BEFORE SPEAKING of spirituality I must first explain
what I mean by it. There are people who consider spirituality
as orthodoxy or piety: to be religious, to be a priest,
a monk, a hermit, to fast, or to live a life of a certain
discipline, to adopt a certain form of worship. A person
may have all these outer forms without being spiritual,
and a person may have nothing of these and be spiritual.
Those who seek spirituality in such outer forms are mistaken,
for it is more than that: real spirituality is spirit-consciousness.
To be spiritual means to be conscious of spirit, just as
a material person means a person who is conscious of matter.
So it is not religion, orthodoxy, outer forms, or a certain
kind of life which means spiritual life: it is to be conscious
of the spirit that makes one spiritual.
There are others who think that those who perform phenomena,
miracles, who work wonders are spiritual. It is not so.
Many who are capable of performing phenomena are not different
from a magician. Then others say that to be spiritual means
to tell fortunes, or to be clairvoyant, to see wonderful
things. It is not necessary to do or to see wonderful things
in order to be spiritual. Others imagine that to be spiritual
means sitting in the caves of mountains, or roaming about
in forests, or to appear and disappear. All these things
are but fancies of the imaginative. To be spiritual means
to be one's self, to be one's natural self.
How many of us are our self? If we were our self we would
all be spiritual. We are not our self, we are far from it!
A great Indian poet expresses this idea in this way, 'Apart
from accomplishing things, for man to be a man is the most
difficult thing'. It means that for a human being to be
human is the greatest difficulty. He is born a human being;
yet the first thing he ought to be is what he is not, he
is anything but a human being. He is willing to be a solicitor,
a doctor, a professor, but to be a human being – that is
the thing he thinks of last, and mostly he does not even
think of it at all.
People say that nowadays there is a great tendency in
the world to discover spiritual truth, that there is an
inner spiritual awakening. Yes, I admit it, but what direction
does it take? Very often it takes wrong directions. Those
searching after truth often think that the best way to find
belief in the spirit and the hereafter is mediumship: to
become a medium themselves, or to go to a medium – and when
they have found proof – to communicate with the dead. Then
they think they have found proof of the spiritual. They
wreck their nervous system, many go out of balance. In this
manner the way that would lead to spirituality leads to
There are others who wish to pursue the spiritual in
the same way as a person in a university or college. They
want to read all things in a book. They think, 'If there
is anything like spiritual attainment one book must tell
us about it'. If they go to the library and read throughout
their whole life all the books there are, they cannot touch
spirituality, because it does not come from books. Reading
helps one sometimes to awake; yet every person does not
know how to read. What is happening today is that there
are thousands and thousands of people who read one book,
then another and still another, until their mind is so confused
that they do not know what to believe and what not to believe.
Among them there are many who think that the best way is
the intellectual way. But what is intellectual? Is reading
really intellectual? Are all books the same? Many times
they only confuse a person. Very often books with ten errors
on the same line puzzle a person's mind so much that he
does not know where he is.
Often people come to me and tell me – in order to help
me – to have confidence in them, because for ten years they
have been reading my books. Instead of having confidence
I have to guide them on the path and to erase what they
have learned first. Perhaps they are not willing to erase;
they think that they have gained this knowledge by reading
a hundred books. What knowledge? Is it spiritual?
Besides, very often intellectual pursuit gives them the
idea that there are such masters and such mahatmas
and saints in the Himalayas, in the caves of the mountains.
They never think that such a person can be in the crowds.
It interests them most when he is in a place where nobody
can reach him. They think he cannot be in a restaurant taking
his dinner; he must be in a cave of the mountain. Imagine!
Why was this world created? Why are we born in this world,
in the midst of this world, if this world were not a school
to develop the soul and to arrive at the stage which is
life's purpose? Man has lost confidence in his fellow men.
He expects spirituality from the dead, from the trees –
not from men. He has no confidence in his brothers.
Others are interested in the meaning of symbology: this
particular symbol means this, another gives a great revelation,
another is a great mystery. Where is spirituality to be
found? Is it not in the heart of man? Instead of in their
own heart people want to look in different places, or in
certain symbols. Yes, symbols are expressive of it, but
the direct way is within oneself.
