This article is from the book Walk in This Light.
The first thing that you must do when the day dawns is to enquire, “Who am I. Am I this perishable cage of flesh and bones? Am I the restless mind and limited intellect? No, I am not! I am the ever pure, ever-free, ever perfect, all-full Atman.” Start the day by contacting your inner being, going into your centre, not moving away from it and shining with the awareness of your higher Self which is eternal, beginningless and endless, ever-free, with no limitations. If this is done at the start of each day, then who can stop you from transcending the limitations of this little self and entering into peace?
Beloved Immortal Atman! To be able to be here at the Ashram is an experience for which many are yearning day and night, and to get it even for a brief period of a few days people undertake arduous journeys. They come from far nooks and corners of India and think their life has now become fulfilled when they come to this sacred place. A dream has come true, and when they go back, they are ever cherishing the memory of their visit to this sacred place. Fortunate are those who dwell for a longer period of time, and fortunate are those who have come into the orbit of the spiritual influence of Gurudev’s spiritual teachings.
To count one’s blessings and good fortune and to derive maximum benefit out of it is wisdom. But to focus attention upon what one does not have and what someone else has and to bemoan some imaginary loss is un-wisdom. It deprives one of all the advantages that come from dwelling upon what one has already—all the great graces, propitious circumstances and good fortune worth rejoicing over. It is a trick of the mind to long for what one does not have—a trick which deprives oneself of the immediate and immense advantage that one could obtain.
God might have given us a human birth, intelligence, good health and many opportunities that might include sound, sight, hearing and a healthy body. We might not be crippled, deaf, blind or handicapped, but is this remembered? There are millions who have to put up a brave struggle to overcome immense handicaps that cut off part of life from their experience, but despite that they bravely struggle to overcome the handicap and manage to make do. But then, a great part of their energy potential is unfortunately diverted into overcoming this immense handicap. When this necessity is not there in our life, when we are sound of body and limbs—and thank God, all our senses are functioning—that is the time to be wise and to utilise our active faculties in a gainful manner to bless ourselves.
Lord Buddha tells his followers, “Rely upon yourself; do not always depend upon external agencies—be they scriptures, external images or any other things or persons. You may take their help, but rely upon yourself first and foremost.” In this he was saying something identical to Lord Krishna who said, “The child has to breathe for itself.” Watch how a little infant struggles against the helpless position on its back and how over days and weeks it learns to turn onto its stomach and later gets the ability to turn to the right and left. Thus the process goes on, and by constant attempts it overcomes all its inabilities and then begins to crawl. It is a fascinating thing to see how the helpless new-born infant gradually develops and soon is seen not only running, but competing in the Olympics! It is not the mother or the father that initiates it; it is all self-learned.
In that way, life should be understood to be a process of making maximum use of those factors that we already have been endowed with. Then, more are given! Gurudev, after writing three hundred books on all aspects of Yoga, ultimately said, “Enquire who am I, know thyself and be free.” He did not say that he will enquire who you are and he will know you and then tell you, but he said, “Enquire who am I. Do it yourself, carry on this enquiry and know thyself.”
If someone else knows the Atman, then I am not benefited. It is I who has to enquire; it is I who has to know myself and become free. Gurudev said, “If you are serious, you will do it,” but the vast majority of people do not do it, and so they remain stuck at square one. Whatever they have been thinking about themselves from birth, that they continue to think. This means that they are content to be confirmed in their own bondage, in their own darkened state. They do not want to do what is necessary to become liberated from that limitation.
Gurudev gave us the quintessence of what he had written in the “Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions,” and he instructed us there in what we must do. The “Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions” are very practical and very direct, and if we take recourse to them, then we will find fetters falling away and problems vanishing and the upward ascent commences!
The first thing that you must do when the day dawns is to enquire, “Who am I. Am I this perishable cage of flesh and bones? Am I the restless mind and limited intellect? No, I am not! I am the ever-pure, ever-free, ever-perfect, all-full Atman.” Start the day by contacting your inner being, going back into your centre, not moving away from it and shining with the awareness of your higher Self which is eternal, beginningless and endless, ever-free, with no limitations. If this is done at the starting point of each day, then who can stop you from transcending the limitations of this little self and entering into peace? Hari Om.