OBSTACLES ON THE PATH
People misunderstand Nirvana or Enlightenment. When you pass through a garden, you will see beautiful flowers, but you have not yet reached the end; you still got to reach the end of the path to be enlightened. All these various visions, sounds and things you hear, the tinkling of bells, the roaring of the ocean, music of the veena, you see wonderful visions and things, but that is not enlightenment. It is a psychic phenomenon. I have gone through all this, I know. When you go far deeper than the conscious level of the mind, you would find the sights and scenes.
Wherever I travel around, amongst thousands and thousands of people in the world, people have these experiences, and then they develop spiritual pride, the greatest obstacle to enlightenment. That in itself proves that you are far from enlightenment because when you are enlightened, there is no such thing as pride. Pride goes away; you become humble.
There will be obstacles on the spiritual path. To quote Vivekananda, he said that “The spiritual path is a path for heroes,” for people with determination that will persevere.
The obstacles and the barriers that come on the path are very necessary. Spiritual practices are scrubbers, where you clean yourself of the impressions you have in your subconscious mind. That is a cleansing process. All those samskaras embedded there must be cleared away until you reach a stage of total mental clarity and unification with the Spirit. Then you are enlightened; otherwise not.
Some of the characteristics of enlightenment are that you feel entirely joyful, blissful all the time, and whatever obstacles appear in your path, you feel so still within yourself. Say someone says some nasty word to you or any angry word to you, you would typically get upset. Still, when a person is enlightened, the whole mountains could topple down, and it will not affect him at all because he is so still and at peace, within himself, because he has become that peace. He has uncovered the veils and found the peace that is already there.
Everybody here is an enlightened person. Spirituality is not something you would gain from outside or buy at Woolworth’s Bazaar. It is there already. What is required is the unfoldment, taking away the veils one by one, until you feel and experience and live that peace, and when you live that peace, then you are living God. You are not believing in God anymore because to believe in God is just a mental conception, and you find the concepts vary.
EVEN IN YOUR SLEEP, YOU CAN LIVE GOD
Some Hindus would believe in a God with six arms, and some believe in God as a man sitting on a throne, somewhere up there with a long beard, and someone else might have other conceptions of God. That goes to show that they are nothing but conceptions. When you experience that Divine Force, you live it twenty-four hours a day. Even in your sleep, you can live God.
I will tell you about my experience. We had some tests done at St Thomas’ Hospital here and then in South Africa at the Groote Schuur Hospital, which is very famous for heart transplants. For the sake of experimentation, we had sleep laboratories where they wired me up and connected me to various electrical machines. They found me fast asleep, in a very deep state of sleep, and yet I was aware of everything around me, which I described to them; what one Doctor said to another, who came in, what they were doing, and everything. So even in sleep, you could be aware, and that awareness of Divinity is a twenty-four-hour business. You are just aware. Sometimes, it seems you have got eyes behind your head and see what is happening behind you. You are aware. There are no eyes behind, but the inner eye you have, which they call the Ajna Chakra, picks up like a radio would pick up the broadcasts of stations worldwide, be they from the east or the west, so you become aware. By developing that awareness, you also develop the awareness of the Universe and everything that constitutes the Universe. For example, I can pick up a stone and feel the pulsation in the stone. It has life. Even a rock has life, and you are made of the same molecular structure as a stone is made of, perhaps a bit more evolved, but yet there is life.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ENLIGHTENED MAN
The entire Universe is teeming with life all the time. There is no death; there is only life. When you truly become aware of life, of the entire Universal life, then you can say, “I am enlightened.” An enlightened man does not act any differently; a truly enlightened man, not these sham gurus that would want to sit up on pedestals and be far away from people. Jesus was an enlightened man, and he used to mix with everyone. Wine and dine with the Pharisees and moneylenders, and all these things he used to do. That is a sign of humility because an enlightened man does not find any difference between himself and you because he sees that Divine Spirit in you. That is where his entire focus is.
He will see the exterior as well. When you are driving a car, your entire focus is on the road, or it should be, but you are aware of your passing scenes. That is how an enlightened man behaves.
I am sure you know that old Zen story, where the disciple asks the Master, “Before you became enlightened, what did you do?” He said, “I used to draw water from the well. I used to cook, and I used to eat, I used to sleep, I used to chop wood.” “And after you became enlightened, what do you do?” He says, “I make fire, I draw water, I eat, I chop wood, I sleep.”