I had an amusing experience one day, traveling in England
near Bournemouth I was brought to a place where they said
I should speak. They said it was an important place; so
I went there. The man who brought me there said, 'Now here
in this corner – you can feel that here is the secret'.
Imagine, in that place was spirituality, not in man!
Those who make their occupation of spirituality take
advantage of people's ignorance. They cater for them, they
feed them, they say to every person, 'You are a medium'.
So those who take this as a profession tell everyone, 'Come
along. Be more fanciful, more imaginative, more superstitious
'. They feed curiosity. Does it lead anywhere? In this way
people get lost and will never be spiritual. This is to
be found everywhere.
Now coming to the actual subject, the difference between
spirit and matter: once a young Italian who did not believe
in God or soul was traveling with me in the same ship, and
he thought that perhaps I was a priest. He asked, 'Do you
believe in anything?' 'Yes', I said. 'What is your belief?'
I answered, 'It cannot be said'. Since he was antagonistic
he said, 'I do not believe in anything. If there is anything
in which I believe, it is in eternal matter'. I replied,
'My belief is not far from yours. What you call eternal
matter I call eternal spirit. What you have named matter
I have named spirit'.
It is a dispute over words, the understanding is the
same. The difference has come by disputing over words. What
is spirit is fine matter and what is matter is dense spirit.
In other words, there are two names and there is one subject:
call it water, call it snow. When it is crystallized it
is snow, and if you do not like to call it water, call it
snow. If you wish to distinguish you may call it by two
names, there is no objection to it, it is a question of
choice. If you choose that there is no matter, as Christian
Science also says, then matter is spirit just the same.
And if you choose to call spirit matter, then spirit is
matter just the same. If you say both things that is right
too. Truth is in understanding, not in expression.
People have strengthened their truth, they have taught
and fought and arrived at nothing. Very often those who
do not understand a subject argue for the reason that they
want to know about it, but they do not honestly want to
know about it. Their way is to argue; then they know the
other's idea also. They oppose the other to hear what he
has to say; it is a kind of robbery. They have a thirst
for argument. He who will not understand will never understand,
however much it is true. He who understands – you tell him
and he will understand. It is a matter of evolution.
Besides, there is a tendency in everyone to think, 'The
other one must look at things as I do. If it is a friend,
if it is a wife, a husband, a brother, a sister, or a companion,
they must understand things as I do'. But that is impossible.
Maybe they are at different stages of evolution, they cannot
understand. Leave them alone! For some it is good to sleep,
for others it is good to awake. It is no virtue to awake
everybody; it is the greatest crime to awake those who ought
to sleep. To make everyone spiritual is not a right mission.
The best thing is to help a person wherever he is and not
to try to bring him to a certain pitch. He will come naturally;
to put him on the right track is enough. Often people who
are interested in spirituality urge it on those in their
surroundings. They are mistaken; those urged are sometimes
more spiritual. Man is a great mystery and we know so little
I have traveled in India for nine years in the pursuit
of the illuminated ones, the living wise men of the East.
You would be surprised to know how various illuminated souls
live under the guise of an ordinary person, so that no one
can ever distinguish them as different from others. Many
of them bear themselves in the same way as everybody does,
sitting in the same places, saying the same things that
anyone else would say; neither do they show any difference
in outward appearance, in speech or claims. At the same
time – if you could see behind those great beings – they
are as different from others as the sky is different from
I will tell you something about my own teacher. Once
I met a learned man, a doctor of philosophy with a great
many degrees. I spoke to him on the deeper side of life
and he became so interested in me that he thought much of
me. So I thought, 'If I were to tell him about my teacher,
how much more interesting that would be for him. If I make
such an impression upon this man, how much more my teacher
will be for him, and how much will he appreciate my teacher',
and I told him, 'There is a wonderful man in this city,
he has no comparison in the whole world'. 'Yes?', said he,
'Are there such people? I would so much like to see him.
Where does he live?' I told him, in such and such a part
of the city. He said, 'I live there too. Where is his house.
I know all the people there. What is his name?' So I told
him, and he said, 'For twenty years I have known this man,
and you are telling me about him!' I thought, 'In a hundred
years you would not have been able to know him'. He was
not ready to know him.
