(Spoken on December 30th, 1972)
We have been discussing the system of meditation presented in the Sutras of Sage Patanjali. Our psychological analysis came to the conclusion that the human psyche is inseparably connected with its object, and the object of the senses is also the object of the mind. Quite apart and different from the usual notion we hold that the objects of perception are outside us, the analysis of Patanjali shows that they are not so apart or removed from us in our practical existence as we generally imagine.
As we go deeper into this analysis of the human situation, especially in its psychological structure, we come to realise that the world is more intimately related to us than it appears on the surface. The problem of man is the problem of cognition, perception and experience, the confronting of objects in the form of persons and things, and yoga is precisely the science that tells us how this problem can be overcome. When the object itself is not there, the problem with the object also ceases.
This technique of tuning the psyche with its object, which has been uniquely presented to us by the Sutras of Patanjali, is a carefully developed procedure of understanding as well as concentration of mind. We are now coming practically to the central pivot of his system, namely, concentration and meditation. According to Patanjali, any object can be the object of one’s concentration because what is important here is to have a knowledge of dealing with an object, whatever that object be. Irrespective of the structure, the character or the behaviour of an object as distinguished from other objects, one thing remains common in its relation to the mind – namely, that it is outside the mind.
What we are here asked to train ourselves to perform is not to study so much the differentia of a particular object, its mode of action or structural appearance, but its relation to the mind. Though objects vary immensely among themselves in their structure and their mutual action, in which sense we may say that the objects of the world are many, countless, immense in their form, yet when we study the relationship of these objects with the mind we will realise that this relationship is uniformly of a particular character. Persons may be many, but our relationship with them may be uniform; similarly, although the objects may be many, the connection of the objects with our mind may be a single attitude.
The study of yoga is more an analysis and understanding of the relationship of the mind with its objects than a contemplation on the variety or the structure of the objects. This is the reason why Patanjali takes any object as adequate for the purpose of concentration and meditation. All objects are equally related to the mind in their separatist attitude and in the complexity involved in their relation. The reason behind this dictum of Patanjali is that while the emotional relationship of our mind with objects may vary in respect of different objects, the basic psychological relationship is the same. We can recollect and bring back to our memories what we have studied last time: the distinction that was drawn between the emotional attitude and the purely psychological attitude of ours with objects. The emotional attitudes vary, no doubt, because our emotional connections with different persons and things differ; the pleasures and pains vary in their intensity inasmuch as they come from various sources. But there is a basic attitude of the mind which is the principle subject of study in yoga, which is deeper than the emotional attitude, and this is so deeply buried in our personality that often it does not come to the surface of comprehension.
Mostly, our attitudes are emotional. They are not impersonally logical or purely psychological. But the study of yoga psychology is not merely the study of emotions, though it takes into consideration the emotional attitude of the mind to the objects also. It is, therefore, a gradual thinning out of relations, we may say, between the mind and its objects. While we generally speak of objects, from the point of view of yoga psychology we may simply say ‘object’, because all objects are equally good for the purpose of concentration and meditation by the mind.
“How is it possible to treat any object as good as any other object?” may be a question that arises before us. This is so because the basic or fundamental spatial and temporal connection with any object that we have in our practical life is one of externality, and when it is invested with emotions, it also takes the shape of like, dislike or indifference. The very presence of the object disturbs the activity of the mind. This is a deep truth of yoga psychology. The very existence of an object is enough for the mind to get disturbed, whether the mind has any emotional attitude towards it or not. If there is such a developed attitude of emotion, such as one of like, dislike, etc., the disturbance is much more. But there is an inseparable relation of mind with the object under all conditions and at all times, by which it remains always in a state of perpetual tension. Every human mind is in a state of tension, though the tension understood in yoga psychology is different from the usual connotation of it as known in abnormal psychology.
