Volume VII - In an Eastern Rose Garden
The result of spiritual attainment is so vast and great that words can never explain it, for the very reason that all that words can explain is limited, is learnt and taught, or bought and sold; but something that is higher than that cannot be put into words. With spiritual attainment, however, the first thing one begins to see in oneself is that thoughts such as 'I cannot' or 'it is impossible' or 'I am helpless' or 'it cannot be done', cease to exist. A soul naturally becomes positive and will say, 'If it is difficult today, tomorrow it will be easy; if it cannot be done just now, it can be done later.' This optimism is not only in the imagination, but it springs from the spirit; its root is in the spirit, and it strengthens man immensely in accomplishing things. The fear of death that everyone has, more or less, disappears, and when fear of death disappears there is nothing else that really frightens a man, for that is what frightens him most. Many say that they are not frightened of death, but they will not continue to say that when death is before them.
A story is told in India of a woodcutter who, when he was overcome with self-pity after having worked all day long, used to say, 'O, what a life! What a terrible life, having to work all day long in the hot sun cutting wood; I wish I were dead.' And sometimes he used to say, 'O death, why do you not come? I would rather die than live such a life!' And one day Death took pity on him and appeared before him. But the moment he looked at Death, he was so frightened that he began to beg him to leave him in this world a little longer; he said he would never invoke his name again, that he would very much like to live a few more days on earth. So it is with everyone. They call death when death is not present, but when death comes, then they are frightened.
It is the spiritual soul who as a result of spiritual attainment begins to rise above all fear. As Ali has said, 'Fear no longer remains in the heart of the spiritual ones.' For fear is like the darkness, and the illumination is light. When illumination comes obscurity disappears.
When a person has arrived at spiritual attainment, his doubts cease to exist. But without spiritual attainment, however intelligent a man may be, he still has doubts; and very often the more clever a person, the more doubts he has. And there are many among the most intelligent ones who cannot make a decision: they cannot make up their minds, for they doubt; and doubt is the decay, which destroys every action. There is only one thing that raises a man above doubt, and that is not belief, but conviction; and conviction comes by spiritual attainment.
We will very often hear a learned man who has studied many books and who is most intelligent say, 'I suppose it is so,' or, 'It can be so,' or, 'It may be so.' The mystic never says that. The mystic says, 'It is so,' or, 'it is not so.' There is conviction. It is spiritual attainment that gives conviction to a person.
Have the prophets and sages said, 'There may be a hereafter, there may be a soul,' or, 'Perhaps there is a Judgment Day,' or, 'Maybe there is a God?' No, they have said, 'It is so.' They knew. Besides the soul, which begins to see a way to immortality does not doubt or fear. It looks with open heart to what is coming.
Spiritual attainment also makes the sight penetrating. In other words, before the eyes of the spiritual person objects and people unfold themselves; they reveal their nature and character and secret. It is just like a master chemist; whatever drug there is, he knows how to utilize it, how to make medicine out of it. In the same way everyone stands before the spiritual soul with the record of his nature and character, together with his past and present and future. Every person is like a written letter, although a letter is not really a good comparison; for a letter is dead, and here is something living, something communicating and most revealing. A letter can reveal very little, but a person reveals a thousand-fold more. All that words can never express is confided to the spiritual soul in the twinkling of an eye.
Very often people are deluded by the great compassion, by the graciousness, fineness, saintliness of spiritual souls. They perhaps see in their negativeness a lack of power; but it is not really so. On the contrary, behind the refinement, behind that saintliness and that sympathetic and compassionate attitude, a great power is hidden, a power of resistance, a power of accomplishment. Only, they do not make the most of their powers. The greater, the more spiritual they are, the less they use their powers. It is like a child-soul and a ripened soul. If you give money into the hand of a child-soul that person will go to the shops and market places and will buy things that attract him; he will waste that money and in a short time he will have nothing left; but a ripened soul who has got the same amount will use it more slowly, more thoughtfully, and make the best of it, giving happiness to himself and to others with it.
And so the spiritual person does not make use of his inspiration or of his power for small, worldly things. He uses it more economically than the same power or one-hundredth of that power would be used in the hands of an unrefined soul. For instance, if an ordinary person knew all about his surroundings he would abuse that insight if he were still inquisitive and so small as to speak to everybody about what he saw. And this is what most people do. Man is most inquisitive if it concerns another person, but he cares very little to know about himself. Therefore the smallness of his nature must first be shaken off. When one rises morally above the tendency to devote one's time and thought to other people's affairs which do not concern one in any way, speaking about them, forming opinions about people, when all this is given up, then a person becomes entitled to spiritual attainment. And a person who is childish enough to use his powers, if he has any, in performing miracles or in accomplishing things of an everyday worldly nature, abuses spiritual power too.
Once a scientist asked me if there was any way of raising a pen, which was lying on the table, by spiritual magnetism. I said, 'Nothing is impossible to a mystic. But why spend time in raising a pen, when there are so many human beings waiting to be raised higher? This would bring about a much better result than raising a pen!'
What people want to do today is to get spiritual insight and power and use it for their material advantage. They think that if they can make things more profitable in their worldly life, it is worth doing. This is like spending pearls to buy pebbles. They would do better to pay for pebbles with pennies than to spend spiritual pearls on pebbles.
Business and industry and all other concerns require effort, perseverance, qualifications and intelligent work. If one does it that way one is successful. But the belief that spiritual attainment should only be used for worldly success would make of it a very small aim to be accomplished. Spiritual attainment is success itself; all things come to the spiritual person. If he is a businessman, he will be more successful; but he should not try to attain spiritually in order to succeed in business. The accent must be on spiritual attainment and all things will follow as a matter of course. As Christ has said, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you.' Therefore whatever a man's profession, be he a writer, a poet, a politician, or an inventor, whatever the profession, spiritual attainment will always help, in every direction.
There is no greater success than spiritual attainment, because it is the finer success, a success, which is reflected in everything one does and which brings about fruitful results. That is why people of old have called it the philosopher's stone, for whatever the philosopher's stone touches, whether it is iron or copper or brass, it turns it into gold. In other words, whatever the heart of the spiritual person touches, it turns it into life.
A person who has spiritual attainment need not cultivate sympathy morally, for sympathy comes as a matter of course without his cultivating it. A spiritual person cannot be otherwise than sympathetic. It is a continual out-flowing of love that manifests by spiritual realization. It goes out both to the wise and foolish, to the good and to the wicked, just as Christ's forgiveness was always ready for the wicked, his affection for the good.
It is love manifesting in different aspects as compassion, forgiveness, kindness, graciousness, as affection, as sympathy; it is one and the same. And in the end a spiritual person does not see in another person a separate entity. His realization makes him feel, 'It is myself,' and once he begins to see the other person as himself he cannot wrong him any more. No one in the world seems to him to be different and distinct from himself, but he sees in everyone the various aspects of his own being. It is in this way that the spiritual soul expands and attains to perfection.