Thoughts and Aphorisms
1. There are two allied powers in man; knowledge & wisdom. Knowledge
is so much of the truth seen in a distorted medium as the mind arrives
at by groping, wisdom what the eye of divine vision sees in the
2. Inspiration is a slender river of brightness leaping from a vast &
eternal knowledge, it exceeds reason more perfectly than reason
exceeds the knowledge of the senses.
3. When I speak, the reason says, "This will I say"; but God takes the
word out of my mouth and the lips say something else at which reason
4. I am not a Jnani, for I have no knowledge except what God gives me
for His work. How am I to know whether what I see be reason or folly?
Nay, it is neither; for the thing seen is simply true & neither folly
5. If mankind could but see though in a glimpse of fleeting experience
what infinite enjoyments, what perfect forces, what luminous reaches
of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being lie waiting for
us in the tracts which our animal evolution has not yet conquered,
they would leave all & never rest till they had gained these
treasures. But the way is narrow, the doors are hard to force, and
fear, distrust & scepticism are there, sentinels of Nature, to forbid
the turning away of our feet from her ordinary pastures.
6. Late, I learned that when reason died, then Wisdom was born; before
that liberation, I had only knowledge.
7. What men call knowledge, is the reasoned acceptance of false
appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees.
8. Reason divides, fixes details & contrasts them; Wisdom unifies,
marries contrasts in a single harmony.
9. Either do not give the name of knowledge to your beliefs only and
of error, ignorance or charlatanism to the beliefs of others, or do
not rail at the dogmas of the sects and their intolerance.
10. What the soul sees and has experienced that it knows; the rest is
appearance, prejudice and opinion.
11. My soul knows that it is immortal. But you take a dead body to
pieces and cry triumphantly "Where is your soul and where is your
12. Immortality is not the survival of the mental personality after
death, though that also is true, but the waking possession of the
unborn & deathless self of which body is only an instrument and a
13. They proved to me by convincing reasons that God did . not exist,
and I believed them. Afterwards I saw God, for He came and embraced
me. And now which am I to believe, the reasonings of others or my own
14. They told me, "These things are hallucinations". I inquired what
was hallucination and found that it meant a subjective or a psychical
experience which corresponds to no objective or no physical reality.
Then I sat and Wondered at the miracles of the human reason.
15. Hallucination is the term of Science for those irregular glimpses
we still have of truths shut out from us by our preoccupation with
matter; coincidence for the curious touches of artistry in the work of
that supreme & universal Intelligence which in its conscious being as
on a canvas has planned & executed the world.
16. That which men term a hallucination is the reflection in the mind
& senses of that which is beyond our ordinary mental & sensory
perceptions. Superstition arises from the mind's wrong understanding
of these reflections. There is no other hallucination.
17. Do not like so many modern disputants, smother thought under
polysyllables or charm inquiry to sleep by the spell of formulas and
cant words. Search always; find out the reason for things which seem
to the hasty glance to be mere chance or illusion.
18. Someone was laying it down that God must be this or that or He
would not be God. But it seemed to me that I can only know what God is
and I do not see how I can tell Him what He ought to be. For what is
the standard by which we can judge Him? These judgments are the
follies of our egoism.
19. Chance is not in this universe; the idea of illusion is itself an
illusion. There was never illusion yet in the human mind that was not
the concealing [?shape] and disfigurement of a truth.
20. When I had the dividing reason, I shrank from many things; after l
had lost it in sight, I hunted through the world for the ugly and the
repellent, but I could no longer find them.
21. God had opened my eyes; for I saw the nobility of the vulgar, the
attractiveness of the repellent, the perfection of the maimed and the
beauty of the hideous.
22. Forgiveness is praised by the Christian and the Vaishnava, but for
me, I ask, "What have I to forgive and whom?"
23. God struck me with a human hand; shall I say then, "I pardon Thee
thy insolence, O God"?
24. God gave me good in a blow. Shall I say, "I forgive thee, O
Almighty One, the harm and the cruelty, but do it not again"?
25. When I pine at misfortune and call it evil, or am jealous and
disappointed, then I know that there is awake in me again the eternal
26. When I see others suffer, I feel that I am unfortunate, but the
wisdom that is not mine, sees the good that is coming and approves.
27. Sir Philip Sidney said of the criminal led out to be hanged,
"There, but for the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney." Wiser, had
he said, "There, by the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney."
28. God is a great & cruel Torturer because He loves. You do not
understand this, because you have not seen & played with Krishna.
29. One called Napoleon a tyrant and imperial cut-throat; but I saw
God armed striding through Europe.
30. I have forgotten what vice is and what virtue; I can only see God,
His play in the world and His will in humanity.
31. I saw a child wallowing in the dirt and the same child cleaned by
his mother and resplendent, but each time I trembled before his utter
32. What I wished or thought to be the right thing, does not come
about; therefore it is clear that there is no All Wise one who guides
the world but only blind Chance or a brute Causality.
33. The Atheist is God playing at hide & seek with Himself; but is the
Theist any other? Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and
clutched at it.
34. O Thou that lovest, strike! If Thou strike me not now, I shall
know that Thou lov'st me not.
35. O Misfortune, blessed be thou; for through thee I have seen the
face of my Lover.
36. Men are still in love with grief; when they see one who is too
high for grief or joy, they curse him & cry, "O thou insensible!"
Therefore Christ still hangs on the cross in Jerusalem.
37. Men are in love with sin; when they see one who is too high for
vice or virtue, they curse him & cry, "O thou breaker of bonds, thou
wicked and immoral one!" Therefore Srikrishna does not live as yet in
38. Some say Krishna never lived, he is a myth. They mean on earth;
for if Brindavun existed nowhere, the Bhagwat could not have been
39. Strange! the Germans have disproved the existence of Christ; yet
his crucifixion remains still a greater historic fact than the death
40. Sometimes one is led to think that only those things really matter
which have never happened; for beside them most historic achievements
seem almost pale and ineffective.
41. There are four very great events in history, the siege of Troy,
the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavun
and the colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of
Troy created Hellas, the exile in Brindavun created devotional
religion, (for before there was only meditation and worship,) Christ
from his cross humanised Europe, the colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet
liberate humanity. Yet it is said that none of these four events ever
42. They say that the Gospels are forgeries and Krishna a creation of
the poets. Thank God then for the forgeries and bow down before the
43. If God assigns to me my place in Hell, I do not know why I should
aspire to Heaven. He knows best what is for my welfare.
44. If God draw me towards Heaven, then, even if His other hand strive
to keep me in Hell, yet must I struggle upward.
45. Only those thoughts are true the opposite of which is also true in
its own time and application; indisputable dogmas are the most
dangerous kind of falsehoods.
46. Logic is the worst enemy of Truth, as self-righteousness is the
worst enemy of virtue, -- for the one cannot see its own errors nor
the other its own imperfections.
47. When I was asleep in the Ignorance, I came to a place of
meditation full of holy men and I found their company wearisome and
the place a prison; when I awoke, God took me to a prison and turned
it into a place of meditation and His trysting-ground.
48. When I read a wearisome book through and with pleasure, yet
perceived all the perfection of its wearisomeness, then I knew that my
mind was conquered.
49. I knew my mind to be conquered when it admired the beauty of the
hideous, yet felt perfectly why other men shrank back or hated.
50. To feel & love the God of beauty and good in the ugly and the
evil, and still yearn in utter love to heal it of its ugliness and its
evil, this is real virtue and morality.
51. To hate the sinner is the worst sin, for it is hating God; yet he
who commits it, glories in his superior virtue.
52. When I hear of a righteous wrath, I wonder at man's capacity for
53. This is a miracle that men can love God, yet fail to love
humanity. With whom are they in love then?
54. The quarrels of religious sects are like the disputing of pots,
which shall be alone allowed to hold the immortalising nectar. Let
them dispute, but the thing for us is to get at the nectar in whatever
pot and attain immortality.
55. You say that the flavour of the pot alters the liquor. That is
taste; but what can deprive it of its immortalising faculty?
56. Be wide in me, O Varuna; be mighty in me, O Indra; O Sun, be very
bright and luminous; O Moon, be full of charm and sweetness. Be fierce
and terrible, O Rudra; be impetuous and swift, O Maruts; be strong and
bold, O Aryama; be voluptuous and pleasurable, O Bhaga; be tender and
kind and loving and passionate, O Mitra. Be bright and revealing, O
Dawn; O Night, be solemn and pregnant. O Life, be full, ready &
buoyant; O Death, lead my steps from mansion to mansion. Harmonise all
these, O Brahmanaspati. Let me not be subject to these gods, O Kali.
57. When, O -eager disputant, thou hast prevailed in a debate, then
art thou greatly to be pitied; for thou hast lost a chance of widening
58. Because the tiger acts according to his nature and knows not
anything else, therefore he is divine and there is no evil in him. If
he questioned himself, then he would be a criminal.
59. The animal, before he is corrupted, has not yet eaten of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil; the god has abandoned it for the
tree of eternal life; man stands between the upper heaven and the
60. One of the greatest comforts of religion is that you can get hold
of God sometimes and give him a satisfactory beating. People mock at
the folly of savages who beat their gods when their prayers are not
answered; but it is the mockers who are the fools and the savages.
61. There is no mortality. It is only the Immortal who can die; the
mortal could neither be born nor perish. There is nothing finite. It
is only the Infinite who can make for Himself limits; the finite can
have no beginning nor end, for the very act of conceiving its
beginning & end declares its infinity.
62. I heard a fool discoursing utter folly and wondered what God meant
by it; then I considered and saw a distorted mask of truth and wisdom.
63. God is great, says the Mahomedan. Yes, He is so great that He can
afford to be weak, whenever that too is necessary.
64. God often fails in His workings; it is the sign of His illimitable
65. Because God is invincibly great. He can afford to be weak; because
He is immutably pure. He can indulge with impunity in sin; He knows
eternally all delight, therefore He tastes also the delight of pain;
He is inalienably wise, therefore He has not debarred Himself from
66. Sin is that which was once in its place, persisting now it is out
of place; there is no other sinfulness.
67. There is no sin in man, but a great deal of disease, ignorance and
68. The sense of sin was necessary in order that man might become
disgusted with his own imperfections. It was God's corrective for
egoism. But man's egoism meets God's device by being very dully alive
to its own sins and very keenly alive to the sins of others.
69. Sin & virtue are a game of resistance we play with God in His
efforts to draw us towards perfection. The sense of virtue helps us to
cherish our sins in secret.
70. Examine thyself without pity, then thou wilt be more charitable
and pitiful to others.
71. A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but
not cover the whole target. But the archer is too well satisfied with
his success to ask anything farther.
72. The sign of dawning Knowledge is to feel that as yet I know little
or nothing, & yet, if I could only know my knowledge, I already
73. When Wisdom comes, her first lesson is, "There is no such thing as
knowledge; there are only aper(us of the Infinite Deity."
74. Practical knowledge is a different thing; that is real and
serviceable, but it is never complete. Therefore to systematise and
codify it is necessary but fatal.
75. Systematise we must, but even in making & holding the system, we
should always keep firm hold on this truth that all systems are in
their nature transitory and incomplete.
76. Europe prides herself on her practical and scientific organisation
and efficiency. I am waiting till her organisation is perfect; then a
child shall destroy her.
77. Genius discovers a system; average talent stereotypes it till it
is shattered by fresh genius. It is dangerous for an army to be led by
veterans; for on the other side God may place Napoleon.
78. When knowledge is fresh in us, then it is invincible; when it is
old, it loses its virtue. This is because God moves always forward.
79. God is infinite Possibility. Therefore Truth is never at rest;
therefore, also. Error is justified of her children.
80. To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never
laughs; Heine was nearer the mark when he found in Him the divine
81. God's laughter is sometimes very coarse and unfit for polite ears;
He is not satisfied with being Moliere, He must needs also be
Aristophanes and Rabelais.
82. If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more
perfect. God never takes His works seriously; therefore one looks out
on this wonderful Universe.