If people are not evolved enough they cannot appreciate
persons, they cannot understand them, they cannot understand
the greatest souls. They sit with them, they talk with them,
there is a contact of the whole life, but they do not see.
Another person in one moment, if he is ready to understand,
makes a benefit out of it. Imagine, the learned man had
known my teacher for twenty years and did not know him.
I saw him once, and became his pupil forever. One might
ask, 'Was this man not learned, not intellectual?' Yes,
he was. Then what was lacking? He saw my teacher with his
brain, I saw him with my heart. People pursue spirituality
with their brain: that is where they are mistaken. Spirituality
is attained through the heart.
What do I mean by the heart? Is it the nervous center
in the midst of the breast, the small piece of flesh that
doctors call the heart? No, the definition of the heart
is that it is the depth of the mind, the mind being the
surface of the heart. That in us which feels is the heart,
that which thinks is the mind. It is the same thing which
thinks and feels, but the direction is different: feeling
comes from the depth, thought from the surface. When thought
is not linked with feeling it is just like a plant rising
up from the earth, the root of which has not gone deep.
A thought without feeling is a powerless thought; it is
just like a plant without a deep root. A tree the root of
which has gone deep into the earth is stronger, more reliable,
and so the thought deeply rooted in the heart has greater
power. The heart therefore is the factor through which spirits
and spirituality are to be attained.
In man's being three aspects can be distinguished: body,
heart and soul. The heart is a globe over the soul and the
body a cover over the heart. One might ask: Is the soul
so small as to be covered by the heart and is the heart
so small as to be covered by the body? It is not so. The
soul is within and without. For instance, a light is covered
by a globe and the globe by another cover – and yet, is
the light covered? It shines out just the same. The light
is not under the cover; it seems to be under the cover,
but it shines out. Such is the soul. The globe does not
shine out, but the light takes the color of the globe. It
is the soul that is larger; at the same time the light is
within the globe and the soul within the body. It is exactly
like the light within the globe and the globe within the
cover. The light is outside the cover, and the power of
the globe shines outside the cover. So the power of the
heart is greater than the power of the body, and the power
of the soul is greater still. As long as one is ignorant
of this, one does not realize truth.
Imagine what a power the heart quality has. The little
hen, when it is with its young ones and a horse comes or
an elephant, is ready to fight them. Otherwise it would
run away, but with its young ones it is ready to fight with
the elephant. The heart quality is blooming at that time,
it is feeling; at that time its power is so great that the
little hen is ready to fight with anyone. In India a hunter's
story is told about a she-deer that was pursued by a hunter
and ran far away into the woods. When she came near her
young ones who were waiting for her she did not run further,
she forgot the hunter. As soon as the heart quality was
awakened in the presence of her little ones she had no fear.
There is nothing one will not sacrifice, accomplish,
or face when the heart quality is awakened. All cowardice
and weakness, misery and wretchedness come when the heart
quality is covered and man begins to live in his brain.
Lions turn into rabbits when they are not lion-hearted.
Very few understand the power of the heart. Once the heart
is awakened there is nothing that one does not accomplish.
Besides inspiration and illumination it gives all the force
and power one needs to attain anything one wants.
One might ask: Is it not natural to attain spirituality?
Does it not come without any effort on our part? And if
it is not natural, then what is the use of attaining spirituality?
These are right arguments, and my answer is that spirituality
is not only for human beings, but also for the lower creation,
for every being: not spirituality in the sense we understand,
but in that of being tuned to one's natural pitch. Even
birds have their moments of exaltation. At the setting and
rising of the sun, the breaking of dawn, in the moonlight,
there come times when birds and animals feel exalted. They
sing and dance, they sit on the branches of the trees in
exaltation. Every day they feel this exquisite joy. If we
go still further and have eyes to see life in those forms
in which others do not see it, in the rock, in the tree,
we find that there are times when even the trees are in
a complete state of ecstasy. Those who move in nature, who
open the doors of their heart, whose soul comes in contact
with nature, find nature singing, nature dancing and communicating.
It is not only a legend, a story of the past, that saints
used to speak with trees. It is an actual fact, and it is
the same today as in the past. Souls are of the same nature,
they are the same. The only difference is that we have become
unbelievers, we have no confidence in life, we have become
material, we have closed our eyes to what comes before us.
