Know Yourself

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Beloved Immortal Atman! Seekers and sadhaks! One day intervenes between this day and the coming New Year. The New Year will have its birth with a day of prayer, a day of abstaining from ceaseless, feverish secular thoughts, worldly thinking, worldly feelings. We shall not exercise our minds frantically, feverishly, in the field of “I” and “mine,” in the field of desires, passions, appetites and cravings, in the field of imaginations, anticipations and memories. For, all these constitute prapanca, samsara; all these constitute bondage, the world, the earth plane; all these constitute earthliness, earth consciousness.

Anything that is active in your antahkarana, in your mind, that is not of the Reality, not of Divinity, not of the Spirit, that indeed verily constitutes your bondage. Be it emotion or sentiment, thought or desire, imagination or anticipation, memory or wish, anything that actively occupies your inner being, your psyche, and vibrates on that level—this outside universe, yourself and your life in this outside universe, in this temporary frame of time and space, name and form—constitutes prapanca, samsara, your own created bondage, the level of your ignorant “I am the body” personality. And it is exactly, precisely this that we have to transcend.

Millions and billions of people are engaged in this type of thought, this type of consciousness, in this type of exercise of their interior in terms of this phenomenon, this temporary appearance, this many, this veil of tears, this arena of like and dislike, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. It is all within the realm of prakriti, maya, all within the realm of our deluded thinking of ourselves as something other than our own svarupa (essential nature). It is all within the realm of this falsehood. And this samsara, this prapanca is what ails us.

This samsara, this prapanca, this earthly level of consciousness is what constitutes our afflictions, not anything outside. Tigers, snakes, scorpions, malaria, dysentery, war, pestilence, earthquakes, hurricanes, famine, fires are all occasions. Even if they do afflict us, there is not much we can do about them. The human being has severe limitations on his ability to change nature around him, to fight it and control it. Nature ultimately overcomes, ascends. Think of the recent air crash, the earthquake, the tidal wave. There is very little you can do. Even so with afflictions caused by disease, your ability to do something is limited. You are apt to go from the frying pan to the fire. Sometimes the remedy is no better than the disease.

Therefore, here is a case for endurance, for heightening your powers of bearing, forbearing. There is a very common but very wonderful, beautiful expression in the West: “Grin and bear it.” “Bear it and grin,” they did not say; rather, “Grin and bear it.” Make up your mind first of all that you will keep your mood positive, that this is the way you are going to face the world and go through all experiences. “Yes, this is the way. I will not cease to smile.” It is a wonderful philosophy in a common saying. “Tan titikshasva bharata (Endure them bravely, O Arjuna),” says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Another wise adage, maxim, is: “That which cannot be cured has to be endured.” And this is supported by a very ancient Sanskrit saying: “prarabdhakarmanam bhogat eva vinasah—it is only through enduring, through undergoing, experiencing, that prarabdha karma is ultimately finished.” There is no other way. Tasmat apariharyerthe na tvam sochitum arhasi (Therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve). That which cannot be cured has to be endured is backed up by thousands of years of wisdom. And this is what constitutes wisdom, the absence of folly, real inner strength, the way to go ahead.

It does not mean that we should allow everything to crush us. We have to strive to see how we can better our condition. But, at the same time, as long as the condition lasts, be like a stone, be like a fire, be brave, be strong, have the power of endurance. This is what the saints said and did. This is what the scriptures say and demonstrate by various incidents. How much Harischandra endured. How much Yudhisthira endured. How much Draupadi endured. How much Sita endured!

Thus, therefore, our world ultimately is this inner realm of ours where we create our condition, where we create our state, avastha. It is that which constitutes our antahkarana (inner being), not the afflictions that are caused by the various manifestations of nature. They are not our real problem. They are very minor compared to what we can produce.

Therefore, we have to draw our attention to the fact that the prapanca of the samsara, the earth consciousness or the worldly field of being is something within us, not outside. Anything that does not directly pertain, relate and is relevant to the Divine, the Reality, our supreme Goal, our mission in life, our great destiny, anything that is contrary to it, that falsifies the knowledge of its sole reality within our own inner contents is our problem—any imagination, anticipation or memory; any desire, sentiment or mood; any emotion, thought or craving; any state of mind, any mode.

