Chapter 7: The Process of Sadhana
1. The Guru said: As fire is concealed by ashes, sword by the scabbard, sun by the clouds, foetus by the amnion, rubies by the earth, mattress by the bed sheet, so also, Brahman is concealed by flesh and bones.
The Eternal Brahman is concealed by flesh and bones. The appearance of the body hides away the Reality. Truth is covered by a golden vessel. The sun is very big in size, much bigger than the whole earth itself, but a finger over the eyes renders such a sun invisible. Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, but a tiny force of Avidya which covers the self makes the entire Brahman imperceptible and even makes it to be felt as non-existing. The removal of the finger makes one behold the glorious sun. The eradication of thought allows one to experience the Infinite Reality.
The perception of the unreality of the visible universe and everything which cannot be Brahman is one of the methods to seek the oneness of the self with Brahman or the Absolute. Everything being Brahman, there is nothing real in itself anywhere. When what is unreal is removed from the mind, then, what remains must be the Real. If all that is multiple, physical and dual is false, the remainder should be the unity of the Ekarasa-Satchidananda. Matter is perceived to be Spirit appearing and the perception of the duality of Prakriti ant Purusha is melted into the oneness of Kevala Asti alone where the One that is Santam, Sivam and Advaitam hails supreme. How can there be two entities, Prakriti and Purusha? Eternal duality of the Sankhyas is incorrect, far Prakriti is a shadow of the Substance of Brahman. What appears and what is are not two beings but only the One mistaken to be two. The Reality and its shadow are taken as one Chidghana, the aspirant after Brahman sees no shadow, he sees Brahman only.
Objects other than the Self are a non entity and the difference between the subject and the object is a falsity. The intellectual conviction is superseded by a tremendous touch of the supersensual light, and the dark corner of the earth is illumined by the splendour of the Divine Being. Denial of the creative force of the surface consciousness is a dissolving power which disintegrates individuality at a stroke.
2, 3, 4. If you remove the ash you can perceive the fire; if the clouds are dispersed you can cognise the sun; if you remove the scabbard you can behold the sword; if you remove the bed-sheet you can see the mattress. Even so, if the veil of ignorance which conceals the Brahman is removed by knowledge of Brahman, you can directly cognise the Self-luminous Brahman.
The veil of ignorance is to be pierced through and through, and this act consists in disbelieving limitation and finitude and dissolving them in the menstruum of Brahman which is the Freedom of Infinitude. The Spirit or the Self should be abstracted and separated from the objective factors of empirical experience and thus experienced its nature where the identity of the Atman and Brahman is affirmed. The Absolute Brahman transcends both objectivity and subjectivity, for both conceptions are interdependent and therefore involve relations. The Self is hence affirmed to be free from both subjectivity and objectivity. All desires, likes and dislikes, drop down from the personality and the individual melts into the Ocean of Ananta, Paripoorna, Satchidananda.
In the light of the all-ness of Brahman the great denial of the world ensues. The mind in its static aspect is Brahman itself, but in its dynamic aspect appears as the world. The knowledge of this fact withdraws the faith in the external universe into the Bhuma, where nothing else is. The citadel of individuality is broken by the invasion of the Absolute. The life of misery and risk in the world is stepped over only through the sacrifice of the separate self. One who gives away the all, gets the All. The charity of the self brings the fruit of Absoluteness and Immortality. The complete possession of everything that exists is possible only by effacing oneself completely. The person who ties his thoughts to that which is beyond the ego loses his ego. The self must be lost if the Self is to be gained. The removing of the veil is the removing of one's own personality, and the higher Truth is realised in proportion to the extent to which the lower individuality is suppressed. A veritable suicide of the ego is what is meant by the dissolution of personality in Eternity. It is like cutting the branch of a tree by sitting on that branch itself. The slow self-transcendence practised through Yoga and Wisdom leads the aspirant to the Heart of Bliss where his thirst is quenched for ever and the hunger of ages appeased!
5, 6. You cannot see the all-pervading butter in the milk, but if you churn it you can get the butter. Even so you cannot see Brahman by these physical eyes; but you can behold the All-pervading Brahman by the churning of meditation.
The churning of meditation brings the butter of Brahman. When the confused subjectivity is overcome, the nature of Brahman is revealed. The whole task of Sadhana is a very careful and vigilant process and it should not be undertaken at random. The physical eyes cannot see Brahman because Brahman which is Experience is different from perception. Perception which is a part cannot encompass Experience which is the Whole. The part is included within the Whole. Sense-activity is a method of the further sub-division of the act of psychic cognition and hence the senses by themselves are rendered impotent in trying to comprehend Brahman. The senses are automatically withdrawn into their dynamo of the mind which charges them with the power of action, when the moral restraints and ethical disciplines are rigidly observed.
