by Swami Yogananda
Inner Culture, October, 1935
All knowledge comes from the inner source, from the soul without limitation. How are you going to find out all the mysteries of the body and all the mystery of divine things in one short span of human life if you do not tap your inner source, which is omniscient?
Do you realize how you spend your life? Very few of us know how much we can put into our life if we use it properly, rightly, wisely, economically. Economize your time—lifetimes ebb away before we wake up, and that is why we do not realize the value of the immortal time which God has given us. Time is spent in rushing, in racing, in getting nowhere. Very few of us stop, think, and find out what life can give to us. Do you know how many years you actually live? Most people sleep from six to ten hours a day—one-third of their life is gone. Sixty years is the average life. One-third of that, twenty to twenty-five years, is spent in unconsciousness. Thus only forty or thirty-five years are left. About five or ten years are spent in talking about nothing, and in amusements. That brings it down to thirty—and out of that thirty years, what else do you do? Eat and do nothing, and of course attend to business. Business is necessary, business is for the purpose of keeping the bodily animal all right. That takes most of your time. Actually scrutinize your life—you live hardly ten years.
This world is a vast school, and in your sixty years of life many things are necessary; but if you keep only the body vehicle all right, that is not the sole purpose of life. Don’t think that just in order to be well-clothed and fed you have to have millions of dollars—you don’t have to lead a sophisticated life in order to merely feed the bodily animal. Life’s goal is much better. Ask yourself now this question: How many good books have I read in this life? Every day about two dozen new books are being printed in America on ethics, music, literature, botany, logic, science, and the scriptures. How are you going to pack all this knowledge into your ten years of life? Then again, sixty years is not the life of every one; just the lucky ones have even that. What hope have you?
How can you quicken evolution? By consciously condensing all your experiences by the power of concentration. By concentration you gather your attention, focusing it to a point. By condensation you again use your attention to quickly do a thing which ordinarily would take a long time to do.
Luther Burbank’s Methods
How is the human brain going to acquire in a lifetime all knowledge and wisdom? That is my question. When I met Luther Burbank, he showed me a walnut tree, and he said, “I took off more than one hundred years from its usual period of growth. I grew that in twelve years.” And you could see the tree bearing walnuts! He made almonds have soft shells, made over the tomato, and created the Shasta daisy from bulbs, and the cactus without thorns. In primitive times the different animals used to eat the cactus, so the cactus developed thorns. When one life begins to hurt another life, that life develops weapons of defense. Burbank went into the garden, looked at the cactus, and every day began to talk to the cactus. “Please, beloved Cactus, I am Luther Burbank, your friend; I don’t mean to hurt you. I am not going to hurt you at all, so why develop thorns?” And so the thornless cactus was developed by talking, by attention, by his knowledge of Nature’s laws.
You can impress certain vibrations on protoplasm. If the walnut tree can be made to grow in twelve years instead of one hundred and fifty years, there is a chance for human beings also. How is a human being within sixty years of existence to develop so that he can be the center of all knowledge? That is the point I want to drive home to your mind. I have shown how machinery quickened world evolution. Where did machinery come from?—from the factory of human minds. If man quickened evolution in business, man can quicken his evolution in all branches of life, including his own inner life.
Knowledge is Infinite
Are you going to waste your time by the wayside? How are you going to condense your experiences; how are you going to learn all the things that you want to learn? The ordinary person does not think at all—just eats, sleeps, and dies. Doesn’t your heart throb to learn everything that is going on in the world? How is it possible for the average human being to know them all? How are you going to find time to read of Jesus, of Aristotle, of all the great poets? Life seems hopelessly short when you think of that. You read a few books and think you know everything. In the cities you have wonderful libraries, but comparatively few people go there. Think of all the knowledge of all human beings; how, in these few years, are you going to pack it in your brain? Is it possible? As long as you live on this earth, as long as the power in the eye shall give you strength to see the stars, as long as you enjoy God’s sunshine and breathe His air, so long will you yearn for knowledge. Most human beings walk with an empty skull, and they think that there is a brain there—they think it, that is all. They walk in emptiness.
“Oh, yes,” you say, “I have a wonderful library at home. Come on, I will show it to you.” Beautiful but untouched! Music, poetry, science, everything is there. With all the things you want to learn, you don’t want to waste your time. You are filled with unhappiness most of the time because you don’t keep the mind engaged. Think of Aristotle, Shakespeare, Maeterlinck, Lord Shankara, and their works. Think of the privilege you have. You can converse with all of them at will through their wonderful books. Instead of that, you are wondering all the time what play you are going to see next. It is good once in a while to be entertained; but if you spend your life gossiping about others, or being interested in others’ faults, not your own faults, the loss is yours.
You have lots of house-cleaning to do yourself. You are wasting priceless time when the treasures of God are around you, ready to be received. Wisdom comes, knocks at your gate, gently saying, “Let me in,” but there is no answer, no thought, no response there. Cheap, sensational novels call you hoarsely with their grossness, and your thoughts rush out to receive them with open hearts. Thus you develop a taste for inferior things. If you develop a liking for unwholesome cheese, you lose your taste for the good, fresh cheese. As you develop a taste for inferior things, you lose a taste for better things, and you think yourself unable to be otherwise because of bad habit.
Cultivate the habit of picking up in this life more worth-while things. Schedule your life, read the best books in the world; don’t waste time reading this and that—pick up the best books. Read of medicine, astronomy, science, and the Scriptures. One thing that must be your first concern: you must find your vocation. By contact with the Cosmic Vibration in meditation, you will be led to the goal, you will be led to the thing you ought to do. Concentrate upon that thing, make yourself proficient in that. Many men try ten kinds of business without getting really acquainted with any. You can’t learn everything about all things, but you can learn everything about one thing.
