As I sit in Tapovan Kuti, my table piled high with Mission work and correspondence, I pause for a moment and listen to the sweet melody of Mother Ganga. Slowly the mind’s eye lifts up and I can see her in one glance, as she trickles forth from the eternal snows of Gomukh; runs, curls, gurgles; gushes down the mountains, broadens in the valleys and, slowing down majestically, merges into her destination – the all-embracing ocean. As if she were going from youth to old age all at once, forever the same and forever changing. A perfect example of the lessons of life that we can learn from all around us.
Life, unfortunately, does not come with a prescription on how it is to be used. We all must make our own choice independently and intelligently. Man is ever striving for harmony and perfection. How great he would be if only he had more control over himself!
We are exploring outer space and are ready to plant our flags on the moon but we have not yet managed to explore our within. We have, to a great extent, mastered nature, but we have not yet mastered ourselves. We have material goods and comforts to hedge us from the vicissitudes of life, but to no avail. Because we look for happiness in the wrong direction how can there be any lasting value in this ever-changing world, dancing around us! So we get discouraged and feel as miserable sinners. But the Halls of Vedanta have room even for miserable sinners. How great she must be! And such is her glory that she knows no sins — only mistakes, and mistakes can be corrected.
Every philosophy must necessarily not only expound its theory but also show us how to reach the goal else it is empty daydreaming. We must know the concept of Reality, the higher Truth. We must find our place in it, and philosophy becomes complete only if it can teach us how to strive to reach the peaks.
Religion is the science of life. It is not for the animals. It is not for those who live barely removed from that level. They regard it with suspicion. They consider anyone with a trace of spirituality as peculiar or odd; yet they envy them for the inner peace and happiness they can see in them and all around them. This is not gained by book learning but by practice and application. Anyone can gain it — it is there for the taking. Make it yours!
Today our glorious heritage is buried under the debris of matter and machines. But it is not dead. Unearth it silently, secretly, diligently, tirelessly. Discover the changeless substratum of the ever changing. Come to realise that you are not this bit of flesh, this bundle of emotions, this confusion of thoughts. Find the highest in and through life. Think, reflect, meditate. Withdraw your energies from their various fields of dissipation and employ them in the search for truth. The search is arduous, the path is rough and difficult. But the Ultimate Goal is yours by right. Let the words of the rishis spur you on in your adventure Divine. Let the sacred texts be your beacon light. Pursue the path not only by studying but by assimilating the ideas and coming to live them.
There is no better time than the present. Let us start, here and now!