The predecessor of the meditative condition is the steadiness of the psychic organ. The main factors which disturb right thinking are lust, greed and anger which give birth to infatuation, pride and jealousy. The generality of mankind fancies to think that lust is a passion for sex. But on careful investigation it will be found that it is an intense desire for self-expression in one way or the other. The aspirant should guard himself against falling a victim to this force by checking with fortitude the urge to materialise himself further, which urge manifests itself in countless ways, ununderstandable and unimaginable. The fire of clinging to life is the mother of all impulses for self-manifestation. When the will to live is pulled down by the root, the urge for expressing oneself is withheld. Anger is the outcome of unfulfilled desires and greed is the effect of love for life. These are the negative forces of the one strong desire to maintain the individuality and to increase the sense of diversity by adding to the number of the individuals. The job of Nature is distracting things, creating things and killing things. One who involves himself in the family of the creative Prakriti cannot practise Yoga. Yoga is swimming against the current of Maya, acting against the nature of the mind, against the formal law of the earth, against Pravritti and against everything that is pleasant to the being of the earth. Meditation or Yoga is the Sreyo-Marga, life on earth is the Preyo-Marga.
7,8. Purge your mind of all impurities. Sever mentally all your connection with visible objects. Destroy the weeds of desires. Abandon all Sankalpas. Eradicate the longings. Meditate on Brahman. You will attain soon the non-dual Brahmic seat of ineffable splendour.
The mind should be purged of the tendencies to materialisation. This can be done through the spiritual penances that prescribe the austere living of the individual. One of the potent methods of removing the impurities of the mind is acting against the habits and natural propensities of the mind. The mind has got certain main doors through which it throws out energy into the external world and attracts objects for the maintenance of the relations which it should keep with them for the sake of saving its skin. The moment the mind stops relating itself to things which are disconnected among themselves its life is at stake. The daily activity of man on the earth for acquiring food, drink, clothing and shelter from the oppression of nature is to guard his own ego from being presented with what is harmful to the endurance of personality for long. This activity is mainly for the purpose of Self-preservation. A fasting of the senses and the mind is very painful to the individual, because of its thereby nearing the danger of self-extinction through non-relation. The mind can either contemplate on outward objects, the egoistic pleasure-centres, or sleep by adjourning its activities. The beginner in spiritual Sadhana, therefore, observes fast and vigil in order to withhold the natural habits of the mind of taking pleasures in relational connections with the universe and falling into torpidity when it is unable to obtain sense-pleasure. This morbid state of the self is to be cured by severing oneself from all objects and asserting Self-independence. Mouna is another method which the aspirant adopts to check the habit of self-expression of the mind, for, speech is an extrovert-force which maintains relational existence. The world cannot exist even for a moment if things stop inter-relations and assert Independence. The force of Nature compels the individual to abide by its plan of the sustentation of diversity. Hence Yoga can be practised only after boycotting the Pravritti-tendency of Prakriti or Maya through Tapas, Ahimsa, Satya-Vachana, Brahmacharya and Dhyana. Such a rare hero alone can meditate on Brahman which is the climax of the grand Truth where the cunning relativeness is totally destroyed.
9, 10. Understand the right significance of the "Tat Twam Asi" Mahavakya. The knowledge relating to the identity of the individual soul and the supreme soul that arises from Mahavakyas like "Tat Twam Asi" (Thou art That) is the means to emancipation.
Tat-Twam-Asi is the Abheda-Bodha-Vakya of the Upanishad which is also the Upadesha-Vakya instructed on by the Brahma-Srotriya Brahmanishtha Guru to the Adhikari or the disciple. The consciousness of the nonseparateness of Jiva and Brahman is brought about by this great aphoristic precept which Sage Uddalaka repeated nine times to his son and disciple Swetaketu.
"Thou art That" is the meaning carried out by this declaration of the Sruti. It has got a superficial verbal meaning or Vachyartha and an essential indicative meaning or Lakshyartha.
The individual and the cosmic, Avidya and Maya, Jiva and Ishwara, Atman and Brahman are the aspects which correspond themselves to the meaning of the terms 'Twam' and 'Tat' or 'Thou' and 'That'. The identity of the two is brought out by an illustration.
A person Devadatta is seen by me in January at Delhi. I recognise him and say, "This is Devadatta." I go to Agra on another occasion and find the same Devadatta there in April and exclaim, "This is THAT Devadatta", "Soyam Devadattah", referring to the identity of the persons seen at two places at two different times. The superimpositions which appear in the 'January-Delhi-Devadatta' and the 'April-Agra-Devadatta' are ignored and only the real 'Devadatta' is taken into account. The references to Time and Space – January, April, Delhi, Agra – are only temporary and relative, for the Devadatta who was in Delhi during the month of January cannot be different from the Devadatta who came to Agra during the month of April, because the person is the same, though the place and the time are different. Thus the identity of the two Devadattas is determined.
