A group of Swami Ambikananda’s most committed devotees, now in their third generation, have been living at Eithin-y-Gaer on the Welsh Marches since 1976. It’s an old farm house with a hanging wood above and rough pasture below, set on a steep hillside across the valley from Corndon Hill, a remote and wonderful place. In this spectacular setting Corndon resembles a vast landform sculpture of the Neolithic earth mother, a geophysical goddess who has witnessed so many unforgettable, amazing kirtans celebrated at Eithin-y-Gaer while Swamiji was on earthplane. Last Saturday, 30 August, the devotees came together there at the invitation of Sarasvati, who wished us to share her birthday celebration with singing the names of God, dancing, chanting, reading scriptures, eating and drinking, laughing and chatting, worshipping and meditating, and having an all-round good spiritual time.
Starting with Mahayogini’s exquisite ‘True love, invisible love’ the music included songs and bhajans from Hari Om, Tryambaka, Gayatri, Marian, Sanjana and Sri Lakshmi; Narada read the Chandogya Upanishad encapsulating the essence of Vedanta; there were readings from Hindu and Christian mystics mainly centred around the theme of Divine Love, and readings from the compilation of Swamiji’s sayings called Le Repas de l’Ame (published 2003). In addition, notes were read from discourses by Swami Ambikananda which he delivered at Eithin more than 30 years ago, in September, 1983:
From Swamiji’s first discourse:
‘Everyone has to play his part, his role, his game. Some people take a short time, some people take a long time, some people take no time at all when there is a burning fire within the heart, a fire without smoke. Smoke can make you cry now and again, but that fire dries the tears; that fire burns quietly inside, consuming all into ashes, peacefully. Desires are burned, and God is held personally, very very close, over night, in your bed.
‘Where can Brahman be found? Everywhere? No doubt He is everywhere, but not everywhere can you touch Him. You can’t touch electricity, touch fire, and say “This is bliss”. But there is an invisible spark, a spark that hits a person, and then that person goes into bliss. Therefore God does manifest to His devotees, His children. He does show that He is in fire, in water, in air, in the voice, in the heart. Then it’s easy to find God everywhere. Otherwise fire burns, wood is wood, smoke is smoke – there’s no denying it.
‘Therefore a man must be like a child in communion with the Absolute, if a person in all his bareness, his nakedness of the soul, has separated himself from his body, mind, whatever he can think, see, hear, and if he has approached what you call God, Allah, Jehovah, Brahman, and if his mind is pure. Christianity says that the pure in mind shall see God, but we think the pure in mind shall receive God’s power, a power which unsheathes his subtle bodies – gross, subtle, astral, and all this – the five koshas [sheaths]. Slowly, slowly He awakens him to divine consciousness.
‘When the man comes out he says, “In all my bareness, my nakedness, I was talking to God. I didn’t see Him but I thought, If He is there He will hear me. I laid myself down on the bed, coiled myself up like a three-year-old kid, wrapped myself in my blanket, and inside I talked to my Lord silently…”
‘It is said, say a prayer before going to bed. But I think that greater than prayer is to challenge divinity: “Either You are or You are not, once for all!”, truthfully, honestly, sincerely, with all your faults and incapabilities, your laziness, your not knowing anything about spirituality or how to penetrate. The first step in this vastness of infinitude is this: “Wherever you turn you face It.” You Face It. I.T. It is reduced to two letters, neither masculine nor feminine, this Quality within, without.
‘When This is started it makes the mind withdraw from the objects of the senses. It is above humanity, above mind, above matter, beyond darkness. It is the spray of a levitated soul, of a condition detached from the cause of attachment. This transcends time, goes beyond darkness. This is. And This has come to share, to give, to console, to bear, to forbear, even to elongate life if need be, to behave in a human way, in human space, to walk a way with his weaklings, his sick. You cannot say Mother, you cannot say Grandmother, it is much much more than that. You cannot even say God, because then you limit It. God is a name, but there is no equivalent to give It. Perhaps It is mergence in the absolute, the Great Cause, Karana to Mahakarana. The Great Great Cause.
