From the Editor
Our Summer School will take place in Sussex from Friday 30th June to Wednesday 5th July.
The cost will be £150 per person for the five nights and this will include all meals, which will be vegetarian.
If you are interested in attending our Summer School at this peaceful and beautiful spot please please contact the Editor.
A talk given by Phiroz Mehta at Dilkusha, Forest Hill, London on 14th November 1981
During the last two months we have been considering the topic of meditation. In September we looked into the deep, true meaning of meditation. It is not what people normally imagine or do, namely spending so much time in musing or in attempting to concentrate attention upon a chosen subject, whatever that subject may be. But if one examines that process very critically and carefully, one will see that merely concentrating attention upon a subject makes no difference to the fact that one is still musing, only musing more intently. The value of that type of thinking quietly, which is miscalled true meditation, is that it develops our power of attentiveness. We can attend to something definitely and we can turn our attention to the desired subject of attention and deal with it in the proper way. This of course is extremely valuable in ordinary everyday life, which means the worldly life. But meditation is not concerned with the worldly life as such, directly. Indirectly it is very intensely concerned with the worldly life, because he who can meditate in the true sense of the word is a person whose whole worldly life becomes utterly transformed into the true human life which is the real meaning of the religious life, minus all the defects which we apply to humanity as such.
We say that it is human to err, I say it is sub-human to err, it is not truly human. We are on the way towards becoming fully human as a species. The implication of that is something absolutely tremendous, it is very difficult to put it into words. But one can observe certain things about it, namely that what we commonly regard and call Transcendence or the Divine, or whatever term you like to use, becomes an actual reality in everyday consciousness. This is the great transformation that takes place, all your thoughts and feelings, your mental states, as we call them, your emotional states, your speech and all your actions undergo a complete transformation. They belong henceforth to the realm of the Absolute Good. There is no question of being subject to the ambivalence of the psyche. The ambivalence of the psyche has disappeared. The psyche has become completely pure, completely whole, and as such it has become the instrument of the Transcendent Energy, which is the energy of Creation itself, which flows freely through you and out of you, affecting your whole environment.
People often say, “What is the use of this religious life and sort of going off into all kinds of wonderful deep states, and so forth?” The person who makes that criticism just has not got the qualifications to observe just what happens. He doesn’t know and he naturally talks from his level. So we can dismiss that criticism and only find out for ourselves what is the truth of the matter by living the religious life. By living the religious life I mean living the purely human life which is the very reverse of what is commonly understood as the human life. The meditative state as such, therefore, is that state in which consciousness functions at its own Transcendent level. There is nothing further to do where our own human evolution or development is concerned. This is the purpose of the whole human species, the release of this state of mind and consciousness, this fruition of humanity, which enables Transcendent energies to function in everyday life through each one of us as an individual. It is perfectly true that not everyone will attain this sort of thing because it is something like this. There are thousands of people who are fond of music and who like to write music. But there is only one Beethoven, one Bach, one Wagner, and so forth, the first fruits of the particular line of development. And the first fruits of humanity are those Perfected Holy Ones whose lives are the sort of guiding light for all of us, if only we could see it. If we can see it and will take the trouble to see it, then not only do we undergo the transformation but our influence upon our society is such that it inevitably changes society as a whole. Every single individual affects the whole of humanity, just as the whole of humanity interacts with every single individual.
So you see, we get some sort of sense of at least one of the purposes of our existence as such. Now that truly meditative state, then, is that state in which consciousness functions at its deepest level and its sublimest height, if you like to put it that way. To realize that state one cannot follow any of the ordinary laid down worldly techniques of meditation. These are all techniques of musing upon a particular chosen subject, or of concentrating attention upon it. It is helpful insofar as it enables us to be able to attend to whatever we are doing or to whatever we have to do, but only that far. Let us never delude ourselves that we are becoming something like the angels of Heaven or something. We remain more or less what we are, sub-humans, and a good many remain the devils that they are. Let us have no illusions about that. The transformation which takes place is of a nature that one does not measure or try to measure, because the Transcendent is the immeasurable, the incomparable. If one realizes those two things, the immeasurability and the incomparability of this Transcendent fruition of man as man, in the full sense of the word, then so many problems, so many difficulties, so many disagreements between man and his fellow man would just disappear altogether and we would not be on the wrong track. We would just be ourselves fully realized in the true sense, and, if one realizes that true sense, then there are no thoughts or words in which to clothe this state, the condition of that person.
Recall if you like in the first chapter of Genesis verses 26 and 27 the statement that “Elohim made man in his own living likeness.” That is my own translation, “his own likeness”. The usual translation is that God made man in his own image, which is a hopelessly bad, misleading translation. An image is a fossil, it is only the living reality which is the source of inspiration and power and fruition. So if you regard it that way, that Elohim made man in his own living likeness, then you will begin to shiver and be afraid! “Good heavens, is that what I’ve got to be?” It is something tremendous, it is a super-doctorate of divinity, if you like!
