Good Intentions and Divine Will

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Divine will, individual will and good intentions

Gururaj:  Good, what shall we talk about tonight?

Questioner:  From time to time, perhaps because of one’s spiritual practices, one feels the build up of energy and a desire to express that energy in what are generally termed as ‘Good works’.  But good intentions can sometimes lead to apparently disastrous results.  Can you give us some guidance on how to make the wisest use of this energy and would you talk about the relationship between one’s own level of awareness and the degree to which one can relieve the suffering of others?

Gururaj:  Very good.  Many people, and most people have good intentions.  Everyone here has good intentions.  But the question is what is behind the good intentions?  What is the motivation for the works that one wants to do?  I have come across people that would join various organisations and societies and do some wonderful work.  But yet that wonderful work has no, brings no spiritual gain whatsoever because the intention, the motivation is for self aggrandisement.  It is for self ego fulfilment with the idea of saying ‘I did this and I did that’.  Whenever a good deed is done, and the very moment you think in your mind that I have done this, then that deed is valueless as far as your spiritual self is concerned, as far as spiritual unfoldment is concerned.  It holds no value whatsoever because one works or does things for the sake of the work or for the sake of doing it and not for the reward.  So, many people with good intentions and doing good works want a reward, they want a reward so that they could have recognition – that so and so did so and so.  It has some limited value but it does not have the real spiritual value that we are after.

I do remember an instance where I was involved in building a community centre which comprises a temple, a school and a hall.  So this one person approached me, being the head of the organisation, approached me and said “I would like to give fifty thousand pounds to the organisation.”  I said, “Very good.  That is very generous and kind of you.”  But then he says “There is one condition.  I want a plaque put up, saying that so much was donated by so and so in memory of his mother and father.”   So I said, “No, I’m very sorry.  We don’t need your fifty thousand pounds.   We are not here to boost your ego.  The very little deed that you are doing” – and he is a multi-millionaire and so fifty thousand pounds means nothing to him – “the very deed you are doing, you want to perpetuate the memory of your deed.  So for your sake, you are not being charitable, you are trying to buy a memory so that after you pass away, the memory will still linger where people will say Ah, Mr So and So donated this and that.”

Now, same thing with everything else when it comes to good works.  It has to be done for the sake of doing it and not necessarily as a duty, because duty too has strings attached, that I have to do this duty and you force yourself to do that duty.  There should be no force and neither any compulsion in the act. It has to be a spontaneous giving where you just do.  This is what the Gita tells you, that your job is do the work, is to do the work and not – you are not entitled to the results thereof.  So with that idea in mind, when we do any kind of work without any idea of any return then that is the time the fullest return is given to you.  It gives you a far greater awareness, a deeper insight into life.  It gives you an insight into yourself because that is an unfoldment.

Now the person that could work for the sake of work, – it is very easy to say that – but the person that can work for the sake of work is necessarily a highly integrated person.  So, for example, Teachers in our organisation, I always tell them when you teach, remember you are being benefited more.  And the analogy I love to use is this, that when you water the garden, the water cleans the hose, the hose first even before the water reaches the flowers.  So you see the great benefits that one gains by this total dedication and unselfishness.

Now what do we mean by dedication?  Dedication in essence contains a devotion, for if there is no devotion, there can be no dedication.  And if there is no dedication, there is no commitment.  Now, what are you committing yourself to, or, what are you committed to?  You are committed to yourself.  And when you feel that you are committed to yourself, that you are responsible for yourself, that you are responsible for your own evolution, then all the actions that you perform would be spontaneous.  So have the motivation because no one in this mundane world could be entirely desireless.  So, have desire but that desire should be towards self-unfoldment which in turn means to become closer and closer to God or Divinity.  So, that is a divine desire.  And then as one progresses on the spiritual path, even that desire disappears.  Even that desire disappears.  Because when you become one with Divinity, then there is no question of desire any more, for Divinity is desireless.  Divine Will is a phrase so misunderstood.  Divinity does not will anything.  It is a common saying that ‘Let they will be done’.  Now will in itself implies a thought process.  Without thought, you cannot will and that is more for the human mind rather than the Divine mind.

