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Sunday, April 11, 2010

What We Can Become, and, The Five Precepts

What We Can Become, and, The Five Precepts


What We Can Become

Saints have a very positive and optimistic view of us. Though they may note our predicament, our current situation, what they really see is what we can become. What they know is that each person can become a perfect being full of light and joy.

They also know that most of us are unaware of this fact because our minds have become clouded by attachments and scattered by wrong activities so we have lost sight of where real peace and joy are to be found.

Once we understand our great potential, we will naturally apply ourselves to developing what is lying dormant within us. We will make sure we do actions that nourish spiritual growth and avoid actions that are negative, destructive or bring unhappy results.

To help us avoid the many pitfalls that lie between us and our goal, the Saints advise us to concentrate our efforts on five main points:

1. To follow the instructions of a true living teacher;

2. To abstain from eating meat, fowl, fish, and eggs;

3. To lead an honest, moral life;

4. To refrain from taking drugs and alcohol; and

5. To practice meditation for two and a half hours a day.

(Dr. S.R. Bakshi, Dr. Sangh Mittra, Encyclopaedia of Saints of India, Volume 19: Radhasoami)

The Five Precepts


Moral requirements for Initiation

1. Abstinence from alcohol and drugs;

2. Ahimsa (Non-Violence in thought, word, and deed) including vegetarianism [abstinence from meat, fish, and eggs]);

3. Lead a truthful life;

4. Practice non-stealing -- an honest, ethical source of income;

5. Loyalty to ones spouse;

. Another Version of the Five Precepts

1) Refrain from taking the life of sentient beings. [This precept requires strict adherence to a lacto-vegetarian diet: no meat, fish, poultry or eggs (fertilized or non-fertilized).]

2) Refrain from speaking what is not true.

3) Refrain from taking what is not yours.

4) Refrain from sexual misconduct.

5) Refrain from using intoxicants.

Vindu - Nada Dhyan (Meditation), By Swami Achyutanand Ji

Swami Achyutanand Ji

-Excerpts from the book in Hindi "Vindu – Nada Dhyan" authored by the octogenarian Sant Revd. Swami Achyutanand Ji Maharaj, one of the eldest living disciples of Maharshi Mehi Paramhans. Swami Achyutanand Ji, one of the most eminent scholars on Santmat, has had the rare fortune of a long and close serving association, spanning more than two decades, with Maharshi Mehi Paramhans who initiated him into sannyasa (monkhood) and appointed him as the founder editor of the spiritual monthly "Shanti Sandesh" (Message of Peace) published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kuppaghat, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India. Swami Achyutanand Ji has a number of other books to his credit like, "Santmate Ki Baten", "Navadha Bhakti", "Bandaun Guru Pad Kanj", "Maharshi Mehi Ke Ashirwachan Aur Upadesh", "Sukti Sudha Sagar", "Bhajanamrit" etc. He currently also edits a spiritual quarterly titled "Adhyatma Prakash" (The Light of Spirituality) published from Maharshi Santsewi Dhyanayogashram, Kolkata, India.

While teaching how to do Vindu (Bindu or Point) Dhyana Lord Shri Krishna instructs, in the Sixth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, to keep the trunk, neck and head in one straight line and to look in front of the nose without looking in any of the directions. He also teaches Uddhava similarly, in Shrimad Bhagvat (Canto 11, Chapter 14), to sit straight, erect and comfortably on a level seat and still the gaze in the direction of in front of the nose [with eyes closed]. Shandilya Upanishad (Chapter 1), too, advises accordingly:

"vidvAna sama grIvashiro nAsAgra drigbhrumadhye |
sashabhridbimbam pashyannetrAbhyAmamritam pibet ||"

That is, a wise person should keep his neck & head erect, look in front of the nose and the centre of the two eyebrows and sip the elixir, through his inner eyes, from the moon that is seen by practicing thus.

Our most adorable Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans Ji Paramhans Ji Maharaj) has also uttered:

"dhara gara mastaka sIdha sAdhi, Asana AsInA |
baiThi ke chakhu mukha mooni, ishTa mAnasa japa dhyAnA ||
prema nema son karata-karata mana shuddha ho |..."

[Sit on a pure `Asana' (small piece of mat, carpet, cloth sheet, etc.) with your back, neck and head held in a straight (vertical) line. Then keeping your mouth and eyes shut, internally chant the name of the deity you worship (or Guru), and internally visualize the form of your Guru or desired deity.

Doing so regularly, with loving devotion, and with perseverance, the mind gradually gets purified.]