Last month we paid attention to one or two very important points in this connection. What is the implication for the psyche of each person when he sees this and moves towards this fruition? I would prefer not to use the word goal, for the simple reason that the moment we say goal in this context we already have some preconception of the nature of that goal. I, the imperfect man, can never form any true preconception of that. I cannot conceive the inconceivable, it is beyond me, it is Transcendent to me. Therefore it is unwise to make a picture in my mind and say that this is the sort of goal I have to strive for. If I make a picture like that, I will always make a mess and a muddle of the whole thing. It will happen by itself. When you and I were born, as the one day old infant, we had no preconception as to into what we are going to grow, none at all, and we couldn’t have a preconception. If we tried to, we would probably have such a rotten preconception that, if we did succeed in fulfilling it, we would have been something, well, not very nice to know! That preconception would have been the result of the ignorant state. This is what we have to remember. When we talk of the fruition of man and that Divinity within which has to flower out, we must form no picture of what that flowered-out Divinity means. We must be free of that, because then we are imposing the ideas of the imperfect brain upon that which is Absolute Perfection, which is incomparable and immeasurable. So we saw last time that the psyche becomes utterly free of all defects, of all defilements of thought and feeling, speech and action. That is the principle change which takes place in the psyche, and as such it becomes free of the very limiting and evil-bringing conception of oneself as a subject who is different from all the objects of the universe.
It is this consciousness of separativeness, I and the world, I and others, which is the root source of the sinful state. The Catholic presentation that man is born in sin means in its deepest sense just precisely that, that he has no awareness of his inter-relationship, his complete interaction with the totality of the universe in which he is born. So he is in a state of separation, of division, of discord, of disharmony, and that is the state of sin. That is the original meaning of the word sin, it should not be confined purely to the ethical idea of sin as such. But this is the actual fact of what we are, and that is why I say that we are in the sub-human state. In the fully human state one is aware, one is awake to the complete inter-relationship and interaction with the totality around one. So that is one great difference which takes place in the psyche, it becomes freed of the separate “I am” misconception. It is very important to bear this in mind.
And the next very important thing is the practice of mindfulness, constant watchfulness. You will find all the great religions of the world, in the disciplines which they suggest, give mindfulness probably prime importance with regard to the living of the religious life. We have to be awake to each and every single thought and feeling, word and action that comes out of us. Be fully aware of it, be aware of its nature, see what it does and how it operates. Thereby one releases the faculty of becoming free from all the evil which is attached to it.
So today we can consider this point. There are two categories into which we can separate out all our thoughts and feelings, our mental states and so forth. One category will contain the lust for sense-pleasures and for power and possessions and so forth. We can class all that under sense-pleasures. The other is harming and hurting. If we take the trouble to watch our moment to moment thought and feeling process, we will see how extraordinarily ego-centred it is. It is all concerned with “I wish, I want, I should do this, I should do that”, and so forth. And they are all there with the idea that this will give happiness, pleasure, give me. They are all self-centred. Sometimes the thought, the idea in itself may be along the right lines, but it will be on the right lines by accident rather than through pure vision.
This is something we must bear in mind. We are the slaves of our pleasure-drive, absolutely the slaves of our pleasure-drive. It is very amusing to listen to songs which say that the Chinese, or Britons, or Timbuktuans will never never be slaves! The whole lot of us in the world are absolute slaves to our defects and our pleasure-lust to start with. Then again observe, the result of this pleasure-drive being thwarted or frustrated is the uprising of thoughts and feelings of harmfulness. We want to hurt the person who has thwarted us. We see that right from the beginning, from childhood onwards, brothers and sisters are notoriously unbrotherly and unsisterly. How they will sort of smite each other if they are deprived of something! “Oh, that’s mine, give it to me”, and there’s an unholy row! This sort of thing goes right through life. Its primary manifestation in the world of affairs may perhaps be put down as competition. Why do people compete one against the other? Because they want to down the other and uphold their own ego. “I want to be the king of the castle”, as we say in those childhood games. So the thoughts of harming and hurting, thoughts and feelings which come under the category of hate, deal with malevolence, ill will, envy, jealousy, anger and so on, the whole lot of them. That is a tremendous category. If we watch our thoughts and feelings we will find how they operate that way. Sometimes we will excuse the uprising of anger by saying that it is righteous indignation. Pleasant rubbish! What is indignation? We get the feeling of anger when we see and hear of people being ill-treated, being exploited so that they are starved and so forth. Of course something frightfully evil is taking place. See the evil as the evil, but there is no point in feeling angry, no really worthwhile result flows from it in feeling angry with the person who is perpetrating the evil. If we do not feel enmity and hate towards the evildoer, then it could become possible to include him in our circle, so to say, and exercise an influence which will change the evildoer. Of course if it is totally impossible for us to do so, we see what happens in the world, the evildoer is liquidated, is eliminated somehow or other, in the name of the law and justice and so forth, or in some other way. This process takes place. But the fact remains that from the point of view of the best possible means of bringing about a healthy, happy society, we must be free of all malevolence, all ill will.