83. Shame has admirable results and both in aesthetics and in morality
we could ill spare it; but for all that it is a badge of weakness and
the proof of ignorance.
84. The supernatural is that the nature of which we have not attained
or do not yet know, or the means of which we have not yet conquered.
The common taste for miracles is the sign that man's ascent is not yet
85. It is rationality and prudence to distrust the supernatural; but
to believe in it, is also a sort of wisdom.
86. Great saints have performed miracles; greater saints have railed
at them; the greatest have both railed at them and performed them.
87. Open thy eyes and see what the world really is and what God; have
done with vain and pleasant imaginations.
88. This world was built by Death that he might live. Wilt thou
abolish death? Then life too will perish. Thou canst not abolish
death, but thou mayst transform it into a greater living.
89. This world was built by Cruelty that she might love. Wilt thou
abolish cruelty? Then love too will perish. Thou canst not abolish
cruelty, but thou mayst transfigure it into its opposite, into a
fierce Love & Delightfulness.
90. This world was built by Ignorance & Error that they might know.
Wilt thou abolish ignorance and error? Then knowledge too will perish.
Thou canst not abolish ignorance & error, but thou mayst transmute
them into the utter & effulgent exceeding of reason.
91. If Life alone were & not death, there could be no immortality; if
love were alone & not cruelty, joy would be only a tepid & ephemeral
rapture; if reason were alone & not ignorance, our highest attainment
would not exceed a limited rationality & worldly wisdom.
92. Death transformed becomes Life that is Immortality; Cruelty
transfigured becomes Love that is intolerable ecstasy; Ignorance
transmuted becomes Light that leaps beyond wisdom and knowledge.
93. Pain is the touch of our Mother teaching us how to bear and grow
in rapture. She has three stages of her schooling, endurance first,
next equality of soul, last ecstasy.
94. All renunciation is for a greater joy yet ungrasped. Some renounce
for the joy of duty done, some for the joy of peace, some for the joy
of God and some for the joy of self-torture, but renounce rather as a
passage to the freedom and untroubled rapture beyond.
95. Only by perfect renunciation of desire or by perfect satisfaction
of desire can the utter embrace of God be experienced; for in both
ways the essential precondition is effected, -- desire perishes.
96. Experience in thy soul the truth of the Scripture; afterwards, if
thou wilt, reason & state thy experience intellectually & even then
distrust thy statement; but distrust never thy experience.
97. When thou affirmest thy soul-experience & deniest the different
soul-experience of another, know that God is making a fool of thee.
Dost thou not hear His self-delighted laughter behind thy soul's
98. Revelation is the direct sight, the direct hearing or the inspired
memory of Truth, drishti, sruti, smriti; it is the highest experience
and always accessible to renewed experience. Not because God spoke it,
but because the soul saw it, is the word of the Scriptures our supreme
99. The word of Scripture is infallible; it is in the interpretation
the heart and reason put upon the Scripture that error has her
100. Shun all lowness, narrowness & shallowness in religious thought &
experience. Be wider than the widest horizons, be loftier than highest
Kanchenjunga, be profounder than the deepest oceans.
101. In God's sight there is no near or distant, no present, past or
future. These things are only a convenient perspective for His
102. To the senses it is always true that the sun moves round the
earth; this is false to the reason. To the reason it is always true
that the earth moves round the sun; this is false to the supreme
vision. Neither earth moves nor sun; there is only a change in the
relation of sun-conisciousness & earth-consciousness.
103. Vivekananda, exalting Sannyasa, has said that in all Indian
history there is only one Janaka. Not so, for Janaka is not the name
of a single individual, but a dynasty of self-ruling kings and the
triumph-cry of an ideal.
104. In all the lakhs of ochre-clad Sannyasins, how many are perfect?
It is the few attainments and the many approximations that justify an
105. There have been hundreds of perfect Sannyasins, because Sannyasa
had been widely preached and numerously practised; let it be the same
with the ideal freedom and we shall have hundreds of Janakas.
106. Sannyasa has a formal garb and outer tokens; therefore men think
they can easily recognise it; but the freedom of a Janaka does not
proclaim itself and it wears the garb of the world; to its presence
even Narada was blinded.
107. Hard is it to be in the world, free, yet living the life of
ordinary men; but because it is hard, therefore it must be attempted
108. When he watched the actions of Janaka, even Narada the divine
sage thought him a luxurious worldling and libertine. Unless thou
canst see the soul, how shall thou say that a man is free or bound?
109. All things seem hard to man that are above his attained level, &
they are hard to his unaided effort; but they become at once easy &
simple when God in man takes up the contract.
110. To see the composition of the sun or the lines of Mars is
doubtless a great achievement; but when thou hast the instrument that
can show thee a man's soul as thou seest a picture, then thou wilt
smile at the wonders of physical Science as the playthings of babies.
111. Knowledge is a child with its achievements; for when it has found
out something, it runs about the streets whooping and shouting; Wisdom
conceals hers for a long time in a thoughtful and mighty silence.
112. Science talks and behaves as if it had conquered all knowledge:
Wisdom, as she walks, hears her solitary tread echoing on the margin
of immeasurable Oceans.
113. Hatred is the sign of a secret attraction that is eager to flee
from itself and furious to deny its own existence. That too is God's
play in His creature.
114. Selfishness is the only sin, meanness the only vice, hatred the
only criminality. All else can easily be turned into good, but these
are obstinate resisters of deity.
115. The world is a long recurring decimal with Brahman for its
integer. The period seems to begin and end, but the fraction is
eternal; it will never have an end and never had any real beginning.
116. The beginning and end of things is a conventional term of our
experience; in their true existence these terms have no reality, there
is no end and no beginning.
117. "Neither is it that I was not before nor thou nor these kings nor
that all we shall not be hereafter." Not only Brahman, but beings &
things in Brahman are eternal; their creation and destruction is a
play of hide and seek with our outward consciousness.
118. The love of solitude is a sign of the disposition towards
knowledge; but knowledge itself is only achieved when we have a
settled perception of solitude in the crowd, in the battle and in the
119. If when thou art doing great actions and moving giant results,
thou canst perceive that thou art doing nothing, then know that God
has removed His seal from thy eyelids.
120. If when thou sittest alone, still & voiceless on the
mountain-top, thou canst perceive the revolutions thou art conducting,
then hast thou the divine vision and art freed from appearances.
121. The love of inaction is folly and the scorn of inaction is folly;
there is no inaction. The stone lying inert upon the sands which is
kicked away in an idle moment, has been producing its effect upon the
122. If thou wouldst not be the fool of Opinion, first see wherein thy
thought is true, then study wherein its opposite and contradiction is
true; last, discover the cause of these differences and the key of
123. An opinion is neither true nor false, but only serviceable for
life or unserviceable; for it is a creation of Time and with time it
loses its effect and value. Rise thou above opinion and seek wisdom
124. Use opinion for life, but let her not bind thy soul in her
125. Every law, however embracing or tyrannous, meets somewhere a
contrary law by which its operation can be checked, modified, annulled
126. The most binding Law of Nature is only a fixed process which the
Lord of Nature has framed and uses constantly; the Spirit made it and
the Spirit can exceed it, but we-must first open the doors of our
prison-house and learn to live less in Nature than in the Spirit.
127. Law is a process or a formula; but the soul is the user of
processes and exceeds formulas.
128. Live according to Nature, runs the maxim of the West; but
according to what nature, the nature of the body or the nature which
exceeds the body? This first we ought to determine.
129. O son of Immortality, live not thou according to Nature, but
according to God; and compel her also to live according to the deity
130. Fate is God's foreknowledge outside Space & Time of all that in
Space & Time shall yet happen; what He has foreseen. Power & Necessity
work out by the conflict of forces.
131. Because God has willed and foreseen everything, thou shouldst not
therefore sit inactive and wait upon His providence, for thy action is
one of His chief effective forces. Up then and be doing, not with
egoism, but as the circumstance, instrument and apparent cause of the
event that He has predetermined.
132. When I knew nothing, then I abhorred the criminal, sinful and
impure, being myself full of crime, sin and impurity; but when I was
cleansed and my eyes unsealed, then I bowed down in my spirit before
the thief and the murderer and adored the feet of the harlot; for I
saw that these souls had accepted the terrible burden of evil and
drained for all of us the greater portion of the churned poison of the
133. The Titans are stronger than the gods because they have agreed
with God to front and bear the burden of His wrath and enmity; the
gods were able to accept only the pleasant burden of His love and
134. When thou art able to see how necessary is suffering to final
delight, failure to utter effectiveness and retardation to the last
rapidity, then thou mayst begin to understand something, however
faintly and dimly, of God's workings.
135. All disease is a means towards some new joy of health, all evil &
pain a tuning of Nature for some more intense bliss & good, all death
an opening on widest immortality. Why and how this should be so, is
God's secret which only the soul purified of egoism can penetrate.
136. Why is thy mind or thy body in pain? Because thy soul behind the
veil wishes for the pain or takes delight in it; but if thou wilt --
and perseverest in thy will -- thou canst impose the spirit's law of
unmixed delight on thy lower members.
137. There is no iron or ineffugable law that a given contact shall
create pain or pleasure; it is the way the soul meets the rush or
pressure of Brahman upon the members from outside them that-determines
138. The force of soul in thee meeting the same force from outside
cannot harmonise the measures of the contact in values of
mind-experience & body-experience, therefore thou hast pain, grief or
uneasiness. If thou canst learn to adjust the replies of the force in
thyself to the questions of world-force, thou shalt find pain becoming
pleasurable or turning into pure delightfulness. Right relation is the
condition of blissfulness, ritam the key of ananda.
139. Who is the superman? He who can rise above this matter-regarding
broken mental human unit and possess himself universalised and deified
in a divine force, a divine love & joy and a divine knowledge.
140. If thou keepest this limited human ego & thinkest thyself the
superman, thou art but the fool of thy own pride, the plaything of thy
own force and the instrument of thy own illusions.
141. Nietzsche saw the superman as the lion-soul passing out of
camel-hood, but the true heraldic device & token of the superman is
the lion seated upon the camel which stands upon the cow of plenty. If
thou canst not be the slave of all mankind, thou art not fit to be its
master and if thou canst not make thy nature as Vasishta's cow of
plenty with all mankind to draw its wish from her udders, what avails
thy leonine supermanhood?
142. Be to the world as the lion in fearlessness and lordship, as the
camel in patience and service, as the cow in quiet, forbearing &
maternal beneficence. Raven on all the joys of God as a lion over its
prey, but bring also all humanity into that infinite field of
luxurious ecstasy to wallow there and to pasture.
143. If Art's service is but to imitate Nature, then burn all the
picture galleries and let us have instead photographic studios. It is
because Art reveals what Nature hides, that a small picture is worth
more than all the jewels of the millionaires and the treasures of the
144. If you only imitate visible Nature, you will perpetrate either a
corpse, a dead sketch or a monstrosity; Truth lives in that which goes
behind & beyond the visible & sensible.
145. O Poet, O Artist, if thou but boldest up the mirror to Nature,
thinkest thou Nature will rejoice in thy work? Rather she will turn
away her face. For what dost thou hold up to her there? Herself? No,
but a lifeless outline & reflection, a shadowy mimicry. It is the
secret soul of Nature thou hast to seize, thou hast to hunt eternally
after the truth in the external symbol, and that no mirror will hold
for thee, nor for her whom thou seekest.
146. I find in Shakespeare a far greater & more consistent
universalist than the Greeks. All his creations are universal types
from Lancelot Gobbo & his dog up to Lear & Hamlet.
147. The Greeks sought universality by omitting all finer individual
touches; Shakespeare sought it more successfully by universalising the
rarest individual details of character. That which Nature uses for
concealing from us the Infinite, Shakespeare used for revealing the
Ananta-guna in man to the eye of humanity.
