Yesterday I read the passage in the Gita from the sixth chapter – verse 9: “He is a supreme Yogi who gazes equally upon patrons, friends, enemies, strangers, peacemakers, those who cause trouble, relatives, the virtuous and the ungodly.”

Again, I smile at this passage where it says those who cause troubles and immediately follows that with relatives. Most of our troubles do come from relatives.

He who sees enemies, friends and everybody with an equal eye – well certainly you feel a fondness for those who are your friends. But in your own deeper self you must see that all are equal. There must be this impersonal feeling that it is not I who am loving them.

God loves them. God is in them. But with enemies many people feel it’s very difficult. Therefore I’d like to stretch this a little bit more. Because, in fact, they may be your enemies but you don’t have to feel yourself to be their enemy.

What I’m saying basically is that having people who hate you can be a great blessing. Don’t feel – why do they hate me. Don’t feel – why does this have to happen in my life. Don’t feel – why am I so unfortunate. Don’t expel from your life mentally those things which, as Master said, what comes of itself, let it come.

When people treat you badly, don’t run away from it. Don’t expel it. Don’t expunge it. Because the more you do so, the more you resist, the more you find yourself on these waves of duality and caught in those waves in such a way that you get involved personally. So failure / success – these things should mean nothing to you.

He goes on to say: Free from the hopes engendered by desire and untouched by any craving for possession, the waves of feeling in his heart controlled by yoga concentration the yogi returning alone to a quiet place should try to unite his little self with the Supreme self.

Now does this mean you can only be a yogi if you can retire into a quiet place? No. You can retire into yourself. As I said recently a very highly advanced disciple of my Guru had a wife who was totally unspiritual and uninterested, and in fact, slightly and unbalanced. He just would withdraw to the bathroom and lock the door and do his meditation there. She had another bathroom so he was free to do it. So you can find some way of escaping from the turmoil of this world without going to the mountains.

Another thing that the Gita says “that which is day for the worldly men, is a night for the yogi. And that which is night for the worldly men, is a day for the yogi.” This has deeper meanings but also a superficial meaning which is valid. That the yogi in order to find peace will stay up at night and sleep during the day when other people are active.

In fact, I remember I lived in a section of San Francisco that was amazingly quiet. So at night it’s not as if the sound level was significantly reduced because there wasn’t much of a sound level. But I noticed that it was much more peaceful in the night. The difference was that at night people’s minds were still – they were asleep. And so a yogi will often meditate at night because everybody’s minds are still, everybody’s mind is quiet and the influence he receives from outside – those restless thoughts –  would reduce.

I know that my Guru used to tell us not to talk outside his window. He was up on the third floor. He explained to us – it isn’t your words – but I catch your thoughts and I have to resist that when I’m writing.

Your thoughts – they emanate; you don’t just have them in your head. Partly for other people’s sake you should have positive thoughts and avoid those places where people think negatively. Don’t think that it won’t hurt you. If there are people in your home, in the house you live in, the neighborhood you live in that have negative thoughts, it will have an influence.

So try to find some peaceful neighborhood. But if your own family is not that way, you have to at least withdraw into yourself.

Deserts are wonderful for meditation. Deserts are places where old vibrations are being purified. The Sahara desert used to be rich with greenery. Now it is vast stretches of sand. This is nature’s process of purifying the Earth. But in the desert, it’s a wonderful place to meditate because there’s a real feeling of peace there. The sound of Aum is very loud there.

You can do anything if first of all you understand that your own body is your temple. Your heart is your hermitage the more you live inwardlyThis becomes finally a matter of general attitude and practice even when you are with other people. Feel that you are in yourself. Don’t feel that you’re out there with them. Always remember to do everything that you do from your Centre.

When people try to get you excited and so on, just deal from your center. You’ll find in time that you don’t get upset if they insult you; you don’t get upset or pleased if they praise you. You find there’s a certain part of you that knows.

I watch myself from my own center which is in the heart. And the more you can do that the more you find that the way they act doesn’t touch you and you are in silence.

Wherever you go, take your hermitage with you.  Krishna is telling people, above all, to seek that inner hermitage of the heart.

There are certain times when you need to sharpen your knife – you have to have something abrasive that will wear the metal down to that fine point where it will be sharpened. Sometimes the company of other people may be abrasive but it can also help you. So whatever circumstances your karma has given you, don’t feel that you are unfortunate. Everything can be made to return to good fortune if you try to understand it.

If people do irritate you then try to bring yourself to that point where you won’t be irritated. You have to become strong in yourself. God is not found by weaklings and the more you can develop this inner strength the more you will be able to stand.

As Yoganandaji put it, unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds. Be calm. Know that after everything in the end the ocean level does not change. Even though the waves go very high, the ocean level is the same. For every high wave there is a depressing trough equally balancing. So don’t be involved in the ups and downs of life.

Find your hermitage inside. If you can go to a solitary Place – fine; if you cannot then find that solitary place in yourself. Here’s a little trick that can help you. You can get one of those machines that give you the sound of waves. They help you to get to sleep at night and could help you also in your meditation. The other way is mentally to tune out. You can also put earplugs in your ears. 

Even a prison can be a place of Joy. There’s the story of Benedict great Italian sculptor of some centuries ago. The pope didn’t pay him and he would refuse to do any more work for the pope until the pope did pay him. So the pope threw him in a dungeon. In this dungeon he had rats running around. He had only enough light to read for one hour and he had very little food. So he spent his whole time thinking of God.

Later he wrote, if you want to know what bliss is then arrange to be thrown into a dungeon with rats. He talked about dampness, he never got dry. He gave all those negative conditions and he said – think of God and you will find bliss always. He was not a really a  spiritual man but still he found this bliss. 

So you will find that the more you give your heart to God and in even very noisy environments take the name of God and do these physical things that also can help you. You can have your own distant cave and be meditating in the midst of all kinds of turmoil.

Live in yourself – that will be your Hermitage.

Joy to you!

This blog has been transcribed from one of Swami Kriyananda’s talks. You can watch the entire talk here

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