From The New Sun
Hilda received us very graciously in
her homey apartment on the Upper West Side in New York City. A few of her
students were there; they had just finished dinner, a "family affair"
which they enjoy several times a week. The atmosphere was comfortable. Even at
home Hilda wears a sari. After having tea and pie, we began to talk. Hilda is a
dynamic woman with a dramatic manner of speech. Her personality is enveloping.
Eclipse: What is a real teacher, Hilda?
Hilda: Sathya Sai Baba put it very nicely when he said, "A guru just means one who teaches"; and, as he has said, "gu" means dark and "ru" means light, so a guru is one who takes you from darkness to light. It's one who takes you from your attachment to the world and your belief that you are only a body into a belief of what Christianity teaches: "The truth shall set you free." The truth that will set you free is knowing who you are. So I often joke and say, be sure to get a guru and not a rugu, one who takes you from light to darkness. Young people often make the teacher the end of the goal instead of the beginning. The teacher should be merely the one who points the way. Ramakrishna put it so beautifully when he said all paths lead to the same mountaintop, if they are true paths. You might go the way of jnana, which is wisdom, or the way of bhakti, which is love, or the way of karma yoga, which is service, but in the end each one leads to the same place in evolution, which is liberation from the world. Liberation is to be free from the Earth, free from attachment to the Earth, free from reaction to the Earth. Someone yells at you and you're calm inside. You do not react; therefore, the world cannot hold you. It's as simple as that. It's so simple. People have made it so complicated.
E : What about yogic experiences? Is there a value to kundalini?
Hilda : It's not a value. Whether you be Chinese, whether you be American, whether you be Indian, whether you be African, everybody has a kundalini. It's there whether you like it or not. Infinite Mind built it into you, and all it is, is the rising of energies from the coccyx slowly up to the top of the head and on up. That's all it is, the rising of energy forces in the body. We're made completely of forces, God's forces that created us. When the Infinite Mind of the Logos created us, it sent a force down into matter, and it's not whether or not it's good for us. We have it. The ordinary man has it closed down; the kundalini has not risen. In one life your kundalini might come up to the fourth chakra of love, bhakti, and then in the next life you might forget all that and it's all held down. All at once you meet a teacher or you hear a lecture or maybe you look up at the sky like Rama-krishna did, and zoom, this force goes up your spine. Overnight you know it all. We call it the turning around or the awakening or entering the path. It happens overnight, and you seem to know so many more things than you knew the day before.
E : Is it important to work with that kundalini force?
Hilda : If you don't have jealousy and pettiness or any of the negative forces that hold you to the Earth, it's going to rise automatically. The Christian people don't even talk of the word kundalini, but it all happened anyway to great saints like Saint Teresa of Avila and Padre Pio, who could be in two places at once.
E : Do you encourage these yogic manifestations in your students?
Hilda : I don't encourage anything. I let it happen. If a person thinks he is getting spiritual, then he isn't spiritual. Having the very idea "Now I'm getting spiritual" means he's not, because ego has come in. You must become like an empty flute of Krishna. Krishna can play his tune through the flute, the correct tune. But as long as the flute is saying, "I am playing a good tune," there's a stoppage in the flute and Krishna can't play. The higher you go, the less you think you are anything. When you ask me about a teacher, what teacher? Who teaches who? Everybody teaches you something. Some teach you what not to do and some what to do. Everybody's your teacher in this world. We are just one infinite body, and if I begin to think that I am a teacher, then I cease to be a good teacher because I have ceased to be at one with the one and only teacher, God.
E : Do your students see you as guru?
Hilda : They'd better not! I don't allow them to call me guru. I say I'm a sharer of truth. I teach nothing except what I have experienced. What did Jesus teach? He was always teaching about the Father. What did Moses teach? He was teaching people they have no intermediary, just God. Great teachers will push you past themselves and on to God. They won't let you get stuck with them. Sometimes pseudo-teachers teach you to get stuck with them. They are inclined to teach students to stay with them, instead of pushing the students on.