148. Shakespeare, who invented the figure of holding up the mirror to
Nature, was the one poet who never condescended to a copy, a
photograph or a shadow. The reader who sees in Falstaff, Maebeth, Lear
or Hamlet imitations of Nature, has either no inner eye of the soul or
has been hypnotised by a formula.
149. Where in material Nature wilt thou find Falstaff, Maebeth or
Lear? Shadows & hints of them she possesses but they themselves' tower
150. There are two for whom there is hope, the man who has felt God's
touch & been drawn to it and the sceptical seeker & self-convinced
atheist; but for the formularists of all the religions & the parrots
of free thought, they are dead souls who follow a death that they call
151. A man came to a scientist and wished to be instructed; this
instructor showed him the revelations of the microscope & telescope,
but the man laughed and said, "These are obviously hallucinations
inflicted on the eye by the glass which you use as a medium; I will
not believe till you show these wonders to my naked seeing." Then the
scientist proved to him by many collateral facts & experiments the
reliability of his knowledge but the man laughed again & said, "What
you term proofs, I term coincidences, the number of coincidences does
not constitute proof; as for your experiments, they are obviously
effected under abnormal conditions & constitute a sort of insanity of
Nature." When confronted with the results of mathematics, he was angry
& cried out, "This is obviously imposture, gibberish & superstition;
will you try to make me believe that these absurd cabalistic figures
have any real force & meaning?" Then the scientist drove him out as a
hopeless imbecile; for he did not recognise his own system of denials
and his own method of negative reasoning. If we wish to refuse an
impartial & openminded enquiry, we can always find the most
respectable polysyllables to cover our refusal or impose tests &
conditions which stultify the inquiry.
152. When our minds are involved in matter, they think matter the only
reality; when we draw back into immaterial consciousness, then we see
matter a mask and feel existence in consciousness alone as having the
touch of reality. Which then of these two is the truth? Nay, God
knoweth; but he who has had both experiences, can easily tell which
condition is the more fertile in knowledge, the mightier & more
153. I believe immaterial consciousness to be truer than material
consciousness? Because I know in the first what in the second is
hidden from me & also can command what the mind knows in matter.
154. Hell & Heaven exist only in the soul's consciousness. Ay, but so
does the earth and its lands & seas & fields & deserts & mountains &
rivers. All world is nothing but arrangement of the Soul's seeing.
155. There is only one soul & one existence; therefore we all see one
objectivity only; but there are many knots of mind & ego in the one
soul-existence, therefore we .all see the one Object in different
lights & shadows.
156. The idealist errs; it is not Mind which created the worlds, but
that which created mind has created them. Mind only mis-sees, because
it sees partially & by details, what is created.
157. Thus said Ramakrishna and thus said Vivekananda. Yes, but let me
know also the truths which the Avatar cast not forth into speech and
the prophet has omitted from his teachings. There will always be more
in God than the thought of man has ever conceived or the tongue of man
has ever uttered.
158. What was Ramakrishna? God manifest in a human being; but behind
there is God in His infinite impersonality and His universal
Personality. And what was Vivekananda? A radiant glance from the eye
of Shiva; but behind him is the divine gaze from which he came and
Shiva himself and Brahma and Vishnu and OM all-exceeding.
159. He who recognises not Krishna, the God in man, knows not God
entirely; he who knows Krishna only, knows not even Krishna. Yet is
the opposite truth also wholly true that if thou canst see all God in
a little pale unsightly and scentless flower, then hast thou hold of
His supreme reality.
160. Shun the barren snare of an empty metaphysics and the dry dust of
an unfertile intellectuality. Only that knowledge is worth having
which can be made use of for a living delight and put out into
temperament, action, creation and being.
161. Become & live the knowledge thou hast; then is thy knowledge the
living God within thee.
162. Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the
reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of
the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.
163. The power to observe law rigidly is the basis of freedom;
therefore in most disciplines the soul has to endure & fulfil the law
in its lower members before it can rise to the perfect freedom of its
divine being. Those disciplines which begin with freedom are only for
the mighty ones who are naturally free or in former lives have founded
164. Those who are deficient in the free, full and intelligent
observation of a self-imposed law, must be placed in subjection to the
will of others. This is one principal cause of the subjection of
nations. After their disturbing egoism has been trampled under the
feet of a master, they are given or, if they have force in them,
attain a fresh chance of deserving liberty by liberty.
165. To observe the law we have imposed on ourselves rather than the
law of others is what is meant by liberty in our unregenerate
condition. Only in God & by the supremacy of the spirit can we enjoy a
166. The double law of sin & virtue is imposed on us because we have
not that ideal life & knowledge within which guides the soul
spontaneously & infallibly to its self-fulfilment. The law of sin &
virtue ceases for us when the sun of God shines upon the soul in truth
& love with its unveiled splendour. Moses is replaced by Christ, the
Shastra by the Veda.
167. God within is leading us always aright even when we are in the
bonds of the ignorance; but then, though the goal is sure, it is
attained by circlings & deviations.
168. The Cross is in Yoga the symbol of the soul & nature in their
strong & perfect union, but because of our fall into the impurities of
ignorance it has become the symbol of suffering and purification.
169. Christ came into the world to purify, not to fulfil. He himself
foreknew the failure of his mission and the necessity of his return
with the sword of God into a world that had rejected him.
170. Mahomed's mission was necessary, else we might have ended by
thinking, in the exaggeration of our efforts at self-purification,
that earth was meant only for the monk and the city created as a
vestibule for the desert.
171. When all is said. Love & Force together can save the world
eventually, but not Love only or Force only. Therefore Christ had to
look forward to a second advent and Mahomed's religion, where it is
not stagnant, looks forward through the Imams to a Mahdi.
172. Law cannot save the world, therefore Moses' ordinances are dead
for humanity & the Shastra of the Brahmins is corrupt & dying. Law
released into Freedom is the liberator. Not the Pundit, but the Yogin;
not monasticism, but the inner renunciation of desire and ignorance &
173. Even Vivekananda once in the stress of emotion admitted the
fallacy that a personal God would be too immoral to be suffered and it
would be the duty of all good men to resist Him. But if an omnipotent
supra-moral Will & Intelligence governs the world, it is surely
impossible to resist Him; our resistance would only serve His ends &
really be dictated by Him. Is it not better then, instead of
condemning or denying, to study and understand Him?
174. If we would understand God, we must renounce our egoistic &
ignorant human standards or else ennoble and universalise them.
175. Because a good man dies or fails & the evil live & triumph, is
God therefore evil? I do not see the logic of the consequence. I must
first be convinced that death & failure are evil; I sometimes think
that when they come, they are our supreme momentary good. But we are
the fools of our hearts & nerves & argue that what they do not like or
desire, must of course be an evil!
176. When I look back on my past life, I see that if I had not failed
& suffered, I would have lost my life's supreme blessings; yet at the
time of the suffering & failure, I was vexed with the sense of
calamity. Because we cannot see anything but the one fact under our
noses, therefore we indulge in all these snifflings and clamours. Be
silent, ye foolish hearts! slay the ego, learn to see & feel vastly &
177. The perfect cosmic vision & cosmic sentiment is the cure of all
error & suffering; but most men succeed only in enlarging the range of
178. Men say & think "For my country!", "For humanity!", "For the
world!", but they really mean "For myself seen in my country!", "For
myself seen in humanity!", "For myself imaged to my fancy as the
world!". That may be an enlargement, but it is not liberation. To be
at large & to be in a large prison are not one condition of freedom.
179. Live for God in thy neighbour, God in thyself, God in thy country
& the country of thy foeman, God in humanity, God in tree & stone &
animal, God in the world & outside the world, then art thou on the
straight path to liberation.
180. There are lesser & larger eternities, for eternity is a term of
the soul & can exist in Time as well as exceeding it. When the
Scriptures say "sasvatih samah," they mean for a long space &
permanence of time or a hardly measurable aeon; only God Absolute has
the absolute eternity. Yet when one goes within, one sees that all
things are secretly eternal; there is no end, neither was there ever a
181. When thou callest another a fool, as thou must, sometimes, yet do
not forget that thou thyself hast been the supreme fool in humanity.
182. God loves to play the fool in season; man does it in season & out
of season. It is the only difference.
183. In the Buddhists' view to have saved an ant from drowning is a
greater work than to have founded an empire. There is a truth in the
idea, but a truth that can easily be exaggerated.
184. To exalt one virtue, -- compassion even, -- unduly above all
others is to cover up with one's hand the eyes of wisdom. God moves
always towards a harmony.
185. Pity may be reserved, so long as thy soul makes distinctions, for
the suffering animals; but humanity deserves from thee something
nobler; it asks for love, for understanding, for comradeship, for the
help of the equal & brother.
186. The contributions of evil to the good of the world & the harm
sometimes done by the virtuous are distressing to the soul enamoured
of good. Nevertheless be not distressed nor confounded, but study
rather & calmly understand God's ways with humanity.
187. In God's providence there is no evil, but only good or its
188. Virtue & vice were made for thy soul's struggle & progress; but
for results they belong to God, who fulfils himself beyond vice &
189. Live within; be not [...] shaken by outward happenings.
190. Fling not thy alms abroad everywhere in an ostentation of
charity; understand & love where thou helpest. Let thy soul grow
191. Help the poor while the poor are with thee; but study also &
strive that there may be no poor for thy assistance.
192. The old Indian social ideal demanded of the priest voluntary
simplicity of life, purity, learning and the gratuitous instruction of
the community, of the prince, war, government, protection of the weak
& the giving up of his life in the battle-field, of the merchant,
trade, gain and the return of his gains to the community by free
giving, of the serf, labour for the rest & material havings. In
atonement for his serfhood, it spared him the tax of self-denial, the
tax of blood & the tax of his riches.
193. The existence of poverty is the proof of an unjust &
ill-organised society, and our public charities are but the first
tardy awakening in the conscience of a robber.
194. Valmekie, our ancient epic poet, includes among the signs of a
just & enlightened state of society not only universal education,
morality and spirituality but this also that there shall be "none who
is compelled to eat coarse food, none uncrowned & unanointed or who is
restricted to a mean and petty share of luxuries."
195. The acceptance of poverty is noble & beneficial in a class or an
individual, but it becomes fatal and pauperises life of its richness &
expansion if it is perverted into a general or national ideal. Athens,
not Sparta, is the progressive type for mankind. Ancient India with
its ideal of vast riches & vast spending was the greatest of nations;
modern India with its trend towards national asceticism has finally
become poor in life & sunk into weakness & degradation.
196. Poverty is no more a necessity of organised social life than
disease of the natural body; false habits of life & an ignorance of
our true organisation are in both cases the peccant causes of an
197. Do not dream that when thou hast got rid of material poverty, men
will even so be happy or satisfied or society freed from ills,
troubles & problems. This is only the first & lowest necessity. While
the soul within remains defectively organised, there will always be
outward unrest, disorder & revolution.
198. Disease will always return to the body if the soul is flawed; for
the sins of the mind are the secret cause of the sins of the body. So
too poverty & trouble will always return on man in society, so long as
the mind of the race is subjected to egoism.
199. Religion & philosophy seek to rescue man from his ego; then the
kingdom of heaven within will be spontaneously reflected in an
external divine city.
200. Mediaeval Christianity said to the race, "Man, thou art in thy
earthly life an evil thing & a worm before God; renounce then egoism,
live for a future state and submit thyself to God & His priest." The
results were not overgood for humanity. Modern knowledge says to the
race, "Man, thou art an ephemeral animal and no more to Nature than
the ant & the earthworm, -- a transitory speck only in the universe.
Live then for the State & submit thyself antlike to the trained
administrator & the scientific expert." Will this gospel succeed any
better than the other?
201. Vedanta says rather, "Man, thou art of one nature & substance
with God, one soul with thy fellow-men. Awake & progress then to thy
utter divinity, live for God in thyself & in others." This gospel
which was given only to the few, must now be offered to all mankind
for its deliverance.
202. The human race always progresses most when most it asserts its
importance to Nature, its freedom & its universality.
203. Animal man is the obscure starting-point, the present natural man
the varied & tangled mid-road but supernatural man the luminous &
transcendent goal of our human journey.
