Social Gatheka Number 32
There are people who look at life through their brain
– call it their head, and there are others who look at life
through their heart; and the point of view of these two
persons has a vast difference; so much difference that something
that one can see on the earth the other sees in heaven,
something that one sees as small the other sees as great,
something that one sees as limited the other sees the unlimitedness
of it. These two persons become opposite poles. It is like
one looking at the sky, the other looking at the earth.
And no one will admit that, 'I look at things with my head.'
For everyone will say, 'I look at life with my heart.' But
if one knew what it is to look at life from the heart. The
best person in the world will say, 'I have not yet learned
to look at life from the heart. I would like to know it.
I would like to learn it.' One might say that there are
emotional and devotional people flying in the clouds, there
are others with reason and logic standing on the earth.
Yes, it is true. But, in the first place, angels ride on
clouds. If the soul has angelic quality the clouds are its
spheres, not the earth.
But one says, 'where is the place
of practicality in life?' Yes, but what one calls in everyday
life practicality; and what one is very careful about, what
is it and how long does it last, what is it worth? No doubt
it is true that man is born on earth to bear the weight
of this physical body, with it its needs, a roof over his
head and a piece of bread to sustain it. And if that is
all there is to think about, man is making a great mistake,
if he devotes all his life to what he calls practicality,
practical life, and never thinks of the heavenly treasure
that is hidden in the heart of man.
The heart of man is likened to water. Either it is frozen,
then it is snow; or it is water, then it is liquid. When
it is frozen it has turned into a crystal, when it is liquid
it will be in a running order. It is natural for water to
be running. And there are two principle kinds of water,
that is the salt water and there is the sweet water. The
sea, which is quite contented in itself, indifferent to
everything else, has salt water, because it is independent
of anything else. It gives health, happiness, and pleasure
to those who go around it, because it represents perfection
and it asks nothing of anyone.
It is rising and falling
within itself, it is independent, it is immense, and in
that way it shows perfection. But with that independent
perfection its water is not sweet. The ascetic who has closed
his heart with the perfection of God and with the realization
of Truth, is like the sea, independent, indifferent to all
things. His presence heals people, his contact gives them
joy, gives them peace, and yet his personality is uninteresting,
as the water of the sea is salt water. And when the sea
is calm it is a pleasure to travel on it; and when the sea
is rough there is no worse illness than seasickness.
there is a powerful mind, a mind of a soul that has touched
perfection, it is with tranquility and calmness and peace
that the mind gives everyone a way into it as the sea lays
itself before those who journey into the sea, with open
heart. Ships and boats pass through, those who journey enjoy
their traveling on the sea. But when the sea is disturbed,
with the wind, by the storm, it is perfect in its annoyance.
It can shake the boats and steamers, and so that mind of
the sage can have effect upon all things in nature, it can
cause volcanic eruptions, it can cause disasters, revolutions,
all manner of things, when once its tranquility is disturbed.
Knowing this nature of the heart, and knowing the great
powers that a man who has touched Divine perfection possesses,
the people of the East regard closely the pleasure and displeasure
of the sage. They think to annoy a sage is like annoying
the whole nature, to disturb his tranquility means to shake
the whole universe. Because a storm in the sea is a very
small thing – the heart that has touched perfection, if
once upset, can upset the whole universe.
But the water of the river is sweet. It is sweet because
it is attracted to the sea, it is longing to reach the sea.
The river represents a loving quality, a quality that is
seeking for the object that it loves. A heart that loves
God and his perfection is likened to the river that seeks
the sea. It is therefore that the personality of the seeker
is more pleasant that the personality of the one who is
contented with what he knows.
There is little danger in traveling on the river, there
is a great joy in swimming in the river, and there is a
fine scenery to look at around the river. And so it is with
the personality which is like the river. That running of
the feeling of sympathy, that continual running sympathy,
means a living sympathy. It helps the trees and plants and
the earth that is around it. And so is the kind, sympathetic
person whose feeling is liquid, that everywhere that person
goes he takes with him that influence which nourishes, which
helps souls to flourish and progress.
And there is a little stream, sometimes, that runs, which
is not a river, it is a small stream, running; and it is
even more beautiful to look at. For it expresses modesty,
it expresses fineness of character, it expresses beauty;
for always the water of a little stream is pure. The little
stream expresses the nature of an innocent heart. The heart
that is innocent, the heart that cannot be prevented from
being sympathetic, from being loving, by any experiences
of the world that make the water turn bitter. The bitter
experience has not touched it, and it is pure and clear.
It inspires poets, it uplifts a composer, it quenches the
thirst of the thirsty one, it is an ideal spot for a painter
to paint. With its modesty it has purity, and with its purity
it has life.
And then there is the water in a little pool, a little
pool of water. It is sometimes muddy, sometimes dirty. Why?
Because of its narrowness; it is small. In this way narrowness
of heart has always in it mud. Because it is narrow and
because it is not deep enough; therefore all the elements
of the earth come into it and take away its purity.