Ah, but what a significant difference in that sameness. To you, that plant is a plant; to me, it is part of me. I am the plant, and the plant is me; that is the difference. There was a significant difference when the Zen Master replied that he does the same things he did before. Now he could feel the pulsation of the water that he is drawing from the well – he feels it alive. He feels the aliveness of the fire he makes and the food he cooks; he feels its aliveness. Before, the food he ate used to be food, but now it is not food anymore. A person eats food for its physical sustenance, but you identify with food, that the food is God, that I am taking God and putting it into God. Then a lot of his tastes disappear. People would hanker, and say “Oh, I would like to have a nice barbecued steak or something.” An enlightened man does not. He can be given a dry piece of bread, and he can be given a banquet, a King’s feast; to him, it would be the same. He would not feel disappointed if there was only a dry piece of bread. But if he chooses between the banquet and the dry piece of bread, he will naturally choose the banquet, which is his right to do, but there is no hankering, there is no craving, and all the problems in life stem from craving. We are always craving for one thing or the other, which is why the mind remains dissatisfied all the time. And the dissatisfaction is the opposite of contentment.
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN TEACHES IN MANY, MANY WAYS
The enlightened man is very contented, come what may, but he feels that deep contentment within himself. Even when he gets angry, he gets angry for a purpose, but that anger does not go down deep; it is only surface level; it is to teach. That is his main job. He teaches in many, many different ways.
With my guru in the Himalayas, I woke up fifteen minutes late; I was supposed to be up at four. He came round with a cane and slapped my backside with the cane and woke me up, and told me, “You are fifteen minutes late. Where is the discipline?” There was no anger in his heart, but he showed anger, and he was an enlightened man. The enlightened man is something like the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling – the whole world can turn topsy-turvy and go mad, and yet you can stand still. To the enlightened man, there is nothing ugly nor beautiful. Because he does not look at the surface value of things, everything is the same. He looks deep inside, automatically; that is his nature; he looks deep inside the person. For show me any person on this earth that has not a bit of good in him, everyone has, and that is what he looks at, to see that good.
Generally, people always look at the bad things. An enlightened person always looks at the good things. Like Shakespeare’s said in one of his plays, “Man’s good deeds we write on water, and his bad deeds we write on brass.”
Yet, on the other hand, we call ourselves Christians or Buddhists or Hindus or whatever, and all of these religions say, “Judge ye not that ye be judged.” Yet here, we form judgements, all the time, all the time. All the time, judgements are formed, which is wrong. What qualification have we got to judge another human being or his Spirit?
I have told you this before: this little two-and-a-half-pound brain contains twelve billion cells, and we are using only one-millionth part of twelve billion cells. If all the other cells, millions and millions and millions, are dormant, how much of the Universal Mind, which is one, can come through? Very little. A fraction of the Universal Mind comes through, and with that fraction of a little brain, you try to make judgements upon others? Do you see how stupid it is?
If we use only one-millionth part of the brain and the whole rest lies dormant, then are we not asleep? We are sleeping; we are sleeping; we are dreaming. That is why great Sages say that “This life is nothing but a dream.” You dream that you are placed in circumstances, and when you wake up, the circumstances are not there. It was a dream, but you regard it as real while you are in the dream. Those dreams are so necessary; they are a great gift from God. It is a release valve because all the things that you experience in a dream, you would not be able to live if you had to experience it in a waking state. Life would become miserable. It is a release valve.
Sometimes people come to me and say, “Look, Guruji, I have nightmares.” I say, “Good, have more, get rid of the dirt, throw it off.” You cannot eradicate the impressions in your mind or karma in your mind, or your karma really; you cannot annihilate them, and neither can you sublimate them. That is another fallacy perpetrated upon people by various Eastern teachers. You cannot sublimate your thoughts, but you can discard them. Thoughts are indestructible, but you can discard them, and they will reach where they will have to go. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” If you have a negative thought and you discard it, then it will go to a person who has a similar type of negative thought, and if you have a joyous thought and you discard that, it will go to a person who has a joyous thought.
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN IS FREE
Whatever we think gets strengthened negatively or positively, but this does not apply to the enlightened man. He will think, but he is not reliant on his mind at all. He uses the mind as an instrument; he uses the brain as an instrument. He flows from inside here all the time. He needs the mind; he needs the vocal cords to express himself, which is natural. I mean, anything requires a machine, so the brain and the vocal cords are machinery, instruments through which the enlightened man pours himself forth.
