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Sri Ramakrishna was not against this monistic teaching that man is God. That is also needed in India. Where from do you think the strength will come that India needs? When all other sources of power have gone and are no longer available, there remains one source which no one can assail and which no one can rob you of, and that is the strength of your own being. Infinite strength is in my soul, in my spirit, because that is its very nature. Therefore it has been called abhih, the fearless one.
Once you catch a glimpse of this source, all fear is dispelled. All doubt is dispelled. All weakness goes away. Really, really it is the shortest cut to the highest truth, although to the unaccustomed it seems to be an impossible proposition. If a person is sitting in a room and you call him by name, would he not respond? He would come out of the room. 'You want me?" He will respond. If it is true that there is divinity within me, and if I think in those terms, and if I use those words, then that which is hidden in me and seemed to be lost, will respond and come out. Isn"t it true?
In silent moments, calmly and quietly, tell yourself, 'This is my nature.'Nitya, shuddha, buddha, mukta svabhavayam atma'. There is a custom in India that as soon as a person wakes up, leaves his bed, he recites a verse: 'Aham deva na chainasmi brahmaivaham na sokavat satchidanandarupoham nityamuktasvabhavayam. Aham deva': 'I am the effulgent one. 'Na chainasmi' : 'I am not anything else. 'Brahmaiva' : 'I am verily God, verily Brahman." Nashokavat' : 'I have no sorrow. 'Satchidanandarupoham' : 'I am of the form of Satchidananda, Being-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute." 'Nityamuktasvabhavayam' : 'And my nature is forever free. I am eternal and free. That"s my nature." This is recited the very first thing after waking. It is expected that a Hindu will remind himself of this fact.
In our true spiritual nature, we are spirit, beyond this body, beyond the mind and beyond the infinite circumstances of this infinite universe; we exist above all those things. There, where we shine, there, where we are powerful and fearless, there it is where we are also full of infinite good: 'Shivam. Tejo yat te rupam kalyanatamam tat te pasyami yo"savasau purushah, so"ham asmi'. 'Most beneficent form." That"s the spirit. Infinitely good, it is. And that is where we should exist.
So, my friends, make an effort. Don"t live on your skin. Unfortunately, all of us have made ourselves identical with our skin. And what a big business has arisen out of that. Millions and millions of dollars are being spent to nourish us as skin. We are skin –– skin and hair and nails and nose and teeth and all that. What a horror! It would be indeed a great comedy, if it were not the greatest tragedy for the soul. No power above you. Remember this. The truth is there is only one. Call it by whatever name you want to call it. There is just one. Since we believe in God, therefore everything else also we have to recognize as God Himself. There is no escaping. Even the smallest insect is God. And let us follow the Swami"s advice: 'Let us be Gods!"
About the author
Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969) was a much-venerated monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He was ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shivananda, and was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order brought out from the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati in Uttaranchal. He was an outstanding writer and speaker and the leader of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (San Fransisco) from 1931 until his passing away in 1969.