The Inner Teaching
We get the inner teaching either from a spiritual Master or from our own soul. It is infinitely easier for us to get this inner teaching from a spiritual Master, for we can speak to him and see him daily. He understands our language. He is one with us. Although in the inner world he is infinitely superior to us, he is in us and for us. His inner consciousness is flooded with peace, light and bliss. But we have to know that a day shall dawn when the message of the soul and the spiritual Master's teaching must go together. There can be no difference, no iota of difference between their teachings.
But unless and until one has the capacity to dive deep within, it is always better and safer to listen to one's Master. It is not that one has to have a spiritual Master all his life. No. For some time, especially at the beginning, one must have a spiritual Master. When the seeker himself realises the highest Truth, he does not need any spiritual guidance. He himself grows into effulgent light. The inner soul within him comes to the fore and leads him, guides him and moulds him and perfects his inner and outer nature.
The inner teaching. The inner teaching teaches us how to love mankind and how to serve the divinity in humanity.
Simplicity, sincerity and purity, these are the three things that we need in our inner life: simplicity, sincerity and purity.
Simplicity we need at every moment, for if the mind is not simple, if the mind is complicated, complex, then there can be no peace in our mind. A child is simple. He is all joy. In our day to day existence, unfortunately, we do not pay any attention to simplicity. If we go deep within, if we have a simple mind, simple existence, we shall feel how lucky, how happy and how fortunate we are.
Sincerity, it is the life of our heart. If we have sincerity, then we have to know that we are already marching towards our Destined Goal. Sincerity is our safe guard. Each moment a sincere seeker is running towards his Destined Goal, either consciously or unconsciously. If we want to make constant progress, here on earth, then what we need is sincere heart.
Purity, purity in the body. This purity does not mean that we have to take a bath ten times a day. No. It is the inner purity that we need and not the outer cleanliness. When we are pure, we can receive the divine peace, light, bliss and power in abundant measure. When we can maintain our purity, then peace, joy, light, bliss and power can dawn on earth. Here the whole role of purity is of paramount importance in our spiritual life.
In the inner life we see the roles of fear and doubt, courage and certainty.
Fear, what is it? When we follow the spiritual life, we come to realise sooner than at once that fear is a real enemy. What does it do? It buys our coffin, long before we are destined to die.
Doubt, what does it do? It starts digging our grave while we are still alive, while still we are performing our earthly duties.
Courage. Courage is our inner indomitable will. The outer expression of our inner indomitable will is manifested in the form of outer courage. Each moment we can see the reality, stand in front of the reality, and grow into the reality if our existence is inundated with the inner will and the outer courage.
Certainty. God is ours. God is not the sole monopoly of an individual. It is not that only realised souls can dare to claim that God belongs only to them. No, far from it. Each individual has the right to proclaim that God is his, that he belongs to God. He has to feel that God and he are eternally one and that God Realisation is his birthright.
The inner teaching. What do we learn from the inner teaching? Aspiration. Aspiration is the inner flame, the mounting cry within us. Each individual has this burning flame within. But unfortunately, most of us do not take the trouble to use the flame of aspiration within us. We are fond of using something else in our day to day life-desire.
Desire is something that binds us.
Aspiration is something that frees us.
The message of desire is to possess and be possessed.
The message of aspiration is to expand, enlarge and immortalise our earthly existence.
When we desire, we live in the world of anxieties, worries, frustrations, limitations, bondage and death. When we aspire, we live here on earth in our divine consciousness. We feel the message, the life breath of infinity, eternity, and immortality. These are not vague terms-infinity, eternity and immortality, far from it. He who prays, he who meditates, he who concentrates, he who contemplates daily can easily enter into the domain of infinity, eternity and immortality. His consciousness is bound to be flooded with infinity's peace, eternity's light, and immortality's bliss.
The outer knowledge tells us how we can lord it over the world, how we can destroy the world. But the inner knowledge tells us how we can be inseparably one with God's entire Creation. Inner teaching means inseparable oneness, not only with the Creator, but also with His Creation.
The inner teaching is very simple. As my introducer was kind enough and wise enough to say, that real Indian philosophy is not complicated, but people make it complicated and then they misunderstand it. The inner teaching also similarly at times has become a victim to complicated terms, but it is very, very simple. Anyone, anyone can learn the inner life, can try to live the inner life, can fulfil his inner existence, divine existence here on earth.
Philosophy is not the answer to the inner life. Religion is not the answer. Philosophy helps. Religion too, helps to some extent. But spirituality, let us use the term 'Yoga', a Sanskrit word, is by far the best answer to the inner life. Yoga means union, conscious union with God. If we cry for our conscious union with God, then easily, without the least possible hesitation, we can live the inner life.
