From the Editor
Ursula Dyke has accepted the invitation of the existing Trustees to join them as a Trustee of the Phiroz Mehta Trust.
Ursula will be well known to many people as for many years she attended Phiroz’s meetings at Dilkusha and afterwards at Lillian Road. She has also attended most of the Trust’s Summer Schools. The Trustees are delighted that she will be joining them.
A talk given by Phiroz Mehta at Dilkusha, Forest Hill, London on 24th October 1971
Those of you who have been attending regularly may recall that in the last two meetings we considered the question of non-possessiveness where the body was concerned and where the mind was concerned. We looked into the unhappy aspects which enter our life through possessiveness, the positive evils which are born of possessiveness, and we also looked into the extraordinary illusion that all mankind suffers from, that we are the owners, perhaps the owners in perpetuity, of what we call, in the ordinary way, my body, my mind.
You may remember that I suggested last time that we might spend the fortnight, if you were so inclined and had the opportunity, in considering the significance of the word I. This word as we all know is the word constantly used by us right throughout our lives. What does this word mean precisely? What is its significance? Most of us, if not all of us, are aware of the fact that our conception of the I is a misconception, if we do not know what we call ourselves at all. And this misconception of our true being leads us into much sorrow and wrongdoing throughout our lives. The conception, as ordinarily held by all of us, lies at the root of all selflessness and all the evils that spring out of selfness. Nevertheless, that word has significance. What is its real significance? If we could understand this very clearly, we would set ourselves right, so to say, and orient ourselves correctly to the Totality around us. If that is done, life no longer presents what are commonly called personal problems. The problems will be the same problems as before and which we used to name “personal”. But you may remember, some meetings ago looking into this question, that we saw that problems become personal problems because we ourselves are the personalisers. We make our problems personal instead of being able to see them and deal with them as problems. Life constantly throws up challenges, it is impossible to avoid that. As long as mankind lasts on the globe, environment will always throw up challenges. If I can see the challenge and understand the challenge as a characteristic of the situation here and now (a situation which involves me, the person, of course), but do not get self-associated in the wrong way with that situation and that challenge, then, if I can avoid all that, the problem is not a personal problem. The moment I personalise it I introduce all sorts of limiting factors, all sorts of spoiling factors. I have a vested interest in the outcome of my dealing with the problem. If I have a vested interest in the outcome of my dealing with the problem, I am always going to sow the seeds of further problems and further conflicts. As I said, life will always be full of problems, but I must approach the situation free of limitations of separate, isolative selfhood, self-consciousness. The religious life, the holy life, call it what you will, is very much concerned, is most intimately concerned with freeing us from that selfness, so that we fulfil our particular place in the scheme of things, whatever that fulfilment may be. If I approach the scheme of things personalistically, I will always distort the scheme of things in my imagination. I do not know what the scheme of things is, I do not know what the shape of the future is, and I must recognise that fact. To try and peep into it with my present incapacities is nothing short of folly. Therefore I must let life bring forth what life means to bring forth, instead of interfering with the process of life and obstructing it with my limitations and my follies. This is important.
Now, where does this I, the I significance come in? The fact remains that each individual human being is an individual human being. It is impossible to speak,
to communicate with one another unless we use those pronouns you and I. This is perfectly obvious. But when we misconceive this I as an eternity, as something which is going to acquire gain, attain, achieve this, that or the other for itself, then one is in wrong relationship with Totality. The self is there, but selfness is what poisons the life of the self. The individual who is born comes to fruition, to full egohood, to full maturity. Egohood is there, but egoism spoils the beauty, the harmony and the health of ego, the self, the person.
So, how do we help ourselves to understand, the full significance of I? Consider our self-conception, is it not fundamentally rooted in, associated with and limited to the living body? This for example is the way that a little child thinks of itself, introduces itself, presents itself. “I am John”, “I am Mary”. And by that I, and by that name is meant just that particular living body, isn’t that the case? Look back into your own past, your childhood days. I simply meant this body, this living body. And as we grew older, we associated the mind with it, our mental processes, and all that was thrown up into consciousness as the result of the activity of these mental processes, my desires, my ambitions, my abilities, my skills, my defects, my qualities, all these got associated into this complex called the I. But it was regarded as a separate, specific entity which was “my property” and this is surely erroneous. If we look deeply enough into it, this body, which seems perfectly stable (and it is reasonably so, within our lifetime), is constantly receiving elements, material, from outside and it is constantly giving out material. What about the material that comes in, when I breathe in, when I eat? Is that part of me or not part of me? And when I breathe out, is that air which I breathe out no longer me? Have I therefore become more by taking in momentarily, and disbecome by breathing out? And what happens to that air which I breathe out and which you breathe out, in this room for instance? We are all breathing it in and out, aren’t we? It has all got mixed up. Is that or is that not part of each one of us? In which case, what precisely is meant by I, by you?