It is very difficult, that is why I constantly say, “Don’t take to religion and the religious life if you find it too much beyond you.” If it is too much beyond you and you try to live up to an imposed ideal upon yourself and force the psyche and the body to do that which is not within the capacity of the psyche and the body to do, then you will not only harm yourself with neurosis and psychosis and so forth but you will harm the society in which you live. This is the great thing. Ideals are right only up to a limited point. They are all right insofar as we learn from them that ideals are imposed ideas. They do not lead to natural, spontaneous living in that ideal state. This is one of the great difficulties about idealists and idealism, but people do not see that. I know from my experience, and my experience spans well over seventy years of all this, how ideals can mislead you and trap you. Ideals are very often like Mephistopheles dealing with Faust, very often. They exalt our ego, “Oh, I am the benefactor of humanity, I am the bringer of good things for my family, my society and all the rest of it.” So my vanity and my egoism are pampered and they expand. Beware of all that. That is the way to live the sub-human life, the inhuman life.
Then the question arises, “What do we do when thoughts of the indulgence in sense-pleasures rise up or thoughts of malevolence and harmful thoughts and feelings rise up?” Do not fight against them, do not attempt to overcome them, because my thoughts and feelings, my words and my actions are myself. If I were to start fighting with myself, what happens? Supposing I win out in the fight, I will kill myself, won’t I? I will destroy myself. That is what I am, all right, I must see what I am, really awake to the truth of my own nature, and in awaking to the truth of my own nature, if I really fully awaken to it, then a transformation of the evil takes place. This is what even modern psychologists who are supposed to understand and know the psyche do not know really. They talk of coming to terms with the shadow side and so forth, which is all nonsense.
Consider this peculiar element in all the Scriptures of the world. God never comes to terms with the Devil, nor does the Devil ever come to terms with God. In Revelations you know how it is said that Satan will be released out of hell for a thousand years, during which time he can play the devil just as he likes! But after the thousand years, back again to his proper domain. What is the significance of all that? There is no reconciliation possible between two absolutely contradictory opposites. They are not complementary poles. But in this type of presentation in the Scriptures of the world what has slipped out of consideration is the fact that the process of transformation can take place. Who is the Devil? I am. Who is God? I am. We have godliness in us, we have devilishness in us. The two together constitute the totality, the conflicting, contradictory totality within me myself. My task is to awaken to the Devil fully and completely and understand the devilishness. Once I begin to understand that I will notice that there is a transformation taking place, and if in your practice of musing or meditation you find evil thoughts and feelings cropping up, just observe carefully and recognise them for what they are. You will find that they will slowly and steadily and surely subside, and they will not interfere with your practice of meditation.
This is one of the very difficult things. Again and again people practise these laid-down meditations for forty or nearly fifty years and then they say at the end of it (to themselves, of course, they will not confess it to others), “But I am just where I was, perhaps I am almost a little bit worse rather than better, as a result of my meditative practices and so forth. I am befuddled and confused and goodness knows where I am going.” Well, exactly. You have tried to achieve something for yourself. The whole effort is a self-oriented effort and therefore doomed to failure from the start. Therefore do not fight against the evil. Recognise the evil completely and absolutely, and as you recognise it as evil that psychical energy within oneself, which expressed itself in a unhealthy, ill manner, will now get healed and it will begin to express itself in a healthy, a harmonious and a human manner, and in that way there is nothing lost by your practice. Nor is there anything else gained in the ordinary sense of the word gained. What has happened is that the psyche will become healed, it will become whole, holy. Wholeness is holiness. This is where the Zarathushtrian scriptures are very remarkable. They talk about the gift of God. God in Zarathushtrianism is named Lord of Life and Wisdom, Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda gives his great gift of haurvatat to him who will be watchful and awaken to the truth of himself and go through this process of the purification of the psyche. Purity is about the most strongly emphasized quality in Zarathushtrian teachings. Haurvatat means wholeness, health, holiness, and together with holiness and wholeness goes ameretat , which is immortality. That is not to say that you, as you are, the existential psycho-physical being, or some postulated immortal soul or spirit or something, are going to live for ever and ever in time. All that is man’s wishful thinking and his unclear perception of the actuality, of the reality, the fact of existence. Immortality means fundamentally that you are so completely awake to the entire life process within yourself whilst you are alive here and now that there is no break in this process of growth in terms of the death of the old.
All growth implies the death of what is now. If a child at ten ceases to grow altogether, it means that the child will die, it is the cessation of growth. Growth means change but the living change which takes place implies the death of that which was the previous condition, and when you are fully awake to this, any sort of fear or anxiety concerning yourself, your existence, your life and so forth, all that disappears. All ideas of the future and of the past and so forth they disappear too. What a lot we suffer through remorse at what could have been the situation, “If only I had not been so foolish as to…”, whatever it may be! All that remorse is just an obstruction to one’s development and fulfilment, it is no use at all. It is no use feeling guilty, it is no use feeling elated at the good things we have done, because then we became conceited and proud. Pride is one of the last things, spiritual pride particularly, to undergo complete transformation and free the psyche from all bondage to all our ignorance, our folly and so on.
