Satsang for the New Year - UK 76-12
Since this is the beginning of 2012, and people have similar questions, we thought you may enjoy the following excerpt from a talk given in 1976 in England. It is long but is worth the read. Gururaj concludes with a clear and very broad perspective in the last few paragraphs. Print out, take your time, and enjoy!
Thank you to Philip for locating this excerpt for us!
Commentary by Sutriya Johnson -
I doubt that any of us is seriously concerned about the dire predictions of the world coming to an end in the near future, and we may even have spoken flippantly about the dates that have come and gone. Yet I am not nearly so glib when I think about global dissolution as a mirror for the dissolution of the ego self.
When I think about the destruction of the planet, my mind goes to scenes of the disaster movies about comets or asteroids or some other monumental catastrophe. I picture myself in those circumstances and project my own fear of pain and suffering onto that scene. But that's not really so different from what we do whenever a surrender of the ego self is imminent. We struggle to hold onto our most cherished concepts and dearly held beliefs. Then when life knocks those out from under us, we think it is the end of the world, and in some cases it might well be the end of the world as we know it. When I realize that, I find compassion for our human condition.
We don't know what the end of the Mayan calendar signifies. I like to think it foretells a step in the evolution of consciousness. Not to say that that doesn't come at the expense of the ego. So we turn our attention to grace by following what Gururaj has taught us and doing the practices he has given us. What better way to end the story of suffering created by the world of the ego.
Questioner: Is the end of the world fairly imminent?
Gururaj: What we are interested in is not the end of the world. What we are trying to do is to live fully now, where the past and present are experienced in the moment of thenow. The vast, vast, vast majority of people never live in the now. They either live in the past or they live in the future. By living in the past, it means that their minds arecompletely muddled up with what happened in the past. Two weeks ago Auntie Matilda said something and we still keep on worrying about it. Now that has been the past completely and it does not help really to worry about what has happened in the past. Now you would say that what has happened in the past does affect the present. That could very well be so. But worrying or having our minds whirling around in thoughts of the past is not going to help us. It will prevent us, preclude us, from enjoying the present. So if thoughts of the past do crop up, we objectify the thought. Objectifying the thought means that we analyze the thought. We think of what Auntie Matilda said, and we analyze it. And by analysis we find that the sting of it would disappear and gradually the happening of the past would dwindle away.
Now the greatest gift given to man by Divinity is the ability to forget. Just imagine this whole existence that we have lived ( if you believe in past lives). It could extend back to millions and millions of years. If man had to remember all the incidences of all his past lives--and even the incidences of the present life-- life would become absolutely unbearable. So the greatest gift given to mankind is the ability to forget. Now if we have been given this ability to forget, we are going against the law of nature that is within ourselves by not wanting to forget. So our mind is churning, churning all the time, whirling thoughts. Our minds are composed of not only whirling thoughts but association of ideas. Because Auntie Matilda said something, how is it going to affect Uncle? Meanwhile, they might not be caring two hoots about us. Yet we start worrying. There are many people who, if a word is said to them, will churn that little word, that little small insignificant thing that is said to them, they would whirl it in their minds so much that it would assume far greater proportion than what was actually meant.
In other words, we create a mountain out of a mole hill. And nothing happens to Auntie Matilda, but all the things happen to us. So we end up in great mental confusion and in many cases where there are very weak minds, it has ended up in a lot of mental derangement. So the general antidote for that is to be able to objectify the thought. And we all can do it. Objectification of the thought means viewing the happening or the thought as if we are viewing a cinema screen. And by doing that, we become devoid of the emotional quality that is involved. Objectification of any happening or thought means that we take out the quality of emotion from it, and when the quality of emotion is taken out from it, then it does not affect us so much.
Now we have three levels in our lives. The first level is the thinking level, the second level is the feeling level, and thought and feeling lead to action. Those are the three levels on which all human beings live and exist. What happened in the past, first comes to us as thought. The thought churns so much that it affects our feelings and sometimes the other way around. But mostly it is stimulated more by thought because thought comprises the intellect. Thought comprises the intellect where the pros and cons of the incident are weighed. And as we churn the thought more and more, and because of our conditioned, patterned minds, we always seem to find the greater portion of negativity in it rather than the positivity.
