by Swami Krishnananda
Action, activity, performing, running about – this cannot satisfy you. You may run from the North Pole to the South Pole, but you cannot be sure that you have done anything worthwhile in life. The rootedness of your being is crying from the bottom of its heart, and the physical body runs from one corner to another corner in order to find on the surface of the earth all that you need. Weeping you come and crying you go, and miserably, painfully, you live in the middle of it. That circumstance should be avoided by a deliberate adjustment of your consciousness to that indivisibility which contradicts every kind of divided activity in the world and includes within itself, within its compass, all which is beautiful, magnificent, grand, powerful and eternal.
People have no time to sit quiet. They are busy people. Everybody says, “I am busy. I have no time.” Where has the time gone? And why are you so busy? To what end? What are you gaining by your being busy every day? It is the business of everyone to understand that every business should be a part and parcel of the meditative process. That kind of business and activity which is imperative for the purpose of maintaining a meditative consciousness is allowed. That which is contradictory to it is not allowed.
It is difficult to know what pure, conscious meditation is. It is not thinking something as you think anything in the world. It is an inwardisation of your spirit, a becoming of your Self in the deepest recesses of your being, and going into the depths of what you really seem to be in your deep sleep condition. You imagine that joys are scattered everywhere outside in the world. That is why you run here and there to pick up little granules of happiness. But why are you happy when you are in deep sleep? Where is the dinner, where is the lunch and where is the tea party? Where are the friends and relatives? Where is the position? Where is the wealth? Where is your authority when you are fast asleep?
Everything has gone into the winds, but there you enjoy a bliss that is incomparable to an emperor’s joy in the outer world. Why is it so? How is it that an abolition of every activity and relationship seems to be capable of providing immense bliss incomparable with any other joy that one can think in the world? Are you not greater than what you are? This is the preparation for meditation: “If everything has gone in the state of deep sleep, and yet I have been the most blessed of all people, there must be some mysterious thing within ourselves.” Thus is the meditation where sense organs cease to act, the body is not existing at all, and even the mind does not operate. The body, mind and senses, which are your greatest treasures, do not exist when you are most happy. This means to say that your great blessedness is neither in the sense organs, nor in the mental operations, nor in the body. It is in another thing that you may call your Self. But one cannot delve into this state easily because of the compulsions of physical nature and mental distraction.
It is necessary for even the busiest of people of the world to find time to sit for awhile to deeply contemplate the welfare of one’s own self. Where does my welfare lie, really speaking? Put a question to yourself: “Where is my welfare? My welfare is in my dear relations. My welfare is in my land and property and money and bank balance. My welfare is in the love and affection that I have from the society of people.” This is a wrong notion. Anything that is connected with you can also be separated from you. The dearest and the nearest can get cut off in a moment’s time, as if they never existed at all. To your surprise you will find the nearest and the dearest things have vanished into thin air, and you will find yourself alone.
It is a terror to be alone to oneself because it is a death of all sources of sensory enjoyment and social comfort. Test yourself. Be alone to yourself. Speak not to anybody. Close your doors and be alone to yourself. How long can you be like that? Please verify. When you are alone to yourself – unseen, unknown, uncontacted by anybody in the world – are you feeling miserable at that time? Do you want to open the door and go to the market to see the sceneries of social panorama? Or do you feel that the world has been tormenting you rather than helping you, and you would like to be alone to yourself? This test must be applied to every person. What do you feel when you are totally alone to yourself – unseen, uncontacted by anyone? How long can you sit alone to yourself? How many minutes, how many hours in a day? Mostly you will feel wretched. “Let me go out and breathe, and see people and talk. What is the good of sitting like this? I get nothing out of it.”
This is the usual unhappy phenomenon that follows even the first step in the practice of yoga meditation. There are many pitfalls, hundreds of setbacks and wrong whispers from our own selves. One person met me and said, “What is there in life except social relations, good company, many children, many relatives? Is it not a joy to live with them?” That this is a phantasm before the human being will be shown one day or the other.
Sarvaṁ tam parᾱdᾱd yo'nyatrᾱtmano sarvaṁ veda (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II.iv.6) is the great statement which you have to remember which was uttered by Sage Yagnavalkya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Anything which is outside you will leave you at any moment – whatever be that dear thing and safe thing and near thing and unavoidable thing. Anything that is external to you cannot be with you; and if everything is external to you, then what will remain, finally? Only you will remain. What kind of ‘you’ will remain? Even the body cannot remain for a long time, so when it is said you will remain, you must be clear as to who is remaining, finally. The body goes, together with the bodies of everybody else whom you hugged as your close relations. What remains when it is said that only you remain? Be clear as to what it is that remains. This is how you can go deeper into the question of the realities of life. Don’t be foolhardy and imagine that everything is milk and honey in this world. There is no milk, no honey; nothing is there. It is all an eye-wash, something to befool the ignorance of human nature.
