Reform Yourself, the World Improves to that Extent
We consider ourselves to be the sole doer of everything, and grieve if eventually we come by misery. What is the ground for boasting 'I have done it' when I cannot be sure of the result beforehand? Even to say that 'I dedicate every action to God' nurtures pride. There are many persons of God-fearing conduct, but they too, are not free from the pride of doership. Really speaking, we cannot become spiritual merely by doing even noble deeds; to realize that one is not the true doer is the key to success in spiritualism. A man lands himself into pleasure and pain by vainly assuming doership. We should rise above both of these by ascribing doership to God, to whom it belongs in reality.
It is quite often presumed that a prisoner who feels happy in the confines of his cell must be really happy. Are we not like that prisoner if we think there is nothing beyond the body, and seek pleasure in sense-objects? But just as the prisoner will no longer feel pleasure in his cell once he breathes the free air outside, one who has tasted the supreme bliss that is God, will attach no value to sense-pleasures.! Perhaps today we cannot purge the mind of sense-pleasures, but it does not mean that we cannot turn it to God at all. We should coax the mind just as we pat a shy horse. We should tactfully bridle the mind when it tries to deviate from the correct path. Nama-smarana, to which we are today disinclined, should be forced on the mind, and thereby the mind should be weaned from the sense-pleasures which it cherishes today.
We manage to surmount difficulties in worldly life; why, then, should we be afraid of impediments we come across in spiritual life? If discerning thought cannot make us happy in the present circumstances, we can never hope to be happy.
Can one succeed in the spiritual quest merely by retiring to mountains and caves? Were it so, even monkeys could have achieved it. The lower animals are unable to restrain their passions; but man can discriminate between good and bad; this is a special gift of God to mankind.
Do not bother to reform the world; that is a task for great souls. Reform yourself, and the world is reformed to that extent.
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