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The Real Self
Lecture delivered on January 7, 1903, at
Golden Gate Hall, San Francisco, U.S.A.
The All-Powerful God in the form of ladies and gentlemen,
In a German folk-lore we hear about a man who lost his shadow. That is a very strange thing. A man lost his shadow and that man had to suffer for it. All his friends deserted him, all prosperity left him, and he was in a very sorry plight for it. What will you think of a man who instead of losing his shadow loses the substance? There may be hope for a man who loses only the shadow, but what hope can there be for a man who loses the substance, the body?
Such is the case of the majority of people in this world. Most men have lost not their shadow but their substance, the reality. Wonder of wonders! The body is simply the shadow, and the real Self, the real Atman, is the reality. Everybody will tell us about his shadow, everybody will tell us anything and everything about his body, but how few are there who will tell us anything and everything about their real Self, the real Soul, the real Atman. What are you? What is the use of gaining the whole world and losing your own soul? People are trying to gain the whole world but they miss the Soul, they miss the Atman. Lost, lost, lost. What is lost? The horse or the rider? The horseman is lost. The body is like the horse, and the Atman, the true Self, the Soul is like the rider. The rider is lost, the horse is there. Everybody will tell us anything and everything about the horse, but we want to know something about the rider, the horseman, the owner of the horse. Tonight we propose to know what the horseman or the rider, the true Self, the Atman is. That is a deep subject; that is a subject upon which the philosophers of the world have been racking their brains, upon which each and all have been trying their best. It is a deep subject, and it is hard to do justice to this subject within this short space of one hour or so. Still we shall try to make it as easy as possible by means of an illustration or story.
This subject was explained once to a young boy of the age of about 15 or 16, and he understood it thoroughly in a short time. If that boy of the age of 15 or 16 could understand it, each and all of you will be able to understand the subject thoroughly, provided you pay close, undivided attention. The method of exposition will be the same as was adopted in the case of that small boy.
Once upon a time, the son of an Indian king came to Rama in the mountains, and put this question, "Swami, Swami, What is God?" This is a deep question, a very difficult problem. This is the one subject which all the theologies and all the religions propose to investigate, and you want to know all about "it in a short time". He said, "Yes, sir yes, Swami. Where shall I go to have it explained? Explain it to me." The boy was asked, "Dear prince, you want to know what God is, you want to make acquaintance with God, but do you not know that the rule is, when a man wants to see a great personage, he will have to send his own card first, he will have to send to the chief his own address and name? Now you want to see God. You had better send to God your card; you had better let God know what you are. Give Him your card. Rama will place it in the hands of God directly and God will come to you, and you will see what God is." "Well", the boy said, "It is all right, it is reasonable. I will directly let you know what I am. I am the son of king so and so, living on the Himalayas in Northern India. This is my name." He wrote it out on a piece of paper. It was taken up by Rama and read. It was not put into the hands of God directly, but was given back to that prince and the prince was told, "O prince, you do not know what you are. You are like the illiterate, ignorant person who wants to see your father, the king and cannot write his own name. Will your father, the king receive him? Prince, you cannot write your name. How will God receive you? First tell us correctly what you are, and then will God come to you and receive you with open arms."
The boy reflected. He began to think and think over the subject. He said, "Swami, Swami, now I see, now I see. I made a mistake in writing my own name. I have given you the address of the body only, and I have not put upon the paper what I am."
There was an attendant of that prince standing by. The attendant could not understand it. Now the prince was asked to make his meaning clear to this attendant, and so the prince asked the attendant this question, "Mr. so and so, to whom does this card belong?" The man said, "To me." and taking up a stick from the hands of the attendant the prince asked him, "Mr. so and so, to whom does this stick belong?" The man said "To me." "Well, to whom does this turban of yours belong?" The man said, "To me." The prince said, "All right. If the turban belongs to you, there is a relation between the turban and you; the turban is your property, and you are the owner. Then you are not the turban, the turban is yours." He said, "Indeed, that is so plain." "Well, the pencil belongs to you, the pencil is yours, and you are not the pencil." He said, "I am not the pencil because the pencil is mine; that is my property, I am the owner." All right. Then the prince asked that attendant, taking hold of the ears of that attendant, "Whom do these ears belong to?" The attendant said, "To me." The prince said, "All right, the ears belong to you, the ears are yours. As such you are not the ears. Similarly the nose belongs to you. As the nose is yours, you are not the nose. Then, whose body is that?" (Just beckoning to the body of the attendant.) The attendant said, "The body is mine; this body is mine." "If the body is yours, Mr. attendant, then you are not the body; you cannot be the body because you say that the body is yours; you cannot be the body. The very statementmy body, my ears, my head, my hand proves that you are something else and the body together with the ears and hands and eyes, etc., is something else. This is your property, you are the owner, the master; the body is like your garment and you are the owner. The body is like your horse and you are the owner. Now, what are you?" The attendant understood it so far, and also concurred with the prince in saying that when the prince had put down on paper the address of the body and had meant that this address stood for himself, the prince had made a mistake. "You are not the body, not the ears, not the nose, not the eyes, nothing of the kind. What are you then?" Now the prince began to reflect, and said, "Well, well, I am the mind, I am the mind, I must be the mind."
