To be spiritual means to be an emperor within yourself. This is the only way to be. Is there any other way to be? Consciously, would anybody choose to seek something from someone or something else? Maybe out of his helplessness he seeks, but consciously, would anybody choose to do this? Wouldn’t every human being want to be that way, where he is one hundred per cent within himself? It does not mean you have to become totally self-sufficient. For external things, maybe you will have to go to the world outside. Always there is interdependence, but within yourself, everything is there: you don’t have to seek outside. Even somebody’s company is not needed for you. If another person needs it, you will give it, but by yourself, you don’t need anybody’s company. This means you are no longer a beggar within. This is ultimate freedom.
Spirituality is not for pussycats. You cannot do anything else in your life but think you can be spiritual, this is not so. If you have the strength and the courage to just take up anything in the world and do it well, then maybe you can be spiritual. This is not for cop-outs in the world. Right now, this is the impression that the whole country has – probably the whole world has – that only useless, good-for-nothing people become spiritual people, because the so-called spiritual people have become like that. People who are incapable or people who cannot bear the ups and downs of life, all they have to do is to wear ochre clothes and sit in front of the temple and their life is made. That is not spirituality. That is just begging in uniform. If you have to conquer your own nature, if you have to reach the peak of your consciousness, as a beggar you can never reach there.
There are two kinds of beggars. Gautama, the Buddha, and people of that order are the highest kind of beggars. All others are plain beggars. I would say the beggar on the street and the king sitting on the throne are both beggars. They are continuously asking for something from the outside. The beggar on the street might be asking for money, food or shelter. The king might be endlessly seeking happiness, or conquering another kingdom or some such nonsense. Do you see, everybody is begging for something? Gautama begged only for his food. For the rest he was self-sufficient. All others, the only thing they don’t beg for is food. For everything else they beg. Their whole life is begging. Only food they earn. A spiritual person has earned everything else from within, only for food he begs.
Once it is like this, this person lives a magnificent life. Once there is no hankering, once there is no need within, only then one knows what love is, what joy is, what it means to really share. Now, sharing means, “You don’t have to give me anything because I don’t need anything from you, but anyway, I will share this with you.” Setting up a whole life of barter may be convenient, but it is the way of the weak. This weakness is the first thing that has to go if you want to meet the ultimate. If you want to meet Him, you better be on His terms. He is not going to come and meet a mere beggar. You either need to learn to meet Him on His terms or dissolve; these are the only two ways.
Gnana and bhakti mean just this. Bhakti means you make yourself a zero, then you meet Him. Gnana means you meet Him on His terms: you become infinite. Otherwise, there is no chance of a meeting.
Love, or bhakti, looks like a much easier path. It is, but there are more pitfalls on that path than in gnana. With gnana you know where you are going, you know if you fall. In bhakti, you don’t know. Even if you have fallen into a pit you will not know; that is the way it is. Even if you are trapped by your own illusions, you will not know. In gnana, it is not like this. Every step that you take, you know. Every step of growth and every step backwards, you know. Everybody has the capacity to do it if they rise above their limitations. It is just about whether they are willing to do it or not, that is all. I cannot say it is a hard path, but it is the path of the courageous, not of the weaklings. The weaklings can never make it, but everybody has the possibility of making it.
The way we think is the way we become. Whatever you hold as the highest, naturally all your energies get drawn towards that. A person who wants to walk the spiritual path has to make it that way in his mind, that this is the highest, that “this is the first and last thing that I want in my life.” So, naturally all his energies are oriented towards it. Only then the moment-to-moment struggle is gone and you don’t have to struggle to correct yourself. Life and its joys need not be a constipated extraction but a roaring torrent.
To be an emperor within yourself