Not without reason the great ones have said: “What one’s faith is, that the person is.” Not without reason have they said: “Man is what he thinks.” “As a man thinketh, so he becometh.” They say: “Tell me his companions, I will tell you what he is.” Who are companions? Those whose company we keep within ourselves—the thoughts we keep company with, the moods, the fancies—they are our companions. We may be free from all bad company of persons outside of us, but if your company within is not right and desirable, then you are heading towards trouble. Even bad company from outside cannot spend the whole twenty-four hours with you, but these inner companions never leave you, except briefly during the state of deep sleep.

Therefore, the need to understand yourself within, know yourself in depth—not in the height of philosophy: “Who am I? I am Atman, I am Brahman.” No, no, no, that can wait, that is not very urgent. The immediate necessity is to know yourself in truth, not in fancy, not in deception, self-deception. Know yourself in honesty and frankness, in clear, perfect perception, in the light of deep introspection, in the light of self-knowledge through self-analysis, self-study. All real knowledge starts when you are trying to understand yourself.

Understand yourself in depth, and immediately it will bring forth much revelation and many solutions. Problems will start scattering and taking to their heels, vanishing, suddenly not there. As long as you are afraid to enter in and make a spring cleaning, a thorough cleaning up, you will always keep years old dust and debris cluttering up everything that requires to be thrown away. The free-flow of divine thought, God thought, positive thought, peace and joy, the spring sources of your energy, enthusiasm, will never be released. It will be held back because too much is cluttering.

You have, therefore, to turn the gaze within, introspect, know yourself. Know yourself not in the advaita Vedantic sense, but in common sense. In the real sense of the term, know yourself now, here, as you are. Then let us think of what you were before the world was created—satchidananda brahman. It will wait patiently for you to first of all clear up your way to It. For, if this first stage of self-knowledge is not there, then Brahman will ever be where He is, and you will ever be tied down to this level of earth consciousness only.

We have to know ourselves. And to that end, Gurudev said to make resolutions, draw up a daily routine, maintain a spiritual diary and do self-analysis. See what it reveals. It will tell you many things about yourself which you did not know at all. A spiritual diary not only keeps careful note of your morning to evening spiritual routine, it also keeps careful note of how you were, how you reacted, what you did: how many times you lost your temper, told lies, failed in controlling your senses, what virtues you are trying to develop, what self-punishment you did, etc. So, it tells you a great deal about this inner being which is the true source of all problems, all troubles, all vexations, all bondage, all your sorrows.

But, this inner being is also the source of your solutions, your revelations, your coming out of yourself, breaking this bondage. So it is not all a dark picture, it is not all negative. Because the solution has to be in the same plane of your being as where the problems not only abide but abound. So that is the bright side of the picture. The key is in your hand; all solutions are there. They did not say that God will teach you who you are, Guru will teach you who you are; they said: “Know thyself. Enquire, find out, know yourself and be free.” So, look for your solutions within yourself where all the problems abide. Find your solutions there. Do not search for solutions where they do not exist.

As I said, tomorrow is the last day before the New Year. Move towards the New Year with wisdom, with full and proper understanding of yourself and with self-knowledge. The self has several levels. Start with the level in which you are at this moment. Then proceed on to higher levels of self-knowledge. Then the higher levels will have a firm basis. Otherwise, the higher levels of self-knowledge, not having a firm basis, because there is still some other thing occupying the ground, will not last. It will only be a passing thing. “I am Brahman, I am satchidananda, I am neither mind nor body, immortal Self am I” will only be a transient phenomenon. But, clear the ground of the lesser aspects of self-consciousness; then self-knowledge in its higher levels can start occupying your consciousness.

God help you to be a success unto yourself by your own goodness to yourself, by your own kindness to yourself. If you mean well by yourself, you have to prove it. God is good. Humanity, whether it is good or bad, you cannot change it. But you can change yourself. You can be totally transformed if you wish. The sky is the limit. You have infinite scope to bring about not only a change or alteration, but even a transformation, even a transfiguration. God bless you! Gurudev’s grace is there, I do not need to invoke it. But God, so help me God, to help myself!


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