"Is that so indeed?" The question was put to that prince. "Now, can you tell me how many bones you have got in your body? Can you tell where the food lies in your body that you took this morning?" The prince could make no answer, and these words escaped his lips, "Well, my intellect does not reach that. I have not read that. I have not yet read anything of physiology or anatomy. My brain does not catch it, my mind cannot comprehend it."
Now the prince was asked, "Dear prince, O good boy, you say your mind cannot comprehend it, your intellect cannot reach up to that, your brain cannot understand this. By making these remarks you confess and admit that the brain is yours, the mind is yours, the intellect is yours. Well, if the intellect is yours, you are not the intellect. If the mind is yours, you are not the mind. If the brain is yours, you are not the brain. These very words of yours show that you are the master of the intellect, the owner of the brain and the ruler of the mind. You are not the mind, the intellect or the brain. What are you? Think, think, please. Be more careful and let us know correctly what you are. Then will God be just brought to you, and you will see God, you will be introduced directly into the presence of God. Please tell us what you are."
The boy began to think, and thought and thought but could not go further. The body said, "My intellect, my mind cannot, reach further."
Oh, how true are these words! Indeed the mind or the intellect cannot reach the true Divinity or God within.
The real Atman, the true God is beyond the reach of words and minds.
The boy was asked to sit down for a while and meditate upon what his intellect had reached so far. "I am not the body; I am not the mind." If so, feel it, put it into practice, repeat it in the language of feeling, in the language of action; realize that you are not the body. If you live this thought only, if you work into practice even so much of the truth, if you are above the body and the mind, you become free from all anxiety, all fear. Fear leaves you when you raise yourself above the level of the body or the mind. All anxiety ceases, all sorrow is gone, when you realize even so much of the Truth that you are something beyond the body, beyond the mind.
After that, the boy was helped on a little to realize what he himself is, and he was asked, "Brother, prince, what have you done today? Will you please let us know the works or deeds that you have performed this morning?"
He began to relate, "I woke up early in the morning, took bath, and did this thing and that thing, took my breakfast, read a great deal, wrote some letters, visited some friends, received some friends, and came here to pay my respects to the Swami."
Now the prince was asked, "Is that all? Have you not done a great deal more? Is that all? Just see." He thought and thought; and then mentioned a few other things of the same sort. "That is not all; you have done thousands of things more; you have done hundreds, thousands, nay, millions of things more. Innumerable deeds you have done, and you refuse to make mention of them. This is not becoming. Please let us know what you have done. Tell us everything that you have done this morning."
The prince, hearing such strange words that he had done thousands of things besides the few that he had named, was startled. "I have not done anything more than what I have told you, sir, I have not done anything." "No, you have done millions, trillions, quadrillions of things more." How is that?
The boy was asked, "Who is looking at the Swami at this time?" He said, "I". "Are you seeing this face, this river Ganga that flows beside us?" He said, "Yes, indeed." "Well, you see the river and you see the face of the Swami, but who makes the six muscles in the eyes move? You know the six muscles in the eyes move, but who makes the muscles move? It cannot be anybody else; it cannot be anything extra. It must be your own Self that makes the muscles in the eyes move in the act of seeing."
The boy said, "Oh, indeed, it must be I; it cannot be anything else."
