by Swami Krishnananda
All processes of sadhana or spiritual practice culminate in meditation. Principally, meditation is the only worthwhile sadhana. It not only sums up every other aspect of our spiritual effort, but stands head and shoulders above any other conceivable method, either religious or spiritual.
What we are searching for in the end, if we carefully analyse the situation, is our own selves. We have not lost God or the world; we have lost our own selves. The meaning of this circumstance has to be understood clearly. The great sorrow which is within us and around us at all times, causing anxiety from all directions, is attributable to the loss of self - our becoming something other than what we really are.
What does all this mean, actually? Whenever we think something, that something draws the attention of the mind, and the movement of the mind is enlivened by the consciousness that is the nature of our own selves. We can compare the movement of the mind to the stretching of an electric wire; consciousness can be compared to the electricity that passes through it.
There is a magazine of electrical force within us. We have a tremendous generating power of strength in our own selves. Incalculable kilowatts of energy are hidden inside us, but just as too many consuming connections from the power house lessen the capacity of this producing power plant, so also the inner reservoir of energy that we have gets diminished gradually, day by day, by consuming too much of this energy in the direction of mental operations connected with the various objects of sense.
The moment we think an object, part of the energy moves towards that object. The object, so-called, is something like the consumer point. It may be a gadget – an electromagnetic gadget, an electric bulb, or any kind of mechanism which draws energy and consumes energy. The more are the connections given in this way from the original source of power production, the lesser is the quantum of energy available in the producing centre.
Our activity through the senses is an unending process. There is no single minute when we are not thinking something. To think something is to go out of oneself for that moment. The thing is not ourselves, and therefore the thought of the thing is a transference of ourselves to that which is not ourselves. Here is the sorrow.
Why is it necessary for the mind to think that which is not one's own self? The reason is the inherent tendency of the mind to move externally in space and time. It cannot think itself; it thinks what is other than itself. The vehemence with which the mind moves outward is due to the structure of our psychophysical personality itself. Our whole life is outwardly motivated. The whole body, with all its energy content, is eager to rush outside itself, in order that it may come in contact with another body. The senses equally are intensely eager to rush outside, out of themselves, and be another thing different from themselves; so is the case with the mind. The whole personality, the psychophysical complex, is rushing outwardly from moment to moment, so that we are perpetually other than our own selves. We have no single moment to be our own selves.
All joy and satisfaction arises from the deepest self within us, and sorrow arises from the departure of our own selves to a location which is not ourselves. It is the non-self pulling us in one particular direction that takes away all the quantum of our energy, and makes us weak. The greater is the intensity of this vehement movement of our own personality towards outer conditions, the weaker we become – physically, psychologically, and in every manner conceivable.
What is meditation, then? It is a technique and an art of drawing back this excess of energy that is moving outside and getting depleted in the direction of objects, and turning it back towards one's own self. If all electrical connections are cut off everywhere, the dynamo that produces electricity will run with tremendous speed; otherwise, if the consumer points are too many in number, the dynamo will start moving slower and slower, and very, very reluctantly.
The objects of sense are the consumer points, and oneself is the producing centre. You can imagine what actually should happen to us if there is continuous consuming of ourselves in the direction of what is not ourselves. What is the meaning of this 'not ourselves'? Anything that you cannot consider as yourself is the not-self.
When you look at an object, do you consider it as yourself? Actually, if you go deep into the matter, you will realise that there are three kinds of self, and we mix up one with the other continuously, due to haste in our way of thinking. One of the selves is the physical self: "I am here; I have come; I go." Statements like this indicate that you are referring to your bodily personality as the self. "I am so many inches tall, so much wide. This is my weight." These descriptions pertain to the physical self.
Mostly, we are that self only. The bodily self is the all-self for us. The magnetic externalising force of the physical components of our individuality automatically depletes our energy, and even if we do not do anything, we become old, automatically. Even if we do not put forth any effort to harm ourselves, the internal metabolic process itself will see to it that we deteriorate gradually, due to the spatio-temporal pull taking place, without our knowing it, upon the personality.
This world is a world of death. Everything has to die, because everything is contaminated by the suffering caused by the pull exerted by the outer circumstances of space and time, so that we are servants of space-time pulling. We are pulled every minute outside to distant stars, and we cannot revert our energy into our own selves. This is the physical self that one can speak of.
