Radiant Divinities! When an individual soul comes into this world, that
individual soul, from a relative point of view, from an earthly angle of vision,
comes alone, makes this journey of life alone and departs alone. All scriptures
and philosophies declare, all saints and sages again and again reiterate: “Alone
thou art, alone thou comest, alone thou goest.”
In this lone journey we seemingly have companions. But each one is intensely
preoccupied with himself or herself. For each one, the most important person in
the universe is oneself. A little attention is diverted outside, all other
attention is directed upon oneself; morning till night one is centred in
oneself, constantly thinking of oneself, self-preoccupied. This is individual
consciousness, individual life. This is the truth about each individual. From
the moment you wake up you are engaged and concerned in things pertaining to
yourself—your eating, your drinking, your activities. Whatever you have planned
for that day, that comes first.
This involvement in oneself—one’s own concern, preoccupation and constant
thought of oneself—is called one’s subjective life. But willy-nilly, whether we
want it or not, whether we like it or not, we are also pushed into relationship
with others. Because, we do not live in a wilderness, in a desert or in a deep
jungle. We live in communities of beings; wherever we are, we live amongst
In this too, one keeps up these relationships primarily for oneself—perhaps
later on for others, but primarily for oneself. We are concerned with those who
cook our food because they cook our food.
If they cooked for themselves only and said, “Nothing for you,” then we will not
have any relationship. We go to the bank not because we are interested in the
bank, but because our money
is in that bank. So relationships are there, but arising primarily out of our
relationship with ourselves.
And thirdly, whether we want it or not, we have a relationship with that
Being Who ultimately is our only resort. Because, before we came here we were
related to Him only and no one else, and after we go we shall have Him only to
fall back upon and no one else.
Therefore, we must have some norms to govern this triple relationship which
constitutes life, which is an inescapable part of life. This triangular
relational pattern of each individual soul going through this life journey
towards the Divine was not unknown to our ancients. They had something to say
about it. The Bible too speaks of the cardinal virtues of one who wishes to
attain the Supreme Being.
In so far as our relationship with God is concerned, Jesus said that one who
wishes to attain the Father, the Kingdom of God, must have absolute, unshaking
faith in the Supreme Being. When someone started losing faith, Jesus said: “O ye
of little faith, shame upon you, open your eyes. Can you not see? When a child
asks for bread, the father does not give a stone. When an imperfect person like
a human father, who has got selfishness and so many defects, fulfils the faith
of one who turns to him in faith, do you think that the Supreme Being, Who is
Lord of the whole universe, Who is omnipotent, omniscient, full of compassion
and kindness, full of justice, do you think He will deny you your due?
“Even if a contractor is corrupt, dishonest, yet when he has employed
labourers he gives them their labour’s due at the end of the day. Shame on you
that you do not repose faith in that all-perfect Being.” So He chastises them,
takes them to task: “O ye of little faith, have faith. The result of faith is
seen by you, day by day, all around you, even in this world. Why do you hesitate
in reposing faith upon that all-perfect Being?”
“Towards Him,” Jesus said, “have absolute faith.” And in his list of prime
virtues, Sankaracharya listed sraddha—faith
in the Supreme. Long before Sankaracharya, Lord Krishna said: “sraddhavan
labhate jnanam—that wisdom that releases, banishes the darkness of ajnana and
grants liberation, is for him who has firm faith.”
The second dimension of relationship is our relationship to this world—to
other beings, to other people, men, beasts, everyone, all things. Be
considerate. You wish others to be considerate of you, so be charitable. Do not
sit in judgment, do not condemn, be charitable. “It is Mine to judge. Do not
usurp My place, My function. Leave judgment to Me.” Be charitable.
That is why Magdalene became eternally grateful to Jesus. And when others
condemned the woman caught in sin, He refused to condemn. When others were about
to throw stones at her, Jesus looked upon her with compassion. And when she
asked, “Do you not condemn me?” He responded: “I am not concerned with your
past, I am concerned with you today, at this moment in time, and I am concerned
with your future. Go forth, walk the path of purity. Everything will be
alright.” So exercise charity all the days of your life, every moment. Think how
you would feel if you were being condemned. And therefore bear, forbear,
And the third relationship, dimension, is how you relate yourself to
yourself. Are you a good companion to yourself? Can you tolerate yourself when
you are alone, or is it a mass of self-pity, self-hatred, self-condemnation,
self-accusation—a turmoil, a mass of negativity inside? Or is it serene
positivity? One said: “Hope, forever hope, while there is life, there is hope.” Santushtah
satatam yogi—a Yogi is always contented. Be full of good cheer. Have hope,
have faith in yourself also. Never despair, face the Light. When you have
reposed faith in Him, all will be well. Have absolute hope, always be positive.
An English poet said: “Life is not an empty dream, heart within and God
overhead. From dust thou art and to dust returnest was not spoken of the soul.”
Like that, heart within, rely upon yourself, be confident, do not despair. Have
faith in yourself and absolute trust in Him. All is well, take heart. And
thousands of years ago someone said: “You must lift yourself up by yourself.
Never allow the spirit to be depressed. Have faith in Me, rely upon Me, think
upon Me. You will have nothing to fear. Na
tvam sochitum arhasi, ma
suchah—it is not proper that you should grieve, grieve not.”
Thus the cardinal virtues arising out of the context of the Christian
religion are faith, hope and charity—charity towards all of God’s creation which
you have to encounter day after day, morning till night. Ever have a hopeful
attitude towards yourself in your subjectivity; let your heart be filled with
hope, never negative despair, never darkness. And in your relationship with that
Being, have absolute faith. Similarly, in the Indian context we have sraddha (faith), atmavisvas—faith
in yourself, self-reliance, ever a hopeful attitude, ever an optimistic view of
life and daya (compassion).
Tulsidas says: “Compassion is the root of righteousness, pride is the root of
“Yes, whatever has gone by has gone by. Now I shall work for a better future,
and He will help me. He is all-powerful, all-wise, all-blessed. And while I thus
live with absolute faith in Him, hope, reliance and confidence in myself, I
shall be charitable towards others.” Faith, hope and charity—never let go of
these. Always let them be enshrined within you—faith in the Supreme, hope for
yourself and charity towards all.
Thus finish your journey and you will attain the Goal. The journey will take
you to your destiny—your divine destiny, the fulfilment of which is the most
important thing in life. All other things come afterwards; they are secondary.
In this way, understand your life, understand yourself, understand your
relationship to the Maker, and understand your relationship to the rest of
May God bless you to understand. We have to live with wisdom, we have to live
with understanding. That alone can take us to where we can ultimately shower
ourselves with blessedness. Our intellect has been given to us to be exercised
and to enable us to live wisely.
God bless you all! May you ponder these cardinal points of your life’s
journey—charity towards God’s creatures, absolute hope about yourself, and
absolute faith in the Being Who has brought you into being, Who has placed you
among His creatures, so that you may become like Him and you can attain Him as
your supreme Goal!