Saturday, April 18, 2015
Raja Yoga, Message 20
Reasons for Failure
Some people in whom the intellect (reason) is much developed have got the habit of entering into unnecessary controversies and discussions. They cannot remain quiet even for a second. They will create opportunities for heated debates. Too much discussion ends in enmity and hostility. Much energy is wasted in useless discussions. Intellect is a help if it is used in the right direction of enquiry into the nature of God, but a hindrance if it is used in unnecessary discussions. Intellect takes the aspirant to the threshold of intuition — thus far and no further. Reason helps in inferring the existence of God and finding out suitable methods for Self-realisation. Intuition transcends reason but does not contradict reason. Intuition is direct perception of Truth, there is no reasoning here. Reasoning concerns matters of the physical plane. Wherever there is 'why' and 'wherefore', there is reasoning. In all transcendental matters which are beyond the reach of reason, reason is of no use.
Intellect helps a lot in reflection and ratiocination. But people in whom reasoning is highly developed become sceptical. Their reason becomes perverted also. They lose faith in scriptures and in the teachings of saints. They say: "We are rationalists. We cannot believe anything which does not appeal to our reason. We do not believe in the Upanishads. We reject anything that does not come within the domain of reason. We have no faith in God and sad-gurus." These so-called rationalists are a type of atheist only. It is very difficult to convince them. They have an impure, perverted reason. Thoughts of God cannot enter their minds. They will not do any kind of spiritual sadhana. They say: "Show us your Brahman of the Upanishads." Those who are of a doubting nature will perish.
Reason is a finite instrument. It cannot explain many mysterious problems of life. Those who are free from so-called rationalism and scepticism can march in the path of God-realisation. Give up arguing, become silent and look within. All your doubts will be cleared and you will get a flash of divine knowledge. The pages of the internal book of divine knowledge will be clearly revealed to you. Practise this and feel.
Aspirants should not indulge in sundry talks and miscellaneous thoughts just to ease the mind. They should be serious, they should think and talk of God alone. Too much talking is one of the bad habits which lessen the spiritual power. If a man talks too much he suffers from diarrhoea of the tongue. Quiet people cannot sit even for a second in the company of these loquacious or garrulous people. They will talk five hundred words per second. There is an electric talking-dynamo in their tongues, they are restless people. If you lock these people for a day in a solitary room, they will die. The organ of speech distracts the mind considerably. A talkative man cannot dream of having peace even for a short time. An aspirant should talk only a few words when necessary and that too, on spiritual matters only. A talkative man is unfit for the spiritual path.
Energy is wasted in useless idle talk and gossiping, planning and unnecessary worry. Conserve energy by getting rid of these three defects and utilise it in meditation on God. You can do wonderful meditation then. If you want to do some dynamic worldly activities for world solidarity you can turn out marvellous work by conserving the energy which leaks through useless channels.
The effects of evil company are highly disastrous. The aspirant should shun all sorts of evil company. The mind is filled with bad ideas by contact with evil company and the little faith in God and scriptures also vanishes. 'A man is known by the company he keeps.' 'Birds of the same feather flock together.' These are proverbs or wise maxims. They are quite true. Just as a nursery is to be well-fenced in the beginning for protection against cows, etc., so also the neophyte should protect himself very carefully from evil influences, otherwise he will be ruined totally. The company of those who speak lies; who commit adultery, theft, cheating and double-dealing; who are greedy; who indulge in idle talk, back-biting and tale-bearing and who have no faith in God and in the scriptures etc., should be strictly avoided.
Mind is ever changing and wandering. This wandering habit of the mind manifests itself in various ways. You will have to be on the alert always to check it. A householder's mind wanders to cinema, theatre, circus, etc. A sadhu's mind will wander to Benares, Brindavan, Nasik, etc. Many sadhus never stick to one place during sadhana. The wandering habit of the mind must be controlled by making it stick to one place, one method of sadhana, one guru and one form of yoga. A rolling stone gathers no moss. When you take up a book for study, you must finish it before you take up another. When you take up any work, you must devote your whole-hearted attention towards the work on hand and finish it before you take up another work. One thing at a time.