We generally, as psychologists of the world, understand tension to be a kind of pressure exerted on the mind due to a psychological attitude in respect of objects, slightly in variance with what we may call the normal relationship of the mind with its objects in human society. But this normal relationship of the mind with objects from the point of view of human society is also an abnormal condition from the point of view of yoga psychology, so that there is no human being who is not in a state of tension. It is not enough if we are normal merely from a social point of view. That would be a working hypothesis that we have developed for the sake of getting on happily in the world, but happiness in the world is not real happiness. That which is normal to human society need not necessarily be normal. We are in a perpetual state of universalised subconscious psychological tension. Inasmuch as it applies to every human being, it is not observed or seen.
Similar is the story in Aesop’s Fables of the foxes that had their tails cut off. All the foxes had their tails cut off, so that it became a normal condition. That which is uniformly present everywhere need not necessarily be the normal condition, because it is possible that everybody might have gone wrong. Just because everyone is wrong, it does not mean that it is a standard that we can adopt in rectitude or in judgment of values. The depth of the yoga psychology of Patanjali is far removed from the ordinary psychology that we study in schools.
So our problem is the problem of our psychological relation with an object, and in concentration and meditation it is this relation that we actually study and bring to the forefront of our analysis. Now, “What is this relationship?” is the principle point of our study. For the time being we take for granted that a student of yoga is emotionally normal, not obsessed with an object for or against, not involved in passions of any kind or hatreds of any character, and is comparatively free from a prejudiced attitude in respect of objects.
We may take for our consideration the deeper aspect of this psychological relation with the object, which is the beginning of yoga concentration and meditation. Thus, when we are ready for the practice of meditation, we are expected to be free from emotional attitudes in respect of the object. We should not say it is our object or it is somebody else’s object. The concentration on a chosen object in yoga is not an emotionally stirred-up attitude. A mother can concentrate her mind on her child. It is one sort of concentration. Husband and wife can concentrate on each other, but it is an emotional concentration because they are wrapped in a kind of halo which they have created between themselves due to their personal relationship.
The relationship of the mind with its object is not personal. It is psychological, more deeply and more widely understood in its connotation. The philosophical meditation of yoga is, therefore, not a personalised attitude getting invested on a liked or a disliked object; it is not meditation on a loved one or a hated one, but on objects as they stand in themselves in their impersonal relation as located in space and in time. We know the difference between our attitude in respect of a tree that we see in a jungle or one in our own mango garden. Whereas the tree in the jungle is something with which we are not concerned, with which we have no emotional relation, the plant in our garden is ours and we feel that nobody should touch it.
The meditation here that we are asked to perform is upon such an object as would not unduly stir our emotional attitude. A comparative freedom from raga-dvesha is called for. This is practically provided, to a large extent, in the practice of the yamas and niyamas. No yoga is possible unless we are established in the cultivation of these virtues known as the yamas and niyamas, to some extent at least. We must at least have a pass mark in them, if not a hundred percent. So by emotional control having been adequately exercised over the personality by the cultivation of these virtues – the yamas and niyamas – and having undergone the preliminary discipline of being able to sit in a particular posture for a protracted period of time, one becomes ready for the higher processes.
The main system of Patanjali is known as ashtanga, or the eight-limbed one. To name them: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, leading to absorption which we call samadhi. We have seen the structure of the yamas and niyamas, and to a certain extent the asanas, and the pranayamas which follow in the wake of the asanas. As our subject of study is mainly concentration and meditation, we shall not go into the greater details of asanas, pranayamas, etc., which are taken for granted. In the system of Patanjali, the asanas prescribed for the purpose of the practice of yoga do not necessarily mean the variegated asanas of the hatha yoga system; rather, one particular posture is regarded as inevitable and unavoidable because the fixed location of the body is absolutely essential in order to bring about a harmony of the working of the system.
