“The Golden Rule” – Nolini Kanta Gupta

An audio recording and a transcript of a talk by Nolini Kanta Gupta, which was followed by a recitation of selections from the Book Eight of Savitri.


Today I shall speak to you of the golden rule. When we were children we were taught, specially at school, at home too, certain golden rules. If you observe these rules you become good, good boys and good girls, you are loved and appreciated by all. These rules are simple and very common-place, you know them all and must have tried them. For example such things as “speak the truth, do not tell a lie, obey your parents, respect your teachers, do not hurt anybody” etc. etc. That was the basis on which one was to build one’s character, mould one’s nature, prepare for a pure stainless noble life.

They are good, these rules, so far as they go: but to say the truth, they do not go very far. They do not touch you intimately. They enter, as it is said, your head through one ear and pass out through the other. They do not quicken your heart and involve your soul. You follow if you are very earnest one rule or another for a few days and then you forget.

The other day I spoke to you of Yajnavalkya; he gave a better rule that was nearer to the golden rule. What he said in effect was that instead of following these outward rules or formulas you must leave them aside, go within yourself and find your self. Yajnavalkya said: you love your neighbour, not because he is your neighbour or brother, but because you find yourself in him. Find the Self, that is the golden rule. Find the Self that is in you, you will find that very Self in your neighbour, in all.

Here however you must take care not to confuse yourself with your Self. When it is said that you find your Self it is not your personal self that you find in another as if you grasp it as your own, exclusively your own possession. This Self is not the ego, it is beyond ego, it is not the kind of self-hood that Shakespeare depicts in King Richard where the King, deprived of everything, left all alone in the whole world, exclaims: “Richard loves Richard, that is, I am I”; for it is not a separative I-ness; the other I’s are dissolved as well as the one I that I am, and all become one person or self. It is all one self, one soul although they may appear different, as different I’s.

Here I will tell you a story narrated to our children. There used to be every evening a meeting where seekers and enquirers after the spiritual life assembled and conversed or meditated on the subject. There used also to come to that meeting a remarkable woman who had true realisations and was ready to help others on the path. Once the talk turned on souls and their re-birth and she was telling how after the death of the body souls pass out into another world, and when the time comes each one returns to the earth and takes a human body. Now there was one in the audience who felt a little puzzled about this matter of birth and wanted clarification. She put a question: (it was a she): “You say that souls come down and take birth, that is to say, assume a human body. But people are increasing in number upon earth, every year the human population becoming larger and larger. Now the question is: the additional number of people born every year, where were they before? Were they there all along since the creation, waiting? Do they appear gradually as time passes and bide their hour?” We in the modern age may suggest an analogy. Is it like the stars or galaxies that are gradually coming into our ken, phenomenally distant stars whose lights are taking time to reach the present day earth? The questioner asked: “Is there a fixed number of souls, can they be counted?” The speaker answered, “Yes, they are limited and they can be counted.” With great curiosity and eagerness the questioner asked: “How many? how many?” Quietly the one who was speaking extended her hand and put out one single index-finger, and said: “Only one.”

So, that is the truth. All these many bodies, many persons you see, it is only appearance, there is only one Soul and every one is that. If you realise this truth, you can love every one equally, not merely love but be one with all, because you are all and all are you. That universal Self, your own true Self you have to find, you have to know, you have to become. That is the golden rule as the ideal.

How to attain, how to realise it?

The Mother in this matter has given us a golden rule, a truly golden rule and very simple. Generally we are confused as to our duty — what to do, what not to do, how to do, how not to do. The Mother says to her children:

“Do not do what you will hesitate to do or be ashamed of doing in my presence. Do not say anything which you will hesitate to say or be ashamed of saying in my presence. Do not think even what you will find it awkward to think in my presence.” Well, try this way and you will find what a golden rule and a simple rule it is. Sri Aurobindo confirmed and said the same thing. He says — you all know the well-known phrase — “Always behave as if the Mother was looking at you; because she is, indeed, always present.” You need not imagine that she is there, for she is actually always there whether you imagine or not; you do not know, for you are blind but she is always there, seeing you, observing you, guiding you, protecting you. She not only sees what you do, but even what you feel inside you, even your most secret thoughts. A child asked the Mother in his simplicity: “How do you know. Mother, what we do, what we think, what we feel, how do you know it?” The Mother smiled and answered, “My child, because you are within me, within my embrace always. Therefore I know. I know what is happening in me, isn’t it? That is why I see what is happening in you. You are not outside me, you are part of myself, I am you.”

Now if you follow this simple rule sincerely and persistently you will see the change miraculously happening in you, you will become the golden child of the golden Mother. You will find your thoughts, your words, your feelings, your impulses putting on a new colour, even your body will take a new glow of health and beauty. Normally our brain is made of mud, our thoughts are unclean — we have wrong thoughts, dark thoughts, our tongue also is made of mud or clay, we speak wrong things, impure things, our heart too is made of the same substance, giving out wrong feelings and unclean feelings; lower down in our nature in the vital region our impulses are also wrong and muddy and unclean, finally, the body is mud itself, it is made of diseases and weaknesses and incapacities. We are, as it were, a container containing this ugly and unclean mixture. What we have to do is to pour into it the golden liquid, molten gold that will wash away all that impurity and filth, clean the vessel and fill it with its own radiant substance, the molten gold which is the Mother’s presence.

This process has been beautifully described by Sri Aurobindo in one of his poems. I conclude by reading out those magnificent lines:

                   THE GOLDEN LIGHT

Thy golden Light came down into my brain
And the grey rooms of mind sun-touched became
A bright reply to wisdom’s occult plane,
A calm illumination and a flame.

Thy golden Light came down into my throat,
And all my speech is now a tune divine,
A paean-song of thee my single note;
My words are drunk with the Immortal’s wine.

Thy golden Light came down into my heart
Smiting my life with Thy eternity,
Now has it grown a temple where Thou art
And all its passions point towards only Thee.

Thy golden Light came down into my feet
My earth is now thy playfield and thy seat.

[Following the above talk, Nolini-da recited selections from the Book 8 of Savitri].

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