Intoxication of Egoism
Behind us all is one spirit and one life; how then can we be happy if our neighbor is not also happy? Selfishness may begin with the thought, ‘As long as my country is benefited, that benefits me;’ and then it will narrow down to, ‘If my family is benefited, if we become wealthy and have desirable things, that is sufficient for the present!’ And then it narrows down again, ‘For my father, or mother, or wife or children,’ until it ends in, ‘Nothing matters as long as I am happy myself.’ Man has now become cold, ignorant, and blind to the law that life depends on the happiness of those with whom we live. The whole of life is one. In all these different names and manifestations, life is one. The true thought is, ‘If my wife is not happy, if my children, my neighbors, my servants are not happy, how can I ever be happy?’
The Prophets and Masters have warned mankind against the intoxication of self-interest and egoism. The world, the nation, the family can be pictured as one single body and when one part of the body has pain although the other part has no pain, the person feels sick. Therefore you can never be happy unless you see your brother and your neighbor happy also. But very few people think this way; very few see it from the true point of view. … For man must have a perfect ideal to which he directs his activities. When the ideal is imperfect, the progress is imperfect also. … The work of the spiritual man is to forget his false self and so to realize the true self which is God, and this true self not only in him, but in his neighbor also.
Quietude Gives Wisdom
He who keeps no secrets has no depth in his heart. His heart is like a vessel turned upside down. The secret of all attainment is centered in reserve. Spiritual or material, when a person has told his plans to others, he has let out the energy that he should have kept as a reservoir of power for the accomplishment of his object.
The teaching, ‘Be wise as a serpent,’ may be interpreted, ‘Be quiet as a serpent.’ It is quietude that gives wisdom and power. The thought held in mind speaks to the mind of another, but the thought spoken out most often only reaches the ears of a person. Every plan has a period of development; and if man has power over his impulse, by retaining the thought silently in mind, he allows the plan to develop and to take all necessary changes that it may take for its culmination. But when the impulse expresses the thought, it so to speak ‘puts out the flame,’ thus hindering the development of the plan. The wise speak with their mind many times before they speak about it to anybody.
I say, “Without the control over your lips you will not be able to develop inspiration.” As a poet has said, “When the shell closes its lips, then the pearl develops in it.” … the more you are able to keep your secret in your heart, the greater you become. You have more weight, your personality becomes more reliable, more dependable.
As soon as a person thinks, ‘I am more,’ the doors of knowledge are closed. He will no more be able to widen his knowledge because automatically, the doors of his heart are closed the moment he says, ‘I know.’
Spiritual knowledge, the knowledge of life, is so intoxicating, so exalting, it gives such a great joy, that one begins to pour out one’s knowledge before anyone who comes along as soon as this knowledge springs up. But if at that time the disciple could realize that he should conserve that kindling of the light, reserve it, keep it within himself and let it deepen, then his words would not be necessary and his presence would enlighten people. As soon as the spring rises and he pours forth what comes out of that spring in words, although on the one side his vanity will be satisfied, on the other side his energy will be exhausted. The little spring that had risen, he has poured out before others and he remains without power. This is why reserve is taught to the true disciple, the conserving of inspiration and power. The one who speaks is not always wise; it is the one who listens who is wise.
The more one knows the secret of the world the more one feels inclined to keep it secret. And the more one keeps secret what one knows the more life unfolds its secrets to one. … it must be remembered that the power of the body is nothing in comparison with the power of the mind. And the power of the one who keeps a secret is greater than the power of the giant who lifts a mountain. All that one holds is preserved, all that one lets go is dispersed.