E : How do you push your students on?
Hilda : I teach them to go inward to their own Godhead the Atman that is within us, the Atman that has never been touched, the Atman that's pure. This Atman has no unworthiness or disagreeable characteristics. It is within us like a lotus that has come out of the scum. In the Orient you see lotus buds coming out of the scummy, scummy pond and rising and opening and there's not one bit of scum inside. So they say our souls are like that: they have never been touched. They are as perfect as when they came down from God in the beginning, out of the molten substance of God, with His thought-force. So I teach people that the Atman is within themselves, that if they break open all the smallness, the meanness, the pettiness, all the things that hold them to the Earth, what I call the sandbags that keep our balloon from going up, they will find they are just that God.
E : How do we rid ourselves of the sandbags?
Hilda : We get rid of them by determination. In my class this week, we said we will not tell a "like story." You know, when you're at a party there's always a like story one person's telling a story and you're thinking in your mind, "Oh, I know one just like that." So when they get through, you tell one, you understand? It's simply a human characteristic to have your ego. If you shut up, swallow it, the energy stays within you. Your kundalini rises a bit, right? The energies rise, and you get free from your pride and your ego. For Saint Therese's birthday, I was reading from a book last night, and in there she's talking about "our handkerchief." In her convent they didn't say "I," they said "our." It means it is the Lord's and hers. You know, I just happened to read it last night. It was her birthday yesterday, so we put her picture up with a rose. The children and I had a little ceremony. It was very beautiful it was exquisite.
E : Does grace play a part?
Hilda : You have to come to the point to earn grace. Grace exists. Some people say, "Well, why doesn't grace work the same for everybody in this whole world?" Sai Baba says, "There's a fire. Some people sit near it and keep warm. Some people sit in the second row. Some people say, `I don't want to be bothered with going down there,' and they freeze." It's our choice whether we have grace or don't have grace. There's no mysterious thing bossing us in this world. We are our own bosses. We are our own destiny, and we can make or break our lives. You can go to God and please the Infinite Mind and become one with It, or you can just play around and have a miserable life on Earth. I've never seen persons who are immersed in the world and who are very happy. They may make a lot of money, but along with the money, along with their position in life comes some headache. I've watched them all. It just seems they can't be their absolute perfection, you understand, because God leaves one flaw. I love this story, which is a legendary story in India. This man has a nagging wife. She's so mean and bosses him so much that he says, "God, next life give me a very meek and mild wife. I don't want any bossy wives." The next time he comes in, he gets this lady who's sick all the time. She's so sick she can't do any housework, she can't take care of him, she can't do anything. So he says, "Oh, God, next time, give me another kind." So each time he's asking for a different kind and each time there's a flaw. So, finally, after many lives, he says, "God, don't give me any wives. Just give me You."
E : Is there some way we can find God? You have spoken about getting rid of the sandbags. Is there also another way?
Hilda : Getting rid of the sandbags, I think, is keeping your mind on truth, on who you are. Often people prefer to keep those sandbags because people know the Earth; they're not sure about the God-realm. So rather than let go of the fetters, those things that hold them, they often will keep them. Just when they are going into a nice meditation, they'll say, "God, I'm not worthy to come to you." But actually they don't really want to go higher because they know they're a little bit attached to this Earth plane. Not that our lives are not on the Earth plane; the Earth plane becomes better. Once you get yourself aligned with God, the Earth plane goes right. So the kids in my group get better jobs. Their health gets better. They get happiness. They get rid of their depression. So the Earth plane gets better, but they're no longer attached to the Earth plane; therefore, it can flow nicely. Why did we take bodies if this Earth plane couldn't be right? There are some people who are Heaven-bound and some people who are Earth-bound. Some people who are on Earth, all they think about is Heaven, and some people in Heaven, all they think about is Earth. But we should be neither. Heaven and Earth should become one. In other words, our Earth life should become better after we become spiritual. Our relationships with our mothers and fathers should become better: those relationships get healed in my group. I almost insist they go back on their holidays and see their mothers and fathers, and they go back and meet their mothers and fathers on their own ground. And then there's a happiness and harmony, not that rift in their lives.