Now, philosophy. Let us use the Sanskrit word, 'darshan'. It means to envision, to see. One of our India's greatest spiritual Masters, Sri Ramakrishna, said, "In days of yore people used to have visions. Now people study 'darshan'!" This is the difference of the Vedic seers who had the highest illumined vision and those who just study philosophy.
Religion. When we go deep inside the religion, without fail we get the message of truth; but we do not go within. I say, "My Hinduism is by far the best." Immediately you tell me, "Stop! Stop! No comparison. Christianity is by far the best." Then a follower of Judaism will not hesitate to contradict both of us. He will say, "No. Judaism is by far the best." So this goes on, no end. This is our outer teaching. Each one is right in his own limited way.
But we have to know the inner oneness, the inseparable oneness with God and His Creation. We can consciously achieve this oneness only through proper prayers, concentration, meditation and contemplation. Yoga transcends all religions. Religion is right in its own way. Philosophy is right in its own way. Philosophy can lead us right up to the door. Religion can lead us a few steps inside the room, but real meditation and spirituality, Yoga, not only leads you right up to the throne, but will make you sit on the throne itself.
When you follow the path of Yoga, you will see that there is no quarrel, no conflict. I must add that one has to follow the path meant for him. Otherwise conflicts will arise. Each path claims to be by far the best. No. A sincere seeker, if he s a real sincere seeker, will not find fault with any path.
As you know, there are three principal paths: Karma Yoga, the path of action and dedication, Bhakti Yoga, the path of love and devotion, and Jnana Yoga, the path of knowledge and wisdom. Again, in Jnana Yoga, the path of knowledge and wisdom, there is a special branch. We call it Raja Yoga, which you call in the West 'mysticism'.
But I wish to say that if one is a true, sincere, genuine seeker, and if he follows the path of love and devotion, he cannot say a single word against the seeker who is following the path of knowledge, because we know all roads ultimately lead to Rome. I only take one road and you may take some other road, but Rome is there: the Goal. Each road has the right to lead the aspirant to his Destined Goal. So how can I contradict other paths? It is sheer foolishness on our part to discard other's discovery.
Now, our inner teaching tells us that it is true that all paths will lead to Rome, to our Destined Goal, God. But there can be a path that leads us faster than the other paths, and that path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. All roads will lead us to our destination, but one can say that there are shortcuts. Here the path of love leads us much faster to our destination.
Now when we follow the path of love, we find our spiritual life, inner life, most satisfactory. Here God is dearest to us, not because He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent or Omniscient, but because He is all Love. A child feels that his father is dearest to him precisely because he feels inside his father all love. He does not care to know how great his father is, whether his father is the magistrate, or barrister or president. Just because his father is all love to him, his father is dearest to him.
Similarly, God, our eternal Father, can be approached most successfully and most convincingly with love; and when we approach Him with love, we see that He is all Love; and when we just open our eyes and try to look at Him, we see that He is right in front of us, blessing us, embracing us. He says, "My child, I have been all the time waiting for you" Here, love means one's constant feeling of inseparable oneness with one's Beloved.
The end of all inner teaching is love, the Divine Love, not human love. Human love binds; the result is frustration. And at the end of frustration, destruction looms large. But Divine Love is expansion, enlargement, the feeling of one's true oneness. So if we love a human being, we have to know that we love him precisely because deep inside that particular being is God, not because he is my father, or she is my mother, or he is my brother, or she is my sister. No. I love him just because inside the particular person I feel, I see the living presence of my dearest Beloved.
For those who want to follow the spiritual path, those who want to feel God as their very own, I wish to say, Love Divine is the answer. In Love Divine looms large and important the seeker's real fulfilment and perfect Perfection. This is the easiest path. This love is most convincing, most efficient. We all can practise the inner teaching by offering our true love to God, to the divinity inside humanity. The more we offer this Divine Love, the more we fulfil the Inner Pilot within and without us.
Life Divine is not a far cry here on earth. The fulfilment of divinity here on earth can never remain a far cry, if we know the secret of secrets. And that secret is to grow into the Divine Love, where the lover and the Beloved become one, where the creation and the Creator become one, where the finite and the infinite become one.
It is here on earth that the message, the soul stirring flute of Infinity we shall hear. We do not have to go to heaven, we do not have to go to any realms of consciousness; but right here, here and now, we can hear the message of liberation, enlightenment and divine fulfilment, if we follow the inner teaching, which is Love Divine: love for love's sake, love for God's sake.
Wednesday, November 18th, 1970
University of Leeds