‘I tell you, life here is just like a breath. God in fact breathed the holy breath into us, as it is. But that breath is not revealed to many religions. Christianity has discovered that God has breathed into man the Holy Breath. That breath has a name, and the name is God. God is not different from that Holy Breath. It’s called “So Ham”, the breathing mantra. So Ham means “I am That.” So “He” also is not. “That” is one of the qualifications to approach. First there was no life, a corpse. Then – breathe in – life has come! Then – hold breath – hold life, hold this ceaseless stupid fast breathing of birth and death – we have to stop that.
‘A man must have an aim, like aiming a gun. If you’re a hunter you can’t just shoot anywhere. You have to aim at the target. Likewise don’t let your mind deviate from the reason you are here, whatever you are doing. When you go home, go in your bed, tuck yourself up, get under your blanket, sleep like a child – you will find some invisible force cradling you. There’s Lord Ganesh Rakshamam [Protect me], and Durga Mai, and Shiva too is protecting. And this Shiva is not different from Lord Vishnu. And Vishnu is not different from Brahma. It is said, Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Dev Maheshwara [The guru is Brahma, the guru is Vishnu, the guru is Great God Shiva]. This God is moved by the true, sincere, genuine, childlike call of the devotee. God answers. And what is this answer? Tat, and we are twam. God is Tat. Tat twam asi [Thou art That]. God answers all these questions in spiritual experience.
‘You must not think you are going to meditate to have spiritual experience. Do you get spiritual experience in your meditation? In church? In chanting, and reading books? They are not bad, but do you desire the essence? Do you desire the book, or the essence of the book’s saying? Therefore, go to your bed, and out of the depths of your immortal soul call sincerely, childlike, truthfully. When a child cries in bed the mum comes. God is not cruel to let the child cry and not give food. You are not crying for food but the agony of search. You face the God who is experiencing your meditation. God is the Doer, we only seem to do all these things. No doubt it is good for us to learn to do all this. But all these things that you are claiming, they belong to the Universal Landlord. So if he finds you fit, and you befit that call, He will come and give you hours of spiritual experience.
‘That’s why a man of God can bear the stones, the sword, the bullet, and those who insult him. He has no desire for the body. He lives for the sake of others. Living among true holy men is a divine light. The holy man touches you, accepts your service, makes you sing, the holy man experiences your instrument. Narendra sang – and Ramakrishna went into samadhi. So serve the holy, live in the company of true holy men. Be good, give them everything. When you go to bed you sleep directly in the bed of the eternal being, and God comes and lays with you – the egg of cosmic consciousness.
‘So serve holy people, discriminate. When they ask you to do something, don’t resent, just do it, because you don’t know the will of God. They are saving the world. You don’t know how much they can do for you. They live temporarily with you here, but they are the company of the most high, of light, of what you are seeking in your thousands of years of study and austerity, all your discussion, your intellect. It’s simple with them. They take out their heart, they blow their mind. If there is any hindrance of the physical in their minds, they blow it then and there.
‘First God comes and awakens the devotee. He winds the heart like a watch, and the heart, the consciousness is awakened. The mind is alert. Wake up the soul! The Most High is visiting your room. If you have a blanket it’s thrice blessed, if you have that bed, here sports the Lord! If you have a body you try to stretch your arms like wings. Let the devotees have these divine pains in the body, let them experience divine freedom. Come out of this prison of the body. Sight, sound, touch, all this, these senses have made us become their slaves, there’s no end to it. So once for all break free, and “Know ye the Lord!”.
‘Man has got intellect. But how can intellect understand beyond intellect? Tell me? When intellect is blasted it exists not. Then it’s the will: “If you love me, follow me.” Mine is His, His is mine. Therefore it is good that you join in satsang, but it is even better if you blast yourself onward, quick, and spread your arms – what is greater than a divine link, a divine embrace, an embrace that can join all seekers? So embrace all, regardless of who they are, what they are thinking, how their steps are faltering.
‘So you have understood this method? My technique, if you want to know, is to blast this humanity into infinity. And that takes not long! Does it take God long if He really wills to do anything? So my wish, desire, love, heart – “I have joined my heart to Thee, all that exists art Thou.” I merge Vishnu into Shiva, I merge incarnations into Guru Dev. At the end I merge Guru Dev, Merging is Lingam (“that which emerges and merges back again” says Satya Sai). We emerge from God into name and form, and we are going back into Absolute. Therefore this human idea of body has to go. Nothing venture, nothing gain. He who saves his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for my sake shall be – visited this very night.