You went to a party and Auntie Matilda said the blue dress did not suit you. Meanwhile, there were 100 people at the party who might have admired you in the blue dress and said, "Ah that is really your color and you look beautiful in it." But Auntie Matilda, for reasons of her own, could be pettiness perhaps, could be little jealousies, whatever, said you didn't look nice in your blue dress. Now you worry about this. If we analyze what motivated Auntie Matilda to say this, we will find, looking at it positively, looking at it unemotionally, when the sting is lost, we will stop taking notice at all of what Auntie Matilda said. This is a very small instance, but never mind what proportion it is. The principle remains the same. In this way we objectify the thought, and thereby we do not feel hurt in mind or in body or in our emotional self which comprises the whole lot put together. So, we cease to live in the past, and by ceasing to live in the past, we would enjoy the present more.
That is one aspect of our trouble. The other aspect of our trouble is that we live in the future today. In other words, we don't live today; we live next week today. What is going to happen next week when I go to work on Monday? What is the boss going to say? In other words, even before the trouble begins we are living it now. Why? Really speaking, it is so devoid of any common sense, and yet common sense is supposed to be common. So not having common sense, we lose sense and reach nonsense. That's what we do. What is the sense of living in the future? What is going to happen is going to happen. And what is going to happen tomorrow or next week is definitely determined by how we live today.
Now, if we live today well, then tomorrow assuredly would be good too. We are here today, for example, and as I am speaking to you, your minds are not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow because you are now absorbed in the subject that we are discussing. Now in that way, we can live today if we can live in the present. And the secret of being able to live in today is absorption. We absorb ourselves entirely in whatever we are doing. If I absorb myself entirely in the things I am talking about, then I am not thinking of South Africa at the moment. No, I am not thinking of what is happening in the (meditation) Centers in Australia or in Rhodesia. No. I am absorbed in you here and now. So all the things, all the worries, all the thousands of meditators in the world at this present moment, are perhaps behind at the back of the consciousness, but my main aim now is to be absorbed in you.
So by enjoying every moment, by being absorbed in every moment of our day, we naturally enjoy, because absorption in the thing is very, very synonymous with joy. And joy can express itself in many ways. And if absorption is in something that is not very conducive to our minds, even then total absorption would lose a lot of its pain. Because with absorption there is also objectivity involved where if we live fully for the moment, in the moment, and by the moment then automatically that very action, that very absorption, would show us the total meaning of the situation.
So what we do is forget the past, forget the future today, because none of us really knows. So whether the end of the world is imminent, is of no consequence whatsoever. In the general scheme of things, if we observe the ocean from an airplane we will find the ocean very still. It is only when we are very near by that we see all the rough waves tossing and turning.
So therefore with our meditational practices we develop the attitude of standing aside, which we have done this morning to a certain extent where the chant just went on on its own, and we just felt within ourselves that the happening was outside ourselves. So that is the whole process.
One of the purposes of meditation is that we live a fuller more integrated life. And integration, as I have said before, is integration of mind, body, and spirit. And when should it be integrated? Not yesterday and not tomorrow. It should be integrated now. So as patterns form, as we become more and more absorbed in our meditations, it becomes part and parcel of ourselves, and then that integration is for now and not worrying about if the world will end. It will end. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Everything that is created, everything hat is born, must die. Everything that is brought into existence must have at a certain level, non-existence. But that non-existence does not mean annihilation. Non-existence means that the evolved world lives in an involved state. It means that the whole tree is already existing in the seed. The seed is the involved state and as the seed develops, it lives in the evolved state.
