8. God is ever after us. He wants to take us to Himself and grant us the highest beatitude. But we try to escape from Him even as a dirt-covered child runs away from its mother who wants to bathe it. We are trying to run away from the Divine Mother who wants to purify us and give us the highest bliss. We like playing with the toys of the world, ignoring Her call.
9. Seek not to find peace and freedom in the external circumstances of life. True freedom and happiness is an inner state which you acquire when you are in tune with God who dwells within you. Let the knocks you get in life turn you more and more towards God.
28. One cannot rise beyond a certain stage of spiritual advancement if he is bound to any institution. In spiritual matters, the best rules are those which are not made by others, but self-imposed – by the Guru from within. A tree does not grow in the shade of another tree, but gets stunted. It can grow fully only in the open. So also you must have a free and open atmosphere for your spiritual growth. One may receive light and inspiration from saints and sages, but one must have an atmosphere of freedom in which to develop one’s nature, independent of all external interference or guidance. By depending always on guidance from without, the disciple does not look within and does not rely on God who dwells in the heart.
29. So get inspiration from saints, but do not think of taking shelter permanently in any Ashram. Live alone in a free and open atmosphere. Then God within will lead you. The indwelling God is none other than your Guru who initiated you from outside as a human being. Guru is the immortal, all-pervading Spirit. Never look upon him as a mere person. If you develop this attitude from the beginning, you will realise that the Guru never dies. You will never feel his absence as he is eternally within you.
30. It is not by mere external renunciation that one attains God. There are so many who have externally renounced and gone to the forests but have not realised Him. It is not necessary that one should externally renounce anything. It is not the outer condition that matters so much as one’s inner state of mind. If we dedicate our life to God and live in His light, it does not matter where we live. We can live in the family and still realise Him, because God is everywhere and not only in forests and caves. He is in us, with us and all about us. To seek Him, we need not go anywhere.
31. The examples of Buddha, Chaitanya and Vivekananda are not for all to follow. They are rare cases in which God made them renounce the external ties also so that they might freely serve all mankind. When God wants us to undertake such a glorious mission, by all means, let us not resist the current when it comes to sweep away our narrow limitations. Sri Krishna and Janaka in their lives have shown that even for the work of Lokasangraha, the normal duties of life that fall to our lot need not be abandoned. To attain Moksha for oneself, wilful breaking off from external ties is not at all necessary.
32. God-realisation is not getting away from the world, but looking upon it as the manifestation of God and serving Him in all creatures and beings, in a state of perfect submission to His will.
33. What we have to give up is the ego-sense, the idea that we are the doers. God within us is the doer, the sole master of all our activities. If we dedicate all our actions to Him we can destroy our ego-sense and find our supreme union with Him. Surrender does not denote any change in the external mode of life, but a right attitude towards it.
34. Ramdas still belongs to the world, not in a partial sense, but in totality. His Beloved is not only in particular persons, but is in His full power and glory in all beings, creatures and things. Ramdas has only expanded the narrow family circle into a world-family. So it is not renunciation, but expansion. God has in His mercy made him embrace the whole universe as his. Ramdas’ Beloved dwells everywhere, as all beings and creatures in the world.
47. Surrender to God as you are. It is not that we must purify ourselves first and then go to Him. He must purify us. We must go to him as a child to its mother. If the child goes to her in a dirty condition, the mother does not turn it away nor ask it to come clean. She herself takes the child and bathes it clean. God is more loving than the earthly mother.
48. When we surrender to God and allow ourselves to be guided by Him, all “obstacles” that come on the way are found to be helpful and beneficial to our progress. Life is a battle for all. There is joy in winning as well as losing in this battle. Let your heart be ever in tune with God. Then winning and losing are seen as the play of the Divine.
49. Some persons say that surrender is a sign of weakness. Ramdas says it is the path of the strong. Surrender is not so easy as people seem to think. It is very hard to eradicate the ego-sense. Surrender is the only way to root out the ego. It is the straight path that leads to God.
50. Really, man has no will of his own. There is only one Divine will at work everywhere and in all. It is a mistake to think that we, as individuals, have got any power to do anything. God is behind everything. His power does all things. If we know that His power is alone active in us and submit to Him, we shall be free from the ego-sense and realise that we are the infinite, universal Spirit.
70. God is at once personal and impersonal. He is an impersonal Person – that is, He is not only the all-pervading, nameless and formless Reality, but He is also all that have names and forms.
71. There are two ways to realise Him – one to expand the ego, the individual, to infinity and the other to reduce it to nothing. The former is the path of knowledge, the latter that of devotion. The Jnani says: “I am God – the universal Truth.” The Bhakta says: “I am nothing, O Lord, You are everything.” In both cases the ego-sense disappears. The second is the safer and surer way – to take refuge in God and be ever under His protection.
72. If one sees God within himself, he sees God everywhere. If any one says he is God and not the others, he has not known God at all, because that is not the right experience. If he has seen God within himself, he must see everybody as the embodiment of God.
73. It is the restless, moving mind that makes us see movements outside, putting us under the illusion that the world of movement is real. But when the mind attains a state of perfect calm and stillness, we immediately experience the changeless or immutable Reality in which change and motion seem to be like waves on the surface of the ocean. Verily, we and God are one, never separate. It is by ignorance we feel we are separate from Him. When this ignorance is removed, we know we are one with Him and that we have always been so.
80. Divine Love is the highest attainment. All spiritual practices should end in this sweet consummation. Love is the end of the quest. See that you are absorbed in God who is Love and become an image of Him. Let all our emotions be of love. Life is dry and insipid if it is not filled with love. Be intoxicated with love – the love that blesses you with a vision of your Beloved. All beings are the forms of your Beloved. Grace, Love and Bliss are synonymous. The three are one in your Beloved and you are He. Dance with joy.