Observe carefully, be awake, that is all. You will find that this awakened state will be present during your sleep too. If you look into the Upaniṣads very carefully and the Buddha’s teachings and listen nowadays in our own day and time to some of the things that Krishnamurti says, you will find what the true meaning of Immortality is, and what true freedom is. But you will have to look into these things and study them free of the preconceptions which we already have in our own brains. Our preconceptions, prejudices, biases and our assumptions are all obstructions, every one of them, not one of them has any warrant in terms of the Truth, whatever the Truth stands for. I think Krishnamurti has presented one of the finest ways of looking at this question of what is the Truth. It is being wholly awake to the immediate Now , to what is actually present. Be wholly awake to it, and that awakenedness may give rise to various conceptions and verbal formulations regarding what is actually present here now. It may do that, but we must not grasp them, that is to say, we must not get hold of them and keep to what we have got hold of. Let it go, because life and growth imply perpetual change, the one changeless Reality of the total Universe. Modern science confirms that. It is perpetual change. What sort of a change? A change not necessarily into something which we like or which we would like to see instead of what is actually present. That is a superb mistake and we pay the penalty for it! We have to be with the change and go with the change, not in the sense in which people nowadays say, “He is not with it”. Thank goodness he or she is not with it, because most of this change is a repressive change. It is a change which has brought about so much suffering and evil into the world. It has broken the moral backbone of societies all over the world. The change has to be a progressive change. How will you recognise the progressiveness of the change? Your sense of inner freedom, your sense of inward poise and peace and your capacity to be balanced, calm, steady in any and every circumstance will be greater from day to day. But these are criteria which are very difficult to apply, because with all criteria we have preconceived notions about the criteria, interfering with them. This in what we have got to be very careful about.
There was a delightful story which I heard many many years ago. A black man and a white man were talking about deep things with each other. It ended up with the black man telling the white man, “Aw, be yourself, man!” Profound truth, but not fully understood. Being myself is usually interpreted as my image of myself, my preconception of myself. “I am this sort of fellow, that sort of fellow.” I am not. That is all nonsense. We are in a state of darkness, a state of blindness, we cannot see the reality. We may get glimpses of it occasionally but we do not see ourselves as we really are. This in one of the most important aspects of perpetual mindfulness and therefore of true meditation, awakening absolutely to the actuality of what we are. In awakening to the actuality of what we are we awaken also to the actuality of what all other people are, because you and I all belong to the same species, we are all of a similar nature fundamentally, subject to the same difficulties, the same problems, and also subject to the same delusions and illusions, this is one of the greatest difficulties. But once you really get on the way like this you will see this for yourself, and you will experience the reality of happiness, of inner calm, of inward poise, and then you will find extraordinary things happening.
Perhaps one of the most important things that will happen is that we will talk very much less than we do. Ninety nine per cent of the world’s chatter is useless rubbish, and it is not only useless, it is very harmful and mischievous, gossipy and setting man against man. Someday perhaps I will read to you what comes in one of the Buddhist scriptures on this subject of speech. I can tell you briefly just now. There are four types of speech which are evil and are sources of great sorrow and suffering in the world; speech which is lying, which is slanderous, which is hurtful to others, and speech which is just idle gossip. If you want to know what the Buddha meant by idle gossip, remember it applies to his time and age but it also applies to our time and age. This is what the Buddha called low conversation; talk about kings, robbers, ministers of state (remember that the Buddha was the son of a small king), war, terrors, battles, food, drink, clothes, beds, garlands, perfumes, relatives and relationships, equipages, villages, towns, cities, countries, talk about women and heroes (we might add not only talks about women but talks about men also in our day and age), gossip at street corners or wells, ghost stories, desultory talk, speculation about the land and sea, about becoming this or that or the other, idle gossip, low conversation. If one really seriously looks into that and considers that, one will see that it is best to keep one’s mouth shut!
Never forget: A wise old bird sat upon an oak, the more he heard the less he spoke, the less he spoke the more he heard, why can’t we be like that wise old bird? I have always said that one of the basic rules of the religious life is, never take leave of good sense, and if one would like to add a second basic rule, keep your mouth shut. Listen carefully all the time, look, look clearly, without prejudice, without preconception and assumption, and you will find that life will undergo an extraordinary transformation. This does not mean therefore that one must refuse to speak where it is necessary for one to speak, as for example when I have to talk to you! Of course I believe that it is necessary but I don’t know whether anyone else believes that! That is another matter! However, this is very important, because when one stops chattering then the brain becomes quiet, and in that quietude there can emerge, not only glimpses, but the actual light of Transcendence shining through you here and now.
Phiroz Mehta wrote four chapters of The Health Cookery Book, probably in the early years after the Second World War. He seemed to have intended it for publication, but it does not appear ever to have been printed
Food is the most powerful physical influence which will keep you healthy and happy, or make you sick. This book is written in answer to the demand for a cookery book which tells you how to cook your food scientifically so that you preserve all the goodness in it, and how to arrange balanced meals so that you can enjoy vigorous health.
To promote good health, all meals should be:
The usual argument which you hear is this: “Of course I give my children and husband good food. I give them the best fresh eggs and butter and cheese, meat and fish and potatoes, and vegetables and fruits and nuts.” Quite true, you do. So does everyone, more or less. But in spite of the best intentions, and of honest hard work on your part, there are many little ways in which errors creep in to spoil your splendid effort. It is no fault of yours, because you have not been given a chance to avoid these errors.
