We always try to limit ourselves by saying, ‘only this much is possible!’
Om purnam ada purnam idam
purnaat purnam udachyate
purnasaya purnam adaya
Purnam eva vashishyate.
The Upanishads say that the beginning of all civilisations, the beginning of all life, the movement of the first life on earth, this entire cosmos, everything started from what is complete: purna. Purna can be defined as completeness, fullness, absolute, infinite supreme reality.
So, the Upanishad says – Purnam ada that means there it is purna and this entire universe has come and proceeded from that purna. Now the problem is we would say perhaps that is purna but I always feel apurna: incomplete. I feel I’m small, I can’t grow, I feel that I’m not complete. The entire life, evolution, movement, career everything is the attempt of the human being to attain purnata: completeness.
Why do we try to attain purnata?
Because we think we’re not purna: we are not complete.
To give you a simple example, I have a motorbike and then I buy myself a car. I feel like – Ah! Now I am complete! That goes on for a few days, months, or a few years and then I want to buy another one which better than this. Why? Because I feel I’m still incomplete, I need to complete myself so what do I do? Look for a girlfriend who is someone to get married to. Why? Then I think I’ll become complete and once that happens then what? Still, I’m not complete, I’m incomplete, why?
So, the whole evolution is the apurna trying to become the purna, in the material sense and also in the spiritual sense.
Why do yogis meditate? Why do they study advaita and Brahmasutras and Upanishad and do Kriya Yoga? Because they feel inadequate, and they want to touch that completeness from which we have come – The Source.
Now the Upanishad has a beautiful message, it does not only say purnam ada it also says purnam idam. The completeness is waiting to be discovered because we seem to think that we are incomplete. If I can find out this purnata then I will know what That purnata is because this purnata has come from that. Purnaat purnam udachyathe: this has come from that, purnasaya purnam adaya eva: even though this has come from that, purnam adaya eva vashishyathe: it always remains purna.
Now the nearest quote that I can share with you on this, which is not quite spiritual but quite material and connected to physics, is the great Albert Einstein’s discovery that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it remains constant and infinite. It cannot be reduced; it cannot be made smaller; we might think it is reduced but it is not it’s still there in all it’s completeness. So even though all individuals, living beings, non-living beings have come from that purna and think that they are not purna, the Upanishad says you are purna. Purnam ada, purnam idam.
We start looking for that purnata in the outside world and it doesn’t seem to exist, whatever we do we still are not satisfied, we’re not complete, we want to complete it.
Where should we look for this purnata?
Turn inwards, say the Upanishads and look within, here you will find the potential for expansion, unlimited potential for reaching that which is purna, so much so that yogis who have touched that don’t need any help from anybody. They are on their own and full of energy.
What has happened is that from birth onwards when we started learning, we have been conditioned into believing that we cannot do certain things, we are not capable, we are weak, and the great message of the Upanishad is uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varānnibodhata – Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached
There is nothing impossible on this earth if one puts one mind into. This is because within us is the essence of that purnata which is our true essence.
A young man asked Swami Vivekananda, “All this what you’re teaching, this meditation and whatever, is it – is it not some kind of hypnosis?”
And Swamiji said, “My dear friend, I need to correct you. This is de-hypnosis.” He said, “You have been hypnotised this entire life into believing that you are a limited human being who is born and then is going to die,”
Physical body dies, of course, but there’s an eternal element within us which doesn’t. Swamiji said, the whole process of Vedanta is de-hypnotising oneself from this weakness, to stand up and walk on your own feet, to get out of this understanding that I cannot do it, that I am a limited being who’ll-who’s born and therefore is going to die, he said, “Understand that you are a spark of the unlimited Supreme Reality which is purna, once you de-hypnotise yourself from this limitedness, your potentials and possibilities are limitless.”
It’s easy to say this, but is it possible to do it?
Look at the example of all the people who have done what looks impossible. Swami Vivekananda wandered through the length and breadth of India, at one time nobody knew who he was, he suffered, he couldn’t get food sometimes and then he went to Chicago parliament of religions of course and became famous. The same people who neglected him welcomed him back. He achieved in his short life what a hundred people cannot achieve or bring about in a hundred years. How did he do that? Where is the essence? Where is this energy coming from? He was not a billionaire, who got endless connections to get funds.
He was able to do it because he discovered by the grace of his great Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa that the spark of the infinite Supreme Reality is in his heart.
Now it can’t be only in one heart, it has to be in all hearts. Some people discover it and tap it, tap that source, some don’t because from childhood we have been hypnotised into saying that our potential is limited, you cannot expand.
So now what do we do? Start saying, “I am a spark of the infinite Supreme Reality, the purna is my essence and therefore I will not stop, I will move until I reach my goal.”
Until I reach my goal, I shall not walk back. Believe me it works.
This is the teaching Krishna gave to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He said you’re giving me many excuses, actually you’re afraid of failure. Take your bow, move forward, the Supreme Reality being me is in your heart all the time, all the energy that you need comes to you but what stops it from coming? We have infinite potential.
Once you tap this energy not only can you progress spiritually but you can also do many things in this world, provided you do not cause harm or injury to others.
So, there is a safety valve there which keeps many people from believing in this because they could cause harm, we are dealing with an energy which is bigger than the hydrogen bomb that exploded in Hiroshima Nagasaki, imagine it falling into the wrong hands. So, I’m glad people don’t believe it because before believing it and coming to this source one should purify oneself and feel that the energy will be used for good and never for destructive purposes. Now, is there a possibility, practical possibility of tapping this — all this is theory.
I can say – aham bramhasmi but I might run away if I see somebody coming with a stick at me, then where is the Brahman out there. Through yoga you can tap this, you can make your mind open and unconditioned to understand this limitless energy and strength which is within you.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali defines yoga as – Yogas chitta nirodha: yoga is the elimination of all distractions from the mind, plus or minus, all distractions, good or bad, when the mind is free of all distractions, when it is absolutely quiet then the mind is no longer an ordinary mind, it is a mind which reflects the Supreme Consciousness which in yogic language is called purusha. (Now when I say purusha, don’t mistake it for male female. Purusha means consciousness) and therefore the source of all energy flows through that quiet mind. This can be used for good purposes in this world as well as to move forward in this spiritual world.
It is through this understanding that the great rishis, not only advanced in the spiritual field but wrote wonderful things like mathematics, science. Do you think that the Pushpaka vimanas that are described in ancient times, is fiction or somebody’s imagination? I think they probably had something. How did they get there? Because their mind had no limits to expansion.
Oppenheimer who is the inventor of the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb, after the Hiroshima Nagasaki explosion read the Gita and he was astonished that the descriptions given of the weapons used was just like an atom bomb or a hydrogen bomb.
So, where did this knowledge come from?
If you go into the Ayurvedic text, Sushruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta is supposed to have done surgery, now nobody does surgery in Ayurveda it’s gone. The great yogis, the great scientists even the great diplomats and strategists like Chanakya, all of them had tapped some part of that unexplored potential energy of human life. The human being is in the best position to tap it. It started with a little amoeba and now we are so evolved and developed but still stuck with this three-dimensional thought. If we can even imagine in our minds, if we don’t know that there could be other dimensions, there could be energies available to us which are in true essence from our own heart, from our inner source, from our inner consciousness then life will be quite different. Such people, such great yogis, even when the body is passing away go with a smile because they know this is not the end, it is continuing.
So therefore, I think you should not give up, should not think this is all that we can do but expand your potential. If you’re a mathematician who becomes greater than Aryabhatta, why stop there? I think you can do it. Never say no.