There is another self called the secondary self. They call it gaunatman. Objects that are attractive, that we like very much, take away part of our own selves, and become another kind of self themselves. The love that we evince in regard to an object is actually a love that we evince in regard to our own selves, transported, for the time being, to that location which is spatially distant, away from our true Self. All attachments, loves, and hatreds taken together divert the attention of consciousness in the direction of that which we consider as very important. That which we like is very important; that we dislike also is very important. Either way, the two act as the obverse and the reverse of the same coin, and we are none the better if we hate. It is only another name for a kind of love.
Now, in all these processes we transfer ourselves to the location of that which we like and dislike. So, as long as we like something and dislike something, we are not in ourselves; we are elsewhere. That kind of self, which is in the form of the object of like and dislike, is known as the gaunatman, or the secondary self. The true Self is mukhyatman. It is deeper than the body, deeper than the sense organs, deeper than the mind, the intellect, and the causal body. It never wakes up, generally. It is like a sleeping lion, and it has no occasion to wake up, due to the fact that it is under sedation, as it were, caused by the bombarding activity of the externalising sensory impulses, so that from birth to death a person thinks of what is not oneself, and has no time to think what is one's own self.
When we feel happy at the time of our so-called obtaining of a desired object, we may be under the impression that the object emanates joy, that satisfaction oozes out from the object of our affection. It is not so. We have found ourselves, somehow, in that object that is physically and spatially distant, and so we are hugging and clinging to that object. Actually, we are clinging to our own spatially alienated self.
When that object comes nearer and nearer, spatially, we feel happier and happier, because that alienated self of ours is actually coming nearer and nearer to the true Self within us. When we are actually in possession of that object, the mental activity which moved out in the direction of that object ceases and reverts to its original source. When the mind reverts to its original source, it tastes the bliss of the Atman inside.
So, the joy of sensory satisfaction is a negative activity taking place by the nearness of the object of affection and the apparent feeling of possession of the same, all which is totally artificial, make-believe, and an illusion. This has to be understood carefully by every spiritual seeker. Without understanding the psychological turmoil that one is unwittingly passing through, any amount of activity as an external symbolic performance of sadhana may not help us. Wealth acquired in the dream world is not a real wealth, and misconceived practice is not real practice. An erroneous sadhana cannot lead to any kind of palpable achievement.
To the extent that we know ourselves, to that extent our effort becomes successful. If we have a total misconception of our own selves, then the fruit or result that follows from our activity will be a paltry illusion, which will escape our grasp.
There is not merely a source of power within ourselves, but there is something more. The entire sea of energy is pulsating within us. Every particular object in the world is inundated by a universal principle, of which it is a part. All things can be conceived in two ways: as universals, and as particulars. That we are able to conceive the presence of many particularities, and we can imagine millions of stars in the sky, and an endless variety of things in the world, shows that there is a universal apprehensive capacity in us pervading all these particularities, whatever be their number, and it superintends over all our psychological computation of the particulars. Unless there is a universal background, we cannot have a knowledge of the particular.
The other day I mentioned that when you know that one thing is different from another thing, you at that time are neither the one thing, nor the other thing. If you are one of the two things, you cannot know that one thing is different from another thing. You are a third knowing individual.
In a similar manner, it is not only one thing that is different from another thing; everything is different from everything else in this world. But to know that all things are different from one another among themselves, there must be a capacity in us which transcends these particulars, and which is pervasive in its nature, inundating every particular, and still standing above it. This capacity within us is transcendent in the sense that it is above all the particulars; it is immanent also at the same time, because it is present in all the particulars.
There are two ways mentioned in the Yoga Shastras by which we lose ourselves and become poor in our daily life. One is a psychological contact of ourselves with things that are not ourselves, really; another is an emotional contact of one's own self with things outside. Contacts can be emotional or non-emotional. Impersonal contact is, for instance, that I am looking at this big spread-out pandal; I have no emotional connection with this, but yet, I am aware of it. Mere awareness of an object in perception is also an operation of the psyche; it is one of the vrittis, as they are called in Yoga psychology. Every vritti is a psychosis, or a modification of the mind. Though it may look harmless, really it is not harmless, because it is a self-modifying activity that is taking place.
