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The world is full of sorrows and miseries. Some are groaning under pain; a few are lamenting over the death of their dear ones; others feel worried by poverty, ill-health and afflictions. There may be only a few who seem to be favoured by fortune but even they have their own troubles and worries. A poor man is worried at not being rich; a rich man is worried at not being richer; and a very rich man is worried at not being the richest. There is in short no limit to it. This is the routine course of Nature. One who is born is in tumult and disorder, because contradictions presented themselves the very moment he came into existence. Now one who attaches himself unduly to them is found to be held fast in their trammels. If you ask him to come out of it, he will only cry like one who clings to a tree saying that the tree does not leave him. Yudhistira had very correctly said in reply to the Yaksha's question that the strangest thing in the world is that people see others dying but never think that they will also have to taste death soon; but my answer to that question would have been that though people see their own disorder still they lie reposing on the unbalanced pillow. That is perhaps the strangest thing to me. Raja Bhartruhari, when awakened to Godly thought, had a pillow to rest his head upon, but after some time he gave it up thinking it not worthwhile. The pillow stands for ‘support', the divine support, or in other words reliance upon God, giving up everything of his own. Is it not of the greatest value if it could be possible in ordinary grihastha life? How to remain constantly busy with Divine thought while doing one's worldly duties? One might say that the two being contrary to each other cannot be taken up together. But that is not the case. It is quite possible and easily practicable if one takes it up in earnest. In due course Godly wisdom awakens in him and he begins to work with it in all his activities of life. I do not think that one who exerts himself for the achievement of realisation while attending to his household duties shall be a loser in any way. On the other hand he will be soaring high with both wings outstretched, on towards his eternal homeland.

Since we came into the world we have never been free from miseries, nor shall we ever be till we have secured our return to the homeland. Even avatars like Rama and Krishna had to undergo miseries so long as they were on this earth. In fact deliverance from pain and sorrow is the main pursuit of life. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have once remarked, ‘The way to freedom lies through jail!' If we take this world to be a prison-house, the above saying fits in quite appropriately in the spiritual sense also. In utter despair people often wish for an end to life. But in my opinion it shall be far better under such circumstances to pray to God to bestow a life which might be parallel to death.

Sufferings and miseries have their own place in life. Every one has his share of it. Even sages of eminence had their own. Had there been no sufferings in the world, man's thought could never have gone up to the reverse side of it, i.e. the bliss. Thus man's affliction offers him inducement for finding out means of emancipation. In other words they serve as stimulants. We know that coal can be transformed into diamond. That means that a change in the setup gives things a new appearance. A thing becomes useful and pleasing when its set up is right, while it becomes painful and ugly if it is wrong. The same is the case with afflictions. Our discriminative faculty is so much over shadowed by the hankerings of the mind that we have become quite blind to the real values of things concerned with in life. As a matter of fact every thing in life is for our ultimate good; only we have to learn their proper utilisation so as to turn them to our advantage. But unfortunately we have all along been going the wrong way, led by the misdirected tendencies of the mind. We have been taking a crude view of every thing, corresponding with the baser inclinations of the mind. Every thing has gone on growing denser and grosser to our view. The heart and the brain being influenced thereby began to contract the same defect. Covering after covering began to set in, obscuring Reality from view. This will go on till accidentally a time may come when a gush of Reality having blown into the heart may cause an awakening within. It is then that man comes to a proper understanding of the real values and feels induced to resort to mending his disturbed state.

When man first assumed his physical form he brought with him the thing opposed to the real nature of his being; that means both the opposites were intertwined to give it a proper shape. It appeared in the form of an outburst similar to that caused by the contact of fire and water. When supplemented by the flow of air, it went on smouldering and increased the force of the outburst. The outburst is nothing but the action of the force coming in contact with the soul, thus exhibiting a display of the elements. Reality was lost sight of. Just imagine what the reverse use of things finally resulted in. We took into account neither the cause nor the effect thereof, to trace out the origin of this degradation.

