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Towards Inner Harmony: Social Revolution Through Individual Transformation

Published: 17.05.2004
Updated: 02.07.2015

A student said, “I want to change some of my habits. Is it possible?”

I said, “There is nothing in this world which may be said to be absolutely possible or impossible. Both statements are relative: everything is possible and everything may not be possible.”

He said, “Tell me if it is possible for me.”

I asked, “How many days do you wish to stay here?”

He said, “I have half an hour's time - I can't spare any more.”

I said, “Then it is altogether impossible. It is not a matter of intellectual gymnastics. A question is asked; an answer is given; the problem is resolved or the debate carried further, endlessly. If you seek a resolution of your problem on the merely intellectual level, I would say it is impossible. However, if you can find time to do some experimentation, if you seek a practical solution to your problems, then it is quite possible.”

At present the intellect occupies the chief role in life. We have given it such extraordinary importance that we feel that nothing is greater in the world than the intellect. Actually, the intellect is not very important; at least not as important as we think it to be. When something of greater significance is supplanted by that of lesser significance, it gives rise to a number of problems. If we analyse the present-day situation, we shall find that many of our problems arise because we give too much importance to the intellect.

Today's man wants to achieve inner harmony on the intellectual level. It is again on that level that he wants to develop his powers of memory and concentration. What can take place only on the practical. experiential level. can never be effected at the intellectual level. It is altogether impossible. The function of the intellect is to analyse, to choose, to argue and to doubt. Any exercise of the intellect begins with doubt: Why is this going on? What makes you say this? What is the secret? Where there is reason, doubt is bound to arise. The intellect must doubt - that is its function. If a politician does not question the statement of the man before him, he is not considered to be a skilful politician. Indeed, he cannot be a very proficient diplomat. The proficiency of a diplomat lies in this that he doubts each and everything and does not trust anybody and is able to convince the public that his opponent's claims are all without any foundation, sheer lies. The word “trust” is not to be found in a diplomat's dictionary.

The father said to his son. “Child, go up and stand on the raised platform”. The child merrily ascended the steps and stood there. The father said. "Son, jump off the platform; I'll catch you in my arms”. The son said. “Father. if I hit the ground, I shall be hurt. I am afraid to jump”. The father said. “0 son. have no fear. I shan't let you fall upon the ground. I shall catch you in my arms. So don't be afraid”. As the child bounced off the plat­form, the father withdrew his arms. The child fell upon the ground with a thud. He was hurt, though not seriously. The child cried, “What's this father? Why did you withdraw your arms?”. The father replied, “I wanted to teach you an important truth. I wanted to tell you, that the world we live in, is a queer world, where a child cannot trust even his own father”.

What counts most in our world is practical behaviour. Here is a world dominated by the intellect where it becomes necessary to learn the lesson that one cannot even trust one's father here. It is the function of the intellect to question everything. Doubt leads to argumentation. Neither doubt nor argument is to be disprized. Since we live in an intellect-dominated world, we cannot do without doubt. If we cease questioning, we might be in a for a ride. And without logic. we might continue in illusion. So logic is necessary. With the help of logic man can resolve many problems. Courts of justice are all founded on logic; without it they would cease to exist. Whoever proffers a stronger argument, wins his suit even if it is false, and the man whose argument is weak, loses his case even if it is true. Logic is the basis on which law courts function. If there were no logic, the courts would be wound up. The existence of various sects derives its justification from logic. Whether there is a soul or not - the whole controversy is founded on argument. For thousands of years reasons have been advanced to establish the existence of the soul; and reasons have not been wanting to establish the contrary. One group has dedicated itself to prove the existence of the soul; another, with no less faith and heroism, is engaged in disproving it. It has been going on for a long time and in the sphere of the intellect it would go on still till the end of time. Without the help of logic, the sects cannot maintain their separate entities. Conflict and war are justified by argument. Conflict is inevitable. There is no society without conflict. War provides work even for the worthless. All the good-for-nothings find employment in war. A great number of people owe their livelihood to war and conflict. It becomes their profession to create bad blood between two individuals and nations. Some people say, conflict between the two can be ended, but the intermediaries do not want it to end. If conflict is ended, they would lose their means of livelihood! Thousands of lawyers would be rendered idle. Logic sanctifies conflict and war.