So what do we mean by Divine Will?  It means that within the laws of nature, things have to function in a certain way.  It is the law of nature that water will run down the hill and not up the hill.  It is the law of nature that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  So it is the mechanism of the world’s functioning.  It is the mechanism of the laws of nature which is will, which is Divine Will that was not created or pre-meditated, but it came about as a manifestation.  Now, if you plant onions, you would not expect potatoes to grow.  And yet if you think Divine Will is so powerful, that can be changed.  You can plant potato seeds and onions will grow because we have given so much emphasis and power to Divine Will, a miraculous power and yet Divine Will does not operate miraculously.  That too is bound within the laws of nature, for what we understand as that Supreme Will is only the will of nature and not of God.  For that Divine essence is beyond all thought.  It does not think.  It is a neutral energy.  And as I would always say, it is like electricity that could be used in a stove to produce heat or in a refrigerator to produce coldness.

So man with good intentions, he would say “I am acting within Supreme Will, Divine Will”.  What he actually means that I am acting according to the laws of nature; in accordance with the laws of nature and not against the laws of nature.  That is Divine Will.  Now, individual will comes in when man starts analysing and weighing the pros and cons of the situation, for the fulfilment and expansion of his own ego, that is individual will.  So when we say “Thy Will be done”, we surrender the ‘I-ness’ that is within us – the ‘me’ and the ‘my-ness’, that we have, that is obliterated, that is forgotten.  We become oblivious to it and just flow with the laws of nature, and that is the Supreme Will.  So here good intentions can have no power whatsoever as long as it is based upon the needs of the ego.  Once the needs of the ego and it’s bolstering up could be eradicated through spiritual practices then those intentions that started in our little minds merge or manifest as the intentions of the Supreme Mind.  Then, only, all our work bears fruit, beneficial fruit, sweet fruit to benefit others.

There was an old man who was planting mangoes.  Now, mango trees take at least about six or seven years to grow and bear fruit.  So, some youngsters were passing by and they told this old man, “You are so old, you have got one foot in the grave, you are going to pass away.  And then why do you plant these trees, because by the time the tree grows and bears fruit, you will be dead?”  So, he says “I am not planting for myself.  I am planting for others to enjoy it.  I am just doing my work.  I still have some strength in my body and let me use it for the benefit of others.”   Now that is good intention.  That is good intention because it is not for his little self, it is not for self.  It is selfless, for the self of others.  Do you see?  That is good intention.

So, you are going to do something for Auntie Matilda.  She is not well, she is ill, so you go down and do the dishes and wash the clothes and this and that.  There are two reasons why you do that.  The one reason is this, that it is because your Auntie and she is now well and, as a niece you have to do that duty.  You don’t feel like doing it.  You say, “Oh, that chore.”  You are doing it for the duty but the observers from outside would say, “Oh, how wonderful little Mary is, she helps her Auntie so much.” And yet she hates every moment of it.  So, that does not bear fruit.  It does not bear any fruit.  Right.  Another reason could be: “Ah, let me look after Auntie Matilda and I know that she has got some …  ahhh! .. and I am sure if I look after her well, I know she will look after me”.  Do you see?  In the one instance, it is a total disgust, it becomes a chore, it becomes a burden to do it.  And the other instance there is selfishness and that could bear no fruit.  So, outwardly, outwardly it might seem to be good intentions.  To the observer, it might be so wonderful and good – “Ah, little Mary is so nice”- but yet it is totally fruitless.  Do you see?  So, like that you have certain old ladies, they are bored sick at home, so they would help the church, to stand on the corners with collection boxes or do other little things.  Something good is done.  Look, everything has some value but we are coming down to the basics of it.  So, why does she do that work?  To relieve her boredom.  That is selfish.  But if she did it with love, she would be so occupied and yet she says to herself that this is my love that I am doing it for.  Then it is of some value.  Do you see?

So, when we have good intentions within ourselves, we must analyse ourselves, we must use the power of discrimination that the so-called good intentions, are they really good?  How much interest have I in it, personal interest?  And if I do not have any personal interest, any selfish interest, then it is good.  Do you see how good intentions work?  And then again a person does something with good intentions and it backfires.  It backfires because however good the intentions were, it has not been properly thought out.  The consequences of the action has not been thought of, or perhaps the person is incapable of thinking what would happen if such and such an act was carried out.

What was the second part of your question?  After intentions?