The individual and the cosmic persons respectively limited by Avidya and Maya, namely, the Jiva and the Ishwara, are two personalities differentiated by space and time. When the verbal meaning or the Vachyartha of the Mahavakya is taken, the Jiva is asserted to be Ishwara himself in the Pindanda. The Vishwa, Taijasa and Prajna of the microcosm or the Pindanda correspond closely to the Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Ishwara of the macrocosm or the Brahmanda. Thus the Jiva is an exact copy of or is identical with Ishwara.
But the Lakshyartha or the indicative meaning of the sentence is brought out in the illustration by "Soyam Devadattah" or "This is that Devadatta". The limitations are cast off and the essence only is taken. Atman limited by Avidya is Jiva and Brahman limited by Maya is Ishwara. When the Avidya of Jiva is cast off and the Maya of Ishwara is ignored, what remains is Atman instead of Jiva and Brahman instead of Ishwara. Just as the Devadatta of Delhi was the same as the Devadatta of Agra, the Reality of Ishwara and the Reality of the Jiva are one and the same. Hence Atman is identical with Brahman. 'Thou' stands for the Atman and 'That' for Brahman, and the word 'Art' or 'Asi' signifies the identity of the two as the One Akhanda-Ekarasa-Satchidananda-Ghana.
11. The immaculate and supreme seat can be attained very easily if you possess equal vision, balanced mind and discrimination, if you associate with the wise persons and if you practise Vichara or enquiry constantly.
Equal vision and balance of mind are the fore-runners of the dawn of Pure Consciousness. Equal vision is the attempt to perceive the same thing in all beings. The beings of the universe are by their very qualities and actions, Guna and Karma, dissociated from one another, because of the predominant factors of their surface-consciousness, which manifest forces which begin to move in different directions. When a person or a thing is perceived with the physical eye, the consciousness-force of the object, whirling in a particular direction according to the nature of its will or tendency to exist, and the perceiver's consciousness which modifies itself into the form of the object are both influenced by the potentialities and the tendencies of the objectifying forces of each other, and this tendency being different in different individuals, equal vision on the part of the perceiving subject does not become an easy matter.
The aspirant who tries to practise equal vision, therefore, has to raise the level of his consciousness to such a height through self-denial and protracted meditation as to be able to overcome the variegated influences exercised upon it by the born tendencies of the objects perceived and the powers that surround it in the universe. The subjective consciousness of the aspirant pierces through this embodied tendency by the power of the intelligent will and beholds the common essence lying as the background of all forms. This method of the perception of Unity in diversity makes the mind balanced because of the want of agitating factors in the universe and the internal world which is already cleansed of its rusted matter through Vichara and meditation.
Association with the wise transmits such vibrations of light and harmony that the crude mind gets influenced by those vibrations and feels ease in the spiritual march. Even as the sun sheds his light wherever he be, the wise men, the Jnanis, shed wisdom and peace wherever they go. All who come in contact with them quickly get transformed, because the force which they vibrate around them is generated from Pure Consciousness which is Brahman Itself.
12. One soon becomes that on which he constantly meditates with great intensity in accordance with the illustration of the wasp and the worm.
The illustration of the Bhramara and the Kita is taken to explain the method of Vedantic Meditation. Even as the worm due to its fear from the sting of the wasp constantly meditates on the form of the wasp knowing not when the dreaded creature will come, and thus through self-hypnotisation becomes possessed of the form of the wasp itself, the spiritual aspirant, through unbroken meditation on the Eternal Brahman, possessed of immeasurable love for It, and not knowing when that blessed experience will take place, transforms himself into the being of Brahman Itself by thereby expanding himself to Infinite Existence and transcending individual life.
The feeling cultivated in this method of meditation is "Aham Brahma Asmi" – "I am Brahman," called the Anusandhana Mahavakya. The transformation of consciousness which takes place during this positive meditation is twofold. The first one is a feeling of "I am the Absolute Brahman" where the entire universe appears as the one mass of Supreme Intelligence and the meditator feels his being the centre of universal consciousness. This is the subjective method of approach where the "Infinite I" remains as an absolute individual. This is the step to another greater experience.
The second method is the objective approach where the affirmation takes the form of "Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahma" – "All this, indeed, is Brahman." The absolute transformation of consciousness which occurs here is of the highest type, where even the Brahmakara-Vritti generated by the meditation on "Aham Brahma Asmi" is transcended, and only "Asti-Bhati-Priya" remains. Mere "Be-ness" is the most exalted ultimate Truth of all truths. In this absolute meditation, even the consciousness of the "infinite I" is contradicted by the more expanded Experience of mere "Sat-Chit-Ananda" or "Existence-Knowledge-Bliss." The subjective melts itself into the objective and they both unite to excel as the Great Reality.
This method of Meditation is the highest step taken by the individual to dissolve finitude in the Infinite Existence.
13, 14, 15. Negate the five sheaths. Control the senses. Sit quietly. Meditate always "I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Swayamprakasha Brahman" which is the substratum for these five sheaths and the whole world. Keep up the Brahma-Bhava while walking, eating and bathing.