Knowledge is so vast, spiritual wisdom and all things are so vast, and though this world is vast to us, it is but a speck in the universe. How is it possible in this life to have all the wisdom that many human beings have from time to time gathered from the school of life? There are lots of things to know. The world is becoming small; every day it is growing smaller due to transportation facilities. Soon we shall have to take a trip to other planets to have adventure in travels. Electricity goes anywhere in a second—why can’t we? We are the makers of electricity. We are progressing in numerous ways; we are doing things quickly. The adoption of better methods in business and transportation, mass production by huge machinery, have quickened evolution. Think of the time of life used up just in the weaving of cloth by hand in the past! That labor has been saved by modern machinery, so evolution has been quickened by the adoption of better methods. Machinery can do that. Machinery gives mass production and saves labor. How are we going to quickly weave lives into all-round success? Why can’t we quicken human evolution as well as world evolution?
Making Brain Cells Receptive
It is impossible in this life to read all the Vedas and Bibles and to follow all the systems given to be God-like. How are you going to do it? Search within just as the devotee in the above story did. [reference to a story in the same issue?] Everything depends upon the receptivity of your mind, brain cells, and spinal column. This body changes every twelve years, and that is why at twelve, twenty-four, and thirty-six years of age we find that distinct changes occur. With the change of years and change of body without the obstruction of disease, the mind changes correspondingly. Disease and wrong living will retard that evolution.
In twelve years your brain develops in such a way that it displays a certain kind of mentality. If it takes twelve years of growth and change of tissues to manifest certain thoughts, how are you going to wait indefinitely to make the brain receptive to all wisdom? You cannot have all wisdom unless your brain is evolved accordingly.
There is a method which the Master Minds of India have taught, of revolving certain kinds of vital currents around the spine and brain. By twelve times of practicing this method, you can gain the result of one year’s ordinary physical evolution. That is how many saints quickly get their spiritual knowledge, far beyond that of theoretical theologians. Things which they perceive in a second amount to years of ordinary experience. Revolving this current around the spinal column and brain develops their receptivity. Experiences come through the channel of the senses, but the senses do not give you more than the knowledge of the phenomena or the appearances of the real substance.
When, by concentration, all the fine spinal and brain cells can be turned on to the Cosmic source, they become highly magnetized. Your body is made up of 27,000,000,000,000 cells. Every cell is like an intelligent Being. You are not alone; you have to educate each cell in order to know all the things that are going on in the world. You never trained those cells. That is why you are all the time full of melancholia and of passing fancies and suffering from lack of understanding.
In twenty minutes of this spinal practice you can attain the result of one solar year’s living on earth, so that in a year of such practices you get the result of many years of evolution. Jesus Christ did not go to college, and not one of all the scientists of the world knows of God and Nature’s laws as he knew. Whenever you want to know something, don’t start with data—go and retire and concentrate. When the mind is receptive, then bring the data; start the business or mental solution. Don’t be filled with discouragement and say that it cannot be done.
The world starts with books and outside methods. You should start with increasing the receptivity of your intuition. In you lies the infinite seat of all knowledge. Calmness, concentration, and condensation of experiences by intuitional perception will make you master of all knowledge. Don’t do anything in a haphazard way; do everything with full attention, but don’t do too many things. Pick up the more important things and do them with all your heart. Potentially, all knowledge is within you. Why should you walk in dead men’s shoes? Don’t let yourself act like an intellectual victrola. Everyone represents infinite power and should manifest this in everything. Whenever you want to produce something, do not depend upon the outside source. Go deep and seek the infinite source. All methods of business success, inventions, vibrations of music, and inspirational thoughts and writings are recorded in the office of God.
First find out what you want; ask divine aid to direct you to right action, whereby your want will be fulfilled; then retire within yourself. Act according to the inner direction that you receive; you will find what you want. When the mind is calm, how quickly, how smoothly, how beautifully will you perceive everything. Success in everything will come to pass in a short time, for Cosmic power can be proved by the application of the right law. Last of all, don’t concentrate without; don’t do things in a haphazard way. Start everything from within, no matter what it is, whether writing or anything else. Seek guidance within. The scientific man would accomplish more if he would concentrate upon increasing the receptive quality of his brain cells, instead of just depending upon books and college work for his progress. Some people say that our brain cells at birth come already saturated with fixed habits, and therefore cannot be remolded. This is false. Since God made us in His image, we cannot have limitations if we probe deeply enough within ourselves.
Man Superior to Heredity
Even in the feeble-minded, God’s power shines as much as in the greatest man. The sun shines equally on the charcoal and the diamond, but it is the charcoal which is responsible for not reflecting the sunlight like the diamond. All congenital limitations come through man’s own transgression of a law sometime in the past. And what has been done can be undone. If the brain cells of a feeble-minded man are scrubbed with the searchlight of concentration thrown within, he will display the eclipsed intelligence the same as the intelligent man.
The last great scientific method is to magnetize and to send the current around the brain and spinal column, and thereby secure one year’s health by twenty minutes of this practice. In connection with mentality, when you have cleansed the brain cells, when the divine magnetism touches them, every cell becomes a vibrant brain, and you will find within yourself myriad [a myriad of??] awakened brains ready to grasp all knowledge.
With the awakened brains, a myriad of mentalities will awake, and all things will be apprehended by you. You will study the vast book of Nature and Truth with twenty-seven thousand billion awakened and spiritualized microscopic brains and mentalities. Why be satisfied in half educating a small part of your brain only?
Where are you seeking, my friends? Prayers have been asked, but God has not answered. But with the awakened brain cells from intelligent Beings whom you have kept uneducated, vibrant with the joy of God, all knowledge can be had in this life; Eternity realized now; AWAKE!