Don’t Settle for Less Than Total Absorption in God
(8:15) Those great souls who love Me, and (out of love for Me) merge in My spirit, achieve the highest success (the only kind worth striving for). They need never again to this ephemeral, grief-stricken world.
Many spiritual aspirants equate success with some achievement that falls short of total oneness with God. They are like mountain climbers who are satisfied with climbing a moderately high peak, when Everest (the highest of them all) is nearby—or else they are satisfied to rest on a plateau, and don’t make the final push to reach the mountaintop.
Spiritual powers, worldly respect, people’s devotion, ardent crowds of followers, success in one’s outward accomplishments—these and countless other things often seduce even (relatively) good yogis to settle for less than total absorption in God.
We Can Never Turn this World into a Perfect Paradise
One such “lower peak,” widely approved by people on this earth, is the thought, “If only I could make this world into a perfect paradise!”
One has, indeed, a duty to bless and help others to the degree that one is able, in order that they, too, climb toward the highest fulfillment. Nevertheless, this duty must be seen in relation to the highest blessing of all, God- (or Self-) realization. Less than that, the fruits of anything one does with ego-consciousness can never be higher than ego-consciousness itself, which is, alas! the source of all man’s suffering!
This world is a school. The reason children go to school is to become educated—that is to say, in a spiritual sense of the word, to become perfect. The goal of every system of education is the training of children, not the improvement of the school (except, of course, with the higher aim of providing a better education).
One creates good karma by whatever good work he does, but even good karma, as long as it remains “hitched to the post” of ego, returns to earth again and again.
No one can make a paradise of this earth, for people themselves are imperfect.
Our Self-Realization Is Our Greatest Gift to the World
The best way to improve matters is to work with a few people, who themselves desire a better way of living, and then to hope that they, by their example, will inspire others who will inspire others.
Even so, how much can one person, one small group, or even one large group of people can accomplish in this world? Relative to the vast size of this world, what man can do is very, very little.
Do whatever will purify and sublimate your ego consciousness in self expansion. Any work that remains after you leave this earth may be taken up by others, who have been inspired by your example.
Beyond that, one should remember that one moon, as we said before, gives more light than all the stars. One Self-realized soul accomplishes more by his simple presence in this world than all the “stars” of busy (but mostly frustrated) world changers.
(8:16) Those living in every world, from the highest to the lowest, are subject to rebirth. Only on entering into My consciousness to they gain release (from karmic bondage).
Excerpted from The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, by Paramhansa Yogananda
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