People are becoming more and more aware of the need of spiritual life, but whatever opinion or impressions they have about spiritual life they lack guidance, inspiration and the means of transmission. The awakening is there I agree, and from time to time this awakening is being trampled.
In our decade, particularly, in the last twenty or thirty years the awakening has been marvelous. It has been voluntary, whilst in other periods of history we have been obliged to follow a path. We were obliged to follow a way which we did not fully understand. Now boys and girls are discovering and trying to discover a way for themselves. This voluntary discovery of spiritual life and voluntary acceptance of spiritual practices is a very happy moment of our times.
When I think about it, if this goes on, if the voluntary efforts to raise one’s spiritual consciousness are genuine and honest, then we can definitely reach the sublime heights of consciousness.
Therefore, many times I tell my disciples not to get into wild publicity. If you make wild publicity then you are compelling people. They accept a way because they are impressed, but spiritual life is not an outcome of impression that comes to you by a beautiful and nice presentation. Even if spiritual life is not presented to you and there were no books or publicity material, if there is a general awakening of the masses it will always take place.
Withdraw all the books and publicity. Do not propagate through newspaper or television or anything, if the mass consciousness is trying to evolve spiritually it will discover its own way.
Therefore, even in our own times, though we have been operating very silently with no fuss, still we find that people are in search of us. They are in search of books on yoga and good yoga teachers. People are in search of good systems. This is a very positive sign of awakening.
I am trying to make one point very clear and that everybody has to understand. A religious institution or philosophy needs publicity and propaganda. But the awakening of spiritual consciousness in everybody en masse does not need any publicity.
If you are hungry you will find your own food. If I want spiritual life I will search. Let us therefore try to create a situation where people remain seekers; let them go to ten gurus and ten teachers. Let them try five, ten, twenty philosophies. Let them read one, two, ten, hundreds of books. Why are you doing it? Because you are searching. What way are you seeking? You are seeking a way which you have somehow realized in your mind will offer a greater possibility. This type of voluntary awakening we are finding in the last two or three decades.
—18 September 1979, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London, England