If one looks sufficiently deeply and inclusively, one will see that to limit the word I to a particular pattern which is visible, which can be heard, which can be touched, is a mistake. For all practical purposes of course it is convenient so to regard it, and as a matter of fact one’s appearance is something which remains reasonably constant through life, so that we recognise the person and don’t mix him up with somebody else. But that does not mean therefore that our ordinary conception of you or I is completely limited to that which is visible or audible or touchable and so forth. And if one goes beyond just the intellectual perception of this and really sees the thing in its wholeness, becomes intensely aware of the actual fact, we will find that the word I is true only of the Totality itself. It cannot be applied to the different parts composing that Totality with that same completeness and absoluteness and precision with which it can be applied to the Totality. But if this is the case, what is its supreme implication? That each one of us who calls himself or herself I, quite naturally because this is the way language is made, is completely and entirely inter-related with all particulars composing the Totality.
You know how, for example in the Brahmanical teachings in the Upaniṣads, they present the concept of Brahman as being the Absolute All, the objective presentation of Brahman as the Absolute All. They also use the word Atma, which is the subjective term to represent precisely that same Absolute All, the Totality. Now, what is the difference between the two? The one is an objective term, the other is a subjective term. Let me put it this way. If Brahman, the Absolute All, were to utter the word I, then Atma is the meaning of that word I, or, if you like it the other way round, the meaning of Atma is the word I. But only the Totality can say I with absolute significance. And when you have an absolute significance no division is possible, no analysis is possible, no separation is possible. What is possible and what is the actual fact is total and complete inter-relationship. Now we, as we are, are not so much ignorant of that fact in the intellectual sense, as unawake to it in the inner depth of our consciousness, this is where the difficulty comes. It is the inner depths of consciousness which have to undergo this awakening process.
Now, you may ask, “How do I do it?” You can’t. How can the finite become the Infinite? This is where so many great ones, geniuses, certainly most intellectuals, stumble. They think in terms of the person becoming the All, or in some mysterious way going through some technical process, some discipline, by which the individual discriminative consciousness becomes this Absolute Total Awareness, cosmic consciousness as they call it. This is merely super-egoism, and of course it is quite impossible. We all know the lovely fable where the mother frog enquired how big was the beast that came and trampled upon one or two of the young ones, “This big, this big, this big?” And finally the frog burst. That is what would happen to us in our inner consciousness if we try to become “this big, this big, this big.” Then the mind gives way under the strain. That is why unhappily some who try to tread the path of religion, religion in the grand sense, in the deep sense, are not quite all there afterwards.
No, it is not a question of I, the limited person, becoming the All or the Absolute. It is a question of my so understanding the situation clearly that I cease to obstruct the Totality from functioning freely through me. This is the really important point we have to get hold of. There is no such thing as the individual person obtaining, achieving, gaining, grasping, etc. But there is this tremendous reality, the individual person can cease to grasp or attempt to grasp this, that and the other. He can in fact let himself be denuded, completely denuded of all that he calls himself or his own, and in that process of denudation everything which he holds and values he must let go. We must let go, not positively attempt to cast out. So many have made the mistake of positively attempting to cast out beliefs, ideas, anything and everything, physical possessions, wife, child and all the rest of it. But this is to shirk one’s responsibility in the world for the right use of whatever there is in our particular environment. This is not true ascetism, this is not true renunciation or relinquishment, this is escapism, it is foolishness. What we have to be free of is the sense of possessiveness with regard to anything, the sense of mine-ness, of I-ness in relation to anything. When I and mine in their ordinary everyday connotations have completely ceased to influence our thought and feeling and our daily actions, then we are free within ourselves whatsoever the external circumstances may be. It is a complete transformation of our understanding of the relationship of this living organism that goes by our own name, to the Totality, complete transformation. And then all burdens naturally fall off. That is the true asceticism, when one really sees for oneself that, “This is not mine. This am I not.” When one really sees that, then there is no longer any grasping and every burden in the mind falls off.
