose. They said, "O brother, this is not you who are the dupe of the senses; you brother, you are not the king of the earth only, but the king and ruler of the Sun, the stars, the worlds, and all the lokas that be. O brother, come, realize that you are the Infinite, the Immutable Self, the Sun of suns, the Light of lights." The prince realized this truth, and he (Alark) went on ruling, but he looked upon the office of the king as an actor’s role in the theatre, imagining himself to be playing that part. Well, this prince was sane and nothing could make him sorrowful. He ruled as a mighty monarch and was a most successful king of the world. Success sought him.

Joy Eternal, Unbroken Peace is yours, nay, you are that. Realize your Centre and be there for ever and ever.

Om! Om!! Om!!!


Source: In Woods of God Realisation by Swamy Rama Tirtha - From the Lecture delivered on February 5, 1903, in the Golden Gate Hall, San Francisco.