This gathering reminds Me of the sea, for here we have in this hall streams of people coming from various directions toward God; people who follow various paths to attain peace and happiness. My Mission is to give you Bliss (Ananda), and I am ever ready to do so. My language may give some of you a little trouble, for you may not follow Telugu, but in this gathering, there will be some who will not be able to follow whatever language I speak in; so, I shall speak in Telugu itself.
There are four things in which every man must interest himself: “Who am I? Where did I come? Whither am I going? How long shall I be here?” All spiritual inquiry begins with these questions and attempts to find out the answers. The four Vedas give the answers to these four questions.
Suppose a letter is put into the post box without the address to which it should go or the address from which it has come. It will not reach anywhere. It is a waste to have written it. So too, it is a waste to have come into this world if it is not known where you came from and where you go. The letter will go to the dead letter office! The individual soul will be caught in the cycle of birth and death and can never find itself. For this, enquiry about the Self and for the successful arrival at the correct answers, spiritual discipline is essential. The answers must become part of your experience.
Have tolerance and patience in every act
Spiritual exercises must be done in a disciplined, systematic manner, in an atmosphere of virtue. Just as we have fans here in this hall to cool the atmosphere and make it possible for such a large gathering to sit packed in this hall, so too the fans of truth, righteousness, peace, and love (sathya, dharma, santhi, and prema) are necessary to reduce the sweltering heat of ignorance, falsehood, injustice, and indiscipline. In a world where dharma is being insulted and denied at every turn, peace and tolerance are the roads through which one can save oneself.
This is the sum and substance of what I have to tell you and what you have to cultivate. In every act, have tolerance, patience, mutual help. In the family, cultivate patience and mutual respect; in the community, have dharma and justice; in the community of peoples, have the ideal of peace.
The body is said to be the tabernacle of God; the world is the body of God. A pinprick on the toe is immediately recognised as an injury to the self because the toe is part of the self-same body. So too, suffering in one corner of the world is as much the concern of the Lord as suffering in any other. When Andhra State was formed, someone told Me that I had been taken out of the Madras State and made an Andhra! I told him that the whole world was My Mansion and that Madras and Andhra were rooms in that Mansion! The world is a temple, the temple of the Lord, His body where He resides.
When I was coming by car to this place, I passed through several streets and I found several halls decorated, because they were having religious discourses there, and readings and expositions of sacred texts and scriptures. Crowds of listeners had gathered in each place; there was no lack of enthusiasm for associations and group singing. Yet, atheism is rampant, and the number of people who deny God and decry Godward-bound aspirants is increasing. Why? Because eating the food does not by itself guarantee digestion. Practice of even a thousandth part of what one has read or heard can alone help in giving peace and joy.
You are here to fulfill God’s purpose
What is wanted now is effort, courage, and faith. In effort, you must follow a regulated routine learnt from some adept in the field. For courage, you must feel your own importance for your uplift; never call yourself a sinner born in sin, bred in sin, and engaged in sin. No; that kind of self-condemnation ill becomes a child of God.
In every one of you, God is the moving spirit, the very Soul; how then can you be evil when you are here to fulfill God’s purpose, according to his Will, His plan, His law? He has endowed you with many faculties so that you may seek Him and reach Him. You are not, therefore, a helpless neglected individual undergoing a sentence of death. You are an embodiment of Bliss, born to a rich heritage, which is yours for the asking. Only you do not ask. Have faith in your destiny and work gladly and steadily to attain it.
Devotion (bhakthi) is simply the attachment (rakthi) toward Bhagavan (God), affection toward the Supreme. One need not fly away from hearth and home to cultivate it. If the seed is planted far away from the parent tree, does it become any different? Boil it and then of course it will not grow again and burden the world. Similarly, boil your instincts and impulses and scorch the sensory cravings that enslave you. That brings you nearer to God, wherever you may be.
Both good and bad emanate from the same mind
From the Ocean of milk when it was churned by the celestial beings and demons, there emanated the cow of plenty (kamadhenu), the tree that grants all wishes (kalpataru), the Goddess of Wealth, the four-tusked elephant of Indra, and also the deadliest of poisons (halahala). Similarly, the mind of man is churned by the forces of good and evil every day, and there emanates from the same mind both good and bad. The bad comes because the mind flows toward sensory pleasures and is lost in the swamps of greed and envy, of lust and pride.
When the lion awakes from sleep and roars, all the tiny animals that held sway till then take to their heels. So too, when you awake and repeat the Om (Pranava) mantra, all the paltry animal instincts that strutted about in the darkness will flee. In your own heart you have the entity that is beyond time and space, and if you go on contacting it by the Pranava or by any other symbol, the wild thoughts and impulses will not dare to approach you.
If you have the Grace of God, no planet can harm you; maleficent influences even from the most powerful combination of planets with which the astrologers terrify you will disappear in a trice. In order to get that Grace, there are two prescriptions: speak lovingly, as far as the world is concerned, and speak the truth, as far as the next world is concerned. Love (prema) is the weapon, and enquiry is the wheel that must be revolved perpetually to get the light of prema. Until prema emerges, you have to be in the darkness of hatred, where even the slightest movement creates fear and suspicion.
Charge the battery of your spiritual discipline continuously
Never yield to indolence or despair. Suffer loss and grief gladly, for they help to toughen your personality. The diamond is found amidst rocks; you will have to blast through the vein to get gold. Follow the strict regimen that the doctor enforces in order to make the medicine yield the best result. The battery of your “car” is charged when you come to Puttaparthi or when you go to some other holy place. Or at least that should be the aim of pilgrimage. Charge the battery of your spiritual effort and then, after you return home, do not keep the car idle. If you do, the battery will run down; take the car around and keep it going; then the battery will charge itself. So also, if you do not continue the holy company, the good attitude, bhajans, and remembering God’s Name, all this charging becomes a waste.
I have not come for propaganda or publicity or gaining disciples or devotees. I am yours and you are Mine. Where then is the need for publicity? I give not lectures but mixtures for your mental health and moral re-invigoration. So, take My words as medicine necessary for your health.
Editor’s Note. This discourse took place on Gokhale Hall, Madras, (according to various sources) on 1960-06-25 or 1960-06-26.