header pic header text

Social Gathekas

The Inner Life

Social Gatheka Number 44

There is one aspect of life which is known to us, which we call our everyday life, the consciousness of doing all that we do in our everyday life, it is called the outer life; and there is a part of our life of which we are unconscious very often, and it is that part of our life which may be called inner life. To be without inner life means to be without one arm or one leg or one eye or one ear; abut even this simile does not sufficiently illustrate the idea of the inner life. The reason is that the inner life is much greater and nobler and much more powerful than the outer life.

Man gives a great importance to the outer life, being absorbed in it from morning till evening and not being conscious of another aspect of life, which may be called inner life. It is therefore that all that matters to man is what happens to him in his outer life, and the occupation of the outer life keeps him so absorbed that hardly he has a moment to think of the inner life. The disadvantage of not being conscious of the inner life is incomparable greater than all the advantage that one can derive by being conscious of the outer life, which one is allays.

The reason is that the inner life makes one richer, the outer life poorer. With all its richness and treasures that the earth can offer man is poor; and very often the richer, the poorer, for the greater the riches, the more the limitation he finds in his life. The inner life makes one powerful, whereas the outer life, its consciousness makes one weak. It makes one weak because it is the consciousness of limitation. The consciousness of the inner life makes one powerful, because it is the consciousness of perfection.

The outer life keeps one confused. However intellectual or learned a person may be, he is never clear. His knowledge is based upon reasons which are founded upon outer things, things that are liable to change and destruction. That is why, however wise that person may seem to be, his wisdom has limitations. What today he thinks right, after four days he thinks, perhaps, wrong. The inner life make the mind clear. The reason is that it is that part of one's being which may be called divine, the essence of life, the pure intelligence.

The phenomena of it is that where ever the light of pure intelligence is thrown things become clear. The absorption in the outer life without what the inner life gives makes one blind, all one says, thinks, or does is based upon outer experiences; and no one can realize to what extent the power gained by the inner life enables man to see through life. There existed the belief of the third eye. In reality the third eye is the inner eye, the eye that is opened by one's wakening to the inner life.

Therefore inner life in other words may be called the spiritual life. One can see it in the forest, that it is the rain from above that makes the forest beautiful; which means that what forest needs is not all that it has, but it needs something that comes from above, the light, the rain. It is the sun and rain that makes the forest complete. And in the desert there is no rain, and therefore it is only one aspect, there is the earth, but there is no water, water from above. The water that gives life to the forest, that water is not to be found in the desert.

The desert is unhappy as the man in the desert is unhappy, looking for a shade from the hot sun; because the desert is longing, and the man in the desert is longing too for something he cannot find; whereas in the thick forest there is a joy, there is an inspiration, the heart is lifted up, because the forest is the picture of the inner life. It is not only the earth, not only the trees and plants, but it is something that it needs has been sent upon it. And so it is with man. Man who is solely occupied with the things of the world is in the outer life; in the midst of the world he may be, but he is in the desert; but it is the inner life which produces in him, not artificial virtues and not man-made qualities, but such virtues which only can rise from inner life, besides that that insight which makes the eyes see more than the mortal eyes can see.

If one only knew that besides what one says or does or thinks and the effect of what one says, does, or thinks which is manifest to him there is another action of the same which creates something in a person's life which makes his world. And perhaps in a week or in a month, or perhaps in a year or ten years that which he has created one day comes before him as a world, as a world created by him. Such is the phenomenon of life. How insignificant a human being appears to be, just like a drop in the water, and at the same time what effect he creates by every thought, by every feeling, by every act!

And what influence it spreads, and what influence it has on the lives of the others! If one only knew one would find that the outer life and the results of all one thinks, says, or does in the outer life are much smaller, incomparably smaller than the results produced by everything one thinks, says, or does in the inner life. It is, therefore, the inner life that makes man more responsible than the consciousness of the outer life. The responsibilities of the outer life compared with the responsibilities of the inner life are much smaller.

