Rama Tirtha says, “You will succeed in all you do, if you can give up completely your desire, your wish, and you can say to the Lord, “This is your work. If you let me be successful, I’m pleased, if you make me fail, I’m pleased.” When you can give it up completely then you’ll be successful and like the merchant and the warrior. Rama Tirtha says this attitude has to be cultivated – not just done at a given time. Now our teacher occasionally made a comment about this. He said, “Two men coming out of a synagogue. One says triumphantly to the other, “Twenty-three percent!”; or two men coming out of a church saying, “Do mine with onions and apricots.”
One thinks, “Oh yes – we’re not very devout here are we, but you take the Sufi dancers – they dance with one hand turned up to heaven, one hand turned down to earth. One to receive the grace from heaven, the other to distribute it on earth. Now that really is something – after that dance they must be in a very high state.” And our teacher remarked that is the case with some of them, but some of them are talking business – “Twenty-three percent!” perhaps, or “My wife always does it with onions and apricots”. One can feel, “Well I’ve done that. We’ve done the dance now.” It’s the same all over the world. In Japanese shrines there’s a rule of silence in some of the shrines. Partly it’s the rule of the shrine, and also consideration for other people. But one priest remarked that two people, a man and a woman – he saw them come outside the gate – were arguing furiously and as they came to the gate they were silent. They walked up and did their devotions very devoutly, and then they went out solemnly and quietly. And as they turned out of the gate, one said, “And another thing…!” All the time they had been going through these movements. All the time there’s this row bubbling up inside and of course it bursts out immediately they have gone out.
The Karma Yoga experiment was given a little bit in the way of the merchant and this is the Karma Yoga actual experiment. Rama Tirtha says you’ll have success in whatever you do, if you can give these things up completely. Not just say, “Oh I’m detached from it.” No – actually to give them up.
The experiment on the next [step] is to move from being an actor or an agent and an experiencer in this world, to an experience which has to be as vivid as the present bodily experience. Rama Tirtha says it has to be the experience of Brahman and has to be as strong as the present experience of the body. The Gita in chapter 9, verse 2 says, “It is pratyaksha”. Pratyaksha means ‘direct’, like the touch, or something directly in front of the eyes. It means it has to be – not like an intellectual idea, not a piously held faith – an experience direct. Again, the Gita chapter 6, verse 28 for instance, says, “When he can enter into meditation and he can maintain it, then he will experience the touch of Brahman”. This word sansparsha means the actual touch. It doesn’t mean an idea, it doesn’t mean a thought. It doesn’t mean a notion.
Rama Tirtha speaks about his actual practice. “Thus when you sing the sacred mantram OM, let it course through your veins. Let it pulsate in your bosom. Let every hair on your body and every drop of your blood tingle with the truth that you are the lights of lights, the sun of suns, the ruler of the universe, the Lord of Lords, the true Self.” He’ll say here and elsewhere this is not necessarily a verbal recitation, but the verbal recitation is done because the people find it difficult at first to concentrate on the mental repetition. So by repeating it verbally in this way – not necessarily loudly – he says you’ll feel an inner vibration – every pore, every hair, every nerve. By practice you’ll come to feel it, as direct and clear as the body consciousness itself. He says finally, “Sing it with your acts, and sing it internally.” One of the experiences he refers to is the experience of a blue sky and the OM resounding, filling the blue sky. These are actual experimental practices and the experiments are given to us to try.
The illustrations of the moon and the sun in the water are just to illustrate certain points. There are fuller descriptions. One of the points made is that the whole of our experience is lit by the reflection of the Self in us. It lights up all our mental movements and all our consciousness and lights up the whole of our life and thought and feeling. There is the Lord and then there is a reflection in the individual where the Lord enters the individual – and that lights up our whole internal body/mind complex. The passions and the memories and the various elements of our inner life and our outer life too are all lit. We would not be active. They would be inert, unless they were lit and vivified by the rays from this reflected consciousness.
This is illustrated by a drawing we thought we could show you. In the top left-hand corner there‘s a sort of stylised sun. It’s got these jagged rays coming from it, showing that it cannot be looked at. There are rays coming from the sun which hit a man in a robe with a rather oriental head dress holding a great mirror. In that mirror the image of the sun is reflected, and from that reflection of the sun that he’s holding there are rays coming out. In the light of those rays, these animals are fighting. There is a sort of wind-dragon which is holding and devouring a lioness, and a bear is climbing on the back of the dragon and biting and attacking it. There’s another lioness in the lower right-hand corner just preparing to spring. These represent the passions fighting among themselves. In the bottom left-hand corner there’s a unicorn and in the Renaissance the unicorn represented sublimated sexual impulse.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 2: Shankara on the sun in the water
Part 3: You will succeed in all you do