October 30, 1967 — Morning Talks, chapter 11
I was just speaking about the chastity of life, which is the most important part of the spiritual life. Spirituality cannot dawn on a mind which is driven or attracted through the outgoing faculties to the outward enjoyments. Out of the five outgoing faculties of eyes, ears, nose, touch and taste, three are most powerful.
Lust attacks us eighty percent through the eyes, fourteen percent through the ears and the remaining six percent mainly through touch.
So how to maintain chastity? that’s the point.
You have just to control your attention. The mind and outgoing faculties derive their power from the soul, and the outward expression of the soul is the attention. So if our attention is riveted at the center of the soul in the body and we make the best use of the outgoing faculties, we will not be affected by what we see or hear.
You might be looking at somebody but you need not be doing so with your full consciousness, even with your open eyes. Somebody might be relating long stories of vicious things to you. If you control your attention, even with your open ears you won’t hear.
We derive effects from outside and wherever our attention goes, we are affected by the radiation of those with whom we come in contact. If they are pure, that’s all right. If not, you get their radiation.
How to be air conditioned? I would say, is the question. If there is heat outside, what should we do? We should become air conditioned. If you become centered within your own self by withdrawing your attention from outside, from the body below, then …? If you would like to see through the eyes, you might see at your will. If you will be self centered, you won’t be affected by any other of the outgoing faculties. But as we are given up to the outward attachments, naturally we will receive impressions from outside.
To be pure is the ground on which God manifests. That is why Christ said,
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Buddha, Christ and other Saints and Masters all gave out in their own way this very thing. They all said,
“You must be pure at heart.”
Out of the abundance of heart a man speaks. You speak what you have already got within you. If you have got pure thoughts within you, then you are pure. Then naturally, whatever will go out from you, through your mouth or by radiation, will have the same effect.
Whatever we speak, whatever we radiate, carries the effect of what is within us. That is why it is said,
“A man speaks out of the abundance of his heart.”
Everybody says, “Be chaste, observe celibacy.” For that the only criterion or specific remedy is what? To be self centered. It is we who give power to the mind. It is we who give power to the outgoing faculties. It is we who see good or bad outside. If we become self centered, we may make the best use of our outgoing faculties however we like. At the present time, we are driven away, attracted by outside things like anything.
If you are self centered and somebody touches you, you will not be affected. You will be air conditioned. But if you touch those who are not air conditioned, that will carry its effect. So for that, all Masters have enjoined, “Don’t touch anybody — Don’t look into the eyes of others.” These are the outward precautions to save you. Just like when a tree is cut down, first the branches are shorn off and it is then easier to cut the stem. These precautions are only to cut off the branches. But the whole thing will depend on being self centered, to get your attention centered within you.
The outward expression of the soul is called attention or Surat. If you become self centered, you can make use of any of your outgoing faculties at your own will and pleasure. Now we cannot do that. We are driven like anything. You are in the world and see everybody. The only precaution is, don’t look into the eyes of others and you will be saved. But still the main remedy, the specific remedy, lies in being air conditioned. Then you may come in touch with anybody, like a man who lives among snakes but who has some incantation to protect him, and so is never bitten. You follow my point, what I want to bring out to you?
So being self centered is the main thing. That will come in due course with regular devotion of time to your spiritual practices. By airing the soul, you are cut off from outside. By seeing intently the Light within, you are cut off from the body and outgoing faculties.
A doctor who used to examine my Master once said to Him, “You say that you are withdrawn from the body. Can you prove it?” “All right,” the Master said, “examine me if you like,” and He became self centered. The doctor found hardly any indication of life in His body. Even His blood circulation was very slow.
It is the attention which gives life to the body. This we have forgotten. We are engaged in outward practices which involve the use of the outgoing faculties. You may do these for hundreds of years. They may be either good acts or bad acts and will react accordingly. But unless you become self centered, I will again say, you cannot be saved by outward attachments. So the best way to attain purity is to be self centered. If you want to make use of your eyes or other organs of the outgoing faculties, use them, otherwise not.
He is a self centered man, I would say, who is called a Saint. He comes into contact with you and sometimes He pats you or looks at you mercifully. This does not mean that He is influenced by you. He influences others, because He is competent. We are influenced by others, that is the pity.
There is a vast difference between the influence of a Saint and the influence of others. You may say that He is sitting with us. Sometimes He talks to us in a jolly way. Do you mean to say that He is attracted by you? Not the least. He sits with us, talks with us only to attract us and others to come on the right way.
So there is a vast difference between a man who is self centered and who has come solely to help others to become self centered, and a man who has not become self centered.
The time factor is a necessity of course. Rome was not built in a day. Every Saint has His past and every sinner his future. These are the things which we have to grasp and make the best use of. Be self centered, and for that you must be regular in your practices. Go all through life with your attention centered within you.
