“Man’s imperfect question:
How far away is God?
God’s perfect answer:
He is Eternity’s Here and Now.”
“Man’s imperfect question:
Dear seekers of the transcendental Truth, dear sisters and brothers of the one transcendental Spirit, this evening I wish to give a talk on the heart.
I wish to tell all my friends and my spiritual brothers and sisters here in Philadelphia that inside the heart of each individual seeker rings the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell that we see here in Philadelphia has a large crack, and therefore it does not ring properly. But in the inner life, our Liberty Bell rings perfectly. It is up to each individual to listen to his inner bell every day. This bell has been ringing front time immemorial in each individual soul, inspiring the soul to take part in God's cosmic Drama and to run fast, faster, fastest toward the destined Goal.
We have a loving heart, an aspiring heart, an inspiring heart, an illumining heart and a fulfilling heart. With our loving heart we welcome the world at large. With our aspiring heart we climb up to the highest pinnacle of divinity. With our inspiring heart we inspire not only the world within us, but also the world without-the world of God's entire creation. With our illumining heart we illumine our ignorance, darkness, imperfection and bondage. With our fulfilling heart we fulfil God the Dreamer in us, God the Player in us, God the Lover in us and God the Beloved Supreme in us.
Also, with our loving heart we can unconditionally surrender ourselves to the will of God. With our aspiring heart we can grow into the very image of God. With our inspiring heart we can spread the message of God throughout the length and breadth of the world. With our illumining heart we can manifest our inner divinity on the outer plane. And with our fulfilling heart we can fulfil both God the Creator and God the Creation at once. Our fulfilling heart is nothing other than our unconditionally surrendered heart flying with the wings of the Supreme.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we come to realise that we also have a soulful heart, a heart of peace and a heart of delight. The soulful heart we need at every moment in our life of aspiration. Without it we cannot make an iota of inner progress. The peaceful heart we need because when peace is wanting in our life, this life has no abiding satisfaction. The heart of delight we need because it is the very source of our divine plenitude and infinitude. We came from delight, we live in delight and, at the end of our journey's close, into delight we retire.
Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante...
How can a beginner in the spiritual life have a soulful heart? Let him look into the sky in the evening when the sun starts to set. When the beginner seek sky and becomes deeply absorbed in the setting sun, his soulful heart comes to the fore. If the beginner needs a peaceful heart, let him concentrate, meditate and contemplate on the very depths of the ocean, the ocean of life. And if he needs a heart of delight, let him look at the ocean surface and allow his inner being to get in tune with the waves of the ocean.
The heart is most intimate to us and most significant in our life. When our physical heart fails, we pass behind the curtain of Eternity and die. Similarly, in the spiritual life, when our heart of aspiration fails even while we are living here on earth, we will be living in the world of death. Medical science will tell us that the physical heart is located within the chest on the left side. Some spiritual Masters are of the opinion that the spiritual heart is on the right side, and others are of the opinion that it is in the middle. Then again, there are still others who are of the opinion that it is inside the forehead, a little above the eyebrows. Naturally these spiritual Masters are dealing with the spiritual heart, and each is right in his own way. Each has discovered the heart according to his own inner light and inner wisdom.
When we are told that the heart is between and a little above the eyebrows, at the outset we are bound to be puzzled and somewhat disturbed. Whether it is on the left side or the right side of the chest may be immaterial to us. But when we are told that the heart is located between the eyebrows, naturally we are thrown into a sea of confusion. But I wish to say that those who are of the opinion that the heart is located there are perfectly right in their way, for that place is the source of our intuition, of our intuitive light. Heart means light. Wherever we feel the presence of light, without the least possible hesitation we can say that that very place is the heart, heart and light are one and the same thing.
Now we have to know that the heart is not the highest or the most perfect member of our inner family. It is the soul that is the highest, because the soul is all light. In the soul there is no darkness at all. The human heart receives light from the soul, and that is why the soul is superior. It is the source of the heart's light. The human heart identifies with the soul's light, whereas the mind finds it extremely difficult to do this. That is why the heart is superior to the mind. Again, the mind is superior to the vital because the mind searches for the truth, for light-at times consciously, at times unconsciously. But the vital does not care for the highest truth. The vital cares for the truth only when the truth offers satisfaction in the vital's own undivine way. But the vital does at least care for light, whereas the gross physical does not want light at all. It is ready to remain imperfect and incomplete for millennia.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we discover that there are two significant roads that can lead us toward our destined Goal. One road is the mental road, the road of the mind; the other is the psychic road, the road of the heart. Now both of these roads will take us to our destined Goal. But one road is shorter and safer, and that is the road of the heart. When we follow the road of the mind, at any moment doubt can snatch us away. The world's information can pull down human aspiration. But the road of the heart is sunlit. When he follows this road, a seeker always feels deep within himself a deer running towards the destined Goal. Each individual has to know whether he listens more to his mind or more to his heart. The message of the heart is altogether different from the message of the mind. Since we want to reach our Goal as soon as possible, we feel the supreme necessity of the heart.
