Thought, memory, will and reason, together with the ego as
the fifth and principal factor, constitute the heart. It is
these five things that may be called the heart; but in definitely
naming the different parts of this heart, we call the surface
of it mind, and the depth of it heart.
If we imagine this heart as a lantern, then the light in
the lantern makes it the spirit. We call the heart a lantern
when we do not think of the light. However, when there is a
light, then we forget the word lantern and we call it light.
When we call the heart spirit, it does not mean spirit void
of heart, as it does not mean light without lantern, but light
in the lantern.
The right use of the word spirit, however, is only as the
essence of all things. The essential light and life from which
all has come – that is the spirit. But we use the word spirit
also in a limited sense, just as light is the all-pervading
light of the sun and at the same time the light in the lantern,
which we call light also.
People call a part of the breast, heart. The reason is that
there is a part in this body of flesh that is most sensitive
to feeling; and naturally – as man cannot grasp the idea of
a heart outside of the body – he conceives this idea of the
heart as being a part of his physical body.
The ego stands separate from the four faculties of thought,
memory, will and reason. It is just like four fingers and thumb.
Why is the thumb not called a finger? Because the thumb is the
whole hand. These four are faculties, but the ego is a reality.
It holds and accommodates within itself the four faculties;
and in order to distinguish it as different from them, we call
As the surface of the heart is known by the imagination and
thought, so the depth of the mind, which is heart, is known
The difference between thought and imagination is that imagination
is an automatic working of the mind. If the mind is fine, then
there is a fine imagination. If the mind is gross, then there
is a gross imagination. If there is a beautiful mentality, then
the imagination is beautiful. Thought is also imagination, but
imagination held, controlled and directed by will. Therefore
when we say 'He is a thoughtful person,' it means that this
person does not think, speak or act on impulse, but behind everything
he does, there is will power that controls and directs the action
of his mind.
There are nine principal feelings that can be distinguished
as mirth, grief, anger, passion, sympathy, attachment, fear,
bewilderment and indifference. Feelings cannot be limited to
these nine, but when we distinguish numerous feelings, we may
reduce them to these nine distinct feelings that we experience
There are six diseases that belong to the heart: passion,
anger, infatuation, conceit, jealousy and covetousness.
The more one thinks on the subject of the heart, the more
one finds that, if there is anything that can tell us of our
personality, it is the heart. If there is anything through which
we feel ourselves or know ourselves – know what we are – it
is the heart and what our heart contains. Once a person understands
the nature, the character and the mystery of the heart, then
he understands, so to speak, the language of the whole universe.
There are three ways of perception. One way of perception
belongs to the surface, to the mind. It is thought. Thought
manifests to our mind with a definite form, line and color.
The next way of perception is feeling. It is felt by quite
another part of the heart. It is felt by the depth of the heart,
not by the surface. The more the heart quality is awakened in
a person, the more he perceives the feelings of others. That
person is sensitive because to him, the thoughts and feelings
of others are clear. The one who lives on the surface does not
perceive feelings clearly. Also, there is a difference between
the evolution of the two, of the one who lives on the surface
of the heart and the other who lives in the depths. In other
words, the one lives in his mind, and the other lives in his
There is still a third way of perception that is not even
through feeling and that may be called a spiritual language.
This perception comes from the deepest depths of the heart.
It is the voice of the spirit. It does not belong to the lantern,
it belongs to the light – but in the lantern, it becomes clearer
and more distinct. This perception may be called intuition;
there is no better name for it.
In order to study life fully, these three perceptions must
be developed. Then, alone, is one able to study life fully;
and it is in studying life fully that one is able to form a
judgment upon it.
Question: Could you explain further how the mind is the surface
of the heart, and the heart the depth of the mind?
Answer: There are five fingers, but one hand. There are several
organs of the body, but one body. There is a universe full of
variety, but one Spirit. So, there is one heart that feels the
various thoughts and imaginations that spring up and then sink
into it. The bubbles are to be found on the surface of the sea.
The depth of the sea is free from bubbles. The commotion is
to be seen on the surface, the depth of the sea is still. The
mind is the commotion of that something that is within us, that
something which we call heart.
The happiness, knowledge, pleasure and love that is stored
in our innermost being is in our profound depth. Changing emotions
and passions, dreams, ever-rising thoughts and imaginations,
all belong to the surface, as the bubbles belong to the surface
of the sea.
Question: Can we say that the heart is nearer to the soul,
and the mind, nearer to the body?
Answer: Yes, in a certain way. But at the same time, the
soul experiences through the whole being, through the body,
through the mind, through the heart, as it happens to be in
different planes of existence.
Question: Is the heart one of the soul's bodies?
Answer: Certainly. The heart is one of the bodies of the
soul, the finest body. It goes a long way with the soul, even
on its return journey.
Question: Is the heart the same as the angelic body?
Answer: Yes, quite true.
Question: Is it, therefore, that the Catholics have a special
devotion for the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
Answer: Of course. The heart is the shrine of God. If God
is ever to be found anywhere, it is in the heart of man, especially
in the heart of that man in whom the divine manifests.
Question: Is the heart the home of the soul?
Answer: Yes, one may call the heart a home of the soul, but
I would call it a temporary hotel.
Question: Is the world of feelings higher than the world
Question: What is indifference?
Answer: This is a word that I always find difficult to explain,
and I have made many people angry by talking about indifference.
They say, 'Where is the love that you have come to preach to
us? Indifference is quite contrary to love, to the message and
the teaching.' When people read in Buddhism and Yogism about
renunciation, Nirvana, Vairagya – which in Sufi
terms of the Persian poets is Fana – they begin to ask,
'Have they all taught to become indifferent, have they taught
such cruelty?' In reality, it is quite a different thing. Indifference
is not lovelessness nor is it lack of sympathy. Indifference
is most useful at the time when a soul has arrived at that sensitiveness
when every little thing hurts. Then it is only indifference
which keeps it alive.
You might say that it is not good to be sensitive. Yes, but
without being sensitive, you cannot evolve. Sensitiveness is
a sign of evolution. If you are not sensitive, then you cannot
feel in sympathy with your fellow men. If you do not feel the
feelings of your fellow men, then you are not yet awakened to
life. Therefore, in order to become a normal human being, one
has to develop sensitiveness, or at least to arrive at sensitiveness.
When you are sensitive, then life becomes difficult to live.
The more sensitive you are, the more thorns you will find on
your way. Every move you make, at every turn, at every step,
there is something to hurt you. It is only one spirit that you
can develop, and that is the spirit of indifference; yet, not
taking away the love and sympathy you have for another – that
is the right indifference. To say to a person, 'I do not care
for you because you have been thoughtless,' that is not the
right kind of indifference, that is not the indifference that
mystics relate as being Vairagya. The mystical indifference
is that a soul retains sympathy and love, even at the thoughtlessness
of a person, and expresses it as forgiveness. In the Bible,
we read the words of Christ, 'Turn the other side of your face
if a person has struck you on one side.' What else is this than
the lesson of indifference? How can a sensitive person, a person
of feeling, a spiritual, tenderhearted person, live in this
world if he is not indifferent? He cannot live here one moment!
There is only this one thing that protects him from the continual
jarring influences that come from all sides.
Question: Why not call it detachment?
Answer: Detachment is not really the right word. We cannot
be detached, we are never detached. Life is one and nothing
can separate it. Detachment is only an illusionary aspect of
life. There is no such thing as detachment in truth. How can
there be detachment when life is one!
Often, in order to make it clearer, I have said that indifference
and independence are two meanings of that one word, Vairagya.
Indifference, alone, explains it only halfway.