I wonder if we could forget all that we have been talking about during the last five gatherings here and begin as though we are meeting for the first time. And not having heard what has been said, start anew, start afresh so that perhaps we may be able to find some abiding truthful solution to all our complexities and problems.
What is the central issue that, if we went into it carefully, diligently, hesitantly, we would come upon, that which may resolve all our sorrows, griefs, anxieties, the depressions, the failures, the fulfilments, the frustrations and all that? Is there one solution, or one observation, one insight, one comprehension that will bring about a total revolution psychologically in each one of us? You understand my question? One answer – absolute, irrevocable, not relative, but complete, whole, lasting, and yet timeless. Is there such a solution?
If each one of us put that question to ourselves, would we answer it according to our particular pleasure, to our particular experience, to our own knowledge? Or would we, if we are at all serious and not too flippant, could we investigate together to find out a remedy that will enlighten our hearts and minds? Can we look at the whole of life, not one particular segment, one particular part, one idiosyncrasy, try to find an answer politically, religiously – I am using the word ‘religiously’ rather sceptically – economically, and so on? Can we look at all these divisions which man has brought about as a whole? To look at this world outside of us with all its innumerable divisions, and inwardly, psychologically we are fragmented, broken up. And one asks oneself if it is possible to see the whole of this outer and inner as a total movement, indivisible, as a whole structural movement of thought? Is that possible? Or our minds are so broken up, so fragmented, so divided, that we are incapable of seeing the whole movement of life as one unitary movement. You understand?
Please, as we said the other day, and if I may repeat: we are thinking over together this question, together, not that the speaker investigates and you listen, but rather together you and the speaker find out for oneself if there is a way of living which is comprehensive, which is whole, which is not yours or mine, but a life that is a movement without a beginning and without an end. To find that out, I think it is important, if one may point out, to be aware of one’s own fragmentary outlook. You are either a psychologist, psychotherapist, and you are trained along that particular line, and so one’s brain, one’s conditioning, is already established, and therefore one cannot see the whole. Or you may be a businessman, again the same phenomena takes place. Or if you are a politician then you are doomed. Or if you are a religious man, inclined to be religious, not accepting any particular dogma, creed, ritual, all that. Or an ordinary human being – of which we are all part of this – with all his anxieties, with his sorrows and pleasures and fears, competition, comparison, measuring himself against others, and always trying to reach something which he has projected, and hopes to find it.
So are we together aware of our fragmentation – actually aware of it? Not imagine that you are fragmented and then think that you are. You follow? Either the idea of fragmentation is so strong, and that idea shapes our thinking, then you think that I am fragmented, or one observes the actual state of the mind which is fragmented, broken up, shrivelled. Can such a mind observe this extraordinary complex movement, with its great beauty, subtlety, can one observe this totally? You understand my question?
Please, you are not listening to me. I only happen to be sitting on the platform for the convenience of you all so that you can see the speaker, but the speaker is not the authority. In spiritual matters, in the matters of the spirit, in the matters of the investigation, there is no authority, no guru, which is obvious. That is, if you carry the knowledge of others – and perhaps all knowledge is the result of others – and add your own particular knowledge to the accumulated knowledge already in your brain, then to find out if there is one act, one state of mind that will solve all our problems. Do you understand what we are talking about? Are we meeting each other about the question itself?
Ignorance is part of knowledge. Right? I wonder if you see that. You know the whole concept of a priest, the guru, the one who knows, in that concept, in that conviction, there is the one who is enlightened, clear, and helps the other to free himself from his own ignorance. And generally, and often, and very, very, very rarely, the authority who has knowledge tries to dispel the ignorance of the other but his knowledge is still part of ignorance. You are following all this? And here, in these gatherings that we have had for the last nearly twenty years, there is no authority whatsoever. Because authority of any kind in spiritual matters makes you a prisoner to another’s system, conviction, ideas, knowledge. Then in that there is no freedom. And to find out if there is a solution to all our complex innumerable problems, is there one seeing, one perception, one observation that frees completely the whole of this structure which man has put together, psychologically? You understand? Are we meeting each other?
You see to go into this one must have great humility; not humbleness, not sycophantism, not touching somebody’s robes and saying ‘I am very humble’. That quality of humility that has had no vanity, that has never known vanity. You understand? Otherwise it is not humility. Go into this carefully. Those who are vain, arrogant, full of their own importance and their own knowledge, their own realisation, and all that business, in that there is a sense of self-importance. And that state of mind then cultivates humility. Haven’t you known all this? So a mind that has known vanity in any direction – scientifically, religiously, politically, the sense of achievement which gives one a great self-importance and arrogance – such a mind can never comprehend a quality which is totally free of vanity. We are meeting all this?
