Question: You once said that you have all the museums and parks within you. This week I realized that I have all the insane asylums of the world within me! Do realized masters still have crazy minds but transcend them? Or does the mind eventually get sane?
Sri Gurudev: The mind is never sane. It’s always insane. That’s the nature of the mind. Knowing that something will hurt, the mind goes after it. What do you call that? Insanity. That’s the way the mind is; you have to rise above it.
Accepting that nature of the mind, you go beyond. Those who have accepted it and not allowed themselves to be bothered by that are the sane people. They look at others who don’t accept the insanity of the mind and label them as insane. That’s why, many times, sages and saints say the whole world is an insane asylum. It is true. There’s nothing sane in this world. Everything that you think great is not great at all. It’s all an illusion.
Your job is to recognize the truth within yourself and recognize that you are happy without running after any of these things. It is only by realizing your own true nature that you are ever going to be sane.
Unfortunately, even to know your true nature you need the help of the mind. So, make friends with the insane mind and enlist the help of the insane mind itself to turn within.
Who is to realize your true nature? That true nature is God or God’s image. If you are God’s image, who has forgotten it? How can you-as God-forget yourself as God? You can’t really. When the mind gets tired of running after worldly things for its peace and happiness, the same insane mind turns toward the true Self. When the mind turns toward the Self, it loses itself and gets absorbed in the true Self.
Imagine a drop of water that wants to know the depth of the sea because people have told it, “You are nothing but a drop from the sea. You have to realize your source.” What should the drop do? Drop into the sea from where it came. Once it drops in what happens? It loses the individuality that is called “a drop.” The same amount of water is there still-not as drop but as the sea.
The mind is like that. The sea is the Cosmic Self, or God. The mind came out of that Cosmic Self and got an identity. There comes a time when the drop wants to know, to realize its source. In that effort, it loses itself. How can I see my Self? By losing myself. If you want to see that Cosmic Self-the God in you-as a separate entity, you are still the limited little one seeing the big one; you are not experiencing it.
Even the individuality is not reality. There’s no literal separation between you and God. You are never separated. Reaching God, realizing God, becoming God-that’s all just nonsensical terminology, used because we need to say something. The reality is that you are never separated from God; you only think you are separated. Thinking. That’s the insanity of the mind.
Question: When the mind stands to lose the ego identity, what does it feel like? Does it happen instantaneously or gradually?
Sri Gurudev: It is instantaneous. But you lose that identity gradually. It’s almost like you go to sleep, but you don’t sleep right away. You lie down, doze off. Until you really fall asleep, you are not sleeping. You can gradually go to the mood of sleep. Once the real sleep comes, you are not there; you don’t even know where you are, what you are.
Here is a chemical example: in the chemistry lab, we study how to balance the acidity into alkalinity. There is acid in one cup, an alkalai in another cup. To reduce the acidity and to make it alkaline, you drop in the alkalai and keep on dropping and testing with litmus paper. Which drop will make it alkaline? You don’t know. Until the last drop, it is still acid, but you don’t know which drop will make it alkaline.
It’s the same with all these yoga practices. By these practices we are slowly reducing our acidity. By dropping in Yoga, bit by bit, you lose your acidity. And then, all of a sudden. you are all alkaline. It’s impossible to say exactly when. Keep on doing the practices. All of a sudden you will be enlightened.
Whatever practices we do, we do with the mind. All the pujas, all the postures, japa, breathing, and so on-everything is mental. You, as the mind, are doing these things. That way you are slowly rubbing and scrubbing and cleaning it out. All these things are there to help clean your mind. As long as you have false identification you are insane, because you have assumed the limitations. You are limiting, separating, identifying yourself.
It’s nice to talk about all this, but for it to mean anything, it has to be your own experience. Keep on practicing, keep on practicing, keep on practicing. One day you will realize who you are. When, where, how, nobody can say. It depends on how sincere you are. Never give up until the final day comes. Keep practicing. You will definitely realize that Truth. God bless you.
(Swami Satchidananda from IYTA Newsletter, January 1997)