Today souls can become saints and sages just as before.
Are the stars not as before? They communicate also today
with the one who is able to respond to nature. But we have
turned our back to nature, we live in an artificial world;
there is no self confidence in us, no belief. Naturally
we have not only become materialistic, we have become matter!
Therefore those who ever have attained to spirituality have
attained by awakening the quality of heart.
Sufis in all ages, mystics of India, Persia, and Egypt
have considered the awakening of the heart quality to be
the principal thing in life. For all the virtues that the
priest can teach and prescribe, the virtues that one is
told to practice in life, come naturally when the heart
opens. Then one need not learn virtue, virtue becomes one's
own. All virtues as taught by people – how long do they
last? If there is any virtue it must come by itself: spirituality
is natural. And if animals and birds can feel spiritual
exaltation, why not we? But we do not live a natural life.
We have tried in our civilization, in our life, to be as
far removed from nature and natural life as possible, breathing
an artificial atmosphere to withstand climatic influences,
eating food that we have prepared and improvised, turning
it into something quite different from what nature had made
and given us.
Besides that, the deeper we go into the life of the community,
the more we find that we are not on the track as we ought
to be. We seem to have lost our individuality. We have called
it progress – a progress towards a certain condition. And
there we begin to feel that we are in a maze. Now has come
the time – and more and more so every day – that thoughtful
people, wise people who are just and honest realize, 'We
are not progressing, we are in a maze and we are looking
for the door.' I spoke with a great scientist, and in spite
of all his knowledge what did he say? 'We do not know where
we are. We have made inventions, but we do not know how
to control them to the best advantage of life'.
Invention apart, the first question is how to make the
best of our life, how to make the best of this opportunity
which is passing us by. Every moment lost is incomparably
more valuable than the loss of money. As man will realize
this he will more and more come to the conclusion that he
has gone on and on thinking he was progressing, but that
he has been moving around in the same maze. If only he found
the door, that door which is called by the wise spiritual
attainment! However well educated one may be, however much
progress one has made, however much one has collected or
accomplished, however much power and position one has gained,
only one thing is everlasting and that is spiritual attainment.
Without this there will always be dissatisfaction, an uncomfortable
feeling. No knowledge, power, position or wealth can give
that satisfaction which spiritual attainment can give.
There is nothing easier and nothing more difficult in
the world: difficult because we have made it difficult,
easy because it is the easiest thing possible. All other
things we have to buy and pay for – even water. For spiritual
attainment we do not need to pay a tax, it is ours, it is
our self, it is discovering our self, finding our self.
Yet what one values is what one gets with difficulty. Man
loves complexity so much! He makes a thing big and says,
'This is valuable'. If it is simple he says, 'It has no
value'. That is why the ancient people, knowing human nature,
told a person when he said he wanted spiritual attainment,
'Very well; for ten years go around the temple, walk around
it a hundred times in the morning and in the evening. Go
to the Ganges, take pitchers full of water during twenty
or fifty years, then you will get inspiration'. That is
what must be done with people who will not be satisfied
with a simple explanation of the truth, who want complexity.
Often having been asked, 'Show us a tangible truth',
I asked myself how it would be if I wrote TRUTH on a little
brick and gave it to people saying, 'Hold it fast. Here
is tangible truth'. Fine people, when they write a letter,
expect their friend to read between the lines. Even subtle
feelings of the human heart cannot be expressed in words.
How then can anyone expect truth to be spoken in words?
That which is spoken in words can never be truth. People
do not distinguish between the meaning of fact and of truth;
they always muddle truth with fact.
Often the greatest error is made when a person who has
a crude or insolent nature or a brain of stone says, 'What
do I care how anybody takes it? I simply tell the truth.
It does not matter whether a person is hurt'. But truth
is the finest thing and most beautiful. If one tells the
truth must it hurt? If it hurts anybody can it be truth?
Truth must raise a person, must illuminate him, it must
be the most beautiful thing on earth, harmonizing, uplifting,
inspiring, it cannot be hurtful. If it is truth it is the
greatest healing there is. But people interpret truth in
the form of facts, and muddle truth with fact, just as they
confuse pleasure with happiness.
