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The Pool of Wisdom

THE POOL OF WISDOM

6. OMMEN CAMP FIRE TALK, 1926

I wonder -if I may be permitted to be quite personal- how much each one of you has really gained, how much each one of you has accumulated during our Camp, now that we have time to think, to look around and to consider.

For myself, I have learnt considerably. I have learnt to be really excited, in the proper sense, in the nicest possible way; because you must be excited to do things, you must be intense to do things; and with the excitement you must have the opposite, you must have repose, you must have the training to keep that excitement under control.

I have really learnt one thing: that is, not to rely on any human being. You will not misunderstand me, for there is nothing wonderful about it; but, for your spiritual, for your mental, for your emotional well-being, you must be detached. If you want to create, if you want to think out, if you want to feel intensely, you must be disinterested, you must cut yourself away from your own personal and narrow affections, from everything that binds; then you are able to judge, then you are able to look at and feel things in their proper proportions.

To give an instance: I remember once, when I was standing in the railway station at Benares (the holy city of India), seeing a Sannyasi, a person who has given up the world, who has adopted the robe of enlightenment, and who carries in his hands the bowl of Happiness. And there were we, a few of us, with numbers of people around; and there was the Sannyasi, a short distance away, very dignified, very calm, with a kind of cold look in his eyes -not hard- but as though he thought: "What are all these people doing with their garlands, with their achkans*, with all their possessions?" There he was with his loincloth, his staff in his hand, and he looked so happy, and he was happy, able to judge everything around him from that disinterested point of view. The world could give him nothing, because when a man gives up the world, he has true contentment -not the contentment of stagnation. So he was able to detach himself entirely from all little things. And I have learnt to do that, during all these days of excitement and energy and work.

When you do have some measure of detachment, however little, you enjoy life much more. The things that we experience are as garments for our adornment that we put on or take off without being identified with them. And that is the first thing I have learnt.

I am putting all this before you to help and encourage you to find out for yourselves how you respond to events and whether they have left a mark, deep or superficial, after the experience. You need not tell everyone, but you should ponder over it for yourselves.

You should think out for yourselves what you have gained, what has been the outcome of all these events; for every little thing, every little action, every little thought, if it is properly used, has a great effect if you consider it afterwards. You, then, really become a different person every day.

I myself have altered so much during this fortnight, within and without -my body, my face, my hands, my entire being have changed. That is the only way to breathe the fresh air of life -by this constant change, constant turmoil, and constant unrest.

That is what makes the difference between the genius and the small man. The genius has a volcano always inside, creating trouble and shooting forth flames into the heavens; whereas the small man is just going along calmly without producing those flames, without shooting those stars into the skies.

If there is this tremendous unrest, you are always searching; you are always willing to learn from the highest as well as from the meanest thing of the earth. We are too apt to look for the great things of life only among the tall trees. That is the second thing I have learnt.

The third thing that I have learnt concerns love. What we call love -human love, human friendship is a vital thing. You must have human love; but there is a further stage, where you walk over the threshold of this human love into the kingdom of divine love.

Then you can feel that, even though you may be surrounded by thousands of people you like and who like you, even though you may be surrounded by many more thousands who are indifferent to you, or even dislike you, it leaves you untouched. You may have superficial disturbances; the lake may be ruffled by the passing winds; but go deeper into the water, and you will find there is the solidity of depth and of great peace.

You are a different person when you have entered into that realm of love, and that is what we all desire. We all crave affection -I as much as anyone else. If we show a little affection to others, we see at once a real joy on their faces. But it is only a stepping stone into that Kingdom of Divinity where you are yourself love. When you have grown to that stature, it does not affect you whether anyone likes you or not, whether someone loves you or loves another, for you are the essence of love.

I often imagine that a beautiful great mountain, though it might like admiration, though it might like human appreciation, is always great; whether we admire it or not, it is always beautiful. It must be exactly the same thing with us. We feel lonely, we feel depressed; from those things we must escape.

The fourth thing that I have learnt is observation and adaptability. Through observation you learn; through observation comes adaptability.

One more thing I should like to add. We, who have all been at this Camp, have lived close to Nature, in close proximity to the skies and the stars and all the great things of the world. Do not go back and do small things, do not demean yourselves; be on your guard! It is really easier to do big things than small. If you must fall, fall out of the thirty-third floor; do not stumble on the pavement.

I assure you, you will find real joy in life through this Vision of eternal Happiness. To me life is much more beautiful now than ever before, because I have this Happiness within me continually -I am knocking, knocking against doors that are closed and that I desire to open.

If you have that Happiness, you do not want anything else in life. You are absolutely independent. You are happy without the complications which ordinary happiness brings. In you are the source of all Happiness.

* An Indian Coat

The Pool of Wisdom

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THE POOL OF WISDOM, 6. OMMEN CAMP FIRE TALK, 1926

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