For the moment they might appear to be heavy burdens, abut they are nothing compared with the responsibilities one has with one's inner life. If one sees what one creates the responsibility is much greater. As they say in the Eastern language of the Chakor (Chakor is supposed to be a bird) that the donkey seems to be much happier than the Chakor, which is the most intelligent bird. Man in the outer life seems quite pleased, because his responsibilities are less, his outlook small, his horizon narrow, what he sees of the world very little; but when the horizon is opened, when the heart has penetrated through the barrier that divides the here and hereafter, when one begins to see behind the veil and all that appears on the surface becomes a screen behind which something else is hidden, then one experiences life quite differently.

The view of the one who stands on the top of the mountain is quite different from the view of the one who stands at the bottom of the mountain. Both are human beings, both have the same eyes, but the horizon of one is different from the horizon of the other. Inner life, therefore, means the widening of the horizon and the change of direction of seeing. In the English language they call a mystic a seer; seer means the one who sees. In the East there is a quotation of a great Yogi, who says, "in order to see what is before you, you must see within yourself." And that means that within yourself there is a mirror and it is that mirror which may be called the inner world, the inner life.

It is in this mirror that all that is before you is reflected. But when the eyes are looking outside, then one has turned his back to the mirror which is inside, but when the eyes are turned inside, then one sees in this mirror all that is outside reflected. Therefore all seeing by this process is so clear and manifests to such fullness that in comparison the vision that one has before one's eyes is a blurred or confused vision. Two person may live together for 25 years, for forty, fifty years, and may not be able to understand one another for the lack of the inner life, and the inner life would enable one to understand one another in one moment. When they said that the twelve apostles began to understand the language of all nations, did they learn the grammar of all nations at that moment? No, they learned the language of the heart. The language of the heart speaks louder than words can speak. If the ears of the heart were open to hear that language the outer words would not be necessary.

With all the progress that humanity is making it still is most limited; and the more you see the limitations of this process, the more you find that it is limited because of the absence of the inner life. When you see in the traditions and histories of the past how many thieves there used to be and robbers and murderers, and how many murders there were committed, one thinks, "what a horrid time it was." And yet when one thinks more about it one sees that the time at present is much worse, the time of robbers and murderers was much milder. One or two person in a village were murdered, now towns and countries are swept away. One war has swept away such a large number of humanity. Imagine if another war comes what will be the result? They say people have progressed, they are more thoughtful, but with all thoughtfulness we have progressed to cause all destruction and disasters that we find in a much greater degree. Does it mean that humanity is not progressing? It is progressing, but in which direction? Downwards.

The condition of going in the path of the inner life is to be free first, in order to walk in that path. If the feet are pinned, the hands are nailed by beliefs, by preconceived ideas, by thoughts that one has, then one stands; one has every desire to go, but he is not going, because he is holding on to something. Certain beliefs he has, what he believed, or what he thought, he is holding on to them, he is not gong on to them, he is not going forward. And therefore many with many good qualities and high ideals and with religious tendencies, with devotional temperament, with all the spiritual qualities that one may have can still stand in the same place.

Either their ideas are holding as pins or nails in the feet, or the hands are somewhere leaning on the railings and holding it and not going further. What the inner life requires first is the freedom in proceeding. The old meaning of freedom is very little understood, although everyone is seeking freedom. They say so much about freedom that one can be free of all things except of one thing, that is the self, that is the last thing one thinks about. The conception of freedom is quite different at this time. Therefore while seeking freedom man becomes anything but free, because he is caught in the trap of his own self.

That is the greatest captivity there is, there he remains as a jinn in the bottle. Besides that the inner life requires sacrifice. As man considers his learning, his qualification, everything in his life is in order to be better qualified to gain all that he can in the world, power or possession or wealth or anything, and sacrifice is quite a contrary way to gain, therefore one develops in him the nature of gaining instead of sacrificing. Besides, sacrifice requires large mind, sacrifice requires deep sympathies, sacrifice requires great love, sacrifice is the most difficult thing.