When people are pleased they say, 'I am happy', and when
they are happy they say, 'I am pleased'. But pleasure is
far from happiness. A small thing can give pleasure, but
in order to be happy one ought to arrive at that pitch where
there is everlasting happiness. Pleasure comes and goes;
it is the shadow of happiness, it is not happiness.
In the same way people muddle cleverness with wisdom.
Of a wise person they say, 'What a clever man', and of a
clever man they say, 'How wise is he.' A worldly person
is not wise, he is clever, and a wise man is not necessarily
clever, although he is perfect wisdom. Cleverness is a shadow
of wisdom. Wisdom is light.
In the East no doubt seekers after truth in all ages
have sought the direction of those who had already acquainted
themselves with the path, in order to tread the path under
their guidance. Today a man comes and says, 'I do not wish
to follow any guidance or advice. If a book can tell me
something I shall read it. Tell me just now what I should
do, and I shall do it'. Imagine! In order to develop your
voice you go to a teacher of voice-culture and do a thousand
practices with open mouth and make a thousand kinds of grimaces
you would never like to make. In order to develop the voice
you have to do a thousand things which sound foolish in
order to sing one day. What comparison is there between
spiritual attainment and singing? If singing rightly takes
so many years' practice and so much concentration and discipline
under the orders of a teacher, how can a spiritual teacher
tell at the dinner table what spirituality means? People
ask, 'Would you tell us in one word how we can attain spirituality?'
Is it such a simple thing?
Who then can tell it and how can it be told? It is something
to discover for oneself. The teacher can only put one on
the track to attain to that realization which is called
spirituality. No doubt according to the idea of the people
of the East the responsibility of the spiritual teacher
is still greater than that of parents towards their children.
From the time of his birth the parents' thought is centered
on the well-being of the child. Even when he is grown-up
the child is the same in the heart of the parents; they
are interested in everything he does. The child may not
care for them, but they will understand. He may be far away,
yet from a distance the heart of the mother will always
be craving for the welfare of her child. So it is with the
teacher. The spiritual teacher under whose guidance a pupil
places himself will fulfill to him the place of both father
and mother, and even more. His welfare is the teacher's
religion, it is his spiritual responsibility; for the spiritual
teacher there is no other religion. He is not necessarily
a priest; all the duty he has is to be anxious about the
welfare and well-being of those who sought his guidance,
who come under his direction.
It is therefore that the service of the great ones such
as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, or any others
who came from time to time to serve humanity in a small
or in a great way, has been a service of love and affection
in order to raise humanity by their own example, their own
ideas, their own love. What they have taught is not so important
as what was given beyond words as love and light. That is
the sacrament in the church, the same in the form of love
and wisdom. What has come in words, or from the lips, is
very little – so simple.
There is no comparison between the Bible or any such
spiritual book and a writer of today, because the value
of the book is not in the capability of the writer; its
value lies in the personality of the teacher. The wonderful
souls who from time to time served humanity helping it to
progress – whether known or unknown, whether mankind has
forgotten them or still holds them – have done their duty
and always do so. Those who take such an opportunity of
benefiting by their teaching, by their thought, are blessed
Spirituality is not necessarily intellectuality, nor
is it orthodoxy or asceticism. Orthodox, ascetic or intellectual
pursuit after truth – all these are the ways people have
taken in order to reach a spiritual goal, but the way is
not the goal. If there is a definition of spirituality it
is the tuning of the heart.
In this material age of ours the heart quality is totally
forgotten and great importance is given to reason and logic.
When we argue with a person, he says, 'Argue with reason,
be logical'. Sentiment and idealism have no place; it is
therefore that humanity is getting further and further from
spiritual attainment. The main quality, the best in man,
is ignored and by ignoring that quality it becomes dead.
For instance, if a poet happens to live in a village where
no one understands poetry, if an artist lives in a town
where no one cares for his pictures, if an inventive genius
has no opportunity of bringing out his inventions, these
faculties become blunted and in the end they die. So it
is with the heart quality: if it is not taken notice of,
if it has no opportunity to develop, if it is ignored, then
this quality becomes blunted and in the end it dies. As
it is said in a song, 'The light of life dies when love
When feeling has become blunted then what remains? Nothing.