"Well, who is seeing just now, who is attending to this discourse?" The boy said, "I, it is I." "Well, if you are seeing, if you are attending to this discourse, who is making the oratory nerves vibrate? It must be you, it must be you. Nobody else. Who took the meals this morning." The boy said, "I, I." "Well, if you took the meals this morning and it is you that will go to the toilet and vacate, who is it that assimilates and digests the food? Who is it, please? Tell us if you eat and you throw it out, it must be you who digests, it must be yourself that assimilates, it cannot be anybody else. Those days are gone when outside causes were sought after to explain the phenomena in nature. If a man fell down, the cause of his fall was said to be some outside ghost. Science does not admit such solutions of the problem. Science and philosophy require you to seek the cause of a phenomenon in the phenomenon itself."
"Here you take the food, go into the toilet and throw it off. When it is digested, it must be digested by yourself, no outside power comes and digests it; it must be your own Self. The cause of digestion also must be sought within you and not without you."
Well, the boy admitted so far. Now he was asked, "Dear Prince, just reflect, just think for a while. The process of digestion implies hundreds of kinds of movements. In the process of digestion, in mastication, saliva is emitted from the glands in the mouth. Here is again the next process of oxidation going on. Here is blood being formed. There is the blood coursing through the veins, there is the same food being converted into carnatic muscles, bones, and hair; here is the process of growth going on in the body. Here are a great many processes going on, and all these processes in the body are connected with the process of assimilation and digestion."
"If you take the food, it is you yourself who are the cause of respiration; you yourself make the blood course through your veins; you yourself make the hair grow; you yourself make the body develop, and here mark how many processes there are; how many acts, how many deeds there are that you are performing every moment."
The boy began to think and said, "Indeed, indeed, sir, in my body, in this body, there are thousands of processes that the intellect does not know, about which the mind is unconscious, and still they are being performed, and it must be I that am the cause of all that, it must be I that am performing all that; and indeed it was a mistake I made when I said that I had done a few things, a few things only, and nothing more, a few things that were done through the agency of the intellect or mind."
It must be made further clear. In this body of yours there are two kinds of functions being discharged; there are two kinds of work being done, involuntary and voluntary. Voluntary acts are those that are performed through the agency of the intellect or mind; for instance, reading, writing, walking, talking and drinking. These are acts done through the agency of the intellect or mind. Besides these, there are thousands of acts or processes being performed directly, so to say, without the agency, or without the medium of mind or intellect, for instance, respiration, the coursing of blood through the veins, the growth of hair, etc.
People make this mistake, this glaring blunder that they admit only those acts to be performed by them which are performed through the agency of mind or intellect. All the other deeds, all the other acts which are being performed directly without the agency of intellect or mind, are disclaimed entirely. They are entirely cast aside, they are entirely neglected, and by this neglect and by this mistake, by this imprisoning the real Self in the little mind, identifying the Infinity with the small brain, people are making themselves miserable and wretched. People say, "Oh, God is within me." All right, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, God is within you, but that kernel which is within you, that kernel is yourself and not the shell. Please think over it seriously. Reflect whether you are the kernel or the shell, whether you are He that is within you, or you are the shell that is without.
Some people say, "O sir, I eat and nature digests; O sir, I see but nature makes the muscles move; O sir, I hear but it is nature that makes the nerves vibrate." Mark, in the name of justice, in the name of truth, in the name of freedom, just mark, whether you are that nature or whether you are the mere body. Mark, you are that nature. You are the infinite God. If throwing aside all prejudice, waiving all preconceptions and casting off all superstitions, you reflect over the matter, discuss it, sift it, investigate it, examine it, you will become of the same mind as what you call Rama standing for. You will see that you are the kernel, the nature, the whole nature you are.
Most of you may have understood the drift of the argument; but that boy, that Indian prince, did not understand it thoroughly. "Well," he said, "Indeed, I have understood it so far that I am something beyond the intellect." At this time the attendant of the prince asked, "Sir, make it more clear to me, I have not quite comprehended it yet." Well, that attendant was asked, "Mr. so and so, when you go to bed, do you die or live?" The attendant said, "I live; I do not die." "And what about the intellect?" He said, "I go on dreaming, the intellect is still there." "And when you are in the deep sleep state (you know there is a state called the deep sleep state, in that state even no dreams are seen), where is the intellect, where is the mind?"
He began to think. "Well, it passes into nothingness; it is no longer there, the intellect is not there, the mind is not there." "But are you there or not?" He said, "Oh, indeed I must be there; I cannot die, I remain there." Well, mark here, even in the deep sleep state, where the intellect ceases, where the intellect is, as it were, like a garment hoisted on a peg, hoisted on a post, like an overcoat, the intellect is taken off and placed upon the post, you are still there, you do not die out. The boy said, "The intellect is not there, and I do not die out. This I do not quite comprehend."