204. Life and action culminate and are eternally crowned for thee when
thou hast attained the power of symbolising & manifesting in every
thought & act, in wealth getting, wealth having or wealth spending, in
home & government & society, in art, literature and life, the One
Immortal in this lower mortal being.
205. God leads man while man is misleading himself, the higher nature
watches over the stumblings of his lower mortality; this is the tangle
& contradiction out of which we have to escape into the [?self-unity]
to which alone is possible a clear knowledge & a faultless action.
206. That thou shouldst have pity on creatures, is well, but not well,
if thou art a slave to thy pity. Be a slave to nothing except to God,
not even to His most luminous angels.
207. Beatitude is God's aim for humanity; get this supreme good for
thyself first that thou mayst distribute it entirely to thy
208. He who acquires for himself alone, acquires ill though he may
call it heaven and virtue.
209. In my ignorance I thought anger could be noble and vengeance
grandiose; but now when I watch Achilles in his epic fury, I see a
very fine baby in a very fine rage and I am pleased and amused.
210. Power is noble, when it overtops anger; destruction is grandiose,
but it loses caste when it proceeds from vengeance. Leave these
things, for they belong to a lower humanity.
211. Poets make much of death and external afflictions; but the only
tragedies are the soul's failures and the only epic man's triumphant
ascent towards godhead.
212. The tragedies of the heart & the body are the weeping of children
over their little griefs & their broken toys. Smile within thyself,
but comfort the children; join also, if thou canst, in their play.
213. "There is always something abnormal and eccentric about men of
genius." And why not? For genius itself is an abnormal birth and out
of man's ordinary centre.
214. Genius is Nature's first attempt to liberate the imprisoned god
out of her human mould; the mould has to suffer in the process. It is
astonishing that the cracks are so few and unimportant.
215. Nature sometimes gets into a fury with her own resistance, then
she damages the brain in order to free the inspiration; for in this
effort the equilibrium of the average material brain is her chief
opponent. Pass over the madness of such and profit by their
216. Who can bear Kali rushing into the system in her fierce force and
burning godhead? Only the man whom Krishna already possesses.
217. Hate not the oppressor, for, if he is strong, thy hate increases
his force of resistance; if he is weak, thy hate was needless.
218. Hatred is a sword of power, but its edge is always double. It is
like the Kritya of the ancient magicians which, if baulked of its
prey, returned in fury to devour its sender.
219. Love God in thy opponent, even while thou strikest him; so shall
neither have hell for his portion.
220. Men talk of enemies, but where are they? I only see wrestlers of
one party or the other in the great arena of the universe.
221. The saint and the angel are not the only divinities; admire also
the Titan and the giant.
222. The old writings call the Titans the elder gods. So they still
are; nor is any god entirely divine unless there is hidden in him also
223. If I cannot be Rama, then I would be Ravana; for he is the dark
side of Vishnu.
224. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice always, but for the sake of God
and humanity, not for the sake of sacrifice.
225. Selfishness kills the soul; destroy it. But take care that your
altruism does not kill the souls of others.
226. Very usually, altruism is only the sublimest form of selfishness.
227. He who will not slay when God bids him, works in the world an
228. Respect human life as long as you can; but respect more the life
of humanity. .
229. Men slay out of uncontrollable anger, hatred or vengeance; they
shall suffer the rebound now or hereafter; or they slay to serve a
selfish end, coldly; God shall not pardon them. If thou slay, first
let thy soul have known death for a reality & seen God in the smitten,
the stroke & the striker.
230. Courage and love are the only indispensable virtues; even if all
the others are eclipsed or fall asleep, these two will save the soul
231. Meanness & selfishness are the only sins that I find it difficult
to pardon; yet they alone are almost universal. Therefore these also
must not be hated in others, but in ourselves annihilated.
232. Nobleness and generosity are the soul's ethereal firmament;
without them, one looks at an insect in a dungeon.
233. Let not thy virtues be such as men praise or reward, but such as
make for thy perfection and God in thy nature demands of thee.
234. Altruism, duty, family, country, humanity are the prisons of the
soul when they are not its instruments.
235. Our country is God the Mother; speak not evil of her unless thou
canst do it with love and tenderness.
236. Men are false to their country for their own profit; yet they go
on thinking they have a right to turn in horror from the matricide.
237. Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its gains and its
spirit, or else thou hast no future.
238. Revolutions hew the past to pieces and cast it into a cauldron,
but what has emerged is the old Aeson with a new visage.
239. The world has had only half a dozen successful revolutions and
most even of these were very like failures; yet it is by great & noble
failures that humanity advances.
240. Atheism is a necessary protest against the wickedness of the
Churches and the narrowness of creeds. God uses it as a stone to smash
these soiled card-houses.
241. How much hatred & stupidity men succeed in packing up decorously
and labelling "Religion"!
242. God guides best when He tempts worst, loves entirely when He
punishes cruelly, helps perfectly when violently He opposes.
243. If God did not take upon Himself the burden of tempting men, the
world would very soon go to perdition.
244. Suffer yourself to be tempted within so that you may exhaust in
the struggle your downward propensities.
245. If you leave it to God to purify, He will exhaust the evil in you
subjectively; but if you insist on guiding yourself, you will fall
into much outward sin and suffering.
246. Call not everything evil which men call evil, but only that
reject which God has rejected; call not everything good which men call
good, but accept only what God has accepted.
247. Men in the world have two lights, duty and principle; but he who
has passed over to God, has done with both and replaced them by God's
will. If men abuse thee for this, care not, O divine instrument, but
go on thy way like the wind or the sun fostering and destroying.
248. Not to cull the praises of men has God made thee His own, but to
do fearlessly His bidding.
249. Accept the world as God's theatre; be thou the mask of the Actor
and let Him act through thee. If men praise or hiss thee, know that
they too are masks & take God within for thy only critic and audience.
250. If Krishna be alone on one side and the armed & organised world
with its hosts and its shrapnel and its Maxims on the other, yet
prefer thy divine solitude. Care not if the world passes over thy body
and its shrapnel tear thee to pieces and its cavalry trample thy limbs
into shapeless mire by the wayside; for the mind was always a
simulacrum and the body a carcass. The spirit liberated from its
casings ranges and triumphs.
251. If thou think defeat is the end of thee, then go not forth to
fight, even though thou be the stronger. For Fate is not purchased by
any man nor is Power bound over to her possessors. But defeat is not
the end, it is only a gate or a beginning.
252. I have failed, thou sayest. Say rather that God is circling about
towards His object.
253. Foiled by the world, thou turnest to seize upon God. If the world
is stronger than thou, thinkest thou God is weaker? Turn to Him rather
for His bidding and for strength to fulfil it.
254. So long as a cause has on its side one soul that is intangible in
faith, it cannot perish.
255. Reason gives me no basis for this faith, thou murmurest. Fool! if
it did, faith would not be needed or demanded of thee.
256. Faith in the heart is the obscure & often distorted reflection of
a hidden knowledge. The believer is often more plagued by doubt than
the most inveterate sceptic. He persists because there is something
subconscient in him which knows. That tolerates both his blind faith &
twilit doubts and drives towards the revelation of that which it
257. The world thinks that it moves by the light of reason but it is
really impelled by its faiths and instincts.
258. Reason adapts itself to the faith or argues out a justification
of the instincts, but it receives the impulse subconsciously;
therefore men think that they act rationally.
259. The only business of reason is to arrange and criticise the
perceptions. It has neither in itself any means of positive conclusion
nor any command to action. When it pretends to originate or impel, it
is masking other agencies.
260. Until Wisdom comes to thee, use the reason for its God-given
purposes and faith and instinct for theirs. Why shouldst thou set thy
members to war upon each other?
261. Perceive always and act in the light of thy increasing
perceptions, but not those of the reasoning brain only. God speaks to
the heart when the brain cannot understand him.
262. If thy heart tell thee. Thus & by such means and at such a time
it will happen, believe it not. But if it gives thee the purity and
wideness of God's command, hearken to it.
263. When thou hast the command, care only to fulfil it. The rest is
God's will and arrangement which men call chance and luck and fortune.
264. If thy aim be great and thy means small, still act; for by action
alone these can increase to thee.
265. Care not for time and success. Act out thy part, whether it be to
fail or to prosper.
266. There are three forms in which the command may come, the will and
faith in thy nature, thy ideal on which heart and brain are agreed and
the voice of Himself or His angels.
267. There are times when action is unwise or impossible; then go into
tapasya in some physical solitude or in the retreats of thy soul and
await whatever divine word or manifestation.
268. Leap not too quickly at all voices, for there are lying spirits
ready to deceive thee; but let thy heart be pure and afterwards
269. There are times when God seems to be sternly on the side of the
past; then what has been and is, sits firm as on a throne and clothes
itself with an irrevocable "I shall be". Then persevere, though thou
seem to be fighting the Master of all; for this is His sharpest trial.
270. All is not settled when a cause is humanly lost and hopeless; all
is settled, only when the soul renounces its effort.
271. He who would win high spiritual degrees, must pass endless tests
and examinations. But most are anxious only to bribe the examiner.
272. Fight, while thy hands are free, with thy hands and thy voice and
thy brain and all manner of weapons. Art thou chained in the enemy's
dungeons and have his gags silenced thee? Fight with thy silent
all-besieging soul and thy wide-ranging will-power and when thou art
dead, fight still with the world-encompassing force that went out from
God within thee.
273. Thou thinkest the ascetic in his cave or on his mountain-top a
stone and a do-nothing? What dost thou know? He may be filling the
world with the mighty currents of his will & changing it by the
pressure of his soul-state.
274. That which the liberated sees in his soul on its mountain-tops,
heroes and prophets spring up in the material world to proclaim and
275. The Theosophists are wrong in their circumstances but right in
the essential. If the French Revolution took place, it was because a
soul on the Indian snows dreamed of God as freedom, brotherhood and
276. All speech and action comes prepared out of the eternal Silence.
277. There is no disturbance in the depths of the Ocean, but above
there is the joyous thunder of its shouting and its racing shoreward;
so is it with the liberated soul in the midst of violent action. The
soul does not act; it only breathes out from itself overwhelming
278. O soldier and hero of God, where for thee is sorrow or shame or
suffering? For thy life is a glory, thy deeds a consecration, victory
thy apotheosis, defeat thy triumph.
279. Do thy lower members still suffer the shock of sin and sorrow?
But above, seen of thee or unseen, thy soul sits royal, calm, free and
triumphant. Believe that the Mother will ere the end have done her
work and made the very earth of thy being a joy and a purity.
280. If thy heart is troubled within thee, if for long seasons thou
makest no progress, if thy strength faint and repine, remember always
the eternal word of our Lover and Master, "I will free thee from all
sin and evil; do not grieve."
281. Purity is in thy soul; but for actions, where is their purity or
282. O Death, our masked friend and maker of opportunities, when thou
wouldst open the gate, hesitate not to tell us beforehand; for we are
not of those who are shaken by its iron jarring.
283. Death is sometimes a rude valet; but when he changes this robe of
earth for that brighter raiment, his horseplay and impertinences can
284. Who shall slay thee, O soul immortal? Who shall torture thee, O
285. Think this when thy members would fain make love with depression
and weakness, "I am Bacchus and Ares and Apollo; I am Agni pure and
invincible; I am Surya ever burning mightily."
286. Shrink not from the Dionysian cry & rapture within thee, but see
that thou be not a straw upon those billows.
287. Thou hast to learn to bear all the gods within thee and never
stagger with their inrush or break under their burden.
288. Mankind have wearied of strength and joy and called sorrow and
weakness virtue, wearied of knowledge and called ignorance holiness,
wearied of love and called heartlessness enlightenment and wisdom.
289. There are many kinds of forbearance. I saw a coward hold out his
cheek to the smiter; I saw a physical weakling struck by a strong and
self-approving bully look quietly & intently at the aggressor; I saw
God incarnate smile lovingly on those who stoned him. The first was
ridiculous, the second terrible, the third divine and holy.
