Ego is emotion and emotion is ego. Ego and emotion are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. There are two types of ego. One ego is self binding, self centred. The other ego is self transcending and all embracing. The self-centred ego has to be transformed into the self transcending, all embracing and God-fulfilling ego. This self transcending ego is the knowledge of oneness, inseparable oneness with the infinite, the Eternal, the Absolute and the immortal.
In this world man has two significant possessions: intelligence and emotion. These two possessions govern our day today life. But very often we see that emotion gets the upper hand in our life. We know that even if someone is extremely intelligent, when his emotion comes to the fore, it will devour him. He is compelled to do what his emotion asks him to do.
The human consciousness deals with emotion in its two different aspects. One type of emotion is impure, unlit and obscure. The other is pure, divine and all fulfilling. The result of impure emotion is fear. But the divine, pure emotion brings us closest to God.
At times emotion is satisfactory and at times it is not. Human emotion binds us; divine emotion frees us. With human emotion we want to remain in the finite and for the finite. With divine emotion we want to remain in the Infinite, for the Absolute.
There are two ways to approach God. One way is through human emotion, through fear. We can feel, “God is omnipotent. If we do things wrong, then He is going to punish us. We had better try to please Him now, since we have committed Himalayan blunders countless times. The best thing is to please Him.” This is the way we approach God through fear. The other way, a far better way, is to feel our oneness with God through divine emotion. At that time we say, “God is Light. I came from Him; I exist on earth only for Him.” Human emotion is based on impurity, obscurity, imperfection, limitation, bondage and death. Divine emotion is founded on purity, real closeness to God, a divine feeling of oneness and the certainty that God realisation is our birthright.
In our day to day life we express emotion through devotion. We are devoted to some cause or to someone or to something. When we offer our emotion in the form of devotion to ordinary human beings, it is all attachment. But when we offer our emotion in the form of devotion to God or to our spiritual Master who has realised God, then this is pure divine devotion. At that time we feel our oneness with the highest Reality.
In our daily life we express emotion, or ego, to each individual in a different way. We offer our emotion to our father in one way, to our sister in another way, to our friend in a totally different way. We offer our emotion according to our capacity and others receive our emotion according to their receptivity. Each individual has to offer emotion. To others it may be immaterial whether they receive our emotion or not. What is the human father? He is an individual. What is the human mother? She is an individual. What is the human brother? He is an individual. We have to express our emotion to an individual in a particular way. But when we deal with God it is totally different. God is our father, mother, sister, brother, friend; He is everything. All relationships we can have with God. With Him there is no bondage. When we deal with God, we can offer Him our divine emotion, pure emotion. Again, if we offer Him our impure, limited emotion, God accepts it. He illumines our limited, earthbound, unlit, obscure, impure emotion and transforms it into divine, pure, illumined emotion.
To make the most significant progress we should approach God through purity, sincerity, humility and the feeling of inner oneness. The other approach, through fear, very often leads to frustration, for at every moment we have an inner feeling that we are going to make more mistakes, more blunders. Then we hesitate to approach God at all. And when we do make a mistake, we ask God to forgive us. Then, the moment we feel that God has forgiven us we get a sense of relief, we relax, and again we make mistakes. In the human life we are constantly making mistakes, and we are constantly afraid that God is going to punish us. But God does not want to punish us. Just because you have done something wrong, God need not necessarily punish you. No, He will see how sincerely you want the inner life, the spiritual life, and how fast you want to run toward your Goal.
God is at once our father and our mother, our divine father and our divine mother. In the West, God the Father is prominent, while in the East, in India especially, God the Mother comes first. Jesus, the Son of God, always used the term ‘Father’. He said, “I and my Father are One.” Here in the West, the Father comes first. But God is our mother as well. In India the feeling for God the Mother is very strong. For the great spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna, God was Mother Kali. And when India’s first avatar, or direct descendent of God, Sri Ramachandra, had to fight the great antidivine force, he invoked Durga, the Mother Divine. Most of the spiritual Masters of India have invoked God the Mother, while in the West we invoke God the Father. Both East and West are perfectly right. When we realise God the Father, we are bound to see God the Mother within Him. When we realise God the Mother, we will unmistakably see God the Father within Her. We want to realise God the Father and God the Mother. How can we do this? There are two significant ways. One way is through prayer, soulful prayer, inner prayer, constant prayer. The other way is through determined will, adamantine will. In the East we use will power, but before will power we use something else. We feel that we get will power from concentration and meditation. We concentrate, meditate and contemplate to attain will power.
Prayer is of paramount importance in the West, and prayer does lead us to God. But while we pray we have to be extremely careful. Very often we do not offer soulful prayer to God. There is a tendency toward conscious desire in our prayer. When we pray with folded hands we often say, “God, please give me this, please do this.” There is a feeling of desire in our prayer. Now, when we desire something we have to know that we are acting like a beggar. On the one hand we say that we are God’s son, God’s child, and on the other hand we are begging like an orphan. This is why it often happens that in the West we do not offer soulful prayer to God with a feeling of oneness. What we do is beg from God. This act of begging takes us away from our dearest, sweetest Father. But if we can pray soulfully, unconditionally, unreservedly, then we will definitely realise the Highest, the Absolute.
As I said before, from concentration, meditation and contemplation we derive divine will power. Will-power makes us like a prince, whereas prayer, when it is not soulful, makes us like a beggar. Of course, if we use will power in the wrong way, then we will act like a mad elephant. In that case there will not be divine dynamism in our will power; it will be all aggression. But when we use will power properly, divinely, then we will act like a divine prince. A divine prince knows that the divinity, the real reality within him is at his command. He also feels that his inner divinity is eager to meet him and come to his aid. On the strength of his aspiration he is eagerly entering deep within, and his inner divinity is constantly trying to come to the fore. This is what happens when we exercise our divine will power.
Will power also has the capacity to make us feel that God has already given us abundant inspiration and aspiration to realise Him. He will come and stand right in front of us, provided we accept Him in His own way. But when we pray, we tend to seek God in our own way, the way that suits us. We say, “God, I need You, I need You. Early in the morning, I shall pray to You. Please come and stand before me.” But with divine will power we won’t do that. The divine will power says, “I am exercising my inner will to bring my divinity to the fore. Here my role ends. My divinity has to come in its own way, at its own choice hour.” Here there is no begging. Here we say, “I am offering my capacity, my light, let the divinity within me fulfil itself in its own way.
When we approach God the Father, we feel His Wisdom, His inner Light, His Vastness. When we approach God the Mother, we feel infinite Love, infinite Compassion, infinite Concern. It is not that God the Father does not have Compassion. He also has it. But God expresses Love, Compassion and Concern through the feminine form more than through the masculine form. In the masculine form He offers Wisdom, Light, Vastness. Each of these divine qualities-Love, Compassion, Concern, Vastness, Light and Wisdom-is of paramount importance in the life of each aspiring soul. When we feel in the inmost recesses of our heart Gods Love, Concern and Compassion and His Wisdom, Light and Vastness, we know that today’s unfulfilled man will soon turn into tomorrow’s realised, fulfilled and manifested God.
October 26th, 1974
University of Minnesota