That is, the practitioner should sit in a comfortable posture holding his body, neck and head motionless in a straight line, shut his mouth and eyes, and first practice mAnas japa (mentally reciting or chanting – without using or moving the lips or the tongue – the sacred mantra, given by the Guru, repeatedly with the fullest attention and alertness) followed by mAnasa dhyAna (fixedly gazing at the imagined form of the Guru within us, keeping our eyes closed). Practicing thus regularly and with sincere love, the mind gets purified.

The mind is, by its very nature, fickle and prone to frequently straying from mAnasa japa and mAnasa dhyAna. If that happens while meditating, it should be immediately brought back to focus on its due target. Thus perseveringly practicing pratyAhAra (the process of applying the mind back, again and again, every time it drifts away, to the selected target), the mind slowly gains in strength and is able to hold or stick to its goal. The inner current, the current of light, is subsequently grasped facilitating the journey ahead. This is why, Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans Ji Maharaj) has said:

"jahan jahan se bhagi jAya, tAhi tahan tahan se tatkshaNa |
feri feri le Ai, lagAiya dhyeya mein Apana ||
aisahi kari pratihAra, dhAraNA dhAraNa karike |
are hAn re `Mehi' auro Age baDhiya, chaDhiya dhara dhArA dhari ke ||"

[The mind (while trying to focus it on a fixed target) often strays to numerous other thoughts. In all such cases when the mind wanders away from the target (as soon as its flight to objects or subjects other than the target is realized), immediately…|
Bring it back, again and again, and focus it on your target. ||
Thus practicing the `pratyAhAra' (the process or practice of repeatedly bringing the mind back to focus on its target every time it strays), acquire the state of `dhAraNA' (the state of mind staying focused on the target for a short duration). |
Move ahead and ascend yourself, counsels Maharshi Mehi Paramhansji Maharaj, holding on to the current in the inner sky, then move further ahead.||]

We will have to merge into the current of light that is there within our own body. Those practitioners who assiduously practice meditation would behold wonderful spectacles within their own house (body). Those who would properly still their sight would be able to reach up to the banks of Sushumna. Any sincere practitioner of drishTi yoga would surely ascend to this bank of Sushumna, as has been clearly enunciated in this hymn of our Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans):

"dhara dhara dhara kI dhArA, sAra ati chetanA |
dhara dhara dhara kA khela, jatana kari dekhanA ||
dhara mein sushmana ghATa, drishTi ThaharAi ke |
are hAn re `Mehi' yahi ghATe chaDhi jAva, dharAdhara dhAi ke ||"

[Very alertly grasp the prime current in the inner sky. |
And consciously behold the resplendent wonders or plays there (in the inner sky). ||
Still your gaze, your currents of seeing, at the banks of Sushumna (or the Tenth Door or the Third Eye Centre).|
And, yes, waste no time at all and swiftly ascend to this realm, exhorts Maharshi Mehi Paramhansji Maharaj.||]

DrishTi yoga has to be practiced with full concentration. The sight has to be fixed in the front, as does an archer while taking aim at his target. By dint of perseverant meditation, the spiritual practitioner of drishTi yoga acquires the ability to transcend the gross body and move into the astral world. Gurudev in his experience-packed words say,

"tajo pinDa chaDhi jAva, brahmANDahin vIra ho |
pelo sushmana drishTi, sista jyon tIra ho ||"

[Bravely practising thus, rise higher into the 'brahmANDa' (Macro or Higher Cosmos/Universe) leaving the `piNDa' (our body or micro-cosmos) behind. |
(For this) make your sight focused and penetrate into the Sushumna, just as an arrow pierces its target. ||]

Practice of drishTi yoga calls for utmost devotedness and tenacity of purpose. The practitioner who assiduously and patiently practice this meditation would realize that fickleness, or unsteadiness of their vision would gradually go away and their mind would be tranquil. It is thus that they would, with the piercing thrust of their focused gaze, be able to break open the `tila dwAra' (or the Third Eye, or the Tenth Door). Which is why Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans) says,

"drishTi yoga abhyAsa atihi karatahi karata|
kampani sahajahi chhuTai prauDha hovai surat ||
tila darvAzA TuTai nazar ke jora se |
are hAn re `Mehi' lage TakaTakI khUba, jora barajora se ||"

[Through regular & rigorous practice of `drishTi yoga' (Meditation on Divine Light within)…|
The trembling or shaking of attention would automatically go away as surat would mature slowly (and become absolutely fixed or stilled). ||
Tila dwAra (Tenth Door or the Third Eye) will break open by the thrust of the focused gaze…|
So go on gazing at it constantly with all the attention, says Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj.]