You see, freedom is within the mind of man, not in external circumstance. This is something we never really get hold of. We think we do, we have grasped it intellectually perhaps, up to a point, but it is merely a superficial understanding, because the moment the circumstance is such that one’s possessions, one’s status, one’s business, one’s family are concerned, we immediately act like the mother animal which grasps its young. That is how we act. Let us have no illusion about it. Is there a single pleasure in which we indulge, which we really let go? Do we? Let go. If it comes our way, all right, enjoy it, but are we free from the hankering, from the lusting for that pleasure, however wonderful and beautiful it may be? It may be to hear Klemperer conduct the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, if you like. A marvellous performance, and of course we rationalise it all to ourselves, “Ah, this is education, this is a case of the growth of our aesthetic nature”, and all the rest of it. Perfectly true, it is, but am I grasping after the greatness, the beauty, the marvel of my conceptions? Is it that or is it not? Because if I am hankering after it and grasping it, I am bound to it, and if I am bound to it and if anything comes in the way of my indulging it, I will be in conflict with the person or the situation or the event which comes in the way between me and the gratification of my pleasure. And the most exalted example of that of course is the service of God.
Notice how the servants of God, the devotees of truth, those who will lay down their lives for the Supreme that there is throughout the universe, will not fail to hurt their neighbour if he happens to come and distract them from what their own desire in the name of the service of God, etc., is impelling them to do. But is this religion? Is this the religious life? Because the context of religion is the Transcendent itself. It is the Absolute Totality, it is that upon which I can lay no limitations and to which I cannot dictate any conditions. It, the Absolute, deals unto me all the time. It is the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent. I come into being out of Infinity because of it, and when this little I has finished, it is back in that Infinity, and Infinity is neither more nor less because I was born and because I died. If one really sees that, then the religious life can emerge freely, naturally, sweetly on its own. It, the Totality, the Absolute All, call it God or Godhead, call it Brahman, call it whatever you like, that is the thing which comes to manifestation through you, through me. You or I can obstruct it, because I am unawake, because I am ignorant, because I am possessive, because selfishness hinders me all along the line. I can obstruct it, but what happens as a result of my obstructing? I suffer and I introduce pain and suffering into life for others. There is no getting away from this. This is a fact of our existence here.
You see the tremendous difficulty in being non-possessive, non-grasping. We say, “But these beliefs which I hold I have proved through my own experience to be truth, irrefutable truth.” To whom have I proved it? To myself, maybe, to some others, maybe, but not to all others, and certainly not to the Absolute, to the Reality. There is nothing which I can prove to the Reality. I am like a little puppy yapping at its master when I am like that. Let go everything right within oneself, not grasp it. It is the most difficult thing in the world, but it is the state of bliss when you have let go. It is not only the state of bliss, it is the unresisting state, it is the state of complete and perfect resilience and purity in your own self which enables the Totality to come to fruition through you. This is the meaning of religious living, that the mysterious, unknown, the unknowable, the Transcendent, the Absolute comes to fruition through you, and the charm of the whole thing is that when it comes to fruition through oneself, I, the little self, do not know it.
Change places with a rose or a narcissus or a hyacinth, pouring its perfume onto the air, absolutely unknowing who enjoys it or who doesn’t enjoy it. This is the nature of our real fulfilment, to remain blissfully unconscious of perfection, of divinity, here-now, embodied in ourselves, and we remain blissfully unconscious of it in the state which is really the supremely awakened, enlightened state. You see, religion and the religious life are of this nature. Contrast this with what the world ordinarily calls the religious life, to worship God, to accept such-and-such beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, because they represent what they call the unalterable eternal truth and so forth. That is what they call the religious life, and the good life according to the rules laid down in the blue book.
