Hail, Columbia! Columbia, the country, Columbia, the university, Hail! The word Columbia immediately inspires my heart, awakens my mind and pulls my life straight into my soul’s core.
The world is told by “The Star Spangled Banner” what you truly and soulfully are: “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
On October 17, 1949, Columbia University conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on Prime Minister Nehru of India. Our Prime Minister, at the beginning of his memorable speech, said something most significant.
I have come to you not so much in my capacity as Prime Minister of a great country or a politician, but rather as a humble seeker after truth, and as one who has continuously struggled to find the way, not always with success, to fit action to the objectives and ideals that I have held.
Nehru is a veritable pride, not only of India, but of the entire world. Indeed, he was a peerless son of Mother Earth.
Now I wish to tell you, in all humility, that I too have come to you as a seeker after the Infinite Truth. I have come here to serve you all, to serve this august university in its inner urge to reach the highest Truth.
God and man: God and man are one. They are eternally one. God knows it. Man also will know it. He will.
Fear separates man from God. Doubt separates man from God. Self indulgence separates man from God.
When we fear something, we have to know that suffering has already started torturing us from what we fear. We have two children within us. One child is afraid of the teeming darkness in the world. The other child is afraid of the world transforming infinite Light. He is the ignorance child who is afraid of darkness. He is the child unaspiring who is afraid of Light.
Doubt is obstinate. Doubt is cruel. Poor man, with his doubt he doubts the existence of God, who is All-Existence. Alas, what is worse is that he is ever in doubt about his own doubts. He is lost. He is ruined. Sangsayatma Vinashyate, “A doubting soul is doomed to be ruined.” This is what we have learned from the Bhagavad Gita, India’s Bible.
Self-indulgence: Today what we call self indulgence, tomorrow that very thing we call self annihilation. Indulgence comes to man with a gift, pleasure. Man touches and feels the gift. Lo and behold, pleasure transforms itself into bitter frustration.
No conscious embodiment of God where there is fear.
No conscious realisation of God where there is doubt.
No conscious oneness with God where there is self indulgence.
It is in man’s self knowledge that man realises his conscious oneness with God. Alas, we think that we are what other people say we are. We also think we are what we appear to be when we use our limited capacity of understanding. According to others, we are useless. According to ourselves, we are meaningless. But according to God, we are at once most useful and most meaningful. He uses us to fulfil Himself. We must use Him to realise our true Self. The meaning of man’s existence is God’s Delight. The meaning of God’s existence is man’s realisation of the Absolute.
We need love to establish our conscious oneness with God. If we want to have the accent on love in our life of aspiration, then we must put the stress on sacrifice at every moment.
We need sacrifice to establish our conscious oneness with God. If we want to have the accent on sacrifice in our life of aspiration, then we must put the stress on surrender. We must offer our total surrender to God’s Will, and we must stay with our unconditional surrender at God’s Feet.
Today’s belief is tomorrow’s achievement. In order to see your sincere belief transformed into true achievement you have to plead with your conscience to be your constant guide. When conscience is your guide, you grow into God’s colossal Pride.
Very often you think of what you have to do, but you always do what you want to do. You want to have conscious oneness with God, Look around and you will see that somebody easily does what somebody else emphatically said could never be done. One was right yesterday and the other is right today. Here is a radiant proof that the message of the past can easily be challenged; or rather, it would be better to say that the knowledge of the past can be surmounted. It is meant to be surmounted.
Sisters and brothers, I offer to you my soul’s assurance that you are bound to get what you want. You want to have conscious oneness with God. This oneness is certain. This oneness is destined. And to achieve this conscious oneness with God what you have to do is to meditate and concentrate, nothing more and nothing less. Meditate on the Highest in your soul and concentrate on the lowest in your nature. This is what you have to do. When you play your part, God will play His part in you and for you. During your meditation God will present you with His Infinite Joy, Peace and Bliss. During your concentration God will transform your ignorance sea into the sea of eternal Light. And then, unmistakably, what you will have is conscious oneness with God. Then what you will be is God’s Dream fulfilled and Reality manifested.
April 16th, 1969.
Columbia University, New York, N. Y.