SESSIONS WITH ASHRAM RESIDENTS - 1
A Message of Divine Delight and Divine Life
by Swami Krishnananda
(Spoken on January 5, 1997)
There are three great principles which govern everything, namely, the ideal, the organisation and the law. We may interpret these principles as either God, creation and the system of the operation of everything in the universe, or we may bring it down to a more practical level of human life, a facet which has been beautifully enunciated in the form of a prayer under the aegis of Buddhist psychology, this prayer being: buddhaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi, dhammaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi, saṁghaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi.
Actually speaking, there was no concept of organisation in this country, especially in religious circles, until Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha, felt the need to bring together all his followers into a hierarchy of operation systematically arranged by degrees and stages so that his principles, his ideals, his teachings, for which he stood, lived and died, may find expression in the day-to-day life of people, especially his followers, his disciples.
The ideal is conceptual, philosophical, spiritual and transcendental at the same time. But the organisation is what generally goes by the name of the system of the operation of this great ideal. We say God created the world. Let it be. But the world that God has created is an organic manifestation, a systematised expression and a holistic presentation of the presence of God in the space-time world of expression.
We can see God in every little bit of operation in this world. There is an organisation which God has created. This body of operation is this universe in the form of the fourteen realms of being. There are fourteen levels of density of the expression of the creative process—seven above and seven below, systematically—because God’s existence itself is an example of the most systematic conceivable ideal, and so wherever there is a systematic presentation, an aesthetic vision, a perception of beauty, etc., we feel happy. Happiness, satisfaction, delight of any kind is an expression of God Himself. Unless the organisation of the perceptual process is able to reflect the organic existence of God Himself, we would not see beauty in anything in this world. Nothing can satisfy us.
So the law was also conceived at the same time. In Vedic language this principle of law is described as rita and dharma,or satya. In the concluding portion of the Rigveda we have a poignant, touching statement: ṛtaṁ ca satyaṁ cābhīddhāt tapaso adhyajāyata (R.V. 10.190). There was rita and there was satya. Rita is the law of God as He Himself is, independent of the creative process. God is something even if there is no creation. That something by Himself, the That which is—bhutatathata, as they call it, or dharmakaya in the language of Buddhism—that is rita. The eternal time-transcending principle is rita, and when it manifests itself in the time process, it becomes satya.
Hence, manifested law and eternal law are not two different things. The law of the world, the law of society, the law of family, the law of government and administration are not different from the law of God. If they stand irrelevant to the law of God; and if one has no connection with the other, they will not succeed. The Roman Empire fell, the Egyptian Empire fell, and the empire of the Mediterranean regions fell. There was a very strict law, of course, under Roman ordinance, but in spite of that it fell because it did not coincide with, set itself in harmony with, the eternity of God. It was an outward beauty of an architectural structure without a soul inside it. That is why the Roman Empire fell. And so is the case with all those empires that, grandiose as they appear to be, are only in the memory of people by reading history books.
But life is not a mechanical presentation of a governmental system or any kind of secular presentation. There is no such thing as secular and there is no such thing as spiritual, one differentiated from the other. To speak of the secular and the spiritual is like speaking about the world and God as if they are dichotomised and one thing has no connection with the other. If we are to create a segmentation between the world and God, then we can create a segmentation between the spiritual and the secular, which does not exist.
The outward expression of an internal reality is the same as the principle that operates as the internal reality. Our body cannot live in a manner contrary to the demands of our soul. Then the body falls sick. The health of the physical system is nothing but the manifestation of the soul inside, which is organic completeness. ‘Holism’ is the word that is used sometimes these days. A complete perfection of every part of the organisation of the body is the symbol of what we call a buoyant, healthy physical frame, which is not possible by any kind of medicine or exercise. It is possible only by permitting this beautiful, organised, systematic rita and satya of the soul within us to permeate every cell of our body.
I mentioned to you that in Buddhist parlance three principles are emphasised: buddhaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi, dhammaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi and saṁghaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi. Wherever you want to achieve success, these three principles have to be in your mind. You cannot run even a family, let alone anything else. There must be an ideal or a purpose in the formation of the family. A purposeless family or a segregated, dichotomised and dissipated family cannot exist. The ideal or the principle behind the organisation of the family is the first principle. Then comes the method of organisation. What is the relationship between or among the members of the family? There is a father, there is a mother, there is brother, there is sister, there are children. So many people are there, one different from the other. But what is the internal relationship among them? If this internal relationship is absent, there will be no happy family life. That internal relationship of an organised nature is possible only if the outward performance of the family manifests the ideal or the purpose of the existence of the family. Then there are regulations: Do this and do that. That is the law. There are certain things which must be done, and certain things which violate the organic existence of the family. This can be applied to the government, the district, the state, the nation, the United Nations—even to the whole cosmos and to our personal life.
This is The Divine Life Society. This is an organisation conceived by the vast integrated mind of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, and we may apply the same principle here also. Whatever Swami Sivananda thought is the principle; the manner in which he conceived the operation of the departments and functions of The Divine Life Society is the organisation; and the regulations necessary to maintain it in a stable form is the law. These are highly interesting things to conceive, applicable to individual life, family life, world life, universal life, and divine life. Everywhere this principle operates, the threefold commingling of wonderful, conceptual, spiritual, philosophical, integrating eternal principles.
Eternity masquerades in the form of world history. World history, right from the Palaeolithic age till modern times, is a procession of various kinds of ups and downs and movements of human performance. They are all ultimately the movements of the fingers of God. If we can bring all these principles together into a concentrated point, we will find that the whole universe is God manifest, organisation manifest, eternity manifest, perfection manifest, freedom manifest, joy manifest, and buoyant existence and a healthy life of every kind manifest.
We do not have any kind of negative concept of life in India. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam yat kiṁ ca jagatyāṁ jagat, tena tyaktena bhuñjitha, ma gṛdhaḥ kasyasvid dhanam (Isa 1). Here we have in this first verse of the Isavasya Upanishad of the Yajurveda the same principle enunciated as buddhaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi, dhammaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi and saṁghaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchāmi. What is the Buddha here? Isa, the creator of the universe, is the Buddha here. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam: Everything is pervaded by the principle of the Creator. Yat kiṁ ca jagatyāṁ jagat: whatever is moving, whatever is not moving, living or non-living. Tena tyaktena bhuñjitha: live a happy, buoyant and satisfactory life. Bhuñjitha: enjoy life. The Upanishad does not say to suffer life. Life is not suffering. It is a joy, an abundance of God’s beauty and glory manifest in the form of even a little green leaf that is smiling before us in the tree. That joy is ananda-deva or sarvani bhutani jayante. Ānandena jātani jivanti, ānandaṁ prayanty abhisaṁviśanti (Tait. Up. 3.6.1): From joy the world came, by the joy of creation the world exists, and into joy it shall return. This is a message of divine delight, and is the message of divine life.