15th May, 1947
This afternoon, a young man from Tiruchirapalli wrote a letter and handed it over to Bhagavan. The gist of that letter is, that countless people in the country are suffering for want of food, that there is any amount of commotion, that we are unable to see their troubles, that Bhagavan must give out some plan to alleviate their suffering and that elders like him should not remain unconcerned like this.
Bhagavan read it and looking at him critically said, “Is that what you want? You say that you are suffering at the sight of their troubles. Does that mean that you yourself are all right unlike them and are happy?” “No, I am also suffering in one way or other,” said that young man. “Ah! that is the trouble. You do not know what is your own happiness, and yet you are worried about others. Is it possible to make all people similar? If all get into the palanquin, who is to carry it? If all are kings, what is the point in saying that any one is a king? Some people will be known as wealthy only if others are poor. A Jnani can be recognised only when there are ignorant people. Darkness will be known only when there is light.
Happiness will be known only if there is suffering. Food will be tasteful only if there is hunger. Hence, help can be rendered only to the extent possible, but if it is desired to make all people equally happy, that is never possible. A number of leaders of the country are working. Some of them say the work that has been contemplated has not been finished properly and so they will lecture. What for? People become leaders one after another and work goes on. There must be one shakti directing them all. If we throw the burden on that shakti with the confidence that it can do what is required and be free from worry, things will somehow go on.
Some preach against the killing of animals. If people do not listen to them, they say they will fast unto death, ‘We will commit suicide or we will give up life’. If one says he will commit suicide, if others do not give up killing animals, is not suicide itself a killing of a living being? They think suicide is merely leaving the body. Is not the body a part of the self? Atma is always there, at all times and all places. Instead of looking at the Self which is real and permanent, if one looks upon the body, etc. as one’s own Self, it is suicide. What other murder could there be than that? He who is able to see his own Self by knowledge and wisdom will not be moved by whatever conflicts may come about. He will look upon the sorrows and happiness of the world as mere acting on a stage. In his view the whole world is a stage. On that stage the same man once puts on the dress of a king, another time of a minister, next a servant, washerman, barber, and many other dresses, and acts appropriately on each occasion, but as he is conscious of his real Self and knows that he is not any one of those whose parts he is acting, he does not worry about the various vicissitudes of life he depicts on each occasion.
In the same manner, the world is a stage of Ishwara. In that stage you are an actor. You may help to the extent of your ability, but you cannot make all people equal.
It has not been possible in the past for anybody to do so and it will not be possible in future either.”
The young man said, “Because of all this, there is no peace in this world. I am unhappy about that.” “Look, you have come again to the point where you began,” Bhagavan replied. “Instead of feeling concerned about there being no peace in the world, it is better to enquire and find out how you will get peace in this world. If you give up that objective, what is the use of worrying yourself about the lack of peace in the world? If one’s mind has peace, the whole world will appear peaceful. Tell me, have you that peace?” asked Bhagavan.
That person said, “No.” “Ah! that is the thing. You do not have peace. You do not know how to secure that peace. If instead of trying to gain that peace, you attempt to secure peace for the world, it is like one who has no food, asking for food himself which, if given, he says he will use to feed any number of other people. Something like the lame man who said, ‘If only someone holds me up can’t I beat up the thieves!’”