In every perception, even if it is a harmless perception, the modification of the mind makes it other than what it actually is, integrally. But there are harmful modifications, painful vrittis as they are called, which are emotionally charged.
Objects which are emotionally connected with one's own self disturb the mind more intensely than objects which are just objects of general perception. Looking at a tree in the vast forest, with which we are not concerned, is also a vritti, no doubt. The mind has moved out in the direction of the formation of the tree. But, if it is a plant that we have grown in our own back yard of our house, it becomes an object of our emotion. It is "my plant", whereas a tree in the forest is anybody's. This is the difference between general perception of an object, and emotional perception.
Before we enter into the art of meditation, we must distinguish between the two activities going on in our mind – the general psychological perception, and the emotionally charged perception. In the same way, as in medical treatment we take care of acute diseases first and the chronic ones a little later on, we have to take care of the emotional aspect of our personality first and foremost, and other things afterwards. There is no use thinking of God suddenly, in a large universal fashion, when the mind emotionally pulls us down, with great force, to a target which it considers as immensely valuable.
The reason why the minds of people operate in this manner is to be understood first. The mind cannot be trained, except by understanding. Any amount of will power exerted upon the mind will not make the mind yield. The mind is turbulent, but it can be educated. The only way of harnessing a person or a thing is by educating it into the true nature of its relation to other things. We cannot command even a dull servant, because what is required is not a command, but an educative process which makes that servant feel the obligation that he has in respect of the performance which has become his duty.
All trouble arises on account of lack of understanding, and miscalculated understanding, and knowing oneself in a wrong position, as one is not really oneself. Many people are under the impression that we have rights, and we have no duties. These days there are departments of activity, involved in which, people have developed a cankerous attitude of asserting their rights while thinking that they need not have any duties: "If I get my salary somehow, why should I work?" They strike work until they are assured that their salary is given. It is forgotten that duty includes the rights of a person.
A duty is not an obedience to any particular individual in the world. It is an obedience to a principle of life. The principle is mutual cooperation. Life is a cooperative process, and if each one asserts oneself as totally isolated from others, the cooperative feature of social existence would crumble down and there would be nobody to exert towards any achievement. There would be neither rights nor duties; there would be chaos in society.
To assert one's rights minus responsibilities is the height of selfishness and egoism, and miscalculation. It is like cutting the ground under one's own feet, or cutting the branch of a tree on which one is sitting. What we lack is education, understanding, and a proper assessment of our own selves in respect of our location in society.
Do we have any obligation to human society, or are we just scot-free, and let anything happen anywhere? This attitude is born of total ignorance, because while we are spirits, Atmans, we are also units of society. We are entangled in various ways, and not in one way only. A social implication is inseparable from social existence. Can you imagine yourself being somewhere without any relationship to humanity outside? Our existence depends oftentimes on the activities of other people. Our needs are supplied by the efforts of people outside us, and we ourselves do not produce all the goods that we require. But in return for the facilities given to us by the effort of other people, we owe an obligation to them. If you say, "I have no obligation; I have only a right to acquire," you are misplaced completely.
The Bhagavadgita announces this great point that we have also a social obligation, apart from an obligation to our own mind psychologically, and an obligation to the God who is superintending over us inside. With turmoil of any kind in the mind, and depression, sorrow, and disgust of any nature, one cannot sit for meditation. The disease has to be cured before we take to the healthy way of concentration of the mind.
If the sorrow has arisen on account of not having something which you expected to have, it is up to you to find the way of getting out of this mess. There are things which you want, and you may be able to get them without actually harming yourself. All right. If you want to have a meal, have a meal; if you want to have a cup of tea, have a cup of tea. But there can be dangerous desires in the mind which cannot be fulfilled, because they will be contrary to the welfare of society and one's own self. Harmless desires and harmful desires are two varieties of things, which arise from the emotions of people. Intelligence is the only way of handling harmful desires, because one is required to understand the consequences that follow from trying to fulfil a harmful desire – harming not only others, but simultaneously one's own self, also. But in the eagerness to fulfil the wish arising within oneself emotionally, one jumps in a fit of passion, not knowing what consequence follows.
The rightness of an action is supposed to depend upon certain consequences which are to be considered at the same time. Firstly, when we take a step, there must be a justification for the step that we take, for some reason or the other. The aim before us is to be justifiable. The end that we conceive in our mind should not be a harmful thing to any person.
