You Are That Ever-Free Atman

Almora, 8 July 1916


Dear Bihari Babu,

. . . I was so happy reading your letter, and again I became sad noticing your old self-deprecating mood. You are a child of the Divine Mother. Why do you consider yourself so worthless? Please shun this negative feeling completely. The Master [Sri Ramakrishna] taught us to repeat, ‘I chant God’s name. Why should I worry?’ Truly, I feel pain when I hear your self-reproaching attitude. We have heard from the Master that this is an obstacle to spiritual progress. Knowing your strong relationship with God, you have to move towards him. Never forget that you are his child. Human relationships are casual and momentary, but the relationship with the Lord is eternal.

“The ever-free Atman [Self] takes a human birth in order to taste the bliss of liberation in life and not for the fulfillment of any worldly desires.” I can hardly convey to you what a wonderful joy and light dawned on me when I first read this verse of Shankara. Then the purpose of life shined forth before me, and all problems were solved automatically. I realized that the purpose of human birth is nothing but tasting the bliss of jivan-mukti or freedom while living. Truly there is no reason for the ever-free Atman to assume a human body, except that it likes to enjoy freedom while in the body.

You are that ever-free Atman; your expression of self-pity does not befit you. No doubt it is difficult to look directly into the sun, but it is easy to look at the reflected sun. Likewise, it may be difficult to realize the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute as ‘I am Brahman’ [the supreme reality]; but one can definitely identify oneself with him as ‘I am his child or part.’ One should not think oneself separate from God; it is not beneficial.

Whatever I may be, I belong to him and to none else. A son may be unworthy, but he is still a son. There is a song of Ramprasad: ‘Good or bad―whatever I may be, thou knowest everything. But does a mother discard her son because he is bad?’ Whether you are good or bad, you are the child of the Divine Mother. There is no doubt about it.

With love and best wishes,