Well, the boy was asked, "When you wake up after enjoying this deep sleep, when you wake up, do you not make such statements, I enjoyed profound sleep tonight, I had no dreams tonight. Do you not make remarks of that kind?" He said, "Yes." Well. This point is very subtle. All of you will have to listen closely. When after waking up from the deep sleep state, this remark is made, "I slept so soundly that I saw no dreams, I saw no rivers, no mountains, in that state there was no father, no mother, no house, no family, nothing of the kind; all was dead and gone; there was nothing, nothing, nothing there. I slept and there was nothing there." This statement is like the statement made by the man who bore witness to the desolation of a place, and said, "At the dead of night, at such and such a place, there was not a single human being present." That man was asked to write out this statement. He put it on paper. The magistrate asked him, "Well, is this statement true?" He said, "Yes, sir." "Well, is this statement made on hearsay or founded upon your own evidence, are you an eyewitness?" He said, "Yes, sir, I am an eyewitness. This is not based on hearsay." "You are an eyewitness that at the time mentioned on the paper and at the place mentioned on the paper, there was not a single human being present?" He said, "Yes." "What are you? Are you a human being or not?" He said, "Yes, I am a human being." "Well, then, if this statement is true according to you, it must be wrong according to us, because, as you were present and you are a human being, the statement that there was not a single human being present is not literally true. You were present there. In order that this statement may be true according to you, it must be false according to us, because in order that there might be nobody, there must be somebody, must be some body, must be at least yourself, present at the time."
So when you wake up after enjoying the deep sleep state and make this remark, "I did not see anything in the dream;" well, we may say that you must have been present; there was no father, no mother, no husband, no wife, no house, no river, no family present in that state, but you must have been present; the very evidence that you give, the very witness that you bear proves that you did not sleep, that you did not go to sleep, for had you been asleep, who would have told us about the nothingness of that? You are something beyond the intellect; the intellect was asleep, the brain was at rest in a way, but you were not asleep. If you had been asleep, who would have made the blood run through the blood-vessels, who would have continued the process of digestion in the stomach? Who would have continued the process of the growth of your body, if you had really fallen into the deep sleep state? So you are something which is never asleep. The intellect sleeps, but not you. "I am something beyond the intellect, mind and body."
Now the boy said, "Sir, sir, I have understood it so far, and have come to know that I am a power Divine, that I am the Infinite power which never sleeps, never changes. In my youth, the body is different, in my childhood the mind was not the same as I have now, the body was not the same as I have now. In my childhood, my intellect, brain, body and mind were entirely different from what they are now." Doctors tell us that after seven years, the whole system undergoes a thorough change; every moment the body is changing, and every second the mind is changing, and the mental thoughts, the mental ideas which you entertained in your childhood, where are they now? In the days of childhood you looked upon the Sun as a beautiful cake which was eaten by the angels, the Moon was a beautiful piece of silver; the stars were as big as diamonds. Where are these ideas gone? The mind of yours, the intellect of yours has undergone a thorough, a whole-sale change. But you still say, "When I was a child, when I was a boy, when I shall grow up to the age of seventy." You still make such remark which show that you are something which was the same in childhood, which was the same in boyhood, which will be the same at the age of seventy. When you say, "I went to sleep, I went into the deep sleep state, etc,"; when you make remarks of that kind, it shows that there is the true I in you, the real Self in you, which remains the same in the dreamland, which remains the same in the deep sleep state, which remains the same in the wakeful state. There is something within you which remains the same when you are in a swoon, which remains the same when you are bathing, when you are writing. Just think, reflect, just mark, please. Are you not something which remains the same under all circumstances, unchanging in its being, the same yesterday, today and for ever? If so, just reflect a little more, think a little more and you will be immediately brought face to face with God. You know the promise was, know your-self, put down your right address on paper, and God will be introduced to you immediately.
Now the boy, the prince, expected that as he knew about himself, he had come to know that he was something unchanging, something constant, something which was never asleep; so he wanted to know what God is. The prince was asked; "Brother, mark, here are these trees growing. Is the power that makes this tree grow different from the power that makes that tree grow?" He said, "No, no, it must be the same power certainly." "Now, is the power which makes all these trees grow different from the power that makes the bodies of animals grow?" He said, "No, No, it cannot be different, it must be the same." Now is the power, the force which makes the stars move, different from the power which makes these rivers flow? He said, "It cannot be different, it must be the same."
