A lot of time is wasted “cultivating virtues” and pursuing yogic “attainments.” As Sri Ma Anandamayi often pointed out, getting implies losing. So any artificial progress we may make will evaporate in time. To bewail our sins or rejoice in our virtues is utter madness. For neither exists.
What is necessary is that we learn to bring forth, to reveal, our eternal nature. When the qualities we exhibit are those of the ever-free and ever-perfect spirit, then alone will we have “done” something. Merely talking about our eternity and perfection, using such ideas as excuses for avoiding any spiritual pursuit or discipline, is thoroughgoing folly.
The true self, the atman, must be realized–not just believed in or talked about.
And the world? We should look and learn. For everything has meaning. To say the world is unreal and dismiss it is worse than idiotic. A sign saying Danger is not danger, but it indicates danger. Words, figures, and lines on paper are not anything “real,” but their import is very real. The word “fire” is not fire, yet when someone yells it we should get moving.
In the same way, the world around us may not be ultimately real, but its message can lead us to the perception of the Reality behind it all, which is its Source.
Much of what I have written deals with the value of “unreality,” but we must not forget the wonder and freeing nature of knowing what is real. For: “Those who have known the inmost Reality know also the nature of is and is not.” (Bhagavad Gita 2:16)
Krishna further tells Arjuna: “That Reality which pervades the universe is indestructible. No one has power to change the Changeless.” Once more we can invoke the insight of Emily Bronte to expound this truth in a direct and simple way that is equally profound.
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And Faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life, that in me has rest,
As I, undying Life, have power in Thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.
Though earth and moon were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou–thou art Being and Breath,
And what thou art may never be destroyed.
This is the fruit of following the thread of the unreal to its origin in the Real and discovering that our own self, being part of “that Reality which pervades the universe,” also “is indestructible.” All fear, regret, and sorrow vanish like the unrealities they are once we realize that “no one has power to change the Changeless” that is the Self of our self.
- What Is the Mind?: A Meditator’s Guide, Part 1
- Karma and Reincarnation: Fundamental Spiritual Laws
- Faith in Jesus?
- Obstacles in Meditation and How to Overcome Them