The Supplementary Papers
Conditions of the Mind
The mind has three conditions, Jalal, Jamal and Kamal. Jalal is that state when a person thinks of what he will do, when he is planning what to do, when he thinks, "I should start a soap-factory," or "I should learn this thing." Then the mind is in its full force, there is the strength of the thought. Jamal is when a person thinks of what he has done. He thinks, "I went to the British Museum and I saw so many beautiful jewels and books and beautiful statues."
Kamal has two conditions. Either there is no thought at all in the mind. This is for the mystic only, because he practices it. Or no thought is intentionally formed and we take the first thought that comes into the mind and do that. If we could always do this we should need no other guidance, we should not need to learn very much, we should know all things directly, because this knowledge comes direct from the Universal Consciousness. Do you not think that He Who has the experience of all things and all ages, can know more than any person can learn in his short life?
The activity directed by the intelligence is the will. When there is no intelligence guiding the activity, there is blind impulse. Where there is no activity there is no will. The will can be strengthened by practicing it, by exerting it to overcome obstacles without and within, by acting contrary to our inclination, by holding impulses in check, not allowing them to go to the full length of their swing, by refraining from any action or expression to which we may be inclined, by not allowing ourselves to be overcome by a fit of anger, of laughter, of tears, by extreme joy or sorrow, or whatever mood, and either changing the emotion to its opposite, anger to mildness, laughter to sorrow, tears to joy; by checking the emotion and effacing it, or by, while letting it have its course, yet holding it in our control.
To know when to persist in our own will, when to allow the will of others, is often difficult, and sometimes we think it most difficult to know what is the will of God and what is our own will. Sometimes, six months afterwards, sometimes a year afterwards, or years afterwards, we see clearly what we should have done in a certain case, what course we should have taken, which at the time we could not discern, although we tried to. If at the moment of difficulty, we were as calm, as free from these thoughts of the pleasure, the happiness, the discomfort or the loss that will result to ourselves, we should see as clearly in that moment and perceive plainly the will of God.
The word Vairagya comes from the Sanskrit Varaguia, and means indifference. Indifference is called by the Sufis Fana, and is shown in the cross, the symbol of the Christian religion. This indifference comes to every being, and it is the first step to its annihilation, because not one atom can have its evolution without annihilation. The lower beings, the mineral, vegetable and animal evolve towards the higher, and, because man is the highest creation, there is nothing for him to evolve to, but this indifference, when it comes, opens a way for him to God, from Whom he came.
It comes to the child when it realizes that its dolly is not so interesting as it thought, and that it would be more interesting to play with other children, who, at least, are alive. Then the dolly is thrown away. But, before that, the child takes the dolly, and loves it, and carries it about. And, if the dolly's hand is hurt, the child wants some remedy, and a bed is needed to put the dolly in, and a carriage is needed to take the dolly out. But when the nature of the dolly is understood, the dolly is thrown away, and the child realizes that to play with children of its age is better than those dollies who never speak.
Such is the case with us, the children in the world. Our likes and infatuations have a certain limit, when that is expired the period of indifference commences. When that water of indifference is drunk, then there is no more wish for anything in the world. The nature of the water that we drink in this world is that the thirst is quenched for so long, and then it comes again. When this water of divine knowledge is drunk, then the thirst never comes again. It comes when the nature of the world is understood. It is the higher knowledge. Then is understood that all these objects to which we attach so much importance, that we strive to attain, to achieve, are not important.
Before that a person attaches too much importance to his joys, to his sorrows. If he is sad, the whole world is full of sadness. If he is a little joyful, the whole world is full of joy. As if the sun rises and sets by his joy and sadness. But indifference must be reached after interest has taken its course. Before that it is a fault. A person becomes exclusive, he becomes disagreeable, without interest in life. It must come after all experience. Interest must end in indifference. He must not take the endless path of interest; the taste of everything in the world becomes flat. Then he realizes that all that we seek in all the objects we run after, all beauty and strength is in himself, and he is content to feel all in himself. This may be called the kiss of the cross. Then his only principle is love.
Vairagya means satisfaction, the feeling that there is no desire more to be satisfied, that there is nothing on earth that is desired. This is a great moment, and after that comes that which is the Kingdom of God. Why is God satisfied with the world when even man, when he reaches a certain grade of intelligence, is not satisfied? Or is God not satisfied? There are two sorts of dissatisfaction. The first is when a man has so given in to the external self that the world cannot give him satisfaction. The other is when the desire for more experience, for more enjoyment ceases. This is called in the Hindi language Vairagya. This is indifference. Such a person is not unhappy. He is happier than others. He has lost only that intense interest in the world.