Then there is no sign of life. What remains is intellectuality
expressing itself by the power of egoism. It is difficult
to live in the world because selfishness is ever on the
increase. Business and industry apart, even in friendship,
in relationship the give-and-take has the greatest importance,
worldly interest takes part in it. There is a certain fineness
that belongs to human nature, a certain nobleness, a certain
independence, there is a certain ideal, a certain delicacy,
a certain manner that belong to human nature, and all these
become blunted when the heart quality is left undeveloped.
I have been traveling for many years seeing people busy
in the pursuit of truth and to my very great disappointment
I have found many of them, although interested in higher
things, yet arguing, discussing, 'Do you believe what I
believe', or, 'Perhaps my belief is better than yours' –
always that intellectual side. They said, 'We have so many
things connected with our life in the world in which we
can use our intellect: business, industry, domestic affairs'.
In seeking God, in attaining spirituality we do not need
to use so much intellect, because this does not come by
the intellect: it comes by the tuning of the heart.
People will say, 'Yes, but all the same there are emotional
persons, affectionate and loving people'. But I do not always
call emotional people loving people. They may be so outwardly,
but very often the more emotional they are the less loving,
for one day their love is on the rise, next day it is on
the fall, one day very loving, next day just moved with
emotions like clouds. One day the sky is clear, next day
it is covered. One cannot depend upon emotions, they are
not love. It is the feeling nature that is to be developed,
the sympathetic nature.
Besides, there exists, especially in the Western world,
a false conception of the strength of personality. Maybe
many have understood it wrongly; under the guise of strength
they want to harden their hearts. For instance, many men
think that for a man to be touched or moved by anything
is not natural or normal. On the contrary! If a man is not
touched or moved it is not natural; he is still in the mineral
kingdom and not yet in the human kingdom. To be human and
not be touched or moved by something touching or appealing
only means that the eyes of the heart are closed, its ears
blocked. This heart is not living. It is a wrong understanding
of a high principle. The principle is that man must be feeling
and at the same time so strong that as much feeling he has,
so much strength he must have to cover it. It does not mean
he must not be feeling; man without feeling is without life.
Those who are afraid of feeling think that the right, the
normal thing to do is to keep away from feeling. However
much they study psychology, theoretically and methodically,
they will not attain to spirituality. Spirituality does
not belong to intellectuality, it has nothing to do with
it. In connection with spirituality, intellectuality is
in so far useful that an intellectual person can best express
Many people say, 'I had a deep feeling, but that feeling
is all gone, it is lost. Now I have no more feeling'. That
means that something in them has died. They do not know
it, but something of great importance has died, for they
were affectionate, loving, kind. Perhaps they have met with
the disappointing qualities of human nature and have become
disappointed, and so the feeling heart has taken the bowl
of poison and died. Or perhaps some began to dig the ground
in order to find water, but before they could reach water
they saw mud. Having no patience to go on digging still
they became disappointed with the mud and lost their enthusiasm
to dig. There are others who, out of self-righteousness
or keen perception of human defects or out of their critical
tendency, begin to hate before they can love someone, and
so hate comes first giving no chance to love.
What is necessary is to develop a sympathetic nature
and to sustain its gradual growth. As it is difficult for
the student of voice-culture to practice his voice and not
to let it be spoiled – for even practice may spoil it –
so it is with the sympathetic person: while developing the
faculty of sympathy there is a chance of spoiling it. In
other words, the more loving a person, the more chance he
has to be disappointed. The greater the love, the finer
the fragility and the more susceptible to everything; therefore
the greater the love, the more fragile the heart – at any
moment it can break. The one who walks in the path of sympathy
therefore must take great care that his way may not be blocked.
It is his own perseverance that will keep him from everything
that is trying to block his way.
There is one principle to be remembered in the path of
sympathy: we must do all we can with regard to the pleasure
of those whom we love and whom we meet, but we must not
expect the best from those whom we love and meet, for we
must know that the world is as it is. We cannot change it,
but we can change ourselves. The one who wants others to
do what he wishes them to do will always be disappointed.