Well, we’ve played about with this sort of thing for at least six thousand years, and look at us. What are we like, where are we? Still seeking for reality, for truth, lighting our little candle in order to see the sun? Consider this very quietly, calmly, not discursively with the intellect, arguing, producing pros and cons and so forth. That will lead us nowhere whatsoever. But in the quiet, in the state of peace, when the mind and the heart and the body are completely still and silent, then in that stillness you awake to the real rhythm of life itself, a mystery which we know nothing about. Then we know the zest of living. And in that silence which is infinitely eloquent we hear the wordless voice of truth. Truth in the religious sense is not a descriptive thing, it is a silent thing, it is the being awake without being too discriminatively conscious, but being aware intensely of that which is here and now and is going through its living process. That is truth in the religious context. People believe for instance that if they go through this discipline and that discipline which is called a religious discipline, and they see visions and hear sounds and whatnot and whatnot (we have lots of descriptions of all this from some of the so-called great mystics and so forth), therefore they are living religiously and progressing towards a supreme state where they will be personally in touch with God! This is all nonsense, utter nonsense. I can never be personally in touch with God. You know how it is said in the Old Testament, “No man can see God and live.” And yet they say of Moses, for instance (there are two or three other instances too), that he saw God face to face and was with God forty days and nights. And yet Moses was alive. That is how it is written in words. What do you think actually happened? When Moses, who said “I”, meaning Moses the son of his earthly father and mother, was completely unselfed in his innermost consciousness, there was no separate I, a solid block obstructing the free entry and living of the Absolute, YHWH, nothing to obstruct it. And one can be in that state for many days and nights, that is a fact. It is true that it is a fact which has been realized in human history by relatively few, very few, nevertheless it is a fact. And then talking about that fact after the event, they talk about it in the mistaken terminology of everyday conversation, “I saw God face to face”, or something like that. That is hopelessly wrong. It is the Totality which takes you into itself because you are unresisting, completely resilient, completely pure. Therefore it can shine through you.
These fundamental things it is very important to understand, because if we do not understand these then our efforts to live the religious life are invariably and inevitably misdirected, because we set our sights wrongly. If one is making the journey to the moon, let the direction at the starting point be ever so slightly wrong, you will go right away from the moon, won’t you? Or let your mode of re-entry into the Earth be ever so slightly out, either you will get completely frizzled to a frazzle, because your whole spaceship will be burnt up altogether with the immense heat generated, or you will bounce away from the atmosphere into space and wander through the long grey glooms of time until you’re dead. And that is all. So one has to set one’s sights right.
Now, I have given a physical analogy which of course in quality holds good, in terms of actual representation hopelessly misrepresents, because you cannot set your sights where the Infinite is concerned. It is everywhere. You have not got to set your sights in a particular directional sense. But you set your sights in terms of the inner consciousness, the inner awareness which emerges regarding your own self and regarding the Totality, with which you are completely inter-related. When that is there and there is no grasping at anything, you let the Totality work through you. Then there is fulfilment, there is fruition of a nature and of a pattern which one must not predetermine or preconceive, which one does not know. Isn’t it true that the happiness and the joy which come to us unpremeditated, just suddenly come like that, is the supreme thing? For instance, take the wonderful day we have had today, this lovely, brilliant sunshine and so forth. Supposing I had the ability to engineer the weather conditions and produce this wonderful day, would it have meant the same ecstasy, the same bliss to me, as it has indeed meant today, simply because it has come absolutely out of the blue, literally out of the blue? One’s true fulfilment comes that way only, because the source of this fulfilment is not that which is limited, me, the personal separate self. It is the unlimited Totality. It is the abounding riches which ever remain absolutely unmeasured and unmeasurable. And it is a case of being aware, not of possessing, not if going through an experience. We think in terms of “having an experience of sublime wonder and delight” and all the rest of it. No. Whatever is an experience, a vision, a particular bit of knowledge, all this is perishable. The finite comes into being out of the Infinite, has its little day and back into the Infinite it sinks. But if one is in touch with the Infinite itself and makes no attempt to grasp at the finite, then one lives in the Everlasting.
If one understands that, one ceases to approach religion in order to solve one’s problems, in order to find peace, happiness, truth, consolation and healing for one’s frustrations and sorrows in which in the worldly struggle we have been defeated. There is neither success nor failure where Truth, where the Reality is concerned, neither are there our petty little joys and sorrows, our pleasures or pains. Nothing of that is there. And it is in awakening to that sort of thing that at last I become Man in the true sense of the term. Until then I am only sub-Man, I am not true Man.
