The realization of God cannot be attained in a haphazard way. There is a regular method. First you must hear, then you must understand what you hear, and from understanding you go on to realization. You must know the light is there, otherwise you may go in the opposite direction to find it. Next, you must hear from a teacher how to do it. Then you must understand clearly just what it is; and when you have understood, realization will come. So long as it does not come, you must go on discriminating and trying to understand.
It is apparently absurd, but really true, when I say God is nearer to you than you are to yourself. Where are you at present? Where your mind is, there you must be. And where is your mind? Scattered all over the world and attached to it so firmly that you deem it almost impossible to bring it back inside yourself. And where is God? He is always seated in your Heart. So God is always within you, and you are always outside yourself, or in other words “God is nearer to you than you are to yourself.”
Try to get rid of the ego by cultivating a sense of oneness. Think you are in no way superior to any living being, that the smallest insect crawling there is just as you are, and has just as much right to live. When we lose all sense of separateness, egotism will go, the mind will become single or pure, and only God will be there. The mind is like a mirror. When it is clean, it gives a perfect reflection; but if it is covered with dust, it gives no reflection at all. The more you can wipe off the dust, the better the reflection you will get. Every mind can be a reflector of eternal Truth, but the simple mind reflects it more clearly. To such a mind Truth is much more conceivable and visible than to a mind which has been given a definite shape by much reading and study.
The Vedanta is regarded by both the monists and the dualists as the most infallible truth. But while the monist looks at it with the eye of discrimination, the dualist views it more with the eye of emotion. Both are actuated by the feeling of fear, and take refuge at the feet of the Lord. The one tries to ignore the existence of fear by regarding it as the outcome of ignorance; the other admits its existence and wants to be freed from it through the help of the all-powerful God. The path of devotion is taken by those who are emotional. This path is, therefore, more popular and more easily understood; for it is far easier to love and hate than to ratiocinate. So Bhakti, the path of devotion, is intended for all people and for all times.
The love of God, therefore, is the surest safeguard for all people and all time. If we cannot help serving those who are stronger than ourselves in every way, it is always advisable to serve one who is the strongest in the whole Universe. God is that one Being without a second, who is the infinite repository of all that is good or desirable, and Whom no evil has any place. He is omnipotent and omniscient, without any equal or superior. Thus, if somehow or other we can make friends with Him, realizing Him either as Father or Master, our safety here as well as hereafter is ensured.
Wherever there is discontent, you must know that there is the germ of greatness. Read the life of any great man; you will find how constantly active and restless he was, always seeking more and more. And those restful people who have no ambition – they are destined to be coolies. They are just like those bullocks that turn round and round the mill all day long but never leave the groove. When these people were at school they did not care to learn; they were quite content to be at the lower end of the class. But with them there were some who were restless, who were ambitious to learn, and they are the high officers and the men of importance today. Study the lives of all great men, and you will see that they have become great because they were restless. Therefore do not cease to be active.