That is the complaining soul; all day long, every day of
the month, that soul is complaining. He is never without
a complaint; if not about a human being, then it is the
climate; if not about the climate then about the conditions;
if not about someone else then about himself. Something
is hurting that person all the time.
He must remember that self-pity is the worst poverty.
The person who takes life in this way, saying, 'My poor
self, crinkled, forgotten, forsaken, ill treated by everybody,
by the planets, even by God' – that person has no hope;
he is an exile from the Garden of Eden. But when one says,
'I know what human nature is, I cannot expect any better,
I must only try and appreciate what little good comes from
it, I must be thankful for it and try and give the best
I can to others' – that is the only attitude that will enable
man to develop his sympathetic nature. The one who keeps
justice on the foreground is always blinded by it; he is
always talking about justice, but never knows it. As to
the one who keeps justice in the background – the light
of justice falls on his way and he only uses justice for
himself. When he has not done right to others he takes himself
to task, but if others do not do right towards him he says
that this is justice also. For the just person all is just,
for the unjust everything is unjust. Remember that the one
who talks too much of justice is far from justice; that
is why he is talking about it.
One may think, 'Is there any reward in sympathy if it
leads only to disappointment?' I shall answer, 'Life's reward
is life itself'. A person may suffer from illness or disease,
be most unhappy and sad, but ask him, 'Shall I turn you
into a rock?', and he will say, 'No, let me live and suffer'.
Therefore life's reward is life; the reward of love is love
itself. Loving is living, and the heart that closes itself
to everyone closes itself to its own self.
The difference between human love and divine love is
like that between drill and war. One has to drill in order
to prepare for war. One has to know the phenomenon of love
on this plane in order to prepare to love God who alone
deserves love. The one who says, 'I hate human beings, but
I love God', does not know what love means; he has not drilled,
he is of no use in war. A loving person, whether he loves
a human being or whether he loves God, shows no trace of
hatred, and the one who has hatred in him loves neither
man nor God, for hatred is the sign that the doors of his
heart are closed.
Is it not a great pity that we see today among the most
civilized nations one nation working against the other,
lack of trust between nations and this fear of war? It is
dreadful to think that humanity which appears to be progressing
so much is at the same time going backward to such an extent
that never in the history of the world such bloodshed has
been caused as during the last war. Are we evolving or going
What is missing is not intellectuality, for people are
capable of inventing things and imagining governments every
day better and better. Then what is missing? It is the heart
quality. It seems it is being buried more and more today.
Therefore the real man is being destroyed and the false
part of his being is continuing. A better condition can
be brought about by the individual who will realize that
the development of the heart and nothing else brings about
The other day I lectured in Paris and after my lecture
a very able man came to me and said, 'Have you got a scheme?'
I said, 'What scheme?' 'Of bettering conditions.' I replied
that I had not made such a scheme, and he said, 'I have
a scheme, I will show it to you'. He opened his box and
brought out a very large paper with mathematics on it and
showed it to me saying, 'This is the economic scheme that
will make the condition of the world better: everyone will
have the same share'. I said, 'We should practice that economic
scheme first on tuning our piano: instead of saying D, E,
F, we should tune them all to one note and play that music
and see how interesting that would be – all sounding the
same, no individuality, no distinction, nothing.' And I
added, 'Economy is not a plan for construction, but it is
a plan for destruction. It is economics which have brought
us to destruction. It is the heart quality, it is the spiritual
outlook which will change the world'.
Very often people coming to hear me say afterwards, 'Yes,
all you say is very interesting, very beautiful, and I wish
too that the world was changed. But how many think like
you? How can you do it? How can it be done?'. They come
with that pessimistic remark, and I tell them, 'One person
comes into a country with a little cold or influenza and
it spreads. If such a bad thing can spread, can not an elevated
thought of love, kindness and goodwill towards all men spread?
See then that there are finer germs, germs of goodwill,
of love, kindness, and feeling, germs of brotherhood, of
the desire for spiritual evolution, which can have greater
results than the other ones. If we all have that optimistic
view, if we all work in our little way, we can accomplish
a great deal'.
There are many good, loving and kind people whose heart
goes out to every person they meet, but are they spiritual?