The method of meditation on Brahman always proceeds along two lines, the negative denial and the positive assertion. The not-self should be denied its reality and the true Self should be affirmed its existence.
The five sheaths of the body are the walls of the prison in which Consciousness is locked up. The "neti-neti" or the "not this, not this" method is employed in negating the sheaths one by one. The physical body is characterised by Tamas and is cut off by death. Hence, the body cannot be Brahman. The vital sheath is filled with Rajas and is Jada or insentient. It has no consciousness and therefore, it cannot be Brahman. The mental sheath is fickle and is constantly changing. It is an organ of cognition and Brahman cannot be of that nature. The intellectual sheath is full of distraction and is reduced to insentiency in sleep. Brahman cannot be the intellect. The causal sheath is the bosom of ignorance and it knows nothing at all inside or outside. Brahman which is absolute consciousness cannot be the causal sheath.
When the five sheaths are understood to be not the Reality the senses which form members in these sheaths are also swept away from all consideration. The sheaths of the body are not the Truth; the senses are not the Truth; then what is man after all? The personality of the human being is denied completely and he feels that he is the all-pervading Atman.
Convinced thus, let the aspirant sit in a corner secluded from the distractions of life. He must meditate on the Bhava "I am the Satchidananda, the Self-luminous Absolute" which is the Reality of all the sheaths and the senses and this entire world.
The Brahma-Bhava should be kept up when doing work and carrying on the activity of life. The life of the individual is one of involuntary action. Thinking and breathing are real actions which is very hard to control and stop. Hence the aspirant should practise the feeling of the Oneness of Brahman in all names, forms and actions, for "verily, the one Brahman appears in as many names, forms and actions." Advaita Bhava should be a constant habit of the mind.
16. You should ever be engaged in enquiry of Brahman, till you get Brahma-Jnana. You should practise right conduct also. You should have association with the sages.
The enquiry of the One Brahman is the sole duty of the aspirant who wishes to become the Absolute. The practice of Sadhana is not "one" of the duties of man, but the "only" duty for which he is born. The finitude of the self is the common disease in all human beings, and so, the end which the individual should direct his activities to should be nothing short of Brahman-Realization.
The aspirant should adopt the method of saturating his consciousness with the feeling of the Presence of Brahman in all things. In the beginning he should practise only Bhava-Advaita and not Kriya-Advaita. The feeling of oneness flooding his heart affects the mental being of others also around him and hence the individuals that are chanced to relate themselves to him get transformed into a state which is in tune with his consciousness, even in spite of their own idiosyncrasies. The aspirant after Brahman has no fear from any source. The beings of the universe are compelled by his integrating power to accede to the law of his movement towards the Absolute. The whole world supports him who walks on the path to Brahman. Brahman is the reality of everybody and hence everybody must act according to the necessities of the aspirant who expands his consciousness into Brahman.
The highest peak of meditative consciousness makes the aspirant take recourse to Kriyadvaita too, because he is no more of the world and, the fashions and the conventions of society do not attract his attention. He merges himself in a uniform consciousness which does not allow of distinction in thoughts and actions. Supreme Indifference and Silence take hold of the highest class of aspirants who glory in Self-Consciousness and do not feel the need for doing or undoing anything. For them there is nothing worth resorting to or worth avoiding.
This immaculate state is reached only after unbroken meditation which has to be practised until the dawn of Wisdom and perfect establishment in Brahman.
17, 18. Brahma-Jnana, the end of all Vedas, will dawn of itself in you, if you generate the Brahmankara-Vritti constantly from your Sattwic Antahkarana by meditating on the right significance of the Mahavakya "Aham Brahma Asmi".
The assertion "Aham Brahma Asmi" is the counterpart of the instruction "Tat Twam Asi". Both are sentences declaring the identity of the meditator and the meditated, the individual consciousness and the Absolute Consciousness. The Brahmakara-Vritti is generated through the Sattvik Antahkarana which slowly soars above the normal empirical consciousness by being impressed with the higher All-inclusive Consciousness which swallows up being and non-being in its existence.
The same meaning which was attributed to the Upadesha-Vakya is applicable to the Anusandhana-Vakya also. "Aham" and "Brahma" are the individual and the Absolute whose identity is brought out by the significance of the term "Asmi". "Asmi" and "Asti" are the two denotations of the subjective and the objective conceptions of the existence of the One Unity of the Absolute Whole. "Asmi" gives way to "Kevala Asti" or mere Being. Brahmakara-Vritti is the form taken by the mind when it is about to lose itself in Brahman. Even this Vritti is after all a psychosis, a mental transformation, though of the highest order of psychic modifications. All Vrittis should stop before the Glorious Satchidananda is realised, where the mind does not exist at all, not even the most supreme Vritti can exist there.
