Attitudes for aspirants: Rituals and ceremonies become a sidetrack to the path

Often the aspirant is concerned in the early phases of his awakening by his attitude towards established religions and their rituals. All of these have a tendency to encourage the spirit of love and worship, and as such they help to a limited extent in wearing out the ego-shell in which human consciousness is caught. But if they are followed unintelligently and mechanically, the inner spirit of love and worship dries up. Then they harden the ego-shell instead of wearing it out.

Rituals and ceremonies cannot carry one very far towards the path, and if they are unintelligently followed they bind as much as any other unintelligent action. In fact, when they are deprived of all inner life they are in a sense more dangerous than any other unintelligent action, because they are pursued in the belief that they help towards God-realization.

Due to this element of self-delusion, lifeless forms and ceremonies become a sidetrack to the path. Through mere force of habit one can become so attached to these external forms that intense suffering may be required to dispel their imaginary value.

-Listen Humanity, p176

Attitudes for aspirants: To use intellect as a tool, not to be overcome by it

One of these points of confusion concerns his attitude towards intellectuality…

Intellect is reserved so to speak by nature for man. To have intellect one must be a human being. Regardless of how keen and quick that intellect may be, though, it will always remain just one of the stepping stones to wisdom, inspiration, illumination, knowledge, and at last, realization of truth. To keep playing on the steeping stone, however polished it may be, is like sitting tight on a heap of hoarded treasure.

Like everything else, intellect can be used, as well as misused. The deeper the intelligence, the greater one’s responsibility to discriminate between essential and nonessential, service and disservice, progress and retrogression. The task of the aspirant is to use intellect as a tool, not to be overcome by it.

-Listen Humanity, p175

Attitudes for aspirants: An infusion of new meaning into the present and future

The entire spiritual process should never be regarded as one that can be described in intellectual terms, grasped by the mind and followed as a personal discipline. In many ways it constitutes the abandoning of all the previous means by which the individual had thought to achieve lasting peace. In other ways it is the essentializing and enlightened use of those same methods, but with a new sense of their utility.

The spiritual attitude represents nothing essentially new in the material life of the individual, but is rather a reorganization and reinterpretation of all that has existed in his life, and an infusion of new meaning into the present and future. In achieving this reorientation the aspirant often finds himself temporarily confused.

-Listen Humanity, p174


A goal of paramount importance


All Baba asked from each was a happy face and work done cheerfully. To Baba, this cheerfulness was a goal most worth striving after, a goal of paramount importance. He emphasized once that no one must expect to get happiness from others, but be happy in himself.

-Kitty Davy [How a Master works, p607]


To establish love for the truth

To establish love for the truth is the beginning of right valuation and the beginning of the undoing of the constructions of the ego which exhibits itself through false valuation.

Any action that expresses the true values of life contributes towards the disintegration of the ego, which is a product of ages of ignorant action.

The disintegration of the ego is a condition for realizing truth.

-Sparks, p18

Life in this world is like a game of cards

Relaxing in Shendi, Baba played cards with the mandali until eleven o’clock and then ate lunch of bakri, hot dal, and mangoes.

Baba gave this short discourse:

Until God-realization, this life and world of existence is like a game of cards. When you play cards you feel pleased or disappointed depending on winning or losing the game. You become so excited and absorbed in playing that you forget everything else. But once you stop and again get busy in the ordinary affairs of life, you forget about the game of cards and all its pleasures, disappointments, concerns, and anxieties.

It is also similar in the case of the Realized Ones. To them the very life and existence of the world is a mere game of cards. Worldly success and failure, happiness and misery are no more lasting or significant than the emotions you experience during a game of cards., p816
May, 1927; Shendi (Near Ahmadnagar)

Slimming down of the ego

The ego affirms its separateness through craving, hate, anger, fear, or jealousy.

The feeling of separation from others is most acute where there is great and unrelieved craving. In hate and anger also, the other person is, so to speak, thrown out of one’s own being and regarded not only as a foreigner but as definitely hostile to the thriving of one’s ego.

Fear acts as a thick curtain between the “I” and the “you.” And it not only nourishes deep distrust of the other but inevitably brings about a shrinking and withdrawal of consciousness, so as to exclude the being of another from the context of one’s own life. Therefore, not only other souls but God should be loved and not feared. To fear God or His manifestations is to strengthen duality; to love God and His manifestations is to weaken it.

The feeling of separateness finds most poignant expression in jealousy.

There is a deep and imperative need in the human soul to love and identify itself with other souls. This is not fulfilled in any instance where there is craving or hate, anger or fear.

Every thought, feeling, or action that springs from the idea of exclusive or separate existence binds.

The only experience which makes for the slimming down of the ego is the experience of love, and the only aspiration which makes for the alleviation of separateness is the longing to become one with the Beloved.

-Discourses 7th Ed, p166

Deeper surrender to the beloved’s will

If a person is caught in a quagmire he instinctively tries every means to get out of it, but the very effort he makes thrusts him deeper into it. The more he struggles, the further in he sinks. Help must come to him then from someone who stands on firm ground, and who can only be of help when the struggling man has ceased to struggle long enough to look about for aid.

There is a certain similarity between this situation and the case of the individual who has surrendered his life to the master. The false, separative ego tries its utmost to postpone its own dissolution by resisting the divine love of the master.

It struggles in the quagmire of existence, but each act of ego-affirmation invites a reaction of deeper surrender to the beloved’s will. This in turn brings with it the clearer realization of the master as being none other than the irresistible truth that is the Self of all selves, and the one reality in the apparent multiplicity of individual souls.

Truth-realization is born of such complete surrender to the engulfing love of God, of which the master is the physical symbol and the channel.

-Listen Humanity, p125


Be Natural – You must be most natural rather than the least hypocritical

Similarly, the person who parades humility is like the one who smells the stink when cleaning a latrine, whereas the person who lives the life of humility is like the sweeper who is not only immune to the stink but who also remains absolutely unmindful about what others think about him and his job, because he actually lives the life of a sweeper.

To have to try to be humble is also humbug. You must be so natural that your very life becomes humility personified, which is then all strength, free from any weaknesses. Only God and the Perfect Masters can live such a life. They are the only ones who are really humble. So, whatever you may be, express it unmindful of public opinion or the reaction of others.

Be natural. If you are dishonest, do not try to hide yourself behind the curtain of honesty. That, however, does not mean that you should be dishonest. What I want to say is that you must be most natural rather than the least hypocritical., p3480
February, 1954; Andhra

Be Natural – Life of humility is to be lived spontaneously

Modesty is weakness, but humility is strength. A world of difference, therefore, exists between the two. The moment you say, “I say in all humility,” the very expression is the expression of the ego in you. Even if in your mind you feel that you are humble, this feeling is egoistic.

The difficulty does not end even if with true honesty you try to express true humility. An obstacle, such as the thought as to what others may think of your expression of humility, is bound to come. In modesty, you are constantly pestered with thoughts about your correct behavior to such an extent that an inferiority complex is self-created in you, and that is not strength but weakness.

No sooner humility is given an expression, it is no longer humility. It is humbug to give deliberate expression to humility. The life of humility is to be lived spontaneously, and it should not give rise to any thoughts either about humility or about modesty. For example, suppose you undertake to clean a latrine but when you actually begin to do so, you cannot help smelling the stink, whereas a sweeper who cleans them all his life will remain unaffected by the stench., p3479
February, 1954; Andhra