“By the total surrendering to God with devotion, samadhi is attained.
(11:45 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
Very often, I am afraid of using the name “God” alone, for it is very much misunderstood and misinterpreted. The moment you say God, people think that there is somebody sitting in a corner and pulling all the reins on one side and the whip on the other, driving everyone crazy. It’s not that. Let us know what God really means; let us give him the right place. God is not just a king sitting somewhere waiting to punish you. It is the natural law, the Cosmic law, the Cosmic consciousness, or the World at Large–the very world itself is God. The more you give yourself into the world, the more you give yourself to God.
Even if you want to say that there is really a God quite apart from you and me, sitting outside somewhere on a big throne, He doesn’t need your dedication. Your dedicated actions are not going to help Him much. It’s not that if you don’t cook some food and offer it to Him, He will die of hunger. So then, what is the meaning of dedication? God doesn’t need your services, but the world does. Dedicate yourself to the whole world, to your fellow beings and all living beings. Everything lives; everything grows, continues to stay, and dies. And if your probe a little more into the nature of the world, you will come to the conclusion that God Himself is the world.
If you say that God created the world but the world is different from God, the question arises, “From what did He create the world?” Out of matter? Who created the matter then? There must be some basic substance to create something. The only answer is that God Himself manifested as the world; He created the world out of Himself. There is an example given in the Hindu scriptures: God created the world just as the spider creates its web. The spider produces the yarn for the cobweb from himself–he doesn’t have to use a piece of cotton. The spider creates the string and comes down it as it swings here and there. When he catches a wall or anything, he ties a knot and then produces another string. Suppose he swings down and doesn’t catch hold of anyplace? He swallows the string and goes back up. God created the world like that; He produced the world out of Himself and when He wants He will absorb it back. He becomes a little extroverted and later on becomes introverted. So that is why our dedication must be to the world, because the world is nothing but God.
Service to others is service to God. Work is worship. So whatever you do outside can be easily transformed into worship by your
attitude. You do everything with the idea of serving God, serving humanity and the world. I don’t stop with the word humanity because you can serve everything. You can serve a table or chair if you don’t pull and drag it mercilessly; take it gently and put it down. The chair cries but we don’t have the ears to listen to it. Anything you handle roughly will f eel the pain, not only human beings. There should be a gentle, soft and Yogic touch with everything. Swami Sivananda used to say, “Convert every work into Yoga with the magic wand of your right attitude. ” So that is dedication, service, and the benefit you attain is samadhi.
Many of you are interested in “instant” samadhi. You can have it right here and now–the moment you dedicate yourself completely. That is the meaning of the prayer, “0 Lord, I am Thine, All is Thine, Thy will be done. ” Let all my actions be Thy will, let Thy will be done through this irrstrument. Once you dedicate everything like that, you are a renunciate. You have nothing to possess mentally and you have nothing to worry about. All the worry is due to our possessions, our attachments. It’s a mental detachment, not a physical one. You can possess things physically, but mentally you can be detached. Externally you can appear to be a person with attachments, but within yourself you should not have the least attachment. What for? For your own sake, for the sake of your peace and joy. That is samadhi, the continuous samadhi. Don’t think that sarnadhi means going and sitting in a corner, forgetting yourself and keeping the body like a rock, getting into some sort of coma. Real samadhi means tranquility of mind- -equanimity. That is possible only when you dedicate everything, when you are free from all kinds of attachments.
So Patanjali is not exaggerating the benefit– scriptures can never tell lies, not even white lies to create interest. Particularly Patanjali–he is a scientific man. But how can our egos leave us like that? We want everything. If a person is interested in peace, why should he have wants and possessions? They can never go together. No religion, no prophet, no saint has so far said that one can have peace and at the same time’have wants. A desireless mind, a mind free from everything, a mind that is naked will have peace. Only by dedication, only by giving away, says the Bhagavad Gita, can you have unending peace. You can give everything to the world, to the society, to the community or your fellow man, or do it in the name of God.
Just this one sutra alone is enough for us to think about and to act on. We need not read many books, just one sutra, one line is enough. May we all attain that state of continuous samadhi, of tranquility and complete dedication. Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi.
Adapted from a talk by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Jan./Feb. 1972