E : Surely there's some discord left in everyday life?
Hilda : I met a person over in India in one of the ashrams. He said, "I have anger." I said, "Just control your temper. The next time someone yells at you, just relax and watch the other person being angry or screaming at you. Watch, just watch. Once in a while you say `uh-huh, um-hmm,' but just watch it, and more and more it will become humorous to see them screaming and yelling. It takes two hands to clap, and if you take one away, what's the other one going to clap on?" He said, "Well, I can't do that. When I go back to California and people yell at me, I have to yell back, or they won't think I'm a man." That is ego. He didn't want to give up that ego or pride of who he was. On the other hand, going up the path is so much fun. When you find yourself controlling your tongue, you feel so radiant. When you control your tongue and the energies go up, you become omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent; you say something and it comes to pass. It's amazing what happens in your life after you have control of the forces that you're made of. We're all made up of forces. It's very wonderful. In the beginning there was matter, and the Infinite Logos shot down forces into this matter which became all of us. The forces of life that stirred up matter into manifestation otherwise matter is inert are called the "spermatic words." Spermatic words were shot down into matter and they became form. It's a very beautiful thing. We've been studying that.
E : What's the most common mistake made by a new student?
Hilda : In the beginning, the one thing that holds most students back is a feeling of unworthiness. I try to take them deeper or higher, whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately, when a person comes down to this life, however pure they are, they go to school. Most people don't like to be loners, so they carry on, and the next thing you know, it's drugs and smoking and a lot of sex, and when they come to God, they feel an unworthiness. To get rid of their unworthiness takes a long time, because they think, "I'm not worthy to go to God. Hilda doesn't know what I've gone through. I'm unworthy, and so how can I go to God?" Now that's one thing. The other thing is doubt in what the teacher is saying. If you sit before a so-called teacher, it must be a teacher you can trust. You must judge if the teacher is living what he or she speaks of. If not, then move on.
E : How can the student tell if the teacher is living it?
Hilda : I think we have an inborn intuition. People have come to me over the years from different teachers, having had the intuition that something was wrong. We're taught not to be negative, you see, so they think, "Oh, I'm being negative. I mustn't be negative and think anything negative about my teacher or the group or anything." They're afraid to look quietly from their intuition and say, "This doesn't seem right." I've had two or three sets of people come to me from different teachers. They were being led astray. They were afraid to really look at it, and when we brought it out, they said, "I knew this was so, but I didn't have the courage to really look at it." It's very important that the student gets with the right teacher; otherwise, the student can be retarded for a long, long time. They'll turn away from truth and turn back into the world if they get a bad teacher or one who's using the students for money, fooling them with words.
E : There are false inner teachers, too?
Hilda : False inner teachers, yes. At a certain point, if you've gone very high on this plane, you are taught discrimination. If you don't have discrimination on the physical plane, you're not going to have it on the inner plane. A figure will come to you and say, "I am a Master," or someone will say, "This is your Master." And then you will have to look and you will not see light coming from the eyes, and you'll say, "This is not my Master. There's no light coming from the eyes." The apparition or the illusion will fade away like that. It's a test to see if you have discrimination. If you have no discrimination here, you're not going to have discrimination there, you follow? If you're such a fool that you can be fooled here, you're going to be fooled in the dream world. You must be able to know if a person is saying the truth. I'm thinking of one group where this person says that he's all sorts of incarnations and that Masters are with him. Followers sit and listen to this. Yet inside you know it's not true. Such teachers play on the minds of people by saying, "If you're in this room, you're going to help humanity." And really they get beautiful people around them who have not been trained in discrimination. There seems to be the need for some glamour in people's lives, for a clinging together in a family and a glamour. Many, many of these groups scare people by saying to them, "Don't leave, or you won't get liberation. Don't leave, or you won't ever know any peace or harmony." A fear comes in. It's like scaring people with hellfire.
