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Let Us Be Gods-Part X
Courtesy: The Vedanta Kesary, English monthly from R K Math, Chennai
Continued From The Nine Part
Reading the books about Sri Ramakrishna, would say that he didn't want householders to say, 'I am God.' Well, you know, psychologically there is a difference between saying 'I am God' and saying that 'I am the pure spirit. I am the infinite one. I am the eternal being, ever pure, ever free.' I mean you can describe yourself in the same terms as you describe God, and you can affirm all these things of yourself. That is one way of saying it. Another way is to say: 'I am God.' Although the meaning would be the same in the last analysis, yet the forms of affirmation, the sentences, make a difference
If I want to say: 'No, I am not mortal, I am immortal; I am not finite, I am infinite; I am not perishable being, I am imperishable; I am ever pure, ever free,' that's a legitimate statement or affirmation to make of myself. I create a conflict, it is true, between my present ignorant way of thinking about myself and this affirmation; I admit that, but that's a desirable thing. Without conflict you cannot rise up. It is always through conflict that we make progress. Isn't it so? It is easy to slide down. Something is pulling our legs. But when we climb steep hills, we have to force ourselves. We could easily let go and slide down. Sliding down is easier in life, too. But we have to pull ourselves away from that tendency, and resist it. So there are accustomed thoughts about our self, but we have to learn to resist these thoughts and put new thoughts in our mind, new ideas about ourselves in our mind.
The more I think I am not this body and mind, the more I feel myself as the spirit, and the more I perceive you as the spirit .
My friends, we have to do the same thing about others, too. If I am true to my philosophy I may not look at a person and say: 'Oh, here is a bad man. Here is a good man. Here is an intelligent man. Here is a fool.' I couldn't say that. And I couldn't merely say, 'Here is a man and here is a woman, an old man, or a young man.' I couldn't say that without being false to my philosophy. I should be able to go beyond this body and this mind which present themselves to me and see beyond to the unalterable, imperishable divine spirit. I should be able to say that, and to perceive it—not only in regard to myself but in regard to others. For everyone I have to learn to do this.
Then I have to take the next step. I have to see even in dead matter the presence of the divine reality. And all this becomes possible, if I learn to ignore the form that presents itself to my senses. If I say, 'I am not this body, I am not the senses, I am not this mind,' it becomes very easy for me to ignore your physical presence and your mental state; just as it becomes easy to feel myself as the spirit.
The more I think I am not this body and mind, the more I feel myself as the spirit, and the more I perceive you as the spirit and not as a physical and mental being. You see, it is the same process. What I do unto myself, I also do unto others. Therefore, if I can say: 'No, I am not this body, I am not the senses,' then I can also look upon another as something beyond his body and beyond his mind. Everywhere you will see this wonderful divine presence. It is most excellent because it is perfect and we can see this perfect being everywhere.
And so, when a little effort is made, I can see these things. I must not contradict myself. I cannot say, 'I am not the body. I am not the mind. I am the spirit,' and then look at the mirror
and see how magnetic I look. If I say: 'Do I look spirited or not?' I contradict myself. That won't do. That just won't do. You may not contradict yourself. This is a path in which contradiction is not permitted. Well, where is the path where contradiction is permitted anyhow? Contradiction will not take us anywhere. We shall just push ourselves back. So in this way we realise the truth.
Continued from above:
Now, if you say: 'Is it not very difficult? And although it might be very desirable, how few people would be able to live up to it. How much easier it is to follow the ways of devotion,' as if the ways of devotion are the stupid ways most people think devotion is. Most people think devotion is to cry unto God: 'Lord, give me a little wealth. Give me health. Cure my disease. Do this. I am a miserable sinner. Give me salvation.' And they think that is devotion. Well, don't fool yourself. Don't ever fool yourself. That's not devotion at all. That's just one of those tricks that have been taught to you by the priests. That's not devotion.
Real devotion will come in your heart when you seek God for his own sake and you have forgotten yourself. That's devotion. In human love, if you rush to your mother, just out of sheer affection and love, you say it is love. But you show affection to your mother because you hope to get a big check out of her, would you call that real love for her? No. Whenever there is any motive to gain from someone, there is no pure love, no pure devotion. So, although that is true, they will tell you to cultivate God anyhow, think of God anyhow. Even if it is because you want to get something out of him, still it is thinking of God, and they say it has some benefit, even if it is not the real thing, not real love or devotion. Real devotion comes when you seek God for his own sake, not because you want to get something out of him.
To be continued