Monday, July 6, 2009


(Sri Swami Chidananda)
Courtesy Divine Life Society
Being in the midst of worldly activities one
may yet fulfil the supreme purpose, the spir i -
tual purpose of life on earth. It is true that the
spheres of the spir i tual life and the sec u lar life
have dif fer ent con no ta tions with re gard to
their op er a tion. The sec u lar life has its sphere
out side and the spir i tual life has its sphere
within your self, though it does have some ex -
pres sion out wardly also. How ever both are a
part of you and wher ever you are, there your
spir i tual life has to be. If you are in a fam ily
set-up and liv ing the workaday life in the busy
field of worldly ac tiv ity, your spir i tual life must
be there. This in te rior life can not be cre ated
by bring ing about vis i ble ex ter nal changes in
your self. You can not live the spir i tual life
better in Rome than in Van cou ver. You can -
not be a better spir i tual man if you are liv ing at
the top of a moun tain than if you are liv ing at
the foot of it. Ge og ra phy can not change it.
Mere changes of ex ter nal form can not re ally
and truly af fect your spir i tual life, for it is the
life of the soul and, wher ever you are, the in -
ner Self may be look ing to wards God.
Even in the most holy of sur round ings,
the most sa cred of places, right in the ta ber -
na cle of God, if your soul is not in Him and is
not lifted up to wards Him, then you are not in
a spir i tual realm at all.
In var i ous ways great Mas ters have tried
to bring this truth home to seek ers and an in -
ci dent co mes to my mind which is a very fa -
mil iar story to us and not too an cient. It was in
the life of Sri Ramakrishna, the spir i tual pre -
cep tor of the fa mous Swami Vivekananda. In
his early life, Sri Ramakrishna was a priest in
a Hindu tem ple in the then cap i tal city of In -
dia, Cal cutta, and the tem ple was founded by
a lady who was some thing of a small queen.
She was the wife of a na tive ruler and a lady
of im mense riches. She had the tem ple built
with a fab u lous sum of money and had en -
dowed it with rich lands. She was a very de -
vout lady in spite of her great wealth and
af flu ence and, apart from her con cern of look -
ing af ter her prop erty, her life was spir i tual.
She oc ca sion ally would drop in at the tem ple
at the time of wor ship and sit in the sanc tum.
Sri Ramakrishna was a young priest at that
time, per haps twenty-four or twenty-five
years of age, and, on this oc ca sion, this great
lady hav ing pu ri fied her self with a bath in the
Gan ga, was sit ting just in side the sanc tum
med i tat ing. The wor ship came in a cer tain
stage where the De ity had to be hymned with
praises and glo ri fi ca tion and so, just be fore
Sri Ramakrishna was about to burst into
song, this lady said: Would you please sing
this particular song?”, and he said “Yes” and
started hymning the Di vine Mother. When he
was sing ing he was sud denly seen to stop,
turn to this great lady and give her a re sound -
ing slap on the back and just said: “What?
Here too?” That is all and then he re com -
menced sing ing. There were armed guards
nearby who had fol lowed this lady to the tem -
ple and some of the high est of fi cials of the
tem ple, and all were sim ply stunned. Some
had started to trem ble and one or two were
think ing, “Now this man’s life had come to a
close. Per haps she will or der him im me di -
ately to be bound up.” But much to their sur -
prise, just as though she were a daugh ter
be ing chas tised by a fa ther, she sud denly be -
came doc ile, kept quiet and be gan in tently to
at tend to the song. When the song was over,
the ser vice pro ceeded and, at the end of the
ser vice, she came out as if noth ing had hap -
pened. The off icials and the guards were just
waiting and won der ing “What is go ing to hap -
pen now?” and when the su per in ten dent
asked her, “Have you any or ders? I ob served
what has hap pened, but I could not step in -
side the sanc tum and so I could not do any -
thing,” she sim ply re plied, “No, there are no
or ders.” Later on, her son-in-law, who was
man ag ing the tem ple on her be half, came to
hear of this in ci dent and asked her about it.
She said, “He (Sri Ramakrishna) was per -
fectly right. I had asked him to hymn the Di -
vine Mother be cause it was the Mother who
was en shrined there and, while he was sing -
ing, I was think ing of a law-suit com ing off to -
mor row at the City High Court about the
es tate and was wor ry ing about it. I was not
think ing about any thing else—the Di vine
Mother or the song that he was sing ing in Her
praise. It was the law-suit which was oc cu py -
ing my mind and nat u rally it is some thing
which sim ply is not done be fore God. And so I
had to be pulled up and he did it. It was not re -
ally he who did it, but it was the Di vine Mother
who did it.” So this lady was not re ally in the
tem ple but she was in the Law Court. It is
what you are within your self that con sti tutes
whether you are lead ing a spir i tual life or you
are lead ing a worldly life and not the place
you are in. That is the se cret of liv ing a Yogic
life in and through the world.
