Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh
There is a saying, “The goal is one, but the paths are many,” or sometimes they will say that we are all climbing the same spiritual mountain: The objective is to get to the top; it doesn’t matter from which side we climb up. Actually, while we call religions by different names and while we call yogas by different names, they are all being practised by human beings. Therefore, our spiritual practices ultimately are not a matter of outward form, but of what we are within our own interior. And as we are all basically thinking, feeling, and willing, then it is logical that no matter what the outer path, that as we move towards the goal, there should be a similar requirement in order to reach the objective.
What could be that similar requirement? Gurudev said, “Change your angle of vision.” But what does that actually mean? In the last teaching verse in the Gita, after having given us so many yogas, Lord Krishna says, “Abandoning all dharmas, take refuge in Me alone. Don’t worry, I will save you.” Gurudev perhaps put it even more simply: “Surrender everything unto the Lord, place your ego at His feet and be at ease.” So it would appear that no matter what path we are following, there comes a point in our spiritual life where we must simply let go, where we are meant to lay down the burden we have been carrying and let God carry it–while we be at ease.
But does this being at ease mean that we’re lying on a comfortable couch with somebody doing everything for us? Our common sense recognises that this cannot be the case, even though the words taking refuge and being at ease could give us that impression. Rather we are meant to discover–after we have laid down our burden–a place of total ease within ourselves that has always been there. We are meant to recognise that that place–which we can never grasp with the mind–is our real home, a home that we have left when we got lost in the maze of the world. The world is actually part of the Reality, but it is a passing part. We are meant to always be aware of that which never changes.
When That which never changes becomes the most important part of our life, then we are truly at ease, and we function with balance and intelligence in this world. That is what Gurudev demonstrated to all of us–an extremely active life, a life of benefit to all, but a life anchored in the truth, in the oneness of all things. And that is what he wants us to discover–no matter what path we follow. All paths are valid as long as, in the end, we’re prepared to lay down both our burden and our ego, so that we can have a new angle of vision.