The world constantly changes. Nothing stays permanent for even a second. So, find the middle path, the center—neither this way nor that way. In the midst of the changing world, you have to find the one the essential part that never changes. So, what is it that changes? Only the form and name. That’s why the entire world is called nāmarūpa in Sanskrit: name and form. The world is nothing but a gathering of name and form. When you break up the name and form, you come to the essential part. Even the modern scientists say that. Each thing has a name and a form. If you take them all and put them in an atomic power machine, a machine that can polarize everything, what will be there? Only atoms because everything is made of atoms. The different gatherings give rise to different forms. And because of the different forms, you give things different names. But essentially they are all nothing but atoms. The problem is that if  we are all essentially atoms, how can I recognize you as separate from me? So, for convenience sake, we give the form a name.

Otherwise, if you are all atoms and the postman comes, how will he deliver the mail to you? So every atom should have a name and form. Why should this be? Just so that we can play. If I give you a big piece of plain white cardboard that is totally blank and I tell you to play with that, how would you play? Suppose I cut it into 52 pieces and then give it to you and say, “Play.” Even then, all the pieces will look alike and so you won’t be able to really play with them. If I print a diamond, an ace, a king, or a queen on some of the pieces, each card will be different. Then can you play. So differences are necessary for us to play. Maybe that’s why God itself created all these names and forms. Remember, once upon a time, God was all alone. Wherever God looked, God only saw God. God said, “My God! What am I doing here? This is no fun. Everywhere is only God. No. I just want to have some fun so let me multiply myself into many things and people.” So everything is the same God, or the same atoms, if you want to put it that way. If you can carry on the same story, you recall that God first said, “Let there be light.” Where did everything come from? Out of God. God created everything.

But everything was quiet and there was no fun, so God said, “Okay, let there be plants, bushes, trees, this and that.” But still no fun. Then, “Let there be birds and animals.” Everything was behaving beautifully well and there were no problems. God never saw a dog coming and asking to be converted into a cat. So still no fun! God thought, so what shall I do? Let me create a man! Since then, God has had nothing but fun!

In the middle of all these changes, fun is the common purpose. The scriptures call it lila or divine play. When do you play? When you know the central truth. That’s why I say that every yogi should be a surfer. If you know how to balance yourself on big waves, you are not going to be happy with small waves. A surfer would always like a huge wave. The world is an ocean and it has lots of waves! If you know how to surf, you will never get caught in the waves; you will remain above the waves, enjoying the flow. You’re not interested in dissolving the waves and making the ocean calm. That would be boring! So leave the world as it is, and let all the calamities be there. You just find the balance, and surf. Change is necessary and we should know that the changes are only in form and name and that behind that form and name there is the changeless one—the knower or seer within. In the middle of all the changes, realize that changeless one. The saints describe how to live in that changeless state: sleep without sleeping, think without thinking, see without seeing. See the seer and know the knower. When you realize this central point, you can remain balanced and you can always have fun amid any wave and any changes in your life.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda