(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 April 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, BYS Lecture)

A saint in one tradition,one morning came out of the house, carrying a bucket with fire and a bucket with water. People said, “Ooooh, what you gonna do with all of that?”

anglesAnd the saint said, “With the water, I will put out the fire of hell and with the fire, I will burn heaven.”

(Gasping) “You’re gonna burn heaven!? You’re gonna put out the fire of hell!? What is this?”

“Yes,” the saint said, “Because most people are into spirituality either because they want to avoid hell or because they want to attain heaven where they enjoy eternally instead of being in it for the love of God.”

So that, I thought, was a nice statement. If I look cross-cultural at the saints who represent their traditions and who are meant to have realized something through their meditation, then you see in these saints, certain characteristics as a result of their process, their meditation. These saints, they have an inner strength. They are not disturbed by any outside factors. Internally, they are unaffected. These saints hold love in the highest esteem. These saints are aiming to dedicate their life to God and at the same time they are dedicating their life to benefiting all the living beings. So they are well-wishers, that is a saint and I think we can see it in every tradition. I’m summarizing in a short talk like this, the result of traditional meditation is basically: sainthood, saintliness. That is something that interests me.

Imagine – a modern saint. That would be something, right. Imagine if people would become saintly through their meditation. Imagine we have a few saints in a university. Imagine we even have a faculty, “Faculty for Sainthood!” I mean, you know, it sounds pretty cool. I think the university would benefit from such a faculty. Absolutely! Whether you would get a job, I don’t know. Saints are known to be unemployed these days, what can be said. A lot of unemployment among saints in the modern world but, you know, you can be optimistic because saints somehow or other, even although they may not find a job, somehow or other, it seems that they have a little angel that takes care of them. So in that way, in the end, you might wind up alright – if you get a degree in sainthood!

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