290. It is noble to pardon thine own injurers, but not so noble to
pardon wrongs done to others. Nevertheless pardon these too, but when
needful, calmly avenge.
291. When Asiatics massacre, it is an atrocity; when Europeans, it is
a military exigency. Appreciate the distinction and ponder over this
292. Watch the too indignantly righteous. Before long you will find
them committing or condoning the very offence which they have so
293. "There is very little real hypocrisy among men." True, but there
is a great deal of diplomacy and still more of self-deceit. The last
is of three varieties, conscious, subconscious and half-conscious; but
the third is the most dangerous.
294. Be not deceived by men's shows of virtue, neither disgusted by
their open or secret vices. These things are the necessary shufflings
in a long transition-period of humanity.
295. Be not repelled by the world's crookednesses; the world is a
wounded and venomous snake wriggling towards a destined off-sloughing
and perfection. Wait; for it is a divine wager, and out of this
baseness, God will emerge brilliant and triumphant.
296. Why dost thou recoil from a mask? Behind its odious, grotesque or
terrible seemings Krishna laughs at thy foolish anger, thy more
foolish scorn or loathing and thy most foolish terror.
297. When thou findest thyself scorning another, look then at thy own
heart and laugh at thy folly.
298. Avoid vain disputing; but exchange views freely. If dispute thou
must, learn from thy adversary; for even from a fool, if thou listen
not with the ear and the reasoning mind but the soul's light, thou
canst gather much wisdom.
299. Turn all things to honey; this is the law of divine living.
300. Private dispute should always be avoided; but shrink not from the
public battle; yet even there appreciate the strength of thy
301. When thou hearest an opinion that displeases thee, study and find
out the truth in it.
302. The mediaeval ascetics hated women and thought they were created
by God for the temptation of monks. One may be allowed to think more
nobly both of God and of woman.
303. If a woman has tempted thee, is it her fault or thine? Be not a
fool and a self-deceiver.
304. There are two ways of avoiding the snare of woman; one is to shun
all women and the other to love all beings.
305. Asceticism is no doubt very healing, a cave very peaceful and the
hill-tops wonderfully pleasant; nevertheless do thou act in the world
as God intended thee.
306. Three times God laughed at Shankara, first, when he returned to
burn the corpse of his mother, again when he commented on the Isha
Upanishad and the third time when he stormed about India preaching
307. Men labour only after success and if they are fortunate enough to
fail, it is because the wisdom and force of Nature overbear their
intellectual cleverness. God alone knows when & how to blunder wisely
and fail effectively.
308. Distrust the man who has never failed and suffered; follow not
his fortunes, fight not under his banner.
309. There are two who are unfit for greatness and freedom, the man
who has never been a slave to another and the nation that has never
been under the yoke of foreigners.
310. Fix not the time and the way in which the ideal shall be
fulfilled. Work and leave time and way to God all-knowing.
311. Work as if the ideal had to be fulfilled swiftly & in thy
lifetime; persevere as if thou knewest it not to be unless purchased
by a thousand years yet of labour. That which thou darest not expect
till the fifth millennium, may bloom out with tomorrow's dawning and
that which thou hopest and lustest after now, may have been fixed for
thee in thy hundredth advent.
312. Each man of us has a million lives yet to fulfil upon earth. Why
then this haste and clamour and impatience?
313. Stride swiftly for the goal is far; rest not unduly, for thy
Master is waiting for thee at the end of thy journey.
314. I am weary of the childish impatience which cries & blasphemes
and denies the ideal because the Golden Mountains cannot be reached in
our little day or in a few momentary centuries.
315. Fix thy soul without desire upon the end and insist on it by the
divine force within thee; then shall the end itself create its means,
nay, it shall become its own means. For the end is Brahman and already
accomplished; see it always as Brahman, see it always in thy soul as
316. Plan not with the intellect, but let thy divine sight arrange thy
plans for thee. When a means comes to thee as thing to be done, make
that thy aim; as for the end, it is, in world, accomplishing itself
and, in thy soul, already accomplished.
317. Men see events as unaccomplished, to be striven for and effected.
This is false seeing; events are not effected, they develop. The event
is Brahman, already accomplished from of old, it is now manifesting.
318. As the light of a star reaches the earth hundreds of years after
the star has ceased to exist, so the event already accomplished in
Brahman at the beginning manifests itself now in our material
319. Governments, societies, kings, police, judges, institutions,
churches, laws, customs, armies are temporary necessities imposed on
us for a few groups of centuries because God has concealed His face
from us. When it appears to us again in its truth & beauty, then in
that light they will vanish.
320. The anarchic is the true divine state of man in the end as in the
beginning; but in between it would lead us straight to the devil and
321. The communistic principle of society is intrinsically as superior
to the individualistic as is brotherhood to jealousy and mutual
slaughter; but all the practical schemes of Socialism invented in
Europe are a yoke, a tyranny and a prison.
322. If communism ever reestablishes itself successfully upon earth,
it must be on a foundation of soul's brotherhood and the death of
egoism. A forced association and a mechanical comradeship would end in
a world-wide fiasco.
323. Vedanta realised is the only practicable basis for a communistic
society. It is the kingdom of the saints dreamed of by Christianity,
Islam and Puranic Hinduism.
324. "Freedom, equality, brotherhood," cried the French
revolutionists, but in truth freedom only has been practised with a
dose of equality; as for brotherhood, only a brotherhood of Cain was
founded -- and of Barabbas. Sometimes it calls itself a Trust or
Combine and sometimes the Concert of Europe.
325. "Since liberty has failed," cries the advanced thought of Europe,
"let us try liberty cum equality or, since the two are a little hard
to pair, equality instead of liberty. For brotherhood, it is
impossible; therefore we will replace it by industrial association."
But this time also, I think, God will not be deceived.
326. India had three fortresses of a communal life, the village
community, the larger joint family & the orders of the Sannyasins; all
these are broken or breaking with the stride of egoistic conceptions
of social life; but is not this after all only the breaking of these
imperfect moulds on the way to a larger & diviner communism?
327. The individual cannot be perfect until he has surrendered all he
now calls himself to the divine Being. So also, until mankind gives
all it has to God, never shall there be a perfected society.
328. There is nothing small in God's eyes; let there be nothing small
in thine. He bestows as much labour of divine energy on the formation
of a shell as on the building of an empire. For thyself it is greater
to be a good shoemaker than a luxurious and incompetent king.
329. Imperfect capacity & effect in the work that is meant for thee is
better than an artificial competency & a borrowed perfection.
330. Not result is the purpose of action, but God's eternal delight in
becoming, seeing and doing.
331. God's world advances step by step fulfilling the lesser unit
before it seriously attempts the larger. Affirm free nationality
first, if thou wouldst ever bring the world to be one nation.
332. A nation is not made by a common blood, a common tongue or a
common religion; these are only important helps and powerful
conveniences. But wherever communities of men not bound by family ties
are united in one sentiment and aspiration to defend a common
inheritance from their ancestors or assure a common future for their
posterity, there a nation is already in existence.
333. Nationality is a stride of the progressive God passing beyond the
stage of the family; therefore the attachment to clan and tribe must
weaken or perish before a nation can be born.
334. Family, nationality, humanity are Vishnu's three strides from an
isolated to a collective unity. The first has been fulfilled, we yet
strive for the perfection of the second, towards the third we are
reaching out our hands and the pioneer work is already attempted.
335. With the present morality of the human race a sound and durable
human unity is not yet possible; but there is no reason why a
temporary approximation to it should not be the reward of strenuous
aspiration and untiring effort. By constant approximations and by
partial realisations and temporary successes Nature advances.
336. Imitation is sometimes a good training-ship; but it will never
fly the flag of the admiral.
337. Rather hang thyself than belong to the horde of successful
338. Tangled is the way of works in the world. When Rama the Avatar
murdered Vali or Krishna, who was God himself, assassinated, to
liberate his nation, his tyrant uncle Kansa, who shall say whether
they did good or did evil? But this we can feel, that they acted
339. Reaction perfects & hastens progress by increasing & purifying
the force within it. This is what the multitude of the weak cannot see
who despair of their port when the ship is fleeing helplessly before
the storm wind, but it flees, hidden by the rain & the Ocean furrow,
towards God's intended haven.
340. Democracy was the protest of the human soul against the allied
despotisms of autocrat, priest and noble; Socialism is the protest of
the human soul against the despotism of a plutocratic democracy;
Anarchism is likely to be the protest of the human soul against the
tyranny of a bureaucratic Socialism. A turbulent and eager march from
illusion to illusion and from failure to failure is the image of
341. Democracy in Europe is the rule of the Cabinet minister, the
corrupt deputy or the self-seeking capitalist masqued by the
occasional sovereignty of a wavering populace; Socialism in Europe is
likely to be the rule of the official and policeman masqued by the
theoretic sovereignty of an abstract State. It is chimerical to
enquire which is the better system; it would be difficult to decide
which is the worse.
342. The gain of democracy is the security of the individual's life,
liberty and goods from the caprices of the tyrant one or the selfish
few; its evil is the decline of greatness in humanity.
343. This erring race of human beings dreams always of perfecting
their environment by the machinery of government and society; but it
is only by the perfection of the soul within that the outer
environment can be perfected. What thou art within, that outside thee
thou shalt enjoy; no machinery can rescue thee from the law of thy
344. Be always vigilant against thy human proneness to persecute or
ignore the reality even while thou art worshipping its semblance or
token. Not human wickedness but human fallibility is the opportunity
345. Honour the garb of the ascetic, but look also at the wearer, lest
hypocrisy occupy the holy places and inward saintliness become a
346. The many strive after competence or riches, the few embrace
poverty as a bride; but, for thyself, strive after and embrace God
only. Let Him choose for thee a king's palace or the bowl of the
347. What is vice but an enslaving habit and virtue but a human
opinion? See God and do His will; walk in whatever path He shall trace
for thy goings.
348. In the world's conflicts espouse not the party of the rich for
their riches, nor of the poor for their poverty, of the king for his
power & majesty, nor of the people for their hope and fervour, but be
on God's side always. Unless indeed He has commanded thee to war
against Him! then do that with thy whole heart and strength and
349. How shall I know God's will with me? I have to put egoism out of
me, hunting it from every lair & burrow, and bathe my purified and
naked soul in His infinite workings; then He himself will reveal it to
350. Only the soul that is naked and unashamed, can be pure and
innocent, even as Adam was in the primal garden of humanity.
351. Boast not thy riches, neither seek men's praise for thy poverty
and self-denial; both these things are the coarse or the fine food of
352. Altruism is good for man, but less good when it is a form of
supreme self-indulgence & lives by pampering the selfishness of
353. By altruism thou canst save thy soul, but see that thou save it
not by indulging in his perdition thy brother.
354. Self-denial is a mighty instrument for purification; it is not an
end in itself nor a final law of living. Not to mortify thyself but to
satisfy God in the world must be thy object.
355. It is easy to distinguish the evil worked by sin & vice, but the
trained eye sees also the evil done by self-righteous or
356. The Brahmin first ruled by the book & the ritual, the Kshatriya
next by the sword and the buckler; now the Vaishya governs us by
machinery & the dollar, & the Sudra, the liberated serf, presses in
with his doctrine of the kingdom of associated labour. But neither
priest, king, merchant nor labourer is the true governor of humanity;
the despotism of the tool and the mattock will fail like all the
preceding despotisms. Only when egoism dies & God in man governs his
own human universality, can this earth support a happy and contented
race of beings.
357. Men run after pleasure and clasp feverishly that burning bride to
their tormented bosoms; meanwhile a divine & faultless bliss stands
behind them waiting to be seen and claimed and captured.
