--> Skip to main content

Only True Spiritual Thought Is Of The Highest Order - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Only true spiritual thought is of the Highest order. This seeking of the Highest is called the “first half” by the Saints. A proper understanding of this results in the vision of God, and eventually matures into the certainty of the true nature of the Self in the “latter half”.

One who takes to the path of the spirit starts with contemplation and propitiation. It is here, for the first time, that he finds some joy in prayer and worship. At this preliminary stage he gets the company of co-aspirants. Reading of the lives and works of past incarnations of God, of Rishis, of Saints and Sages, singing the glories of the Name, visiting temples, and a constant meditation on these result in the photic and phonic experiences of the mystic life; his desires are satisfied to an extent now. Thinking that he has had the vision of God, he intensifies his efforts of fondly remembering the name of God and His worship. In this state of the mind, the Bhakta quite frequently has a glimpse of his cherished deity, which he takes to be the divine vision and is satisfied with it. At this juncture, he is sure to come into contact with a Saint.

The Saint, and now his preceptor, makes it plain to him that what he has had is not the real vision, which is beyond the said experiences, and is only to be had through Self-Realization. At this point, the aspirant reaches the stage of the meditator. In the beginning, the Sadhaka is instructed into the secrets of his own person, and of the indwelling spirit; the meaning and nature of prana, the various plexuses, and the nature and arousal of the Kundalini, and the nature of the Self. Later on, he comes to know of the origin of the five elements, their activity, radiation, and merits and defects. Meanwhile his mind undergoes the process of purification and acquires composure, and this the Sadhaka experiences through the deep-laid subtle center of the Indweller; he also knows how and why it is there, only that the deiform element is kindled. This knowledge transforms him into the pure, eternal, and spiritual form of a Sadguru who is now in a position to initiate others into the secrets of the spirit. The stage of Sadhakahood ends here.

As the great Saint Tukarama said, the aspirant must put in ceaseless efforts in the pursuit of spiritual life. Thoughts must be utilized for Self-Knowledge. He must be alert and watchful in ascertaining the nature of this “I” that is involved in the affairs of pleasure and pain arising out of sense experience.

We must know the nature of the active principle lest its activities be led astray. We should not waste our energies in useless pursuits, but should use those energies in the pursuit of the Self and achieve identity with God. Spiritual life is so great, so deep, so immense, that energy pales into insignificance before it, yet this energy tries to understand it again and again. Those who try to understand it with the help of the intellect are lost to it. Rare is the one who, having concentrated on the source atom of the cosmic energy, enjoys the bliss of spiritual contemplation. But there are scores of those who take themselves to be spiritually inspired and perfect beings. They expect the common herd to honor and respect their every word. The ignorant people rush towards them for spiritual succor and do their bidding. In fact, the pseudo-Saints are caught in a snare of greed, hence what the people get in return is not the blessings of satisfaction, but ashes.

The self-styled man of God, speaking ad nauseum about spiritual matters, thinks himself to be perfect, but others are not so sure. As regards a Saint, on the other hand, men are on the lookout for ways to serve him more and more, but as the ever contented soul, steeped in beatitude, desires nothing, they are left to serve in their own way, which they do with enthusiasm, and they never feel the pressure.

Greatness is always humble, loving, silent and satisfied. Happiness, tolerance, forbearance, composure and other allied qualities must be known by everyone; just as one experiences bodily states such as hunger, thirst, etc., one. must, with equal ease, experience in oneself the characteristics connoted by the word “Saint”. As we know for certain that we need no more sleep, no more food, at a given moment, so too we can be sure of the above characteristics from direct experience. One can then recognize their presence in others with the same ease. This is the test and experience of a tried spiritual leader.