A Parody of What’s Inside

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About two weeks ago I experienced a night that was a doozey. I work in the medical IT field and, as it’s the most constantly-evolving field I’ve ever known, there are always changes that put demands on our professionals. One such demand recently placed on me was the requirement to participate in our Windows Services monthly patching. Because of things like this in my life, it’s not uncommon at all that I end up missing satsangh with local abhyasis. I really hate that. The truly fortunate thing, for me, is that Sahaj Marg is a “householder” path and since I’m a very busy grhasta type guy it suits me increasingly well.

I missed another Sunday satsangh that morning because of last night’s patching (which was really this morning’s, 00:00 – 06:00) but lucky for me one of my local prefects emailed out to all the abhyasis the text which was shared and read to everyone after the morning meditation. I found the timing impeccable and the text much needed

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The Universe is You

It is like when you run a marathon, twenty-six miles. Well, for the practised marathon runner the eighteenth mile, nineteenth mile, they are pretty easy. Then he starts to feel fatigue. At the twenty-fifth mile, he’s almost falling. Then comes the second wind. From where does it come? It is coming from within himself. He is drawing upon resources hidden in himself of which he was never aware until he exerted himself to the point of extinction.

Therefore, spirituality says, “Die before you die, and you shall see what is the glory of death itself, what it opens out beyond into: the eternal life that is promised.” It only means doing what the runner is doing, you see: that you run until you are almost collapsing, and then you find the miraculous awakening of fresh powers inside yourself, from inside yourself, of which you could never have dreamt, because you never exerted yourself to that level before. Spirituality says, “That is the outer world; here, you do it inside.” Close your eyes, meditate, and the feeling comes that I’m diving deep into some sort of a bottomless hole, very dark. And then the tendency, sometimes the need, is to open one’s eyes to reassure oneself that one is still in this world of human beings. That is the danger.

It is like the runner stopping at the fifteenth mile to see, “Oh, do I have that hidden resource that Chari was talking about?” You can’t feel it. It’s gone, you see. It’s like, you know, the petrol tank. Sometimes we used to have – I don’t know whether you still have – an emergency small tank which you opened up when the main tank went dry. Some drivers were careless; they left it open all the time. So when it stopped, it stopped finally, because the reserve petrol tank was always open. The idea of a reserve tank is the capacity should be reserved for those emergent occasions when there is no gas station nearby. Then you open it and move to the nearest place. But if you are leaving it open all the time, you have lost the capacity to have control over it, which is what we are doing with our physical energies: draining them to the last possible drop of essence and then, when the need for a reserve comes, it just isn’t there.

So the sensible human way of living is not to drain your reserve capacities unnecessarily – in any field. One of the reasons for morality, for celibacy, is that: reserve your capacity for the ultimate spurt. Don’t waste it on your routine jogging and your swimming: yesterday I did nine, today I did ten, tomorrow fourteen. Then the reserve tank becomes meaningless; it hardly exists for us.

So, you see, when we go into meditation, we learn all these things: that I have to die in my meditation to be reborn in that meditation, and to come out yet the same Paul, the same Bill, the same whatever you are, you see. But with a very, very different outlook on life; with a very, very different inside that has now been opened, changed, cleaned up, refurbished in some mysterious way. Therefore, every time we sit in meditation and we go deep into it, we come out new – renewed, you can say. That is why meditation is refreshing. That is why meditation is never exhausting, you know; however deep you go into it you come out fresh. Pains are gone, aches are gone, more of the heart – which is a very great need. There is solace derived from ourselves, from within ourselves, by ourselves. So we see that, in a very real sense, we are becoming independent of the universe. We seek no solace outside, we get it from inside. Others take renewal from outside, we get it from inside. The others take renewed strength from outside, we get it from inside. Then we find the ultimate experience: that within me is the universe. Not this which I see outside, however vast it might be – ten million, ten billion light-years big, so what? It is only a parody of what is inside. This has no limit that can be measured in terms of light-years. You cannot measure this at all. It is truly infinite.

Being truly infinite, its resources are truly infinite, its potentials are truly infinite; therefore, spiritual law says, go within and you are going towards infinity; go outwards, there is only repetition of the same experience, nauseatingly repeated again and again. But you think you are enjoying a new thing every day. So spirituality says, beware of the external life. That is only a mirror image of your self, you see, like when you stand in a hall of mirrors, and you are there alone, yet you see a hundred of you surrounding you. Here, the Atman, the soul, sees itself reflected in so many other existences. Whether they are real or not, who can say? You think I am real to you, I think you are real to me, perhaps both of us don’t exist. It is in some dreamer’s mind, cosmic dreamer’s mind, you see. It’s frightening. It’s also fascinating.

Frightening, because it is almost impossible to imagine that I don’t exist. We are always afraid of death. That’s a very natural fear. But to be told that perhaps, my dear friend, you don’t exist – even now – would be awful, wouldn’t it? But when you plunge into yourself in meditation and if, by Master’s grace, by the solemnity of your experience, you are able to experience those spiritual states where you find first nothing, then you find yourself all alone, and then you find that the universe into which you are put all alone by yourself is really you…!

The universe is you. You are there as something experiencing yourself in a cosmic form. Then comes this, you know, really brilliant, fascinating experience that “I am the Universe.” Which means you are part of me, everybody is part of me, you are me in a sense, you see. Then comes the possibility of true love, true sympathy. Not because of some charitable instinct of doing good to others, but because in you is also my existence. In keeping you alive, I keep myself alive. In feeding you, I feed myself. In looking after your welfare lies my welfare. In a very real heartfelt sense – not out of a sense of charity, not out of even a sense of brotherhood, but out of a sense of an absolute need – like a car will not run if one of its tires is punctured. We are not being altruistic when we stop and patch up that tire. It will not move if the spark plugs are gone. It will not move if its fuel pipe is cut. So the functioning of the automobile depends on the functioning of every part that is put into it. No part is more important than the others, because all need to function before the car will move.

Similarly, if God is ever to be having peace of mind and contentment and happiness, He must ensure a universe that is content and happy and peaceful. And we, at our scale of existence, have also to ensure it. That is the true need for brotherhood in yoga. Not some artificial Christian sort of brotherhood, you know, where we slap each other on the back and say, “Oh, how wonderful this is! You are here and I am here and what more do we want?” That’s too artificial, too much of an imposition on ourselves. But when I see inside myself that I am the universe and you are all of course in the universe and therefore you are part of me – not just somebody I have to look after, but somebody whom I have to look after if I have to look after myself…

Can you have a bath without wetting your feet? “No, no, I hate my feet, you know, I’ll have a bath like this.” It’s not possible. The whole has to be wet, the whole has to be soaked, the whole has to be dried. In that wholeness, in the consciousness of that wholeness now arises my awakened being, and we see this vast unlimited glory that we are all one. Not in the sense that we are all together, therefore we are one; [but] wherever you may be, wherever I may be, we are still one.

… If I am the universe, whether I feel it or not, whether I perceive it or not – because yoga, meditation, the ultimate truth only enables me to see as I am, not as I am something to be in the future, you see – then by virtue of that fact we are already one organism.

(Excerpts from Heart to Heart, Vol. 1, pp. 99-105, talks by Shri. P. Rajagopalachari)

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