The senses are so made by the Lord that they all look outward and do not look within. But a wise person, in order to attain to immortality, turns his eyes inward and thereby perceives this inmost Self well, you must have that discipline; you must not let your senses run wild. When I see people talking about religion, arguing about God, and when at the same time I see no self-discipline in them, I say this is a travesty of religion and nothing can come of it, except further confusion of the brain. You can erect a powerful building only on a strong foundation. Discipline is that foundation.
So many odd ideas have spread in America because you haven’t a strong spiritual tradition here. Now, I know some of you will be annoyed at my saying that. You will say, Why! We have the Christian tradition, we have the Jewish tradition! These are very old religious traditions. But I must say this, although you have inherited these traditions and show interest in religion look at all the churches and synagogues and so on! you have never thought of religion as, a personal experience. You have always emphasized belief and faith, and there is always a contractual approach to God: if you do such and such, then God will give you something. It is so primitive an approach! Excuse me, but that is how it seems to us. In India we also have that phase of religion, but long ago we recognized that it is for those who do not want real religion, yet want something. It is all right for such people to play with these ideas, but if you want to be truly religious or spiritual, you have to have experience. Faith and belief have very little to do with it.
Discipline is the word. You have to learn to discipline yourself. Many of you think that if you become disciplined, you will lose your spontaneity, your creativity as if to be instinctive is to be creative! Well, maybe so. But the things that are created out of an instinctive state of mind are most horrible. That is not true creativity: it is mediocrity, even less than that it is insanity. Creativity is a very big thing. There is only one Creator and that is God, and unless you go very close to God, to say that you are creative is nonsense. Discipline is the thing. Why? To get rid of the bad habit of letting your energies run out. A person has a little spiritual experience; at once he becomes eager to talk about it. He will give twenty thousand lectures, and nowadays you have so many opportunities of talking. First of all, you could lecture to a congregation; then you could lecture on the radio, or if you have more money, you could lecture on television. Your energies are continually going out. That’s a deadly thing. You may not give out anything unless you have reached a state where the more you give, the more you are replenished. When a man starts a business with a small capital, he cannot spend the profits; he can barely live; he has to sink the profits into his business. For years and years he will do that. Then finally he reaches a state where he can enjoy the fruits of his labour; his business will not suffer. In the same way, you reach a state in your spiritual growth when, even if you give a lot, there is a perennial spring of power and knowledge within you; it has opened up, and you never lack anything. Even then, you do not become extravagant about it, and rarely do you expend yourself by your own will. There is another will then, which prompts you about what you should and shouldn’t do.
So you have to discipline everything. All the senses are eager to contact their objects: our eyes are hungry, our ears are hungry every part is hungry. Every sense has to be disciplined. And if you say that would be just killing yourselves, I shall accept that view in regard to most people. But then, the serious religion of which I am speaking is not for those people. Theirs is a ritualistic religion, an essentially active religion, in which there is very little contemplation; they sing loudly, pray loudly, do some physical movements, which are called ritual. That is good for them.