You know, spiritualism and spirituality are not the same thing.
“Spiritualism” means something which concerns ghosts, and “spirituality” is something which concerns the Supreme Cognitive Principle. So there is a heaven-and-hell difference between the terms “spiritualism” and “spirituality”. We are concerned with spirituality.
Now, for all actions, be they intellectual, intuitional, or purely psychic, there must be a base, a standing point, a starting-point. And there must also be a goal – a Supreme Desideratum. For this cult of spirituality, the base is morality; without morality nothing can be done. And morality concerns two types of waves: one, psycho-physical emanations; and another, physico-psychic waves, physico-psychic movement. In the case of psycho-physical emanations, one should have proper control, proper regulation, over those emanative flows. And in the case of physico-psychic movement, one should maintain a proper adjustment between the external world and the internal world, between external physicality and the internal subjective world. The goal is the attainment of that supreme stance where there will be justice and fair play for all inanimate and animate beings.
[Just as my life is dear to me, similarly the life of another creature is dear to it. Every entity loves its own existence. In the light of this truth, evolved human beings feel mercy for each and every object of this creation.]
You should remember this. This sort of remembrance is called sádhu dharma or Bhágavata dharma, and the person who practises this cult is a true sádhu [renunciant]. So there must not be any gap between your thinking and your actions. If there is any gap, that gap should be minimized step by step, and finally thought and action should coincide. So on your plane of morality, there are two divisions: psycho-physical emanation and physico-psychic movement. In Sanskrit, this psycho-physical emanation is called Yama and physico-psychic movement is called Niyama.
Preaching disparity amongst human beings, or disparity amongst living beings – human beings, animals, birds, plants, etc. – is not morality. The supreme equality, the supreme spiritual stance, cannot be achieved where there is any thought of disparity. So at the very start one must practise these two types of morality and become one with them.
Now morality is the base and the supreme stance is the goal. Morality propels the microcosms towards Him without break or pause. Since ParamaPuruśa [Supreme Consciousness] is attracting all entities towards Himself, in Sanskrit He is called “Krśńa”. (One of the meanings of the word krśńa is “one who attracts”. Another meaning is “the entity on whom the existence of other entities depends”.
Thus, on the one hand, ParamaPuruśa is attracting the spiritual aspirants to move ahead; and on the other hand, the spiritual aspirants, by dint of their own efforts, their own moral force, are also moving towards Him. Because of these sources of impetus, human beings arrive at their destination. If some people feel that ParamaPuruśa is not sympathetic or gracious towards them, that He is not attracting them, in that case I will advise them to become more established in morality, and then they will instantly feel the grace of ParamaPuruśa, because it is through their own moral force that they will move forward. ParamaPuruśa does His duty of attracting them, and they have their own duty to move towards the goal. Let the sádhakas [spiritual aspirants] do their duty, and let ParamaPuruśa do His.
Then, the physical body should be sanctified by good thoughts, good actions and good food as well, and also by various physical practices that affect the nerve fibres of the body; because through the nerve fibres, through the afferent and efferent nerves, the first phase of realization comes. The highest realization does not depend upon the nerve cells and nerve fibres, but for this also good food and self-restraint are necessary.
It is not proper for one to eat whatever one gets. You should eat only that sort of food which will have a beneficial influence on your body, mind and spirit. It is not proper for human beings to eat simply whatever is available, nor is it proper for animals either. Animals do indeed discriminate between food items. In this regard, Lord Shiva said:
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktaḿ trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.
[There are seven requirements for success in any mission. The first is firm determination: “I must succeed.” The second is reverence. The third is guru pújá, or constant remembrance of one’s spiritual master. The fourth is equanimity of mind. The fifth is control of the senses. The sixth is a balanced diet. The seventh – There is no seventh requirement.]
This sanctification and purification of the body through proper food and proper behaviour and various practices should be complemented by certain other practices to create a perfect adjustment in the body amongst the glands, sub-glands and their hormonal secretions. The propensities of living structures are both directly and indirectly controlled by the secretions of hormones from different glands and sub-glands located near different plexi of the corporal structure.
Now everywhere, in cent per cent of the cases, there is wastage of human psychic potentiality. The psychic potentialities of human beings are immense, but people do not utilize them because most of their valuable time is wasted in undesirable thoughts, in psychic extravaganza. Suppose human life is an average of sixty years. Twenty years of that is spent in sleep, and the remaining forty years are wasted in petty or useless activities. How much time do people really get to devote to worthwhile tasks?