There are two ways of approaching the ultimate Reality: one is the way of knowledge and the other is the way of love. Those who follow the path of the heart become convinced, on their way to self discovery, that love itself is the supreme Knowledge. Right now, knowledge and love seem like two different things. The mind supplies us with knowledge and the heart supplies us with love. But the deeper we go, the clearer it becomes to us that love and knowledge are one and the same. God is omniscient, God is omnipotent, is omnipresent. He is everything. He embodies Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But when we go deep within, we find that these qualities do not satisfy us. There is only one aspect of God that satisfies us totally and most convincingly, and that aspect is God's Love. When on the strength of our own love we approach God's infinite Love, we are totally satisfied. We will not be satisfied when we see or feel God the all awesome. Only the Love aspect of God quenches our eternal thirst.
In the spiritual life we see that two hearts can and often do become inseparably one with each other. One is the heart of the seeker or disciple, and the other is the heart of the teacher, spiritual Master. These two hearts are constantly singing one song, the song of self giving. When a true disciple meets his Master for the first time, his inner and outer promise to the Master is this: "I want nothing from you Although I have come to you so that you can help me in my God realisation, even if you never grant me God-realisation, my love for you, my devotion to you and my oneness with you will always remain total and unconditional." So a real seeker uses his heart of oneness, his heart of self giving, when he accepts his Master. And he will grow into spiritual perfection through his love and devotion for the Highest in his Master, the Inner Pilot, God the Supreme. The spiritual Master also uses his heart when he accepts a disciple who comes to him for inner guidance. On the strength of his own self giving heart, the Master tells his disciple, "I have already accepted you, no matter what you do for God. Even if you do not do anything for God, for God's manifestation, still I shall go on loving you."
So the disciple's heart becomes one with the Master's heart and makes the solemn promise: "Whether or not you help me in my God realisation is up to you, but I shall go on loving the Supreme in you forever." And the Master also makes a solemn, soulful promise to the disciple: "Whether you care for God manifestation or not is up to you, but my love for you and my self-offering to you shall remain unconditional forever."
It is said that a pure heart is everything. Now what does it mean to have a pure heart? First of all, there must be sanctity and serenity in the heart. But I wish to say that that is not actually enough. A pure heart means a heart that embodies the constantly climbing flame of aspiration. If within the heart there is an ever mounting flame that wants to reach the Highest, then that is the heart of purity. All of us here have a pure heart to some degree. Since we are all seekers here, we are bound to have the inner flame of aspiration in our heart. Let us try to feed this inner flame through our constant spiritual practise, through our daily prayer, meditation and contemplation. The highest transcendental Goal resides deep within each of us. Our Goal can never be a far cry; it is within our reach, provided we constantly look ahead, look deep within and look upward to the highest Height.
We leave the starting point the moment we feel in the inmost recesses of our heart the flame of aspiration. Once we have left the starting point, it is only a matter of time before we reach the Goal. Those who are awakened can run the fastest toward the destined Goad. Those who are in the process of awakening may rest assured that the Goal is awaiting them. And those who still cannot get up will not be belittled by those who are in the process of awakening or by those who are a ready awakened. The spiritual life is not a life of competition. If competition is at all necessary, then each should compete with his own weaknesses, imperfections and limitations, with his own bondage and death.
If we practise meditation regularly, faithfully and devotedly, not only do we come closer to our Goal, but the Goal itself comes running toward us. Halfway along the path, the Goal and the runner meet to fulfil each other's needs. By reaching the Goal, the runner fulfil his task, the task of realising the highest possible Truth. And by reaching the runner, the Goal makes the manifestation of the highest Truth not only possible and practicable but also inevitable. The Goal and the runner fulfil themselves as they fulfil their respective roles in the life of aspiration and in the life of manifestation.
January 22nd, 1974
David Rittenhouse Auditorium
University of Pennsylvania