Does Mother have a philosophy? Certainly there is the appearance of one. She uses words like the rest of us. Those words form certain familiar patterns and those patterns reflect a consistent set of ideas which has remained virtually unchanged from her childhood onwards. Nevertheless there is an unmistakable flexibility in her approach, and in the way she uses words and ideas. Giving us reason to pause and wonder. The cat appears to be a tiger the stripes are familiar but something about the movements of the beast is quite wrong. Is there a philosophy here or is the animal of completely different nature, camouflaged in a familiar skin but exhibiting a nature and intent quite different from those of its well known look-alike?

 

What is implied by the term philosophy? We tend naturally to think that it refers to a closed system of ideas. To the expression of a certain conceptual framework with which to explain reality, asserting some things and denying others. But in truth nothing could be further from Mother’s intention. Even when she appears to take up a firm position with regard to a question as, for instance. When she denies the working of individual free will Mother will very often turn around in the very next breath and to remain with the example state that from the point of view of the Ultimate there is no difference between the man who says "all is God's doing" and he who says "all is my doing" both convictions. If pursued to their logical conclusions, will lead the seeker to the same fact, a supreme fact which is really an experience and which by its very nature transcends any possible verbal statement we might be able to make regarding it. This same Truth may be equally validly expressed in a number of seemingly self-contradictory ways that seem to the logical mind, which functions on the relative level. To be as little compatible as oil and water.

 

For AMMA, as indeed for all realized souls, there is the one great central Truth. The saints have discovered as a matter of concrete and ever present experience that behind all of the multitudinous forms and processes of the world there is but the one single source. Whether that unitary source is regarded as the inner self of the sadhaka, as an external deity, as an abstraction such as 'love' or 'being' or 'bliss' or as Nature itself is irrelevant.  The experience is one and the same. This experience comes entirely without labels but for our own convenience of expression and according to our particular predilections we categorize it, we give it a name. But that name is nothing snore than a way of referring to the ineffable, and the true saint will never confuse the symbol with the thing itself.

 

Mother is far from involving herself in theological disputation. She affirms the fundamental unity of all sects and creeds. The fact of faith alone is of significance and value, she states the form and contents of one’s particular faith matter not at all. When asked how it is possible to develop faith in God, Mother replies significantly that 'Faith itself is God'. The individual whose belief is firm is bound to reach the final goal by virtue of his one pointedness, irrespective of the object of that faith. lt is actually the capacity for sincere, one-pointed, Unwavering dedication inherent in each of us which is the Goal, the Godhead to which we aspire. The deity, the teaching, the cherished ideal all these are only catalysts in awakening that inner divinity.

 

The one who has had this vision understands that a single stream of yearning for the Ultimate expresses itself in the incredible diversity of sadnanas, gods, gurus, religions and philosophies. No matter where we enter that mighty river, the purifying action is everywhere the same. To argue that one path is inherently superior to another is like claiming that the water from one ghat along the Ganges is more holy then that from another. The one who bethel in that river with love and full faith in its sacredness will naturally care nothing for such disputes; it is only those who prefer to stay high and dry and argue heatedly on the bank who could possibly take them seriously.

 

The dry disputation of scholars and the sectarians with their fanaticism are like that. Their speech and their views are lifeless because they have not arisen from actual experience, but are sterile constructions of the intellect. When such people, who are without genuine inner experience, debate the relative merits of one particular approach or another they may quote the great saints and their words may conform to the letter of scripture. A parrot can mimic human speech. And yet we are forced to smile when we hear this imitation because we know that the creature haunt the least understanding of what it is saying!

 

In spiritual matters, on the other hand, we are quite content with this parrot speech. We expend a considerable amount of energy, time and money in buying the books and attending the lectures of learned men without ever enquiring into whether they are speaking with the authority of True Knowledge or are merely parroting the words of others.

 

We would do well to make this inquiry. The words of experience are always much better than their artificial and mass-produced clones. For one thing, the words of experience carry with them a power of conviction which is totally lacking in their lifeless imitations.

 

A few short and simple words spoke by a sage have the power to transform our lives totally, to reorient our entire perspective. It is not their eloquence which moves us but their sincerity, the unmistakable ring or truth. Consciously we may remain unaffected by what we hear. We might even disagree violently. But we cannot ignore it. The words have entered deeply into the soul. Time and time again they return to mind. Then one day unexpectedly, they blossom forth into experience. It is then that we will truly understand, not with the mind alone but with the heart, the limbs, the very cells themselves because the seed once planted has matured in the soil of our life itself. There are cases where the guru has spoken one simple sentence to the disciple before sending him off on his own. "You are Brahman" he says. Then, perhaps after many years of wandering the length and breadth of India. The disciple may be sitting under a tree or gazing into space when, all of a sudden, the concrete living reality of his gurus words comes crashing in upon him in a tidal wave of Realization. Such is the living power of a few simple words spoken in the fullness of Truth.

 

The case of words spoken without experience is, of course, sadly different. The lecture of a clever preacher or pundit may move us to laughter or tears. We might marvel at his intellectual ability, cower from the raw force of his tirade, swoon with delight, shake with indignation, and inflate with inspiration. There is no and to what might happen! The orator, if he is skilled at his trade, can play on the heart strings of his audience like a master musician on his instrument.  But what will become of all this in the end? The exaltation that we feel is merely froth, loam on the waves, on an hour or a day or a week even the memory of it will have disappeared from consciousness and we will be left exactly whale we were at the start. The words that have come out of the most superficial levels of the speaker's consciousness have blown over the surf ace of our own and have created a few momentary waves. But the inner depths, where the spiritual drama of life is played out, remain untouched.

