Man's Greatest Problem Is His Ego—His Consciousness of Individuality

The Guru Is Your ‘Spiritual Doctor’

“If you go to a doctor and get a prescription from him, but after you return home you tear it up and toss it away, how will you expect to get well?

“The guru is your ‘spiritual doctor.’ It isn’t sufficient merely to have a guru. You must do what he tells you. It you follow his prescription even a little bit, your life will be transformed. Everyone who practices what he learns here will pass through the portals of death into the radiant kingdom of light.

“Don’t expect to get there, however, if you merely depend passively on the guru—like a superstitious patient whom one may imagine framing his prescription and hanging it on a wall—as if expecting the writing itself to make him well! And don’t think to get there by merely ‘hanging on’ grimly to the end! Go on with steadfast faith, devotion, and joy.

“Long before you reach your divine goal, you will have realized how very sweet life can be when it is lived rightly. You will be glowing with inner radiance, vitality, and happiness!”

Man’s Greatest Problem Is His Ego—His Consciousness of Individuality

“Man’s greatest problem is his ego—his consciousness of individuality. Whatever happens to him, he thinks it affects him personally. Why be affected? You are not this body. You are He! Everything is He: All is Spirit.

“Unfortunately, mankind sees everything as separate and individual. The Lord had to create that appearance. Ask yourself, however: Why? Why is this a tree, and you, a human being? The answer is simple: Without that variety, there would be no play! It wouldn’t interest you.

“If people saw that there was only one essence in everything—painting all the scenes, directing all the action, and acting all the parts—they would quickly tire of it. For ‘the show to go on’ there has to be activity, interest. It all has to seem real. Hence, this appearance of individuality.

“As long as man enjoys the play for its own sake, he will go on birth after birth, experiencing life’s pleasures and pains. The Bhagavad Gita describes it as a wheel, constantly turning.

“To get off the wheel, you have to desire freedom very intensely. Then only will God release you. Your longing has to be fervent. If it is, and if you determined no more to want to play, the Lord has to release you.

“He tries to keep you here with tests, but in His higher aspect, as the Cosmic Lover, He hates this show, and wants you out of it. Why shouldn’t He release you, once He sees that you really want Him alone, and not His show: that you want only freedom in Him?

Desire Him Above Everything Else

“The same essence—conscious life—is in you and in that tree over there. The tree, however, was put there, whereas some free will on your part made you who and what you are. Only the wise know just where predestination ends and free will begins.

“Meanwhile, you must keep on doing your best, according to your own clearest understanding. You must long for freedom as the drowning man longs for air. Without sincere longing, you will never find God. Desire Him above everything else. Desire Him that you may share Him with all. That is the greatest wish.

“And try, meanwhile, to rise above the pairs of opposites, pleasure and pain, heat and cold, sickness and health. Free yourself from the consciousness of individuality, of being separate from everyone and everything else.

“Keep your mind fixed steadfastly on Him. Remain inwardly as unaffected as the motionless Spirit you want to become. He alone is what you really are. His bliss alone is your true nature.”

Excerpted from Conversations with Yogananda

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