Ev ery thing can be come Yogic if you
spiri tual ise your life and the method of spir i tu -
al ising life has been ex pounded in the most
glo ri ous way in the sa cred scrip ture ‘The
Bhagavad Gita’. Yoga is un ion with the Di vine
and, if you live your life with con stant in ner
un ion with the Di vine through a link of great
de vo tion to Him, through a link of gen u ine
love for the Su preme, what ever you do, wher -
ever you are and in what ever man ner you are
liv ing, you are liv ing a life of Yoga; for you are
liv ing with God and you are at-one with God
in your in ner life.
Such a life of at-one ness with God, a life
of con scious ef fort to be for ever united with
love and de vo tion to Him, and a life of aware -
ness that the whole of this life is meant for the
con sum ma tion of the ful fil ment to the ut most
per fec tion of such un ion,—a life lived in this
con scious ness,—that is Di vine Life. It is a life
of Yoga. If you are con sciously ever try ing to
reach out to wards Him in your spirit and draw
nearer and nearer to Him day by day, you are
liv ing a life of Yoga, no mat ter what shape
your ex ter nal life takes.
This spirit is the most im por tant fac tor in
liv ing a Yogic life and, in the light of this; all
that you have heard about Yoga should be -
come very clear and plain. This prin ci ple be -
ing the very es sen tial fac tor which makes a
life spir i tual, we have to con sider what those
fac tors are which we can in clude in our daily
fam ily life which will fur ther this prin ci ple and
will en able us to be united in te ri orly al ways
with God.
We take for granted, of course, that the
first thing that one is to be con scious of is
one’s pur pose in life. Ever be con scious of
why you are liv ing and ever be con scious of
what pur pose you are to ful fil in life. That is
the most im por tant thing. Know that the
whole mean ing of life is the uti lis ing of ev ery
mo ment of life in or der to at tain the su preme
pur pose.
We take it for granted that we are deal -
ing with peo ple who are al ready aware of the
spir i tual goal in life, know ing that in God
alone, true peace and hap pi ness can be had,
in God alone, all the im per fec tions of this
mor tal ex is tence can be over come and, in
God alone, all sor row can be tran scended
and the state of Eter nal life, Im mor tal ity, free -
dom and fear less ness can be had, and know -
ing this there has al ready been cre ated in
such a one a great urge and as pi ra tion to live
this life so as to have this su preme at tain ment
now, in this very body. To such a per son liv ing
such a busy fam ily (house hold) life, dif fi cul -
ties come in the way and the great est difi -
culty is that so many acivities clutter up one’s
day-to-day life that there seems to be no time
for the es sen tial ex er cise of the spirit in the
way of de vo tion, in the way of prayer and wor -
ship. This is one great ob sta cle, but it is not a
very se ri ous one, nor is it the main one. The
main ob sta cle com prises the nu mer ous as -
pects of your worldly life, your sec u lar life,
which you have to ful fil. Why? Be cause the
whole of life’s set-up is eco nom i cal and one
has to work to earn one’s live li hood. Gone
are the days of in her ited prop er ties and pa -
ter nal wealth. One has to work and this is the
dom i nant as pect of the sec u lar life.
The secondary aspect is the domstic
life. It is from here that one goes to the profes -
sional field, day after day, and it is back here
again that one comes after the day’s work is
done. In the third in stance, as a responsible
member in a community, one has cer tain as -
pects of social life—perhaps club life, or mak -
ing friends, or some other activities—which
crop up once in a while. Then each one has
one’s own per sonal, in di vid ual life.
The per sonal, in di vid ual life is the ba sis,
next to it co mes the fam ily or the do mes tic
life—the home life where there are the dif fer -
ent re la tion ships be tween hus band and wife,
par ents and chil dren, broth ers and sis ters,
etc.,—and then, though nec es sary, much
less im por tant, co mes the pro fes sional life.
For the great ma jor ity of peo ple, it has not any
spe cial im pact or sig nif i cance upon the spir i -
tual and eth i cal side of man’s life; so don’t for -
get that the in di vid ual as pect of your life is the
most im por tant to you.
A genuine, authentic positivism is an indispensable requisite of
successful spiritual striving and ultimate attainment—a keen positivism that looks at the positive aspects of things and ex ults that God has
been so gracious, that rejoicingly moves for ward with enthusiasm, with
in ter est, with ea ger ness, long ing for noth ing else, wish ing for noth ing
else, car ing for noth ing else, and, pay ing at ten tion to noth ing else but
this cen tral quest. This in deed is the sure guar an tor, that which en -
sures the suc cess ful cul mi na tion of the spir i tual quest, the suc cess ful
fruition of spiritual Sadhana, the successful attainment of enlighten -
ment and il lu mi na tion. Be this so in the life of each and ev ery one of

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