But then there is the water of a large pool, where water
lilies grow, where little fishes swim, where the sun is
reflected and where the moonlight produces a visible vision,
where one would like to sit and look at it, because it expresses
to everyone that sees it the liquid nature of the heart,
the heart that is not frozen, the heart that has water.
It is still, it is calm. It is something that can make one's
heart tranquil to sit by its side. You can see in it your
reflection, for it is calm, it is tranquil.
The water of the spring is most healing and most inspiring,
because it comes from above and falls to the earth. That
is the character of the inspirational mind. The heart that
springs, that like a spring pours water in the form of inspiration,
be it in poetry, be it in music, in whatever form, it has
beauty, it has healing quality. It can take away all the
worries and anxieties and difficulties and troubles of those
who come to it, as the water of the spring. It does not
only inspire but it heals.
And there is the fountain that rises and falls in so
many drops. This is man-made, and so personality is man-made
also. When man has made a personality then through that
personality the feeling that rises from the heart is like
the fountain. Each drop falling from it comes in the form
of a virtue.
But the water that rises from the sea towards
the sky in the form of vapor represents the aspiration of
the heart. The heart that aspires upwards, that heart wishes
to reach upwards, that heart shows the quality of vapor.
It is the heart of the devotee, it is the heart of the seeker,
it is the heart of the one who is always conscientious of
seeking the higher ideal, touching the higher principles.
In the form of clouds that heart of inspiration forms itself,
and pours down, just like the rain bringing the celestial
beauty in the form of art or poetry, in the form of music,
in the form of anything that is good a beautiful.
There are hearts which have been impregnated by the fire
for a long, long time, and there comes a sulfur water from
them, purifying and healing, for it has gone through fire,
it has gone through a suffering, and therefore those who
suffer, it heals them.
There are hearts with many different qualities, like
different waters with chemical substances; those who have
suffered, those who have gone through patience, those who
have contemplated. They all represent one or the other kind
of the water that heals, and so are personalities. Persons
who had deep experiences of any kind, of suffering, of agonies,
of love, of hate, of solitude, of association, of success,
of failure, they all have a particular quality, a quality
which has a particular use for others.
And when one knows
this, one will come to this conclusion that, 'whatever has
been my life's destiny, my heart has prepared a chemical
substance through sorrow or pain, through joy or through
pleasure, a chemical substance that is for some certain
purpose for humanity and that, I can only give that substance
for the use of humanity if I can keep my heart wakened and
open.' Once it is closed, once it is frozen, once it has
turned from hot to stone, the person is no longer living.
It does not matter what the person has gone through, for
even the worst poison can be of some use. There is no person
therefore, however wicked, who is of no use, if only he
knew that the condition of being useful to humanity is only
one, and that is to keep the heart open.
Apart from all other things, when we come to the spiritual
attainment, it is something we can never absorb through
the head, it is something that can only be received from
the heart. Let two persons, one with the heart and the other
with head listen to the teachings of a teacher. One will
be thinking, 'is it so, or is it not so, or how is it, if
it is so? How can it be. And if it is, why is it?' And there
is never an end to the 'why'.
And another person will listen with his heart; and both
things logic and reason are at his disposal, but at the
same time they are not troubling him. His heart is open,
he listens to it; and the quality of heart is such that
whatever falls upon it, upon an open heart becomes revealed
instantly. Remember, when one says, 'I cannot understand
you,' it is just like saying, 'I have my heart closed to
you.' There is no other reason for not understanding, that
is the only reason. And when one says, 'I have understood
it all,' that means the heart was open; that is why the
person has understood.
Therefore understanding does not
depend upon the head; it depends upon the heart. By the
help of the head one can make it more clear, it becomes
intelligible, one can express it better. But it must begin,
it must come, from the heart, not from the head. Besides,
a person with head says, 'yes, it must be so because I think
so.' The person with heart says, 'it is so because I believe
so.' That is the difference. In one person there is a doubt,
in the other there is a conviction. There is one thing,
a word which is very difficult to translate, that word is
called Iman in the Eastern language. It is not exactly faith,
belief, the nearest word one can find for it is conviction,
a conviction that cannot be changed by anything, a conviction
that does not come from outside. One always seeks for conviction
– will anybody convince me or will this thing convince me?
Nothing convinces, nobody convinces. Conviction is something
that comes from one's own heart, and it is something that
stands above faith and belief; because belief is the beginning
of the same thing, faith is the development of it, conviction
is the culmination of belief.
What is spiritual attainment?
Spiritual attainment is conviction. A man may think, 'perhaps
it is so.' He may think about the best doctrines, or about
the highest idea there is, and he will think, 'it is so,
perhaps.' But there is 'perhaps' attached to it. But then
there is another person who cannot use the word 'perhaps,'
because he does not think about it. He cannot say, 'it may
be so,' when he knows that it is so. When a person arrives
at the stage when the knowledge of reality becomes his conviction,
then there is nothing in the world that will change it.
And if there is anything to be attained to, it is that conviction
which one can never find in the outside world, it must rise
from the bottom of one's own heart.