Transcend All the Veils of Ignorance & Consciousness
Sant Mat Fellowship:
English rendering of the discourse of Param Poojya Maharshi Santsevijee Maharaj published in the December 2003 issue of the Hindi monthly `Shanti Sandesh' published by Shanti Sandesh Press, Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kuppaghat, Bhagalpur -812003 India
( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sant_ santati
-Translated by Pravesh K. Singh
Right now you were listening to the story of jail. We, too, are imprisoned in a jail. How is this jail? A jail has a large campus. On that campus there are a number of cells, each of which houses a prisoner. In the same fashion, this world, also, is a jail and bodies of each one of us are cells. In each of the cells a jeev (individual ego or soul) is living a captive's life. So long as you are living a captive's life, how can you experience bliss or true happiness? Sorrows are very naturally associated with slavery. In the story you listened a little ago, that prisoner had completed his term of sentence, but, we do not know when our sentence would end or be completed! It will not come to an end unless we do meditation. Our Gurudevji, Maharshi Mehi, has written;
"Ao vIro mard bano ab, jail tumhe tajanA hogA.
Man nigraha ke samar kshetra me, sanmukh thir datanA hogA."
That is, O Brave Men! Come on! Be manly. You have to come out of this prison. How would you do that? All of you spiritual practitioners have gathered here in this battlefield to conquer your minds by way of meditation. And, there is no room for retreat now. Rather, you would have to face it head on.
We want to succeed in meditation. A farmer wants success in agriculture, a trader in trade and, a student in his/her studies just as a soldier wants victory on the battlefield. Every one of us yearns for success in whatever each one of us is doing. But how shall we taste success? Lord Shri Krishna has told in Geeta that success calls for, depends on five factors: - 1. The Doer or the Subject 2. Ground or Environment, 3. Implements/ Tools/ Means/ Equipment, 4. Practice/ Implementation and, 5. The Unknown (Divine Will).
It is all right if the doer is capable or competent and the field is favourable. Success would not be achieved if the doer is capable but the circumstances or conditions are not conducive, or also if the conditions are favourable, but the doer is incompetent. Further, if the door is able, conditions are conducive but if he is not armed well with the proper tools/equipments, success would not be achieved. Still further, even if he is having all the means at his disposal, but if he is not using or harnessing them properly, he would not meet with success. Now suppose that the doer is competent, has got an amicable ambience, is fully armed with all the needed resources and is also using them (means) deftly; when these four factors have been brought together, the fifth one – unknown or the Almighty's grace becomes or is made available. Goswamiji said,
"Je tehi panth chalai man lAI. To hari kAhe na hohi sahAee."
(If one sets his feet on the proper path (that leads unto Him) with all his sincerity and dedications, putting his heart into his strivings, why would God not come to his assistance – He certainly will).
For example, while we are boiling milk, however hard we might boil it, though we might convert it into khoyaa (dried whole milk), but still we cannot make curd out of it. We can get curd only when we add a small amount of jAman (a form of curd only added to milk for its fermentation or conversion into curd). Similarly, however hard we might try, unless and until jAman is added to it, we would not get curd or yoghurt; that is, we would not succeed in meditation.
You practitioners have come here leaving your homes, family, business everything. So let yourselves be fully devoted to meditation and constant remembrance of God only. Please take care that your mind does not drift anywhere else. If it does, bring it back as Maharshi Mehi says,
"janh janh man bhagi jaay, tAhi tanh-tanh se tatkshan.
Feri-feri le Ai, lagAiya dhyeya me Apan."
(As and when the mind flies away or strays, then and their only, bring it back and apply or focus it onto its desired object.)
To succeed in meditation, diligence and patience are also essentially needed. Just consider, we have to break a boulder or stone into pieces. We have been hammering it, but it is not breaking. Suppose hundred blows are required to break it. We have given 2, 4, 10… 20 impacts. It does not break. We continue. 80 – Even 90 blows have been given. It is still not breaking. Now we start thinking negatively or pessimistically, "It appears this stone would not break…" 99 blows have been delivered. It still refuses to break. Now we become dejected; despondency sets in ...that perhaps I don't posses the potential or power to break it. However, what is the reality? It is calling for just one more blow. The moment we deal one more hammer, it immediately breaks into pieces. Now this does not mean or should not be interpreted that all the 99 blows that were delivered previously went in vain. Just think, had you not given those 99 hits, would the hundredth one have been given? Therefore, those 99 blows also are very much in place. So, keep on practising meditation without losing hope – the til dwAr or the tenth door will certainly break open and we will surely go into the domain of light. Our Gurudev says,
"Til darwAjA tutai, nazar ke jor se.
