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A Textbook of Yoga

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Chapter 16: Questions and Answers – Part 2

Swamiji: Have you any more questions?

Q: Who will realise God?

Swamiji: Yourself.

Q: What is that ‘yourself’?

Swamiji: ‘Yourself’ is that who puts the question. Ramana Maharishi has one stock answer for all questions. He is not like me; I speak so much, but he will not speak. If you say anything, he will say, "Who is questioning? You find out." Then that man keeps quiet afterwards; he has nothing to say and goes away.

That which says or feels "I am existing", that which is convinced that it is existing, that which has no doubt that it is existing, and is conscious that it is existing – that will realise God. That is a subtle answer to your question. Your body will not reach God. Your mind will not reach God. But that which tells, that which feels, that which is sure within you that it is, that which feels "I am" – that will reach God. The existence in you will reach God, because God is pure existence, and the existence in you can reach the existence that is everywhere. It is a union of existence with existence – sat with sat. The existence in you – or rather, that you are – will reach existence that is; existence merges into existence.

Q: What is the subtle connection with the senses and the presiding deities?

Swamiji: The connection between the sense organ and the presiding deity of the sense organ is like the connection between an electric bulb and the electricity that is passing through it. If the electricity does not pass, the bulb will not shine. The bulb has no meaning; it is like a dead corpse. When you say the bulb is shining, who is shining, actually? That real shining thing is the deity, but the medium through which it is shining is the sense organ, like the bulb outside.

The eyeballs do not see; the seer is inside the eyeball and the other sense organs. The intelligence that is seeing or hearing, etc., is the deity, but the instrument through which it is seeing or hearing is the organ.

Q: Through meditation, japa and asanas, we are trying to get back to our true selves. And in trying to get back, aren’t we going away from ourselves? Aren’t we making ourselves more complicated?

Swamiji: You are not going away from yourself. You are going away from that which is not yourself. All that you see with your eyes is not yourself. But that which sees is the Self. You are seeing something, and that which is seen is not the Self. But who sees that?  That consciousness which sees is the Self.

Now actually your effort is to move towards the consciousness that sees, and not the object that is seen. And when you say ‘we’, ‘I’, and all that, who is that ‘I’ and ‘we’ that you are referring to?  "Are we not complicating ourselves?" you said. Now, who are these ‘ourselves’? Who is that talking? It is not your body, it is not your relations, it is not your sense organs. It is that which is in the state of deep sleep, to give an instance.

You were existing in the state of deep sleep, but in what way were you existing?  Were you the son of somebody, or a professional, a man or woman, rich man, poor man? What were you at that time? None of these things. These great things that you are evaluating so much in the world have no meaning in that state of sleep, and yet you are more happy there than when you possess the kingdom of the earth. That is, you are in yourself at that state, and in that ‘yourself ‘– I had already explained this sometime earlier – that ‘yourself’ which is in the state of deep sleep is pure awareness only, awareness of pure existence. You are existing as consciousness, or there is consciousness of existence.

Again we are coming to the old definition of sat-chit. You existed as sat-chit; and you were very happy; therefore, it is ananda. So you existed as sat-chit-ananda. Inasmuch as these words are difficult to understand, I am not using the Sanskrit words too much. It is pure awareness of being only. And, as we analysed this situation earlier, this awareness of being cannot be only inside the body, because awareness cannot be located in any particular body or spot. This is because if consciousness, that awareness, is only in one place, there must be somebody to know that it is not in another place, and that who knows that it is not in another place is itself only. To know that it is not in another place, it has to be there already. That means to say, your consciousness is all-pervading. So only in the state of deep sleep you have an indication of your real nature of all-pervading, pure Existence-Consciousness. To reach that state you are trying your best to withdraw yourself from all entanglements with which you are connected in waking and dreaming.

Q: Is it true that God realised God?

Swamiji: God realised God. Yes, God is a God-realised person. Correct. Is there a difference between Bhavagrai and a person who knows he is Bhavagrai? That is the same thing. God knows Himself that He is; and anyone who knows that he is or she is or it is or whatever it is, and knows nothing else, you may say that is God Himself. The whole trouble is, there should not be awareness of anything outside. That is the whole difference between God and man. Man knows that there is something other than himself, whereas God knows that there is nothing outside Him.

Q: What is spiritual life, and how can I have social harmony?

Swamiji: These yamas and niyamas are nothing but the art of harmonising social life with spiritual life, in ordinary language. But in a higher sense, social life is nothing but your consciousness of there being something outside you. That’s all. There is nothing else in society except your consciousness of there being something outside you. Do you understand me? Now, how would you like to deal with another thing which is outside you? Tell me. You deal with that thing in such a way that it does not harm you and also it does not harm itself. Mutual progress is the criterion of social relationship. Neither it should damage you, nor it should damage itself. So you behave in such as way as the Bhagavadgita mentions, as an answer to your question. You behave in this world in such a way that you do not shrink away from anything, nor will anything shrink away from you. People are not frightened about you, nor are you frightened about anybody. People are not afraid of you, and you are not afraid of anybody. You don’t shrink from anything, nor does anything shrink from you. Do you understand the point? This is how the Bhagavadgita answers your question, so I am only repeating what Bhagavan Sri Krishna told. Understand?

