Most people have good intentions, but the question is, what is behind the good intentions? What is the motivation for the work that one wants to do? I have encountered people who would join various organisations and societies and do excellent work. Yet, that fantastic work brings no spiritual gain because the intention, the motivation, is for self-aggrandisement. It is for ego fulfilment, saying, “I did this, and I did that.”

The very moment you think that you have done a good deed, then that deed is valueless as far as your Spiritual Self is concerned. As far as spiritual unfoldment is concerned, it holds no value whatsoever because one works or does things for the sake of the work or the sake of doing it and not for the reward. Many people with good intentions and doing good work want a reward to have the recognition that they did so and so. It has some limited value but does not have the spiritual value we are after.

I remember an instance where I was involved in building a community centre which comprised a temple, a school and a hall. So, this person approached me and said, “I would like to give fifty thousand pounds to the organisation.” I said, “Very good. That is very generous and kind of you.” But then he said, “There is one condition. I want a plaque put up, saying that so much was donated by so and so in memory of his mother and father.” So, I said, “No, I am very sorry. We do not need your fifty thousand pounds. We are not here to boost your ego.” He is a multi-millionaire, so fifty thousand pounds means nothing to him. “The very deed you are doing, you want to perpetuate the memory of your deed. You are not being charitable; you are trying to buy a memory so that after you pass away, the memory will still linger when people say, Ah, Mr So and So donated this and that.”


It’s the same thing with everything else regarding good works. It has to be done for the sake of doing it and not necessarily as a duty, because duty too has strings attached, that I have to do this duty and you force yourself to do that duty. There should be no force and neither any compulsion in the act. It has to be a spontaneous giving where you just do. The Bhagavad Gita tells you that your job is to do the work; you are not entitled to the results thereof. So, when we do any kind of work without any idea of any return, that is when the entire return is given to you. It gives you a far greater awareness and a deeper insight into life. It gives you an insight into yourself because that is an unfoldment.

It is straightforward to say, “work for the sake of work,” but the person who can work is necessarily highly integrated. For example, I always tell teachers in our organisation that when you teach, remember you benefit more. The analogy I love to use is this: when you water the garden, even before the water reaches the flowers, the water cleans the hose first. You see the great benefits of this total dedication and unselfishness.

What do we mean by dedication? Dedication, in essence, contains a devotion, for if there is no devotion, there can be no dedication, and if there is no dedication, there is no commitment. What are you committed to? You are committed to yourself. And when you feel that you are committed to yourself, that you are responsible for yourself, that you are responsible for your evolution, then all your actions would be spontaneous.

So have the motivation because no one in this mundane world could be entirely desireless. So, have desire, but that desire should be towards self-unfoldment, which means becoming closer to God or Divinity. That is a divine desire, and as one progresses on the spiritual path, even that desire disappears. Because when you become one with Divinity, there is no question of desire anymore, for Divinity is desireless.


Divine Will is a phrase so misunderstood. Divinity does not will anything. “Let Thy will be done” is a common saying. Will in itself implies a thought process. Without thought, you cannot will, which is more for the human mind than the Divine mind. So, what do we mean by Divine Will? It means that within the laws of nature, things have to function in a certain way. It is the law of nature that water will run down the hill and not up the mountain. The law of nature states that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It is the mechanism of the world’s functioning. It is the mechanism of the laws of nature, which is will, which is Divine Will that was not created or pre-meditated but came about as a manifestation. If you plant onions, you will not expect potatoes to grow, yet if you think Divine Will is so powerful, that can be changed. You can plant potato seeds, and onions will grow because we have given so much emphasis and power to the Divine Will, a miraculous power that does not operate miraculously. That, too, is bound within the laws of nature, for that which we understand as that Supreme Will is only nature’s will and not God’s. For that Divine essence is beyond all thought. It does not think. It is a neutral energy; as I would always say, it is like electricity that could be used in a stove to produce heat or in a refrigerator to produce coldness.

So, man with good intentions would say, “I am acting within Supreme Will, Divine Will”. What he means is that I am acting according to the laws of nature, by the laws of nature and not against the laws of nature. That is Divine Will. The individual will come in when man starts analysing and weighing the pros and cons of the situation for the fulfilment and expansion of his ego; that is individual will. When we say, “Thy Will be done”, we surrender the “I-ness” within us. The “me” and the “my-ness” that we have are obliterated and forgotten. We become oblivious to it and just flow with the laws of nature, the Supreme Will. Good intentions can have no power whatsoever as long as they are based on the ego’s needs. Once the ego’s needs can be eradicated through spiritual practices, those intentions that started in our little minds merge or manifest as the intentions of the Supreme Mind. Then, only all our work bears fruit, beneficial fruit and sweet fruit to benefit others.


