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The higher Values of Life
Now we are working from the level of the body, knowing nothing but our physical self. We are only considering this outer world and its possessions, as if these were the only be-all and end-all of life. The whole thing is topsy-turvy.
That is why Masters have been laying stress:
What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Then, They ask:
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
You see how important it is.
It is we who have to leave the body, and we know little or nothing about our own Self. We know only so much as is given in the scriptures. But even if we read them for years and years, all through our life, do we have any experience at all?
Of course, we fill our brains with so many facts and theories and the records of the experiences of others. But do they help? It is just like a man going to be married. Afterwards the couple drive away all joyous. But besides them there are many others who join in the festivities; they get nothing thereby.
As an Indian proverb goes:
There are two to have a marriage and the rest stand by.
It does not in any way mean that we should not read scriptures. We should. That is an elementary step. They are valuable records, worth tons of gold and rubies and emeralds, for those who would like to just peep inside, to know themselves and to know God.
We are now merely identified with the body. We are working in the body, behaving from the level of the body, and we are attached to the body and all its environments. The more we are attached, the more we are away from the Life Everlasting.
That is why it is said:
Strive to withdraw from the love of all visible things and direct your attention to the things invisible.
The more we are attached to the outside, to the physical things, the more we are away from our Inner Self, our Higher Self. Until we withdraw for a while from that place and rise above body consciousness, know ourselves, we cannot know God or come near God or come in contact with God.
When we know for certain that we have to leave the body, why get attached to it?
As I just told you, I have to leave for India in a few days, leave the United States and go back to India. I know I will have to go back. I will be leaving you all, of course. I will not be too much attached to the possessions, this and that thing; I have to leave. I have to simply pass my days and go back, that is all.
For this reason, man’s life consists not in possessions, not in the abundance of things he possesses:
The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment.
You see how we behave in worldly ways; suppose you are wearing a costly costume or apparel. You meet some accident and that apparel is just spoiled and torn. You say: ‘Never mind, I am saved.’ Again, when you are sick and the doctors declare there is little hope of your life. What do you say? ‘All right, I will spend all the money I have, even all the possessions I have, so that I may be saved.’ Our bodies are more valuable than all other material possessions. When another accident comes, in which you break your arm or leg, what do you say? ‘Well, never mind: I am saved.’ And that which is saved is your own Self, more valuable even than the body.
The Masters have been bringing home to us the fact that the Inner Self is the True Jewel in the body, the most priceless treasure. We have never known this Inner Self. Until we know it, the life being more than the meat, we will not be doing anything for that life.
At present, we consider that our bodies are more than everything, knowing full well that we have to leave them. That is no bugbear, I tell you. But the wise man is he who prepares himself for the change that awaits each one of us; no exception to the rule. The man who knows himself is really the wisest man.
We have not cared for that way. Our pursuit has been restricted only to reading the scriptures, and to attending outward observances of certain rituals, ceremonies or forms. Of course, these are the elementary steps we have to take; but that is not the main purpose of our life. What should we do? Just understand the True Purpose of life. What is the Highest Mission of a man? Man is the highest in all creation. He is next to God.
That is what Prophet Mohammed in the Koran says:
God made man and bade the angels bow before him.
So man is higher than even the angels themselves. This is the body, this is the temple of God, in which God resides and you reside. But we have never thought that way. We have simply been looking at the outer man, having outer cleanliness, having good houses to live in and very luxurious furniture. But we have done little or nothing to clean these temples of God – our bodies – from within. We have defiled these temples of God.
And whosoever defiles the temples of God is punished by God:
There can be no cleanliness with an unclean heart.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, of course. We should maintain our bodies clean from outside as well as from inside. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. We must lead ethical lives, pure lives.
What was given out by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount is parallel to the Eightfold Path of the Buddha; and that is parallel with the Yama, Niyama and Sadachar rules of the Hindus. That is the first step that we have to take. Therein we will also find the Inner Way.
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of Light.
We have not understood the teachings of the Masters Who came in the past. If we but learn how to live up to what the scriptures say, we will have peace on earth and peace hereafter, too. We will have the Kingdom of God on earth and also the Kingdom of God in the other world, too.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?
How do we act in our daily life? From morn till night we are concerned only with the maintenance of the physical bodies of ourselves and of our families. We rise in the morning, answer the call of nature, take some exercise, have a bath, take food and then some go to business, others to their offices, and still others to some sort of labour. The whole day is spent in these pursuits. In the evening we come home. Those married have to take care of their families. Some are sick and need other necessities of life. Some go shopping. At night we take our food and go to sleep. Still others simply eat, drink and make merry. They also go to sleep. That is the usual daily routine we generally have. The next morning the same milling process starts anew. This is how our precious life is frittered away in secondary pursuits. We have no time to attend to the problem and mystery of life.
Well, look here, you have to leave this body one day; it is inevitable. What have you done for that?