Well, now the power that makes these trees grow cannot be different from the power which makes your body grow, it cannot be different from the power which makes your hair grow. The same universal power of nature, the same universal Divinity or the Unknowable, which makes the stars shine, makes your eyes twinkle, the same power which is the cause of the growth of that bodys hair which you call mine, the same power makes the blood course through the veins of each and all. Indeed, and then what are you? Are you not that power which makes your hair grow, which makes your blood flow through your veins, which makes your food get digested? Are you not that power? That power which is beyond the intellect, the mind, indeed you are. If so, you are the same power which is governing the force of the whole Universe, you are the same Divinity, you are the same God, the same Unknowable, the same energy, force, substance anything you may call it, the same Divinity, the All which is present everywhere. The same, the same you are.
The boy was astonished and he said, "Really, really, I wanted to know God. I put the question what God is, and I find my own Self, my true Atman is God. What was I asking, what did I ask, what a silly question did I put! I had to know myself. I had to know what I am, and God was known." Thus was God known.
The only difficulty in the way of realizing this truth is that people play the part of children. You know, children sometimes take a fancy to a particular kind of plate and do not want to eat anything except when it is served to them in the plates which have their fancy. They will say, "I will eat in my plate, I will eat in my dish, I wont have anything in any other plate." O children! see, it is not this particular plate alone which is yours; all the plates in the house are yours; all the golden dishes are yours. This is a mistake. If the people in this world know themselves, they will find the true Self to be God Almighty, to be the Infinite Power, but they have taken a fancy for this particular plate, this head, this brain. "What is done through this brain only, that is done by me. What is done through this mind or intellect, that is mine, and all else I wont have; all else I disclaim. I will have only that which is served to me in this particular plate." Herein comes selfishness. They want to get everything done through this plate and to take credit for this plate, they want to have everything accumulated around this little plate, which they call particularly theirs, that with which they have identified themselves. This is the cause of all selfishness, all anxiety and misery. Get rid of this false notion; realize your true Self to be the All; rise above this selfish egoism, you are happy this moment, one with the whole universe you are. This is a mistake of the same character as that which the prince made. The prince was put a catch question. "Where is your place?" And he named the metropolis of the state. "That is my place." O boy, that metropolis of the state is not the only place you have got. The whole state, the whole country is yours. You live in that metropolis, that capital of the state, while that capital is not the only place that is yours, the whole state is yours, this magnificent landscape, these fairy scenes, this grand Himalayan scenery, all this belongs to you, and not only that particular small town.
This is the mistake made by the people. This intellect or brain may be called the metropolis or the capital of your real Self, the Atman. You have no right to claim this to yourself and deny everything else; this little metropolis of the brain, this metropolis of the mind or intellect is not the only place you have got. The wide world, the moons, the earths the planets, the milkyways, all these are yours. Realize that. Just regain your birthright; and all anxiety, all misery ceases.
People talk about freedom; people talk about salvation. What is it that has bound you first? If you want to be free, if you want to get salvation, you ought to know what is the cause of your bondage. It is just like a monkey in the fable. A monkey is caught in India in a very queer manner. A narrow-necked basin is fixed in the ground, and in that basin are put some nuts and other eatables which the monkeys like. The monkeys come up and thrust their hands into the narrow-necked basin and fill their hands with the nuts. The fist becomes thick, and it cannot be taken out. There the monkey is caught; he cannot come out. Queerly, strangely he is caught.
We ask what it is that binds you first. You yourself have brought you under thraldom and bondage. Here is the whole wide world, a grand magnificent forest; and in this grand magnificent wood of the whole universe, there is a narrow-necked vessel found. What is that narrow-necked vessel? It is your brain; this little brain, narrow-necked. Herein are some nuts and people have got hold of these nuts and all what is done through the agency of this brain or through the medium of this intellect, is owned as ones own. "I am the mind," is what everybody says; everybody has practically identified himself with the mind, "I am the mind," "I am the intellect," and he takes a strong grip of these nuts of this narrow-necked vessel. That is what makes you slave, that is what makes you slave to anxiety, slave to fear, slave to temptations, slave to all sorts of troubles. That is what binds you; that is the cause of all the sufferings in this world. If you want salvation, if you want freedom only let go the hold, free your hand. The whole forest is yours, you can jump from tree to tree and eat all the nuts and eat all the walnuts and all the fruits in the wood, all being yours. The whole world is yours; just get rid of this selfish ignorance and you are free, you are your own saviour.