Centralise your ideas and develop thereby the inner power of the Self. Centralisation will stop the outgoing habit of the mind and will develop its powers. Centralisation of ideas means centralisation of your energy.
Just as the man who foolishly runs after two rabbits will not catch hold of either of them, so also a meditator who runs after two conflicting thoughts will not get success in either of the two thoughts. If he has divine thoughts for ten minutes and then worldly conflicting thoughts for the next ten minutes, he will not succeed in getting divine consciousness. You must run after one rabbit only, with vigour, strength and a one-pointed mind. You are sure to catch it. You must have only divine thoughts, at all times. Then you will be sure to realise God soon.
There is always a complaint amongst the aspirants: "I am meditating for the last twelve years, I have not made any improvement, I have no realisation." Why is it so? What is the reason? They have not plunged themselves in deep meditation, into the innermost recesses of their hearts. They have not properly assimilated and saturated the mind with thoughts of God. They have not done regular systematic sadhana nor disciplined the senses perfectly. They have not collected all the out-going rays of the mind. They have not made the self-determination: 'I will realise this very second'. They have not given their entire mind to God, nor kept up an unceasing flow of divine consciousness.
Untrained aspirants generally mistake their own imaginations and impulses for the 'inner voice' or intuition. He who says (or imagines), "I practise deep meditation daily," when he has not removed the evil traits or qualities of the mind, deceives himself first and then others. He is a first class confirmed hypocrite.
Those people who have not practised any yoga discipline or curbing of the senses, thoughts or impurities, will find it difficult to practise concentration and meditation. Their minds will be ever oscillating like a wild bull or a monkey. As you are not used to meditation you feel tired and hungry when you sit for meditation. This will pass off soon. Continue your practice.
When you climb the ladder of yoga, when you walk in the spiritual path, if the memory of past experiences recurs again and again the old mental images will be energised or galvanised. They will express themselves with redoubled force again and again. They will crowd together or come in packs or in multitudes or in a party and attack you with formidable vehemence. Do not look back, do not remember your past experiences, kill all memory of your past experiences. Remember God. Build up your mental feeling of Brahman strongly. Strengthen it. Keep it steady by regular and constant meditation. A single thought of your past experience will give a new lease of life to the thought-image or memory picture, rejuvenate and strengthen it, and it will pull you down. It will be difficult for you to climb up again.
You will have to note very carefully whether you remain stationary in the spiritual path even after many years of spiritual practice, or whether you are progressing. Sometimes you may go downwards also if you are not vigilant and careful, if your dispassion wanes and you are slack in meditation. Reaction may set in. Some practise meditation for a period of fifteen years and yet they have not made any real progress at all. Why? This is due to lack of earnestness, dispassion, keen longing for liberation and intense, constant sadhana. Just as cultivation in hard land or saltish earth becomes absolutely fruitless, so also meditation done without dispassion becomes fruitless.
You are not able to enter into samadhi because you are not able to practise meditation. You are not able to do profound meditation because you are not able to fix the mind steadily, or concentrate. You are not able to concentrate properly, because you are not able to practise the withdrawal of the senses from the object thoroughly. You are not able to practise this thoroughly because you have not obtained mastery over apana and prana through pranayama, and you are not established in ethics and moral principles which are the foundation of yoga.
If you strain yourself in meditation and go beyond your capacity, laziness and inactive nature will supervene. Meditation should come naturally on account of serenity of the mind induced by the practice of tranquillity, self-control, satiety in the enjoyment of sense pleasures, and sense control. Atman is the fountain of energy. Thinking of the Atman, the source of energy, is also a dynamic method for augmenting energy, strength and power.
You will get the full bliss of the divine glory only when you dive deep, when you merge deep into silent meditation. When you are on the border-land of divinity or God, when you are at the gate or threshold of God, when you are in the outskirts, you will not get the maximum peace and bliss.
