22. Life is Love and Love is Life

In the case of a beginner the practice of Yoga is often deliberate and requires great determination. But those who are practising sincerely for many years, are intent on self-realisation all the time, whether conscious of it or not. Unconscious sadhana is most effective, because it is spontaneous and steady.

What a man appears to do, or not to do, is often deceptive. His apparent lethargy may be just a gathering of strength. The causes of our behaviour are very subtle. One must not be quick to condemn, not even to praise. Remember that Yoga is the work of the inner self on the outer self. All that the outer does is merely in response to the inner.

The outer self has some control over the body and can improve its posture and breathing. Over the mind's thoughts and feelings it has little mastery, for it is itself the mind. It is the inner that can control the outer. The outer will be wise to obey.

The outer can help by keeping quiet and free from desire and fear. You would have noticed that all advice to the outer is in the form of negations: don't, stop, refrain, forego, give up, sacrifice, surrender, see the false as false. Even the little description of reality that is given is through denials - 'not this, not this'. All positives belong to the inner self, as all absolutes - to Reality.

The inner is the source of inspiration, the outer is moved by memory.

The source is untraceable, while all memory begins somewhere. Thus the outer is always determined, while the inner cannot be held in words. The mistake of students consists in their imagining the inner to be something to get hold of, and forgetting that all perceivables are transient and, therefore, unreal. Only that which makes perception possible, call it Life or Brahman, or what you like, is real.

Life is love and love is life. What keeps the body together but love? What is desire, but love of the self? What is fear but the urge to protect? And what is knowledge but the love of truth? The means and forms may be wrong, but the motive behind is always love - love of the me and the mine. The me and the mine may be small, or may explode and embrace the universe, but love remains.

The right practice is to adhere to the thought that you are the ground of all knowledge, the immutable and perennial awareness of all that happens to the senses and the mind. If you keep it in mind all the time, aware and alert, you are bound to break the bounds of non-awareness and emerge into pure life, light and love.

The idea - 'I am the witness only' will purify the body and the mind and open the eye of wisdom.

Then man goes beyond illusion and his heart is free of all desires. Just like ice turns to water and water to vapour, and vapour dissolves in air and disappears in space, so does the body dissolve into pure awareness, then into pure being, which is beyond all existence and non-existence.

The realised man knows what others merely hear; but don't experience. Intellectually they may seem convinced, but in action they betray their bondage, while the realised man is always right. With the realised man the experience: 'I am the world, the world is mine' is supremely valid - he thinks, feels and acts integrally and in unity with all that lives.

Fullness and emptiness are relative terms. The Real is really beyond - beyond not in relation to consciousness, but beyond all relations of whatever kind. The difficulty comes with the word 'state'. The Real is not a state of something else - it is not a state of mind or consciousness or psyche - nor is it something that has a beginning and an end, being and not being.