How were these actions caused? The Divine will to effect creation began to manifest itself. The thought of diversity which was opposed to that of unity became active, and began to acquire prominence. Activity sprang up. Both combining together increased the force, and action started.

Man's soul possessed Consciousness. This consciousness was the direct result of the Divine will which led to formation of things. The result of our will was that by the application of our thought-power we made the things we had brought with us. Thus all that we had around us was that which was opposed to the real nature of the soul. Peace is the characteristic of the soul while unrest, the opposite of peace, is that of the body. But we ourselves were the doers of all this and this was our own work. Now the outburst which resulted from these actions and counteractions appeared to us in the form of sufferings and miseries. If we somehow cease supplying them with power, they will begin to wither away like unwatered plants. This can become possible only when we divert our thought, which is associated with body-consciousness, towards the soul. The things which, through our wrong-doings, have assumed the form of miseries and afflictions will begin to wither away, or shall be over-influenced by the effect of superior consciousness. They shall in course of time be entirely cleared and their outbursts shall also cease. Man will then be in a state of soul-consciousness which was originally enlivened by the effect of Divine will.

There was nothing wrong with the things that descended to us. The wrong got into them only by the effect of our misutilisation of those purest things, which finally became transformed into afflictions. Now we stand in need of some cure for them. I may say again that it is sickness alone that revives the idea of health in the heart. Now let us see how the things known as miseries, which are opposed to the true character of Reality, grew strong and powerful. These being under our control get power from us, while the other being under God's control gets power from Him. The more we are attentive towards them (miseries), the stronger they grow by the effect of our thought. In course of time they become strong enough to over-shadow all our feelings and emotions. The only solution would be to turn towards God which is the greatest power. The Divine power will then begin to flow in, making afflictions totally ineffective. By and by the man begins to acquire the state, so highly spoken of in the Gita, at which he ceases to feel himself as the doer. Further advancement in that state means the stopping of the formation of samskaras which leads him to the state of jivan moksha. A simple thing can be achieved by simple means only. In fact afflictions, which are commonly taken as the reverse side of bliss, form the only thing that revives in our heart a Consciousness of the Real, and helps us to march along the path of peace and progress. Every one has his own afflictions. I too had mine, about which I had once written to my master. His reply quoted below is worth writing in gold:

“It is good to be put to worries. The home is the training centre for submission and endurance. To put up patiently with the day-to-day events of life is the highest form of penance and sacrifice. So, instead of anger and resentment, one must cultivate in himself a meek temperament. Meekness refers to that feeling of mind in which, on being rebuked by others, one feels his own self to be at fault, and for which he has to yield to what is meted out to him. For others, aloofness, solitude and dissociation might be the means for cultivating contentment, endurance and freedom from the entanglements of life, whereas for us, to put up with the taunts and rebukes of the family, friends and society, is the greatest form of penance and sacrifice.”

At another place he wrote to one of his associates:

“As for afflictions and worries, I too had mine which might perhaps be shocking to another. Often I had nothing for my meals. I had a number of children and dependents to support. Besides, at times I had to help others too, which I could not avoid. The entire responsibility was upon me alone, and I had to manage all that and provide for all requirements. I may also tell you that sometimes there was only one quilt, and that too with badly mutilated padding, to cover the whole family. But I took it as a display of misfortune only which passed away with time. I felt that all this was absolutely of no importance to me as compared to Reality which was predominant in all my being. So I ever smiled on them thinking them to be the very way of salvation.”

Constant brooding over our own afflictions increases our worries. Our attachment to them develops and we become rigidly entangled in their intricacies. This hampers our onward progress and the chance of success becomes slight. An alternative course suggested by certain misdirected teachers is that of deserting worldly responsibilities by breaking off from family, friends and society. As a matter of fact even then they have their particular worries and entanglements. That is therefore no solution of the problem. On the other hand it promotes greater evils in the form of arrogance, pride and prejudice, the worst poisons for a spiritual life.