And people have also tried, for millennia upon millennia, to find that absolute solution to their lives through austerity. Austerity is harsh, strict, severe, stridently noisy – right? – stridently strict: putting on robes – sorry, I am not talking of those gentlemen here – putting on robes of different colours all over the world and imagine that they are stridently simple. It is only the noise of their simplicity that prevents them from being simple. Because when you are simple it doesn’t matter what clothes you have on. But clothes have become extraordinarily important in the world, in the religious world, indicating a tradition which you accept and thereby hope to lead a simple life. Man has tried several things, played so many tricks upon himself, and those of us, if we are at all serious, and efficiently, honestly trying to find out a way of life and therefore a way of action, which comes from the comprehension, from the perception of that one solution. Right? Are we meeting each other? Don’t be angry with me please, those of you who have got this, different robes and so on, we have been through all that. It doesn’t mean a thing.
I once followed in the Himalayas a group of monks. It was a beautiful country, wild rhododendrons, lilies, the flowers of the alps of that altitude, and the great pine trees shooting into the heavens, blue skies and the birds were singing. It was a lovely day. And these monks never looked up, never looked at the trees, the flowers, the skies and the wonder of the world because they were concerned about their own ritual, their own mantras repeating. And they think through that way they will find the heaven.
Here, if one may point out, the meaning of the word ‘mantra’; probably you all know about it. It is a Sanskrit word which means – please listen – which means consider, meditate, ponder over not becoming, and also put aside all self-centred activity. That word ‘mantra’ means that. Consider, go into your own becoming and put aside every form of selfish activity – that is the real meaning of that word. And look what these yogis have done to that word! You understand?
So seeing all this, the various forms of physical torture in order to find enlightenment, various forms of rituals, robes, repetitions, and these have not in any way changed human being and his relationship so that there is a new good society. We mean by that word ‘good’ not the nursery meaning, ‘Be a good boy’. It is not a respectable word, it is not a word that you can say, ‘Well, that is old fashioned, throw it out,’ but that word ‘good’ has an excellent meaning, significance. And man through all these endeavours has never brought about a good society where people live happily, without conflict, without violence, with a great sense of responsibility, with care, with affection. That is what we mean by that word ‘good’. Man has not been able to achieve it. One of the main reasons for this ugliness in the world is that all of us, most human beings, probably 99%, are fragmented, broken up. And when one realises this, that one is in a state of fragmentation, one is cognisant of it, aware without any choice – it is so. It is not that the speaker is imposing this on you, but it is a fact. And can that mind which is fragmented, can that heart which is also caught up in various romantic, emotional, sentimental, illusory nonsense, can that mind ever come to this, to find a solution that is everlasting? You understand my question? Right?
How shall we find it? Is it dependent on another? Follow this carefully. Can another, however much he may think he is lord and this and the other, can another lead you or help you to that? Right? Please ask this question. Can a group, can a community, can a series of ideas, conclusions, help you to that? Or one must be a light to oneself, not the light which has been kindled at the other’s lamp or candle, or fire. You are following this? Please, give your heart to understand all this! Which means not only your heart, your mind, your brain. Freedom is not acting according to whatever you like. That is too childish, which is what is happening in the world, because everybody is doing what they want. And any prevention, any restraint on that is considered lack of fulfilment. Therefore permissiveness in every direction, religiously, socially, morally, is encouraged. And this permissiveness, that is doing exactly what one likes, or saying ‘It appeals to me, I feel good in that’, denies freedom – we are talking psychologically not freedom from law, from the policeman, from taxes – but freedom from the dependence on another psychologically, because the other, when he instructs you from his knowledge, from his position, from his status, that knowledge is still part of ignorance, because knowledge can never be complete, therefore it is always part of ignorance. Right? I wonder if you see that. Of course.
Because knowledge can never be whole, can never be complete, total. And therefore in it there is ignorance. When you realise that, when you see that, that you cannot possibly… in matters of the spirit, in matters of the psyche, in the matters of deep religious enquiry, there is no dependence completely on anybody. That is freedom, with its responsibility to be a light to oneself. Are you following all this? Are we like that? Because we are going together to find out, please, find out for ourselves, not at the behest of another, not stimulated by another, not encouraged by another, but find out for oneself totally, completely – which is not egotistic – so that one can be a light to oneself. Right?