358. Men hunt after petty successes & trivial masteries from which
they fall back into exhaustion & weakness; meanwhile all the infinite
force of God in the universe waits vainly to place itself at their
359. Men burrow after little details of knowledge and group them into
bounded & ephemeral thought systems; meanwhile all infinite wisdom
laughs above their heads & shakes wide the glory of her iridescent
360. Men seek laboriously to satisfy & complement the little bounded
being made of the mental impressions they have grouped about a mean &
grovelling ego; meanwhile the spaceless & timeless Soul is denied its
joyous & splendid manifestation.
361. O soul of India, hide thyself no longer with the darkened Pandits
of the Kaliyuga in the kitchen & the chapel, veil not thy self with
the souless rite, the obsolete law and the unblessed money of the
dakshina; but seek in thy soul, ask of God and recover thy true
Brahminhood & Kshatriyahood with the eternal Veda; restore the hidden
truth of the Vedic sacrifice, return to the fulfilment of an older &
362. Limit not sacrifice to the giving up of earthly goods or the
denial of some desires & yearnings, but let every thought and every
work & every enjoyment be an offering to God within thee. Let thy
steps walk in thy Lord, let thy sleep and waking be a sacrifice to
363. This is not according to my Shastra or my Science, say the men of
rule, formalists. Fool! is God then only a book that there should be
nothing true & good except what is written?
364. By which standard shall I walk, the word that God speaks to me,
saying "This is My will, O my servant," or the rules that men who are
dead, have written? Nay, if I have to fear & obey any, I will fear &
obey God rather & not the pages of a book or the frown of a Pundit.
365. Thou mayst be deceived, wilt thou say, it may not be God's voice
leading thee? Yet do I know that He abandons not those who have
trusted Him even ignorantly, yet have I found that He leads wisely &
lovingly even when He seems to deceive utterly, yet would I rather
fall into the snare of the living God than be saved by trust in a dead
366. Act according to the Shastra rather than thy self-will & desire;
so shalt thou grow stronger to control the ravener in thee; but act
according to God rather than the Shastra; so shalt thou reach to His
highest which is far above rule & limit.
367. The Law is for the bound & those whose eyes are sealed; if they
walk not by it, they will stumble; but thou who art free in Krishna or
hast seen his living light, walk holding the hand of thy Friend & by
the lamp of eternal Veda.
368. The Vedanta is God's lamp to lead thee out of this night of
bondage & egoism: but when the light of Veda has dawned in thy soul,
then even that divine lamp thou needest not, for now thou canst walk
freely & surely in a high & eternal sunlight.
369. What is the use of only knowing? I say to thee. Act and be, for
therefore God sent thee into this human body.
370. What is the use of only being? I say to thee. Become, for
therefore wast thou established as a man in this world of matter.
371. The path of works is in a way the most difficult side of God's
triune causeway; yet is it not also, in this material world at least,
the easiest, widest & most delightful? For at every moment we clash
against God the worker & grow into His being by a thousand divine
372. This is the wonder of the way of works that even enmity to God
can be made an agency of salvation. Sometimes God draws and attaches
us most swiftly to Him by wrestling with us as our fierce, invincible
& irreconcilable enemy.
373. Shall I accept death or shall I turn and wrestle with him and
conquer? That shall be as God in me chooses. For whether I live or
die, I am always.
374. What is this thing thou callest death? Can God die? O thou who
fearest death, it is Life that has come to thee sporting with a
death-head and wearing a mask of terror.
375. There is a means to attain physical immortality and death is by
our choice, not by Nature's compulsion. But who would care to wear one
coat for a hundred years or be confined in one narrow & changeless
lodging unto a long eternity?
376. Fear and anxiety are perverse forms of will. What thou fearest &
ponderest over, striking that note repeatedly in thy mind, thou
helpest to bring about; for, if thy will above the surface of waking
repels it, it is yet what thy mind underneath is all along willing, &
the subconscious mind is mightier, wider, better equipped to fulfil
than thy waking force & intellect. But the spirit is stronger than
both together; from fear and hope take refuge in the grandiose calm
and careless mastery of the spirit.
377. God made the infinite world by Self-knowledge which in its works
is Will-Force self-fulfilling. He used ignorance to limit His
infinity; but fear, weariness, depression, self-distrust and assent to
weakness are the instruments by which He destroys what He created.
When these things are turned on what is evil or harmful &
ill-regulated within thee, then it is well; but if they attack thy
very sources of life & strength, then seize & expel them or thou
378. Mankind has used two powerful weapons to destroy its own powers
and enjoyment, wrong indulgence and wrong abstinence.
379. Our mistake has been and is always to flee from the ills of
Paganism to asceticism as a remedy and from the ills of asceticism
back to Paganism. We swing for ever between two false opposites.
380. It is well not to be too loosely playful in one's games or too
grimly serious in one's life and works. We seek in both a playful
freedom and a serious order.
381. For nearly forty years I believed them when they said I was
weakly in constitution, suffered constantly from the smaller & the
greater ailments & mistook this curse for a burden that Nature had
laid upon me. When I renounced the aid of medicines, then they began
to depart from me like disappointed parasites. Then only I understood
what a mighty force was the natural health within me & how much
mightier yet the Will & Faith exceeding mind which God meant to be the
divine support of our life in this body.
382. Machinery is necessary to modern humanity because of our
incurable barbarism. If we must incase ourselves in a bewildering
multitude of comforts and trappings, we must needs do without Art and
its methods; for to dispense with simplicity & freedom is to dispense
with beauty. The luxury of our ancestors was rich & even gorgeous, but
383. I cannot give to the barbarous comfort & encumbered ostentation
of European life the name of civilisation. Men who are not free in
their souls & nobly rhythmical in their appointments, are not
384. Art in modern times & under European influence has become an
excrescence upon life or an unnecessary menial; it should have been
its chief steward and indispensable arranger.
385. Disease is needlessly prolonged & ends in death oftener than is
inevitable, because the mind of the patient supports & dwells upon the
disease of his body.
386. Medical Science has been more a curse to mankind than a blessing.
It has broken the force of epidemics and unveiled a marvellous
surgery; but, also, it has weakened the natural health of man and
multiplied individual diseases; it has implanted fear and dependence
in the mind and body; it has taught our health to repose not on
natural soundness but a rickety & distasteful crutch compact from the
mineral and vegetable kingdoms.
387. The doctor aims a drug at a disease; sometimes it hits, sometimes
misses. The misses are left out of account, the hits treasured up,
reckoned and systematised into a science.
388. We laugh at the savage for his faith in the medicine man; but how
are the civilised less superstitious who have faith in the doctors?
The savage finds that when a certain incantation is repeated, he often
recovers from a certain disease; he believes. The civilised patient
finds that when he doses himself according to a certain prescription,
he often recovers from a certain disease; he believes. Where is the
389. The north-country Indian herdsman, attacked by fever, sits in the
chill stream of a river for an hour or more & rises up free & healthy.
If the educated man did the same, he would perish, not because the
same remedy in its nature kills one & cures another, but because our
bodies have been fatally indoctrinated by the mind into false habits.
390. It is not the medicine that cures so much as the patient's faith
in the doctor and the medicine. Both are a clumsy substitute for the
natural faith in one's own self-power which they have themselves
391. The healthiest ages of mankind were those in which there were the
fewest material remedies.
392. The most robust and healthy race left on earth were the African
savages; but how long can they so remain after their physical
consciousness has been contaminated by the mental aberrations of the
393. We ought to use the divine health in us to cure and prevent
diseases; but Galen and Hippocrates & their tribe have given us
instead an armoury of drugs and a barbarous Latin hocuspocus as our
394. Medical Science is well meaning and its practitioners often
benevolent and not seldom self-sacrificing; but when did the
well-meaning of the ignorant save them from harm-doing?
395. If all remedies were really and in themselves efficacious and all
medical theories sound, how would that console us for our lost natural
health and vitality? The upas-tree is sound in all its parts, but it
is still an upas-tree.
396. The spirit within us is the only all-efficient doctor and
submission of the body to it the one true panacea.
397. God within is infinite and self-fulfilling Will. Unappalled by
the fear of death, canst thou leave to Him, not as an experiment, with
a calm & entire faith thy ailments? Thou shalt find in the end that He
exceeds the skill of a million doctors.
398. Health protected by twenty thousand precautions is the gospel of
the doctor; but it is not God's evangel for the body, nor Nature's.
399. Man was once naturally healthy and could revert to that primal
condition if he were suffered; but Medical Science pursues our body
with an innumerable pack of drugs and assails the imagination with
ravening hordes of microbes.
400. I would rather die and have done with it than spend life in
defending myself against a phantasmal siege of microbes. If that is to
be barbarous [and] unenlightened, I embrace gladly my Cimmerian
401. Surgeons save & cure by cutting and maiming. Why not rather seek
to discover Nature's direct all-powerful remedies?
402. It should take long for self-cure to replace medicine, because of
the fear, self-distrust and unnatural physical reliance on drugs which
Medical Science has taught to our minds & bodies & made our second
403. Medicine is necessary for our bodies in disease only because our
bodies have learned the art of not getting well without medicines.
Even so, one sees often that the moment Nature chooses for recovery is
that in which the life is abandoned as hopeless by the doctors.
404. Distrust of the curative power within us was our physical fall
from Paradise. Medical Science and a bad heredity are the two angels
of God who stand at the gates to forbid our return and reentry.
405. Medical Science to the human body is like a great Power which
enfeebles a smaller State by its protection or like a benevolent
robber who knocks his victim flat and riddles him with wounds in order
that he may devote his life to healing & serving the shattered body.
406. Drugs often cure the body when they do not merely trouble or
poison it, but only if their physical attack on the disease is
supported by the force of the spirit; if that force can be made to
work freely, drugs are at once superfluous.
407. I am not a Bhakta, for I have not renounced the world for God.
How can I renounce what He took from me by force and gave back to me
against my will? These things are too hard for me.
408. I am not a Bhakta, I am not a Jnani, I am not a worker for the
Lord. What am I then? A tool in the hands of my Master, a flute blown
upon by the divine Herd-Boy, a leaf driven by the breath of the Lord.
409. Devotion is not utterly fulfilled till it becomes action and
knowledge. If thou pursuest after God and canst overtake Him, let Him
not go till thou hast His reality. If thou hast hold of His reality,
insist on having also His totality. The first will give thee divine
knowledge, the second will give thee divine works and a free and
perfect joy in the universe.
410. Others boast of their love for God. My boast is that I did not
love God; it was He who loved me and sought me out and forced me to
belong to Him.
411. After I knew that God was a woman, I learned something from
far-off about love; but it was only when I became a woman and served
my Master and Paramour that I knew love utterly.
412. To commit adultery with God is the perfect experience for which
the world was created.
413. To fear God really is to remove oneself to a distance from Him,
but to fear Him in play gives an edge to utter delightfulness.
414. The Jew invented the God-fearing man; India the God-knower and
415. The servant of God was born in Judaea, but he came to maturity
among the Arabs. India's joy is in the servant-lover.
416. Perfect love casts out fear; but still keep thou some tender
shadow and memory of the exile and it will make the perfection more
417. Thy soul has not tasted God's entire delight, if it has never had
the joy of being His enemy, opposing His designs and engaging with Him
in mortal combat.
418. If you cannot make God love you, make Him fight you. If He will
not give you the embrace of the lover, compel Him to give you the
embrace of the wrestler.
419. My soul is the captive of God, taken by Him in battle; it still
remembers the war, though so far from it, with delight and alarm and
420. Most of all things on earth I hated pain till God hurt and
tortured me; then it was revealed to me that pain is only a perverse
and recalcitrant shape of excessive delight.
421. There are four stages in the pain God gives to us; when it is
only pain; when it is pain that causes pleasure; when it is pain that
is pleasure; and when it is purely a fiercer form of delight.
422. Even when one has climbed up into those levels of bliss where
pain vanishes, it still survives disguised as intolerable ecstasy.
423. When I was mounting upon ever higher crests of His joy, I asked
myself whether there was no limit to the increase of bliss and almost
I grew afraid of God's embraces.
424. The next greatest rapture to the love of God, is the love of God
in men; there, too, one has the joy of multiplicity.
