The prisoner said, “All this time I have been trying to hide something from you, but today I have lost it. You obviously do not know that the first picture is also of me. Both portraits are of me. I am the same shepherd you met twenty years ago in the hills. I cry for my downfall in the last twenty years. I have fallen from heaven to hell, from the divine to the devil.”
I do not know how true this story is. It may be true, it may not be true, but each person’s life has two converse sides. In every person both the divine and the devil exist; in every person there is the possibility of heaven, and the possibility of hell. In every person, flowers of beatitude can grow and dirty puddles of ugliness can also form. Every person continuously swings between these two extremes. One can attain to either of these extremes, but most people end up at the hellish shore. There are very few fortunate ones who let the divine grow in them.
Can we succeed in letting the divine grow in us? Can we also become like the portrait that radiated godliness? How can this be done? With this very question I would like to begin today’s talk. How to make a human being’s life a paradise, a fragrance, a beauty?
How may human beings know that which is deathless? How may human beings enter the temple of god? What actually seems to happen in life is just the opposite. In childhood we are in paradise, but by the time we have grown old we are in hell. What happens is as if from childhood we go into a constant downfall. The world of childhood is full of innocence and purity, but we gradually begin traveling a road paved with hypocrisy and cunning. And by the time of old age we are not only old physically, but also spiritually. Not only does the body become weak and infirm, but the soul also falls into a ruinous state. But we simply take this as life and pass away.
Religion wants to raise a question about this. Religion doubts this state of affairs; our journey in life must be wrong somewhere if from heaven we end up in hell. It ought to be just the opposite. This journey ought to be a rewarding one – from suffering to bliss, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality. In reality this alone is the longing, the thirst in one’s deepest core of being. The only longing in the being is how to reach the deathless from the death-bound; the only thirst, the only urge in the being is how to reach from darkness to light, from untruth to truth.
But for that voyage to truth, that voyage in search of the divine within, one needs a reservoir of energy, one needs to conserve one’s energy. One needs to collect and build up energy so that one becomes a rich source of it. Only then can one be lead to the divine. Paradise is not for the weak.
The truth of life is not for those who dissipate their energy and become frail and feeble. Those who squander all life’s energies and become weak and pitiable within cannot undertake this expedition. It requires great energy to scale those heights, to go on that expedition.