The playground of intellect is very extensive. The number of players that collect on this playground is a thousand times more than those that collect for the Olympics.

There is the guru and there is the disciple. The disciple belongs to the guru. To belong to the guru is his greatest belonging. A man contradicts his parents and his wife, but he would not contradict his guru. The guru is his God. The guru has been called Brahma, Vishnu and Bhagwan, and by innumerable sacred names. Under the circumstances, how can the guru's word be repudiated? However, when logic prevails, even the guru's word is no longer sacrosanct, and man does not hesitate to reject even that.

A guru and a disciple had retired for the night. The rainy season was in full swing. The guru turned towards the disciple and said, “Please go out and see if it is still raining.” The disciple was a lazy person. He did not want to get up. He took refuge in logic and said, “Master, this dog here has just come from outside. You just feel his body with your hand. If it is wet, then it must be raining, if it is dry, the rain must have stopped. It is quite simple, isn't it?”

After some time the guru said, “Pupil! The night is far gone! I'm unable to sleep. The light from the lamp is falling directly upon my face. Please get up and extinguish the lamp.” The disciple answered, “Respected Sir! Why extinguish the lamp at all? Why don't you cover your face with a piece of cloth? The light wouldn't trouble you then, and you will be able to sleep.”

Some time elapsed. A strong wind began to blow. The guru said, “Disciple! Get up and shut the door. I am shivering because of the cold.” The disciple, without moving in his bed, answer­ed, “Gurudev! I'm far from the door. You are very near. Why don't you kick the door shut?” The guru did so. But the wind once again forced the door open. Thereupon the guru said, “Disciple, get up and bolt the door!” Thereupon the disciple lost his patience and snapped back, “Sir, I've performed three jobs already, why can't you attend to this one yourself?”

When logic supervenes, even the guru-disciple relationship stands vitiated. It is a tremendous problem. If we observe our lives, we shall find that logic is a great impediment. Argument leads nowhere. On the contrary, where there is argument, the problem becomes more confounded. Logic might help resolve five per cent of our problems, but in ninety-five cases out of one hundred, the problem becomes more and more complicated - a silken knot which cannot be unravelled.

So I said to my questioner, “If you want to accomplish your aim through mere reasoning, it is impossible. But if you are willing to experiment on the experiential level, it is quite possible.”

A man wants to change himself, to reform himself, to develop his capacities to the full. But all this is not possible without practical work. A life given to dhyana is a life of application. Mere intellectual understanding is of no avail. Those who gained an insight into dhyana, have done so through intimate experience, not on the basis of knowledge or intellectual discus­sion. As a woman-camper just said, “I never imagined that such a blissful life was possible, that there was an immensely joyful aspect to living. But I experimented and have now had a direct experience of it.” I should like to pose the question if this direct experience could be possible through mere intellectual discussion.

Another camper observed, “I never thought that such a restless mind as mine could ever achieve concentration. But it has happened.”

Now, can logic ever unfold the door to this bliss? Never! bliss can only be directly experienced through practical work on oneself.

Entry into the world of direct experience furnishes the greatest means of achieving self-reformation, the transformation of the individual and the change of habits. This experiential world is the world of dhyana and the world of dhyana is the world of experiencing.

We may also discuss how a man suffers deterioration, and how he may reform himself. The causes of deterioration lie within; so do the means of reformation. A man is good or bad because of inward compulsions. The outward circumstances are not so important. We shall have to delve deep into ourselves to discover the influences at work. There are many glands in the body , which are highly effective in making or marring a man. A physician knows what role these glands play in the creation or destruction of individuality. He is well-acquainted with the importance of the nervous system. Without paying full attention to all this, a radical transformation is just not possible.

Here is something that transpired in Rome. A 10-year old boy became a criminal. To commit crimes grew to be his second nature. For 50 years he committed a number of crimes, was sent to jail 40 times. He suffered great hardships, but could not abandon crime. His criminal proclivity became the subject of research and scientific investigation. He was interrogated. One of the scientists asked, “Were you ever hurt in an accident?” He said, “Yes, once I had an accident which caused an injury near the temple.” The investigator got his temple X-rayed. This revealed some obstruction in one of the temple-nerves. An operation was performed. A particle of glass was found in the nerve. It was this obstruction which had excited his criminal fancy and he was impelled to commit some crime or the other. After the glass-particle was extracted, the criminal proclivity disappeared altogether, and he became a part of the normal civilized world.