This posture, or the asana of the body, is always to be a seated one. When we talk of dhyana asana, or the pose for meditation, we always mean a seated posture, not a posture of standing or lying down. Asinah sambhavat (B.S. IV.1.7) is a sutra of Badarayana: Seated, you will achieve success. You cannot concentrate your mind on anything for a long time by standing or lying down, the reason being that if you stand and concentrate, there is a possibility of your falling down, and if you lie down and concentrate, there is a chance of your going to sleep. So a via media is struck: a seated posture is conducive for meditation. I have spoken something about this last time.
The pranas, or the vital energies in our body working through the nervous system, are so connected to the body that any change or transformation that takes place in the physiological system is conveyed through the nervous system to the mind. Bodily changes affect the mind to a large extent, as we all know. This muscular discipline practised by asana, or posture, creates a rhythm in the working of the nervous system. Rhythm is harmony, and wherever there is this harmony, there is an equidistribution of energy. This equal distribution is disturbed on account of contortions of the body. This is the reason why a steady posture is prescribed. When there is an equidistribution of energy through the system, the pranas work rhythmically and slow down their activity. Merely sitting without thinking anything will itself be a great achievement, if that could be done. You can simply sit for three hours continuously without thinking anything, neither of the pranas nor the object of meditation. Just simply be. You will find a difference in your mental attitude because the bodily equilibrium has its impact upon the psychological activity of the mind. So Patanjali regards asana and pranayama as essentials in the practice of yoga.
The senses are also involved in this relationship between the body and the mind. The senses have a connection with both the body and the mind. While their physical location is in the body, their impetus comes from the mind. The motive force for the activity of the senses comes from the mind. The pressure is exerted by the mind. The order is executed by the mind, while the energy for the same is supplied by the pranas, and the location of the senses is in the body, so that there is an intimate relationship of the senses with all these layers of our personality: the body, the nervous system, the prana and the mind. So asana, pranayama and pratyahara almost go together. The posture of the body, asana, the regulation of the breath, pranayama, and the withdrawal of activity in respect of objects, pratyahara, go simultaneously, as it were. The rhythmic activity of one part of the system has its impression on other parts of the system also. When the mind is rhythmically active, the rhythm is conveyed to the senses, the nerves and the body, so that when we directly concentrate the mind in a state of harmony of the psychological system, we will also feel this impact of harmony on the body, the nerves and the senses. Therefore, when we think rightly in a harmonious manner we feel healthy, happy and relieved of tensions.
Likewise, when we start the approach from the other side, namely the body, a regulation of the activities of the physiological system by the asana practice would also bring about an equal intensity of harmony on the pranas and the mind. A protracted practice of asana – dhyana asana especially, such as padmasana, sukhasana, siddhasana, etc. – will automatically cause the breathing to slow down. We will not gasp for breath or heave a sigh; rather, the breathing process will go on in such a way that we will not be conscious of it. Generally, when we sigh or practise deep breathing, we can feel the movement of the breath, but when the breath slows down due to the diminution of the activity of the physiological system, there will not be any consciousness of the breath at all.
Now, when the breath slows down, the intensity of the energy that is supplied to the senses is also lowered; consequently, the impetuous senses which generally run amok in respect of their objects come down. The senses become more amenable than they would generally be, and when the senses reduce their activities in respect of objects, the energy that is generally supplied from the mind for these activities of the senses is also withdrawn. There is a conservation of psychological energy. That energy of the mind, which generally goes to the senses for their activities in respect of objects, is withdrawn; hence, the balance of energy in the mind is increased. The mind becomes stronger when the senses are controlled. When the senses are controlled, there is an increase in the energy of the mind. Memory power increases, the power of concentration increases, and it becomes easier for the mind to pay attention to anything. Thus, a controlled personality has more psychological worth than an uncontrolled personality. Therefore, yoga is self-control.