When the Brahmakara-Vritti is raised through meditation on Brahman, the Transcendental Knowledge will dawn of itself. The Antahkarana constituting the Manas, Buddhi, Ahamkara and Chitta should first be rendered Sattwik through training thoughts and feelings by internal Tapas which must be practised for long. Only the Sattwik mind can reflect the Brahmic Light and a struggle to experience the Absolute when the heart is clogged with desires, cravings and ambitions will not end in success. The state of Pure Sattwa is the condition of the mind where the highest expression of Brahman, namely, Ishwara, is on a level with the individual consciousness which is raised above the region of the earth. The Brahmakara Vritti is generated when the perception of the material universe as such is brought to a cessation and only the Divine Existence is beheld everywhere. This Vritti destroys all ignorance and finally destroys itself too when Brahma-Jnana reveals itself.
19, 20. 'OM' is the symbol of Brahman. It is the word of power. It is the sacred mono-syllable. It is the essence of all the Vedas. It is the boat to take you to the other shore of fearlessness and immortality. Meditate on OM with Bhava and meaning.
OM is the highest symbolical expression of the absolute nature of Brahman. OM is the source of all power and knowledge. The pronunciation of the word "OM" includes all the processes of sound-production and word-formation. Hence this word-symbol is the highest and the subtlest expression of the Shabda-Tanmatra, and is the basis of all speech, even of the Vedas. All words and languages are, thus, produced from the eternal "OM."
When the word OM is repeated with the proper Bhava in the Hrasva, Deergha and Pluta forms of sound, the whole system of the body and the mind is charged with powerful vibrations of light, purity, peace and harmony. Constant repetition of OM in the proper manner itself will cure all diseases, balance the mind and remove distraction. The subtlest and the most original manifestation in the realm of duality is the Shabda-Brahman, the form of Brahman as can be cognisable through the highly purified sense of the soul. 'A' kara, 'U' kara' 'M' kara, "Ardhamatra," "Nada," "Bindu," and "Kala" are the different stages of the expression of the sound "OM". It should start from the 'Para' state of sound origination and then it should be gradually materialised through the "Pashyanti" and the "Madhyama" to the "Vaikhari" state where the sound is actually audible to the sense of hearing.
From the start in the "Para" to the finis in the "Vaikhari," the chanting of OM has got an equilibrating character and so powerfully spiritualises the being of the chanter. There is an occasion for the automatic Kumbhaka state of the Prana and the stability of thought during OM-chanting and hence the feeling of OM prepares the ground for the highest Nirguna Meditation where the absolute character of the object of meditation is conceived of and affirmed. OM is an absolute sound and is not of the distracting type of sound produced by speech. Chanting OM leads the mind to the common Ground of the Self where absolute harmony reigns supreme.
21. You should make Brahma-Vichara habitual in you by constant practice. Then only your mind will be under your perfect control. All the impurities of the mind will be washed away by Brahma-Vichara.
Brahma-Vichara should be the habit of every aspirant in his life. It is his identification with some particular aspect of the Infinite Whole that is his individuality. The life of circumscribed isolation and suffering is the fruit of affirming the Self to be something, for the moment one affirms something, the other aspects of the Absolute Whole are denied their unified existence and are neglected and treated as the not-self. The Whole can never be separated into parts and therefore there is a desire in every self to obtain the not-self. The number of these not-selves runs up to infinity and the self wants to have the entirety of things regarded as not-self. This possession of infinite things requites the self to pass through several births and deaths. Hence, the desire for the Infinite being uncontrollable, the state of Samsara will have to be continued till infinite objects are obtained, i.e., till the realization of the Infinite Whole as one's own Self is achieved.
How, then, is to cease from self-affirmation? The constant Vichara on the nature of Brahman as constituting all, even the not-self which is ignored and the self which is asserted, the earth and the heaven, and body, mind and soul, will negate the belief in parts and make the aspirant look on all beings with an equal eye. If at any time the aspirant is unable to deny his individuality, and it the self asserts itself persistently, then he should also affirm simultaneously that he is also all those that are denied as not-self, and thus be true to the Absolute Nature.
This sort of Brahmavichara will wash away all sins and impurities and the aspirant will be liberated from bondage even in this very life. He becomes a Jivanmukta.
22. Enquire unceasingly: "Who am I? Whence came this universe? How did birth and death come? What is bondage?" You will be able to attain the imperishable abode of eternal bliss.
Constant enquiries into the essential nature of the universe and Samsara, their origin, their unreality, the cause of birth and death, the nature of bondage and freedom from pain, will thin out the mind in due course.
Who is the Jiva? The Jiva cannot be truly an individual, for individuality is perishable. But the essence of the Jiva persists to exist. The sheaths of the body merge into their original elements. Earth merges in water, water in fire, fire in air, air in space, space in Mula-Prakriti, and Mula-Prakriti in Brahman. The elements of the body equally dissolve themselves. Hence all the effects are transient, only the eternal is true. The Jiva should cease from being too much occupied with a part of the whole and begin to cling to the Whole. The bodies are sustained only by the thoughts of them, and when the individual withdraws the thoughts, feelings and interests from the bodies, they can no longer be felt to be an item of Pure Consciousness.