E : You say the mistake of most new students is feeling they are unworthy or doubting the teacher.
Hilda : If you've come to the place where you've accepted a person who you feel is talking truth, then the teacher should know a little more than the student, should have a little more awakening inside. But that teacher cannot awaken the truth inside you unless there is a certain trust in the teacher. The trust must not be put indiscriminately in a wrong teacher. The spiritual world is very delicate.
E : What's the most common mistake made by advanced students?
Hilda : As they go up the path and this is the worst of all, because pride on this plane is nothing compared to pride as they go up they begin to feel a little superior. These wonderful experiences are beginning to come into them. They're feeling the wonders of God, the ecstasy. They get spiritual pride, and that can take them down and stop them faster than anything in this world. Another mistake can be made when the siddhis come, when what you call miracles come, and they get enamored with the miracles. They're able to do certain things, and they use their new power to do them, you understand? Again they get stuck on the spiritual path.
E : How does one guard against that?
Hilda : You must have proper teaching that shows you that anything of manifestation, from here to the ceiling of God, is still just manifestation. Even the highest angels are still form. The Jewish people teach beyond form, don't they? The Vedanta teaches beyond form. Anywhere between here and there, you can get stuck on a form. I remember being taken during initiation into a hell world and I didn't move an inch when I saw the horrors of it. When I was taken into a heaven world, one of the lokas, and saw flowers ten feet around and in luminous colors, I was enamored. I thought, how wonderful, how beautiful. I was inclined to fall into that and not into the negative. I could cope with the negative because I had taught myself how to, but I had to teach myself that you can get stuck even on beauty.
E : Is there a special diet or certain physical practices you recommend?
Hilda : Well, I just happened to have been born a vegetarian, from a past life. Nobody could ever make me eat meat or eggs. It was a thing I was born with, that happens to be me. I don't tell anyone to be a vegetarian. I don't in any way force that in my students, but I've found that automatically the desire for meat drops off. A person who's going to drop eating meat must get a proper diet so that other protein takes the place of the meat.
E : Are there any other conditions that you recommend your students follow?
Hilda : I don't recommend they follow anything, just that they have bhakti and love and get rid of all pettiness. A petty person to me is useless. If they want to hang on to all that pettiness, let them go back to the world and enjoy all those arguments and fights. Some people enjoy all that; it makes them feel important. But a requisite for a pupil is that they wish to get rid of that and are willing to get rid of that and to control the emotions. The emotions have to be controlled on this plane. If they're not controlled, then you can't go up the path. You can't go into higher realms with the emotions out of control. I don't believe the body should shake and move around. I believe that when the energies begin to come, we should be strong enough to take the energy of God, which is a million times stronger than an atomic bomb. What does the word "yoga" mean? A yoke to God. A way of yoking yourself to God like an old-fashioned yoke. Yoga has its rules, which are to sit straight, keep the back straight, head on top of the spine. Then when the rise of the force comes, it comes in harmony. There should be nothing inharmonious in the spiritual life.
E : Could controlling the emotions ever be detrimental?
