Is Self-Enquiry Possible or Practical for Young People
Devotee: How to remove my own ‘drowsiness’?
Maharshi: Whose ‘drowsiness’ is it? Enquire. Turn within. Turn all your enquiries towards search for Self. The force set up within you will operate on others also.
It is possible to perform Self-Enquiry when young. In fact, one can learn more easily when young. We all know this. This is true in spiritual matters too. Most of the Great Sages who realized the Real Self, did so and became famous when they were very young.
Yet another matter is that there is no incompatibility between the Self-Enquiry that is done within and the worldly life. When young or of any other age, whether female or male, lead your life according to your nature. Don’t force yourself to change anything. Also, don’t force others to change either.
But lead your life as usual, while at the same time, whenever possible, read, listen, watch and contemplate about Enquiry into the Real Self. Then make efforts to practice meditation, self-enquiry and search for the inner Self. Such learning and practice will enable us immensely to see the events in life with the right perspective, to live our life efficiently and to handle the problems in life.
The young people of the present times believe in intellectual and rational thinking. They question as to why something should be done and what benefit they will get from it. So one thing has to be clarified to them. It is that the inner search for the Real Self, Self-Enquiry, Meditation, Devotion and such spiritual practices are not for worshipping some unknown, distant God, or to totally renounce their present way of living. But it is for leading an efficient life, to get lasting happiness, and to develop the mental strength to tackle any turmoils that may suddenly occur in one’s life. If the young people understand this, they will get involved in these spiritual practices with eagerness and enthusiasm. To tell you the truth, people of all ages should understand this.
M.: The feeling “I work” is the hindrance. Enquire, “Who works?” Remember, “Who am I?” The work will not bind you. It will go on automatically. Make no effort either to work or to renounce work. Your effort is the bondage. What is bound to happen will happen.
If you are destined to cease working, work cannot be had even if you hunt for it. If you are destined to work you cannot leave it; you will be forced to engage in it. So leave it to the Higher Power. You cannot renounce or hold as you choose.
An aristocratic lady looking very intelligent, though pensive, said: “We had heard of you, Maharajji, as the kindest and noblest soul. We had long desired to have your darsan. I am a young woman. I am happy as I have everything I want. But I do not have that peace of mind which brings happiness. I now come here seeking your blessing so that I may gain it.”
M.: Bhakti fulfils your desire.
D.: I want to know how I can gain that peace of mind. Kindly advise me.
M.: Yes – devotion and surrender.
D.: Am I worthy of being a devotee?
M.: Everyone can be a devotee. Spiritual fare is common to all and never denied to anyone – be the person old or young, male or female.
D.: That is exactly what I am anxious to know. I am young and a grihini (housewife). There are duties of grihastha dharma (the household). Is devotion consistent with such a position?
M.: Certainly. What are you? You are not the body. You are Pure Consciousness. Grihastha dharma and the world are only phenomena appearing on that Pure Consciousness. It remains unaffected. What prevents you from being your own Self?
The Self is always there. It is you. There is nothing but you. Nothing can be apart from you. The question of compatibility or otherwise does not arise.
Mr. F. G. Pearce, Principal, Scindia School, Gwalior: Bhagavan has stated [in Sad Vidya Anubandham (Supplement) sloka 36]: “The illiterates are certainly better off than the literates whose egos are not destroyed by the quest of the self.” This being so, could Bhagavan advise a school master (who feels this to be true) how to carry on education in such a way that the desire for literacy and intellectual knowledge may not obscure the more important search for the Self? Are the two incompatible? If they are not, then from what age, and by what means, can young people best be stimulated towards the search for the Real Truth within?
M.: Pride of learning and desire for appreciation are condemned and not learning itself. Learning leading to search for Truth and humility is good.
What we understand from all this is that, the sooner we start practicing Self-Enquiry within, the sooner we, as well as other people, and the whole world, will get well-being, happiness and peace of mind.