Now, in the actual practice of concentration on a given object, what one is expected to do, therefore, is to be seated first, and to gather up one’s feelings into a smaller circle of activity, reducing the radius of this circle gradually so that from a wider circle we come to a smaller circle of psychological activity, and then we get pinpointed to a particular spot. The point of concentration is this spot that is chosen. Here is the crux of the whole matter. What is this spot that we are selecting for concentration? This spot can be either external or internal. Though nature has no externality or internality, we create this distinction in respect of our own bodily personality. What is outside our body we regard as external, and what is inside our body we regard as internal. It is a difference that we have created for practical convenience. So from the point of view of our body at least, we may say that there is the external as well as the internal. Any object can be taken as the target of the fixing of the mind. Yathābhimata dhyānāt vā (Y.S. 1.39), says Patanjali. After having given certain suggestions for the practice of concentration, ultimately he says to do it as you like, as you would regard as convenient or practicable. Patanjali is very generous in his prescription of the technique of concentration, as well as asana or posture. Sthira sukham āsanam (Y.S. 2.46): Whichever is comfortable is an easy posture, and whatever you like may be the object of your meditation.
Now, what is it that you like? This liked object in meditation is called ishta. In Sanskrit, ishta means that which you like – not comparatively, but absolutely. When you like a particular thing for the purpose of your concentration, it should be an absolute like so that the mind need not have any chance to move to other centres of affection. For this purpose, the object of concentration may have to be invested with all blessed qualities. The mind jumps from object to object on account of the fact that it realises valuable features in objects other than the one in which it has been asked to concentrate. “When there are more beautiful things than the one that I have chosen, why not go there?” would be the argument of the mind. If we can achieve or expect more satisfaction, more pleasure, more enjoyment from another object than the one that we have taken for the purpose of concentration, naturally we will go to the object that will give us more pleasure.
So the chosen object of concentration should be invested with all characteristics that are liked by the mind: beauty, perfection, permanence, intimate relationship and capacity for emotional satisfaction. The object of the concentration of the mind should be capable of satisfying the emotional needs of the mind. For that purpose either we should be a good student of our own mind so that we would know our own needs and logical predilections; or, if this is not possible for any reason, we should approach a Guru or a guide or a teacher to receive proper instruction as to what could be the proper object for meditation. By a study of our mind, the teacher can tell us what would be convenient and advantageous for us. As a matter of fact, this process of receiving initiation or instruction from the Guru is regarded as indispensible in yoga because no one can be a master of oneself from the beginning. It is difficult to understand one’s own mind.
The object of concentration thus is called ishta, or the beloved one. We have no other beloved in the world except the object that we have chosen for our meditation. There are people who get enraptured over an idol, and they go on hugging it and speaking to it and receiving all satisfaction from it. Devotees go into raptures over an idol in a temple or a murti that they have kept for worship in their own house. Saint Mira was one such. She used to have an idol of Krishna, Giridhar Nagar, and that was everything for her. She would pour her emotion on that idol, hug it, love it, speak to it, receive inspiration from it, and take it as all-in-all. This is the ishta. You will be surprised how an idol can be an all-in-all. Well, it is up to you to choose whatever can be the convenient object for you.
The purpose of concentration is not so much to choose a particular object as to train the mind in its relation to the object. The yoga method is more psychological than any other. It is something like the process of education. One may study physics, another may study mathematics or philosophy or economics. The value of education does not depend so much on the subject that is studied but the training that has been given to the mind through the study. What is important is the training of the intellect, irrespective of the subject that has been chosen. Likewise, irrespective of the ishta or the nature of the object chosen for concentration and meditation, the important factor to be considered is the training we have given to the mind in this concentration: To what extent can the mind concentrate on the object absolutely freed from its internal relationships with other objects? To come to the point again, the most important aspect of meditation is the relation of the mind with its object. The process of meditation is nothing but the narrowing down of this relation of the mind with its object to a point of absolute annihilation of this relation.
In the initial or the grosser forms of this relation of the mind with its object, it is scattered. The ordinary relation of the mind with its object is a dissipated relation. It is a hotchpotch, a systematised relation. We do not have any kind of methodical relationship with any object in this world. We do not have a sustained relationship with anything in the world, so we can change our relationship with any object at any time according to our mood and our convenience. This is the usual common man’s relationship with things in general, but this is not a trained relationship because it is untrustworthy.