‘A blind cannot lead a blind or they will both fall. We are not saying we are enlightened, but how can we promise you the kingdom of heaven if we ourself do not know anything about it at all! Can you speak about something in a flash unless you have some knowledge, some idea about it?
From Swamiji’s second discourse:
‘Can you fool the One who has created men, saints, sages, professors, teachers of the world, gandharvas, beings from planes of bhuva, swaha, tapa, maha, jana, and sathya? Who are these, what are these? Are they just planes? No, they are states of heightened, elevated, spiritual consciousness. Consciousness takes name and form, and leans in your heart. You may say, “After my meditation there followed some emergences.” You understand? That emergence personified, that shakti [power] hiding? When these cannot hide any more, then it comes, bashfully, the statue, like that. And that comes and leans in your heart. It can blow your mind. But when the mind has been blown, that’s a good double mind you have got. When the mind is blown you can see these hemispheric high plane beings of high plane consciousness.They play hide-and-seek, therefore you don’t seek these, they come of their own accord.
‘What do you seek, what is your purpose? We don’t ask you to give up your job, we don’t ask you to sit idle or roll beads continuously. But we do ask you when you retire to bed to bring your mind that high, lay your heart softly in His. You can’t think of the formless God just like that. You are name and form, isn’t it? These image forms are instruments again. When the instrument is good it gives a good sound, and if you can play truthfully it is beautified, it is elixir, it is ecstatic joy, and it is overflowing.
‘It’s very difficult perhaps for a man to love much. Yes or no? Jesus said, “Love your enemy,” and “Love ye each other as I have loved you.” The God of love speaks of love, belches love, dies in love. Some die in love, for love’s sake. “For love’s sake I will give my life” – Jesus has done it, for redemption and love of mankind. He shed his heart’s blood on the cross, for love. Crucified and died. For love, not for power, though he was the greatest miracle and power also, who rose from the dead.
‘It’s easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to take a rich man to the kingdom of heaven. Who has said that? Remember, how much you have to get rid of your – ?
Raja Ram: Money?
Swamiji (laughing): ‘I don’t mean you should throw it away. But you have to be detached. You must send love. And receive it. Let people feel it, embrace them mentally. God dwells in their heart. If you don’t love them for themselves, love them because “I dwell in their heart”. You may like this person better than that because of condition, age, style, fashion. But love the person for what they are, and because God dwells in them. And also, love them in a high and transcendental way. What is there behind? Love for love’s sake…
‘You are here for a little time, a little sojourn. So, beautifully cut through this. The yogis go in cave, but they go very high. Our message is: [sings] “Love God.” Can you see light coming out from this sound? Love is pitched high, beyond expression. But you can’t keep to the highest note much, not for long. Now suppose for every true love there was a little jyoti [light], a little Indian lamp, emanating from that sound. Suppose now, the light itself is glorifying the Most High, light worshipping Light. Wouldn’t you admire the state of light worshipping Light? Instead of pondering, still arguing with your mind, intellect and body, whether I will, or I should, or – where am “I”? These are not emanating out of love. And God is light, is truth, is the way. Antaryami jyoti, paramatma jyoti [the light is within, the Light is God].
‘And after you come out of that state of light to find this ugly body, defective, sickening, a dustbin of karma – who wants that? Belching nothing but old rubbish? Come on, break the cocoon, become beautiful, like a butterfly. Let mind fly high, let rubbish body stay here. So burn rubbish. What do you do with rubbish, put it in fridge? You burn it! Therefore, man, play your game, bear.
‘A few days you are here, so why this tyranny, this animosity, this hate? Why this “I am superior”? In this film of the world you are playing as extras. Come on, you are here for something, you are playing a little part – but you can win a big game with that little part. So don’t waste your time. Love! You don’t have to express your love, but love! Love is transcendentally beyond, it’s an arrow that hits God. When I send you the love it pierces through, and where does it end? Where it comes from. Where it comes from.
