Here we are all seekers. Some of us may not be as sincere as others. Some of us may be curiosity seekers. Some of us, at times, may be doubters. Some, at times, may be atheists. Yet we are all seekers. Just because we are seekers, one day-at God's Choice Hour-we shall realise God.
The motto of the state of Idaho is "Let It Live Forever." We know that the human body does not live forever. It exists only for sixty, seventy, or eighty years, and then its role is over. But there is something within us that does exist forever, and that is the soul. Just because we are seekers, we do believe in the soul.
How is it that the soul exists forever and not the body? The soul exists forever precisely because the soul is the direct representative of God on earth. The soul, from its very beginning, has embodied the message of Divinity, Eternity, Infinity and Immortality, whereas the body has not. The soul exists forever because the soul is an immortal part of its ultimate Source: God, the Eternal Pilot. Our next question is: does God exist? The atheist in us says, "No, God does not exist. God does not and cannot exist; therefore, I don't need Him." The agnostic in us says, "I doubt it, I doubt it. And since I am not even sure of God's existence, why should I pay attention to God?" The desiring man in us immediately says, "Yes, God exists. I can see Him; I can feel Him. When? When my desires are fulfilled! At that time, I imagine God according to my sweet fancy. But when my desires are not fulfilled, then God does not exist for me. And if I see that others' desires are being fulfilled and not mine, then I may say that God exists for them but not for me."
Now, the aspiring man in us also has something to say with regard to God's existence. The aspiring man in us says, "God exists even though I cannot prove it to the world at large. I see and feel His Presence, and I know a day will come when I will be able to bring Him to the fore and show Him to the world at large." When we become one with the aspiring man, something within us tells us that God exists, and this something is our inner urge, our inner cry.
As a human being, one moment I can be an atheist, the next moment an agnostic, the next a desiring man or an aspiring man. I can also be a dreamer and can dream all the time. Now, when I dream of God, I feel that although God exists, He is far away-very, very far. I see a yawning gulf between my dream boat and my reality shore. I can also be a lover. When I become a lover of God, I see God as nearer than my eyes and dearer than my heart. Or I can become a server. When I serve God, it is because I get the utmost joy in serving God. There are many things I have done, many things I have said, many things I have offered in my life, but nothing has given me real and lasting joy. Only my service to God has given me everlasting joy; therefore, the server in me feels that God's existence is for my own happiness.
As a seeker, I have three friends: concentration, meditation and contemplation. I ask them, "Friends, have you seen God?" They immediately say, "Yes, we have seen God. Not only have we seen God, but also we can make you see God." When I ask them how, my friends tell me that they work together, one after the other, in a successive manner. They say that they are like three rungs of a ladder. My concentration friend tells me, "Just take any object and concentrate on it. Don't allow any wave of thought to enter into your mind, whether good or bad, divine or undivine. Make your mind absolutely thoughtless." I listen to my concentration friend and abide by his dictates. Then my meditation friend offers me his advice. He says, "Your heart is full of fear, impurity, insecurity and ignorance. Just empty it, empty it." I empty my heart, and immediately I feel tremendous joy, for then the Eternal Guest, God, comes in and sits on His Throne inside the inmost recesses of my heart. Finally, my contemplation friend tells me, "When you contemplate, try to feel in the beginning that you are playing a game of hide and seek with an intimate friend. This moment you hide and he seeks; the next moment he hides and you seek. Now, how long can you play hide and seek? For fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour. Then it is all over and you come together as real friends, intimate friends, freely and totally revealed to each other. This is what happens between you and God when you contemplate."
I ask my three friends who has taught them all about God. They tell me that it was their parents who showed them the Face of God and taught them all about God. I ask them who their parents are. They say that their parents are aspiration and will power. Aspiration is their mother; will power is their father. When we become one with our aspiration, with our aspiring heart, we acquire knowledge from our conscious identification and oneness with the ultimate Reality. And just as our heart's identification with the supreme Reality can show us God's existence in Heaven, so, too, can our soul's light show us God's existence on earth. And what is our soul's light? It is our will power. In the spiritual life, aspiration and will power go together. We need both mother and father.
What is aspiration? Aspiration is our inner cry for the Highest. And what does aspiration do? Aspiration helps us to minimise our desires. Once our desires are diminished, we feel peace within and joy without.
Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
Anandam prayantyabhisam visanti
Thousands of years ago the Vedic seers of ancient India sang this message. "From Delight we came into existence. In Delight we grow. At the end of our journey's close, into Delight we retire."
What is will power? Will power is something that expedites our journey. We know that we have a starting point and a destination. If we take the help of an Indian bullock cart to reach our destination, it will take us years and years. But if we make use of a modern jet plane, it will be only a matter of a few hours. Similarly, with our adamantine will power we accelerate our progress. While we are proceeding along the path, concentration enters into us like a divine bullet, energises us and makes us feel that we can run the fastest to our goal. Meditation tells us that we have to dive the deepest to find our goal. Finally, contemplation tells us that we do not have to go anywhere. We do not have to run; we do not have to go deep within. We can stay where we are. Only we must give to God what we have. What we have is soulful gratitude to the Inner Pilot. We have gratitude because we feel that our aspiration and our power of receptivity have come directly from God.
Receptivity grows only when gratitude flows. God's existence can be proved only when our receptivity is complete, for if we cannot receive Him, no matter how many times He appears before us we will not be able to claim Him as our very own. And unless and until we can claim God as our very own, we will not be able to prove His existence.
Right now we are in the finite and we are for the finite. We find it very difficult to imagine the Infinite as our very own. But this is the limitation of the physical mind. There is also an intuitive mind, an illumined mind, but right now we do not have this mind. The physical mind always wants to experience the truth by cutting it into little pieces. For the mind to accept God or any reality as a whole is impossible. The mind limits; the mind binds. But the heart does not do that. The heart expands; the heart liberates. The heart wants to see the truth in its entirety; it wants to feel, possess and claim the truth as its very own. How does the heart do this? The heart is very wise. It secretly enters into the room of its elder brother, its most illumined brother, the soul, and brings back to its own abode boundless light. When the aspiring heart is inundated with light, whatever it sees it accepts in its entirety. Eventually there comes a time when the physical mind enters into the heart, which takes it into the soul. At that time the mind becomes liberated, just as the heart has been liberated by the light of the soul, and the soul has been liberated by the Consciousness light of the Supreme.
We are all seekers. For us God does exist. It is only a matter of time before we become consciously one with Him. He who has already left the starting point will naturally reach the goal sooner than those who are still lingering behind. But spirituality is not a matter of competition. If we have to compete at all, then let us compete with the fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy and other negative forces within ourselves. Let us defeat them, which means transform them. If we can transform our fear into courage, our doubt into faith, our insecurity into security, our impurity into purity and our imperfection into perfection, that is a worthwhile success and a significant progress. In the spiritual life we give all importance to progress, because progress is our soul's constant necessity. We are part of an eternal progress. From the unmanifest we entered into the mineral kingdom, then into the plant kingdom, then from the plant to the animal and from the animal to the human. Now we are trying to enter into the divine kingdom. When we think of ourselves as a song of progress and not as a song of success, then God realisation is within our sure reach.
April 22nd, 1974
North Idaho Junior College
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho