Edited by Jeffrey Carr
Questioner: If this were the last satsang, what would you tell us is the essence of your spiritual teachings?
Gururaj Ananda Yogi: I would tell you, “Don’t fall asleep. And just be.”
The essence of my teachings is to bring a person to the realization that he or she is Divine. And with the realization that he is divine, he will not be trapped in the mental miseries that surround him. People create these traps for themselves, when they are not necessary. Without denying the traps that ensnare a person, he or she can be made aware that these traps are also divine. They are divine because these pitfalls are a creation or manifestation expressed by divinity itself, through the laws of evolution. And when a person reaches this understanding, then all these pitfalls cease. He stops resisting evil. Evil is there, but he does not resist it. By fighting against evil, the evil becomes greater. It will assume a greater proportion. To cease resisting evil doesn’t mean that you repress yourself, inhibit yourself or exercise self -immolation. Instead, you come to see the value of the so‑called evil, which is just an interpretation of the mind. An understanding is developed when you consider your attitude. How do you look at things; how you view things? By ceasing the resistance to evil, you are not encouraging it. Instead, you are flowing with the currents of nature and allowing evil to just fade away by itself. You do this by becoming the observer of what we classify as “good” and “bad.” For example, if it’s raining outside you might say, “What a terrible day it is today. It’s raining. It’s bad.” You think that the rainy day will spoil your nice dress or the new suit that you have bought to go to a party.
This thought is centered only upon yourself: your party, your suit, your dress. But from where do you get that thought of “yours”? Nothing is really “yours.” With the thought of “yours”, the rainy day becomes an evil to you, something that is wrong for you. But without the rain, the flowers, the fruit and the food we eat would not be there. And even the sheep on which grows the wool that gives you that garment, would not have been there. Without that rain, cotton would not grow to give you that summer frock. So here is an entirely different perspective towards life.
By recognizing the divinity within yourself, divinity is recognized everywhere. There is a famous stanza from the Upanishads, “What is there to be known by which all else is known?” That which is to be known is You. It is said: Man, know thyself. But what is man? Who is the real human being in the apparent human beings that you see around you? Who is that man or that woman? When you ask that question, another question arises: Who am I? Do I exist? And if I exist, which part of me really exists and which part of me only apparently exists? Here you come to the process of spiritual discrimination. You see how all the qualities and aspects of human beings merge into Oneness. When you can truly say that I exist in actuality, that I actually exist, then you are referring to what you are seeking within yourself, the real Self, the divine Self. And when that is sought and found through spiritual practices, only then can you find some form of actual reality in all these apparent realities.
In apparent or relative existence, everything changes all the time. And that which is changing can never be actual. At the same time, relative or apparent existence has its own form of reality. For example, I do not deny the existence of a chair I am sitting on. I do not deny the existence of these flowers I am looking at, or of a piece of wood that I am looking at. But why should I become so attached to the existence of this flower or to this piece of wood? I know that the flower and the wood and everything else is endlessly changing, and in its own dissolution, it will become something else. This piece of wood might become a table, or a chair, or become anything. So, let me be concerned instead with the essence of the wood. A piece of gold, for example, could be made into earrings or a necklace or a bracelet. But how many in the world would look at that ornament and say, “Ah, this is gold.” Instead, we say, “This is a bracelet” “These are earrings” or “This is a necklace.” We don’t say, “It is gold.” That only comes as an afterthought: “Oh, that’s made of gold.” Why does it only come as an afterthought that it is made of gold? Because you are aware only of the value of the little trinket that you possess.
Ask yourself, what is the essence of the table, the chair, the flowers and whatever you see around you. What is the essence? When you find the essence outside, you also find the essence inside. Once you find the essence inside, then the essence of all that is around you is automatically found. It’s a two‑way street. An identification occurs that nothing is separate from you. I am one with all and with everything, for everything contains that essence. Everything not only contains the essence but it IS the essence. Everything is good. Everything is holy. For example, you will despise the excrement coming from your own body. But it is part of your body. So why do you despise it? You do so because the odor is not nice. But have you thought of it another way, that this body that I love so much has produced this excrement? This production which is so despised is never looked upon as that which makes the flowers and trees grow. It feeds the plants, even while it is made from the food that you have eaten. Excrement is made from the food you have eaten, which the excrement has also helped to grow. So, what are you eating in reality?