Whence came this universe? The universe must either be a creation of the Absolute or of the Cosmic mind or of the individual mind. The Absolute does not create any universe, because the Absolute is secondless and unchangeable. The Cosmic mind must have projected the universe out of the stuff of its consciousness. But, then, how is it that the change in subjective consciousness changes the appearance of the forms of the objects? When the imaginative mind changes its mode of thinking, the object of its perception appears to exist only in relation to the subjective consciousness. Moreover, when the Jnani's mind rises high into the transcendental region, the universe vanishes from his view. Hence, the universe may be a creation of the subjective individual.
But, then, again, when the individual becomes a Jnani and when it realises the Infinite Being, the world still exists for the other individuals who have not realised the Truth. Hence the world cannot be the creation of the subjective imagination. It must have an objective reality. Thus, we come to the dilemma that the subjective and the objective aspects of consciousness are both creators as well as not creators of the universe. But the truth seems to be that both are partly true and partly incorrect. The universe is the production of the collective totality of all the individual minds put together. This totality is termed the cosmic Mind. When the individual realises Brahman, the world vanishes to it, for the nature of Brahman is contrary to that of the world. But the world exists to other individuals even after the Self-realization of an individual, for the world is sustained by the mental forces of the remaining individuals.
Thus the loss of an individual through its Self-realization must effect a great change in the universal force of creativity. The universe is thus the construction of thoughts that are interrelated. Birth and death are of such cause, individuality is due to such reason, as is the nature of the creation of the universe.
23. If you want to attain Brahman all longings for objects should perish. The more you are removed from objects, the more the effulgence of Brahman will radiate in you.
When the desire for Brahman is generated, the consequential attitude of the one who desires for it should be a distaste for the objects of the senses. The desire for the part cannot be cherished together with a yearning to gain the whole. The mortal and the Immortal are utter contradictions. When the shadow is run after, the substance is left behind. When there is love for the world, the love for the Infinite is cast aside. The mind cannot think of diversity and Unity at one and the same time. In fact, it cannot even think of two objects at a time. It cleverly manages to shift its centres of imagination from one object to another presenting a false appearance that it is centred on one idea. To rest on one idea is not in the scheme of mental activity. When it is forced to centre itself in the thought of Brahman, it must drop down all the clustering objective thoughts.
There are grades in reality. The more the mind is centred in Truth, the more is it detached from particularised thinking. The whole universe is a stage where different individuals in the different degrees of their consciousness are let to play their own parts. Each individual has its own thought-form or the imagined world based on its own degree of consciousness. From the highest Ishwara to the lowest straw things are arranged in the various orders of consciousness. This consciousness-order is due to the degrees of their connections with the plural universe. Thus the highest Ishwara is the least connected with the pluralistic reality of the universe. He is the nearest to the Absolute or Brahman. When even the dual consciousness which characterises the region of Ishwara is transcended, the individual is no more an individual, it is absolutely cut off from objective relation, it becomes Brahman, the Great!
24. You will never be able to go into Samadhi although you can sit in the Padma or Siddha Asana for six hours at a stretch, if you are not free from attraction and repulsion, anger, egoism and pride.
Samadhi or the Balance of Consciousness is not the outcome of formalistic practices. Formality is concerned with externality and externality is not the cause of the misery of Samsara. Asanas and breath-regulations alone cannot steady the consciousness of the individual. It is the regulation of thought-functioning that gives rise to higher experiences in the spiritual realm. In Vedantic Sadhana the physical body and the vital are not taken much into account. They being the products of subtler powers that control the life of the individual, the control of those internal forces implies the stoppage of the activity of all their manifestations. Therefore the Vedantic aspirant controls his mind and the intellect, subdues anger, egoism and pride, and thus gets control over the whole nature.
Attraction and repulsion are the main twin-powers which keep in tact the existence of the world. Love for a certain object automatically indicates indifference or hatred towards other objects. Here is created a difference in the undivided nature of Truth. Where there is difference, there is the seed of sorrow, pain, death, birth and all that is undesirable.
Pride is seated in the intellect. The sense of superiority which gives rise to pride creates a difference between things of the universe. Egoism and anger are very powerful agents which bring in sharp differentiation within the One Indivisible Brahman. Thus they are the creators of the appearance of untruth, and as long as these are not held in check, the state of Samadhi cannot be experienced, for Samadhi is an experience of utter Oneness of Consciousness.
The entire ideal of all Sadhanas for Self-realization is to root out differences in life. When this is done, it is immaterial whether one is sitting on Asana or not, practises Pranayama or not. When the sun rises, there is no need of lighting a candlestick. The stars shine only so long as it is not day-break.
25. Merge the speech in the mind; merge the mind in the intellect; merge the intellect in the witness of the intellect or Brahman and enjoy the Supreme Peace.