So there are in the universe--and when I say universe, I mean the totality of all the universes put together--there are changes. There are these waves tossing and turning all the time. The wave rises, the wave subsides. In that way, our very universe too will dissolve, will come to a state of dissolution. But that does not affect us in the least. Even when we die, this body is indestructible; it goes back to its original elements. So when the world or the universe ends, what will happen is that the constant factor behind it all will remain constant because it is changeless and unchangeable. Whatever we see changing all the time is like the waves on the ocean tossing and turning. Yet the waves themselves are still composed of the very essence from which the waves come, which is the water. Through meditation we dive and find the calmness, and by finding calmness, the underlying tranquility, the turbulence of the ocean assumes less turbulence. It is turbulent but affects us less because we have now known the secret of calmness and can objectify the turbulence so the turbulence could be looked at objectively.
So this whole universe will dissolve. It will come to a dissolution because the law of nature is creation, preservation, and dissolution. Those three things take place in everything, from the minutest atom to the entirety of the universe. And in preservation, things carry on, and in the preservation there is another process taking place. The process of evolution is in the process of preservation until it reaches dissolution.
Now dissolution is not the downward curve of the circle, as many people imagine it to be. Dissolution means that the grosser matter of the universe becomes finer and finer and finer until a stillness, a tranquility, is achieved, a tranquility between the three elements that govern the universe. In Sanskrit the three elements are known as Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Now these three elements are graded. Tamas is inertia. Inertia means a kind of stagnation. Inertia is at one end. At the other end is the refinement, the finest relative value of refinement of that gross inertia. Anything which is inert is gross, while anything which is Sattvic reaches its finest relative value. And the activator between Tamas and Sattva is the factor of Rajas which activates the inertia and leads it on to Sattva. And that is the process of evolution. So if you say imminent destruction of the universe--destruction is not the word but dissolution is the word--where, through the process of evolution, the gross Tamas, activated by the Rajasic, the activating factor or Rajas, takes it to a finer and finer level of Sattva that is the finest relative. And when it reaches the finest relative, it assumes a tranquility.
So in our daily life, we are trying to find equality of tranquility, composure, calmness. And when that happens be sure that the prominent factor in our lives or in the universe is Sattvic, the finest relative value that dominates. But that does not mean that Rajas, the activation or the activator, or inertia, Tamas, is destroyed. Nothing ever is destroyed but it is transformed and assumes new form and shape. What happens to the universe and which has been happening to us, might seem millions and millions and millions of years, millions of light years perhaps, as we would like to call it, but in cosmic time things happen. What seems to us to be a million years could just be a fraction of a second; the bubble comes up in the water and the bubble bursts. So, everything dissolves and disintegrates into its original element and reaches a tranquility that in Sanskrit is called the "Night of Brahma," the Pralay, that is the classical word for it. It reaches Pralay where there is a certain tranquility. But within the tranquility Rajasic qualities, the activating qualities, although having become tranquil, still have the faint impulse, still have the faint impulse that will regenerate itself, become grosser, and form another universe. So this universe that we hear of or know of is nothing but composed of the same matter and same material, same qualities, the same Gunas of the previous universe. So when we say destruction of the world, destruction of the universe, we mean that things disintegrate, dissolve, go back to its original finer elements. That is what is meant.
So nothing is lost. I have said this over and over again, that not a single ounce of energy can be added into this universe, and not a single ounce of energy can be detracted from the universe. So it goes on and on and on. The reason why it goes on and on and on is because the composition of matter itself is eternal too. Anything eternal can never be destroyed because even matter is beginless, and what is beginless is endless.
The changes we see are just the transformations of matter into different and various forms. So we think that it has died and it is reborn again. Figuratively it could be true. But it is just a continuous change, a continuous transformation of name and form. The thing itself remains the same. This chair is made of wood, this table is made of wood. Both are wood, but we call one a chair and the other a table. So name and form are the
only elements that will determine to us the nature of change, and name and form are created by man's mind. We call this table a table now, but if the originators of language had called this table 'chair' and the chair a table, then we would know today that I am
sitting on the table and the chair is there. So name and form are created by man.
So nothing is ever destroyed. The relative universe is subject to various changes, and it goes on from change to change to change. And we will not be affected by the changes of daily living or by the changes that happen in the entire universe if we discover, through our meditation and spiritual practices, the calmness, the stillness, the unchanging factor. Then all this change does not matter.