 

If this were the only drawback of spiritual punditry it would be a harmless though necessarily fruitless affair. Unfortunately this is not always the ease. Quite often the words of the professional preacher are like a bogus patent medicine which, although it is powerless to cure the disease. nevertheless causes some unpleasant side effects in the Luckless patients If nothing worse, then the endless parroting of the verbal symbols of Truth in an atmosphere where none under- stands their true meaning tends to cheapen them, oust as surely as flooding the market with currency devalues the coinage of the realm.

 

If l hear a thousand hypocritical and uninspired preachers tell me to love my neighbor as I love myself then in the course of time I will naturally tend to dismiss these words as being just that sort of impractical pious cliche that preachers are fond of offering up on any suitable day without ever attempting to put them into practice in their own lives. If l am fortunate enough to hear these words from Christ Himself, of course, then there is every chance that l will recognize intuitively that they are not mere theory but a living and vibrant truth. The danger is, however, that if l hear the words from Christ himself after I have already heard them from these thousand hypocritical preachers, then I will simply take this Christ to be another hypocritical preacher. If act burns its tongue on a saucer of boiling milk it will not come and drink thereafter, even if a saucer of cool milk is placed before it.

 

So many people have come to Mother and asked her what is the cause of the widespread irreligion in the contemporary world. Mother, whose perspective of wisdom precludes her seeing things in terms of cause and effect, answers that the Shakti alone is responsible. On a level of greater limitation and relativity, however causes do appear. l would suggest from this perspective that the primary cause of the growing discrediting of religious values in the world of today is the fact that most of us receive our religious instruction at second hand from men who have no actual experience of Truth and therefore cannot impart to us any sense of its living reality. We have been served insipid and warmed-up left overs so often that we have completely lost our taste for the dish.

 

The true shame is that when someone like Amma comes along ready to serve us the meal freshly prepared and health giving us often reject it out of hand without trying it. We assume that, because it is presented in the same dish as before or must therefore be the same stale end unappetizing  concoction as all the rests.

 

We can see that the speaker who carelessly dispenses the priceless truths of spiritual life without making any attempt to honour them in practice does a very real disservice by cheapening them, destroying their credibility and their sacred value. This is true even when the lecturer confines himself to accurate quotations from the teachings of genuinely enlightened beings. But when we presume to explain these words then a further danger arises. It is really unavoidable that when we comment on the teachings of a saint we shall distort them to some degree. Each of us doubtless has his own axe to grind and, in the hallowed words of a Buddha or a Christ. To justify one’s own point of view is an ever present temptation. The words of realization are not the words of the intellect at all but the words of experience. When the intellect our intellect gets hold of them. How eagerly it twists and turns them to its own purposes, purposes of ten quite foreign to their original intent. Any man who uses words professionally as speaker or writer is aware that language, His chosen medium, is infinitely malleable. Words are less like stone, brittle and set, than like wax, flexible and open to almost any possible interpretation. We can mold a man's words into any shape that we like but we should not do it.  And if we should not do it with the worldly speech of the ordinary man, then how much less so with the spiritually inspired words of a prophet! A certain amount of humility and reverence is really a prerequisite for dealing with the words of Truth. These things are holy and very precious. We must make a genuine effort to understand them in the sense in which they were originally spoken, from what sacred bhava, out of what state of consciousness they arose and to what they refer.

 

We could take the Hope diamond and fasten it to a monkey's tail, or run it up a flagpole for that matter. Yet it would be absurd to do so. The diamond clearly belongs to a diadem or atop a regal crown. In the same sense the words of a mahatma should never be used to support ones own pet theory, to conduct an inquisition, or to fight a crusade. Whatever a sage says serves as a pointer to a greater Reality beyond the confines of ego, mind and body. No other sense is intended. No other use is justified.

 

As Mother has confirmed, the teachings of all great religions are essentially the same although the words and the modes of expression are necessarily different. In so many different ways the sages have been  urging  us to divest ourselves of the illusory 'sense oil and mine' which blocks out the light of Truth oust as surely as the moon cuts off the sun's rays during a solar eclipse. All life is One, they tell us but viewed through the prism of ego that white light of truth appears to refract into the varied hues of name and form. It is indeed ironic that these great proclamations of Oneness should have been quoted by us to justify almost every possible perversion of separateness of which humanity is capable, from fanatical sectarianism to communal violence and war. This is ironic but also perhaps inevitable.

 

As long as we have not had their experience we cannot expect to fully and properly understand the sayings of the saints. As long as we fail to understand the teachings we shall naturally continue to distort them. For those of us who love language and have an intuition of its high dharma this is a cause for regret. At the end, however we shall be forced to admit that the way we use language is a reflection of our inner states and experiences but not their cause. A barometer measures accurately every minute change in air pressure, it does not cause the changes in the vast weather systems that are indicated in its readings. Our words are as pure as we are but even the finest words cannot purify us or grant us a glimpse of the advaitic state.

 

The One Shakti which causes all must do that. Then and only then will the Ganga of language run clear from end to end!

 

One ray of light from my Divine Mother, the Goddess of Wisdom, has the power to reduce all the pride of pandits, all men of vast book-learning, into the lowliness of the veriest worm that crawls upon the earth.

Author: 
Sri Ramakrishna