The highest service


From the worldly point of view, apart from the spiritual point of view, a man like that probably has never actually done anything in his life. Because, as a matter of fact, when you take up something, for instance, like learning to drive a car or learning Chinese or embroidery or French cuisine, you don’t think, “I am a car driver.” You know that you’re absolutely hopeless and you need all your attention to become even passable. You don’t think, “I am an orientalist” after the first week of Chinese, when you realise there are two languages, not one, that you have to learn. Our teacher used to say that our ignorance increases as our knowledge increases. Well, that’s an example – the ordinary man thinks, “I don’t know Chinese”. The man who’s studied a little bit knows, “I don’t know the spoken Chinese, and I don’t know quite a different Chinese, the written language”. So his ignorance has increased. The first man doesn’t know that he doesn’t know written Chinese because he’s never heard of it. The ignorance increases. Not that the ego is inflated when people begin these tasks of discipline, but that the ego becomes humbled. It’s the people who do nothing that are more likely to have an inflated idea of what they would be able to do, if they cared to, but they don’t feel in the mood. Our teacher said the chief aim of man in life should be to acquire that exalted state of mind which is imperturbable, peaceful, free from grief and the pairs of opposites, acquiring which man becomes an instrument of God and divine energy pours through him. Now he said that as part of the practice for this, his students should attempt to the best of their ability to spread something of the Holy Truth to others. This comes again and again in the book The Heart of the Indian Mystical Teaching and he says it will not be easy. People who’ve never done any teaching think of the teacher as somehow raised above and thinking “I’ll give them that. That’s the level they’re on. I’ll give them that”. They don’t know anything about the responsibility of the teacher, or the opposition that the Truth will arouse. He says, “Those who spread the Gita in the West will be persecuted, ridiculed, vilified. If they still do not complain, there will be an upturn in the present cycle”. Again our teacher said, “They will hate you, they will curse you, they will spread damaging rumours about you.” But it’s not only yogis who suffer, and a great fellow disciple of our teacher remarked on this, “There are troubles in Yoga, but there are much greater troubles in the world”. And one of the Chinese sayings is that of course it is dangerous to practice yoga, but it is much more dangerous not to practice it. The teaching is from the Gita that the Lord himself will protect those who are devoted to Him and endeavour to serve by spreading the Gita. The Gita says, “This service is the highest service”.

I’ll read the first part again:

The Lord rules the hearts of all beings dwelling therein, causing them to revolve like a machine by His magic power, Maya. The yogi must take refuge in Him with all his heart, instead of trusting his lower self which expresses itself in ambition, material desires, attraction and aversion, and other limitations which end in sore despair. By His grace the yogi will attain supreme peace, the highest state. The result of contact of the lower self with the Supreme Being is the transformation of the conditioned self into the Infinite.”

The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, whirling by Maya (His magic power) all beings, as if mounted on a machine. Fly unto Him for refuge with all thy being, O Bharata; by His Grace shalt thou obtain supreme peace and the eternal resting place.”


© Trevor Leggett

Titles in this series are:

Part 1: Yoga in Troubled Times

Part 2: We are whirled by Maya

Part 3: We are controlled by our illusions

Part 4: Indulgence in the objects of the senses is the enemy

Part 5: Shankara says we are puppets

Part 6: The highest service

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