The pandemic has brought challenges in its wake, unexpected demands and unforseen results. Many – including parents – have been challenged to rise to new situations that have not been envisaged. The cost of not being prepared is mental illness. This mental illness has afflicted those working from home, parents helping with home schooling, children and students separated from their friends and peers. We have an innate strength, the strength that comes from the Atma within.
The greatest defect today is the absence of Atmavichara, the inquiry into the nature of the Atma. That is the cause of all this a-santhi; if you are eager to know the truth about yourself, then even if you do not believe in God, you will not go astray. The pots are all of mud, the ornaments are all of gold, the clothes all of yarn. There is unity where one saw only diversity; the basic substance is one and indivisible. That is Brahmam, that is the Atma, which is your own basic substance, also.
This Atmavichara is best found in the Upanishads. Just as a river’s flow is regulated by bunds and the flood waters are directed to the sea, so too the Upanishads regulate and restrict the senses, the mind and the intellect and help one to reach the sea and merge individuality in the Absolute. Study the Upanishads with a view to act accordingly, to put the advice into practice.
That is why I condemn all signs of weakness and call the sense of weakness itself a sin, an unpardonable sin. It is an insult to the heritage of Immortality, the title “Amritasya Putra”, which mankind deserves and must earn. Weakness, vacillation, despair, all these bring dishonour on Him who conferred on you the honour of “Amritasya Putra”; you are Bala-swarupa, of the Nature of Strength. Whenever accosted, you must declare yourself so, and not otherwise. Do not bend and cringe and barter your self-respect. Do not believe that you are this little lump of body. You are the indestructible, immortal Atma, of the same nature as Brahmam Itself.
The cottage and the castle are both built on the earth; so too, all faiths, and religions, all disciplines have the Veda as the basis. The special feature of Indian culture is that here the dress and demeanour, the language and literature, the manner and mode of living, the ideals and institutions are all attuned to the spiritual progress of man, emphasising as they do the superiority of the spirit over the body, the subtle over the gross. Everything is subordinated to that supreme task. The body should fed and kept free from disease. Why? So that it may be fit for Sadhana. Sadhana for what? For the realisation of the Truth about oneself. The subtle is the basis for the gross; the Divine is the basis for the Human. Indian Culture turns your eye to the basis – not to what is built upon it.
Make four resolutions about your life hereafter:
- Purity. Desist from wicked thoughts, bad habits, low activities that weaken your self-respect.
- Service: serve others, for they are the reflections of the same Entity of which you are yourself another reflection. No one of you has any authenticity, except with reference to the One Original.
- Mutuality: Feel always kinship with all creation. See the same current flowing through all the objects in the Universe.
- Truth: Do not deceive yourself or others by distorting your experience.