We are in great agony. When death overtakes us, we are in agony. If we have seen the fate of a dying man, we must have witnessed the agony of death: crying, having convulsions, etc. No one can help him then. Had he solved the mystery of life, how to leave the body at will, had he known himself by self-analysis, he would have while alive gone through the experience of death, learned how to rise above body consciousness at will, and he would have just risen to the occasion without any agonising pain.
Prophet Mohammed says when the soul leaves the body, the pain that man feels may be likened to the dragging of a thorny bush from the rectum through the nostrils. Some Indian scriptures liken the death pangs to a thousand scorpions stinging together. You have witnessed, all of you, how difficult it is to leave the body. Excepting certain cases – very rare cases – say of heart failure, all others have to pass through that agony. If you know how to leave the body at will, a hundred times a day, the Masters say, then death can have no sting.
We ask people:
Look here, dear friend, how have you developed in the Spiritual Way?
The answer is:
Well, there is no need of it. We will see when we grow old. Let us eat, drink and be merry.
First of all, where is the certainty that you will reach old age? There may be some accident; some disease might overtake you and end your life. Suppose you do reach old age; what then? Your body gives way; your faculties give way; sometimes eyesight is not good; sometimes you are hard of hearing; sometimes you cannot move; sometimes you are bedridden. If you had solved the mystery of life while young, when you had a resolute mind in a strong body, you could have learnt much better.
But you will find you have not paid any heed to this whatsoever. This is the most important, and mostly ignored.
A Muslim Divine says:
The Highest Purpose of a man’s life is to know himself and know God.
Well, what have you done? If you have known so much of your physical and intellectual things, have you paid any heed to know your Inner Self?
Well, what fruit does all that yield? You are a fool. You are not a wise man.
A wise man always tries to understand and prepare himself for tomorrow. He prepares for what is going to happen.
Once in India when a certain young man died, his body was carried to the cremation ground. There were about three or four hundred people there, and I was one of them. They wanted me to give a talk, most opportune for the moment.
I told them:
Well, the subject of the talk is lying before you. Something left that body, but that something is still in you. But are you prepared for this change? If not, prepare yourself. Just solve the mystery of life, how to leave the body, how to rise above body consciousness.
If death overtakes you, you will be prepared. You will have no sting. That is how you can have victory over death. All of you have to leave your bodies.
The fifth Guru of the Sikhs said:
You see yourselves that such physical frames as ours which others carried, had to be left behind. Where are your forefathers? Where are all those Masters Who came in the past? They all had bodies and left them. There can be no exception in your case.
If the government issues an eviction order, that order is carried out, whether you like it or not. There may be some delay in the execution of the order; you might approach somebody and have some concession made. But when the order is issued from God, there is no concession. You have to leave the body and go.
It is wise to learn how to leave the body. What is it that leaves the body? If you have solved that problem, you have conquered the fear of death.
In the Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, we have an episode of Yaksha and Prince Yudishtra. When the latter went to a fountain to quench his thirst, Yaksha asked him to desist on pain of death and answer his question first, What is the most curious thing going on in the world? Yudishtra answered, We daily see that people leave behind their bodies which are cremated or buried. We have attended such funeral ceremonies. But we do not believe in the least, nor do we ever take into our head, that we also have to leave the body. People are dying, but we never think that we too shall die. We carry these dead bodies on our shoulders, we cremate them with our own hands. And with all that, we do not have the least thought in ourselves that we have also to leave the body. This is the strangest of all things.
Where are your brothers, your forefathers, and others? They all lived like you and departed; you too have to leave some day. The wise man is he who prepares himself to leave the body.
That will be the subject for my next talk. In this talk we have dwelt on the higher values of life. The physical body has its own value. This body is a temple of God; maintain it. God resides in every heart; visible and invisible too would meet in man. You have your families as the reaction of the past; maintain them. Love all humanity; that is the second of the greatest commandments that you have in hand. You have intellect; develop it by all means. But even that must perish with the body. Life is more than meat, the body is more than raiment and all possessions. But you are acting in quite a contrary way. You consider that the bodies and outer environments are the alpha and the omega of life.
Some people come to me and say: ‘We do appreciate what You say. We want to know about the mystery of life. We have been in search of that.’ But when they are asked to attend the discourse, they say: ‘I have to attend to my job. I cannot come.’
I mean to say that for your urgent affairs you have to readjust your engagements. When anyone falls ill at home, you take some time off your job. But the Highest Truth has not taken possession of your hearts. That is the most important thing in life and you have no time for it.
When you leave the body, who is going to help you? If you know your Self, how to leave the body, only then at that time will you be able to leave the body without pain. Somebody Who knows that mystery and is competent might be able to help you; but no one else, not even your nearest kith and kin, not even the greatest physician can be of any service.
This is the most important problem of our life. But we only postpone it to the last. The pigeon may shut his eyes at the sight of an approaching cat; but that does not save him. We too cannot solve the problem of death by turning our faces away from it. We must grapple with it and conquer death or else death shall conquer us.