This psychic extravaganza should be checked either by physical approach, or psychic approach, or by spirituo-psychic approach. People should have some control over their breathing, over their respiratory system, because the waves of respiration control the waves of thinking. Whenever you are doing something crude, your respiration becomes very active; and when you are thinking of something subtle, it becomes slow, extremely slow. And finally, when this respiration coincides, or becomes one, with one’s thought-waves, that stage is known as hat́ha yoga samádhi. That is, the physical exertions, the physical emanations, become one with the psychic emanations. So some degree of control over respiration is essential.
I have already said that the scope of rationality and rationalization should be increased more and more, and for this, unnecessary waves should be removed from the plane of physicality. From the psychic sphere also, unnecessary waves are to be removed. This will remove many burdens from the mind. “I must not bother about petty things, because that will waste my time” – people should remember this. This removal or rather withdrawal of unnecessary and undesirable thoughts emanated from the mind will help you in rationalizing the major portion of your mental faculty, so this must also be practised. The cult of spirituality is a cult of pinnacled order.
Now, one’s mental flow is concerned with both ideation and meditation. So far as ideation is concerned, it is connected with the healthy condition and proper functioning of the glands and sub-glands.
And we should also remember that ideation will not have any base to stand upon without a clear-cut idea. So idea must also be there.
Kánhámánsamáilá ho rámá
Kánhá mánlapt́áil ho rámá
Saguń se haḿsá áilá
Nirguń mánsamáil ho rámá
Máyá man lapt́áil ho rámá.
[Whence did the swan (a symbol of unit consciousness) come? Where did it go? Where did it build its abode? What did it associate itself with? It came from the Qualified Supreme Entity, and then it merged in the Unqualified Supreme Entity. The swan made its own body its abode and associated itself with the Cosmic Creative Principle.]
Spiritual aspirants should always remember this idea.
What should human beings do in deep ideation? They should maintain the adjustment of their glands and sub-glands. And at the same time, they should not ask for any occult power, but they should take the ideation of the Supreme. Inspired by that ideation, they should meditate on ParamaPuruśa. I will say something more regarding ideation afterwards.
Now, there is another apexed or pinnacled order of the mind, that is, meditation. Meditation means concentrated thinking, associated with several subtler and important cells of the human brain. Each and every nerve cell has got its own controlling point, and for all nerve cells there is a supreme controlling point. This supreme controlling point is called in Sanskrit Guru cakra, the plexus of the Guru. All the glands are controlled by this supreme controlling point. So one’s meditation must be properly connected with this Guru cakra, the plexus of the Guru. Shiva also says:
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktaḿ trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.
[There are seven requirements for success in any mission. The first is firm determination: “I must succeed.” The second is reverence. The third is guru pújá, or constant remembrance of one’s spiritual master.]
In Sanskrit, gu means “darkness” and ru means “dispeller”. So guru means “one who removes the darkness from the mind”. The darkness of the mind must be dispelled. There should not be a festival of lights outside while one’s own house remains in darkness. There should also be illumination inside one’s own house, and this is the enlightenment of the mind, of the soul.
In the Vedic language the word guru is derived from the root gur plus the suffix un. The root gur means “to train others how to speak, how to behave in a dignified manner”. The guru teaches us to follow a methodical way of life. To love is not the only work of the guru. One who only loves you is your enemy, and one who only punishes you is also your enemy. But the one who both loves and punishes in a balanced way is the real guru.
Now, meditation must be done in a methodical way, and this concerns several nerve centres and also the collective centre of the nerve cells situated in the brain. This pinnacled order of spirituality, its pinnacled point, its apexed point, is the supreme stance. For this human beings have been making constant endeavours since time immemorial, and this effort has made them move ahead, bringing them to their present status.
Previously I said that ideation must be associated with bliss. And as you all know, ideas are mainly of three types: (1) intellectual-cum-intuitional; (2) actional; and (3) devotional-cum-emotional.
Regarding intellect and intuition it is said, Ekaḿ jiṋánamanantaḿ Brahma [“Brahma is infinite intellect personified”]. Therefore, spiritual aspirants have to attain Him through knowledge; this is what the adherents of the path of knowledge maintain. There is an infinite flow of knowledge and intuition, they say, and there is no second entity. Whenever duality comes, it is only due to our ignorance, to our lack of true knowledge.
