Editor’s note: For the ‘Book of the Month’ feature we highlight a piece from ‘Songs from the Soul’ – a collection of meditations and poems by Anilbaran Roy. This was first published in 1939. The following is excerpted from the edition published by Divyajivan Sahitya Prakashan, Pondicherry, pp. 8-11.
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Peace is the foundation on which the edifice of spiritual life is to be built up—peace, deep and unshakable, pervading every part of our being.
A restless soul torn by passions and attachments cannot receive the light from above, cannot have the taste of pure divine joy, and constantly loses balance and self-control. Such a soul pulled in all directions falls an easy prey to the forces of falsehood. We hanker after work, thirst for knowledge, feverishly pursue the transient joys of the senses. We are anxious for gains, afraid of losses, impatient of obstacles and failures.
The source of all this restlessness is our ignorant belief that we are the masters of our work, and that our egoistic self-satisfaction and enjoyment is the sole aim and meaning of our life. True peace comes only with the knowledge that it is the Divine who does everything, and that the whole world including ourselves exists solely for the sake of the Divine.
Firmly established in this divine knowledge, we should discard all desires and passions which are the real enemies of peace and spiritual life. We must not allow anything to move us unless it be an impulse from the Divine Mother. Unassailable and unshakable, we should sit tight in the fundamental calmness of our being. Only then will it be possible for the Mother to work in us and raise us to her own life.
Our life is a series of actions and reactions going on blindly for the satisfaction of the lower needs of nature. Objects and forces constantly act on us from the outside and move our mind and the senses, which rush out to seize them, to possess them and mould them egoistically; hence arise thoughts and actions, passions and emotions, which in their totality form what we know as our human life.
Herein lies our bondage, this capacity of forces acting on us to produce reactions. On account of this, we are at the mercy of the forces of nature which surround us and are ceaselessly acting upon us. If we can withhold ourselves and stop these reactions, if we can receive all touches from the outside absolutely unmoved, then we shall be really free; and it is only in a heart and mind so calm and free from reactions that the joys and the glories of a higher divine life can manifest.
As the sea receives innumerable streams of water into itself without being in the least perturbed by them, so we must receive all touches from the outside without any perturbation, and must not allow anything to draw us out, unless it be an impulse directly from the Divine Mother.
And this is possible only by dissociation from the movements of the lower nature, which we should regard as being merely the interaction of natural forces on one another. Practising this dissociation from the lower movements, always seeking our union with the Divine Mother, all perturbations and reactions will cease in us, and a fundamental peace will be established in every part of our being. Only then will the foundation of a higher divine life be truly laid in us.
Mere retirement or cessation of work does not bring real peace; as long as the mind and the life and the body continue to submit passively to external influences, there is no real surrender, and we cannot expect their transformation.
There is still much inertia and obscurity in my mind. It constantly opens itself to all sorts of ideas and suggestions from the outside, and mechanically moves round and round about them. These restless, senseless movements obstruct the descent of the Truth on the one hand, and open the being to all sorts of hostile forces on the other. So the vital and the physical are still passive and ignorant; excited by the slightest impact from the outside, they tend helplessly to start on their old blind movements.
All these parts have to be roused, illumined, and made alert; with a silent but resolute exercise of the will, their outward and downward course has to be withheld, and they are to be turned again and again towards the immobile peace and silence of the inner self; then and only then can real peace descend on every part of the being.
Firmly established in this peace, we have to continually surrender ourselves to Thee, Mother, and ceaselessly aspire to the higher life. Only under these conditions will the Divine Grace act and victoriously bring about our transformation.
To preserve peace and equanimity under all circumstances and at every moment of our life, that is an essential condition of our progress. Light and power and joy will manifest only on a solid foundation of all-pervading peace.
And peace is the real truth of our being, all perturbation and restlessness being only a movement of falsehood, a perversion of our true nature. Our true self is eternal and immutable.; it wants nothing, desires nothing, is full and complete in itself, enjoying its own delight of existence; unmoved and immobile, it supports all the movements in the universe.
It is the ego in us, our lower self, that is at the mercy of every passing current in life, drifting helplessly, moved and tossed by every wave. We must free ourselves from this ego and stand on the immutable peace of our true self—that is the first essential condition of a higher divine life.
Established in this peace, firmly refusing to be moved by anything that may come to us or happen to us, we must always look up to Thee, Mother, to manifest our true nature. When Thou hast willed to uplift us, to give us divine life, what fear, what anxiety need we have ? With complete surrender to Thee, Mother, let us calmly await our self-fulfilment through Thy divine will and Thy all-conquering Grace.
~ Design: Biswajita Mohapatra