Perhaps you feel doubtful about these statements. Well, let us look deeper into the matter. How many colds, headaches, attacks of ‘flu, twinges of rheumatism, gout, and sciatica, how much constipation (the supreme enemy of health), insomnia and lack of appetite, and how much irritability, low spirits, painful periods, bad temper and bad teeth do we see everywhere? Why should we have our “usual colds and indispositions” when the weather changes? A change in weather does not mean we should fall ill. I don’t, you don’t, and our healthy friends don’t, but thousands of people do.
Consider again bad nerves — the modern scourge! Just think how many million aspirins, cough and cold tablets, ‘flu mixtures and other drugs and medicines are constantly taken! Look at the number of people, especially the young, who have spotty faces, lacklustre eyes, and bad skins! Look at the vast expense over beauty preparations and health restoratives! If we were really healthy we would naturally have lovely skins, bright eyes, sweet breath and attractive personalities. Even amongst those who live in the country, and those who work in the open air, there are constant complaints of rheumatism, deafness, swollen and stiff joints, etc.
You may say “But what has all this got to do with food?” It has everything to do with food! The old statement that “Man digs his grave with his teeth” is true. Wrong food is not the only cause, admittedly, of sickness and misery. There are other important causes, i.e. unhappiness, insufficient exercise and sleep, wrong posture of the body when at work or at rest, and lack of sunshine and of pure fresh air. But of all these, food is the most important physical cause; for when you take the right food you will find your ills disappearing, and your health and good spirits returning. The proof of the pudding is in the eating!
Let us take only two examples of how we are affected by wrong food:
When the miller removes the bran, middlings, and germ of wheat, and gives us only white flour, he removes the most valuable part — generally given to our livestock as food! He takes away the mineral salts, the vitamins (especially vitamin B.1.), and the protein (or the “meaty”) part of the wheat. The white flour is merely starch — the stuff out of which the paste in the nice white bottle on the office table is made! And when this stuff goes into your and your family’s tummies, the tendency is to make a hard sticky paste inside. This leads to sluggish liver, constipation and many catarrhal ailments.
Our second example is boiled food, especially boiled vegetables. Usually, and particularly in large scale catering as in big hotels, restaurants, and ocean liners, the water in which the vegetables have been boiled is thrown down the sink. This water contains most of the mineral salts — Sodium, Potassium, Calcium (Lime), Magnesium, Iron, etc. These salts are indispensable to the body, and when they are lost various ailments set in. For now an excess of acidic waste-matter is formed. Part of it does not get eliminated in time, but is re-absorbed into the blood stream and thus poisons the system. The normal alkalinity of the blood is not maintained and the electro-chemical actions inside our bodies are upset. Look at a doctor’s prescription, or the formulae of various patent medicines, You will find that they contain the same mineral salts which Mother Nature prepared with such perfection and economy inside our tomatoes, carrots and cabbages! So why get ill and then waste money on medicines when all you have to do is to pay attention to your daily food? Remember this: The body is a snob! It much prefers to have the mineral salts introduced in the right way, by Mother Nature, and not via laboratory manufactured products. Only the wise know this fact. The remainder pay the price of ignorance or prejudice.
So when you boil vegetables — though we hope you will mostly bake them, or cook them conservatively, or eat them raw — you will use the absolute minimum quantity of water necessary, not add soda to make greens look green (for soda destroys vitamins, and it is vitamins you want to eat and not green colour!), and you will then drink every drop of that water which is now rich in mineral salts, with enjoyment.
Continued in part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6
A talk given by Phiroz Mehta at the Convent of the Cenacle, Grayshott, Hampshire on 14th April 1981
Could you please explain the meaning of Baptism by water and Baptism by fire in the Christian scriptures? Why did Jesus’s Baptism by John come before the Temptation and not after?
The Baptism by water refers to an earlier stage of development, namely when the psyche is well on the way to complete purification. The Baptism by fire comes towards the end of the process when, not only is the psyche made empty, but the whole of the mind is emptied as such.
The emptying of the psyche and purification of the psyche, when the conflict of the dualism of good and evil, of virtue and vice, is finished with, is the Baptism by water. The Baptism by fire comes when the person is able to enter into the very deep states of consciousness which have been denominated in the Upaniṣads as the third avasthā. This third avasthā corresponds in our ordinary everyday life to the deep dreamless slumber. When this happens the complete unification of Transcendent love and wisdom functioning through that person lays to rest for ever all the archetypal conceptions and ideas and beliefs which were animating forces for development before that. In the Buddhist presentation it is called the infinity of ākāśa and the infinity of viññāṇa, ākāśarepresenting the Void, or if you like to use the ordinary word “space”, which is pregnant with the plenitude to come. When one enters such deep states of consciousness one is already very sensitive to all the archetypal forms of expression of the One Primordial Creative Energy and the associated grades of consciousness with all that. All that is laid to rest, because all that is part of the whole existential process, and existential manifestation. One goes completely beyond that and these are laid to rest. But it is the fire of the spirit which brings about that laying to rest of all these conceptions and ideas which last through centuries, because those grades of being represent this Primordial Creative Energy in those forms which persist through time. When they are laid to rest, then time and the timeless state give place to Eternity in the real sense. Remember that both time and the timeless are confined within time limits. One enters a timeless state at a certain moment on a certain day and emerges out of that timeless state at another moment on another day, so to say. At the most it can last seven days and nights at a stretch, no more. So the limits of the timeless state are set in time, so timelessness must not be confused with Eternity. Eternity is something quite different, totally inconceivable, wholly non-descript. That is why I cannot say more about Eternity, apart from saying that the Primordial Creative Energy acting in Eternity produces all the grades of being which have been represented in the scriptures as angels, archangels, the demons, the destructive forces, the constructive forces, the suras, the asuras, and all the other names which are applied.