425. For monogamy may be the best for the body, but the soul that
loves God in men dwells here always as the boundless & ecstatic
polygamist; yet all the time -- that is the secret -it is in love with
only one being.
426. The whole world is my seraglio and every living being and
inanimate existence in it is the instrument of my rapture.
427. I did not know for some time whether I loved Krishna best or
Kali; when I loved Kali, it was loving myself, but when I loved
Krishna, I loved another, and still it was my Self with whom I was in
love. Therefore I came to love Krishna better even than Kali.
428. What is the use of admiring Nature or worshipping her as a Power,
a Presence and a goddess? What is the use, either, of appreciating her
aesthetically or artistically? The secret is to enjoy her with the
soul as one enjoys a woman with the body.
429. When one has the vision in the heart, everything, Nature and
Thought and Action, ideas and occupations and tastes and objects
become the Beloved and are a source of ecstasy.
430. The philosophers who reject the world as Maya, are very wise and
austere and holy; but I cannot help thinking sometimes that they are
also just a little stupid and allow God to cheat them too easily.
431. For my part, I think I have a right to insist on God giving
Himself to me in the world as well as out of it. Why did He make it at
all, if He wanted to escape that obligation?
432. The Mayavadin talks of my Personal God as a dream and prefers to
dream of Impersonal Being; the Buddhist puts that aside too as a
fiction and prefers to dream of Nirvana and the bliss of nothingness.
Thus all the dreamers are busy reviling each other's visions and
parading their own as the panacea. What the soul utterly rejoices in,
is for thought the ultimate reality.
433. Beyond Personality the Mayavadin sees indefinable Existence; I
followed him there and found my Krishna beyond in indefinable
434. When I first met Krishna, I loved Him as a friend and playmate
till He deceived me; then I was indignant and could not forgive Him.
Afterwards I loved Him as a lover and He still deceived me; I was
again and much more indignant, but this time I had to pardon.
435. After offending. He forced me to pardon Him not by reparation,
but by committing fresh offences.
436. So long as God tried to repair His offences against me, we went
on periodically quarrelling; but when He found out His mistake, the
quarrelling stopped, for I had to submit to Him entirely.
437. When I saw others than Krishna and myself in the world, I kept
secret God's doings with me; but since I began to see Him and myself
everywhere, I have become shameless and garrulous.
438. All that my Lover has, belongs to me. Why do you abuse me for
showing off the ornaments He has given to me?
439. My Lover took His crown and royal necklace from His head and neck
and clothed me with them; but the disciples of the saints and the
prophets abused me and said, "He is hunting after siddhis."
440. I did my Lover's commands in the world & the will of my Captor;
but they cried, "Who is this corruptor of youth, this disturber of
441. If I cared even for your praise, O ye saints, if I cherished my
reputation, O ye prophets, my Lover would never have taken me into His
bosom and given me the freedom of His secret chambers.
442. I was intoxicated with the rapture of my Lover and I threw the
robe of the world from me even in the world's highways. Why should I
care that the worldlings mock and the Pharisees turn their, faces?
443. To thy lover, O Lord, the railing of the world is wild honey and
the pelting of stones by the mob is summer rain on the body. For is it
not Thou that railest and peltest, and is it not Thou in the stones
that strikest and hurtest me?
444. There are two things in God which men call evil, that which they
cannot understand at all and that which they misunderstand and,
possessing, misuse; it is only what they grope after half-vainly and
dimly understand that they call good and holy. But to me all things in
Him are lovable.
445. They say, O my God, that I am mad because I see no fault in Thee;
but if I am indeed mad with Thy love, I do not wish to recover my
446. "Errors, falsehoods, stumblings!" they cry. How bright and
beautiful are Thy errors, O Lord! Thy falsehoods save Truth alive; by
Thy stumblings the world is perfected.
447. Life, Life, Life, I hear the passions cry; God, God, God, is the
soul's answer. Unless thou seest and lovest Life as God only, then is
Life itself a sealed joy to thee.
448. "He loves her," the senses say; but the soul says "God, God,
God." That is the all-embracing formula of existence.
449. If thou canst not love the vilest worm and the foulest of
criminals, how canst thou believe that thou hast accepted God in thy
450. To love God, excluding the world, is to give Him an intense but
451. Is love only a daughter or handmaid of jealousy? If Krishna loves
Chandrabali, why should I not love her also?
452. Because thou lovest God only, thou art apt to claim that He
should love thee rather than others; but this is a false claim
contrary to right & the nature of things. For He is the One but thou
art of the many. Rather become one in heart & soul with all beings,
then there will be none in the world but thou alone for Him to love.
453. My quarrel is with those who are foolish enough not to love my
Lover, not with those who share His love with me.
454. In those whom God loves, have delight; on those whom He pretends
not to love, take pity.
455. Dost thou hate the atheist because he does love not God? Then
shouldst thou be disliked because thou dost not love God perfectly.
456. There is one thing especially in which creeds and churches
surrender themselves to the devil, and that is in their anathemas.
When the priest chants Anathema Mara-natha, then I see a devil
457. No doubt, when the priest curses, he is crying to God; but it is
the God of anger and darkness to whom he devotes himself along with
his enemy; for as he approaches God, so shall God receive him.
458. I was much plagued by Satan, until I found that it was God who
was tempting me; then the anguish of him passed out of my soul for
459. I hated the devil and was sick with his temptations and tortures;
and I could not tell why the voice in his departing words was so sweet
that when he returned often and offered himself to me, it was with
sorrow I refused him. Then I discovered it was Krishna at His tricks
and my hate was changed into laughter.
460. They explained the evil in the world by saying that Satan had
prevailed against God; but I think more proudly of my Beloved. I
believe that nothing is done but by His will in heaven or hell, on
earth or on the waters.
461. In our ignorance we are like children proud of our success in
walking erect and unaided and too eager to be aware of the mother's
steadying touch on the shoulder. When we wake, we look back and see
that God was leading and upholding us always.
462. At first whenever I fell back into sin, I used to weep and rage
against myself and against God for having suffered it. Afterwards it
was as much as I could dare to ask, "Why hast thou rolled me again in
the mud, O my playfellow?" Then even that came to my mind to seem too
bold and presumptuous; I could only get up in silence, look at him out
of the corner of my eyes -- and clean myself.
463. God has so arranged life that the world is the soul's husband;
Krishna its divine paramour. We owe a debt of service to the world and
are bound to it by a law, a compelling opinion, and a common
experience of pain and pleasure, but our heart's worship and our free
and secret joy are for our Lover.
464. The joy of God is secret and wonderful; it is a mystery and a
rapture at which common sense makes mouths of mockery; but the soul
that has once tasted it, can never renounce, whatever worldly
disrepute, torture and affliction it may bring us.
465. God, the world Guru, is wiser than thy mind; trust Him and not
that eternal self-seeker & arrogant sceptic.
466. The sceptic mind doubts always because it cannot understand, but
the faith of the God-lover persists in knowing although it cannot
understand. Both are necessary to our darkness, but there can be no
doubt which is the mightier. What I cannot understand now, I shall
some day master, but if I lose faith & love, I fall utterly from the
goal which God has set before me.
467. I may question God, my guide & teacher, & ask Him, "Am I right or
hast Thou in thy love & wisdom suffered my mind to deceive me?" Doubt
thy mind, if thou wilt, but doubt not that God leads thee.
468. Because thou wert given at first imperfect conceptions about God,
now thou ragest and deniest Him. Man, dost thou doubt thy teacher
because he gave not thee the whole of knowledge at the beginning?
Study rather that imperfect truth & put it in its place, so that thou
mayst pass on safely to the wider knowledge that is now opening before
469. This is how God in His love teaches the child soul & the
weakling, taking them step by step and withholding the vision of His
ultimate & yet unattainable mountain-tops.
And have we not all some weakness? Are we not all in His sight but as
470. This I have seen that whatever God has withheld from me. He
withheld in His love & wisdom. Had I grasped it then, I would have
turned some great good into a great poison. Yet sometimes when we
insist. He gives us poison to drink that we may learn to turn from it
and taste with knowledge His ambrosia & His nectar.
471. Even the atheist ought now to be able to see that creation
marches towards some infinite & mighty purpose which evolution in its
very nature supposes. But infinite purpose & fulfilment presupposes an
infinite wisdom that prepares, guides, shapes, protects & justifies.
Revere then that Wisdom & worship it with thoughts in thy soul if not
with incense in a temple, and even though thou deny it the heart of
infinite Love and the mind of infinite self-effulgence. Then though
thou know it not it is still Krishna whom thou reverest & worshippest.
472. The Lord of Love has said, "They who follow after the Unknowable
& Indefinable, follow after Me and I accept them." He has justified by
His word the Illusionist & the Agnostic. Why then, O devotee, dost
thou rail at him whom thy Master has accepted?
473. Calvin who justified eternal Hell, knew not God but made one
terrible mask of Him His eternal reality. If there were an unending
Hell, it could only be a seat of unending rapture; for God is Ananda
and than the eternity of His bliss there is no other eternity.
474. Dante, when he said that God's perfect love created eternal Hell,
wrote perhaps wiselier than he knew; for from stray glimpses I have
sometimes thought there is a Hell where our souls suffer aeons of
intolerable ecstasy & wallow as if for ever in the utter embrace of
Rudra, the sweet & terrible.
475. Discipleship to God the Teacher, sonship to God the Father,
tenderness of God the Mother, clasp of the hand of the divine Friend,
laughter and sport with our Comrade and boy Playfellow, blissful
servitude to God the Master, rapturous love of our divine Paramour,
these are the seven beatitudes of life in the human body. Canst thou
unite all these in a single supreme & rainbow-hued relation? Then hast
thou no need of any heaven and thou exceedest the emancipation of the
476. When will the world change into the model of heaven? When all
mankind becomes boys & girls together with God revealed as Krishna &
Kali, the happiest boy & strongest girl of the crowd, playing together
in the gardens of Paradise. The Semitic Eden was well enough, but Adam
& Eve were too grown up and its God himself too old & stern & solemn
for the offer of the Serpent to be resisted.
477. The Semites have afflicted mankind with the conception of a God
who is a stern & dignified king & solemn judge & knows not mirth. But
we who have seen Krishna, know Him for a boy fond of play and a child
full of mischief & happy laughter.
478. A God who cannot smile, could not have created this humorous
479. God took a child to fondle him in His bosom of delight; but the
mother wept & would not be consoled because her child no longer
480. When I suffer from pain or grief or mischance, I say "So, my old
Playfellow, thou hast taken again to bullying me," and I sit down to
possess the pleasure of the pain, the joy of the grief, the good
fortune of the mischance; then He sees He is found out and takes His
ghosts & bugbears away from me.
481. The seeker after divine knowledge finds in the description of
Krishna stealing the robes of the Gopis one of the deepest parables of
God's ways with the soul, the devotee a perfect rendering in divine
act of his heart's mystic experiences, the prurient & the Puritan (two
faces of one temperament) only a lustful story. Men bring what they
have in themselves and see it reflected in the Scripture.
482. My lover took away my robe of sin and I let it fall, rejoicing;
then he plucked at my robe of virtue, but I was ashamed and alarmed
and prevented him. It was not till he wrested it from me by force that
I saw how my soul had been hidden from me.
483. Sin is a trick & a disguise of Krishna to conceal Himself from
the gaze of the virtuous. Behold, O Pharisee, God in the sinner, sin
in thy self purifying thy heart; clasp thy brother.
484. Love of God, charity towards men is the first step towards
485. He who condemns failure & imperfection, is condemning God; he
limits his own soul and cheats his own vision. Condemn not, but
observe Nature, help & heal thy brothers and strengthen by sympathy
their capacities & their courage.
486. Love of man, love of woman, love of things, love of thy
neighbour, love of thy country, love of animals, love of humanity are
all the love of God reflected in these living images. So love & grow
mighty to enjoy all, to help all and to love for ever.