I learnt this secret from Napoleon’s life. I have read more than three hundred books written about the lives of Saints and other great men. Napoleon was a very self centered man I tell you. At about 2 o’clock in the morning he was writing the proceedings of a primary school. It happened to be the morning of the battle of Waterloo. At about 8 o’clock, he was walking in the garden. One of his ministers was there and asked him, “What are you doing? The battle is due to start at 9 o’clock.” “Oh, that is at 9 o’clock, it is 8 o’clock now,” replied Napoleon. You see how self centered he was.
I have read the biographies of many Saints. We learn something from every man’s life. Man is not made great by learning something in his head. It is something which he has brought out in his own life which makes him great. You follow my point now?
Everybody lays great stress on being chaste, but still we are not chaste. The reason is that the atmosphere is poisoned. The people whom we touch are poisoned. It is better if you can get the company of a good self centered man. If not, then it is better to live alone. These things are referred to in the books but are not given clearly, cut and dried, as I am just putting before you. You want to be pure, all right, then be self centered. The diaries will help you, as in cutting the branches off a tree. When the fruit is cut from a tree it cannot remain fresh. It remains fresh as long as it is untouched by the hand of man. If it is touched by the hand of man, it cannot remain fresh, although there is one way out. That is, keep it in honey, then it won’t spoil. The honey should be love of God, love of the Master. That way, we can remain safe, quite fresh, otherwise not.
The Masters have given so many examples to bring home these things, but we simply read through and go on in our old ways. We should understand what they are telling us, and we should have that very thing in our own lives. If two glasses are carried together, one or both may break. Similarly, by touch you will have the same radiation as the other man. Unless you become self centered, you cannot avoid the influence of others. We have to learn swimming in water, not on dry land. We are to be in the world yet out of it, and to achieve success in this way, we have to be self centered. You follow my point? The company of a person who is self centered will give you the radiation of His life. Maulana Rumi says, “If you have the company of a Saint (Saints referred to in the Scriptures are meant here, not the so-called masters with whom the world is flooded today), and if you sit by Him for an hour, you will have His radiation. You will have more advancement and progress this way than by putting in hundreds of years of devotion.” Once you sit by a fire, all cold will go. When you sit by a snowy mountain, naturally you will have cold. So the society or the company of the Saints gives wonderful things. If flowers are left in a room, the whole room will be full of perfume. If you keep them in your clothes, they too will be full of perfume. If you keep them in water, the water will become perfumed. Similarly, when a man who is self centered is there, the very atmosphere becomes charged. In that atmosphere, you can have very easily a clear-cut understanding of things and also more progress. The radiations in the atmosphere around Him will become embedded in you.
People will run from hundreds and thousands of miles to have the company of a Saint. When we come to Him, what do we do? We do not derive the full benefit of His company. Why? — because our whole attention is not riveted into the Master. If you go to the Master and just wonder about what He eats or what He drinks, you will not be able to benefit fully from His radiation. When you are at the feet of the Master, you should strike up no friendship with anybody, your whole friendship should simply be for the Master. Your whole attention should be on Him all through. What does He say? Does He ask you to leave the world and go to the desert places? Not the least. He asks us to live in the world but to be self centered.
God has united you, some as brothers, some as sisters, mothers or fathers. It is God who has united you and you should behave in the proper way as a matter of devotion to Him. Because God has done this and because you love God, then pay off fully, as best as you can. But all the same, you should be detached while doing this, just like a nurse who looks after somebody else’s child. She nurses it of course, but with all that she knows at the heart of hearts that it is not her child. She only does if for the sake of earning a living. Similarly, we should be in the world, pay off our debts, love those with whom our debts lie because God has united us, but all the same remain in air conditioned rooms. They will only be air conditioned if we become self centered. These things are not given direct in the books. Those who have got practical experience know where the shoe pinches. With all our efforts to be chaste, to wish to be chaste, still we are not chaste. Chastity in mind, word and deed, the whole thing depends on the soul’s attention. If you make your attention self centered, then who can affect you? You will have become air conditioned. These are practical things pointed out to you. Keep notes of what has been said. If you read through all the scriptures, you will not find it said so directly.
The main thing to save you is, “Don’t look into the eyes of others.” Look only into the eyes of one who is self centered. Don’t touch anybody and you will be saved. If you are self centered, you won’t be influenced by others. If not, you will be influenced by everybody. Beware, if you can’t get the company of a competent Master, then remain all alone. Pay off your debts because God has united you. Love the people because they are children of God. For the sake of the love of God, we should love everybody. For that you have not to leave the world and go to the deserted places. You have to learn swimming while in water. You follow my point, a very important point? Just grasp what has been said and try to put in more time to your meditations. In this way only will you become self centered.