Science is our struggle in the outer world. Religion is our struggle in the inner world.
The whole scientific method is based on observation and experiment; but the moment we realize that there is something beyond these, we will give them up and leave material science behind. Science will always have to deal with finite bodies, but God is infinite.
As long as there is intense struggle, there are still desires which tie us to the world. We have not realized yet its complete hollowness. When we realize that, the way is easy. The world is a place where the unreal appears to be real and the real appears unreal.
Maya makes us believe something to be where there is nothing, and nothing to be where there is something. It makes the weak seem all-powerful and the powerful seem weak.
How then can we hope to understand Truth or God? Of course, we can understand God because we are He. He is inside us.
We have got ourselves so mixed up with this sense world, that we imagine that we cannot understand Him. He is the easiest thing for us to understand. He represents our natural condition.
Could not God free us from ignorance at once if He wished? Surely; but He is so infinitely loving that He does not wish to annoy us. So long as He sees that we really cling to our ignorance and our desires, He does not come to free us. Only when we turn all our desire to Him, then He comes and selfishness and ignorance go away. But we must not bribe the mind; we must not pretend to be free from desire. The feeling must be absolutely sincere, no fraud or bribery.
If you wish to see God, the only way is to make the mind single and one-pointed. If we pray to God in right earnest with our whole heart, He is sure to come to us. The trouble is we pray to so many others besides God. We pray to the doctor to give us health, to the shopkeeper to give us food, to another for something else and, in among the rest, we pray to God to give us spiritual light and knowledge. When we look to Him and pray to Him and to no one else, He is sure to answer our prayers, if we make them really intense.
We must not cease to strive for the highest even though it seems unattainable. We must keep God as our ideal, and attaining Him as our aim. If we aim at the sky, we may at least strike the top of a tree. But if we aim just at the top of a tree, we may not get above the ground.
Meditation means complete self-abandonment. Meditation requires complete annihilation of self-consciousness.
We cannot hear God with these ears. How then are we to perceive Him? We can never perceive Him in this way.
To go to the Creator we must throw aside these instruments which take us directly to the creation. We must go beyond our mind and senses, then meditation will come of itself. This is the only way to get inner vision. These senses are made to perceive the creation, not the Creator.
God is beyond all duality. He is perceived more clearly at the point where the opposite poles meet. He is neither light nor darkness, but is found just where they meet. Hence the twilight hour, morning and evening – the meeting-point of day and night – is considered the best time for meditation.
“I find it so difficult to concentrate my mid. It goes to my business, to my household affairs, to amusement, and it is impossible to hold it on any higher point. Why is this?” – It is because your mind does not belong to you. You have sold it to your worldly interests. How can you expect to command what is not yours?
Bring God inside yourself. This is the way to forget the ego. Feel His presence in your heart. The moment you feel God’s presence, you will not have to drive away the ego. It will disappear of itself. Selfishness will go. Your little glory will be lost in the infinite glory of God.
In India, Nature is our mother and our father. We have been able to commune with Nature as with our own mother and so we boldly say that the whole world is living.
Western thinkers feel that only in its infancy does a nation have a tendency to personify everything and that is why in the Vedic period Indians saw mountains, rivers, etc., as living entities. But this is a foolish blunder.
It requires great purity and insight to be able to see the workings of Nature and perceive life and intelligence in every part of her. The whole world is bristling with omniscience. To an ordinary person this may appear to be a dead, soulless universe, but one who has the inner eye opened sees that the whole universe is palpitating with life.
Whenever there is a mystery, there is a flaw. Mystery is weakness. It is blindness. There is nothing in this world that cannot be explained rationally. There should not be anything mysterious connected with religion. God is in no way a mysterious Being. He is clearer than day, out in the open like the sun. People say that Yoga practices are mysterious, but that is wrong. Mystery means something that cannot be explained. A physically weak person resorts to low cunning; a spiritually weak person resorts to mystery.
In this apparent battle of life, God is the infinite side and matter the finite side. The infinite is bound to gain victory over the finite; that is, the spirit is bound to conquer the matter. It may seem at times that matter overpowers spirit, but that is only for a short period.
The infinite is bound to triumph at last.
—-From FLASHES FROM SWAMI RAMAKRISHNANANDA, a publication of Sri Ramakrishna Math