An older man was planting mango trees that take about six or seven years at least to grow and bear fruit. Some youngsters were passing by and told this old man, “You are so old; you have one foot in the grave, and you are going to pass away. Why do you plant these trees, because by the time the trees grow and bear fruit, you will be dead?” So, he says, “I am not planting for myself. I am planting for others to enjoy it. I am just doing my work. I still have some strength in my body, and let me use it for the benefit of others.” That is a good intention because it is not for his little self; it is not for himself. It is selfless for the self of others. That is a good intention.

You are going to do something for Auntie Matilda. She is not well, she is ill, so you go down and do the dishes and wash the clothes and this and that. There are two reasons why you do that. The one reason is that it is your aunt, and she is not well, and as a niece, you have to do that duty. You do not feel like doing it. You say, “Oh, what a chore.” You are doing it for the duty, but the observers from outside would say, “Oh, how wonderful little Mary is; she helps her Auntie so much.” Yet she hates every moment, so that does not bear any fruit. It is a total disgust; it becomes a chore, it becomes a burden to do it. Another reason could be: “Ah, let me look after Auntie Matilda, and I know that she has got some … and I am sure that if I look after her well, I know she will look after me”. There, it is selfishness, and that could bear no fruit. Outwardly, it might seem to be good intentions. To the observer, “Ah, little Mary is so nice” might look excellent and good, yet it is fruitless.

For that, you have certain old ladies who are bored and sick at home, so they would help the church stand on the corners with collection boxes or do other little things. Something good is done. Look, everything has some value, but we are coming down to the basics of it. So, why does she do that work? To relieve her boredom? That is selfish. But if she did it with love, she would be so occupied and yet she says to herself that this is my love that I am doing it for. Then, it is of some value.

So, when we have good intentions within ourselves, we must analyse ourselves; we must use the power of discrimination against the so-called good intentions. Are they excellent? How much personal interest do I have in it? It is good if I do not have any personal or selfish interest. Do you see how good intentions work? And then again, a person does something with good intentions, and it backfires. It backfires because however good the intentions were, it has not been adequately thought out. The consequences of the action have not been considered, or perhaps the person is incapable of thinking what would happen if such and such an act was carried out.


Life itself is an adventure, and on the path of the Divine, it is still an adventure. The person who succeeds in reaching Divinity must be brave enough to leap into the unknown. For who knows? Only the self-realised man knows God, yet he cannot talk about Him after knowing Him. He cannot tell you what it is; he can only infer what it could be to you because the finite mind cannot describe in intellectual, logical terms what the Infinite is all about. And we find this in daily life. Suppose we eat sugar; who can define sweetness until you taste sugar yourself? You can talk about the chemical components in sugar; you can talk about how sugar is refined, but nobody could ever describe the sweetness of sugar. Likewise, as our awareness increases, we will know more and more about what Divinity is and what it is all about.

So, let us not think of the goal in the mind’s background because it has to be in the mind’s background. The very laws of nature are pushing us to that goal. Let us think of our present awareness: How aware am I? As we do spiritual practices and our perspectives and attitudes change, we view things from a much wider angle, and we can see these things as we climb up the hill. At the bottom, we see a small section of what is in front of us. But as we climb higher and higher, the view expands until we reach the top and view the entire city. We do not know what the whole town will look like when we reach the top of the hill, nor should we worry about it. Because if we start thinking about what is going to be the view from the top, then we are doing it with a preconceived idea, and how can one have a preconceived notion of that which is beyond conception?

So, in this adventure, we say we leap into the unknown, and as we climb higher and higher, we enjoy the vaster and vaster view in front of us. And there lies the beauty, there lies the joy, there lies the joy of self-discovery. Therefore, the path becomes joyous to the goal, which is joyousness itself, and once you reach the pinnacle, the top, you will find that the path and the goal are but one, for the route, too, is Divine.

Along the path, we feel frustrated because we have not realised that the path too is Divine, for all is Divine, the end is Divine, the beginning is Divine, and the path, from the beginning to the end, is also Divine. That is how nothing seems wrong when we look around with that integrated view; everything is correct. Everything is as it should be from the angle of Divinity.