So the Baptism by fire leads to the ultimate realization possible to Man. Remember, ultimate realization possible to Man, because Man as he is constituted can go thus far towards the realization of Transcendence. Transcendence itself is not only the unknown but the unknowable and the unrealizable by Man as he is. Possibly as the human race progresses, if we as a race progress in the right way, a new kind of creature may come into being possessed of more senses than we have. It may possess six or seven or eight senses, I don’t know. That creature would naturally be able to function at profounder levels than anything that we can attain.
I have explained this more in terms of Hindu-Buddhist scriptures than the Christian scriptures as such, because in the Christian scriptures I do not know what has been said with respect to the Baptism by fire. The Baptism by water which takes place physically is only a symbolic Baptism. The actual Baptism is the purification of the psyche which takes place in the individual afterwards. The Waters of Life sweep through the psyche utterly cleansing it, Life in its purity and perfection. Hence it represents the moral development of the person which is the indispensable basis for the development in the higher spheres, so to say. You remember how it is said in the New Testament that Jesus after the Ascension when he shows himself to the disciples says, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” That has a tremendous significance. “All power” means that Transcendence itself functions utterly freely through that mind. There are no archetypal ideas, or concepts even, present any more. There is complete perfection, the Ultimate Peace of the Ultimate Origin. Why did Baptism by John come before the Temptation? Well, that is exactly how it happens. The symbolic Baptism precedes the Baptism by the pure Waters of Life because it is the sort of sign or signal for the individual to undergo that stage. These are all symbolic things. Of course the strange part of the story is that when Jesus goes to John to be baptized, Jesus already is the sinless one, the purified one. But he tells John to do this because it is the proper procedure.
Jesus said, “Resist not evil.” Why then in the Gītā did Śrī Kṛṣṇa urge Arjuna to fight?
I think the wording of the question is in the wrong order. Kṛṣṇa in the Gītā precedes the birth of Jesus. The time, the circumstance, were quite different. The Gītā is understood, or rather misunderstood, I would say, as the urging by the incarnate Lord of the World to the disciple to engage in physical warfare. There may have been a battlefield known as Kurukṣetra, but consider carefully the presentation of the Gītā as such. Here were two mighty armies, embattled forces, fighting. Do you mean to say that they are just going to sit quietly whilst the Lord of the Universe gives profound religious teachings to his disciple? The situation is complely absurd. But the dramatic sense of the author of the Gītā was of just that nature that he chose to present the whole situation in an impossible manner. What is this fight actually? First of all, who is Kṛṣṇa, who is Arjuna actually? The author of the Gītā is himself Kṛṣṇa and himself Arjuna. In the 10th discourse verse 37 he gives out the secret. “Of the sons of Vṛṣṇi I am Kṛṣṇa.” (Vṛṣṇi was the clan to which Kṛṣṇa was supposed to belong. The name of the author of the Gītā was Kṛṣṇa - Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Veda-Vyāsa). Then he goes on to say, “Of the sons of Pāṇḍu I am Arjuna.” (Pāṇḍu was the father of the five brothers, Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhima, Arjuna and the other two). Then he says, “Of all the great seers in silence I am Vyāsa”, (the great seers who can enter the silence, the deep silence, the silence of the chattering in the head and so forth, which in Buddhist terms would be the second jhāna ). He ends up by saying, “Of poets I am Uśanā.” (Uśanā was one of the poets of the Ṛg-veda who flourished long before the date ascribed to the Mahābhārata). So what does all this mean? It can only mean really just one thing. Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Veda-Vyāsa, the author of the Gītā, was one who had realized Transcendence. He, in the state of that I AM consciousness, the ehyeh asher ehyeh of Moses, in that state he himself is Kṛṣṇa. He is the Supreme Teacher. In his ordinary state of consciousness functioning through the senses and discursive mind and so forth, he is every man, represented as Arjuna. So Kṛṣṇa the author of the Gītā finds the form of the divine dialogue a most useful and sensible form in which to present the teachings. After all, supposing any one of us is the Perfect Holy One, would we go about saying, “I am God”? We might get locked up, literally, not merely metaphorically! So you see, this form of the divine dialogue was a very convenient form in which to present the teachings realized by the Perfected Holy One who was a man or a woman, like you or I. We must remember this.