Questioner:  Can you give us some guidance on how to make the wisest use of this energy and can you talk about the relationship between one’s own level of awareness and the degree to which one can relieve the suffering of others?

gr_firoGururaj:  Ah hah.  The difference between one’s level of awareness and how far one could reach?  That should never be measured, that should never be measured, for life itself is an adventure and on the path of the Divine, it is still an adventure.  The person that really succeeds in reaching Divinity, must be brave enough to leap into the unknown, must be brave enough to leap into the unknown.  For, who really knows, who really knows?  Only the self-realised man knows God.  And yet after knowing Him, he cannot talk about Him.  He cannot tell you what it is, he can only infer what it could be to you because the finite mind has not the ability to describe in intellectual, logical terms what the Infinite is all about.  And we find this in daily life.  If we eat sugar, who can define what sweetness is until you taste sugar yourself.  You can talk of the chemical components in the sugar, you can talk about how sugar is refined, but nobody could ever describe the sweetness of sugar.  Likewise, as our awareness increases, we will be knowing more and more of what Divinity is and what it is all about.

So, let us not think of the goal, that is in the background of the mind, because it has to be in the background of the mind.  The very laws of nature are pushing us to that goal.  Let us think of our present awareness, how much aware am I?  And as we do spiritual practices and our perspectives and attitudes change, we view things from a much wider angle.  And these things we can see as we climb up the hill.  When we are at the bottom, we see a small section of that which is in front of us.  And as we climb higher and higher, the view expands until we reach the top and we have the view of the entire city.  So, we do not know what the entire city is going to look like when we reach the top of the hill and neither should we worry about it.  Because, if we start thinking what is going to be the view from the top then we are doing it with a preconceived idea.  And how can one have a pre-conceived idea of that which is beyond conception?

So in this adventure, we say we leap into the unknown and as we climb higher and higher, we enjoy the vaster and vaster view that is in front of us.  And there lies the beauty, there lies the joy, there lies the joy of self-discovery.  And so, therefore, the path becomes joyous to the goal which is joyousness itself.  And once you reach the pinnacle, the top, you’ll find that the path and the goal is but one, for the path too is Divine.  Why we feel frustrated along the path, why do we feel frustrated?  Because we have not come to the realisation that the path too is Divine, for all is Divine, the end is Divine, the beginning is divine and the path, from the beginning to the end is also Divine.  And that is how, that is how, when we look around with that integrated view, nothing seems wrong, everything is right.  Everything is as it should be from the angle of Divinity.

The things we see wrong, we see because of pre-conceived ideas, things we have been taught by our parents, by our educational systems, by our churches, ‘Thou shall do this’ and ‘Thou shall not do this.’   And, as we said in one of these talks this week that it has some use, but a very limited use.  Blessed is the man who can see no wrong in others, blessed is that man.  For his view will be at the Divinity that is in man.  Tat Vam Asi.  Thou art that!  And when he sees this, he is not concerned of the outer actions of the person.  Lovers – a man loves his wife very much.  Good.  She might have so many faults but because of his love, he does not see those faults.  But if there was no love in the man for his wife, the slightest little thing will irritate him.  He will make a molehill into a mountain.  Can you see the power of perception and love, although an indefinable quality, still has to be portrayed and expressed through perception.  So, the more aware a man becomes, the wider his perception, the wider his view.

One of our meditators, in her meditation had a vision and she tells me, she says “Guruji, in this vision I had, you were travelling with me in a car, through the Alps, and I was so frightened of all these tall mountains and how are we going to get through them all?  The roads are narrow and the roads are so steep.  But then the vision changed and we were in an aeroplane and then I asked you (she says) ‘What are those down there?’  I said ‘Those are the very Alps you saw that you were so frightened of and here they look so small, without fear.’    So, the angle of perception, from what height are you viewing a situation, depends upon you.  And the result from the lower angle would be fear; from the higher angle or integrated angle you have fearlessness.  And where there is fearlessness, there is joyousness.  Do you see?  Life is terribly simple.  Its simplicity could astound you, but we make it complex.

So, with whatever tools we have in hand, we proceed through life not thinking of the goal, not thinking of the goal, but just doing what we have to do.  If you have to reach, walk somewhere which is ten miles way and you keep on thinking ten miles, ten miles ten miles, you will be tired even before you reach there.  But if you only think of the steps you are taking, you will reach the ten miles distance without feeling tired.  So everything depends on thought processes.  Now how can thoughts be moulded how can thoughts be moulded so that we do not suffer as we do?  And there is only one way and that is spiritual practices whereby automatically, automatically the thoughts don’t bother us, we become observers.  I was giving an example to someone with whom I had a consultation.  This young lady says ‘The thoughts keep on bothering me.  It whirls and whirls and whirls in my mind.  What must I do?’  I said, ‘The more you fight against them, the stronger would they become.  Try and observe those thoughts.  Think that you are sitting in the cinema and you are watching the screen.  There is nothing you can do to alter what’s happening on the screen.  In the same way, let the thoughts pass in front of your mind and watch them.  And by watching them, they fade away because here you are becoming a witness, a witness to the happenings in the mind.  And who is the witness to the happenings of the mind is the higher self within you.  So here, very automatically and spontaneously, you are now functioning and are aware of the spiritual self that is there within you, the real doer, the real observer, the real essence.  And then you regard all the movement of thought as a play’.

