As you grow more and more in stature, your growth becomes more rapid. And at last, a time comes, when you say: “I have had enough of this; I no longer care for power–it ends in disappointment; I no longer care for wealth–it is a burden rather than a joy; I no longer care for the things that break in the enjoyment; I no longer care for the things that perish in the using.” And then there sets in the discontent with the transitory goods of this world; there sets in that which is called Vairāgya–dispassion. The objects no longer attract; and then the man that has this Divine discontent within him begins to seek for the permanent, begins to look for that which will satisfy; and there is nothing that can satisfy the Divine Spirit in man save God Himself, the Illimitable Life and Love. And so, as an English poet wrote–an old-fashioned poet:
When God at first made man, Having a glass of blessings standing by, Let me, He said, pour on him all I can; Let the world’s riches which extended lie Contract into a span. Then strength first made its way, Then beauty followed, wealth and power and pleasure. At last, when all was gone, God made a stay. Perceiving that at last of all his treasure Rest in the bottom lay. For if I should, said He, Bestow this jewel also on my creature, He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature, So both should losers be. Then let him keep the rest, But keep them in repining restlessness. Let him be rich and weary, that at last, If goodness move him not, yet restlessness Shall toss him to my breast.
Now that is the truth. There is nothing in all this world that does not break in your hands, when you have it. God is like a mother, and He dangles in front of His children all the joys, the glittering baubles, that earth can give. And, in front of one He dangles wealth, saying: “Come, my child, and grasp the wealth.” And the child, in trying to grasp, puts out his power, and his strength develops, and his will develops, and in the struggle to be rich many of the faculties of the man and the power of will are developed, and when that has been done, and the child grasps the bauble–it breaks. For the value was in the struggle and not in the possession, for the Divine Spirit in man. The Divine Spirit in man can never be satisfied with gold or wealth. If a mother took up her child and carried it always, as some foolish men would have God carry us, then when the child ought to be walking, strengthening its legs, tumbling down and picking itself up again, it would have been carried in its mother’s arms, until when it was 6 or 7 or 8, it would be paralysed, and would never grow into a man at all. And so it is with God’s child, Man. “Struggle,” He says. “See all the beautiful things I have here for you.” For God is in all the objects of sense. God is in everything that attracts; there is no attraction save in God, the only fair. And so, He hides Himself in gold, and He hides Himself in pleasure, and He hides Himself in Power; and He hides Himself in fame; and when the child has exerted himself and gained the desirable object, God slips out of it and the attraction vanishes, and so we grow and learn. It is the only way. We grow strong, intellectually strong, morally strong, until nothing has power to attract save the one supreme attraction, God Himself.
And so it is written, that when a man becomes weary he begins to abstain from the objects of the senses. And then come the strange words: “The objects of the senses turn away from the abstemious dweller in the body.” Why? because God is in them, and when they no longer attract they have done their work, and they turn away to educate some less developed man; and then, it is written, that the taste for them still remains, but even the taste for them vanishes away when once the Supreme is seen. There lies the truth. You feel distaste for the lower only when you have seen the higher. When you have seen the Supreme Beauty, the fragments of that Beauty down here can no longer mislead; you see God in them, and keep a grateful memory of all that they have taught you, in that they have led to the realisation of the God hidden in them, the treasure which remains. When you have gained the knowledge, the realisation of God, what has earth left, that earth can give? He is all power; He is all might; He is all beauty; He is all love; and you learn to know that nothing that has attracted you can perish in its permanent reality. Although the form may break, and change into another, it only increases your treasure in the riches of the Supreme. You love a woman; it is well; for love is the great purifier and the great uplifter of human hearts; but remember that her loveliness is but a fragment of the Divine Loveliness, and that all that attracts in her is the beauty of the Self shining forth through the beauty of the form.