Are we together in this? – not agreeing, not being cornered in a tent and therefore you are forced to agree, or stimulated by the speaker with his intensity. If you are, then it is just a flame that can be blown out by the next wind.
So having said all this, is your mind – your mind being your brain, your senses, the quality of thinking, knowing its limitation, being prepared – not prepared, I won’t use that word ‘prepared’, preparation implies time, that is one of our pet theories, that we need time to be a light to oneself – are our minds after listening to all this, even though you are listening for the first time. And it is only you are actually listening for the first time if you are really paying attention. You know it is like looking at the sunset or the sunrise, the beauty and the extraordinary light is never the same. You can see it day after day, day after day, month after month, you never say, ‘Well, I have seen it once, it is enough’. If we have paid attention to what has been said, and what is being said, it is not a repetition. Beauty is never that which is constantly happening, it is always new. A marvellous classical painting, or if you listen to music, it is new all the time. But our minds get so dulled by words and by the repetition of words you say, ‘I am bored with it. You have said all that before’. But if you listen there is always something new, like the sunset, like the evening star, like the waters of a river. We have still time!
We are asking you – together – if our minds and therefore our hearts, our whole being, senses, the quality of the senses which are not divided – you understand? – which are together, and a thought and thinking, knowing that it is limited, fragmented, always of time, and a brain that is the result of millennia, conditioned, full of memories, knowledge, experience, like a computer, but of course it is much more capable than a computer, the brain has invented the computer, but the brain also is active as a computer. So we are saying the whole of this, can we enquire with this quality of mind? Or just be in a state of observation, just to observe without the observer. Because the observer is the past, the observer is the result of all the experience, senses, responses, reactions, memories, he is that. To observe without the observer, so that there is only pure observation, not distorted, not broken-up, not the result of choice, like and – you know, just to observe.
Then in that state of pure observation is there one act, one insight, one total perception of something that will resolve all these problems? You have understood? There is. Now careful! The speaker says there is. You know nothing about it, naturally. If you are aware of it you wouldn’t be here. The speaker says – and please listen carefully – it is not authority, it is not the result of experience, it is not the result of accumulated knowledge, it is none of that. The speaker says there is a solution, a way out of all this terrible confusion and misery and fear, torture and terror. Right? So don’t accept it. Where are you at the end of this? Please I am asking this – the speaker is asking this very seriously. We have talked for twenty minutes, an hour, forty minutes, fifty minutes; at the end of it what is the quality of your mind that is capable – please listen – capable of receiving something. You say, ‘Yes’, and the ‘yes’ is your own discovery, your own light, your own total attention which you have given to find this out.
Let me go into it carefully. One must have intelligence. Intelligence is different from knowledge. In knowledge, as we pointed out earlier, there is ignorance. Right? Whereas intelligence is free from ignorance and therefore free from illusion, and it is not the result of accumulated knowledge – right? – intelligence. The quality of intelligence comes when there is perception and action. That is, perception and no interval between perception and action. You see, act. I wonder if you understand this. Are you following this? You see danger – right? – like a precipice. And the very perception is action, you move away instantly. That is intelligence. That is part of that intelligence. You see a dangerous snake – and instant action. Right? That’s fairly simple because there it is a physical response. And the physical reaction is self-preservation, which is intelligence. It is the unintelligent that sees the danger and pursues it. You understand? Intelligence is the perception of that which is psychologically dangerous and acting instantly. That is intelligence. Psychologically it is dangerous to depend on another: for affection, for love, for comfort, for enlightenment, that is dangerous because you are not free. And therefore the very perception of that danger and the acting of it is intelligence. Right?
One must have that quality of intelligence. That intelligence is denied when you are conforming to a pattern laid down by the gurus, by – it doesn’t matter who – some idiotic person, or conforming, imitating, following. Therefore there is the ideal and the action which is different from the ideal, or conforming, or adjusting to the ideal – which is lack of perception – right? – lack of seeing the actual movement of this. And when there is perception, the ideal, the imitation, the conformity, following, totally ends and that is intelligence. You are following all this? I am not defining intelligence. It is so. It is only the neurotic that sees the danger and continues. The neurotic, the stupid, the thoughtless, the man who just follows his own particular idiosyncrasy, pleasures, and gives it a rational meaning and so on.
So one must have this quality of intelligence. Then with that intelligence is there a state, a movement or whatever you like to call it, which can solve all these innumerable conflicts and miseries? You are following all this? The mind that is totally intelligent. And that mind is enquiring.