81. The victories of the intellect and the highest flights of imagination, cannot be compared with the triumphs of love. The discords and conflicts in life are the result of the absence of love. Love purifies, ennobles and sanctifies every movement of life. Love invites sufferings for the sake of the Beloved and transmutes them into unalloyed joy. The pointed dart tipped with love injects delight, not pain.
82. Ordinarily love based on physical affinity is a source of misery both to the lover and the loved. But Divine Love based on the feeling of spiritual oneness is sublime. It is a source of pure bliss. Here you love another not because he is a relation of yours, but because you and he are one in Spirit.
83. Love in the making sees faults; love in the fulfilment sees none. Seeing faults is like cutting love into pieces, murdering love. By so doing we keep the mind alive. We have to go beyond the mind. The mind must die.
84. Love breaks all barriers. Even body-consciousness is transcended under the intoxication of love. What to say then of man-made distinctions created by allegiance to creed, race and institutions? Love is a great unifying force. It is a solvent of differences and diversities. It creates unity. But to love truly, one must have knowledge of the Self. On the basis of Self-knowledge alone one can love all with an equal eye.
85. Love begets love and kindness begets kindness. This is a law which knows no exception. People dislike us because we have no love for them. If we love them, their love automatically flows to us. When our love goes to them and their love comes to us, the two streams mingle together and there is an ocean of love and joy. Love is not bargaining; it is not give and take. It is a spontaneous merging of souls.
86. Truly speaking it is not that we have to love God; we have to know that God who is Love is enthroned in our hearts. By surrendering ourselves to this Divine Love in us, we become embodiments of that Love. By constant remembrance and meditation we realise His presence in us and our life becomes filled with His light and love. His love then radiates through us and we see with love, talk with love, give with love, receive with love and act with love.
87. Love of God means love of all beings because God is all and all is in God. He is all-in-all. Love is consciousness of unity as hatred is of diversity. Go beyond all narrow limitations. Rise, soar high and hold the world in one embrace of Love. Your dwelling place is the whole universe which is your body. Live in it as Love!
94. You cannot please everybody in the world. When the mind is drawn within and you are absorbed in the Self, you will be unaffected by what people say about you. Be true to the Atman within you.
95. Cultivate the consciousness that keeps you detached from the mind and its antics. This can be done only by your continued remembrance of the Divine Power that resides in you. Despair and dejection are enemies on the path of spiritual progress. Do not allow the mind to be depressed on any account. Keep yourself cheerful by chanting the Mantra. Your life must flow in a spontaneous and natural way. Your nature should become childlike.
96. Good and evil are merely conceptual and relative. What is good for you may be bad for another. There are no fixed standards, but only those set by the mind. There is a state beyond the mind in which there is no good and evil. There you see the whole universe filled with the light of the Divine.
97. What, after all, is right and wrong? That which takes you towards God is right and that which takes you away from God is wrong. There is no question of right and wrong for one who has realised God. He has transcended all duality. His entire life is an offering at the feet of God. His life flows spontaneously for the good of all. For him there is only God, and God is all.
98. In the eyes of God there is no evil. We suffer because of our ego. The sense of individuality, or separation from others, is responsible for all apparent evils. God is all-benevolent and all-loving. If you think of God constantly you can be happy in all situations. If you can take it that God’s will prevails in the world and everything happens by His will, you cannot see evil anywhere and there is no suffering for you at any time. This is Ramdas’ experience.
99. Evil is our own creation; it is not God’s creation. If we have the vision of God, we cannot see evil anywhere. When love prevails evil disappears. Evil is the offspring of the ignorant mind. If we accept the sovereignty of God by surrendering ourselves to His will, we love all alike and see no evil at all. Just as darkness disappears before light, evil disappears in the light of God.
100. God never punishes. Punishment is always self-inflicted. We bring suffering on ourselves by our own wrong actions. If we are conscious that God is acting through us, we will never do any wrong. We do wrong only when we forget God.
101. Everyone has some good points in him. We should see only those good points. If we are to see bad points, let us look for them only in ourselves. If we practise this, the evil in us will disappear. If we see evil in others and good in us, what little of good we have will disappear and the evil in us will grow. By criticizing and thinking ill of others, we only make our minds more and more impure. The way to progress is to see good in everyone and love everyone. To see good in others is to see God in them; for, God alone is good. By seeing God in others we can easily realise God in our own heart. So long as we criticize others we can never see God in them.
102. Adversity is not undesirable, because, it is only when you are down and out in life that you can realise its true value. Face all the vicissitudes in life by throwing yourselves completely on the mercy of the Almighty Lord. When you are made to go through the fire of suffering, you can come out of it purified and strengthened. Such suffering constitutes real Sadhana for attaining God. The more bitter it is, the more rapid becomes your spiritual progress. God-realisation does not mean living in worldly comfort and opulence. It means living in peace and freedom, whatever the external conditions may be. For such a person misery has no sting. The lives of most of the great saints of the world clearly show that they had the worst of sufferings. When you are disowned by the world you become the acknowledged child of God.
103. Heroes are they who suffer and sacrifice for the sake of Truth or God. Strange are the ways of the Divine! His most beloved devotees, to whom He reveals Himself in all His glory, are made by Him to pass through great trials and tribulations both before and after they are accepted by Him. Before they realise Him, these sufferings are for their own self-purification and after their realisation, they are for the uplift and redemption of mankind.
From Thus Speaks Ramdas, which contains the quintessence of Swami Ramdas’ teachings in a pocket-size edition.