Hilda : Controlling and not purifying them can certainly be detrimental: you'll come forth with a bigger anger than you've ever had before. But if you follow a certain way of thinking, breathing and meditating, you clear your emotions so that the emotions no longer react. That is sublimation, while the other way is just covering over. It's merely a covering, a pretense at being peaceful and quiet, but you're ready to shout at any moment, and that certainly is not spirituality. That's just frustration. On the other hand, I don't think you can just go on like those people who have pillow fights and scream and all that. You might do that once. It's just like if you have a smoke, ten minutes or a half hour later, you want another one. You're never satisfied. If you're a big eater and you eat now, you want a bigger meal later. You never can satisfy those feeling worlds. You've got to certainly control them until one day they are so under control they never bother you. It doesn't mean that you can't use them. You will find that you will eat if you wish to eat, not because you are forced to eat. You'll laugh because you wish to laugh, not because of an emotion of nervousness. If you want to laugh and enjoy yourself, then you laugh. If you want to go down to a show, you go down to a show. If anything comes on the screen that you don't like, you go into a space where you don't let it come into you, but you can still go. You can walk down 42nd Street if you want to. You follow me? I use these things symbolically. Not that anybody wants to walk down there. But you can walk anywhere and not be hurt. Jesus taught us that. He went into saloons to pick His disciples. They thought Him a winebibber, you know. He didn't feel that His robes would be tainted by any place He went. On the other hand, you don't want to go anywhere unless your reason for going is to help humanity. When the energies of kundalini rise, there are no desires there that were there before. Eating tastes change. Even the friends aren't the same. Not that you would push your friends aside, but their ways of thinking and living are entirely different from yours. You don't turn away from them, but they don't comprehend you any more. Often these people stay away but turn around later and come back.
E : Lee often talks about you.
Hilda : I love Lee.
E : Sometimes he makes fun of you, yet when we join in, he gets very angry and immediately retaliates and makes us feel that we shouldn't have done that.
Hilda : How does he make fun of me?
E : Sometimes he calls us "kids", the way you call your students.
Hilda : Yes, I just call them "kids", not because they're my kids, but because I think they're God's kids.
E : Why do you think he does that?
Hilda : I don't know. I have fun. Does Lee have some fun?
E : Oh, sure.
Hilda : Sure, why shouldn't he have fun and mimic and say "kids." People, you know, say "your kids," but they're not my kids. They're His kids, Her kids, the Divine Mother's kids. From the time I was very young, I called people "kids." I used to call my mother's people "kids." It's just a strange thing I have. Sure, you can have fun. We laugh. A person who has ceased to laugh has ceased to be spiritual. The higher the holy persons, the more fun they are. Like one I know, his laughter is so contagious. It's just marvelous. He calls himself "a beggar," he calls himself "a sinner." He's the most divine beggar and sinner I know. He's immortal. He's a liberated, immortal soul. He just laughs at himself.(Hilda is referring to Yogi Ramsuratkumar.) Yes, I like people that laugh. I laugh a lot. I make my group laugh a lot. We just got through giving a show that was hilarious. The path should be serious, but there should be a time when you can relax and laugh. Sai Baba laughs like anything. I've seen Sai Baba laugh at me. My leg got cramped sitting in darshan, and as I got up, it buckled and I fell in the aisle. He's usually so dignified, but he just laughed and laughed. He'd have us sing, and if you sang out of key, he'd laugh. He's full of laughter. Holy persons are full of laughter they see what a stupid world this is. Why shouldn't you laugh at it?
E : If there was one thing you could give your students, Hilda, what would it be?
Hilda : Love. I think love is the only thing you can take from me. First comes understanding. Perhaps a person comes up and screams at you. If your emotions don't react and you don't say, "Why is he screaming at me!" then compassion comes up. You think, "Why is he screaming, not at me, but why is he screaming? Maybe his wife is mean to him. Maybe he has no money. Maybe he is worried." On top of compassion comes love. Those three, understanding, compassion and love, must go out instantaneously boom, boom, boom and toward everybody. Love pours out of your heart. In a case like that, love is forgiveness.
E : You talk about the path and how so much needs to be done to gain the ultimate, which is union with the Divine or union with the Lord. Can that just happen instantaneously?