Making a famine where abundance lies,
(is it fair? No, it is not fair, it is not becoming.)
Making a famine where abundance lies,
This thy foe, to thy sweet self so cruel,
Should not be so, should not do this,
Within thine own but buriest thou content,
Thou makest waste and niggarding.
Be not niggardly, be not miserly.
It is niggardliness to give away all this property and confine thyself unto the few things in this little brain only.
You will see that this brain of yours will become of infinite power if you realize your oneness with the All. That is what puts you in perfect harmony with the whole world.
Oh, we can wait no longer,
We too take ship, O soul, (Here the word soul means intellect)
Joyous we too launch out on trackless seas
Fearless for unknown shores on waves of ecstasy to sail.
Amid the wafting winds, (thou pressing me to thee, I thee to me, O Soul).
Carolling free, singing our song of God,
Chanting our chant of pleasant exploration
With laugh and many a kiss,
(Let others deprecate, let others weep for sin, remorse, humiliation)
O soul, thou pleasest me, I thee.
Ah, more than any priest, O soul, we too believe in God,
But with the mystery of God we dare not dally.
O soul, thou pleasest me, I thee.
Sailing these seas or on the hills, or waking in the night,
Thoughts, silent thoughts of Time and Space and Death, like waters flowing,
Bear me indeed as through the regions infinite,
Whose air I breathe, whose ripples hear, leave me all over,
Bathe me, O God, in thee, mounting to thee
I and my soul to range in range of thee
O thou transcendent,
Nameless, the fibre and the breath.
Light of the lights, shedding forth universes, thou centre of them,
Thou mightier centre of the true, the good, the loving
Thou moral, spiritual fountain-affections source thou reservoir,
(O pensive soul of meO thirst unsatisfied-waitest not there?
Waitest not happy for us somewhere there the Comrade perfect?)
Thou pulsethou motive of the stars, suns, systems,
That, circling, move in order, safe, harmonious,
Athwart the shapeless vastnesses of space,
How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if, out of myself,
I could not launch to those superior universes?
Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,
At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death
But that I, turning, call to thee, O soul, thou actual me,
And lo, thou gently masterest the orbs,
Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,
And fillest, swellest full the vastnesses of Space.
Greater than stars or suns
Bounding, O soul, thou journeyest forth;
What love other than thine and ours could wider amplify?
What aspirations, wishes, outvie thine and ours, O soul?
What dreams of the ideal? What plans of purity, perfection, strength?
What cheerful willingness for others sake to give up all?
For others sake to suffer all?
Reckoning ahead, O soul, when thou, the time achievd
The seas all crossd, weatherd the capes, the voyage done,
Surrounded, copest, frontest God, yieldest the aim attaind,
As filld with friendship, love complete, the Elder Brother found,
The Younger melts in fondness in his arms.
Sail on, march on to the real Self; get rid of all this superstition, this superstition of the body. Get rid of this hypnotism of this little body; you have hypnotized your-self into this brain or body. Get rid of that, sail on, march on to the eternity, the reality, the true Self; passage to more than India.
Passage to more than India!
Are thy wings plumed indeed for such far flights?
O soul, voyagest thou indeed on voyages like those?
Disportest thou on waters such as those?
Soundest below the Sanskrit and the Vedas?
Then have thy bent unleasd.
Passage to you, you shores, ye aged fierce enigmas!
Passage to you, to mastership of you, ye strangling problems
You, strewd with the wrecks of skeletons, that, living, never reached you.
Passage to more than India!
O Secret of the earth and sky!
Of you, O waters of the sea! O winding creeks and rivers!
Of you, O woods and fields! of you strong mountains of my land!
Of you, O Prairies! of you, gray rocks!
O morning red! O clouds! O rain, snows!
O day and night, passage to you!
Rise above the body, and you become all these, you get a passage unto all these. All these you realize yourself to be.
O Sun and Moon and all stars! Sirius and Jupiter!
Passage to you!
Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins!
Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers-haul out-shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not groveld here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darkend and dazed ourselves with books long enough?
Sail forth-steer for the deep waters only,
Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all
O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, father sail!
Om! Om!! Om!!!
Last Updated: Sat Dec 18, 1999
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