The temporal lobe is an important part of our body. The centres of memory all lie near the temple. One who understands the structure of the temple, can develop his memory to the maximum.

The discovery of one's inner self results in complete elimination of crime.

Nowadays, the patient is told, “You get yourself psychoanalysed.” The criminal is told to visit a psychiatrist so as to discover the root cause of his criminal proclivity. Indeed, psychological research is spiritual research; it is the discovery of one's inner self. The psychologist gives greater importance to what happens inside than to outer events.

In the Western world, medical examination for certain diseases is accompanied by psychological analysis of the patients. Many diseases are not physical, but psychological However, since these maladies manifest themselves in the shape of bodily disturbances, they are treated as physical diseases, and their treat­ment is also conducted on that basis. However, the treatment is never successful. The disease is not cured. Only psychological treatment offers relief.

The process of dhyana is a process of inner investigation. When the sadhak engaged in body-perception concentrates on each and every part from head to foot, he goes deep into himself. He is not engaged in research of outside phenomena; he is concerned with what goes on inside. At that time, the flow of the vital force is so strong as to dissolve all obstructions in various parts of the body. Unbalanced vital force regains equilibrium; the flow of electricity is regulated. All obstructions in the centres of consciousness are wiped away.

One man is involved in physical labour, the other in mental work. A third is a philosopher engaged in solving the riddle of creation, a fourth, a scientist who is always thinking of making new inventions. All these four kinds of men experience fatigue; they grow tense. It is not true that only destructive thinking produces tension; constructive thinking, too, produces it. The fatigue of strain experienced by a labourer is not different from that experienced by a philosopher involved in the philosophical aspect of things, or by a scientist mainly concerned with the scientific aspect. The philosopher and the scientist are not free from tension. Because ultimately all activity tires the physical organism. If a man labours too much and does not rest, his adrenal cortex is affected, gives out larger secretions of hormones which, mingling with the blood, produce tiredness. As the adrenal cortex becomes more activated, the thymus gland gets constricted. The thymus gland is located near the chest, and anand-kendra (the centre of joy) is probably connected with it. The functioning of the thymus gland is very important, but it suffers constriction as a result of the increased activity of the adrenal cortex. The unusual activity of one organ affects the working of other organs and the equilibrium is disturbed. The body, in its normal state, is in perfect equilibrium, all parts harmoniously coordinating with one another. A man is injured. The whole energy of the adrenal gland is directed towards making up the loss caused by the injury. The whole organism is constrained to adapt itself to the crisis causing diversion of blood.

Dhyana has great importance in maintaining the energy­ equilibrium, the equilibrium of the vital force, and the equili­brium of electricity in the body. If a proper balance is maintained the individual can reform himself; habits change. The glandular secretions play a great role in the transformation of habits. If the glandular flow is regular, the habits begin to change themselves.

Dhyana is a laboratory for bringing about integration of personality through inner harmony.

Acharya Sri gave a direction, “Let the individual transform himself” Nowadays, the slogan is: "Reform society!" The latter voice quite ignores the individual factor. It cannot be the voice of spiritual science. It believes in bringing about a change in society through violence, through rigid discipline; it aims at subjugating the individual. And yet, despite rigorous controls, the individual has not changed. After 20, 30, 50 years of discipline, he has not moved forward an inch. Even today he is as avaricious as before. In spite of dictatorship and stern laws, man continues to be corrupt, indulging in smuggling and other evils. People in communist countries are once again wondering as to how, despite rigorous controls, man has not undergone a trans­formation. The fact that man has not changed at all is now generally admitted, even at the official level.

The voice of spiritual science is much more profound. This voice sings of social revolution through individual transforma­tion. The individual can reform himself; his heart can change. And spiritual science furnishes the sole means of effecting this transformation. Save that, there is no other way.