“Guard yourself,” says the Upanishad. After describing the whole process of gestation, birth and suffering as a little baby and passing through the misery of earthly life, old age and death, and getting reborn into any kind of formation, maybe as a human being, or as an animal, or as a plant, or as a reptile, or as a frog, or as a mosquito. After having described all these things, the miserable state of everything that is born, the Upanishad clinches the matter by saying, “Be guarded.” Be watchful. Guard yourself, and if you cannot guard yourself, nobody else will guard you. You guard yourself from the onslaught of phenomenal insecurity and illusory presentations. When you came, you did not bring anything with you. When you go, you will not take anything with you. How then did you come to the conclusion that in the middle you own so much of property? Is there any meaning, even the least sense, that you are very wealthy, rich and possessed of all things in the middle? When in the beginning you have nothing, and in the end you have nothing, how did you grab everything in the middle? From where did it come? Such is the stupidity of life as a whole.
To shed this ignorance of the true welfare of one’s own self would be an undertaking worth the while of everyone in this new year that is to come – to rejuvenate oneself in every way, to reinforce oneself with the energy of the Spirit that is sleeping inside and is mildly presenting itself in the state of deep sleep, saying, “I am here”. When everything goes, something will tell you: “I am here. I am here whom you have forgotten all the while. Here I am now. Come to Me. I am your real friend. Come unto Me.” One day this voice will speak. Let us be prepared to listen to that voice now itself, and not when we are forced to listen to it willy-nilly. That voice is there even now, but the din and clamour of the sense organs prevent this beautiful music of the heavens from being heard.
This may be taken as our New Year message that we guard ourselves against any kind of illusory presentation, against any kind of false promise that the world can give. The world can give us nothing. It always makes false promises. We live by our own spiritual strength, without which even the best of medicines will not protect the decaying body.
I mentioned to you that this ashram has seen sixty years of life, which is actually the life and the message of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. It was his message briefly that I placed before you just now. He spoke this message, he wrote this message, he lived this message in his life. Here is a great stalwart of spiritual personality before us known as Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj who possessed nothing, who had no house to stay in, who had no property, who had no friends and relations, who wanted nothing and gave everything. He gave all things that came to him because that thing which comes to us is intended only to be given, as that which comes from outside does not really belong to us. Utter renunciation and relinquishment of attachment highlighted the fire-like blazing light of this great master in whose institution we are living, we have been living, and perhaps hope to be living in future also.
May God come into your life – into the life of all people – and guide the destiny of mankind as the one reliable boatman in this sea of samsara. Suhṛdam sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñavatā māṁ śantim rcchati (Bhagavadgita V.29), says the great Lord: Know Me as your real friend. Suhṛdam sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñavatā māṁ śantim rcchati: Peace will be unto you if you recognise Me as your friend. When all things go, I will be with you. Who can speak to you like that? “When everything goes, I shall be with you.” Which father, which mother, which friend can speak these words?
May we befriend this great Being. May the New Year herald blessedness, peace, security and happiness to the whole world, which is now under the pressure of tension and every kind of insecure phenomenon. May the world be rid of this tension. May our deep meditations, collectively undertaken, contribute a new strength to the effort to bring this solidarity, peace, and happiness to mankind. We can bring peace to the world by our meditations and prayers, not by our hands and feet. Physical activity cannot bring peace. It is our meditational, spiritual concentration of a noble motive that can bring peace to the world.
Only a human being can bring peace to human beings; nobody else can do that. A human being means one who is really humane and human in thought, culture and behaviour. Animal man, brutal man, cannibal man cannot be called ‘man’. They are not real human beings. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (Bhagavadgita IV.11): “As you are to Me, so I am to you,” So not only God says, but everything says. Even a leaf in the tree will say that: As you are to me, so I am to you. If this noble meditational impulse is to arise within the hearts of every one of us, this collective meditation will save the world from disaster. We need not be under the impression that the world is going to the dogs. It will not go like that. There is a soul operating in the whole cosmos. It will not allow it to perish like that, provided it embosoms within its own feelings this perennial call or message of God Himself that He is with us as our perpetual friend. Suhṛdam sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñavatā māṁ śantim rcchati.
In your own lives, you would have seen that you have no real friends. Your dearest friends will leave you one day. They will say, “We do not know who you are. I might have seen you, but I do not know who you are.” This is how friends speak, finally. When you cannot trust your own body, how will you trust another body? We can speak of God’s greatness, but to make God our own in our deepest feelings and in our daily life is not easy.
The blessedness of a person is equal to the blessedness of the whole of humanity. World peace is individual peace, and individual peace is world peace. If the world is suffering, an individual cannot be at peace. And if all the individuals are in peace, naturally the world also is in peace. When the part is in peace, the whole also is in peace. When the whole is in peace, all the parts also are in peace. May we delve into our own selves in a collective meditation by bringing into our own hearts the whole cosmos in one gamut. Such meditation may we make our own whereby the entire creation enters into us, sinks into our vitals, and energises every cell of our body. The world stands united with us and when we meditate, the world in its totality meditates. Thus is the meditation. Hari Om Tat Sat.
[Swamiji leads the group in chanting Om and concluding prayers.]