I had some fun with Charles at his home in Liverpool.  He loves to smoke his Churchillian cigars, big things like that.  Now he had a little device which you turn and it bores a hole in the cigar.  Fine.  So I was looking at it, I was intrigued and I start fiddling around.  So, I started fiddling around with this little thing.  Now it has a drill type of effect – now as you turn it, you find the spiral is going up and up and up – continuous spiral.  And then I showed Charles, I said “Do you see the movement of the spiral?”  He says “Yes.” “But do you notice something else, that in spite of the movement you observe, the whole thing is standing still.”  So there is that stillness within all and within everything.  For this very movement of your mind and everything else has its basis upon that stillness.  So the spiralling movement is a superimposition, a superimposition upon that stillness.

So now when we start observing the thought processes we will see its movement.  But yet becoming the observer, sakshi bava, becoming the observer, you do not feel the power of that movement.  You are unshaken, you stand still.  Nothing affects you.  Even in praise, you are still in tranquillity.  Even in blame, you are still in tranquillity.  So the basis of good intentions, the basis of the various gradations of our awareness, wide or narrow, it is all still based upon that eternal stillness.  All the turbulent waves of the ocean are based upon the calm that is deep down in the ocean.  Do you see?  It depends on attitude, it depends how we treat things; depends how we treat people, and that rebounds on us.

Here, in the dining hall, I don’t know if it was one of our meditators or from, a meditator from the other group here, but while sitting down to dine, took the napkin and pressed it in his collar – like the Italians when they eat spaghetti.  So the manager saw this and the manager thought that this is not allowed here, this is not Italy, this is England.  You don’t do that, you put the napkin on your lap or on the side whatever.  So he calls his Assistant Manager.  He says ‘Look, these people are very good customers of ours, you know, they come here twice a year all the time and they must be looked after.  Now this does not look nice and that man must remove that napkin from his neck but you must be very tactful not to hurt his feelings.’  So the Assistant Manager, here, he is a clever fellow so he went up, I say he went to this person and says, “Sir, what would you like, shave or haircut?” (Gururaj laughs).

So it is our relationships, how we treat people, and the intention should always be such that we don’t hurt anyone by word or deed.  Like this young fellow saying the prayer ‘O Lord, give us this day our daily bread.’  So a friend of his comes along.  He says ‘So much effort going every day for daily bread.  Why don’t you pray for a week’s supply?  Why don’t you pray for a week’s supply?’  So this fellow replies, so this fellow replies, ‘If I pray for daily bread then I am assured that I will get it fresh.’ (General laughter).  Do you see?  There is motivation.  Even in the prayer there is motivation.  He is not satisfied getting, he is not satisfied getting the bread from the Lord but yet he wants it fresh also.  Do you see?  Motivation.  And yet so many things happen in the name of religion.

Are we still having that concert tonight?  You see motivation, motivation is so important.  And in the name of religion so many things have happened in the name of theology.

There was this Bishop of London.  And he, walking in one of those busy streets of London, a little urchin bumped into him.  And, of course the Bishop of London berated him, scolded him – “Can’t you see where you are going?” – type of thing.  So, this little urchin says “You are going to Hell at half past six.”  So – and then the urchin ran away.  And so this Bishop of London started chasing him.  But this big, pot-bellied, – bishops are always pot-bellied, – as he was chasing this little urchin and turned the corner, he happened to meet the Bishop of Oxford.  So, the Bishop of Oxford asks the Bishop of London “Why are you rushing around?”  Do you know?  He says, “You know, I met this little urchin and he says I am going to hell at half past six.”  So, the Bishop of Oxford says “Don’t be in such a hurry, you have still got an hour.”  (General laughter).

Well one thing is for sure, you know we should never put our noses, you know, in other people’s businessSo this one fellow was told, he says ‘People have a habit of putting their noses in my business’.  So his friend says ‘Yes’.  But this fellow says ‘I don’t mind because I’m a handkerchief manufacturer’. (Gururaj laughs)

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