Are hAn re `Mehi', lage taktakI khUb jor barjor se."
(The til dwAr breaks open with the continued force of concentrated and intent gazing. Oh yes! says Mehi, this will happen for sure. Only keep concentrating or focusing at the prescribed point with all your might/concentration .)
Unless and until you try, try and try with your fullest power of concentration, the til dwAr would not break open. Lord Christ said, "Knock at the door, it shall open; Ask for, you shall get."
There are two obstructions or impediments on the path of meditation – lethargy and self-gossiping or stream of thoughts or chatter of the mind. The first and foremost thing is that let us first learn to sit properly. So long as we do not learn how to sit, we will not progress. In Ramcharit Manas, we find a reference in similar context: -
"Giri Sumeru uttar dishi dUrI. NIl sail ek sundar bhUrI.
Tanh basi harihi bhajahi jimi kAgA. So sunu Umaa sahit anurAgA."
(O Uma (wife of Lord Shiv)! Listen with faith and affection! There is a mountain named NIlgiri which is situated to the north of Sumeru Mountain. KAgbhushundi (a crow bird who was a great devotee of God) lived and meditated on that mountain).
Where is this Sumeru (Sumeru literally means beautiful spine)? Your spinal chord itself is the Sumeru. To the north of it or above it try to see, with your eyes closed. What do you find there? There is complete darkness. On this NIlgiri, KAgbhushundi, which is crow in the form of our own mind, lives! Describing the nature of a crow, Goswami Tulsidasji has written,
"WAyas paliahi ati anurAgA. Hohi nirAmish kabahu ki kAgA."
(Will a crow, however affectionately and lovingly tended or nurtured, ever turn into a vegetarian?)
Just as we keep a parrot as a domestic bird, try and keep a crow inside a cage. Nurture it nicely. Feed it with the best and most delicious of dishes. Having done all this for a considerable time, release it from the cage and see, where does it go? He will go again and pick up the same dirty articles only! So with our mind. Though encaged it is inside the body, whenever it flies off, it always sits onto undesirable things, avoidable thoughts.
Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans (Guru of Swami Vivekanand) said, "Unless we do meditation, our mind would not be purified." Deliver though we may quite long and impressive lectures, where does our mind go and sit over if left free? Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans would cite examples: "Look at the vulture and the kite. They fly at great heights, highest amongst birds. But in spite of flying so high, their sight is focussed on corpses. The moment they see any dead body lying, they swoop down and sit over it." Similarly we may be talking on very big abstract, exotic themes, but if we have not purified our mind by practicing meditation, it (the mind) will sit over the corpses only in the form of the objects of desire. We have to remove our mind from these objects; only then will we find success in bhagwad bhajan or devotion to God. In words of Sant Kabir Sahab,
"Pahale ye man kAg thaa, karatA jeevan ghAt.
Ab to hansA huA, moti chugi chugi khAt."
(Earlier this mind was a crow doing despicable things. But now, it has transformed into a swan and eats pearls only.)
Which bhakti or meditation did KAgbhushundi performed that he gwas transformed from a crow into a swan? How did he become such a great saint? He used to practice the same meditation, which our most venerable Gurudev has taught you. Practising the meditation with his utmost dedication, KAgbhushundijee became so great that none other than Lord Shiv used to go to attend his Satsang.
"Peepar taru tar dhyAn so dharaI. JAp yajna pAkari tar karaI.
Aam chhAnh kar mAnas poojaa. Taji hari bhajan kaaj nahi dUjA.
Bat tar kah hari kathA prasangaa. Avanhi sunanhi anek vihangA."
(KAgbhushundiji practiced `mAnas jap' (internal or mental recitation of holy words) under the PAkad tree, while he did `mAnas dhyAn' (focusing on a holy form e.g., image of Guru or some god) under the mango tree. He practiced "Drishti yog" (looking intently at a point in the inner sky as instructed by Guru) under the peepal tree. His mind thought of nothing else than the worship of God. He used to give discourses, singing glories of God in the shed of banyan tree, which was attended by a large number of devotees in form of or disguise of birds.)