Speech is loud thinking. It is the manifestation of thought only. When speech is hushed, the activity of the mind is accelerated. Talking is a method employed by the mind to keep itself in touch with the external universe. Speech is, therefore, a desire to materialise. Hence if self-expression is to be checked and the same power directed inward, speech is to be checked and the energy that is spent in talking should be stored up in the internal mind.
The mind, again, is a gross form of consciousness. It is itself a materialisation or a self-expression of the higher intelligence. To effect self-withdrawal, the mind should be merged in the higher intellect which is the reflection of Brahman or Atman within.
The intellect is only a shadow of Consciousness. It acts like a projection of the Self-existent and Self-luminous Self. It has got the nature of distracting Self-awareness because it is characterised by the quality of Rajas. Hence, the intellect should be merged in the eternal Self, Atma or Brahman.
This is the progressive involutionary method of meditation. Those who cannot at once practise the deep affirmation of the One Reality may practise this gradual process of turning back objectivity into the inward Self.
The method of this withdrawing of external consciousness can be practised only when there is not much of disturbance from the outside world. The objective reality of the world is as much true as the subjective reality of the body, and hence it cannot be easily thought that because the world is an imagination of the individual, abstraction of senses can be practised amidst bustle, business and hurry. The influence of the external universe is terrible on the individual, because the individual is a part of the universe. The part cannot deny the whole of the world unless it has transcended worldly consciousness. Therefore, in the beginning, seclusion, silence, penance are all necessary for the disciplining of the brutal self.
26. Restrain the senses. Silence the bubbling thoughts. Drown the mind in Brahman, who is within. Now you can realise your identity with Brahman.
The restraining of the senses is not done through forced suppression. No natural desire or instinctive impulse can be suppressed with might without allowing it to torment the individual at a later date. It is not punishing but coaxing the senses through discriminative understanding that can make them rest at peace. The senses are not the enemies, the mind that orders them to work is the real enemy of peace. The mind can never be killed by plucking the eyes or cutting the ears. It is by cutting the ears and plucking the eyes of the mind that true peace can be gained. There is nothing bad with things as such. It is the perceiving mind that is bad, that has to be taught lessons.
The bubbling thoughts can be silenced by tasting the bliss of the Atma. The mind throbs because it wants pleasures. Let it taste the bliss of the Self. Then it will work no more. When the mind is drowned in Brahman, when it becomes melted in Brahman, when it sports in the heart of Brahman, when it drinks deep the nectar of Brahman, when it is identical with Brahman, then it will cease to function, then it will crave not for pleasures any more. The drowning of individuality in Brahman is the supreme purpose of life. All activity is for this purpose. All bustle and business of life is for this purpose. If this is not achieved, nothing is achieved. If this is lost, all is lost. He is an unfortunate creature who dies without realising Brahman in this birth. For what other use is human life here? Nothing is great, nothing is noble, nothing is sacred before the act of the dissolution of oneself in the Supreme Brahman.
All aspirants for the ultimate Good aim at this end, whatever be the paths they may take, Glory to those people who have dedicated their lives for losing themselves in the Ocean of Brahman. Are there more blessed men than these fortunate, people?
27. Acquire the four means. Control your speech. Annihilate all hopes. Hear the Srutis. Reflect on what you have heard. Then meditate. You will attain Self-realisation.
Viveka or discrimination between the Reality and the shadow is the first of the four means to self purification. All objects which are seen or heard are unreal. The whole universe is a dream. The world is a mere show. Brahman alone is the Truth. Anything that is sensed by the organs, thought by the mind or understood by the intellect is unreal. What remains is the Real. The knowledge of this fact is Viveka.
Such a Viveka leads to complete disgust for the shadow or the unreal phantasm. The mind wants the Real Brahman only and nothing else that appears. Being filled with an overwhelming love for Brahman, there arises in the mind a total dispassion for the separative and differentiated things. This dispassion for or renunciation of the three worlds, for the sake of attaining Brahman is Vairagya, the second of the four means. Vairagya should be the outcome of the intense desire for the Real, and other forms of false temporary disgust should not be mistaken for spiritual Vairagya.
Because of the appearance of Viveka and Vairagya, the Shatsampat constituting Sama (tranquillity of the mind), Dama (restraint of the senses), Uparati (cessation from activity), Titiksha (patience and endurance), Sraddha (faith in the scriptures, Guru and God), Samadhana (one-pointedness of mind), follows as a corollary. This treasure of the sixfold virtues is the third of the four means.
The fourth is Mumukshuttwa or the fiery love for Moksha or Final Emancipation of the self. These qualities make a person fit for the practical courses of meditation – Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana.
All hopes for acquiring name and fame should be buried under the love for the Eternal. Casting aside the earth and the heaven as worthless, the aspirant should get initiation from a Guru into the mysteries of meditation on Brahman. The grace of God and the blessings of the Preceptor will elevate the mind of the aspirant and make it successful in its meditation. The process of Self-realization will not become very difficult if the prescribed method of Sadhana is correctly followed with care and vigilance.
