Sometimes certain feelings originate in our heart. Clouds that originate from the sun cover the sun itself. Water that is not used for many days is covered by the moss that has grown in the water itself. Cataract, which is born of the eye, covers the vision of that very eye. Ash that comes out of the fire covers that same fire. So too, compassion is present in our very heart. But we neglect it, or divert our heart in the wrong way.
A seed has oil in it, but you should know the procedure of extracting oil from it. Without thrashing the sugarcane, you cannot make sugar out of it. First, you have to crush the cane and then extract the juice. Then the juice is boiled to make sugar from it. On the other hand, if, out of compassion, you do not remove the juice from the cane, you will never get sugar. The flower of compassion doesn’t work over here. In the same way, our body is like sugar cane. Unless it is crushed by sufferings and pain, it doesn’t give the sweet juice of compassion and kindness.
This is known as ‘samskara’ or refinement. Refinement means removing all bad qualities, and fostering all good qualities. This is the main principle and the secret for leading a happy life. Unless you feel hot you would not purchase an air conditioner. Unless you feel hungry you won’t eat anything. In the same way, unless you face difficulties you will not remember God. In times of happiness and joy people don’t pray to God, but in difficult times they realize the need for God. In times of pleasure and comfort, man becomes egoistic. Pleasure is the interval between two pains. Therefore, first we have to suffer pain. Then only can we enjoy pleasure.
Develop faith in God and yourself
Since ancient days, Bharat [India] had set these cultural thoughts. If you have gold with you and you take it to the goldsmith, what does he do with the gold? He puts it in the fire, hammers it, and then gives the gold a particular shape. He will then carve it into a beautiful piece of jewelry. If you don’t want the goldsmith to hammer your gold, how do you expect to get the jewelry?
In the same way we should offer our mind to God and ask Him to make a jewel out of it. If, in this Kali [Iron] age, you offer this wavering mind to God, then He will surely take care of it. You may be facing serious hardships but you should not waver. For this you should develop one-pointed vision and an unwavering mind. But you get these only when you have faith in God. Therefore, first develop faith in God and yourself. You should know the greatness of faith. If you don’t have faith in yourself then how will you develop faith in God?
Who is God? You are God. But, you do not know this truth. Why do you search for God when God is present in you? Body is the temple and God is the indweller. What sort of a temple is this body? The body is like a moving temple. And God will follow you wherever you go. That is why God is in you, around you, above you, and below you. So, we should have full faith in this eternal truth. We have to live in a manner so that our conscience is satisfied.
Narada and Sanata Kumara
Practice what you learn. You may learn many things in spirituality, but you should try to practice one or two at least. Once Narada [the Vedic sage] approached Sanata Kumara [the head of the spiritual hierarchy] and prayed to him for supreme wisdom. Sanata Kumara, in turn, inquired about Narada’s eligibility for receiving the highest wisdom. Narada replied that he had studied the four Vedas and the six Shastras. He had understood the secrets of all rituals and the fruits gained by the actions as expounded by the Vedas. He also claimed to have understood the meaning of each and every word. After listening to all this, Sanata Kumara asked Narada, “It is good that you have gone through all these sacred texts, but how many things have you practiced from the Vedas? You would have gained wisdom if you would have practiced even one of them.”
Bliss or happiness does not lie in education. Modern education is confined to textual knowledge, and it is not enough if you are familiar with texts. Throughout your life you keep on reading. But when are you going to practice all that you have learned, and when will you attain permanent bliss? All the food served on the plate should be eaten and digested. Only then will it give you strength. Narada was well versed with all 64 kinds of knowledge and yet he could not experience bliss. We should, therefore, gain practical experience. We should realize what we are reading so that we practice at least a fraction of it in our daily life.
Cultivate Spiritual Knowledge
Students! Instead of lecturing in tons, it is enough if you practice in pounds. One pound of practice can cure all your diseases. You don’t know what is to be taken in. You take into your mind all the happenings of Japan and Russia. All unnecessary material is taken inside and hence there is no place for necessary material. Stuff your minds only with that which will help you in leading a peaceful life.
There were many great people who were born in this country. They excelled everywhere. But do you find their name in the world today? You all know the city of Calcutta. It is the city of great people such as Bipin Chandra Pal and many others who were highly intellectual and highly educated. But does the present generation remember them? Their names are there only in books. But, the name of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a person who didn’t even learn alphabets, is present in every person’s heart.
Therefore, we should try to enter into the hearts of people and not into books. Students, along with your regular studies you should cultivate spiritual knowledge. Only then will there be harmony. Just as a bird cannot fly without two wings and a car cannot drive without four wheels, you should have perfect balance between studies and spiritual knowledge. The texts ‘Grantha’ and the fragrance ‘gandha’ are our hearts itself. You should win all praise and acclaim so that people follow you later.
Along with education, refinement is also necessary. Many people like Elliot did research on this topic but could not come to any conclusion. Finally Elliot concluded that culture is the way of life. What is this way of life? Even a bad way is a way of life. Therefore, you should select the path that can directly take you to bliss. You get eternal bliss if you follow the direct path to God. That path is the path of love. This bliss is one of wisdom, and it is the one that is attributeless. Therefore, we should try to reach that God who is attributeless.
This whole world is full of attributes. What are these attributes (gunas)? They are satwa (the pious), rajas (the emotional), and tamas (the dull). A violin, for instance, has only four strings but you can play all tunes on those four strings. In the same way many things originate from these three attributes only.
Source: Follow Your Conscience, Discourse 6, My Dear Students, Volume 4