But you should remember that in most cases human intellect and intuition are wasted in extravaganza, in useless pursuits; they are not at all utilized for constructive or worthwhile endeavours. And human intuitional power is also wasted in trying to exhibit occult powers. Such persons never get the opportunity to move towards ParamaPuruśa.
Regarding action it is said, Karma Brahmeti karma bahu kurviita [“Work is Brahma, therefore work more and more”].
Everything in this universe justifies its existence by this sort of relentless mobility. This world is called jagat; the word jagat is derived from the root verb gam plus the suffix kvip, and means “a mobile entity”. It is also called saḿsára, which is derived sam – sr + ghaiṋ: that is, “the entity which constantly keeps moving”. So the karma yogiis say that everything in this universe is immersed in action, in mobility. Nothing is stationary, nothing remains fixed. So move on with your actional faculty. The karma yogiis, the followers of the path of action, say that action is everything – we achieve everything through action.
Some people think, “I am hungry, I want to eat liit́i [an Indian delicacy].” But to eat liit́i we will have to make arrangements to procure gram flour, ghee, etc. All this is done only through action. And the resultant of this action is that we can finally eat liit́i. So karma is the source of everything, so say the followers of karma yoga. Therefore keep on working: Martemartekámkaro, kámkartekartemaro [“Die while working, and work even while dying”].
Now, even those who are advocates of devotional or emotional faculties say that people get propensive propulsion from devotion or emotion. When the mind moves along a particular track or follows a particular discipline in a methodical way, this is called “devotion” or bhakti; but when it does not follow a particular method, when it moves haphazardly, swept away by whim, it is called “emotion”. This is the fundamental difference between devotion and emotion. You must know this clear-cut silver line of demarcation between devotion and emotion.
Those who adhere to this cult of pinnacled order know that there must be a happy blending amongst intellectual-cum-intuitional faculty, actional faculty and devotional-cum-emotional faculty. None of these is unimportant, all are of equal importance, but the finality comes in devotion. That is, the final outcome or resultant of intellectual-cum-intuitional faculty and actional faculty is devotion, not emotion, and that is why the great sages of the past said,
Bhaktiránandarupá ca bhakti bhaktasyajiivanam.
[Bhakti (devotion) is service to God; bhakti is the form taken by divine love; bhakti is the embodiment of bliss; bhakti is the life of the devotee.]
Thus we see that ideation is association with one or the other idea – knowledge, action or devotion – just as meditation is associated with ideology. Thus in meditation and ideology, the spiritual aspirant is moving toward the singular Supreme Entity, the pinnacled goal. If the mind accepts two goals, two Lords, the mind becomes bifurcated.
The ideology which is associated with meditation is more a theory than a cult, and when ideation is associated with idea, it is more a cult than a theory. And the highest expression of devotion is Ananyamamatá Viśńormamatá premasauṋgatá [“The exclusive devotion to the Supreme Entity to the exclusion of all others is called divine love”].
Where the thought-waves or thought-movements are goaded by a single idea, and where the culminating point is also a singular entity – that is, where the attraction for other entities, for the crude world or the psychic world are all goaded unto the Supreme Self, towards Viśńu – this is the supreme status of devotion. Viśńu comes from the root-verb vish which means “to permeate”. The Entity which permeates everything, which is present in each and every expressed entity, in each and every emanation of this universe, is Viśńu.
[This manifested universe is the expression of Viśńu, the latent all-pervading entity. Therefore a wise person should look upon everything as his or her own, from an integral viewpoint.]
So on the path of spiritual progress, all three – knowledge, action and devotion – are necessary. Devotion provides the sustenance, action provides the stamina of movement, and knowledge shows why and how the spiritual aspirants should move. So all three are important. But ultimately knowledge and action are merged in devotion, and thus the devotion is not devoid of knowledge or action. Maharshi Narada was the first propounder of this sort of devotional cult, which is not blind devotion but an ideal blending of knowledge, action and devotion. This blended devotion enables spiritual aspirants to attain the pinnacled goal of their lives. It is this devotion that human beings have been seeking since time immemorial. When they finally attain the guru and get initiation, then they begin to walk on this path of devotion. And those who have started on this path realize that they are sure to reach their destination, that to reach their goal is the sole reason for their birth. You should remember why you have been born. Following the path of devotion, you will have to ultimately reach ParamaPuruśa. This is the pinnacled point, the supreme point of human glory. You should always remember this, during your lifetime and even after your death.
3 June 1990 DMC, Anandanagar