Any thought that the enlightened man would think will not become karma, or it will not lead him into any bondage because it is just there on the surface and chucked out. He remains free. In other words, it means that an enlightened man is a liberated man. In Sanskrit, the term is Moksha. You reach that state of Moksha while you are still living in this body.
An enlightened man is a fearless man. He fears nothing because the greatest fear everyone has, consciously or subconsciously, is the one of death. All the other fears stem from it.
YOU ARE IMMORTAL
Why the fear of death? Because it is the fear of the unknown, and once you lose the fear of the unknown and realise within yourself that I am immortal, there is no death, none whatsoever, you lose the fear of death. Even when you shed this body, you think the body is dying, or the body is dead. No, it is not. You bury the body, and it will do so many things. The water in your system will mix with the moisture in the earth, and it’s alive. Your flesh will go into the stomachs of termites or insects and keep them alive. Every part of you remains active because there is nothing that could ever, ever be destroyed. Everything is indestructible, including your very thoughts.
Thought is substance, and thought is matter. The old saying goes, “Mind over matter.” There is no such thing. Mind is matter, and matter is mind. Sometimes the mind does not matter. These are the characteristics of an enlightened man.
If Christ passes down the road, you will not recognise him, and most probably, he will most likely get arrested for vagrancy in his tattered clothes. Why would you not recognise a Buddha or a Christ or a Krishna walking down the road? Because you have to reach that stage before you can recognise. If you have not reached that stage, you cannot recognise. The usual analogy I use is that if you want to look at the roof of a ten-storey building, you will not see it if you stand down here. You have got to climb up another ten-storey tower to be able to see the roof of the other ten-storey building. Only when we reach a certain state of evolution can we recognise an enlightened man, and when that recognition comes, you are enlightened too.
YOU CAN DRAW ALL THE GURUSHAKTI OF THE UNIVERSE THROUGH YOUR GURU
My job is to awaken the inner guru in you, and when that inner guru in you is awakened, you will find your inner guru and this guru to be the same, one Spirit, no differentiation. You form this beautiful oneness, that is a bond a spiritual bond. It does not need to be a physical bond because the body is here today and gone tomorrow, as we would say. That is the mark of the enlightened man. He does not only have sight, but he also has hind-sight and in-sight.
You started with your guru by understanding what he was trying to say. Then the second stage is, you develop a love, not a physical love. You can love him physically too, why not? But it could be very, very pure, brotherly- or sisterly love, whatever. Then you develop the love. With love, some devotion comes about, not worship no, no, devotion is something else. You can be very devoted to a friend; you do not need to worship the friend, you can become very devoted, and that is how understanding, love and devotion helps to strengthen you.
The most crucial part is that when you form this spiritual bond, when you form this connection; you can draw all the Gurushakti of the Universe through your guru to you. You see how systematically it works and how simply it works? And I have said this before, that no man has the right to talk about God if he has not become one with God, has not known God. Think about him okay, but do not talk about him or preach about him like most of our pastors and ministers and Imams, and priests and all of them. They talk, talk, talk, book knowledge, not personal experience. And that is why our Churches are getting emptier and emptier, and the Disco Clubs are getting fuller and fuller because they can relate to the Disco.
On the spiritual path, to repeat again, there will be obstacles. It is like looking into a mirror and facing yourself because without you truly facing yourself, you will not be able to get rid of Samskaras. Everything you have to do by yourself and for yourself. The guru helps with the Shakti that he imparts to you. He gives you the tools, he will give you legs to walk on, but you still have got to walk. He cannot walk for you. He will provide you with the tools, give you the legs to walk.
REGULARITY IN PRACTICE IS VERY IMPORTANT
That is how even the presence of a true Master is beneficial. Everyone is emanating energy, and you can bathe in that energy, spiritual energy. It uplifts one. You know I have done over three thousand Satsangs up to now, I am even losing count, and there has never been a Course anywhere in the world where people have not left uplifted. But the trouble is, that it does not last. After a few weeks, they are back in the rut again because they do not do their practices regularly, that is why. Regularity in practice is very important. It is imperative. It is for yourself.
Half an hour in the morning, half an hour in the evening is all you need, and it is not that one hour that you spend in meditation that is so important, but the other twenty-three hours, how the quality of one’s life improves. That is important.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1984 – 02