Whatever your deity is – look at It. That is how, when sadhus [monks, holy men] are tortured by different people, they look at the deity. Other people are torturing them but they see their own deity doing the torturing. While singing look at It. When you’re singing to Krishna, you’ll think of Krishna. When singing to Shiva, you’ll think of Shiva. Sing to Ramakrishna, you’ll think of Ramakrishna. But - No! The idea is that the first one which comes in the Vishnu Sahastranaam, [the thousand names of Vishnu] or Purusha Shukta [in the Rig Veda] that’s where the idea comes from that all these names belong to this One. Why one? This one – my deity.
You will only do that if you sincerely believe that your deity is everything. Not that everything is your deity but that your deity is everything….plus. That’s the idea. I want to keep putting this in your mind. It is high time now that you get used to it. If I’m sitting and singing ‘AUM Venkatesh, AUM Venkatesh, AUM Venkatesh, AUM’ I’m think of Swami Venkateshananda. Or ‘AUM Nischalananda, AUM Nischalananda, Nischalananda AUM,’ then I’m thinking of Swami Nischalananda. It shouldn’t be like that. The idea is that you must be looking at your deity, always. If they say, ‘AUM thief, AUM thief, AUM thief,’ look at your deity. Just your deity – nothing else. What is he or she not?
Somebody asked Ramana Maharishi, ‘tell me – where is God?’ Ramana Maharishi looked at him directly and said, ‘tell me where there is no God and I will tell you where he is.’ If somebody asks, ‘which is your deity, tell him, ‘which one is not mine? - then I will tell you which one is mine’. That is the secret behind loving methods to worship God. Not changing the names and forms. From that point of view the name and form does not matter but the deity matters. Others can call your deity by any name. Ramakrishna puts it wonderfully. I’m mediating on water and I call it water, water, water. Another person says pani, pani pani. Another says jal,jal, jal. It’s the same thing. It’s the same?...thing. Different sound. Different?...names. If a man went to the north Pole and there saw mountains of ice and he looked at that and said, ’water, water,’ – but he’s looking at the ice. And you see flowing water and you say, ‘water, water,’ - you see the liquid. The two people get together and say, ‘water, water.’ The one is seeing a big mountain of white ice and you say, ‘no, it’s flowing,’ but both are saying the same thing. One is talking about God concretised [with form] the other may be saying God Absolute [formless]. It’s still God.
You discriminate – this is the reality. All others – all of the names – are only attributes. Names imply action. What does it imply?...action. You say Shivapadananda – Shivapadananda is something comprising all the attributes. ‘And the word was with God and the word became flesh’. [Swamiji quoting from the beginning of the Christian Bible] But it’s still the word. In the form of the flesh. What is the word? The word was with God therefore the word is God. Not was God.
A guru told his disciples, ‘we are at war with the Moghuls and virtually all the soldiers are employed or engaged in war. There is nobody to do first aid. Nobody to carry water’. So they found an old man among the disciples and said, ’could you please do service in the war of carrying water to the wounded and dying on the battlefield?’ The old man humbly consented and he carried on with his worshipful task. After a couple of days a report came back to the guru that this man was a traitor. This disciple of yours is a traitor. The guru asked why. The person said, ’this man, instead of giving water to our own soldiers - who are fighting for us – I see him giving water to the enemy and reviving them.’ The guru said, ’summon him,’ – and they did. And when he arrived, the guru said, ’look, in the war we asked you to give water to the wounded soldiers. Are you carrying out your duty?’ He answered, ‘yes, Maharaj, I am carrying out my duty.’ The guru asked, ’how is it that your brother disciples say that you give water to the enemy too?’ He said, ’Maharaj, I don’t give water to any enemies. I don’t give water to anybody else but you! On the battlefield I see you wounded, dying of thirst and I give you water. On the battlefield O lord, I see you fighting with the army, one against the other – fighting yourself. I come here lord, I find you giving instructions. I see only the guru - I see you, lord.’
The guru looked at all the soldiers. He put his head down and said to the soldiers, ‘Let him go ahead.’ Only a man like that can be a first-aider in the whole universe. No ‘mine’, no ’yours’ – only a man like that can cure the illness, the sickness of death and birth, of old age, of decaying bodies – only a man like that. Only a disciple like that.
Therefore, when you are singing, see your deity - only your deity. O lord, when I close my eyes I see Thee – One without a second. Even if there is a form, there is no second to it. Nothing to compare to it. In the Ramayana when Raja Dasaratha and Kausalya worshipped and performed difficult tapasya, Lord Vishnu appeared and each of them was asked separately, ‘What do you want?’ Dasaratha said, ’Lord, I want a son, just like you’. The secret is that; ‘just like him.’ A son was born. But ‘like him’ cannot be anyone else – there’s no relative. There’s no second. God had to come himself. [Swamiji chuckling] That’s the secret of the scripture. In some way they bluff you just to get your mind thinking, ‘just like this or that’ – you think of another man just like that. But here it doesn’t mean someone else. Just like God, ‘God, I want just like you,’…who is like God? God is one without a second, therefore he must come down personally. [Swamiji chuckles] He is his own likeness. God is his own?... likeness. Nobody else can be his likeness. So he has to come. There’s no two. So when you think about your deity, there is no second, ‘Lord when I close my eyes I see Thee, One without a second.’ One and only one – no comparison. If you believe in God with form, that’s it. If you believe in God without form, he’s still one without a second. There’s no one to compare to That - you cannot compare, whoever you take. When I open my eyes Lord, I see thou art manifested as Shivapada, as these friends that are seated here, as music, as ether. When I close my eyes again Lord, I see Thee – One without a second.
The secret is in those words that I am saying. In later years when you are going deeper in sadhana these words if you keep them in your mind, will come back to you. It will come to you, ‘what he said is true’. So when you’re singing kirtan, when you’re singing bhajan, no matter how many hundred names you’re taking, no matter how many hundred forms you’re taking, it’s all the Sahastranaam. Thousand names – it’s His. He looks through thousands of eyes and works through thousands of hands. He’s got thousands of forms. Therefore, he is the One – that One – in these thousands. Only One - there’s no two. Remember the guru and the chela [in the story above] - only One, he only saw his guru. The others saw friends. The others saw another guru. But he saw everything. It’s only him - without a?...second.
Three stages are to be taken. One is the deity with form. He can become without a second – nothing can compare to him. Second, Absolute - One without form. Third, the Self - I, the Self, in everything. So I am everything. Everything is me. I bow to thee, in the form of my deity and I bow to thee who is omnipresent and I bow to thee - myself. [Swamiji chuckling] I see no one else but myself, I bow to myself. Sounds very egoistic, huh? [Swamiji chuckles again] But where’s the ego? There is only one ‘I’ – when there’s two to compare then it becomes ego. There’s one here and one there and we compare it - then it’s ego. But if it’s only One? When it’s relative it becomes ego. When it is non-relative it is no more ego, it is God - it is the Lord of lords. It is the Self. Think about what I am saying. This is the class to think. This is not the class to clap and dance, but to think and get joy.
You must make a note of this. This is guru mantra. This is the initiation of the uninitiated. This is a pathless path to God. How many of you have found the mind becoming really stable when you think only of One? Hands up? This is the thing we miss when we are in classes. With this attitude you can go to the mosque, with this attitude you can go to the church, with this attitude you can go to all the temples. With this attitude you can visit a Synagogue, with this attitude you can visit any place. Just One without a second. One without a?...second.