Sit evenly, erect, at ease, with palms folded on the lap, with eyes fixed on the nose: cleanse your lungs by taking a deep breath, holding it in and then discharging it, raise in your heart the OM sounding like the tolling of a bell, and in the lotus of your heart, contemplate My form as encircled by light.

The path of knowledge is for those who are weary of life; those who still have desires should pursue the path of sublimation through works: and to those who are not completely indifferent nor too much attached the devotional path bears fruit.

Perform your actions for Me and with thoughts fixed on Me: untainted like the sky, see yourself within your self; consider all beings as Myself and adore them; bow to everybody, high or low, great or small, kind or cruel; by seeing Me constantly in all, rid yourself of jealousy, intolerance, violence and egoism. Casting aside your pride, prestige, and sense of shame, fall prostrate in humility before all, down to the dog and ass. This is the knowledge of the learned, the wisdom of the wise – that man attains the Real with the unreal and the Immortal with the mortal.

Krishna to Uddhava

Meditation is the source of noetic understanding, but this depends upon an initial humbling of the false self that otherwise undermines every effort. Learning without unlearning is not only useless, but, like eating without elimination, it can be fatal. Bad habits must be unlearnt while learning new ways of doing things that come from new ways of thinking, and in this continuous process one has to be courageous in assessing one’s spiritual strivings. By seeing where one is going wrong and why, it is possible to make significant connections between causes and consequences and then see where a real difference can be made. It is always possible to make a difference, but only on the basis of self-examination that leaves one more determined and relaxed – more relaxed because of seeing oneself in relation to the whole of humanity. Without running away from the facts, it is possible to take an honest inventory, and if this is done, one will soon begin to discover that it is not that one’s motive is entirely bad or that one is altogether no good. It is rather that one is not very good at learning because of having created blockages in the self through pride, blockages in the mind through prejudice, blockages in the heart through partiality, blockages in the will through perversity. These blockages precipitate very quickly in the presence of great resolves, and if they are not faced, it is difficult to avoid walking backwards. But if this realization brings a sense of defeat, that means one never really understood the teaching of Karma. The Self that has to make the effort of understanding is that ray of the immortal soul which is put in charge of the kingdom in which the different parts of one’s being must be dynamically balanced. When there is a greater harmony within, it is possible to contribute more to harmony without. This is what each is meant to do. The general accounting can be left to Karma. By altering radically one’s attitude to work, to motive and method, and one’s way of balancing them, there is the opportunity for growth on the basis of a larger and a firmer recognition of the invisible forces, realities and laws constantly at work in Nature and in oneself.

 One must use with care those living messengers called words, and this reference to messengers has to do with different classes of elementals, all the myriad invisible centres of energy that permeate the diverse departments of Nature. To be full of the fire of devotion and to do the best work one can, one must have the right basis in thinking. The immortal soul is capable of immortal love, of immortal longings that may summon the life-essence that permeates this globe, the omnipresent spirit that is dateless and deathless. Everyone is inherently capable of an unending, unconditional love and courage and endurance, ready “to suffer woes hope thinks infinite”. The depth of devotion depends upon the level of being. Those who are unafraid of death, who see themselves neither in terms of the body nor in terms of the mind, but as immortal monads, can generate and sustain devotion to the greater hearts and minds of the Bodhisattvas. This constant devotion is in the context of universal mind or Mahat, and the hebdomadal heart of the cosmos. They come under the protection of supreme compassion, the universal umbrella of Dharma. When devotion thus becomes a sovereign talisman, it is continually enriched by yajna and tapassacrificial meditation. The wise are those who, starting from small drops of genuine devotion, humility and wisdom, make them grow. They are wise because they grow the way Nature grows. They will, of course, make mistakes, but as long as they maintain their original recognition of the utter simplicity, the transparency and truth of devotion, they can strengthen the current of resolve and regeneration. Magic is possible where there is authenticity, continuity and a sense of proportion, where there is sacrifice, care and a willingness to learn, as well as a capacity to merge the little self in the greater Self.

 The path of spiritual attention is not easy, although anyone can make a beginning by trying to understand. Those who still have desires should pursue the path of sublimation through sacrificial works. To those who are neither completely indifferent nor too much attached, the devotional path bears fruit. One is not expected to be perfectly indifferent to everything nor suddenly to show effortless mastery in the practice of devotion. Devotees have their many limitations, but they are expected to moderate their attachment to the fruits of results. Then the path of devotion will bear fruit at the moment of death or in other lives. The mathematics of the universe is exact; one merely does the best one can and leaves the rest to the Law. It is necessary to elevate what is mortal and unreal with the help of a mental posture which involves true obeisance. To remember properly the original moment is to gain glimpses into the future. The divisions of time into night and day, clock time and calendars, engender an illusory sense of past and present and future. It may be that in a certain year upon a certain day one had a spiritual awakening because one came into the presence of spiritual wisdom. If so, to be true to that means to keep going back again and again to the original moment, because the more one can do that, the more one will come closer to the Teachers of Wisdom. If on any issue one understood the original moment, then one would see that the whole story is compressed in that original moment. In that is already determined and defined the future outcome of everything that is connected with that original moment.

Raghavan Iyer
The Gupta Vidya III

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