Radiant Immortal Souls! For the being who receives the ahetuki kripa—the motiveless compassionate grace of God and God-men like Gurudev, and taking it seriously puts it into earnest, diligent, daily practice in his own life, more and more is given. He who proves worthy, not by feeling or thought but by being and doing, by living and action, to that being, more and more grace is extended, more and more blessings are given. The law is such, that to those who due to their good fortune are thus recipient and responsive, grace flows perennially.
But those who receive and pay only lip-service, or even go contrary-wise in thought and action to the elevating, inspiring and liberating divine teachings of God, sent to us through His saints, prophets and spiritual masters—those individuals cut themselves off from the inflow of God’s grace. God’s grace is not withheld, God’s grace is not withdrawn. We cut ourselves off from God’s grace, and no lamentation will be of any avail except remorse, repentance, a transformation and a renewal of our life in the Spirit.
It is, therefore, entirely up to the seeker, the individual soul, whether he will work for a restoration of God’s grace or whether he will continue to be deprived of grace. More than anything else, deception, cunningness, concealed crookedness, double standards, which are all children of falsehood, asatya, completely cut off the individual soul from the influx of God’s grace. We set up a rock barrier between God’s grace and ourselves through all manners and shades of cunningness, crookedness, deception and duplicity. These are great enemies of a bhakta and sadhak. They put a great distance between oneself and the all-compassionate, all-loving, all-merciful, all-gracious Supreme Being.
All saints, sages, mystics and teachers of all religions have been at one, in total agreement, regarding this one point. The great Guru of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsadev, used to say again and again that unless you are free from deception and crookedness, you cannot draw near to God. You must be completely guileless, as guileless as a child, have a pure heart. Jesus said it nearly two thousand years ago: “Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” “Suffer little children to come unto Me for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Children have a pure heart, a nature free of deception.
And the greatest and most dangerous of all deceptions is deception of the Guru and carrying on as though not only the world does not know what we are, but that even God does not know. Such a deceiver is a true atheist, who apparently believes in God, but so far as his life and action are concerned, he lives and acts as if there is no God there to constantly witness what he is doing, no God there constantly knowing his innermost, hiddenmost thought and motivation. That means he is really a nastika (atheist).
But there is only one deception worse than the deception of the Guru and the imagined deception of God, and that, the greatest of all deceptions, is self-deception. Such a sadhak, such a seeker, thinks: “I am deceiving everyone; no one knows that I am able to hide my inner being from everyone.” He forgets that he cannot deceive the indwelling Spirit within all. He cannot deceive God. So he deceives himself into thinking that he has concealed himself from everyone, and the poor deluded soul includes in this everyone God as well. There is no greater self-deception. And one who lives in a delusion of self-deception has got to go a long way, has got to put up a great deal of sadhana and struggle.
This is important to understand, because if this is overcome, seventy-five per cent of sadhana is done. If this is overcome we are very near to God. God is very dear to us, and we are very dear to God. He cannot keep Himself away from a truly pure heart.
This is the great need of today where deception and deceit are a way of life. And they are even accepted as something that is necessary, unavoidable. “And so if we do a lot of japa or are able to deliver good lectures, then we will be compensating for it.”
Now, I do not want to say that such a deceiver will be punished by God. God never punishes. But the great tragedy is, even if He does not punish, the deceiver will deprive himself of the greatest gain, suffer the greatest loss, miss the greatest chance, lose the most golden opportunity, and make a mess of his life. What more do you want? You have wasted away your life. This prospect itself is enough. The prospect of a dunda (stick) or a punishment is not needed. It is not necessary if you are really wise, really perceptive, able to see what a terrible thing it would be to lose this opportunity, miss this chance and deprive yourself of this great gain. They call it mahati vinashti—total loss.
Therefore, strive with all your might. Make a plan. Have a certain definite, systematic method to work upon yourself, to be always alert, always awake, always watching yourself. Always be self-analytical and keep a watch upon every thought, word and action. See that not even the least vestige of deception creeps into you. Unless you are eternally vigilant, unless you are always awake, aware, witnessing, watching yourself, unless you are always actively discriminating from morning till evening, it is very difficult to avoid this terrible pitfall. It is like slime on the surface of a smooth pathway. One little uncautious step, your foot will slip and down you will fall.
Therefore, pour over the sayings of the scriptures, the great teachings of the masters, and be eternally vigilant. At every step discriminate in an active way and follow that discrimination by right action. Pray to God from the bottom of your heart: “Make me completely sincere, earnest. Take away from me the least vestige of any type of deception. O God, this is the one thing I ask.” And ever be cautious, ever be watching yourself. For here in this inner realm of your own concealed thoughts, you are your own friend, you are your own helper. No one can come and help you.
Even God will not interfere. He is the witness, He watches. Because He need not interfere. He has given so much wisdom, so much teaching, so much awakening, so much guidance since the dawn of creation through His saints and sages, messiahs and prophets, Gurus and all the scriptures. He has given everything that He has to give, and He has said everything that has to be said. He has enriched our life beyond measure. More than anything else, after giving everything, He has said: “If after having listened to what I have told you, all the knowledge and instruction I have given you, if you receive it and follow Me, act according to My instructions, then all will be well with you. But if out of your own self-deluded will you still persist in your folly and go contrary-wise to My instructions, you will perish, it will be over for you. Therefore be careful. I have told you, I have cautioned you, I have given you the best wisdom. Now, reflect over it, and do as you wish.” So even God leaves us to do as we wish.
Therefore, ponder all these things. Manana on mahavakyas (reflection on the great sentences) is not enough. Tat tvam asi (You are That), aham brahmasmi (I am Brahman), prajnanam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman)—only thinking about these alone is not enough. You must also think about the other great facts of the spiritual life that have been put before us through the Bhagavad Gita and the other great teachings. Therefore Gurudev said: “Introspect, analyse yourself. Search out the hidden motive of your actions. Be pure in thought, word and deed.” Time and again, in all his instructions, Gurudev brought this home to us.
May we be benefited by these great words of guidance, words of wisdom—marga darsa (indicating the path). May we seriously ponder our life and may we seriously do self-examination of ourselves every day and throughout the day. Therein alone our salvation lies, not otherwise. Gurudev said: “At the end of each day, introspect; go over the actions of that day.” He did not say it for fun. It is not as though it is meaningless.
How many of us actually do it, every evening—sit and review the actions of that day: “What I did from 6 to 7 A.M., from 7 to 8 A.M., the whole day?” Who sits and does it, and then jots down what one discovers about oneself, becomes humble, contrite and tries to correct it the next day? This is the touchstone of our sincerity, of our real genuineness, the authenticity of our spiritual aspiration. This is what we must do. In this lies our salvation.
Think deeply over what has been shared, be benefited and realise God in this very life. Make your spirituality first quality, twenty-four carat, not less. Opt only for the best, not the second best. This is what you should do, for if we fulfil the conditions, if we are pure, sincere, guileless, free from wickedness and sincere in our attitude, God will not withhold bestowing the highest. Without the least doubt, unfailingly, He will give fullest success in our spiritual life and quest. This is a law. For one who has deserved, the highest blessedness will never be withheld. God bless you all!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
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