None in the world is free from worries. The presence of afflictions is in fact a positive proof of the very existence of man. Worries are really the result of the unbalanced activity which had originally brought man into existence. This is the inter-play of the forces of Nature, causing expansions and contractions, by the effect of which layer after layer began to be formed. Now if one keeps his entire attention located on them thinking that thereby he may minimise their effect, it is almost impossible. Ages may be lost in the pursuit, not to speak of this one life; on the other hand, he will go on fabricating greater intricacies by his own actions. That is really the misutilisation of the powers bestowed on us by Nature. If we keep ourselves concerned with the clearing off of the limitations set up by the expansion and contraction of the forces, our purpose may be rightly served. It is therefore necessary for us to start from the level where Nature's forces begin to promote Consciousness in man. The reason why people are not able to undertake it is that they do not attach any importance to it, because they have no definite aim or purpose in view. An archer can never hit at the mark unless he fixes his keen attention on the object to be hit.

I have my own experiences of sufferings and miseries, and after pondering over them a good deal I have now come to the conclusion that suffering and disease are the boons of Nature in disguise which helps deliverance from the effects of samskaras. When one is cleared of their remnants, spiritual progress goes on unabated, provided one's mind is inwardly inclined towards it. None is required to give up the normal activities of life connected with his worldly living, but needs only to be busy along — side with it for the attainment of That which is finally to be attained. I wonder why people do not feel interested in this matter which is of such vital importance. Some I find busy with prayer (Prarthana) for the development of bhakti in them and wish to come into the world again and again for the purpose. I appreciate their idea of devotion, but the latter portion (i.e. coming again and again) is not understandable to me at all. It seems to be devoid of any sense, purpose or object. What one should actually do is to surrender oneself to God. The thing may seem to be difficult in the beginning but it is really the easiest.

I find people complaining that they do not find time for worship or meditation. But I feel, and everybody knows well, that they always get sufficient time for their illness, worries and physical needs. The reason is that all these things are of greater importance to them than the Divine duties. As a matter of fact a man can keep himself busy with divine thoughts every moment without offering any hindrance to his worldly activities. If one practices it so as to form this habit it becomes so easy and natural with him that he would not like to part with it even for a moment. I give you all a very helpful hint. Before taking up a certain work, think of Him for awhile in the sense that He himself is doing it. It is the simplest method and I should like you all to follow it in right earnest.

An intense craving is therefore essential under all circumstances and for that meditation is an indispensable factor. If one gets firmly settled on it his problem may finally be solved. The easiest way to increase the intensity of craving is to take it up even in an artificial way if it is not actually present in the mind. In course of time, by constant practice, the artificial feeling will become true and genuine.

The restless tendencies of the mind have gone up to an abnormal level in the present age. One may be seen worried for his scanty means, another for his growing wants, still another for his health, comfort, fame etc. Even the rich who are luckily bestowed with most of what they crave for have worries of one type or another. None perhaps might be having rest and peace in the world. Every one is faced with his own problems related mostly with his personal wants and desires, which create for him miseries and troubles. A man remains entangled in them finding no way out. But the bravest is he who is happy in all cases and under all circumstances. Great sages have given preference above all to poverty and hardship. One of the ancient sages is known to have prayed to God to bestow upon him all the miseries of the world! Such have been the souls who could have made the highest progress and finally attained a permanent life of eternal bliss.

Thoughts which one makes, or has made, remain afloat in the Brahmanda Mandal and transform into energy. At times they strike a man's heart causing their impressions in accordance with the capacity and nature of the man. But if he remains inattentive towards them their intensity is lost, and they become almost ineffective. If we form the habit of paying no heed to them they will have no effect upon us. A saint or a Mahatma is not in any way different from an ordinary worldly man, except that his mind and senses are in a well-disciplined state and wholly under his control. He remains free from the effect of the different hues and colours of the world and remains ever merged in his own, the one colourlessness. He attains a state of contentment and settledness which breathe in an atmosphere of peace and calmness.