The practitioner of drishTi yoga has to stop seeing outside, and begin to look within. As the sight gets steadied, the grand expanse of light comes in view. This has been exquisitely portrayed by Sant Gulal Sahab:

"ulaTi dekho ghaTa mein joti pasAra |
bina bAje tahan dhuni saba hovai, vigasi kamala kachanAr |
paiThi patAla sUra sasi bAndhau, sAdhau trikuTI dwAra |
ganga jamuna ke wAra pAra bicha, bharatu hai amiya karAra ||
ingalA pingalA sukhamana sodho, bahat sikhara mukha dwAra |
surati nirati le baiTha gagan para, sahaja uThai jhanakAra ||"

[Revert within and behold the stunning spectacles of light within the body.|
All kinds of melodies play there without the aid of any instruments, flowers like lotus and Kachanar (Bauhinia Variegata) blossom there. ||
Dive deep within, rein in the Sun (the Pingla nerve or the Yamuna) and the Moon (the Ida nerve or the Ganga) and train your attention at the doors of Trikuti. |
In the centre of the Ganga (Ida) and the Yamuna (Pingla) lays the repertoire of elixir. ||
Merge the currents of Ida & Pingla in the Sushumna, and lo! The stream of elixir is down pouring from atop. |
When the surat (Soul) rises above and gets lost in the inner sky, spontaneously resonating current of sound is heard. ||]

As a matter of fact, the art of drishTi yoga or vindu-dhyAna is confidential and has to be learnt from an adept Guru, without whom this is but an extremely arduous task. Sant Kabir Sahab has wonderfully carved this idea in verse form,

"murshida nainon bIcha nabI hai |
syAha safeda tilon bicha tArA, avigata alakha rabI hai ||
AnkhI maddhai pAnkhI chamake, pAnkhI maddhai tArA |
tehi dwAre dUrabIna lagAve, utare bhava jala pArA ||"

That is,

O Guru, in the middle of the eyes lives the Prophet (of God). |
A star, that is the radiant visible form or symbol of the All-pervading and the Invisible God, is sighted between the black and white tils (points) ||
A bird (or refulgent point) dazzles in the mid of the eyes; and there is a door (opening) in that point. |
Whoever trains and stills his sight at that opening, subsequently swims across the Ocean of existence. ||

Kabir Sahab also teaches how to accomplish that:

"Ankha kAna mukha banda karAo | anahada jhIngA shabda sunAo ||
donon til eka tAra milAo | taba dekho gulazArA hai ||"

[Shut your eyes, ears and mouth (and lovingly keep gazing in the front).| You would hear myriads of sounds ricocheting there ||
Merge the currents in both the eyes into one. | And enjoy the mesmerizing displays ||]

He further states,

"sumirana surata lagAya kara, mukha se kachhU na bola |
bAhar ka paTa banda kara, antara kA paTa khola ||"

[Practice meditation (mAnasa japa, mAnasa dhyAna etc.), uttering nothing from your mouth (i.e. keeping your mouth closed). |
Lower the curtains of eyes down, and unfold the inner door. ||]

Elaborating more, he says,

"nainon kI kari koTharI, putalI palanga bichhAya |
palakon kI chika Dari ke, piya ko liyA rijhAya ||"

[Make the eyes in to a room and pupil into the cot... |
Drop down the curtains of the eyelids and enamour the Lord. ||]

We find in the saying of even our most adorable Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans):
"yuga drishTi kI eka tIkshNa noka se chIri tejasa bindu |"

That is, focusing or joining the currents flowing through both the eyes results in an infinitesimal point which pierces the veil of darkness and produces a refulgent point.

We should learn the tact of this meditation on the Divine Point or Light, known as drishTi-yoga or bindu-dhyAna from a true Guru; this skill cannot be learnt from books or Scriptures. Rather, self-learnt erroneous practice might result in harm instead of doing any good. Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans) has aptly remarked,

"bina dayA santana kI `Mehi' jAnanA isa rAha ko |
huA nahIn hotA nahIn wo honahArA hai nahIn ||"

[To know this esoteric path, says Maharshi Mehi, without the grace of a sant... |
has never happened, is still not possible, nor is likely to be so ever in future! ||]

It has, therefore, been appropriately observed in the following verse,

"bheda yaha gupta pAnA kisI grantha se |
hai asmbhava samajha lo kisI sant se ||"

[This knack is hidden (from common knowledge) and to ferret it out in Scriptures...|
Is impossible of attainment, hence learn it from a Sant.]

Swami Achyutanand Ji