Now, one may say, “What a lot of words.” Yes, what a lot of words. I might have tried to convey this in complete silence, but would you have understood if I had been silent? Or if you try and convey something to me in silence, would I understand what you are trying to convey to me? Sometimes we do understand. Two people meet. They are perfectly silent, they may just happen to sit at the same table in a restaurant or side by side in a train going somewhere, and some communication takes place in the silence. Now isn’t this a fact in our lives? And if it happens like that in little instances like sitting at the same table in a restaurant or in the same compartment in a train, can it not happen in the supreme depths, in that profundity which is the Absolute All embodied in our particular limited selves? This is the marvel and the mystery of our existence. It can happen, can’t it? How does it happen? Only if I am unresisting, alert, mindful, pure. Then this magic takes place, and if the real magic takes place, this magic is not an illusion, like magic in the ordinary way for the amusement of people. This magic is a true magic which is Truth itself, which is being itself beyond all description, beyond all definition, beyond all limited, particular, finite perception. One must not want it, one must not desire it, one must make no attempt to grasp it as such. (I am using the word it in the sense of this which may be intellectually perceived.) Let it happen.
You see how and why our efforts almost always end in dust and ashes. We rebel against something which we see and declare to be wrong and evil, and we must get rid of it, this terrible poverty, this terrible shadow of fear under which we live, this and that evil as we see it in our daily lives, personally and in terms of the life of nations and internationally. We see all that. Now what do we do? What we see is the external shape of things. We are conscious that it is wrong, that it is evil and, if it is not wrong or evil in itelf (sometimes it isn’t), the fact remains that that situation hurts us in some way or other. It hurts us, which means that we do not like the shape of things as they are. What do we do then? We predetermine another shape and we say, “This is the desirable shape.” For whom? For me, my friends, and those who think like me. But there will be millions of others who don’t think like me, remember. If I feel sufficiently strongly about it, with violence I shall overthrow the old and try to bring in the new, and then make believe to myself and try to make believe towards everyone around me, “Now the millennium has set in. Comrades, we have brought in the new world order.” And how long does it take before the next lot of comrades rise up, throw us out, shatter our order and introduce their petty little new order and millennium. It is always done with violence, it is always done with hurt.
But the law of the spirit is not relative, it is not reciprocal, it is Absolute. “Thou shalt do no hurt.” “Thou shalt do no hurt” to anyone else or to your own self. This requires extraordinary intelligence, extraordinary skill, and you know where the skill and intelligence lie? Not in any positive action but in completely refraining from all wrongdoing. This is the positive way in the religious life, the refraining from the ill. You see, we think that we have to establish truth and love and beauty and goodness and all that. Not at all. Truth and love and beauty and goodness and all that are absolutely constitutive of the universe itself. It is we who have injected untruth and ugliness and all the rest of it into this. The moment we abstain from it and refrain from it, there the Truth is in all its wonder and marvel. Those of you who have attended regularly will get really tired of hearing me say this over and over again ad nauseam. You can’t put cleanness into a room but you can get rid of the dirt in the room, and the room is clean, isn’t it? That is how it is with us. We are divinity embodied, but there is a little demon inside us and he interferes and blocks everything up. All we’ve got to do is to see that, “Yes, I am the demon.” When I have really seen that I am the demon, that demon turns very, very shy, and he stops bossing me. Then that demon in me, the devil in me, becomes my obedient servant, because that demon is my technique, my skill, my capacity. It is not God who does the work of creating and building the universe, but his dual servants, the angels and the demons, the constructive forces and the destructive forces. And they do not meet in conflict really, they meet in complementary activity. That is what makes the universe go round. It exerts a force, like what the mathematicians call a couple. It’s a couple, and therefore the thing begins to turn round and round and the whole thing evolves. But we humans have this power of looking within ourselves, of becoming self-conscious and opposing our self-conscious little selves against the Totality, because I like this, I’m going to try this out. Don’t we all do it? In the family life see how the little infant, as soon as it begins to feel itself a little bit self-conscious, starts getting cheeky towards the parent and opposing the parent. But this is the way of life. So you see, this demon in me I have to see and understand. Once I really see him and understand him, he becomes my obedient servant and no longer obstructs that which is Transcendent, but skilfully brings into being the forms through which Transcendence manifests itself. This is the great thing.