A friend said, "I came here, and did sadhna. Now I feel all the members of my family should attend such shivirs." On being asked why, he said, “If all the members of my family are reformed, my life would be far more peaceful and joyous.” This is true. When an individual is reformed and feels that his habits have changed, his passions abated, he would certainly want his wife, his son, and other members of his family to follow suit. First-hand experience of seIf-mutation makes an individual want to see his whole family transformed, because lasting peace and stability at home can only be maintained when all members of the family are wide-awake.

Dhyana is a powerful means of bringing about a complete change of habits. The flame of wisdom ignited by the Tulsi Adhyatalna Nidam serves as an effective means of changing habits. The sadhaks come, do sadhna, and find themselves transformed.

Nowadays, even the great psychologists experience difficulty in effecting a change of habits. They have certainly succeeded in bringing about some chemical changes through various drugs, but their success is not complete. For there is a limit to the effect of drugs, and no drugs can ever bring about a lasting transformation. Only when the inner self is transformed, and there is a change in the quality of the glandular secretions and corresponding bio-chemical changes in the body, does a genuine reformation take place.

If through experiments on the impact of emotion, through the development of concentration, through investigations into the working of the vital force, through the observation of mental processes, through breath-perception, body-perception and the perception of the psychic centres, we can ourselves bring about a change in the chemistry of the body, we need no drug whatsoever.

A participant in the s hivir told me that he had spent about Rs. 50,000/ - to get rid of his trouble. He was suffering from insomnia. All his attempts to procure sleep without taking some soporific ended in failure. He heard about the miracles wrought in. shivirs, came to know about direct experiences of various people, and decided to attend a shivir. After attending one, he now felt that he would need a soporific no more. During the duration of the shivir, he had had sound sleep every night without taking a pill.

Only this morning Acharyavar said that a guru's task consists in this that he helps his pupils to achieve a direct experience. If the pupil's intelligence is awakened for once, he would require no further prompting.

"Let the individual reform himself!" is a powerful dictum. The day the process of individual reformation starts, the process of social reformation would automatically begin; the two go together.

It is incumbent on us all to zealously propagate the ideal of 'individual reformation'. The present means of communication are very extensive. Given a project, adequate experience and right intelligence, much can be accomplished; without these three nothing can be done.

The dictum of 'individual reformation' was enunciated along with anuvrat. On the day the anuvrat movement was launched, this dictum gained greater momentum. Our objective is: 'Social revolution through individual transformation. ‘But we have no quarrel whatsoever with the social reformers. We are, not in opposition to the communists and the socialists. They want to reform society; and so do we. Only our technique is different. They want to attack the problem of social reformation directly without any reference to the individual. The spiritualists, on the other hand, want to bring about a revolution in society through the transformation of the individuals composing it. The future will tell which technique is right. A correct analysis of the fact would reveal the truth that no social reformation is ever possible without first effecting a change in the individual. A comment in a report of the Communist Party reads; “Even after decades of concentrated endeavour, it appears that the individual has not changed.” Individual ownership had been liquidated in the communist countries, but now it seems to have been partly revived. In the communist system where one could not imagine any possibility of corruption before, embezzlements of crores of roubles have come to light. It is not known how many people were hanged, how many put to death. However, merely hanging criminals does not automatically put an end to crime. The necessity of an inner transformation in the individual is now once again being actively debated in the communist system.

Two hundred years ago, Acharya Bikshu enunciated a important doctrine to the effect that there can be no religion without a change of heart. Today, this significant truth is universally acknowledged. There can be no religion without change of heart. Also, without a fundamental heart-change, there can be no reformation of society. When these truths become self-evident, spirituality will shine brightly arid man will be happy and consequently society would flourish. With a flourishing society, the nation would become prosperous healthy and happy.


Published by: Kuldeep Jain for "HEALTH & HARMONY" An imprint of: Jain Pubilishers (P) Ltd, New Delhi

Reprint 2006

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bikshu
  3. Adrenal Gland
  4. Anuvrat
  5. Anuvrat Movement
  6. Body
  7. Brahma
  8. Concentration
  9. Consciousness
  10. Dhyana
  11. Discipline
  12. Fear
  13. Guru
  14. Gurudev
  15. Psychic Centres
  16. Sadhak
  17. Sadhaks
  18. Sadhna
  19. Science
  20. Shivir
  21. Soul
  22. Thymus Gland
  23. Tulsi
  24. Violence
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