The end of life must come. That is what the scriptures tell us, that is what all the Masters tell us. But we just do not care.
Guru Nanak says:
You are either a child with intellect yet undeveloped or you are stark blind.
The question now arises: Who is it that can help you on the Way? Well, the One Who has solved that mystery for Himself and is competent to give you an experience of how to rise above body consciousness, opening the Inner Eye and seeing the Light of God – call Him by any name you like.
If you just sit at His feet with a receptive mind and a loving heart, you will succeed in solving this mystery of life. The Highest Mission of a man’s life is to know himself and to know God. But he is engaging in frivolous pursuits. This is seen by those who are awakened and enlightened.
We take the physical aspect as the most precious thing in life. But the awakened one says:
What are they doing? They are not caring for their own Real Self. They are not sparing any time for that, and just spending all their hours for the physical body and its environments and intellectual accomplishments.
The reply may be, we have to leave this body, but we are doing everything to maintain it, to procure for it or for its relations every convenience possible. Well, who will tell us what to do then? For that we will have to sit at the feet of Somebody Who has solved that mystery of life for Himself. It is a practical subject.
In the Gospels, we have:
Think not that I am come to destroy, but to fulfil the law.
This fulfilment of the law has ever been, and shall ever be, the mission of all True Prophets. This is what all the scriptures tell us. We have been reading all these things. Whenever Masters came, They did not give any thing new to the world. Excellent observers as They were, They saw things in the right perspective and awakened people to Reality.
Their clarion call always is,
Awake, oh man – what are you doing?
The Vedas say:
Awake, arise and stop not till the goal is reached.
We are sleeping, as it were. Our superficial life is nothing less than sleep. We are identified with the bodies. We have been receiving impressions from the outside, through the organs of sense, so much so that when we close our eyes we see the same impressions reproduced. When we go to sleep, those very impressions are again reproduced within us in the form of dreams. We live a sort of superficial life, blind to Reality.
We are in physical bodies. We are conscious entities. We are so much tied up with mind and matter that we cannot differentiate ourselves. We have to leave the physical, transcend the astral, go further beyond the causal, super-causal, and reach the True Home of our Father. That is the True Destination for each one of us.
What have we done for it? We have simply devoted ourselves to the physical bodies and its relationships. This is what the Masters are always telling us. They do not say we should leave the world altogether and sit in the wilderness and follow the life of a recluse. Not the least.
You have physical bodies. Maintain them. These are the temples of God. Keep them clean and tidy from outside and inside.
Again, They say:
All right, you have an intellect. Develop intellectually as well. But, remember, you are souls, the indwellers of the bodies. Just know yourself so that you may know the Overself. You will know yourself only when you rise above body consciousness.
We are now, as it were, identified with the body. We cannot differentiate ourselves.
So there are different values of life. The physical body has its own value, the intellect has its own, but the Spiritual Life has the highest of all.
Out of the 24 hours of the day, we pay so much attention and spend so much time for the development of the physical side and its environments and intellectual attainments. We should also devote some time to our development in the way of knowing our own Selves. This is what all Masters have stressed.
Now the question remains: How? All the scriptures speak of the Kingdom of Heaven; and they say that it is within us. How to enter the Kingdom of God? How to open the Inner Eye to see the Light of God? We will now touch the Inner Aspect of man. The higher Inner Possibilities, when we transcend body consciousness, enable us to enter the Kingdom of God.
There are many mansions in the house of my Father.
There are planes and planes. How to traverse them? That is the subject we will deal with next. How to open the Inner Eye to see the Light of God of which all the scriptures speak?
I am not advocating any particular religion. You remain where you are. To live in some social religion is a blessing, because without it there would be corruption in the world. In the absence of it you will have to form another society. Just follow the right import of the scriptures, what they teach us.
They all tell us to love God, to love all humanity. If you love all humanity, we cannot rob them, we cannot kill them; other things follow of themselves. Along with that, we must follow ethical lives. We must know ourselves, who we are.
The Sermon on the Mount deals with the outer way of living with your fellow man. Christ also referred therein to the Inner Light, how to enter the Kingdom of God which is within us. Christ also warned us against the false prophets. They come like lambs, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The Masters, Who have had that experience with Their own Selves, give out all these gifts of God free. They do not charge anything; they are granted free. God’s gifts are all free. It is man who sells, not God. This is what has been said by all Prophets and Masters Who came in the past.
With all the force of your intellect, you will not be able to follow the right import of Sacred Writings until you come to Someone Who has practical experience of this and Who is competent to give you a first-hand experience. When you have some little experience that way, then you can go ahead.
Today’s subject is over. Next we will take up the Kingdom of God: how to open the Inner Eye to see it and enter therein. We will see what all the Masters and scriptures have to say on the subject. Lastly, we will deal with the most natural way. There are so many ways and means for that, but we will turn to the most natural way, which even a child can follow.