Usually worldly tangles are a cause of worry, but for the most part to those alone who attach undue importance to them. If a man turns his attention away from miseries and afflictions, their painful effect is considerably reduced. One must therefore make it his habit not to attach himself unduly to them. Then alone shall he be happy and contented under all circumstances. Just as a man possesses a variety of things for his use some of which might be distasteful and unpleasant, yet he keeps them all well arranged and safe at their proper places, so must be the case with man in respect of his belongings which include miseries and afflictions also. The human body is the soul's residence. All things whether pleasant or repulsive are there, all meant to serve our purpose at times. It is we who are to keep them in proper order so as to serve our purpose at need. It is in fact the disorderliness in their utilisation and arrangement that creates trouble, not the thing in itself. That is the case with afflictions. They can be to our advantage if they are properly handled, and harmful to our cause if wrongly used.

The effective solution of the problem is to give them up to the charge of a higher soul and to dissociate yourself from them altogether. Cares, anxieties and worries will then subside and nothing but duty will remain to view. That conveys the idea of surrender which is the sum total of the entire Sadhana.

Tastelessness has its own peculiar taste which too one must have a taste of. Everyone is involved to some extent at least in worries. Happy are those who pay no heed to them but try to remain satisfied and contented under all circumstances. The only way for that is to keep one's self concerned solely with the great Power with a feeling of love and attachment. The superfluities may be treated as the barking of dogs. Every thing in him will then begin to get regulated, assuming a state of moderation and balance. That is the exact sense implied in the term ‘the transformation of man'.


Dealing with worries

You have written to me that you feel worried when you are short of money. This is no doubt troublesome, but then there are two aspects to it; the one when man gets agitated and perplexed, and the other when he remains steady and composed in a spirit of submission. Both make all their efforts to overcome the difficulty, but there remains some difference still. Let us take the example of a sick man who is attended by two of his servants. They tend him, serving food and medicine at the proper time and look to all his comforts. But one of them is greatly perplexed and upset by his serious illness while the other is quite composed and steady. Which of the two shall, in your opinion, be rendering better service to the patient? I think you will definitely say that the one with a steady and composed mind will be more helpful to him than the other, although both of them are serving him honestly with a heart full of love. So much it be with you in case of your household difficulties, the solution of which can be better arrived at when you are calm and composed. We should ever go on with our work with a sense of duty in submission to the will of God. This will give you a taste of the nectar of real life.


PHYSICAL AILMENTS – Demands of Abyasis

Often people expect me to look to their physical ailments and to apply my thought force for their cure. Not only this, they also induce me to take up cases of their friends and relations, and I, being over-courteous and obliging by nature, undertake them, not minding my own difficulties and exertion. When I happen to hear of the physical troubles of any of my associates I naturally get attentive for a while at least for their relief. But when anyone approaches me with a direct request for his cure I feel myself bound to help him to my best, not minding over-exertion and strain.

They are perhaps induced to demand from me this kind of service on the presumption of their excessive love and devotion towards me which emboldens them in their claims for worldly benefit. It may perhaps be for the very reason that gurus are generally advised to remain reserved with the disciples. As a matter of fact everybody in the world has to undergo sufferings. I too had, and even now have, a lot of them. During the lifetime of my great master, though I did inform him of my troubles, yet I never desired their removal in the least. It may have been due to want of devotion in me, which might have been lesser in comparison with that of my associates. Anyhow that continues even today and I continually receive demands of this nature from one quarter or the other.

As for my own handicaps, I may say that together with all this I have to attend to my own job of carrying out Nature's work entrusted to my charge. Besides that I have also to look to the spiritual training of my associates, which is no less tiring a business for one in my position. I therefore find my heart and brain incapable of withstanding that much strain. Besides, this superfluous item forcible imposed upon me offers serious hindrance in Nature's work entrusted to me, with the result that it suffers heavily. I fail to understand why this sort of service should be demanded of me when there is a host of doctors around them to cure their bodily diseases. The doctor who treats such cases is no doubt amply paid for his labours, whereas, by way of my remuneration, I do not even have the slightest diversion of their thought towards the Divine which would have been in their own interest in the long run.

There is yet another difficulty there. It is that with the increase in the number of the members, the work of curing diseases is also likely to increase heavily with the result that some day it might become almost impossible to meet the demand.