In every science there are dedicated souls who surrender their lives to the perfection of their science. It is not necessary for everybody to be involved in society. If everybody did only that, the great work of research and science would be obstructed.
Yogis retire into seclusion for a period of time not only to perfect themselves, but to experience their souls. The knowledge they have does not just come from books, but from what they have experienced themselves. Some renunciates come out of their seclusion in order to relate their experiences to others, whereas many remain there, merged in meditation. They develop cosmic awareness and become generators of cosmic radiation or emissions which they send out to different parts of the universe. These divine souls work with a higher purpose, just like the scientists who work in their labs with such total dedication to their research that they are often unmindful as to what is happening to their wives and families.
Whereas most people have to live in society because they need other people, there is a particular type of person who has no inclination to be a part of society or to mix with others. They are called the ‘lonely souls’, and there have been quite a number of them in history. They are the ones who come to the world with a higher purpose to fulfil, and with awareness of a particular form of experience. Such people retire from the world either for a short time or for their whole life, and through their penance, they discover the gold mines.
A person does not survive on food and clothing alone. Although one has to have them, they are not prime needs. Sannyasins are aware of this. They only wear clothes because society demands it. However, most people dress in order to impress others and because they believe clothes are a necessity. Few have realized that the greatest need of man is perfection of the mind.
People are obviously searching for something. The fact that they are constantly pursuing sensual pleasures and expressing dissatisfaction indicates that they are seeking something more. Why do they have so many vices? Why do they see incompleteness everywhere?
I am searching for a diamond but I don’t know it. I come across various pebbles and am attracted to them. I pick them up and keep them with me for some time. Then I throw them away because I don’t need them anymore. It is only after some time that my guru tells me, “Hey, you have been searching for the diamond.” Then I think, ‘Oh yes, I was looking for the diamond. That’s why I was throwing all those pebbles away’.
Why does a good wife or a good husband not satisfy? Why is it that so much money doesn’t give a sense of security? Why, with all the things that one has in life, does one remain unsatisfied? It is not a mistake with life. It is because the purpose of the search is absent. Those who ask themselves these types of questions are the ones who retire from the world, to the Himalayas, if possible.
Life in the Himalayan regions is extremely difficult. Many people who go to live there cannot manage it and they have to come back. Even if they don’t want to leave, they become ill and are compelled to go. Only the strongest bodies and minds survive, and they can endure it month after month, year after year and decade after decade.
Many years ago, when I went to Gangotri, I met a swami whose name was Swami Krishnashram. He was well over 129 years of age, and for the last one hundred years he had not spoken to anyone.
So, the same question came to my mind, ‘What is his place in human evolution?’ I did not answer the question because I thought I was not capable of it. Years rolled by, and ultimately I came to know about the pollution of the mental and spiritual universe.
People talk about the pollution of the external universe by diesel fumes and smoke, but have they considered the corruption of the mental universe of man? Who is going to purify that? The external ecology of the atmosphere can be maintained by growing more trees and reducing industrial wastes and factories, but how are people going to maintain the internal ecology of mankind? Is not the mind of man impure? Is it not stinking? There must be some means of purifying the internal space of man.
This is exactly what the yogis and renunciates are doing. Some of them may be neglecting their wives and children in favour of this greater work; others may not have a wife, home or property. These dedicated souls may not be involved in social or charity work, they may not be helping in hospitals, mental asylums or relief work, but they are the most powerful people, who are anonymously making the greatest contributions to society. They have been giving continuous support to man’s consciousness, not only in their own country but all over the world.
When you look at a building, you only see its outermost structure. Do you ever see its foundations? The yogis and renunciates are the foundations and you are the structures. You can see your beauty and your contributions, but you cannot see how firmly you are supported.
—20 January 1981, Munger