However, yoga requires us to establish a trained form of relationship with the object so that we know what the relationship is. We do not move with the times or change with the circumstances of the object. We maintain that relation perpetually by an exercise of our will because while our usual social relationship of the mind with objects is born of chance contact, mood, predilection and idiosyncrasy, this relationship that is established with the object in yoga is a sustained one born of knowledge and intense education.
In the beginning stages of meditation we will find that it is not easy to have any kind of sustained relationship with any object. We will be highly disturbed and feel a sense of insecurity within ourselves. How is it possible to pinpoint our attention on anything wholeheartedly when there are many other things in the world which also need our attention?
Yoga psychology is based on a philosophy. It is not merely a psychology like experimental psychology or industrial psychology, etc. It is a philosophical psychology. Your psychologically established relationship with the object is not something that you have chosen at random, but have very consistently developed on the basis of a very deep philosophical attitude towards things in general. The yoga is based on Sankhya or Vedanta. As a building is fixed on a strong foundation, the practice of yoga is fixed on the foundation of Vedanta and Sankhya. What is your attitude to things in general? What is your philosophy of life? Putting this philosophy of life into practice in your daily routine is yoga. But what is your philosophy of life? When that is clearly known, you also know what is to be your attitude towards things in general in daily practice.
The Sankhya philosophy, which gets amplified later into the Vedanta philosophy, regards consciousness as primary and the object of one’s quest in life. Why do you practise yoga? This question has to be answered first; otherwise, the mind will not come round. It is a very naughty child. Why do you want to practise yoga? What is wrong with you? And what are you going to achieve by it? This question can be answered only by the philosophy of yoga. After that only can you go to practice through the psychology of it. Inasmuch as Sankhya and Vedanta, which are the philosophies behind the practice of yoga, hold consciousness as primary and supreme, absolute, the only reality, the establishment of all attitudes on this central point of consciousness would be the goal of life.
The goal of life is the establishment of oneself in consciousness as it is. Irrespective of the metaphysical differences between the Sankhya and the Vedanta, this one thing is common between them, that they both regard consciousness as supreme and the goal of life as establishment in it. They only differ in their definition of consciousness, and that is immaterial to us. For practical purposes in yoga, it is enough if we understand that the goal of the practice of yoga is the establishment of oneself in the nature of consciousness, which the Sankhya calls purusha, and the Vedanta calls Brahman.
So, the philosophical foundation being the acceptance of the fact that consciousness is supreme, the psychology of yoga is nothing but a study of the nature of consciousness in its relation to things in general. The study of consciousness as such may be regarded as philosophy, the study of the relation of consciousness with its object is psychology, and the shrewd adjustment of the relation between consciousness and its object in such a way that consciousness does not lose its identity is practice. Therefore, we have philosophy, psychology and practice all coming together when we take up this subject.
Thus, the study of the object of concentration, the choosing of the type of object for concentration, is based on the psychology of the relation of consciousness with its object, which again is rooted in its philosophy, as I mentioned. We are more concerned now with practice. Thus, we can safely conclude on the basis of this philosophy and psychological analysis that when we sit for meditation we are confronting the object face to face. There is a difference between seeing an object and confronting it. We can see a person in front of us and yet not confront him. Confronting is taking him in right earnest, wholly, thoroughly, threadbare, from beginning to end, to the very fibre and root. That would be confronting an object. It is not merely looking at it idly as we look at a mountain. That is not concentration. We are bent upon not merely gazing at the object or looking at the object or thinking the object, but studying it so deeply as to know it root and branch. This is the purpose of concentration.
When this task is attempted, the mind comes a cropper because the relationships of the mind are usually manifold. We do not consistently think of any object in daily life; therefore, when, for the purpose of yoga, we get determined to develop a consistent relationship with the object, the other aspects of the relation with different things set up a kind of disturbance in the mind. That is why we feel uneasy when we sit for meditation. We are not happy. We feel we have some kind of trouble and it is better if we finish it as early as possible.