Now, this business of sorrow in our lives. You know, the bulk of our sorrow is unnecessary sorrow. As I said earlier, don’t approach religion with the desire of getting rid of your sorrow by being religious, that way it will never happen. But understand what is actually happening inside the mind and the heart. We all know this word mind, we all know the word psyche. We know the words but we do not know the fact, the reality which these two words represent. Now here is just a suggestion. Let us approach the understanding of what we call mind and what we call psyche in this way. Every living organism, you and I, have a receptive, responsive sensitivity characterizing the organism. This organism can receive impressions and stimuli and it can respond to those impressions and stimuli.
This receptive, responsive sensitivity is the personal aspect of Mind. Just as the scientist speaks of the absolute ultimate energy out of which the whole physical universe comes into being, Mind, the Totality, the universal something, that Mind is power, power of a nature which we know nothing about. It is not measurable, it has no forms, it has no dimensions at all. To us it is a mystery. But it does function. Don’t ask me to prove it, it is quite impossible to prove this thing. If you yourself can enter into those deep states of consciousness, you will experience the working of it and that is how one can know it, that is all. This immeasurable, dimensionless, formless, universal, total power operates through every individual organism by virtue of this responsive sensitivity in him, and the two together, this sensitivity in us and the universal power without, is that which functions in us as our psychical life. But the psychelife, which is specifically our own, so to say, that is to say as long as this organism is alive, has its roots in the soil of the body itself. If there is no living body, there is no psyche, and by the same token there is no receptive, responsive sensitivity, because it is the living organism which is receptive and responsive to stimuli. But the universal Totality, Mind itself, remains unaltered of course. The operation of this, which is Transcendent power or energy, with this here within oneself which is measurable, formed, possessed of dimensions, limitations, expressions, and so forth, the two together constitute our whole psycho-physical life.
Now the psyche has something very strange about it. The laws (if I may use that word, it is a poor word, but no other word comes up to my mind at the moment), the laws of the spirit operate in the psyche absolutely, and the psyche can never say Nay to those laws. They are absolute laws. Translated into human words we may say things like this, “Thou shalt do no hurt anywhere, thou shalt not grasp at things.” They are not yours, they belong to the Totality, to the Absolute. In our ordinary everyday human life we are told, “Thou shalt not steal”, take what is not one’s own and so forth. “Thou shalt not self-indulge.” If you do not self-indulge, then the bliss of the Absolute will always permeate you and flow freely through you. These are the laws of the spirit, and these laws of the spirit, operating through Mind the Universal, the Unknown, affect the living psycho-physical organism here and now on earth, you and I.
From the other side of the situation are the laws of behaviour of the art of living as individual human beings, which we call our moralities, our ordinary moralities. All our ordinary moralities have their Transcendent aspect also, the Absolute aspect. They have their relative aspect too. Whenever I think, feel, speak, do anything whatsoever, its impress goes right into the psyche. That which is purely mental in me, the pure Mind (I mean pure not in the sense of clean but in the sense of Mind and nothing else but Mind, free of the psycho-physicality of my being), that which is Mind knows both ways, that is to say, knows in terms of Transcendence and knows in terms of ordinary everyday experiencing here and now, in the limited finite sense. And this knowing is permanently within the psyche, which the brain does not know. Sometimes the brain knows, then we are consciously aware of this, that or the other, and this conscious awareness is our awakening to what we call conscience. We say that somebody is conscientiousless. Nobody is conscientiousless. Conscience can be suppressed, but it is there. This pure mentality in us and the psyche in itself already know. So, whatever I think, feel, say, do makes its impress as so much energy which has to be worked out in the psyche itself. And whatsoever is wrong brings pain, perplexity, sorrow to me myself as well as the environment. Whatsoever is right brings release of faculty, perception, intelligence, power to act and live rightly in the world of affairs, both with respect to myself and to what is around me. But deeply embedded in the psyche are all these forces.
These forces imbedded in the psyche is one of the deep, profound meanings of the word karma. That is your karma, which in its working out through the psycho-physical life releases the pattern of your particular life in the world.
The brain and all the mental activities, which are the conditioned activities of the conditioned brain, can play tricks with us, all along the line. We try to rationalize, to explain away this, that and the other which the psyche knows is either right or wrong. And this is where we suffer at our own hands. There is no mysterious divine power or demonic power which judges and decrees punishment or rewards to us. It is right inside here, we are constituted that way. The laws of our life and how we should live, and so forth, are all embodied in our own living being, and it is the living process of our own living being which liberates those forces into external manifestation.
