Wisdom Of Vemana
( Originally Published 1939 )
HE whose form is universal; who is eternal; who Himself witnesses all that passes in every heart, who exists immutable throughout the universe, and is free from all shadow, is called God. Neither in earth, nor metal, wood or stone, painted walls or images, does that great Spirit dwell so as to be perceived.
WE take a skin, and form it into a pretty puppet; we make it play, and then throw it away. But who can see Him who plays with us?
THOSE who roam to other lands in pilgrimage to find the God that dwells within them are like a shepherd who searches in his flock for the sheep that he has under his arm.
"BENARES! Benares !" they cry, and delight to travel thither. Yet is not the same God here as there? If thy heart be aright, He is there and here also.
KINE are of divers colours, but all milk is alike; the kinds of flowers vary, yet all worship is one; systems of faith are different, but the Deity is one.
IF thy heart become calm as the breezeless firmament and the unruffled waveless deep, change-Less and unmoving this is called Salvation.
WHAT Thou sayest I will say; where Thou dwellest I will remain enrapt; my thoughts shall be like to Thine; and when Thou smilest, I will also smile.
VEMANA has many a scornful and bitter word for the Brahman ritualists and ascetic devotees who set their hopes of salvation upon formal ceremonies :
The solitariness of a dog! the meditations of a crane! the chanting of an ass! the bathing of a frog! Ah, why will ye not try to know your own hearts?
WHAT are you the better for smearing your body with ashes? Your thoughts should be set on God alone; for the rest, an ass can wallow in dirt as well as you.
THE books that are called the Vedas are like courtesans, deluding men, and wholly unfathomable; but the hidden knowledge of God is like an honourable wife.
O YE asses! why do you make balls of food and give them to the crows in the name of your ancestors! how can a dung-eating crow be an ancestor of yours?
HE that fasts shall become in his next birth a village pig; he that embraces poverty shall become a beggar; and he that bows to a stone shall become like a lifeless image.
IF we carefully observe and examine the universe, we shall see that all castes have equally arisen therein. They all are equal; surely all men are brothers. Why should we constantly revile the Pariah? Are not his flesh and blood the same as our own? And of what caste is He who pervades the Pariah?
WOULD you kill a miser? no poison in the world is needed. There is another way; ask him for a penny, and he will at once fall down dead.
IF you take a dog's tail and put it into a bamboo tube, it will remain straight only for a while; say what you will, a bad man will not lose his crooked disposition.
IF you catch a monkey and dress it in a new coat, the hill-apes will all worship it. Thus are the luckIess subject to the senseless.
HE who says : " I know nothing" is the shrewdest of all. He who says: "I am learning" is a mere talker. He who holds his peace is the wisest and best.