The trouble which meditation appears to be in the beginning stages is because of the fact that we are trying to set aside other aspects of the mind’s relation with different things in the world, which is very undesirable and unpleasant for the common mind. Inasmuch as we have been trained to think only in a dissipated manner, we do not like any disciplined way of thinking. We hate discipline because it seems a limitation on our freedom, which we regard as pleasant; but this freedom is our bane and our folly. What we call freedom is nothing but a license that has been given to us to do whatever we like. This is not freedom. What we do on the basis of discipline is called freedom. A chaotic activity based on a licentious attitude cannot be regarded as freedom. But unfortunately, man is man; we cannot make him something else, and so when we bring him round to a state of discipline and concentration, he finds it next to impossible. He feels very wretched, and the internal unconscious and subconscious attitudes set up a revolt and begin to speak in a language which is very annoying. He will hear voices from within. They are not God speaking, but the mind speaking in a very unpleasant manner.
There are some sadhakas who begin to hear voices that are very unpleasant, and they get disturbed. One person told me that when he sits for japa or meditation somebody speaks to him inside his ear and says, “Do you know what I can do to you? I will finish you. What are you doing?” He says, “Swamiji, this person speaks inside my ear, not outside.” Nobody is there, no person speaks. It is only a kind of hallucination. But they are unconsciousness impulses that harass the concentrated activity of the mind in various ways because the ethical discipline has not been complete. Frustrated unconscious, unfulfilled desires are still buried underneath, so they give these messages through the ear, through the mind, etc. We should not suddenly go to meditation without being morally prepared, and this again is done under the blessings of a Guru, which is very essential to reiterate. Morally feeble persons cannot concentrate. It is next to an impossibility, and useless, because the strength that we have is really the moral strength. What strength have we got? No other strength is possible. The only strength is moral strength, and it is this that helps us in concentration.
What is moral strength? It is, first of all, an honest conviction within that we are comparatively free from obsessing desire. Also, there is the conviction that we are honestly in pursuit of truth. We are not hypocritical in our attitude. We do not meditate so that we may be known to be meditating. We do it honestly, dispassionately, in search of truth. This is one of the aspects of the moral conviction. The other aspect is that we are comparatively free from obsessions of any kind in respect of objects. We do not have too much of attachment to anything in the world. Otherwise, as Sri Krishna has warned us in the Bhagavadgita: karmendriyāṇi saṃyamya ya āste manasā smaran, indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate (Gita 3.6). We may be locked up in our meditation room physically isolated from the objects of desire, but our mind may be thinking of them. That is hypocritical meditation because the mind is brooding on its own object of desire although physically it is locked up in a meditation hall. So one has to be very cautious in this. Morally one has to be prepared; this is something to be underlined again and again.
Thus, when the mind starts concentrating on a chosen object, it has to face this untoward, unexpected revolt from those aspects of mental relationship with objects which have been brushed aside. In concentration, or dharana, we not only develop a positive attitude towards the chosen object, but also negatively attempt and persist in setting aside any other kind of relationship with other objects in the world. This is vijatiya vritti nirodha and sajatiya vritti pravah, as they call it. In dharana, or concentration, we practise a double process: vijatiya vritti nirodha, or the isolation of those psychological attitudes in respect of things unconcerned, and the development of a positive attitude in respect of that object, or ishta, which we have chosen for meditation. This is vijatiya vritti nirodha and sajatiya vritti pravah.
While this is so in dharana, or concentration, in dhyana there is only sajatiya vritti pravah, no vijatiya vritti nirodha. Dhyana is deeper than dharana. Meditation is profounder than concentration. In dharana, or concentration, there is a double activity of setting aside the unwanted and development of the wanted or the desirable, the positive attitude, while in dhyana, or meditation, there is only thought of the object of meditation; there is no other thought, not even setting aside the thought of unwanted desires. They do not exist at all. So concentration itself will take a long time to accomplish. Meditation is a very difficult thing.