Secondly, the method that we are adopting to fulfil that desire also should be justified. It does not mean that if the end is alright, the means can be bad. It is not true that the end always justifies the means. Oftentimes, in the modern world, we find the policy of the end justifying the means is followed, because what we are going to achieve is more important: "What does it matter in what way we are getting it? By hook or by crook we want to get it." No. Anything that is achieved successfully by wrong means will tumble down one day, because the foundation is not strong.
And finally, it should be beneficial to oneself in the long run. That which brings immediate relief is not necessarily a really beneficial thing. Sreyas is supposed to be different from preyas. The pleasant thing is different from the blessed thing, because the pleasant thing is that which is to the liking of the sense organs, but the sreyas or the blessed thing is that which is to the benefit of the soul within us.
Meditation, therefore, is an art of becoming our own selves. In all these three ways of self-alienation just mentioned, we become other than what we are. When we think that we are the body, we have become other than what we are; when we think that we are that object which we love or hate, there also we have become other than what we are. That which we are is imperishable. Though circumstances are perishable, objects that we like are perishable, and the body itself is perishable, we are not perishable. That is why we have an infinite longing within us. If we were really perishable individuals, our desires also would be fulfilled immediately by a little effort of the mind. Any amount of effort cannot fulfil our desires, because desire arises from the infinite source of our personality.
There is an infinite longing within us, which can be satisfied only by an infinite possession, but the world does not have anything that can be called infinite. Therefore, we may say, we ourselves do not belong to this world. That is the reason why nothing in the world satisfies us. It is so because all things come today and vanish tomorrow, and they are really not organically connected to us. Though we may imagine that some things belong to us, they are not vitally related to us. They stand apart from us. Brother or sister, father or mother, any kind of relative, money, or land all stand outside us. They cannot become the vital being of our own selves. Our property cannot enter into our body, so our longing for it is futile. There is bereavement and loss of property; nevertheless, we cling to them, knowing well that this effort on our part is going to be futile.
I mentioned that we do not bring anything with us, nor do we take anything with us. Do we realise that we cannot have anything with us, even in the middle? An illusory phenomenon of possession takes hold of us in the little tenure of our life between birth and death, and we live like utter fools. There is a deceptive activity going on in the sensory world, and if there are dacoits, the senses are the dacoits. They take away whatever we have, and give us nothing in return.
What have you got, actually? You have your own self. What you have with you is your self. Do not say, "I have got relations. I have got land and money." Do not say that. They do not belong to you, because you have not produced them. You have not created the land; you have not manufactured the money; the relations also do not belong to you. They are totally independent, like you. You have nothing to call your own. That is why you go like a pauper when you leave this world.
That which you have thought, that which you have felt, and that ideology that you have entertained in your mind will come with you wherever you go, because that which comes with you is an operation taking place in your own self. That operation taking place outwardly will not come with you.
Have you seen people dying and going away, and people forgetting them after three days? It may be your dearest relative; three days you mourn, and the fourth day you do not even know that the person existed at all. What has happened to that great person who was inseparable from you? You burn the body of your father in the cremation ground; you throw into the pit that very father whom you adored. Who is your father, then? If it is your father whose photograph you have taken and hung on the wall of your house, why did you discard that father and bury him under the earth? If you say, "This is not my father", then, who is your father? Think over this matter. What were you clinging to, actually, throughout your life? You were clinging to an ideology which has escaped your notice.
So is the case with your own body, also. If the body of the father is not the father, this body of yours also is not you. Nothing that is visible is the real thing. The visible is the perishable; the invisible is the reality. This is how we have to educate ourselves gradually, and turn back to our own selves in our infinite capacity.
The very fact that we are infinitely longing for infinite possessions and achievements should convince us that there is an infinite potentiality in us. Moksha or liberation is the attainment of the Infinite. The Infinite is not a large accumulation of particulars. If all the atoms in the universe, innumerable in their number, are brought together into a large heap, we cannot say that we have touched the Infinite. The Infinite is not a numerical accumulation of particulars. It is an undivided Being, outside which nothing is.