In all those cases in the Old Testament where it is said of the prophets that the spirit of the Lord moved them to pronounce this, that or the other, or the angel of the Lord came and inspired them to say this, all these are symbolic ways of saying that you yourself, having realized that state, fulfil the purpose of your existence in that particular circumstance in which you are placed, and are moved to say these things. If we realize that, then all the difficulty associated in modern times with accepting literally the old doctrines and dogmas, all that disappears. One sees it as a very sensible, rational fact. Also it is a fact which emphasizes the nature of our human destiny.
Can one have a healthy mind without a healthy body?
Yes. Mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind in a healthy body, the old Latin statement. If the body is healthy it conduces towards a healthy mind, but the concept of healthy mind through the ages is a concept which is a worldly concept. It is not a religious concept, it is not a truly human concept. Remember, the human is the happy creator. What sort of a being is the happy creator? I do not mean creator in the sense in which a great musician or poet or scientist or a philosopher is a creator. I mean something other than all that, something which belongs to the context of Transcendence itself, not to the context of finititude, temporality and mortality. There have been Perfected Holy Ones who necessarily had healthy minds but they suffered physically, quite a lot. One of the outstanding examples of that in our own day has been Ramana Maharshi. That is one example, there have been other examples too. So you can have a healthy mind without a healthy body, but a healthy body is certainly conducive towards a healthy mind. It has its disadvantages too, if you have a very healthy body. You experience it yourself and see. There are certain difficulties which that tremendous vitality introduce. You become self-obtrusive very easily and self-assertive if you are very healthy. You become conceited. I have met such people.
Krishnaji has often said that if we see something in ourselves right down to the roots it is finished with completely. Now it seems that no-one I’ve known and certainly not myself has ever experienced this in any shape or form. This obviously is a very much deeper level of seeing than we know anything about.
Yes, this is the kind of thing I am referring to when I say you become the Truth. You become it in mind and consciousness, not in psyche and consciousness. When the psyche is purified it is an unresisting medium, it is a nexus for the free inflow of Transcendence and the free outflow. There is never a stoppage. That is why that sort of person is a benedication to the world in which he lives, all the time. He is like the sun shedding its light and heat and life and warmth everywhere. When you really see in that sense that is the real knowledge. The true knowledge is that sort of seeing, this sort of consciousness which emerges. What you are really conscious of, naturally and spontaneously expresses itself through all your thought and feeling, your word and your deed.
In his teaching Krishnamurti does not seem to think it at all important to know about other religions and often says that he does not read books on such matters. Could you comment.
Krishnamurti does say that nowadays, perhaps he has forgotten all the books he has read! In the books which were produced in the 1920’s, if you go through them, you will find him distinctly conducting a class for the study of Paul Carus’s Gospel of Buddha, and also for the study of other religious texts. Don’t forget that he was brought up in the milieu of the Theosophical Society, where there were very brilliant pundits around who spoke to him and taught him what there was to teach about the Upaniṣadic and Buddhistic teachings. What happened with Krishnamurti was that, after the death of his brother, he went through a complete transformation. That particular event was so tremendous for him, it was as if the whole world haddied for him. When he came out of that death, so to say, all the conditioning to which he had been subjected was completely rejected and he saw very clearly one of the profoundest teachings which he gives out. The mind of the individual must be completely free of all beliefs, convictions, ideas, imaginations and so on, if that mind is to be touched by the Immeasurable and experience the supreme Truth as such. You see the implication there. The implication is that all our conditioning, every bit of it, every single belief, thought-form, idea, conception, all must be out. The mind must be completely open, completely empty, because then the mind in that state will receive directly the Transcendent Truth, and that Truth is of such a nature that, if this purified mind receives it, it will not degrade that Truth by making thought-forms about it. This is the important thing. So a person of that sort lives completely in tune with Transcendent Reality, all the time. It is said of quite a good few of these teachers in India that they are permanently in samādhi and in touch with the Transcendent and so forth. But if you look sufficiently deeply into it you will see that these are false claims. That is not the case, they are not permanently in samādhi, because they do and say certain things which betray just where they are actually. If you come across somebody who is a self-professed spiritual teacher, or if he touches worldly goods, and worldly wealth and comfort and all the rest of it, or if he also accepts the adulation of the foolish multitude, then you can use your blue pencil very effectively!
Nowadays I suppose Krishnaji does not read any religious books at all. He reads instead detective novels and scientific works. He keeps himself well acquainted with all that happens in the world and with all the progress made in the world in the realms of science and social developments and all that sort of thing.