Inner life is something which is within oneself, it has been called a chamber of divine light in one's own heart. And the door remains closed till an effort is made to open it, and that effort is a sacrifice. In biblical terms there is a word: self-denial; but it is always misinterpreted by people. Self-denial, as people think generally, is to deny all that is good and beautiful, all that is worth attaining. Really self-denial is not to deny all that is good and beautiful to the self, but to deny the self; and that is the last thing one wishes to deny. And the automatic action of this denial opens this door of inner life. Inner life requires sacrifice.

And now coming to the path of sages. The sages who have realized the inner life have realized it by the contemplative method. Man from his infancy is unaware of something in him which is more than a faculty. By experiencing life through the outer senses this faculty, which is the faculty of inner life, (I use the word faculty because it expresses it a little better), this faculty, by not using it, becomes closed, just as if a door of a chamber of joy and light and of life is closed.

And as from infancy one has not experienced the joy and the life and the light of this chamber which may be called a celestial chamber in the heart of man one remains unaware of it, except that the feeling that sometimes one has and that one is unconscious of this feeling remains; and sometimes when one is deeply touched or sometimes when one has deeply suffered, sometimes when life has showed its hideous face, at such times, or after an illness, or by the help of meditation this feeling which is unconsciously working there as a longing to unfold itself, this feeling becomes manifest. In what way? In love for solitude, in sympathy for the others, in a tendency to sincerity, in the form of inspiration of all that is good and beautiful.

It may manifest in the form of emotion, love, affection, in the form of inspiration in the form of a revelation, vision, art, or poetry, or music; in whatever form one allows it to express itself or one happens to be busy with, in that form it begins to manifest. And therefore it is all spiritual when this door of the chamber of the heart is once open. If a man is a musician, then his music is celestial; if he is a poet, then his poetry is spiritual; if he is an artist, then his art is a spiritual work; whatever he may do in life that Divine Spirit manifests. He need not be a religious person, he need not be a philosopher, he need not be a mystic. Only that which was hidden in him and which was keeping him incomplete in life, this begins to manifest to view.

That makes life perfect, that enable man to express life to its fullness. Every attempt made today to better the condition of humanity by politics, by education, by social reconstruction and by many other ways, all these, with excellent plans, can only be fulfilled if this something which was missing was added to them, but in the absence of this all efforts of many, many years will prove to be fatal. For this something which is missing is the most essential of all things. The world cannot remain a world without rainfall. The world cannot progress without a spiritual stimulus, a spiritual awakening. If that is not the first thing, it is natural that it is not the first thing; still it can be the last thing; and if it is not even the last thing, then it is a pity.

Now I should like to explain what reason I will give for the wakening of the meditative souls, how are they wakened, how would they experience the inner life. In the first place the adept values his object of attaining the inner life more than anything else in life. As long as he does not value it so long he remains unable to attain to it. That is the first condition, that man values the inner life more than anything else in the world, wealth, or power, position, rank, or anything.

It does not mean that he must not be in pursuit in this world of things he needs, it means he must give the greatest value to something which is really worthwhile. The next thing is that when one begins to give value to something one thinks it is worthwhile to give time; because today in the modern world time, they say time is money, and money means the most valuable thing. If that which is money, of that which is precious, a person gives to something he considers most worthwhile, more than anything else in the world, then no doubt that is the next step towards the inner life.

And the third thing is that the condition of his mind is relieved of that pressure which always is in a person's heart while thinking that, "I have not done what I ought to have done towards my fellowman," (be it one's father or mother, child, husband, wife, brother, friend, whoever it is), or "what I was expected to do towards the persons with whom I am put or in the condition I am in, I have not done it", if that pressure is troubling the mind, then that mind is not yet fit. A person will give time to contemplation and spiritual life, but at the same time the mind is disturbed, the heart is not at rest feeling: "I have not done my duty, I have a debt to pay to someone."

