How ought we to live in the world?

Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all the family members wife and children, father and mother and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you.

A maid servant in the house of a rich  man performs all the house hold duties, but her thought are fixed on her own home in her native village. She brings up her master’s children as if they were her own. She even speaks of them as “my Rama” or “my God”. But in her own mind she knows very well that they do not belong to her at all.

The tortoise moves about in the water, but can you guess where her thoughts are? There on the bank, where her eggs are laying. Do all your duties in the world, but keep your mind on God.

If you enter the world without first cultivating love for God, you will be entangled more and more. You will be overwhelmed with its danger, its grief, and its sorrows and the more you think of worldly things, the more you will be attached to them. First rub your hands with oil and then break open the jack-fruit, otherwise they will be smeared with its sticky milk. First secure the oil of divine love, and then set your hands to the duties of the world.

But one must go in the solitude to attain this divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot. If it is too much disturbed, milk won’t turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quite spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter. “Further by meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion and devotion. But the very same mind goes downwards if it dwells in the world.

The word is water and the mind is milk. If you pour milk into water they become one. You cannot find the pure milk any more, but turn the milk into curd and churn it into butter. Then, when that butter is placed in water, it will float. So practice spiritual discipline in solitude and obtain the butter of knowledge and love. Even if you keep that butter in the water of the world the two will not mix. The butter will float.

Together with this you must practice discrimination. Material things are temporary. God is the only eternal substance. What does a man get with money? Food, clothes, and a dwelling place nothing more. You can’t realize God with its help. Therefore money can never be the goal of life. That is the process of discrimination.

Leave a Comment