EARLY WRITINGS - 1927 1928 1929
BENARES CAMP 1929
Benares, India, 1929
During my talks in the evening, I wish that you would benefit not so much from what I say, but from the meaning that lies beyond mere words. It is very difficult to express in words what one feels, however great an artist one may be in the use of words, which I am not. I do not want to be a rhetorician or a great lecturer; but I want to convey to each one of you those things which I have found perfect, which have given me enlightenment, that have given me the power to attain and to guard that attainment lastingly and permanently.
In order to have a clear understanding and a clear perception of those things that you wish to understand, you must open that inner eye of clear sight, which will guide you for yourselves toward your goal, which will be your true guide, your tyrant and your friend. To do that certain things are necessary. You must have leisure during the day. By that I mean leisure to think, and opportunity to put aside those things that you have acquired during the past, so that you will see for yourselves the things that are vital in your lives. You will have time to develop a sense of solitude. Most people are afraid to be alone. When you are able to think, when you are able to feel a sense of solitude, it will give you greater strength than being surrounded by a multitude.
You are here to find out for yourselves whither you would go, and by what manner you would tread that Path which will lead you to the goal of perfection, to the goal that is for all, the goal which is Truth. In order to find out, it is no good always talking, always attending meetings, always being limited by people. You must have leisure; you must have silence and solitude.
If you look around in the lives of each one of you, you will see that there is no order, that thinking and feeling have nothing to do with practical life; that your thought is cut away, is in another room as it were. The function of these Camps is to give enough understanding to your minds so that you will be able to translate your thoughts and carry them into action. Take, for example, your belief in kindness as an intellectual theory. You all think that you should treat your children kindly, be kind to your wives, and so on. In a majority of cases, it remains in the intellectual world. You have great philosophies, great ideas, you have had great Teachers in the past, but they have all become mere traditions and their teachings and philosophies are in books, but not in your lives.
If you do not make this Camp a success, it will be your own faults. You have spent a great deal of money to come here, you have had a great many sacrifices to make -though perhaps not so many as a friend of mine who walked for six weeks to come to the Camp at Ommen from Bulgaria. Though you have made great sacrifices, if you do not learn to clear away from your minds that satisfaction which lulls and kill the heart and mind, you will never be able to discover the Truth, you will never be able to attain your perfection, your individual uniqueness. You all believe in certain things; you all have devotion. But so have many people beliefs and devotion. In what way is your devotion and understanding different? In what way do you translate in your daily life your devotion and understanding? In what way do you stand out, as a lighthouse stands out on a dark shore, to warn the ships that pass by? In what way do you help the people at large? After all, that is the only thing that matters in life, and not the names you call yourselves nor the badges you wear, nor the castes you belong to. What matters is in what way you help; and you can only help truly if you have a clear perception of truth; if you have really established the goal for yourselves.
During my evening talks at the Camp, I want to put clearly before you those desires which are your own, so that you can see and think for yourselves. And I would like to point out to you again that these Camps, though they are a holiday -a holiday in the true sense from burdens, from family worries- they should not affect us so as to cause looseness. By that I mean slack behavior for I hold that behavior, when it is properly translated into daily life, becomes righteousness. If there is no behaviour, if there is no thought, if there is no feeling, righteousness goes away from us. I shall not go into the details of what I mean by behaviour. You all know very well what I mean: how you sit, how you walk, how you dress, how your mind is purified, how your heart is ennobled -all these things come within the compass of behaviour, and when once you understand behaviour in the greatest sense, then you have understood righteousness. And understanding is establishing that righteousness in your own heart.
Finally, I should like to point out that the attainment of perfection is helped by the love of visible beauty. That means that you must be surrounded by beautiful things. Beauty is one of the greatest things that we are going to cultivate in these Camps throughout the world.
We are going to have two Camps in India next year, one in the North and the other in the South. We have already bought sufficient land in Madanapalle and we are considering the lease of sufficient land near here. We are going to give these Camps visible beauty, so that you will see beauty for its own sake, you will see beauty wherever you go, so that you will develop a beautiful nature. You can only develop beauty if you appreciate beauty, and we come back to the eternal law that in order to appreciate a beautiful thing you must have greatness within you. So, friends, before I close, I would like to encourage and give help to those who would seek the new understanding of life. To gain the new understanding you must remove the various coatings, the various accumulations that you have gathered during the past. You must begin from this day on a new state, on which you will write those things that your hearts and minds desire. It depends on your own desire to attain, it depends on your desire to have that happiness which exists within each one. In order to understand and in order to establish that goal, you must have the immense burning desire born out of suffering, out of pain, out of observation. I hope that during these few days you will be re-made, remoulded into great beings who have the power to help, who can give light and understanding to those that dwell in darkness.