Thus, the object of meditation is a chosen particular something in respect of which there is a focussed relationship of the mind as different from the dissipated or scattered relationship that it usually has with other objects. The energies of the mind are gathered up for the sake of this focussing. Instead of thinking one hundred things, you begin to think only fifty things. This would be the first step in concentration. Then you go on reducing the number of objects of thinking. You think only forty-nine things instead of fifty. Then you come to ten, five, three, two, then you think of only one thing.
You can follow the practice of the great Swami Ramatirtha who had, it seems, a kind of diary in which he used to jot down the number of desires in his mind, so that he may know where he stood. How many desires have you got? Go on counting them, and write them down in your diary. “Now what am I going to do with these desires? These are the things that I have to confront in meditation. They are my problems, they are my real children, these desires in the mind. They will harass me wherever I go. So how many desire have I got?” Count them and see. You may have a dozen desires. Now, what are you going to do with these desires? Are you going to fulfil them or are you going to deal with them in a different way?
There are some desires which you can fulfil, but there are some which you should not fulfil. Those desires which can be fulfilled may be fulfilled immediately. If you want to eat rasgula, eat it and be done with it. You need not go on supressing that desire. It is a silly matter. There are small, silly desires in your mind. Well, you may cautiously fulfil them, telling the mind, “I have given you what you wanted; now please don’t want it again.” And if it is not satisfied, eat it again 2-3 times, 4 times, 5 times. “Have I eaten well? Have I been satisfied? My dear mind, now you are satisfied; talk not of this matter again.” These are all small tricks we can adopt with our mind in respect of silly matters.
But there are serious matters, desires of a very dangerous character. They should be sublimated. They cannot be fulfilled. Intense passions should not be fulfilled because they damage the whole system if you try to fulfil them. They have to be sublimated, and this art we have to learn very carefully.
The sublimation of desires goes together with concentration. You do not know which comes first and which comes afterwards. Like the tree and the seed, we do not know which is first. The effect of sublimation of desires depends much on the process of concentration. On the other hand, concentration also helps in the sublimation of desires. They go together, parallelly.
As I mentioned last time, you must be in an atmosphere of conduciveness and comparative freedom from distraction from the outside atmosphere. This is the necessity for seclusion, or ekantavas. This is why people become vanaprasthas, sannyasins, and study as brahmacharyins under a Guru in a Gurukula – to be comparatively free from the distracting atmosphere of the world. This is the first prerequisite. In this atmosphere of conduciveness, one gathers up one’s energies and wholeheartedly pours oneself on the ishta, or the chosen object of meditation.
The threads of relationship internally developed by the mind with unwanted things in the world should be snapped. The waters of a river which have been prevented from running hither and thither and are diverted into a particular channel become forceful and become inundating and flooding. Similarly, the energy of the mind will start flooding and coming in gushing torrents when its dissipated channels are blocked and it is diverted in a particular channel only, in the direction of the chosen object.
You will feel a tremendous upheaval of energy when you succeed in meditation. It is like the welling up of the waters of a river, as I mentioned. If a river has a hundred byways of movement, only a little water will go in all directions. In no channel will you find sufficient water deep enough. But when all these channels are blocked and the water is diverted along only one channel, the depth of the water increases, the force increases, and it becomes a rushing torrent.
We feel like weaklings on account of the dissipated energy of our body and mind. We have got too many interests in the world, and therefore, we are weaklings psychologically. These interests should be limited in their circle. We should not have too many attachments and concerns, and we should not be busybodies.
Thus, blocking the channels of psychological activity in diverse directions, the mind gets channelised in limited circles and limited channels, and when this takes place, we feel energy welling up. We feel a strength coming from within. We do not know from where. That strength has come only from our mind. While usually it was weak due to many activities, now its activity has been limited, and therefore, it feels strong. This strength of mind goes like a powerful arrow hitting its target, which is concentration and meditation.