It is a most essential point that the adept considers that any debt to be paid in life, does not remain unpaid. When we look at life, is it not a marketplace? The give and take is to be seen in everything, and for what one has not paid just now, the bill will be presented afterwards. What one thinks, "I have gained without paying" he must wait till he realizes that he will have to pay it with interest added to it. In what form one takes, in what form one gives he is seldom aware of it. In giving service, kindness, sympathy may be that he gives service, sympathy, kindness, his money., all he has to the north, from the south it comes, it comes back, when once he takes from the west, to the east he has to pay.

Only man does not know in what form he has to pay, in what form he takes; very often he does not know when he takes, what he gives; but in give and take every moment of his life is occupied. And with all the injustice of the word, it all adjusts itself in the balances. If there was no balance of this the word would not exist. This ever-moving world, turning round and round, what holds it, what makes it stand? It is the balance. It is not only the world that is going on, but everything is going on, the whole of life in its own way. What deeps it existing? It is the balance that holds it. We do not know that balance, being occupied by our worldly life.

But when the inner life is opened and one sees life keenly, one will find that it is a continual balancing process going on and we as particles on one mechanism constantly busy keeping this balance. When once the heart is at rest by the thought that one has paid, or one is paying one's debts, then one has come to a balanced condition. That balanced condition brings about a balance in one's life. That balance creates a condition in which the heart, which is likened to the sea, becomes then not a restless sea, as it is in the storm, but a calm sea, undisturbed water; and it is that condition which enables man to experience inner life even better.

Do we not see in our everyday life the presence of persons who have not that tranquility, that peace, that calmness, what influence it has? Terrible influence upon themselves, disastrous influence upon others. One realizes it in one's everyday life if one sees it. One may be sitting in the office with someone, one may be standing in a place, one may be staying in the house where other people are standing or sitting, one can realize by their atmosphere whether that person has reached a state of balance, tranquility, calm and peace or whether that person is in a state which is not rhythmic, not balanced.

This again gives us an idea that what we call happiness and unhappiness is the state, a balanced state or unbalanced state. When a person is in a normal state in which his mind and heart ought to be, in that state he is in a normal state, he need not seek for happiness, he is happiness itself, he radiates happiness; when that state is disturbed he is unhappy, it is not that unhappiness comes to him but he himself is unhappiness.

In Hindu terms a Hindu idea is that self means happiness, the depth of the self is happiness. Which means all this structure which is outside, the physical body, the breath, the senses of perception, all these which make man, all these stand out, but his inner being can only be called by one name, and that is happiness. It is natural, therefore, that everyone is seeking after happiness, not knowing where to get it, always seeking for it outside of himself. Therefore instead of finding that happiness which is his own he wants to take away the happiness of another.

And what happens? That neither can he get the happiness of another nor can he give it. By trying to get it from the other he causes sorrow to the other and the sorrow comes to him. There are very few robbers who go in the houses of others and steal, but there are so many robbers of happiness, and they seldom know they rob the others of happiness. But the robber of happiness is more foolish than the robbers who are after wealth, because when they are successful they get something, but the robber of happiness, he never gets something, he only gives sorrow to the others.

Inner life therefore must not be considered, as many have thought it to be, a life which is in the forest or in the cave of the mountain or a retired life. Yes, there is a need for a certain person who seeks for a solitude, he prefers to be away from the midst of the world, whose inspiration is stimulated by being alone, who feels himself when he is by himself, but it is not a necessity of attaining to that happiness. One can be in the midst of the world and one can stand above the world. Life has many woes, and the only way of getting rid of it is to stand above them all; and it is this that can be attained by one and only thing, and that is the discovering of the inner life.