Is Liberation Possible In This Very Birth?
Sri Swami Chidananda
This article is a chapter from the book A Call To Liberation.
Recently, I was in Delhi, and around midnight a phone call came from my host’s daughter. She is a well-educated person with a good position. She wanted her parents to ask me a question, but, as I was up, I said, “Let me speak to her myself.”
She said: “Swamiji, I can see that there is no real happiness to be found anywhere in this world. Please Swamiji, tell me, is it really possible to attain liberation in this very birth?”
I answered her: “It is possible if the intense desire to attain God, to attain liberation, occupies your heart as the first and foremost of all desires, all wishes, all that you long for, all that you yearn after.
“If God, if liberation, is your top priority, and it fills your heart, mind and intellect—your entire being, and you are consumed by that great longing and yearning—all other wishes come after it, they are secondary, not primary—then nothing in this universe can prevent you from attaining liberation in this very life. This is for sure!
“Let us be practical. Does this mean that one should cease wishing or working for anything else? It is not absolutely necessary, and it is not absolutely possible either. As long as you are in this body, in this earth plane, you have to work for food, clothing and shelter, for the body has its hard demands. You have to keep yourself in reasonable comfort so that your body will not have a breakdown in health and become an obstacle on the path. Because through the body alone you have to live and work out your liberation.
“So, taking care of the body’s minimal wants and providing for its shelter—a place to do your sadhana, pursue your spiritual practices—is a minimal requirement which no one can afford to totally deny or ignore. If you inwardly give up everything, yet on the outer plane exert to attain what is essential to survive and work out your liberation, then the body does not become an obstacle. Rather, it becomes the boat to cross the ocean of transmigration. It becomes the chariot to take you to your destination along the right road of a divinely lived life. It becomes your instrument for liberation.
“Therefore, view it from this angle. Even the secular can be made part of the spiritual. The outer worldly life becomes a supplementary process to the inner spiritual life. It becomes an inevitable part of it; it becomes one with it.
“So, no part of your life is left outside the purview of your spiritual life. One hundred per cent of your life, twenty-four hours of the day, becomes spiritual if viewed in the right way and lived in the right manner. It becomes an integral part of a comprehensive movement towards God, an ascent towards liberation.
“That’s the way Gurudev taught. Have no dichotomy. Make no separation. Feel that all your life is only meant for sadhana, for liberation, for an upward ascent towards illumination. If thus, with all your heart, mind and soul, you long for it, let me assure you that liberation is one hundred per cent certain. No power on earth can prevent you from receiving what you deserve, what you have earned. For, by such a longing, you have earned it.”
A great Teacher, when He was asked what was the greatest commandment of all, answered: “Love the Supreme Being with all your heart, with your entire being. Set aside your little ‘I’, thinking not about yourself, but thinking of and loving Him alone with all your mind and all your heart.”
Then God does not sit in judgment of what you have been. He says, “Here is one who is longing for Me with his entire being.” Then He becomes for you the divine, celestial wish-yielding tree. You go beneath the tree, wish for anything and instantaneously you have it. God is all this and more, and it is such a God that you are worshipping. He is not a judging, punishing, angry, displeased God.
He is the Supreme Reality and He says: “What you wish and long for with all your heart, that is yours. If you ask for Me, I am yours.” This is the real situation between the sincere seeking soul and its maker, support and fulfilment.