There is a story told of a comedian who every day disguised himself and fooled the king, the Padishah, at whose court he was. But the king recognized him in all his disguises. Then the comedian thought that he should disguise himself as an ascetic. He went to a cave in the mountains, and there he lived with two disciples, also comedians. He fasted very much, thinking that he should disguise himself well. After forty days, people seeing his disciples, began to speak of the sage living in the cave of the mountains. They brought him presents, a hundred, two hundred dirhams.
But he refused all, saying, "Take it away. The sage does not want money or presents." His fame spread more and more, and the king heard of him and became anxious to see him. He went to the cave, but for a long time, the disciples would not let him enter. At last he was allowed to come into the presence of the sage. He said, "I have been kept waiting very long, before I could see you." The sage said, "The dogs of the world are not allowed to enter the house." The king was very much insulted. He thought that this must be a very great person. He gave him a piece of paper, saying, "This is a parwana for the support of your disciples." A parwana means a grant of land. The sage said, "If it is a parwana, its place is in the fire", and he put it into the fire, which was burning before him. Parwana has two meanings, it means also a moth.
The king went away, and the comedian got up, thinking, "Now I must tell the king how well I have fooled him." Then a Voice came, saying, "Your feigned indifference has brought the king before you, if it had been real indifference, We ourselves would have come before you."
Perhaps you have read the story of Daniel in the lion's den, therefore you can understand that there is no greater sign of spiritual advancement than man's personal influence; this is an example of advancement in spiritual life. People want to know whether they are progressing or going back. One need not see how much one has read or learned to find out if one has advanced. The principal thing is: if one attracts people or if one repels them, if one is harmonious or inharmonious. This can tell us how far we have advanced. No doubt one day is not the same as the other. One day one may perhaps have more influence than the other. Life is like water, and it will have its waves rising or falling. Sometimes there are conditions or influences which are contrary. By keen observation we can find out if we are advancing. Another sign of advancement is that we must become modest, kind, and respectful to others.
Another sign is that we must have wisdom and power; if one has both these things one will create beauty in life. Now a question is how to attain this advancement. Practices and exercises are the main things. We must have faith and trust in the practices we do. According to our faith we will succeed. Mind and body must be kept in a proper tune. For instance, one moment of excitement takes away the advancement of six months. It is like a person who is making a necklace of pearls; if the thread breaks, he must do it all over again. If we get excited and our mind and body are out of tune, we spoil the practices of six months' time. For those who walk in the spiritual path it is of great value to keep themselves tuned to the pitch which is necessary. The difficulty is to endure all the time many things which upset one, conditions which excite and exhaust one's patience. We must have the power of endurance in spite of all. Life is a continual battle to fight; and in order to keep fit one must keep one's power reserved and preserved. This is done by keeping tranquil and equable in mind. Practices, concentrations, meditations and prayer will win the battle of your life.
The way of attaining spiritual knowledge is quite opposite to the way by which one attains worldly knowledge. As the sky is in the opposite direction to the earth, so the source of knowledge of spiritual things is opposite to the knowledge of the world. As man becomes intellectual, he knows things of the world; but this does not mean that he becomes spiritual; on the contrary, he goes further from spirituality by his thought: "I understand worldly things." What is the best way of attaining spiritual knowledge? First, one must develop in one's nature that little spark which is divine, and which was shining in one's infancy, showing something pure, of Heaven.
What attracts us most is innocence, it is innocence which gives an impression of purity. But, we must not understand this wrongly, knowledge of the world is necessary, more than necessary; it is necessary to live in the world, to make the best of one's life, to serve God and humanity; it is not necessary to attain spiritual knowledge, innocence is necessary for that. One sees among friends, relatives, something which attracts one most, perhaps this is the side of the nature which is innocence. People forgive those who are dear to them, they tolerate their faults. They say: "He is wrong, but he is innocent." There is a purity which is divine, and which attracts everyone. Innocence is like a spring of water, purifying all that is foreign to heart and soul.
How can one attain innocence? Innocence is not foreign to our nature, we have all been innocent. By being conscious of this nature, we develop it; in admiring that nature, appreciating it, we also develop it. All things which we admire become impressions. Those who have a bad nature, but who have collected good impressions, will in time turn their nature.
During my traveling in India, the purpose of which was to pay homage to the sages of that land, the thing which appealed most to me was that the greater the soul was, the greater was the innocence. One sees in them innocence, not simplicity. The one who is simple does not understand; we see this in everyday life, he closes his eyes. Innocence is to understand and rise above. Every person sees another through his own glasses, prejudice stands often between. For insight unity is necessary. When that attribute is developed one has attained spirituality. Man becomes wise after having been intellectual, he rises above the intellect, he sees cause behind cause, and understands the way of his enemy. Would it be practical to live altogether according to this principle? A principle is to be used, not to guide our life. When people make of principle a chain, it becomes captivity. Life is freedom. One cannot force oneself to innocence. Can there be any sign of piety or spirituality? There is no better sign than innocence with all understanding.
God bless you.