Do really try and work upon this, understand it, and the ways of release will open up before you, the ways of release both ways. So much unnecessary sorrow and evil things in our own nature will be out of the way on the one hand, and on the other hand, as they are out of the way, the paths open up for fulfilment, fulfilment not as I or you preconceive of what out fulfilment ought to be, but that which lies in the womb of Eternity itself. Then you will never say no to whatsoever comes to you in life, you will never reject it, nor will you accept it desirously, because then you attach yourself to it, you grasp at it. But whatsoever comes to you, you will understand it, you will be in right relationship with it and you will make the right response to it. In this is your human fulfilment as Man.
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
Continued from part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4
Here are a few peculiarly compatible combinations of food. It is well to have them with moderate regularity, either as breakfasts or as lunches, for they have a powerful influence in keeping you fit.
We will now give you examples of mistakes which you will see very often:
Here all the food is acid producing, with nothing alkaline to neutralize it.
Here there is an excess of proteins. Result: acidity and disease.
Again, a very bad mixture. Also, being typical of an average lunch or dinner, it exemplifies the difference between a simple meal and a complicated one.
The worst types of meals are:
Beauty has a healthful energizing influence. Always spread your table with an eye to beauty. A clean tablecloth and serviettes, clean crockery and cutlery and plate, clean hands and faces and clothes both of the servers and diners, and a few flowers (sweet scented fresh flowers from the garden, not glass or paper ones from the shop), are essentials for a cheerful happy meal. Each person should contribute his or her share to the atmosphere of love and beauty and enjoyment at table. Make an art of eating. Be gracious and cheerful, considerate and kindly towards others as well as towards oneself. Leave all business concerns, all “matters of importance” on the office table, or, if necessary, in the waste paper basket. For at table one is concerned with one of the greatest necessities for continuing one’s existence.
Primarily important is it that husband and wife shall never quarrel at table; that neither of them (especially the husband who is the usual offender here) shall be adversely critical of what the wife has taken pains to prepare herself or to have supervised in preparation; and that the children shall never witness discord between the parents, possibly even violence and tears. Enjoying a meal is probably the keenest enjoyment a child can experience. On no account should it be poisoned by unthinking and absurdly behaved parents. Laughter and jokes, an equal opportunity for all present to talk and be listened to attentively, a sense of sharing proportionately whatever food and drink there is without grumbling or undue apologising to the guests should something run short or not be a “success”,
are all part and parcel of the meal and constitute the art of eating.
Let all the dishes be deliciously prepared and daintily served. Deliciousness does not mean using spices, condiments, sauces, extracts, or any of the multitudinous “so-good-for-you’s”, indiscriminately. Prepare all the food simply ad naturally so that its wholesomeness and its own distinctive flavours are not lost.
Do not have a blaring band ravaging peace and harmony at meal times. Good music, yes — something pleasant and tuneful.
Poverty has very little to do, if anything at all, with the question of beauty. If there is no garden, and no money to buy flowers, a few leaves artlessly placed on the table will invite the spirit of beauty. No money is necessary to pluck a few leaves off that tree! Nor has money anything to do with clean hands and faces at least, if not clean clothes also! Nor does the lack of money prevent the washing of utensils, plate, and cutlery.
Love beauty and do all that is possible to associate it with the meal. It is regrettable that in our modern “hurry and bustle” life the beautiful custom of saying grace before and after meals is disappearing almost everywhere. The custom has been prevalent at some period or other in all nations all over the world. Where the custom still prevails however, the manner of saying grace has degenerated. The reason is that the significance underlying saying grace is no longer understood. Saying grace was a expression of man’s understanding of the living relationship between himself and his food (which is a part of the “body” of mother Nature). Man owes a duty to food. Not only must he till the soil, and tend the plant, but when mother earth gives freely and unmurmurigly of her produce unto him, it is only courteous and healthful to be graciously mindful of Life’s bounty to him.
