There are many examples of inspiration. Now one man he was a sage, but he lived in the country by the sea. Somebody came and said, “I practice kindness and goodness as best I can, I pray, I feel exalted sometimes, I’m able to do some good, but then I relapse. I find I’m getting dishonest. I can’t resist certain temptations. I know I’m doing harm, but I go on doing it. It’s all leaked away, and then I try again and I pray and I do austerities and practices and then again I feel I’m becoming pure, and then it all leaks away”.
The teacher went into his little cottage and he got a sieve and he said “now fill this sieve with the seawater”. So the man stood there and he picked up, scooped up, the water you put it into the sieve and again. the teacher said “this is your situation”, so the enquirer said “so what do I do”, how can I ever fill the sieve with seawater!” And the teacher took the sieve and threw it into the sea. It floated for a little bit and then it sank, and he said “now it’s full of seawater; while you stand on your own individuality and you try to ladle virtue and purity and inspiration into yourself, it will go in, but it will soon leak way through your heels. you have to make a great jump into God and sink your individuality in God. Then you will be full.
We can say well, how does one know? It’s an idea, all these things are ideas, we scoop up ideas, and we put them into ourselves, and it seems to have an effect, but after a time things are as they were before.
Well again this sort of story is meant to be meditated on. There is meaning in it that’s quite different from the surface meaning, quite different, just as the parables in the New Testament. There’s a secret in them. And he said this to his disciples when they asked for the meaning of the parable. How dull you are! If you don’t understand this parable, how you understand any parable.
How is inspiration going to come into daily life?
Now I will give one or two examples from a problem which many people have of bringing up small children, not so easy. How would inspiration show itself there? There’s a problem. Should the child be left to his own devices that and Bertrand Russell believed that children were naturally curious, naturally wanted to learn, and he founded a school on that basis. But he found the children spent their time bullying smaller ones than themselves. It turned out to be wrong.
On the other hand are you going set them to learn, as my generation had to learn, hundreds of Latin verbs, most of which never occurred ordinary Latin texts at all, but they just happen to be exceptions to a rule. What’s going to be the method how’s one going to do it?
Well now, first, this is an example of a little girl. she was very wild, which is not a good thing for a girl to be in the East, in most countries in the East. She was four or five and her parents died and she went to live in the house of an aunt who was a spiritually advanced woman, but had very little time to give to the girl. She made arrangements for her to go to school, but for controlling her behaviour, was quite difficult. She took her to the temple and she showed her the statue of the Buddha which was sitting with the hands in this particular gesture. Its hands were like this. It has a particular meaning, which doesn’t matter now. She showed the little girl the image and they bowed before the Buddha and they prayed and the little girl was very impressed. Then the aunt said, “now when you do something wrong the Buddha knows and his hands change from these circles, they change to triangles and when the Buddha forgives you they change to circles again. She was impressed and when she did something wrong she used to run to the temple and see if the Buddha’s hands were in triangles or whether she been forgiven. And she found they were circles and she felt she had been forgiven.
That woman, she later on, became an important figure in her local town. She was asked about this and they said “were you annoyed at having been fooled like that, because really you were weren’t you? You were being fooled”. She said, “Oh no, I wasn’t being fooled. I came to realise that the Buddha’s hands would always be like this. It made me realise the Buddha would forgive, was forgiving me, all the time, and then I felt I don’t want the Buddha to have to forgive me. I want to do what’s right so he won’t have to forgive me”. She said that at times of great temptation or great fear, this had been a support to her. The vivid image of the Buddha calm with this slight smile and the hands in the circle. This was case of inspiration. The aunt found from her inspiration what would direct that little girl, and in the end inspire that little girl.