With this attitude to life everything becomes holy. Everything has within it a wholeness. And I am not only a part of that wholeness, but I AM that wholeness. You can never be a part of a wholeness. You either are whole or you are not. From a limited angle, you may seem to be a part. But from a different angle you are it all. Non- separation. Nothing exists in separation. “Eternity in an hour,” as Blake would have said. All in that Oneness, for God is all. And there is only one God, one energy. So how can you be apart? Where is there a place for you to stand outside His omnipresence? For people without understanding there is something strange happening here. They ask: If I am of the divine, made from the divine, and AM the divine, then how come I have a sense of individuality and not universality? If this is the path to proceed along; from the unit to the whole, from the individual to the universal, (then) why then do I have the sense of being alone and separate? What has caused this? That is their question.
As matter becomes more dense, atoms and atomic structures come about that are duplicated and replicated. That is how the universe expanded. And these minute atoms became more and more condensed until they assumed the solid forms which we call the mineral kingdom. The beauty of this is that it is like a holographic image, in which the whole picture is contained in even a tiny piece of the plate. You can take a holographic plate and break it into a million pieces. Yet each little piece, like each little atom, contains the wholeness of the picture. This force, this manifestation that arose like the fragrance from a flower, is what we term the Big Bang, the creation of the universe.
It is in the nature of the separation of these atoms to find their essence in togetherness again. In evolution, there is a dissipation of the momentum brought into being by the terrific explosion of the Big Bang. As the Impersonal is condensed into the personal God or universal Mind, and then into atomic matter, there are always conflicts. There is always combustion. Any explosion has combustion, and all combustion is the result of forms of polarities. That is how atoms become separated. But the goal is to end the momentum of the vast explosion that is the Universe. In time, the process of evolution will gather these atoms together again in their essence.
(The process of) these atoms being separated and (then finding) their essence again has to proceed on its own path. The explosion of the atomic and molecular matter cannot proceed in one line; it proceeds in all directions as any explosion would. This is how Individuality started, for in the explosion the (universal) Mind was condensed into atomic structures that had to proceed separately. Every atom is a separate entity that also contains the wholeness of the entirety. And every atom is connected to the other by its essential energy, by its essential self. The atom contains within itself the entirety of the (universal) mind. But by being in an encapsulated form, individuality occurs in the universality while the essence remains universal. It is the surface, the container, that becomes individual.
In the path of its progress, (these atomic structures) evolved into higher forms of life: mineral, plant, animal and then man. Everything has consciousness, but a human being has the recognition or recollection of this consciousness – although only in a limited way through the conscious mind. The human being tries to gather the total awareness, the total consciousness of the entirety. Since time began, in the relative sense of the word, everything is in your mind. The entire history of this creation or manifestation is in your mind. As awareness grows, you come to comprehend this entirety. When the mind reaches subtler and subtler levels, you recognize the various planes of existences in the path of evolution. From the subtlest to the most gross, the whole range (of existence) can be experienced. Some people get frightened by it. It becomes awesome; not fearful, but full of awe.
In the Bhavagad Gita, there is a time when the hero Arjuna requests of Lord Krishna to reveal himself in his true or universal nature. And Krishna showed himself in the viratform. The sanskrit word viratameans the Lord revealed in his universal form. In the universal form of Krishna, Arjuna saw people dying, people coming alive, people suffering miseries, happinesses, joys, sorrows — all of that was contained in the universal form. As the mind becomes more and more aware, you will perceive all these things. If the perception is backed by spiritual practices to a high degree, then you will see these as perceptions (not) apart from yourself. (Until this point), you have been separate only (because of) the conscious mind. But now you will find through this process that the separation from the deeper layers of the subconscious mind and from all the planes of existences throughout this universe can be seen and observed and experienced. I know it. I have gone through these planes in this little lifetime many, many times. It becomes awesome. That is how the individuality serves a purpose in the evolutionary process. From the One everything came, was separated and was preserved, only to come together again. That’s the process, first Creation, then preservation in the middle and then dissolution at the end. Creation, preservation, dissolution: that is the total law of nature, the governing law of nature, within which many other laws are involved.
To give this understanding is the essence of my teaching: the understanding that you are Divine but deluded by your sense of separation. What should we do then? We develop the understanding that all is One by self‑examination, by listening to the words of sages, by reading their books, and by a touch or a glance, (so that) a realization occurs. This individualization, with its limited amount of consciousness, comes about with the ego-self. With the assumption of this ego- self, every person thinks “I am so significant. The entire universe rotates around me.” And that is very true. It does. But how are you looking at this? From the ego self? (From the viewpoint of the ego self), this is not true. The clarification of the ego results from bringing the person from the assumption of great significance to the realization of total insignificance. And when the person reaches that sense, that knowledge, that (comes with the) inner experience of total insignificance, then he or she proceeds to say “I am all‑significant.”
