Conquest! That’s the watchword of the strong. My friends, be victorious! Conquerors we are! We shall conquer life, we shall conquer death, we shall conquer health as well as illness. And you conquer these things not by fretting and fuming and running here and there, but by rising above them, by becoming indifferent to them. If you ask, Can we be indifferent to ill health?’ of course you can be indifferent to ill health. Of course! If you are strong, you can. If you are weak, then you cannot conquer even health, what to speak of illness. Health will make you a pawn of its game. Health says, Food!’ go on stoking this body. Health says, Exercise!’ run, go to a gymnasium, do all these things. Health says, Sleep!’ ten o’clock, snoring. Health has made a victim of you. You think health has given you a gift? No. You are a dupe of health; don’t you forget it. If you want spirituality, don’t you forget it. Spirituality has nothing to do with health or illness. Both come because the body is made of a material that passes through these alternate states and eventually disintegrates and that is called death.
Internally, what are such people seeking? Day and night they seek the Lord alone. They repeat His name, they look at His likeness. If a person is a devotee of Christ, he will look at his picture. The same symptoms appear in a human being who has fallen in love with another human being. He likes to have the beloved’s photograph, he looks at it again and again discovers one thousand and one beauties he sees beauty in every feature; even ugliness has become exquisitely beautiful. Then he would like to draw his beloved’s picture. Of course, only if you believe God has form, or if you are devoted to an Incarnation of God, can you paint His picture. But they say it is one of the signs of devotion and, therefore, one of the practices of devotion, a very effective practice. Just as composing devotional songs makes the mind dwell upon God, painting His picture also makes the mind dwell upon Him.
They sing unto Him, they dance unto Him, they want to have His image and decorate it. You may ask, What is the sense of decorating an image or a picture?’ Well, you see, love is a sort of madness, isn’t it? A mother will take the picture of her baby and will kiss that picture. What is there in kissing a piece of paper? Does the mother think like that? No. If she thought she was kissing a piece of paper she would become startled. She was thinking of kissing her baby. But one thing you must remember here, and that makes the difference: a mother may not admit she is kissing a piece of paper; yet she will admit it is not the baby she is kissing but a picture of the baby. But about God this need not be true. Why? Because, you see, the baby cannot come to the picture; the baby may be five miles away; he cannot enter into that picture. But when a devotee puts a garland around a picture or an image of God, He, being everywhere, has a tendency of entering into that image and taking that garland. He is a very greedy person, a very greedy person. He will come there so that He can enjoy that garland. You are singing before this image? He will come with all ears and sit in the image listening to your song. He doesn’t want to miss anything. And how wonderful that is for us! The great teachers of devotion have always said that God, the object of love that He is, responds even to the slightest expression of love from anyone. You have to accept that as a fact. Just as the jhanis, the philosophers, say that everywhere, in everything, the supreme Being is equally existent, the bhaktas, the devotees, say that the object of their love is everywhere; where even the slightest devotion rises from the heart of the meanest of His creatures, He responds there equally.
So in various ways a devotee in the middle state w’ants to enjoy God. He wants to love Him. And then from time to time he will close his senses and in deep silence feel His presence and meditate upon Him.