‘How can you lift your mind if you have no love? Can you feel bliss? So understand what we are saying. When this is hit like that, mind is lifted, breath, nostril is blocked by itself, kumbaka [breath retention] becomes natural, which means that karma strikes off what is written of its own accord.
‘Therefore man must change his nature into divine. We are here to get the thread through the needle. Then affiliate yourself quickly to the thread of Guru Dev Maheshwara. Guru sakshat ParaBrahma [the guru is verily beyond Brahma]. Without him nothing is possible.
[Sings] “O my God of gods, you are my mother, you are my father, you are my family and friends, you are my all, O my God, O my God of gods.”
‘You know, a child has every right to disturb God. Therefore become a child. It’s not the first time I’m telling you that. Every time you have seen us I am showing you that our nature is blissful, joyful, no perturbance. You have desires, and every desire is a shelf filled with little boxes of karma. Open the heart and shut up the mouth, keep quiet – you will see how God will talk for you. God is silence elixir, He is not for the gross ear, I’m telling you that.
‘You have to come out. After you have come out of this cocoon of darkness, then you can talk like this. Otherwise, “thou hast no right, O vain man.” Become the kind of person that the Most High comes to visit instead of you going to Him. Isn’t such a devotee a great great drop of bliss in this world? To attract the Creator! To grow up into divine light together! Seek and ye shall find! This Lord will make life happy if you guys will take refuge. But I think regretfully, most of you are not seeking fully, soulfully – perhaps due to ill health, to lack of comfort of the world, insecurity, maybe due to fear, or even perhaps fright of this God you are seeking.
‘But God is to be loved, as we have said. Fear bad things, fear hypocrisy, wickedness, a lot of unwanted things. But to fear God, to fear the light that dispels darkness, to fear the destruction of the body – that is something not to be feared. Out of fear you are encased in the body. But eventually, progressively, you will come out from the body, whether with fear or not. Sooner or later. Every day is a step towards the grave. But I tell you, fear not, if you take refuge.
‘Remove all these little bits and pieces, push death out and bring God there, bring immortality. If in any way possible you can help with an enquiry, a phone call, a visit, a gathering – all this, with Mother’s kind permission, you may do, if She allows. If not, then do your level best. We always bless people who are not with us. We always help people who are with us here and have gone [passed away], but who join us when we join together. Because where God is, everything is. And this God – this is not a headache for Him.
‘Have you felt it? Ask yourself, aren’t you still in darkness when you should share the fruit of your immortality with those who thirst? Give your heart. What can be greater than to love with your heart, with your might, with your soul? It will be a higher state than meditation. I tell you, we don’t know how to practise meditation, that’s why we don’t teach anything much.
‘This God is warning, devotees should take it seriously. The best thing for them is to let the heart meditate, not the mind. As long as you have intellectuality you will go to asylum. But when you have divinity, full, you will be made a prisoner – of love. One is mad for God, the other has gone mad!
‘We hate to see people in darkness. Are you happy to see your friends’ blindness when you can see colours, paintings? So think of this state I am telling you about. You have to come out. I bless you. Believe in what I am saying. The autumn of your life is finishing, the old leaves, the old habits. We will pray for you to come out.
‘ “May my body become pure, may I see the light divine, may the light divine be in me. May there be peace in all the world.”
‘So listen, brethren and sisters, let there be light. “From the unreal lead me to the Real; from darkness lead me into Light; from mortality lead me into immortality, O Rudra with Thy compassionate face protect me, Thou.”
[Sings/chants] ‘Let there be no darkness. Show them these multifarious colours that they cannot see yet, my God. They are light, they should go back to light. Why should they be confined in this little body? O my God of gods, let them be affiliated with Thee, let them marry the goddess of light, Lakshmi Herself. Thou art Narayana, they are Narayana, Thou art Narayani, they are Narayani. Let them be above the material things of this petty world. Let them see how small-minded it is to be attached to this little “snail-house”. O my God, let them break the cocoon, come out of themselves, let their soul develop and grow wings. Light, light, light. Light goes with light. All is Narayan.
“Thou art the great effulgent God Narayana, whatever is seen or heard in the whole universe is enveloped by Thee.”
‘ “From the unreal lead us to the Real; from darkness lead us into Light; from mortality lead us into immortality, O Rudra with Thy compassionare face protect us Thou.” ‘