As a result of purification the mind becomes more sensitive, gets easily disturbed by a sound or a shock and feels any pressure acutely. An aspirant must be sensitive and yet have the body and nerves completely under control. The greater the sensitiveness becomes, the more difficult is the task. There are many noises which pass unheeded by an ordinary person but which are tortures to one who is very sensitive.
Artha (wealth) is really anartha (evil). To earn wealth is painful, to protect the wealth is still more painful. If wealth is reduced it is also painful and if it is lost it gives unbearable pain. You cannot earn and amass wealth without doing great sins. Wealth brings much anxiety. Therefore, shun wealth.
Retired officers remain on the banks of the Ganges and practise japa and meditation for several years, but they do not make any solid progress. Why? Because they utilise their big pensions for themselves and for their sons and daughters. They do not spend it on charity. They depend upon money for everything. Let them spend all their money on charity and rely on God. Let them live on alms. They will surely have solid spiritual progress.
If the aspirant has the nature of being offended for trifling things he cannot make any progress in meditation. He should cultivate and amiable loving nature and adaptability. Then this bad habit will vanish. Some aspirants get easily offended if their bad qualities and defects are pointed out. They become indignant and begin to fight with the man who shows their defects. They think the man is concocting them out of jealousy or hatred. This is very bad. Other people can very easily find out our defects. A man who has no life of introspection, whose mind is of outgoing tendencies, cannot find out his own mistakes. The self-conceit acts as a veil and blurs the mental vision. If an aspirant wants to grow he must admit his defects if they are pointed out by others. He must do his level best to eradicate them, and he must thank the man who points out his defects. Then only can he grow in spirituality.
If you quarrel with somebody or if you have a heated debate with anybody you cannot meditate for three or four days. Your balance of mind will be upset. Much energy will be wasted in useless channels. The blood will become hot. Do not cause pain or suffering to any living being through greed, selfishness, irritability and annoyance. Give up anger and ill-will. Give up the spirit of fighting and heated debates. Don't argue.
You may be living in a solitary cave in the Himalayas and practising meditation, but if the memory of your past experiences in the plains comes and if you allow the mind to dwell on it again and again, you are actually living on the plains only, though your abode is in the solitary retreats of the Himalayas. Further, you do not lead the perfect divine life in the cave, because you lead the past worldly life again subjectively in the sacred cave. Thought is the real action.
Preparation for Meditation
In a lonely place, spread a four-folded blanket and over this spread a piece of soft, white cloth. This will do nicely. If you can get a good tiger skin or deer skin, it is all the better. A tiger skin has got its own advantages. It generates electricity in the body quickly and does not allow leakage of electric current from the body. It is full of magnetism.
Sit on padma, siddha or sukha asana. Keep the head, neck and back in one straight line. Face east or north. A spiritual neophyte should observe this rule. In facing north he is in communion with the sages of the Himalayas and he is mysteriously benefited by their currents.
Free yourself from all passions, emotions and impulses. Subjugate the senses. Withdraw the mind from objects. Then the mind will be calm, one-pointed, pure and subtle. With the help of this trained instrument, the disciplined mind, contemplate on that one infinite Self or God. Do not think of anything else.
Constantly think of God. The mind should always move towards God. Fasten the mind with a fine silk thread to the lotus feet of Lord Siva or Hari and do not allow any worldly thought to enter the mind. Do not allow the mind to think of any physical or mental enjoyment. When it indulges in these thoughts, give it a good hammering. Then it will move towards God. Just as the Ganges flows continuously towards the sea, thoughts of God should flow continuously towards the Lord. Just as the harmonious sound produced from the ringing of bells falls upon the ear in a continuous stream, so also the mind should come towards God in one continuous stream. There must be a continuous divine thought-current from the pure mind towards God, through continuous sadhana.
All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years if you want to practise meditation, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped, as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world idea.
Habitual meditation and habitual silence are great assets for you in the spiritual path. Meditation gives a lot of spiritual strength, peace, new vigour and vitality. If a meditator gets irritated very often it shows he is not having good, uninterrupted meditation. There is something wrong with his sadhana and contemplation.