KAgbhushundiji mentally or internally chanted Guru-mantra, a process known as `mAnas jap', under the paakad tree. You people, too, practice `mAnas jap'. Sacred scriptures say, "JapAt siddhih". That means you come to acquire `siddhi' or special divine powers or supernatural attainments, even if you are able to perform mAnas jap properly. KAgbhushundijee used to do `mAnas pooja' or `mAnas dhyAn' (internally trying to visualise the form of Guru or some other revered deity). You also practice `mAnas dhyaan' after `mAnas jap'. Try to do it with utmost concentration. Unless the `jap' is done properly, there can be no success in `mAnas dhyAn'. `Jap' or internal repetition of mantra should be with such an intensity and intentness that nothing, not even any other thought, should remain in between you and the jap. We have been practicing the `maanas jap', `mAnas dhyaan' and `drishti yog'/ `vindu-dhyAn'(yog of light or gazing focussedly at a point within as instructed by Guru) for so long. Just think or assess honestly, how far have we reached? If we have not progressed enough, why it is so? It is because our foundation is not strong. First strengthen the base or foundation. First of all, practice jap. Practice for so long as to make the foundation firm. Let us not form a stereotyped rule that we have to do maanas jap for such and such duration, maanas dhyaan for such and such duration and then, drishti yog for such and such period. Our Guru Maharaj, Maharshi Mehi, has exhorted,
"Guru jaap mAnas, dhyAn maanas, kIjiye dridh sAdh kar.
InkA pratham abhyAs kar, srut shuddha karanA chAhiye."
(First of all, we should purify our individual soul by practicing mental chanting of mantra and internal visualization of the image of Guru.)
As you might have noted, these days water of the Ganga has become muddy due to rains. In muddy waters you would not be able to see your image properly. But when water becomes clean or, pure, we can visualize our image in that. Likewise, so long as our mind is muddy or impure, the image of Guru won't appear clearly, perfect success in mAnas dhyAn would not be achieved. God's image is clearly reflected in pure or perfectly clean mind only. Therefore, after doing mAnas jap properly, when you practice dhyAn, your `surat' (individual ego or soul or awareness) would become pure and then you would be able to visualize the dazzling point or the divine light within you. You must have read in Maharshi Mehi Padaavali (a book consisting of verses composed by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans): -
"Prathamahi dhAro Guru ko dhyaan. Ho sruti nirmal, ho vindu jnAn."
(Initially focus yourself and try to make the form of Guru appear within you. This would sanctify the surat, and you will be able to realize the `bindu' or point or the divine light.)
If we could not do mAnas jap properly, could not do mAnas dhyAn properly, how would we be able to attain success in drishti yog? Unless we learn to write alphabets coarsely or in large sizes & irregular shapes, how could we write very small and fine letters/alphabets? After practicing and learning to write big letters with ease, we will be able to write small or fine alphabets, too. In the same manner it is possible to accomplish drishTi yog, only after rigorous and proper practice of mAnas jap and mAnas dhyAn. Now, how would we get to realize the absolutely or perfectly infinitesimal point? It has been said,
"Dou nainA bich sanmukh dekh. Ik bindu milai drishti dou rekh."
(Look intently in front between both the eyes. The point will come into view at the intersection of the two lines of sight.)
Where the two currents of consciousness or the two lines of sight intersect each other, the real point would come into sight. As this point appears, your mind would become totally focused, immersed or completely concentrated.
You see, there is a strong correlation between our body and the world. In the outer universe there are exactly as many planes or spheres, as there are within this body. We live on the same corresponding planes of the cosmos and our body at any one given point of time. Therefore, when we leave or transcend a particular plane of our body, we leave or transcend the same plane or sphere of the cosmos, too. A person who is able to collect or concentrate one's current of consciousness completely at the infinitesimal point which is the junction or the meeting point of the gross world and the astral world, is able to lift or raise himself above or beyond his gross or physical body; his gross body is left behind. In India "pind-dAn" (making an offering of the body) is considered to be an act of great virtue. People go to places of pilgrimage to offer the pind-dAn, but the `drishti-dhyAn' or `drishti-yog' or `drishti-sAdhan' is the true pind-dAn. This body of ours is called the "pind". And when by practising drishti-sAdhan (Yog of divine or inner light), we connect ourselves with that bindu or the infinitesimal point, we lose all consciousness or awareness of our body. This is pind-dAn, in the truest sense of the word.
Concentration/ shrinking is always associated with, or leads to, ascension or vertical rise. We rise from the pind (body) into the brahmAnd (cosmos or universe). When the awareness of the body is gone, the consciousness of the gross universe, also, is lost. We have raised ourselves above or beyond our body. And thus, we have lifted ourselves beyond this physical or gross world, too. On moving from the gross into the subtle or astral world, myriads of sounds are heard. These words are termed `anahad shabd' or `anahad nAd' meaning sounds or words or notes of infinite variety, or different types of sound the number of which is beyond counting. Once we have progress so as to hear the anahad nAd, what next?