28. Brahman can be clearly and definitely realised only through Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Samadhi ensues only when the purified mind is merged in Brahman.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi is the highest expansion of the mind into Brahman-Consciousness. It is existing as Pure Satchidananda. This state is reached through the integration of personality. The rays of consciousness which are scattered through objectification are withdrawn and centred in the Root-Noumenon. When the sun comes to the centre of the head, there is no perception of the shadow, for it becomes identified with its source, the substance. When the consciousness-rays centre themselves in their Substance, the Imperishable Self, the shadow of the universe vanishes, for it gets merged in the Source of Brahman.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi is not Infinite Perception as in the case of Savikalpa Samadhi, but Infinite Being. The Upanishad describes this State as the Fullness of Perfection where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else. It is called the Bhuma, the Great Plenum. It is without duality and hence without sense-cognition. It is the getting of everything, the fulfilment of all desires, the most supreme blessing, the only Ideal worth coveting. Nothing on earth or in heaven can give that joy. The joys of the fourteen worlds put together are a drop in the Ocean of Brahman-Bliss. The world cannot give that bliss, nor can it take it away. It is what is real in the absolute sense immutable, eternally existent, exempt from all change, all satisfying, undivided, Self-luminous, with neither good nor evil, neither past nor present nor future, disembodied, the glory beyond all grasp of thought, the peace that is the very purpose of all striving, nearer than the nearest, dearer than the dearest, the Self-Identical Existence, here and now. This is Brahman-realization experienced through the passage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Here the highly purified mind is dissolved in Brahman and individual reality and egoistic independence is lost in the splendid light of the Real.
29. When Brahman is realised by means of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, then the heart's knot viz., Avidya (ignorance), Kama (desire) and Karma (action), is destroyed.
Avidya, Kama and Karma are the three knots of the heart. Avidya breeds Kama and Kama begets Karma. Avidya is the ignorance which makes the individual perceive pluralistic reality and dualistic truth and thus gives rise to Kama or desire to acquire the objects which are other than the self. Kama or desire puts forth effort or Karma to obtain the desired objects. Avidya goads Kama and Kama goads Karma. Karma perpetrates self-indulgence! This sinful activity of worldly life is kept up by the operation of Avidya, Kama and Karma.
The Hridaya-Granthi or the knot of the heart is cut asunder when the majesty of Brahman is beheld. All doubts are cleared. All Karmas perish. The experience of Samadhi is the identification of the Self with the natural Essence of Existence Here, the seed of Avidya is burnt beyond further appearance, and the darkness of unconsciousness is lighted up by the brilliance of Absolute Consciousness. Hence, Avidya being no more, the urge for desiring objects is brought to cessation, whereby the impulse for action is sublimated into its source.
Birth is overcome, death is negated. The joy of the completeness of Being cannot be had in a semblance of it appearing to reflect in a point of space. The thought-force is entirely sucked in by the Sun of Consciousness and together with it all its modifications. When the root is pulled out, the trunk and the branches and the leaves are all levelled down. Hence the physical body has to drop off of itself being not fed by thought-relations. In such an exalted condition the physical body cannot be retained for more than two or three weeks. All bodies are possessed by the same Consciousness and, therefore, one who has realised his identity with Absoluteness cannot be attached to any particular body in speciality.
30. You cannot have Samadhi without perfect dispassion; you cannot have Self-realization without Samadhi; you cannot have perfect freedom without Self-realization.
Samadhi is the equilibrium of Consciousness. Passion is the clinging to particularised consciousness. Hence Samadhi cannot be attained without dispassion.
Self-realization is the resting in the conscious equanimity of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. It cannot be attained without reaching the equilibrium of Samadhi.
Perfect Freedom is the existence in the state of Absolute Independence or Kaivalya. Absolute Independence is Self-rootedness, Self-existence and eternal Self-sufficiency which is possible only after realising the non-related nature of the Self through its realization.
Kaivalya-Moksha is Absolute Liberation. The soul is drowned in the sea of Joy. Timeless and incorruptible, spaceless and absolute, a cessation of all life and a losing of everything, and yet, it is the real Divine Life, the being of All at once! It is the Zenith of Intelligence and Strength, of Knowledge and Power, of Wisdom and Bliss. The pride of individual greatness is superseded by a magical touch, a trembling shock, and the soul enters the Hall of Eternity. An intoxication of All-Unity overpowers the persisting multitudinousness, and there Pure Consciousness without ever losing its Self-Identity gives itself to the torrential flood of Limitless Bliss and Infinite Light. The Light is satisfied only in the supra-essential Essence. It is the simple ground, the still waste, wherein is nothing, but which is everything. It is the state where no man dwells, the immovable static being, and yet by this Immovability are all things moved. It is the vacuous plenitude, the dynamic statis, the great fulfilment effected by great renunciation. It is the Goal of life!