You will have to meditate with a calm mind. Then only will you enter into samadhi quickly. If you control the senses and if you become desireless you will have a calm mind. Keen longing for liberation and thoughts of God will destroy all desires. He who has a calm mind is the Emperor of emperors, the Shah of shahs. The state of one who has a calm mind is indescribable.
In meditation and concentration you will have to train the mind in a variety of ways. Then only the gross mind will become subtle.
Signs of Progress
The following are the signs that indicate that you are growing in meditation and approaching God: The world will have no attraction for you. The sensual objects will no longer tempt you. You will become desireless, fearless, 'I'-less and 'mine'-less. Attachment to the body will gradually dwindle. You will not entertain the ideas, "She is my wife; he is my son; this is my house." You will feel that all are manifestations of the Lord. You will behold God in every object.
The body and mind will become light. You will always be cheerful and happy. The name of the Lord will be always on your lips. The mind will be ever fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord and ever producing the image of the Lord. You will actually feel that purity, light, bliss, knowledge and divine love are ever flowing from the Lord to you and filling up your heart.
You will have no body-consciousness. Even if there be body-consciousness it will be in the form of a mental residuum. A drunkard may not have full consciousness that he has a cloth round his body. He may feel that something is loosely hanging from his body. Even so, you will have a feeling of the body. You will feel that something is sticking to you like a loose cloth or loose shoes.
You will not be attracted by sex. You will have no sex idea. Women will appear to you as manifestations of the Lord. Money and gold will appear to you as pieces of stone. You will have intense love for all creatures. You will be absolutely free from lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, delusion, etc. You will have peace of mind even when people insult you, beat you and persecute you. The reason why you are not perturbed is that you get immense spiritual strength from the Indweller, or the Lord. Pain or pleasure, success or failure, honour or dishonour, respect or disrespect, gain or loss, are alike for you.
Even in dreams you will be in communion with the Lord. You will not behold any worldly pictures. You will converse with the Lord in the beginning, you will see Him in physical form. When your consciousness becomes cosmic, conversation will stop. You will enjoy the language of silence or the language of the heart. From vocal speech you will pass on to subtler and subtler forms of sounds and eventually you will rest in the soundless OMkara or soundless Brahman.
Dispassion and discrimination, serenity, self-restraint, one-pointedness of mind, non-violence, truthfulness, purity, forbearance, fortitude, patience, forgiveness, absence of anger, spirit of service, sacrifice and love for all will be your habitual qualities. You will be a cosmic friend and benefactor.
Contentment, unruffled state of the mind, cheerfulness, patience, decrease in the excretions, sweet voice, eagerness and steadiness in the practice of meditation, disgust for worldly prosperity or success and company, desire to remain alone in a quiet room or in seclusion, desire for association with spiritual aspirants (sadhus) and monks (sannyasins), and one-pointedness of mind are some of the signs which indicate that you are growing in purity, that you are prospering in the spiritual path.
Pure emotions will rise in your heart. You will feel that the whole world is nothing but pure consciousness. The tables, chairs, men, women and other things will all appear to contain this consciousness, just as vessels contain their contents. You will feel that all things are made of this consciousness. This rare experience will give you great bliss. You will feel that the Lord is sporting in all things as this pure consciousness. You will actually lose the sense of the material nature of things around you.
You will have realisation with form at the anahata chakra. You will experience nirvikalpa samadhi at the sahasrara.
If your general health is sound; if you are cheerful, happy and strong physically and mentally; if the mind is peaceful and unruffled; if you get bliss in meditation and if your will is growing strong, pure and irresistible think that you are improving in meditation and everything is going all right.
The Power of Silence
When you enter the silence through deep meditation the world outside and all your troubles will drop away. You will enjoy supreme peace. In this silence is the supreme light of lights; in this silence is undecaying bliss; in this silence is real strength and joy.
