In this play there was a room . On the stage a large room could be seen and its side a small room and …. I don’t remember the story now, but in the small room there was a button which could be pressed, and by pressing the button the ceiling of the bigger room could be brought down on those who were there so as to crush them inexorably!…. And a warning had been given, people had already spoken about it, passed on the word. And now there was a traitor who had hidden himself in the little room and he knew the trick of the button, and then there was the hero who came in with other people, and they started arguing; and everyone knew that the ceiling was going to come down… I didn’t say anything, I remembered I was in the theater, I was waiting to see how the author was going to get out of his situation to save his hero (for it was evident he couldn’t kill him off like that before everybody!). But the others were not at all in the same state. Well, there were spectators who shouted: “Look out, mind the ceiling!” That’s how it was.
These are phenomena of self-identification. Only, they are involuntary. And this is also one of the methods used today to cure nervous diseases. When someone cannot sleep, cannot be restful because he is too excited and nervous and his nerves are ill and weakened by excessive agitation, he is told to sit in front of an aquarium, for instance—an aquarium, that’s very lovely, isn’t it?—before an aquarium with pretty little fish in it,goldfish; just to sit there, settle down in an easy-chair and try not to think of anything (particularly not of his troubles) and look at the fish. So he looks at the fish, moving around, coming and going, swimming, gliding, turning, meeting, crossing, chasing one another indefinitely, and also the water flowing slowly and the passing fish. After a while he lives the life of fishes: he comes and goes, swims, glides, plays. And at the end of the hour his nerves are in a perfect state and he is completely restful! But the condition is that one must not think of one’s troubles, simply watch the fish.
Can the Divine be attained in this way?
You know, the only way of knowing the Divine is by identifying oneself with Him. There is no other, there is only one, one single way. Hence, once you are master of this method of identification, you can identify yourself. So you choose your object for identification, you want to identify yourself with the Divine. But so long as you do not know how to identify yourself, a hundred and one things will always come across your path, pulling you here, pulling you there, scattering you, and you will not be able to identify yourself with Him. But if you have learnt how to identify yourself, then you have only to direct the identification, place it where you want it, and then hold on there until you get a result. It will come very fast if you are master of your power of identification. Yes, it will come very quickly. Ramakrishna used to say that the time could vary between three days, three hours and three minutes. Three days for very slow people, three hours for those who were a little swifter, three minutes for those who are used to it.
Three days for very slow people?
For very slow people, yes. He was asked: “How long does it take one to get identified with the Divine?” that was his answer. And that means three days without doing anything? No, not without doing anything. It is not necessary to do nothing simply in order to be identified with the Divine. Evidently you cannot remain seated motionless for three days without doing anything; it would mean you had already attained an extraordinary degree of perfection if you could do that—forget all your needs and remain motionless for three days. No, it is not that he means; the thought must be concentrated solely on the Divine. And he did it before that person, to show him, prove to him that what he was saying was true. That did not take him more than three minutes.
But it is just that, what hinders the experience is the absence of the practice of concentration, and also the absence of onepointedness, singleness of purpose, of will. One “wants” it for a minute, two minutes, ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, an hour, and afterwards, one wants many other things…. One “thinks” about it for a few seconds, and after that thinks of a thousand other things. So naturally in this way you could take an eternity. For indeed, in this you cannot add up; if it could be accumulated like grains of sand, if with every thought you give to the Divine you place a little grain of sand somewhere, after a time this would make a mountain. But it is not like that, it does not remain. It has no result. It does not accumulate, you cannot go on adding, cannot progress quantitatively—you can progress in intensity, progress qualitatively. Yes, you can learn within yourself how to do it; but what you have done counts only in this way. It does not get accumulated like grains of sand on a dune. Else it would be enough to become quite clever and tell yourself: “Well, I shall give at least a dozen thoughts to the Divine every day.” And then, by little bits like that, after some time one has a little hill….Well, my children, it will soon be ten o’clock. But if someone has a very interesting question…..You? Ask.