Commencement Address

By Rudra Shivananda

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

We are now at the end of graduation season and I’ve been reading about all the ceremonies in the schools of higher education and hundreds of colleges around the country. Part of the ceremony involves a commencement speech from someone famous or successful in a particular field who is supposed to give some words of advice to the students on their graduation, hopefully words that can be useful as they start a new chapter in their lives.

Since many of you are on the spiritual path and are seekers of Self-Realization, I wondered what would the commencement speech from our True-Self be like to a group
of graduates who have achieved Self- Realization.

Below is an excerpt from a much longer speech – only those parts which are applicable to the group rather than to each individually (from the perspective of the body, of course):

My Dear Souls,

Congratulations! It’s been a long road. You’ve lived and experienced thousands of life-times and now you have achieved freedom from the bondage of the illusory ego and the delusionary desires of the five senses. You have realized your true nature as the divine and immortal spirit.

Through it all, I’ve been with you day and night. When you shed rivers of tears or enjoyed the peaks of triumph, I watched over you and comforted you as best I could. You did not often hear my words of comfort or guidance but once in a while, the light would shine through. Then one day, you set your heart and sight on me and have since strived and struggled against the current of life to reach your home. It is by your perseverance and self-effort that you have burnt away all your past karma. It is by your meditations that you have reached the state where you no longer act selfishly to accrue new karma.

Now, what are you going to do with your freedom? The road to perfection in Being is still ahead, my beloved ones. Some of you will choose to move quickly ahead and to higher planes to perfect yourself. Others may choose to stay on earth and work for the betterment of your brothers and sisters who are still living under the tyranny of the ego and their own desires. Still others may choose the path to return again and again to this plane of existence and perfect yourselves while leading lives of light for the sake of all living beings.

Whatever your choice, it will be the will of the Divine. You all have your roles and responsibilities in the divine sphere and some of you will be operating on the cosmic level very soon. It is your will to co-operate with the Divine Will that has set you on your current path and no matter what happens in the future, you will no longer stray from your high states of consciousness which is anchored in Me.

I would like to take a moment to remind you that you still have a body to take care of and roles and responsibilities that are a part of who you were. It is proper to reflect on these and seek to act according to the inertial karma which still enlivens your current body from the higher consciousness that you now embrace. You are a liberated soul that still has a physical body shroud.

This may be the last time that I will be speaking to you in this manner as we are One and this occasion is merely an artifice for you to remember the experience of duality that you have been suffering for so long.

Come, let us embrace our Unity.


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