Understand the power of silence. The power of silence is infinitely greater than lectures, talks, orations and discourses. Lord Dakshinamurty taught the four youths — Sanaka, Sanadhana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara — through silence. The language of silence is the language of God, the language of silence is the language of the heart. Sit silently and restrain the mental modifications. Sit silently and send out inner spiritual force to the whole world. The whole universe will be benefited. Live in silence. Become silent. Rest in silence. Know the Self and be free.
Meditation and Work
Advanced yoga students who are householders will have to stop all their worldly activities when they advance in meditation, if they are really sincere. Work is a hindrance to meditation for advanced students. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: ''For a sage who is seeking yoga, action is called the means. For the same sage who is enthroned in yoga, serenity is called the means.'' (VI-3) Then work and meditation become incompatible like acid and alkali, fire and water or light and darkness.
When you advance in spiritual practice it will be very difficult for you to do meditation and office work at the same time, because the mind will undergo double strain. It works in different grooves and channels during meditation. It finds it very difficult to adjust to different kinds of uncongenial activities. As soon as it comes down from meditation it gropes in darkness. It gets bewildered and puzzled as it has to work in different grooves and channels. When you sit again for meditation in the evening you will have to struggle hard to wipe out the newly acquired tendencies you have gathered during the course of the day and get calm one-pointedness of mind. This struggle brings in headache sometimes. The prana (energy) which moves inward in different grooves and channels and which is subtle during the meditation, has to move in different channels during worldly activities. It has to become very gross during work.
When you have disinclination for work and a desire for meditation only, you can lead a life of complete seclusion, living on milk and fruits alone. You will have good spiritual progress. When there is inclination for work, when the meditative mood vanishes, take up work again. Thus by gradual practice the mind should be moulded.
You will have to pass through various stages of meditation and finally you will enter into perfect nirvikalpa samadhi or super-conscious state. Form-perception and reflex-perception will totally vanish. Then there will be neither meditator nor meditated. The meditator and the meditated become one.
O aspirants! Struggle hard. Make sincere efforts. Meditate regularly and systematically. Never miss a day in meditation. There will be a great loss if you lose even a day.
No more words! Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep, silent meditation. Feel His presence. Repeat His name — OM — with fervour, joy and love. Fill your heart with divine love. Destroy the ideas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise to the surface of the mind. Withdraw the wandering mind and fix it on the Lord. Now meditation will become deep and intense. Do not open your eyes, do not stir from the seat. Merge in Him, dive deep into the recesses of the heart, plunge into the shining Atman. Drink the nectar of immortality. You will attain the highest knowledge and eternal supreme peace. This is the goal of life, the aim of existence, the final beatitude of life. You will become an established sage or illumined jivanmukta, you will be liberated while living. You will be absolutely free from pain, sorrow, fear, doubt and delusion. You will become identical with Brahman. The bubble will become the ocean; the river will join the ocean and become the ocean. All differences and distinctions will totally vanish. You will experience: "I am the immortal Self. All indeed is Brahman. There is nothing but Brahman."
KINDS OF MEDITATION
There are different kinds of meditation. A particular kind is best suited to a particular mind. The kind of meditation varies according to taste, temperament, capacity and type of mind of the individual. A devotee meditates on his tutelary deity; a raja yogi meditates on the special Purusha or Ishvara who is not touched by afflictions, desires and karmas; a hatha yogi meditates on the chakras and their presiding deities and a jnani meditates on his own Self or Atman. You will have to find out yourself the kind of meditation that is suitable for you. If you are not able to do this you have to consult a teacher or preceptor who has attained Self-realisation. He will be able to know the nature of your mind and the correct method of meditation for you.
Meditation is of two main kinds, saguna (concrete) meditation and nirguna (abstract) meditation. In concrete meditation the yoga student concentrates on the form of Lord Krishna, Rama, Siva, Hari, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Gayatri or Sri Devi. (An aspirant can meditate on the physical form of his guru.) In abstract meditation he concentrates the whole energy of the mind on one idea of God or Atman and avoids the comparisons of memories and all other ideas. The one idea fills the whole mind.
NOTE: The section ‘Kinds of Meditation’ will resume next Saturday.