Yo vai bhuma tat sukham: Great joy is in the bhuma or the plenum of felicity. What is bhuma? What is plenum? What is Infinite? Yatra na anyat pasati: It is that condition where you do not see anything outside you. Yatra na anyat srunoti: You do not hear anything outside you at that time. Na anayat vijanati: You do not think and understand anything outside you. Sa bhuma: Where there is no necessity to look outwardly through the eyes, or hear anything externally, or think externally, because of the filledness of the plenum of infinitude attained in one's own self; that is yo vai bhuma tat amritam; that is the Immortal. Anyat alpam yatra anayat pasyati anyat srunoti anyat vijanati srunoti tad alpam: Perishable, paltry is the nature of that thing which you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, or understand with your mind. Where it is not necessary for you to see anything, or hear anything, or think anything, because of the fullness of your being; the All-Being does not see anything; the All-Being does not have to hear anything; the All-Being does not have to think.
Yatra hi dveita meva bhavati tatra itaram itaram pasyati : Where there are two things, one sees the other; where the Infinite alone is, yatra tatreiva atmeiva abhut tatra kena kam pasyet? Kema ka srunuyat? Kena kam manyatha kena kam vijaniyat? Vijyatara aare kena kam vijanat: Who will know the Knower Infinite? God cannot be known by any person, because God is not a person; He is an inclusiveness of every person. God knows God.
Actually, the highest meditation in the infinite sense is God meditating on Himself. The whole universe contemplating its own completeness is meditation. It is not that we sit in a hall, close our eyes, and think something outside in space. That is not actually the right meditation, because in all these meditations that are externally motivated, we are contemplating some perishable phenomenon, and therefore imperishable results cannot follow from that. That which we contemplate in meditation should get absorbed into ourselves, so that we become a larger being, in the sense that the object has entered into us, and it has enhanced the dimension of our being. If that which we want has entered us already, we will not want it anymore. If hundreds of things have entered into us by the pervasion of our consciousness in all these objects, we have become dimensionally overwhelmingly large – not large in possession of any external wealth, but large in our own spiritual dimension. The 'being' has expanded, not the 'becoming'.
The art of meditation is actually the art of enhancing the dimension of our consciousness. Our being has to become a larger being. It is not a thought of anything particular. There is a difference between being and becoming; becoming is a process, and meditation finally is not a process. It is a tendency to being one's own Self – Being, as It is in Itself – Being that is undivided in Itself. Being cannot be divided into two parts, because if Being can be split into two sections, one section becomes becoming; the other, finite being.
Akhanda, undividedness, is the nature of Pure Being. This can be realised only if the tendency to externalise the consciousness in terms of objects outside ceases, and the things that attract us become our own selves. The object flows into the subject.
How is it possible? Can you imagine how a thing outside can flow into you? This is phenomenally attempted in telepathic communications in a psychological manner, where you touch distant objects through your mind. You touch persons who are very far away – not physically, but by your mind. The mind of that person, the mind of that particular location, enters into your mind, and there is en rapport established between your mind and that mind. It may be the mind of even a non-human thing; that will vibrate by the force of your mind that has entered into it.
Unless we have become that object, the object will not yield. Unless we love our servant, the servant will not serve us. There are no servants in this world, but we treat the objects of sense as our servants. They refuse to yield to that. They have to become our own bosom friend. The master and servant should be on parallel ground. If we treat a servant lovingly, he will work more efficiently than when we cudgel him and treat him as dirt, as a discarded element.
Are we not behaving like that with the objects of sense? Today we want them; tomorrow we throw them out. Do we love anything perpetually in this world? Think over it yourself. Today you want a thing, and tomorrow you throw it away; today he is your partner in business, lovingly working in unison, and tomorrow you file a case against that person because you have a grudge against him.
Father and mother, son and daughter separate themselves in a moment of disparity of thinking. These things are the visible sorrows of life that we have to see with our own eyes so that we may not plunge into them again and again. By knowing that there is a pit in front of you, there is no need of falling into it and then learning a lesson. If someone has fallen into the pit, you can just listen to him, and not fall into it yourself.
The psychopathological or psychological phenomenon known as telecommunication is an outer symbolic shape of the capacity of our own selves to touch the distant stars. We have come from the stars. Our body is made up of planetary influence – the sun, the moon, Jupiter, Venus; all these are the substance of our body. Astrologers say that every limb of our body is a force generated by one of the planets. There is nothing in us minus this. Not only the planets, but the stars themselves exert influence. "We are what our stars are," we usually say. What is the star under which you are born? The star which is so far away, incalculably distant, has such an exerting power upon us, that we are made of stars.
