You have first to purify your buddhi
We have to experience a flash of immortality now – and then, when death comes, [we feel] ‘I have been here before.’ We shall know. These practices are given, they are experimental. He [Shri Dada] said, “If you do this, the patterns of what you’re to do in the world will come before you, and you will begin to feel a satisfaction and a knowledge, a completeness, a fulfilment in your actions, however small they may be from the point of view of the world. You will have visions which will take from you the terrible hankering and the longings. You will begin to see.” It would be marvellous to have £1bn, wouldn’t it? Well, not if you owed £2bn, like Maxwell did. By entering into this learning, entering into these states, these connections with the Lord, the hankering and the bitterness and the desire for revenge against the world will begin to settle down and become less urgent. “They stop plaguing us,” as my teacher said. Only when he sees the Supreme will his longing altogether cease.
You’ll notice in the book that he lives a very ascetic life. He takes the instrument to the very limit – in the early parts of 49 and 50, the passages we’ve just read, they were given when he’d just recovered from a very severe illness. He could use the body efficiently. When it became absolutely exhausted he stopped the teaching, but he was not dominated by the condition of the body – that’s to say, he was not demoralised. When Confucius and his disciples were held as hostages, there was a little harp there and Confucius played the harp skilfully. They had no food for two or three days. His disciple, Zai Yu – a sort of Peter, an impulsive disciple – went up and took the harp away and said, “Doesn’t the superior man feel hunger?” Confucius said, “The superior man feels hunger, but he is not demoralised by hunger.” In the same way, the events of the world do affect the outer form of the teacher, but he is not dominated or demoralised by them.
We ask about discipline – what is the first thing to do on a spiritual path? Some people say it’s when you’ve got to do service for a long time, humble service as a slave disciple, of a teacher. Other people say, “No. The main thing is to study and clear up the misconceptions of the mind and get rid of all your mental lumber.”
Reading: “My children, I have heard from your Paramaguru and read in the scriptures that buddhi, the intellect, is nearest to Atman. As the peaks of the snowy mountain are the first to be illumined at sunrise, so the buddhi first receives the impression of the holy knowledge from the invisible region. The chief functions of buddhi are to distinguish between what is real and what is unreal, to understand and interpret the experience, to resolve and to direct the course of the force of emotions. You have first to purify your buddhi which is like a lamp in a dark house. Some people recommend the prior purification of thoughts and emotions – but emotions are blind and thought is without fire. Purification of emotions is very difficult. Our desires may be sacred or profane, and without an enlightened buddhi who is going to guide them? ‘How should one purify the buddhi’, you will ask. By tranquillising the whole mental process and by charging it with the holy dicta. Good company, prayer and devotion, self-analysis and self-study have a great effect on the intellect. Listening to the holy truth with faith purifies it. Simplicity of life is indispensable. A purified intellect is not misled and gives birth to the holy flame of faith.”
So the first thing is a general pacification. If you’ve ever tried to argue with excited drunken people, you know the feeling. You simply can’t get through. You say, “Oh come on, better get back. You’ve got all that stuff to do tomorrow morning, haven’t you?” “Oh to hell with that. I’ll manage that alright.” “Look, the boss will be furious if you turn up in a bad condition.” “To hell with him. I don’t care.” You can’t reason with them – it’s no good. There’s got to be general pacification. It’s done partly by the study of the holy text, but mainly by these meditation practices.
The study of the holy text and good company – spiritual company, he says – are generally necessary because otherwise one can’t keep up the meditation. Reading the holy text is an inspiration but, by itself, it doesn’t really satisfy because you’re reading about somebody else’s state. The only advantage of it is that it gives you the confidence to practice oneself, feeling that other people have done it so I can do it. The point is to practise a pacification, a calming down of the nervous and the mental excitement. Then in that calm you can see clearly. My teacher used to say, “If you try to look through a telescope but the telescope keeps moving, you can’t get a clear image.” In the same way, the body and the mind have to be [stilled], then we can begin to see clearly. This is the first thing. It’s not in states of excitement or aggressiveness, or the sword of the Lord sort of feeling – but it’s in calm, peace and then looking very steadily and clearly through to see.
Now there is an example. There is a man, he comes to Shri Dada and he says, “Look, I’m the local grocer. I’ve been cleaning this little temple of Shiva for 20 years faithfully, but it’s all quite dry and empty.” You do find this sometimes. People join a special group and they do service to the group, but gradually it all becomes thinner and arid somehow. In the end it just keeps going by its own momentum. People do give loyal service to something, but they no longer do the main thing. The main purpose has been lost – it’s been taken over by the social activity.
© Trevor Leggett
Previously “Experience a flash of Immortality”
Talks in this series are:
Part 1: Mysticism of the heart
Part 2: Study the nature of yourself
Part 3: The cosmic plan
Part 5: Mediate on the form of the lord
Part 6: Slip out of the mind cage
Part 7: Honesty and Religious practice