“The physical form of Shri Rama is in Vaikunta, but His vibrations are ever around and within us, just as the rays of the sun, though millions of miles removed from us, still penetrate into the deepest mines and caverns. You can even now come into contact with the grace of Rama by praying to Him with a tranquillised mind, divested of vanity and longing for pleasure, and by being devoted to the service of the Guru. Each particle of the holy vibrations of Rama contains His essence. You can have a vision of His materialised personality, anywhere and at any time, if your devotion to Him is complete. The saint Tulsidas, and Raghunath Das in our own time, have had the privilege of the sight of Rama. When one so unworthy as myself can be blessed with His holy Vision, surely the privilege is open to each and every one of you. I pray, brethren, that you may be devotees of Rama.”
Well, this is one of the things he (Shri Dada) says; not that this is open to only a few people, but that it is open to everyone. We think, “Oh, well, you’ve got to be exceptional.” – but that isn’t so. Everybody here can pick up a book. We can read it: “Once the Holy Paramahamsa addressed us as follows.” I can read that aloud, and understand it – but I can also read it, and so can all of us, silently. St Augustine and St Ambrose were regarded as geniuses, because they could read a book silently – and long before Augustine, as a matter of fact, the astronomer, Ptolemy, in Alexandria speaks of reading books silently. That was an unheard-of accomplishment in Roman times – you had to be a sort of super genius to do that. Now everybody can do it, but if you had said then, “Well, all of you could do this”… It’s a latent capacity which exists in everybody, but we feel, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that…”
The missionaries to China, at the early part of this century and the end of the last century used to say they’d go into some of the remote districts, and they’d take a few pamphlets about Jesus, about Christianity. One of them told me, as he was told by an old man who’d been one of his predecessors; the old boy said, “Well, you’d go in, and you’d go up to a peasant. Perhaps in the fields, you see, and you’d offer him a tract and the chap would burst out laughing. He said, ‘You don’t suppose I read? What on earth is the good of reading to me? I work a field here. Reading? That’s for scholars.’ and he said, ‘Take your tract back!’ You’d try to speak a few words, and you’d go – that’s absolutely out.
“Well, then the next generation. You’d come back, and the one who was a little boy in the field, now he’s 20 and he’s married himself. He says, ‘Oh no, no, I can’t read. I know some people do, but I can’t, I can’t read.’ Then another 20 years passes, and you come back again. This time the chap says, ‘Well, I’m awfully sorry, I don’t read. But my son’s learning.’ – and then you know in the fourth generation, the boys will be able to read.”
They used to say the main difficulty with bringing improvements – not just reading, but bringing improvements generally – was not the difficulty of introducing new things. It’s not the difficulty of reading, even in Chinese, it wasn’t all that difficult. The difficulty is to persuade people it need not be like this. It doesn’t have to be like this. One of the missionaries told me, he said, “That’s the great obstacle. It’s not the difficulty of the thing; it’s the fact that the chap thinks, ‘Oh no. Oh no. It’s always been, always been like that. Can’t change it. Can’t change it.’” He said, “That’s the difficulty.”
One of the things Shri Dada said, if you notice in this book, in the first quotation, “Every man must be able to go into voluntary nervous and muscular relaxation, and in that silence, concentrate his mind on a symbol of God, and that will bring before him the patterns of what he is to create.” He says, “Every man.” and in what we just had, he says, “If you have devotion, if you cultivate devotion to Rama, and you practice the meditation, you will have a vision of Rama.”
We can think, “How can you cultivate devotion? Yes, it would be nice if you believed in God – then it would be fine, but you can’t just because you think it would be nice.” Freud pointed out, “Sincere believers – as in the illusion of religion – are free from many of the neuroses that oppress the normal people who don’t believe.” Though he said, “They do enter a religious neurosis; they’re afraid God will turn away from them – but they are free. Many of them have a sort of stability and a confidence, and a lack of anxiety in the affairs of life. But because you think that believing in religion would give you that, it doesn’t give you grounds for believing itself.”
Pascal meets this point. Somebody says to him, “Yes, I think it would be very good to believe, but I can’t believe. I just don’t believe.” Pascal said, “Well, behave as if you did. Go to mass, and give in charity and try to live a Christian life, and you’ll find gradually you do believe. Say the prayers. You don’t believe in them, but say them, and you’ll find gradually you do believe.” Well, that would be a change of the mind and it could happen – but it could also change back again, because the basis, the roots of the mind, are not changed.
In the yogic psychology, there’s the mind, and there’s what’s called samskaras. These are dynamic, latent impressions, formed from the thoughts and actions of the past, which always seek to reproduce themselves. Until those are changed, we shall not be able to change on the surface permanently. We can change momentarily, but it’ll change back again, because the roots have not been changed. The roots are changed by meditation and by habitually thinking on those lines – that gradually changes the roots of the mind.
© Trevor Leggett
Talks in this series are
Part 1 : Mysticism of the heart 2
Part 2: The vibrations of Shri Rama
Part 5: How to stop a thought