Such is the capacity that we have within us to touch distant things, because they are really not distant; they appear to be spatially outside, but inwardly they are organically connected with our own selves. All objects are ourselves only; therefore, there is no necessity to run after them.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: "If you consider an object as outside you, it will run away from you." If you consider me as an object, I shall not see you again. You tell any person, "You are an object for me." Will anybody like to hear that? He is a subject. Every person is a dignified subject, but who is an object here? Tell me. If you utilise any person, or anything in the world, as an object, it will flee away from you, because even if it cannot speak the language of a human being, it will speak a language of resentment by your treating it as an external object. Everything dislikes being externalised. If I come to your house as one of the guests, and you treat me as some kind of externalised intrusion, I will leave the place immediately. No object will come to you.
It is futile to imagine that the world will give us satisfaction, because we are thinking that it is an outside servant. The world is not our servant. The objects are not going to yield to our commands, but they will yield to our affection, and affection is the word for the manner in which we have to deal with the world of things. They become ourselves. That is the meaning of yatra na anyat pasyati. "You need not have to see the world. The world has become you." Who meditates? The world contemplates itself. Where are you at that time? You have become part of the world.
No, it is not easy to think like that. You can never, with any effort, imagine that you are a part of the world. You are inside the world; you are outside the world; you are looking at the world; you are harnessing the world; you are utilising the things of the world. This is how you think. You cannot for a moment think that you are included in the world.
The very elements that are the substances of nature are the elements of our own bodies. Where comes the necessity to feel that we are outside it? If this conviction arises within ourselves, all things will join together and enter us. Sarvah dvijoh vali bhasmai haranti: As vassals offer tribute to an emperor, all the quarters of heaven will join together and pay obeisance to you.
The Upanishad tells us that if you are the embodiment of the stuff of the whole world, you become the mother of all beings. When you eat food, all the beings are craving to know what you are eating. As children sit round the mother and ask for food, so do all beings expect you to consume the whole world within yourself, so that they may be satisfied. When you are satisfied, everybody is satisfied. This is the meaning of brahmana-bhojana. They serve food to Brahman. Brahmana means one who has established himself in the Absolute – brahma bhavati iti brahmanah. That means to say, when you feed that Absolute Being, you have fed all the quarters of heaven.
Moksha , liberation, is an entry into the structure of things, and not wanting things. You cannot want anything, and there is no necessity to want anything, either. The quarters of the heavens are your friends. The world is your friend. If you simply say, "Come!" it comes, just as you tell your hand, "Come!" and it comes. You tell your legs "Come!" and they come. If the legs come because you want them to do something, the world also will do the same thing, provided you have become a limb of this whole world.
Meditation is a total concept of consciousness, which includes all the objects, and if any object is outside, that will irritate you and see that the completeness is not achieved. For this purpose, all desultory thoughts, prejudiced ideas, and inborn traits have to be melted down in the menstruum of pure self-analysis, which will actually take a lifetime. Sadhana is a lifetime of work; from birth to death you have to do only this. The turbulent impulses, with which we have come to this world, will not give us a moment's peace of mind. They have to be harnessed as beneficiaries and made our own, rather than alienated. Never alienate anything from yourself, and that thing which was an alienated substance will become part of your being. The whole world is friendly, provided you are friendly with it.
This is, briefly, the preparatory steps that we have to take in charging the soul, which is ourselves – not the soul which is inside us. The soul is not inside us; it is ourselves. Do not say that the soul is inside. It is you. You cannot say, "I am inside myself." This idea of insideness arises due to the body, which tells you that something is inside. You have to distinguish between the 'I' that is in you, and the mind that operates.
When I am coming, the mind is not coming. I am coming. Who is this 'I am'? Think over this matter. That 'I' is the principle that contemplates the great 'I' of the cosmos. All are 'I's' only. You are an 'I', I am an 'I', everything is an 'I' only. Every little thing asserts 'I am'. If all these 'I's' join together, there is one single 'I' at that time. That Total 'I' is contemplating Itself. That liberation where the Total 'I' feels complete in Itself, having achieved whatever It wants, is real spiritual liberation.