Lay your table artistically, and make your dishes look and smell as attractive as possible. This will stimulate a better flow of the digestive juices — all the better for the enjoyment of your meal. Consider a salad for example: A nest of lettuce leaves with alternate groups of water cress, grated carrot, and grated beetroot, an inner ring of cucumber slices or celery hearts, and a centre of grated turnip or parsnip or a mound of red radishes, with a ring of luscious ripe tomatoes to fringe the whole dish — how do you like the picture?
The best meals are the inexpensive meals. Paying five times or twenty five times the normal price merely to buy young green peas or new potatoes a few weeks before they are in season is not only stupid snobbery but is harmful to health, because the extremely young plant has not had time to extract sufficient mineral salts from the soil or fully develop its vitamin content.
Forget the pernicious habit of peeling — usually the peelings are about 10–13% of the total amount of food — all the skins from potatoes, apples, etc. If you do not peel skins or extravagantly scrub off surface layers wherever possible, you will have enough extra food available for one other person in every nine or ten. Also consider the saving effected by cutting down, or preferably cutting out, salt, pepper, sugar, and a multitude of useless and even harmful little knick-knacks. How much easier, healthier, and tastier to use a little mint and parsley picked from the garden, or nasturtium leaves or sage or thyme, all of which are beneficial to health. Raw salads effect a saving of money on fuel, and of time for preparation.
A few more simple hints, the most important of which concerns the balance of the quantity at meals.
Take either a light breakfast, moderate lunch and moderate dinner, or a moderate breakfast, light lunch and moderate dinner, or a moderate breakfast, moderate lunch and light dinner.
A heavy meal at any time is harmful — but do not forget to break even this rule at Christmas!
Never eat to repletion. When you leave the table you should feel you could still eat another light course without discomfort — in other words, satisfy about two thirds or three quarters of your hunger at the actual meal. Learn to distinguish false hunger from true hunger. Wrong feeding produces false craving and deprives you of your sense of judging whether you are really hungry, and how much. For example, eating only cooked food always leads you on to overeat; so does an excess of starches (especially white flour products, polished rice, and other foods similar to them); so do sloppy foods, which you tend to swallow at once, depriving them of being mixed with the saliva which is absolutely essential for their proper digestion; and so does an excess of proteins (meat, fish, etc.). Wrong feeding produces an itch for stimulating drinks which in their turn produce a false appetite. Thus the vicious circle goes on, and if you are not sensible in time, you pay the price in money, disease, misery, and death. What a gloomy horror!
No one in the world has ever hurt himself by a little judicious fasting. On the contrary he has always benefited himself. Fasting is a voluntary cessation from taking food (but not from drinking as much fresh cool water as you like), or giving the internal organs a holiday — don’t you need one yourself regularly? — resulting in improved health. Starvation is the harmful forcible deprivation of food necessary for existence, leading to debility, and finally death.
Carefully note the difference between fasting and starvation. Chew every morsel, especially nuts, very thoroughly before swallowing. But do not go to the extreme of reducing everything (except nuts, or else you may suffer from biliousness) to a liquid condition; for it you do, you may suffer from atrophy of the bowel. Do not chew with short sharp jabs of your jaws, like so many young boys do, for that will wear all the enamel off your teeth, and sooner or later ruin them; but chew with a gentle firm action — somewhat like the cows do! — and you will enjoy your food better, and save your teeth and digestion.
Eat slowly — your speed can never break the record of the London-Edinburgh express.
Don’t argue that you are so busy that you have no time to observe these counsels of perfection. If you are so busy, either:
Do not read newspapers, or an exciting or heavy book at meals. If you have no companionship at meals and only the blank wall of the restaurant to stare at, then read something pleasant or humorous.
Discuss food and food-values and physiological chemistry and all the rest of it at any time except meal times. Avoid all argumentative or strenuous conversation at meals.
Forget your anxieties and worries when you eat.
Sit comfortably and erect, but not stiffly, in your chair, and lean back and breathe easily as you chew. This hint ought to be observed as a definite rule if you want the best out of your meal. If you do not, crouch over it with your neck stiff, shoulders hunched, chest cramped, and stomach and intestines compressed.
Allow at least 20 minutes of peace and quiet before, and 30 minutes after each meal.
Continued in part 6
At the evening service tonight, the sermon will be, “What Is Hell?”Come early and listen to our choir practice. From a Church announcement
At the evening service tonight, the sermon will be, “What Is Hell?”
Come early and listen to our choir practice.
From a Church announcement
By Tim Surtell
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