“He does not think it important to know about other religions.” What happens when we study all the religions? With rare exceptions, we merely collect a heap of doctrines and dogmas from here and there and make a selection. We go through a syncretist activity which is not really helpful, which is not really creative, because we choose that which pleases us. It satisfies our intellectual curiosity and therefore we take it as such, and then make a nice Irish stew of the whole thing and present it as truth, and of course build up wonderful followings. People say, “What a marvellous man he is. He knows this and he knows that, “and all the rest of it. You can just set all that aside. Stand on your own feet absolutely. Listen to anybody and everybody you meet, yes, converse. But converse, that means exchange, not monologue. You will easily spot the monologist, he will always be talking of himself and what he has discovered and what he has achieved. The person who really has seen something of truth, and if the sense of Transcendence is beginning to awake, will never talk of himself. He will be self-less, not just unselfish. Any decent person can be unselfish and go through this conflict between selfishness and unselfishness, but it takes a true human to be self-less.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Could you talk to us on the profound meaning of these words.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” We have to go very deeply into this to understand it. You know how the first verse of Genesis is mistranslated: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The Hebrew is: Bereshyt Barah Elohim et Ha Shamaim Vay et Ha Eretz. The first three words, Bereshyt Barah Elohim are translated as “in the beginning Elohim”, and then Shamain Vay et Ha Eretz as “created heaven and earth.” This is a mistranslation of Bereshyt Barah Elohim. Barah is the past participle and Bereshyt means “out of the unknown origin” in this context. (If you study your Qabalah very carefully you will discover this). This is the proper presentation of the Transcendent Reality, the best possible presentation in terms of words. “Out of the unknown origin there emerged Elohim who separated out heaven and earth.” The word Elohim which is translated as God is compounded of Eleh, which is the Eternal What, and Mi, the Eternal Who. The Primordial Creative Energy, the Eternal What, and Absolute or Pure Consciousness, the Eternal Who, in interaction, in their first activity separate out what is called heaven and earth. Earth means the movement towards concretion, and heaven the movement which produces all those grades of being which are intermediate between the Transcendent itself and its concretest expression, between spirit and matter if you like to use simple words as such. Heaven and earth, then, essentially represent all that, the manifested universe, the physical universe, as such, together with all the grades of manifestation which come in the different stages between the concretest expression and the subtlest expression, which is the Absolute, the Supreme Spirit, if you like to use that phrase.
I said a little while ago that with the Baptism by fire all these grades disappear, the whole lot disappear. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” What is the word of Jesus? The spoken word, an idea, a thought? Not at all. The word referred to here is a symbolic term, it is the same as the Creative Word, the Creative Vibration. If you study the Hellenistic presentation of the teaching of Hermes Trismegistos, which of course is the Greek expression of the original Egyptian teachings, you will find this phrase coming in, “The thought in the Mind of God,” and God is referred to as All-Father Mind. It is very interesting, it is so akin to the Buddhistic concept of Mind as the Supreme. I think it is Huang-po who identifies pure Mind with the Buddha, with the Absolute. Those three are an identity. So this Mind, as I have often said, is that archetypal aspect of the Creative Energy which releases Cosmos out of Chaos, Chaos being understood as the state of vibrant quiescence. If we take the Trismegistic phrase “the thought in the Mind of God”, and if then God is presented as something Transcendent and therefore belonging to the context of the Infinite, the Eternal and the Immortal, what sort of a Mind does God have? For us the word Mind is immediately associated with the brain and with our gross mental processes of thoughts and feelings. It is just the psyche as such, the psyche in its earliest manifestations. But surely God cannot be thought of as possessing that sort of Mind. The word which is used is “thought” in the Hellenistic presentation. Our thought is just a string of words. When we think, we are talking silently, that is all, that is our thinking, or we are having a series of pictures passed through our consciousness, or of sounds, whether of man-made music or whether of the sounds of Nature, or whatever it be, or of smells or tastes, in other words all the manifestations which are sensuous, belonging to the senses. That is our thinking, and that thinking has no creative power. Any aspect of our thinking along those lines will not bring some-thing out of no-thing, it will not produce a plenitude out of a chaos, out of a void. So you see, the thought in the Mind of God is something quite different.
Consider again the Mind as this creative energy, this creative power. Thought is the particularisation of this creative power which releases an actual form or shape, whatever the grade of being may be, through all the different grades of being. So if in Genesis it is said, “And God minded let there be light, and there was light”, it is a literal fact. There is this creative energy actually at work. You will find this sort of thing through many of the religions. Zarathushtrianism has similar things in the Gāthās. This thought in the mind of God is the symbolic way of talking of the Word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Notice carefully, “The Word was God.” That means this Promordial Creative Power itself, the Absolute Pure Consciousness itself, that is, the Word. This is the thing which has this creative power, and that of course cannot pass away, because that is the actual context of the Transcendent, the context of the Infinite, the Immortal, and the Eternal. It has no beginning, it has no end, it has nothing like a developmental process in its own rights, in its own sphere. If you study the Zohar you will find what is called the theosophic doctrine of the Zohar, and that is the original theosophy long before the days of Madame Blavatsky! Moses de Leon who produced the Zohar flourished in the 14th century, and it is between 1380 and 1386 that he produced that work. It is a tremendous work, but one has to have some awakened sense of Transcendence oneself in order to be able to interpret what is put in human words in these things. So you see, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” And when Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”, after the Ascension, it is simply an affirmation of the complete unity of Jesus, not as the entity Jesus, but as the embodied Transcendence which functioned through Jesus back in its own context of the Infinite, the Eternal and the Immortal. That is how I see it.
So in a way, without making a verbal thing out of it or getting depressed or whatever, one has got to see that one is existing on the periphery of things.
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