What does meditation give you? Meditation gives you direct strength from within through awareness. You become aware of the forces of reality directly within yourself. When you have a lot of money, how proud you are! You walk carefree because you know if something happens, you can afford any expense. But if you don’t have any money, how do you walk? It is easy to see from your posture that your bank balance is nil. But when you become aware of the inner wealth, you naturally become very fearless and carry yourself differently. If you do not have this awareness, then possessing all the things of the world will not make you unafraid. A doctor, a lawyer, a bodyguard may be walking with you, yet you are fearful and very unhappy from within.

Meditation gives you direct strength from within through awareness.

When Moses went to the mountains, he said, “O Lord, I want to see you.” And there he heard a voice: “If you try to see me directly, the whole mountain will turn to ashes. My beloved is on the mountain. He wants me to give him a vision. But I don’t want to turn him into ashes because I love him.”

If God and reality do not come before you, it is for your benefit, because you cannot handle it. Just learn to handle the potentials slowly and gracefully, by increasing your capacity gently. If suddenly God appears before you, leave him aside. If you yourself come before you, what will happen to you?

Here is a true story. There was a gentleman called Gopinath who was treasurer of the Reserve Bank of India in Kanpur. One day he came to sit with me some 10 miles away from town, by the other side of the bank of the river, where I used to stay in a garden. He brought five other people with him to visit. That very evening, his niece was getting married. We all started to chant and all the people forgot the time. Soon it was approaching dusk, and the marriage was supposed to begin at 7:00. Gopinath had all the wedding ornaments at home in his cupboards, and the only key was with him. When he sprang up suddenly, I asked what was the matter. “Oh, Swamiji, my niece is getting married tonight, and here I am—I forgot all about it. What have you done to me?”

I replied, “I have not done anything. It happens to all who come here—it’s the atmosphere that does it, for you are relaxed, forgetting worldly problems and enjoying the divinity. But why are you so anxious?” He explained that all the gold and money for his niece’s wedding were in his cupboard. So I told him not to worry, that God would take care of the situation. He went home and told his wife how sorry he was because he did not give the ornaments at the wedding. His wife looked at him strangely and said, “What are you talking about? You gave all the money and ornaments exactly at 7:00. Why are you saying these things?” This was too much for him to understand. He lost his head and kept muttering, “I am only one Gopinath. Who was that other one?”

For three years he could not control himself; he had only one thought. He would go to the office and ask his manager, “I am only one Gopinath. Who was that other one?” He wouldn’t talk to anyone except to ask that one question. He wouldn’t communicate, this good gentleman, and so he had to leave the Government Treasury. His family came to me, but I told them there was really nothing I could do. I asked his wife if she had enough money and she said she had plenty of money and good children, but her husband kept asking, “Tell me, honey, who was that other Gopinath? Did he look just like me?”

So, if by chance you appear before yourself, what will happen to you? If you really want to see God and haven’t prepared yourself, you must face the consequences, as Moses did. Do not be eager to experience what you have not yet learned to assimilate. This is why, in meditation, we do not focus on extraordinary experiences and visions. Instead, we focus on discovering our inner wealth.

Source: Awareness of the Reality Within lectures (Honesdale, 1975)