International Self-preparation Group
Message from Krishnaji VIII
We were discussing not long ago the value and necessity
of discrimination in order to understand the Path and human life generally.
I want to go more into detail so as to make the idea of discrimination clearer.
It is quite obvious that to be able to discriminate in the right way you must have mind, you must have intelligence. It would be impossible for an idiot to tread the Path. You must not be cranky, you must be sane; and to be sane you must have an intelligent mind and a right outlook. We are not concerned for the moment with the higher mind; we are concerned with the mind functioning on the physical plane, and which needs to be well-trained; able to read, to understand, to grasp the various meanings of life. That lower mind is essential, though full of danger. It is the lower mind which gives us a clear perception of things on the physical plane. We must have that clear perception, as also the capacity to understand and to assimilate, because without a mind, without intelligence, without intellectual criticism and judgment of the right kind, it is impossible to advance. I dislike that word "advance", because it has been so misused. "Advance", to me, means going about your ordinary daily life with intelligence. If you are walking along an ordinary road towards the goal, you are bound to advance. It is the same thing with the Path. If you want to reach another shrine, you do not worry as to whether you are progressing or taking steps, or acquiring labels; you just go on.
If you are to grasp the various opportunities which present themselves along the Path, you must be able to judge for yourself, you must have this lower mind well developed. You cannot be purely devotional, for that means that you are not perfectly balanced; neither can you be purely intellectual. You must have the combination of both intellect and devotion, and not aim at being merely an intellectual giant or an absolute devotee. This means that you must study, study everything, not only along one particular line. The lower mind, if it is properly trained, does not make you merely critical; we can all criticise. It means that you are able to exercise right judgment, and by the practice of this judgment you grow big.
You cannot train the lower mind simply by shutting your eyes and becoming a devotee. You must observe; you must put out mental tentacles in all directions, because you must acquire the result of all experiences without necessarily indulging in those experiences.
You must learn to use the lower mind to create new thoughts, new ideas, new ways of thinking, and not just follow the old ruts; because then you will be able to judge for yourselves, and not merely follow in the footsteps of another. We all have the instinct to follow, we want to be led, we want to be a follower of X, Y or Z, instead of making ourselves into X, Y or Z. Why do we want to follow? Because we do not trust our minds, our judgment, our intuition; we are willing to remain small people instead of standing on our own feet and making our own decisions and acting for ourselves in the right sense and without conceit. That is why it is so important, so essential, to understand what this Path requires, because then you can lead, you can train others, you can make them feel differently about the things that really matter in life.
We all want to create; that is the instinct both of the animal and of the human being; but in creation, especially in mental creation, we must be individualistic - in the sense that we must follow our own particular dharma. But it does not mean that we should be separate or conceited.
If you have a mind that is always judging and balancing and weighing things, then there is no question of ever being unnatural, hypocritical, or unreal about things. We all pretend to some extent. This pretending has its value; but pretension of the wrong kind becomes hypocrisy, and hypocrisy will gradually grow into our being if we are not careful. If we do not like a thing, let us be honest and say so. It is not possible for us all to like the same things. The Path is so wide, so incredibly extensive, that there is room on it for millions of people with different points of view. They will all arrive at the same shrine, however they come. We must use our own minds, our own eyes, and judge for ourselves; and not swallow anything and everything that other people put before us, whether we like it or not. If we like it, let us dissect it and see why we like it. If we do not like it, let us equally examine it, and find out if our dislike is well-founded or the result of prejudice.
Mind is Brahman; it is the essence of God, and not something to be despised and put aside. But like everything else in the world, you must train the mind, you must carefully guard it and shield it. The mind has its potential value; and it is absurd for any of us to set it aside and not to use it, and shut our eyes to the realities and the unrealities of life.
If you have such a trained mind, you will be able to distinguish between the desires of the elemental of the body and the mind itself, between the emotions and the real Self. The body has its own feelings, its own instincts and desires. If you leave it alone, it will act in a certain fashion and make tremendous efforts to get its desires satisfied.
Most of us do not know how to distinguish between the body and the real Self; we are in a state of complete confusion. It needs much training to distinguish between the mind, the emotions and the body. There are so many varieties of desire; and you can only distinguish between those varieties if your mind, if the real Self, is able to exert itself and assert itself.
You can see how a child is swayed by his natural instincts, how he is at one moment noisy and hilarious, and at the next moment depressed. That is because the real Self has not yet entered, has not yet taken control of the body; and so the body has a good time on its own account. It is much the same with us all. We think we are far superior to the child, but we are still childish in many ways; but when we have learned to use this capacity of discrimination to distinguish the real Self from its physical vehicle, then the irritations, the petty desires, the jealousies and dislikes and hatreds, will disappear.
There is so much ugliness all around - in ourselves, in others, in our circumstances, in our feelings and in our minds. It is the lower expression, the lower consciousness of the Supreme; and through these small things, you can grow to understand the higher expression of the Supreme, the real God. To me there is nothing which is intrinsically evil, nothing which smacks of the devil; the black magician himself must be a part of the same divinity, although he may be of a lower stratum.
The mind is the highest thing that we have in us, because the mind, if it is properly trained, becomes the intuition. We have to work so as to arrive at that perfect knowledge, that perfect intuition, which we can trust without the least hesitation. The lower mind must become one with the buddhic mind, which is the essence of intuition.
Until you have gained this perfect balance, you do not tread the Path in the right way. When you have gained it, you acquire a certain independence, a certain poise, and you will never be carried away by outer circumstances. You become impersonal, and nothing really effects you except as you desire it. Then you also develop a tremendous will to accomplish things.
You must use the lower mind as a link with the higher. You cannot possibly do without it; but it is dangerous to exaggerate the lower mind, because then it becomes unbalanced. To me, spirituality is perfect balance, it is the apotheosis of common sense. If you put some beautiful thing before a lunatic, he will not be able to appreciate its beauty. We do not appreciate real beauty, real greatness, until we have a spark of beauty or a spark of divinity or greatness in ourselves. We must have the essence of all qualities before we can really understand, before we can really enjoy the swing, the march on the Path. We must learn, though our feet may be bleeding, though we may suffer, though we may be really happy. We must have the desire, the determination, to know for ourselves. We must reach that stage where knowledge becomes certainty instead of a second-hand belief, where knowledge becomes a part of us, where knowledge is ourselves. Then we shall know the real joy of living, we shall have found the essence of happiness.