Everything happens at its appointed time, so there is no use being impatient. This is true even of spiritual progress. The only thing that is in your hands is effort. When exactly that effort will bear fruit is in God’s hands. Your effort, however, must be sincere. You should not keep on looking for results.
A wealthy lady once came to Bhagavan and pleaded with him thus, ‘Bhagavan, it is said that merely being in your presence bestows peace. I was here once but could not stay long and left after I had your darshan. Now I have come again seeking peace. My circumstances are such that I cannot have peace. My neighbours and friends are all worldly-minded and have no interest in spiritual matters. Therefore, association with them is useless. Materially, I am well placed and there is nothing wanting in my life. Yet, I cannot claim to have peace. You say that peace is within the Heart and that it cannot be experienced unless we go deep into it. You also say that the mind has to be brought under control and that a selfish mind can never reach the Heart. I cannot claim to be entirely unselfish nor am I completely selfish. My sadhana may be described as ordinary only. You tell us that unless the false ‘I’ is eliminated we cannot attain peace. But how to do that? I need your Grace. On my own, it is an impossibility. Unless I have your blessing I cannot attain peace. Please do not question me whether I am qualified to receive your blessings. I beg of you to grant me the power and strength to eliminate the false ‘I’.’
Bhagavan said, ‘You have intelligence and devotion. It is these that have brought you here. They will reform you and improve you. Your intelligence, devotion and ardent desire will enable you to attain peace. There is nothing for Bhagavan to do. Devotion establishes contact with God. If you have that contact always, all sins will be washed away. Forget about the false ‘I’, devotion to God itself will reveal to you the Truth.’
We know nothing about our earlier births. But the latent tendencies now in us are the results of what we did in previous births. We do sadhana to get rid of the tendencies. You don’t have to do intense sadhana for this. It is enough if you have great devotion to God. Devotion purifies the mind and the purified mind turns inward. When this happens, the mind merges in the Heart. The result is that you experience Truth. It is peace, bliss; it is being. The moment this is realised one becomes free. The key to this is going beyond the mind. It is the mind alone that torments and which has to be conquered.
The lady begged Bhagavan to show her the way to attain peace. ‘By surrender you will attain it. You must abide by God’s will. Nothing happens unless God wills it. You make whatever God wills your own and thereby you attain peace. You are not apart from God. But the false ‘I’ makes it so. Once you eliminate the false ‘I’, you will know that the very God whom you are seeking is within you. The source of the false ‘I’ is in your Heart and if you can take the ‘I’ to its source you get lasting peace. This can be attained here and now. You do not have to wait for another birth. You have devotion, humility and a desire to know; these will ensure that you attain peace.’
The lady wanted to know whether she had the qualities of a devotee. Bhagavan assured her that anyone could become a devotee by trying. However it takes time and you have to be patient. You cannot become perfect immediately. You must also be aware of your weaknesses and try to get rid of them. Learn to be self-critical and to accept anything that happens as God’s will. God knows what to do with your life and when to do it. Simply accept it.
A householder may want to know how to cultivate devotion in spite of worldly activities. Being a householder is not an impediment either to bhakti (devotion) or jnana (knowledge). Your social position relates to your body or false ‘I’. You are not the body or the false ‘I’ - you are pure Consciousness. You are That. You have to make your mind pure and clean. Even if circumstances are unfavourable do not lose your peace. A true devotee is not affected by circumstances, whatever they may be. You should be a true devotee.
‘How is it possible to carry on life as a householder keeping in view that one is nothing but consciousness?’ Whether you keep consciousness in view or not, you are nothing but That. It is your identification with the body that makes everything else appear as real. But they are nothing but shadows. When identification with the body ceases, knowledge of the Self appears. Be pure. Whatever you have to do, do with sincerity and without bothering about results. Do not expect anything. What is destined to happen will happen. It is your ego and selfish acts that are responsible for your thoughts revolving round the false ‘I’.
Being a householder is not an obstruction to acquiring knowledge. You have to give up the thought that you are a householder. But you have not given up that thought. Similarly give up other thoughts. ‘I cannot be at peace. I always have a lot of relatives at home. This does not enable me to do any sadhana alone. I want to be alone. What to do?’ Bhagavan says that to be alone means to be in the Self. Instead of that you dwell in the mind which is not the ‘real’ you. That is the root of all your trouble. If you know who you are, the presence of relatives at home will not bother you. You have to ensure that you do not develop any attachment to them. Be respectful to them. You have to remember that we are on this planet to improve ourselves. If you improve yourself you will set an example to others to do the same.
‘I have lost my son. His memory brings sorrow and tears,’ says one to Bhagavan. You recollect the state of your deep sleep. Do you remember your son in sleep? Do you remember birth or death? Only when you are conscious of your body do you remember your son. If you train yourself to be in the same state as you are during sleep even while you are awake, then all your problems are solved. The three states; wakefulness, dream and sleep are associated with the body. There is state beyond them and in that state the ego is non-existent - this family, world, even this ‘I’ are products of the ego.
It is the ego, which is responsible for sorrow. Sankaracharya said that we do not know when the ego arose but it surely has an end. The way to end ego is through self-enquiry. Embark on it. You are God; only the ego separates you from God. The trouble is, you do not want to give up the ego. Because you think you are that ego. By losing ego, you will not lose yourself - you will realise who you are. If you lose ego, only Consciousness remains. That is Peace, Bliss and Immortality.