It is an important question to understand. My answer is
that they are just close to spiritual attainment, but unconsciously
spiritual. They are not spirit-conscious. Often we meet
a mother, a father or a child in whom we see a deep loving
tendency; love is pouring out from them, they have become
fountains of love. They do not know one word of psychology,
of mysticism, but that does not matter. After all what are
these names? Nothing but nets for fishes to be caught in,
which remain in those nets for years. Sometimes these are
big names with little meaning to them, of which much is
made by those who want to commercialize the finer things.
Very often it is a catering on the part of so-called spiritual
workers to satisfy human curiosity and to create sensation
even in the spiritual world. But truth is simple. The more
simple you are and the more you seek for simplicity, the
nearer you come to truth.
The devotional quality needs a little direction; that
direction allows it to expand. The loving quality is just
like water. The tendency of water is to expand, to spread,
and so the loving quality spreads. But if a person is not
well directed, or if he does not know how to direct himself
then – if instead of deepening, that quality flows – it
is without root and it becomes limited. The love quality
must be deepened first before it spreads out. If not, what
generally happens is that those who set out to love all
human beings end in hating all human beings. Because they
did not first deepen themselves enough they did not have
all the strength to draw more.
The Sufis have therefore considered the development of
the heart quality as a spiritual culture, and have called
it the culture of the heart. It consists of the tuning of
the heart. Tuning means changing the pitch of the vibrations.
Tuning the heart means changing the vibrations, bringing
them to a certain pitch which is the natural one where you
feel the joy and ecstasy of life, which enables you to give
pleasure to others even by your presence because you are
tuned. When an instrument is properly tuned you need not
play music on it; just by striking it you will feel a great
magnetism coming from it. If an instrument well-tuned can
have that magnetism, how much greater should be the magnetism
of hearts that are tuned. Rumi says, 'Whether you have loved
a human being or whether you have loved God, if you have
loved enough you will be brought in the end into the presence
of the supreme Love itself'.
Question: Is there a science of culture of the
Answer: The science of the Sufis teaches that
in the mind and in the body a blockage is produced by the
lack of development of the sympathetic nature. In the physical
body are some nervous centers which are awakened by sympathetic
development and by lack of sympathy they are closed. It
is therefore that a butcher is less intuitive: everything
that keeps man away from sympathy robs him of intuition,
because sympathy develops a life in the finer centers, the
nervous centers, and the absence of sympathy takes away
So it is in the mind; when the heart is not sympathetic
something is missing in the mentality of man, and it is
sympathy which opens it. Sufis have the medicine for this
disease: it is the practice of a certain art which in our
language is called zikr or mantram. By practicing that particular
art in the right way one works with vibrations on these
fine centers. It is a process of vibrations by the help
of certain mystically prescribed words; by the repetition
of these mystical words the centers begin to vibrate. Very
often after six weeks' practice a person feels quite different.
Then with that vibration a thought is held in the mind and
so concentration is developed at the same time. It helps
the love nature or sympathetic nature to be deepened and
centralized in the person. As the love nature develops it
begins to flow out, and its outflowing creates an atmosphere,
a spiritual atmosphere.
That is why in the East you will always find that the
presence of a Sufi is sought by Hindus and Muslims, by people
of all different creeds, because the Sufi is all. He is
not solely a Hindu or a Muslim, he has not any other religion,
he is all, and this comes from the development of feeling.
During my pilgrimage to the holy men of India I have seen
some whose presence could illuminate you more than reading
books for your whole life, or than disputing over any problems
a thousand times. They do not need to speak, they become
living lights, fountains of love. And if there is infection
in disease so there is also infection in spiritual attainment.
It is infectious, a person feels uplifted, he feels full
of joy, ecstasy, happiness, enlightenment.
Of course the one is more impressed than the other; upon
one the influence is much greater than upon another. It
all depends upon the person. I will tell you an amusing
instance. I remember a lady telling me, 'Since you have
come my husband is very, very nice'. I said, 'Yes'. But
eight days after I had left that town she wrote to me that
the man was just where he had been before. The effect of
influence is very different, because it is just like the
effect of fire. The effect of fire on stone, on iron, on
wax, on paper, on cloth, on cotton – upon every object –
is different. So, on every person the effect of a spiritual
personality is different.