"anahad me satshabd lau lAy. Bhav jal taribo yahi upAy."
(Amidst the infinite variety of sounds, direct your attention to the essential or the fundamental sound. This alone is the way to swim across the ocean of illusory-yet- painful existence.)
Anahad shabd consists of innumerable kinds of sounds. We have to grasp, out of these, the main or the quintessential sound. In words of our Gurudev,
"Satshabd dhar kar chal Milan Awaran sAre pAr me."
(Come let us go and meet (the Lord) by transcending all the veils by catching hold of the `satshabd' or `saarshabd', "anAhat nAd", or "anAhat dhwani" i.e. the quintessential sound.)
That sat-shabd is reached the last of all among the various stages of meditation. When we move ahead getting hold of the anahad dhwani (myriads of sounds), we leave or shed the `kAran sharIr' or the causal body and the `kAran manDal' (causal world or sphere). Then we rise above the `mahAkAran sharIr' (supra-causal body) and the `mahAkAran manDal' (the supra-causal universe or sphere). When we catch hold of the sAr-dhwani or the anAhat shabd or the quintessential sound, all the four `jaD' (ignorant or non-conscious) planes or spheres namely, `sthUl' (gross), `sUkshma' (astal), `kAran' (causal) and `mahAkAran' (supra-causal) spheres are transcended. Now we enter into the sphere or the plane or the cloak of `chetan' or pure consciousness; we move from the spheres of ignorance (`jaD-manDal' ) into the sphere of pure consciousness (`chetan manDal'). What is the source from which the "sAr shabd" or the quintessential sound has originated? It has directly sprung from the Absolute Lord Himself. Any sound or word has a natural characteristic of drawing the listener towards its source. When we get to grasp the quintessential melody, it will take us to the Supreme Lord, the Almighty God. Thus, we cross all the five spheres – four spheres of ignorance namely, `sthUl' (gross), `sUkshma' (astral), `kAran' (causal), and `mahAkAran' (supra-causal) manDals or spheres or bodies, and one sphere/ body of pure consciousness namely, the `chetan' or the `kaivalya' manDal- and will unite with the God losing our individual identity. Then what? "PAr gaman hI sAr bhakti hai, lo yahi hiya me dhAr." (Transcending all the veils is the true worship or the essence of all worships. Hold this cardinal principle within your heart.) This alone is the genuine bhakti, devotion or worship. To achieve this end or goal only, Gurudev has counselled:
"Man nigrah ke samara kshetra me sanmukh thir datanA hogA.
Waqt nahI hai ay vIro ab, gAfil hokar sone kA
Vindu rAh se nikal bahAdur, tam mandal tapanA hogA"
(You have to take head on the battle of conquering the mind. This is not the time to sleep unawares. You have to cross the province of darkness marching through the tiny passage of Bindu or the infinitesimal point.)
The path to salvation passes through the opening or aperture of `Bindu' (infinitesimal point). But how to be there? Only Guru can tell the trick of trade. With his grace only, we can learn the secret and by implementing the same honestly, sincerely & diligently, can move beyond the gross bodies and worlds to the other side. When we cross the gross sphere, what do we get to see then? Says Gurudev,
"DAminee damakai, chandA camakai, sUrya tapai jotI manDal
Is mandal se Age vIro, aur tumhe badhanA hogA.
Shabd mandal me sAr shabd dhwani, gurugam hokar dhar lenA.
Jagat jel ko isI yukti se, sun `Mehi' tajanA hogA."
(Lightning, moon and sun are seen progressively in the course of meditation in the domain of light. You have to surpass even this sphere and move into the realm of sound. There amongst the infinite varieties of sound you would get to listen, you will have to, following the specific instructions of the Master or the Guru, get hold of the unstruck quintessential sound. This quintessential sound would take you beyond the prison-house that is this universe.)
We can be released from, or come out of this prison, only after we have seized the quintessential sound.
It is towards this noble end only that you all spiritual seekers have got together here (in this meditation camp) coming from so many diverse places, temporarily leaving your homes and family members. If even after coming here, you talk of the same mundane, worldly topics, let your mind wander or be detracted into the same objects of senses, then you have not quit the world, have you? So prevent your mind from getting agitated, restless. Calm it down. Dedicate yourself whole-heartedly to meditation with all the diligence, single-mindedness & sincerity at your disposal. If at all you have to engage into mutual conversation, let discussions be restricted to the topics of jnAn (true knowledge) and dhyAn (meditation) only. If you are able to create and maintain such an amicable ambience, you would get the support and help of the Master in your meditation. This much for today!