The things we see to be wrong, we see because of preconceived ideas, things we have been taught by our parents, our educational systems, and our churches, “Thou shall do this” and “Thou shall not do this.” It has some use but a minimal use. Blessed is the man who can see no wrong in others; blessed is that man. For his view will be on the Divinity that is in man. Tat Tvam Asi. Thou art That! And when he sees this, he is not concerned about the outer actions of the person.

A man loves his wife very much. She might have so many faults, but because of his love, he does not see those faults. But if the man had no love for his wife, the slightest little thing would irritate him. He will make a molehill into a mountain. Can you see the power of perception and love, although an indefinable quality, still has to be portrayed and expressed through perception? So, the more aware a man becomes, the broader his perception, the more comprehensive his view.

One of our meditators had a vision in her meditation, and she told me, she says “Guruji, in this vision I had, you were travelling through the Alps with me in a car, and I was so frightened of all these tall mountains and how are we going to get through them all? The roads are narrow and the roads are so steep. But then the vision changed, and we were in an aeroplane, and then I asked you” (she said) “What are those down there?” I said, “Those are the very Alps you saw that you were so frightened of and here they look so small, without fear.” So, the angle of perception, from what height you are viewing a situation, depends upon you. The result from the lower angle would be fear; from the higher or integrated angle, you have fearlessness. And where there is fearlessness, there is joyousness. Life is simple. Its simplicity could astound you, but we make it complex.


With whatever tools we have, we proceed through life not thinking of the goal but just doing what we must do. If you have to walk somewhere ten miles away and you keep thinking ten miles, ten miles, ten miles, you will be tired even before you reach there. But if you only think of your steps, you will reach the ten-mile distance without feeling tired. So, everything depends on thought processes.

How can thoughts be moulded so that we do not suffer as we do? There is only one way: spiritual practices whereby, automatically, the thoughts do not bother us; we become observers. I was giving an example to a young lady with whom I had a consultation. She said, “The thoughts keep on bothering me. It whirls and whirls and whirls in my mind. What must I do?” I said, “The more you fight against them, the stronger they will become. Try to observe those thoughts. Think that you are sitting in the cinema and watching the screen. You can do nothing to alter what is happening on the screen.

In the same way, let the thoughts pass in front of your mind and watch them, and by watching them, they fade away because here you are becoming a witness to the happenings in the mind. And who is the witness to the happenings of the mind? The higher self within you. So here, very automatically and spontaneously, you are now functioning. You are aware of the Spiritual Self within you, the real doer, the real observer, the real essence. And then you regard all the movement of thought as a play.”

I had some fun with Charles at his home in Liverpool. He loves to smoke his Churchillian cigars, big things. He had a little device that you turn, which bores a hole in the cigar. I was looking at it, intrigued, and started fiddling around with this little thing. It has a drill-type effect; as you turn it, you find the spiral going up and up in a continuous spiral. Then I showed Charles; I said, “Do you see the movement of the spiral?” He says, “Yes.” “But do you notice something else, that the whole thing is standing still despite the movement you observe?” There is that stillness within all and everything. This very movement of your mind and everything else has its basis upon that stillness. So, the spiralling movement is a superimposition upon that stillness.


So, when we start observing the thought processes, we will see their movement. But yet, becoming the observer, you do not feel the power of that movement. You are unshaken; you stand still. Nothing affects you. Even in praise, you are still in tranquillity. Even in blame, you are still in tranquillity. So, the basis of good intentions, the basis of the various gradations of our awareness, wide or narrow, is all still based upon that eternal stillness. All the ocean’s turbulent waves are based upon the calm deep down into the sea. It depends on attitude and how we treat things; it depends on how we treat people, which rebounds on us. So, in our relationships, the intention should always be such that we do not hurt anyone by word or deed.

Like this young fellow saying, “O Lord, give us this day our daily bread.” So, a friend of his comes along. He says, “So much effort every day for daily bread. Why do you not pray for a week’s supply?” So, this fellow replied, “If I pray for daily bread, then I am assured that I will get it fresh.” There is motivation. Even in the prayer, there is motivation. He is not satisfied getting the bread from the Lord; he also wants it fresh. Motivation is so important, and yet so many things have happened in the name of theology in the name of religion.

… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1981 – 14