Hilda : It depends on work you've done in a past life, you see. In my case, one moment I didn't know, and then overnight the air became beautiful, everything became perfect. What I knew was unfolded almost overnight because it was there inside me. It held back so I could grow up and go to school, you understand. Nobody has to learn anything. It's like that light up there. It's a little dirty; therefore, the light isn't shining as brightly as it should. It has dust on it; it hasn't been dusted. You are the bulb and the teacher flicks the switch, but the light was always in you. There are people all around the world and in the streets to whom nobody's done that. The teacher has to show them how to wipe off the dust so they can completely shine with God's light. The light is God. The bulb is you. The dust is all the karmic living. The switch is what the teacher turns on. That's all. It's been made so complicated with pranayama and asanas and contemplations. Sai Baba said this about meditation: "First comes contemplation; you're sitting quietly. Then comes concentration on one thought, and with that concentration, you go into meditation, which is beyond the senses, beyond the feelings, beyond the emotions, beyond the mind." That's really meditation. If you're still feeling and thinking, then you're in concentration still. When you go to the place past feelings, then you're in meditation.
E : One more question. Are we living in a New Age?
Hilda : I feel the New Age of God is dawning because it's dawning in so many people. I was over in India and in the 1960s these strange-looking people started coming over there, a new category of people with long hair and sloppy dress. I had lived eighteen years with the Indians, completely away from Americans or Europeans, and I couldn't understand what these kids were. I was by the Ganges dangling my feet, and I said, "What shall I do when I go home? I haven't been home for eighteen years. So what am I going to do over there?" And then the voice that guides me my own inner intuition said, "Do what you were taught to do, teach meditation." Then I read something about the drug addiction and other problems young people were having, and I thought I ought to go back and teach young people.
When I came to New York and started teaching, one person came and brought another and another and another, and it just built up until it was too much for the house. I felt it was the influx of a new race. Whereas before, people were involved with petty things, all at once all of you came in. You wanted to know God, to know about your own Self, who you were something different. You weren't interested in the "Establishment," as it was called in the sixties. You broke away from your families, you went to college, and you drove taxi cabs. You did anything to break away from the Establishment. It was like a new race had come. I thought, Altantis it had just been waiting for a time to come back again when the world had come to the point of being able to comprehend it. You must understand, I'm not for LSD. I've never taken it. I've never been around it. But some way or other, by breaking through with psychedelics, people wanted something different. One person took LSD and saw all this, and afterwards said, "I know I'll never take it again, but I've got to find that thing." Sai Baba says that LSD and all that smoking are artificial grapes, no juice, you understand. But the kids are out for real grace. They don't want LSD. It's a passe thing. They don't want any of that. They want to know who they are within themselves. They're desperate, and that's where sometimes unscrupulous teachers come along. The teachers say, "I will do it for you," and they are believed. People are afraid to listen to their built-in discrimination.
I feel this great New Age of God is being born through you young people. I feel it's here in you and being built now. And the old has to be swished away, fall away of its own accord. The New Age kids, oh, are they wonderful. One little child, six weeks old, was in this very room when I was saying people must serve. Everyone heard him say, "Okay." At six weeks of age, he said, "Okay." He's now about four years old. At eighteen months, he taught himself to read, write and do arithmetic. Amazing children are coming into this world, amazing. There's a new race coming in to build a New Age of God. I suppose if you're talking about the millennium, it'll take a long time for the millennium to come, when all is happiness, peace, prosperity on Earth. But it is on its way. In the meantime, you have to put up with the Kali Age, which is pretty bad. People are talking about the horror of the cults. The Bible says, "Two will be standing where one will be taken." (cf. Mt. 24:40) "The chaff shall be separated from the wheat." (cf. Mt. 13:30, Lk. 3:17) So I guess this is the time when the separation is going on so that this glorious New Age of God can come. As far as I'm concerned, inside myself, it's there. When you find this thing inside, everything goes right for you. Everything goes right. Our millennium is ourselves, you understand. When a whole lot of us get that, then the millennium's here the Golden Age of God.
E : Thank you very much.
Hilda : You're welcome. It's lovely seeing you. Just beautiful seeing you.