Article source: jkrishnamurti.org
Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi descended on the earth to lead mankind to the realm of eternity. As the divine mother He gave his immense love and as the divine father He gave direction to our search for truth. His mission was to make people conscious of their divine nature. The people who follow His teachings and preaching are indeed blessed souls. The cardinal principles of Sai Path are Shraddha and Saburi. Sai Baba explicitly asked for these two qualities in His devotees by giving his self-experiential instance that his ‘Murshid’ or Master asked from him only two pice – one Shraddha and other the Saburi.
‘Shraddha’ in a Sanskrit word, which has no equivalent in English, at best it can be understood as, faith with love and reverence. Such faith or trust is generated out of conviction, which may not be the result of any rational belief or intellectual wisdom, but a spiritual inspiration. Baba sowed the seeds of spiritual inspiration in the hearts of people who knew of him. This Divine inspiration was so instant and profound that they automatically took refuge in Him.
Baba reiterated that steadfast love in God as the gateway to eternity. He used the instance of mother tortoise to illustrate this point. The mother – tortoise may be on the other side of the river, whereas her children are on the far side. She does not transfer food and water to her children by way of her loving glances. Yet, her loving looks are enough to protect the children. Similarly, people who lovingly look at God get His reciprocity. God’s looks offer peace, protection and prosperity for His children. Baba’s teaching, both direct and indirect explicate the significance of ‘Shraddha’.
Baba reiterates the spiritual guidance of Shri Krishna to Arjun:
Who-so ever offer to Me with love or devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, that offering of pure love is readily accepted by Me.
‘Saburi’ is patience and perseverance. Saburi is a quality needed throughout the path to reach the goal. This quality must be ingrained in a seeker from day one, least he looses his stride and leaves the path half way. As a hunter waits patiently and motionlessly for his target a devotee too has to wait patiently for attaining his goal. There are many trying situations in life. A test may come in the form of frustration, distress, agony, illness, mishaps, prolonged wait or a loss. In such moments we should seek support from the Master and hold on him.
If patience means anything it should last till the end, and faith will see us through every turmoil of life.
I did not always love my brother. Or rather, I was too consumed by my dissatisfaction with the circumstances of his birth to experience loving him. Love your brother as yourself is a clear enough concept, but understanding something on an intellectual level is different from knowing it with your whole self. I am reminded of Chapter 18, Holy Quran, which recounts Moses’ journey with the Wise Man, and his outrage at the latter’s actions because it didn’t fit his value system.
…indeed you will not be able to have patience with me.
And how can you have patience with things about which your understanding is not complete?
A lot of times we are filled with such anger because certain situations fall outside the parameter of our understanding. And so we condemn and seek to imprison people behind the walls of our unforgiveness, even when the Creator has perhaps already forgiven them. After all, nothing happens without the active or permissive will of God; everything ultimately works for the greater good.
Growing up as a daddy’s girl, I thought my father was the best in the whole world, until he got the neighbor pregnant. Strangely, I felt he had cheated on me… shortly after my brother’s birth, she fell ill and on her death bed, asked to see the whole family. Nothing would make me go, my sullen 13 year old self vowed! Then my sister (who always knew which buttons to push) managed to cajole me into going.
She looked like crap. Cancer can do that to you. Friends came on the pretext of praying for her, and ended up leaving with her possessions, so she asked my mother of all people to care for her in the final hours. Remarkably, mom agreed. I thought she was so stupid…
My brother came to live with us at age 2. When he cried, my parents asked me to check on him. I pinched him and made him cry harder. Once when I was super busy doing teenage stuff, he started annoying me. I pushed him and he fell down the stairs. When I rushed to check, he didn’t have a scratch on him, though he cried pitifully. It was a miracle!
Twenty years later, he has grown into a tower of strength for the family. The world – our world – is a better place because he is in it. Looking back, I am ashamed at my uncharitable thoughts of my selfless mother; humbled by the majesty of my brother; amazed by the grace of his mother; grateful for the strength of my father (who insisted we stay together no matter what).
It’s one thing to stand on principle, and another to be so inflexible or rigid that we make ourselves and those we love utterly miserable. It takes courage to inspect the dark corners of our hearts in order to clean out the clutter. And when darkness comes, we should be able to dispel it with the Creator’s divine light. Indeed, we should become the light.
Haneefah is the creative Director of her recently formed internet station Island Beat TV, and host of Owambe Jam, a cultural event to celebrate World Poetry Day.