487. If there are things that absolutely refuse to be transformed or
remedied into God's more perfect image, they may be destroyed with
tenderness in the heart, but ruthlessness in the smiting. But make
sure first that God has given thee thy sword and thy mission.
488. I should love my neighbour not because he is neighbourhood, --
for what is there in neighbourhood and distance? nor because the
religions tell me he is my brother, -- for where is the root of that
brotherhood? but because he is myself. Neighbourhood and distance
affect the body, the heart goes beyond them. Brotherhood is of blood
or country or religion or humanity, but when self-interest clamours
what becomes of this brotherhood? It is only by living in God &
turning mind and heart & body into the image of his universal unity
that that deep, disinterested and unassailable love becomes possible.
489. When I live in Krishna, then ego & self-interest vanish and only
God himself can qualify my love bottomless & illimitable.
490. Living in Krishna, even enmity becomes a play of love and the
wrestling of brothers.
491. To the soul that has hold of the highest beatitude, life cannot
be an evil or a sorrowful illusion; rather all life becomes the
rippling love and laughter of a divine Lover & Playfellow.
492. Canst thou see God as the bodiless Infinite & yet love Him as a
man loves his mistress? Then has the highest truth of the Infinite
been revealed to thee. Canst thou also clothe the Infinite in one
secret embraceable body and see Him seated in each & all of these
bodies that are visible & sensible? Then has its widest & profoundest
truth come also into thy possession.
493. Divine Love has simultaneously a double play, an universal
movement, deep, calm & bottomless like the nether Ocean, which broods
upon the whole world and each thing that is in it as upon a level bed
with an equal pressure and a personal movement, forceful, intense &
ecstatic like the dancing surface of the same Ocean, which varies the
height & force of its billows and chooses the objects it shall fall
upon with the kiss of its foam & spray and the clasp of its engulfing
494. I used to hate and avoid pain and resent its infliction; but now
I find that had I not so suffered, I would not now possess, trained
and perfected, this infinitely & multitudinously sensible capacity of
delight in my mind, heart and body. God justifies himself in the end
even when He has masked Himself as a bully and a tyrant.
495. I swore that I would not suffer from the world's grief and the
world's stupidity and cruelty & injustice and I made my heart as hard
in endurance as the nether millstone and my mind as a polished surface
of steel. I no longer suffered, but enjoyment had passed away from me.
Then God broke my heart and ploughed up my mind. I rose through cruel
& incessant anguish to a blissful painlessness and through sorrow and
indignation & revolt to an infinite knowledge and a settled peace.
496. When I found that pain was the reverse side & the training of
delight, I sought to heap blows on myself & multiply suffering in all
my members; for even God's tortures seemed to me slow & slight &
inefficient. Then my Lover had to stay my hand & cry, "Cease; for my
stripes are enough for thee."
497. The self-torture of the old monks & penitents was perverse &
stupid; yet was there a secret soul of knowledge behind their
498. God is our wise & perfect Friend; because he knows when to smite
as well as when to fondle, when to slay us no less than when to save &
499. The divine Friend of all creatures conceals His friendliness in
the mask of an enemy till He has made us ready for the highest
heavens; then, as in Kurukshetra, the terrible form of the Master of
strife, suffering & destruction is withdrawn & the sweet face, the
tender arm, the oft-clasped body of Krishna shine out on the shaken
soul & purified eyes of his eternal comrade & playmate.
500. Suffering makes us capable of the full force of the Master of
Delight; it makes us capable also to bear the utter play of the Master
of Power. Pain is the key that opens the gates of strength; it is the
high-road that leads to the city of beatitude.
501. Yet, O soul of man, seek not after pain, for that is not His
will, seek after His joy only; as for suffering, it will come to thee
surely in His providence as often and as much as is needed for thee.
Then bear it that thou mayst find out at last its heart of rapture.
502. Neither do thou inflict pain, O man, on thy fellow; God alone has
the right to inflict pain; or those have it whom He has commissioned.
But deem not fanatically, as did Torquemada, that thou art one of
503. In former times there was a noble form of asseveration for souls
compact merely of force and action, "As surely as God liveth." But for
our modern needs another asseveration would suit better, "As surely as
504. Science is chiefly useful to the God-lover & the God-knower
because it enables him to understand in detail and admire the curious
wonders of His material workmanship. The one learns & cries, "Behold
how the Spirit has manifested itself in matter"; the other, "Behold,
the touch of my Lover & Master, the perfect Artist, the hand
505. O Aristophanes of the universe, thou who watchest thy world and
laughest sweetly to thyself, wilt thou not let me too see with divine
eyes and share in thy worldwide laughters?
506. Kalidasa says in a daring image that the snow-rocks of Kailasa
are Shiva's loud world-laughters piled up in utter whiteness &
pureness on the mountain-tops. It is true; and when their image falls
on the heart, then the world's cares melt away like the clouds below
into their real nothingness.
507. The strangest of the soul's experiences is this, that it finds,
when it ceases to care for the image Athreat of troubles, then the
troubles themselves are nowhere to be found in one's neighbourhood. It
is then that we hear from behind those unreal clouds God laughing at
508. Has thy effort succeeded, O thou Titan? Dost thou sit, like
Ravana and Hiranyakashipou, served by the gods and the world's master?
But that which thy soul was really hunting after, has escaped from
509. Ravana's mind thought it was hungering after universal
'sovereignty and victory over Rama; but the aim his soul kept its
vision fixed upon all the time was to get back to its heaven as soon
as possible & be again God's menial. Therefore, as the shortest way,
it buried itself against God in a furious clasp of enmity.
510. The greatest of joys is to be, like Narada, the slave of God; the
worst of Hells, being abandoned of God, to be the world's master. That
which seems nearest to the ignorant conception of God, is the farthest
511. God's servant is something; God's slave is greater.
512. To be master of the world would indeed be supreme felicity, if
one were universally loved; but for that one would have to be at the
same time the slave of all humanity.
513. After all when thou countest up thy long service to God, thou
wilt find thy supreme work was the flawed & little good thou didst in
love for humanity.
514. There are two works that are perfectly pleasing to God in his
servant; to sweep in silent adoration His temple-floors and to fight
in the world's battlefield for His divine consummation in humanity.
515. He who has done even a little good to human beings, though he be
the worst of sinners, is accepted by God in the ranks of His lovers
and servants. He shall look upon the face of the Eternal.
516. O fool of thy weakness, cover not God's face from thyself by a
veil of awe, approach Him not with a suppliant weakness. Look! thou
wilt see on His face not the solemnity of the King & Judge, but the
smile of the Lover.
517. Until thou canst learn to grapple with God as a wrestler with his
comrade, thy soul's strength shall always be hid from thee.
518. Sumbha first loved Kali with his heart & body, then was furious
with her and fought her, at last prevailed against her, seized her by
the hair & whirled her thrice round him in the heavens; the next
moment he was slain by her. These are the Titan's four strides to
immortality and of them all the last is the longest and mightiest.
519. Kali is Krishna revealed as dreadful Power & wrathful Love. She
slays with her furious blows the self in body, life & mind in order to
liberate it as spirit eternal.
520. Our parents fell, in the deep Semitic apologue, because they
tasted the fruit of the tree of good and evil. Had they taken at once
of the tree of eternal life, they would have escaped the immediate
consequence; but God's purpose in humanity would have been defeated.
His wrath is our eternal advantage.
521. If Hell were possible, it would be the shortest cut to the
highest heaven. For verily God loveth.
522. God drives us out [of] every Eden that we may be forced to travel
through the desert to a diviner Paradise. If thou wonder why should
that parched & fierce transit be necessary, then art thou befooled by
thy mind and hast not studied thy soul behind and its dim desires and
523. A healthy mind hates pain; for the desire of pain that men
sometimes develop in their minds is morbid and contrary to Nature. But
the soul cares not for the mind & its sufferings any more than the
iron-master for the pain of the ore in the furnace; it follows its own
necessities and its own hunger.
524. Pity is sometimes a good substitute for love; but it is always no
more than a substitute.
525. Self-pity is always born of self-love; but pity for others is not
always born of love for its object. It is sometimes a self-regarding
shrinking from the sight of pain; sometimes the rich man's
contemptuous dole to the pauper. Develop rather God's divine
compassion than human pity.
526. Not pity that bites the heart and weakens the inner members, but
a divine masterful & untroubled compassion and helpfulness is the
virtue that we should encourage.
527. To find that saving a man's body or mind from suffering is not
always for the good of either soul, mind or body, is one of the
bitterest of experiences for the humanly compassionate.
528. Human pity is born of ignorance & weakness; it is the slave of
emotional impressions. Divine compassion understands, discerns &
529. Indiscriminate compassion is the noblest gift of temperament, not
to do even the least hurt to one living thing is the highest of all
human virtues; but God practises neither. Is man therefore nobler and
better than the All-loving?
530. Love and serve men, but beware lest thou desire their
approbation. Obey rather God within thee.
531. Not to have heard the voice of God and His angels is the world's
idea of sanity.
532. See God everywhere and be not frightened by masks. Believe that
all falsehood is truth in the making or truth in the breaking, all
failure an effectuality concealed, all weakness strength hiding itself
from its own vision, all pain a secret & violent ecstasy. If thou
believest firmly & unweariedly, in the end thou wilt see &
experience-the All-true, Almighty & All-blissful.
533. Human love fails by its own ecstasy, human strength is exhausted
by its own effort, human knowledge throws a shadow that conceals half
the globe of truth from its own sunlight; but divine knowledge
embraces opposite truths & reconciles them, divine strength grows by
the prodigality of its self-expenditure, divine love can squander
itself utterly, yet never waste or diminish.
534. The rejection of falsehood by the mind seeking after truth is one
of the chief causes why mind cannot attain to the settled, rounded &
perfect truth; not to escape falsehood is the effort of divine mind,
but to seize the truth which lies masked behind even the most
grotesque or far-wandering error.
535. The whole truth about any object is a rounded & all-embracing
globe which for ever circles around, but never touches the one & only
subject & object of knowledge, God.
536. "There are many profound truths which are like weapons dangerous
to the unpractised wielder. Rightly handled, they are the most
precious & potent in God's armoury.
537. The obstinate pertinacity with which we cling to our meagre,
fragmentary, night-besieged & grief-besieged individual existence even
while the unbroken bliss of our universal life calls to us, is one of
the most amazing of God's mysteries. It is only equalled by the
infinite blindness with which we cast a shadow of our ego over the
whole world & call that the universal being. These two darknesses are
the very essence & potency of Maya.
538. Atheism is the shadow or dark side of the highest perception of
God. Every formula we frame about God, though always true as a symbol,
becomes false when we accept it as a sufficient formula. The Atheist &
Agnostic come to remind us of our error.
539. God's negations are as useful to us as His affirmations. It is He
who as the Atheist denies His own existence for the better perfecting
of human knowledge. It is not enough to see God in Christ &
Ramakrishna & hear His words, we must see Him and hear Him also in
Huxley & Haeckel.
540. Canst thou see God in thy torturer & slayer even in thy moment of
death or thy hours of torture? Canst thou see Him in that which thou
art slaying, see & love even while thou slayest? Thou hast thy hand on
the supreme knowledge. How shall he attain to Krishna who has never
541. I know that the opposite of what I say is true, but for the
present what I say is still truer.
542. I believe with you, my friends, that God, if He exists, is a
demon and an ogre. But after all what are you going to do about it?
543. God is the supreme Jesuit Father. He is ever doing evil that good
may come of it; ever misleads for a greater leading; ever oppresses
our will that it may arrive at last at an infinite freedom.
544. Our Evil is to God not evil, but ignorance and imperfection, our
good a lesser imperfection.
545. The religionist speaks a truth, though too violently, when he
tells us that even our greatest and purest virtue is as vileness
before the divine nature of God.
546. To be beyond good and evil is not to act sin or virtue
indifferently, but to arrive at a high and universal good.
547. That good is not our ethical virtue which is a relative and
erring light in the world; it is supra-ethical and divine.
by Sri Aurobindo