This is the cyclical process, in which the significance of the ego self is experienced as far, far different from the all‑encompassing significance. (You experience the ego-self) from two totally different levels: one from the relative ego level, and one from the Absolute, Divine level. Then the question “Who am I?” is answered. Until then the answer is not there. You may have a certain glimpse or a certain glimmer; sometimes the sun just peeks through from amidst the clouded sky. That’s encouraging. Even if you do not see the sunshine, it is still there. The clouds are many, but consider what has created the clouds. It is by the sun itself, by drawing up water as vapor, creating the clouds to obscure itself– but for a purpose, for rain. And yet the sun itself remains untouched—while far below are the clouds and the rain ‑‑creating the water wherever it is needed for the preservation of this creation or existence. And the sun remains untouched. So, it is the sun itself creates these clouds, and creates its own obscurity.
That is why human beings suffer, not realizing that it is Divinity itself that has obscured itself from you because you are too involved with that sense of great significance on the ego level. I am thee. I Am. But what is that “I am?” Not the ordinary “I am” with which you attach a label: I’m John, I’m Jack, I’m Jean, I am Joan. Not that “I am,” but the all‑encompassing Yahweh: “I am that I am.” That is the purpose of the journey. That is the purpose of all this. You will reach a stage where everything else loses its value. Everything becomes insignificant. You stand apart and say, “What is this? What is that? This is a dream! How can all this be real? What reality is there in it?“ And then a longing starts in your heart, a deep longing to know the essence of all this unreality around me. Then you will find that essence, that grace just descending. If you create that deep longing, you will draw the entire universe into the palm of your hand. That is the essence of life.
Do not sleep! Be awake! And to be awake is just to BE. It’s so simple! And that, in a very short, concise form, is the essence of our teaching.
We teach of life, for there is nothing other than life. There is no death: there is only a transformation. There is only a change from one substance to the other. Even when this body is discarded, the atomic structure of this body is never destroyed. It goes back to its original elements; the water to the water, earth to earth, and the fire to fire. All the five elements go back to the original source. So, everything is eternal. Therefore, you too are eternal. Your ego self, becoming so refined, is also not destroyed. When the body is cast off, the ego self which we can call the subtle body, is so fine that it disintegrates and goes back into its original elements. The sum totality of this universe remains the same. Not a single ounce can be taken away from it, and not a single ounce can be added to it. By having these understandings with some knowledge and experience of the essence underlying all of this, you experience the “allness” of everything there is. And that is Is‑ness.
It is not against any religion whatsoever. It is not against any theology. For at the basis of all these religions, theologies and philosophies we find these simple truths. And that is what our emblem portrays. Through whichever way you want to enter, enter into the light within. That light is there within. Choose Buddhism, choose Christianity, choose Hinduism. Choose whatever you like. If you’re a Christian, be a better Christian. If you’re a Hindu, be a better Hindu. But do not lose the aim of finding the heaven within, the jyot burning so brightly, the jyotis burning so brightly within; the essence of yourself, the light within.
With this light always there, why do we wear these eye masks and just see darkness? We are so filled with light: children of God, children of light. Yet you talk of suffering? Why? What is suffering? There is no such damn thing. There is no suffering. Your interpretation is suffering. And that is the greatest illusion. Your interpretation is the suffering, and your interpretation is the greatest illusion. You are not being. You are assuming. You are assuming truth, you are not being truth. You gain this inner wisdom through experience, but the path is not always easy. It is easy in reality. But it is our interpretations that make things difficult. We have to bypass them, overcome them, go straight through them. Go through the army of the foes that battle against you. Don’t circumvent them; then you’re only escaping them. Face them! Draw your swords! March on Christian soldiers or Hindu soldiers! Onward march! Divinity is always there with us! So who can be against you? God is with you!
Such an old saying. But how many people understand it? They understand it with their mind. They think about it. They say, “Good concept. Yes. Yes. Yes.” Experience it! The basis of our teaching is experience. And where do you experience it? At the core, the center of your personality. There you go beyond all these outer trappings and reach the core, the heart, the heart of yourself. Your core that is Divine. That heart is forever bleeding. Not bleeding in suffering, but feeding. That bleeding is a feeding for the purification to bring about purity to the outer trappings and to know what they are worth. Here today, gone tomorrow. Worth nothing! You see? That is the essence.