Q: What is the difference between consciousness and awareness, and what is their relationship?

Swamiji: They are two words which mean the same thing. That which knows that it is –  or that which knows that something else is – that is the consciousness, and that is also the awareness. It is only a difference in words, like various words that you have got in Roget’s Thesaurus. They mean the same thing. Something that knows is the consciousness. You may call it awareness.

Q: All the senses have slightly different vibrations – the mind, the intention, the will. They become finer and finer, and then the different virtues are coming.

Swamiji: The five sense organs are connected with five elements. Grossly we may say that they are connected with earth, water, fire, air and ether; or in a subtler language, we may say they are connected with smell, taste, vision, touch and hearing, so that the last one is the subtlest. If you do not smell, it won't be as serious trouble to you as if you cannot taste; but if you cannot see, it is still worse than not being able to taste. If you cannot feel the sensation of touch, it is still worse than not seeing, and if you cannot hear, it looks as if the world does not exist for you.

So is the case with the fine arts. Music is the highest of fine arts because it is connected with sound. Painting is lesser; it is connected only with vision. That which you can touch and enjoy is very gross. If you don’t touch, you can’t feel it – like velvet. Anything that requires direct physical contact to be appreciated is a gross form of satisfaction. Where physical contact is not necessary and yet you will be happy, that satisfaction is higher. To enjoy a painting, you need not go on touching it. But music is the highest; and people say that higher than music is literature, because that does not require even a sense organ – only thought. Gradually it goes higher and higher.

The highest virtue is that attitude where you consider yourself as the same as others, or you consider others as the same as you. It is not merely loving thy neighbour as thyself, but knowing that the neighbour is thyself. That is the highest virtue. Anything also connected with that, you may say is a virtue.

Q: In the Bhagavadgita, God says He has created the universe, and it is very difficult to reach God. So why not make it easier?

Swamiji: Krishna Bhagavan is a very naughty boy. Rama is straightforward, a very plain person; but Krishna is very naughty. Even when he stands, he won't stand straight. He puts a foot like this. Rama will not do like that. And if you go to Brindavan, even the streets are all crooked. You won't have a straight street in Brindavan. Krishna's teaching is also such a complicated thing. Rama's statements are very clear. He will say this or that, but Krishna will say like this, like this, like this and finally catch you like this: I created. And why did he create a troublesome thing?  But he has answered your question. This question arises from an Arjuna in you, and not a Krishna. Arjuna's question it is. These questions arise on account of the vision of creation conditioned by the sense organs. You may ask who created the sense organs. It is a very complicated question. Who created the substance out of which an object is made?  That will raise a further question whether creation took place at all.

You see, there is a large granite stone. It is very hard, heavy, and you can touch it. If you bring a very powerful microscope and look at the granite stone, you will see only molecules inside. Bring a microscope which is more powerful yet. You will see atoms. If a still more powerful microscope is used, you will not see even the atoms; there will be gyrating energy, like waves of force inside. The stone has gone.

Now you see the stone with your eyes. The microscope does not see it. Are you seeing the thing properly, or is the microscope seeing it properly? Who is seeing it properly? Naturally, the microscope is seeing it properly. Your eyes have a blunt perception. Why does not the microscope see the stone if you can see it? That is to say, the subtler the vision, the better is the perception. When your vision becomes very subtle, you will not see this world, and you will never put a question why God created the world because He never created the world, in the same way as atoms have not manufactured a stone. It does not mean that only atoms sit like that and say, "Let us become a stone."  They have not become the stone. If that is the case, the microscope would see that. It will see the stone there.

So this is an answer which is not supposed to be given to people who are sure that there is some hard brick and all that. The Yoga Vasishtha has warned us that if such statements are made of a transcendental nature which an ordinary student cannot understand, both the student and the Guru will go to hell. So as I do not want to go to hell, I will not answer questions of that kind. [laughter]

Q: According to Vedanta, we're all one, whereas according to practical experiences, it looks different.

Swamiji: I told you that when you see things through the sense organs, everything is different. When you see through the soul, it is one. It all depends upon what medium you are using for perception. It depends upon what kind of spectacles you have got. If the spectacles are made differently, you will see different kinds of modulations of objects. If it is plain glass, it appears one way. If it is a coloured glass, you will see coloured objects. If the glass is broken, you will see the thing as also broken. Cataract eyes see two moons. Now, are there two moons, or one moon? But you are seeing it. So, seeing does not mean anything substantial, finally. The mistake is in the vision. So if you see many things, it does not mean they are there. I have already answered the question: the stone is not there. Only the vision must change. That is it.

Q: What was the first desire that caused the cycle of birth and rebirth?

Swamiji: They say the first desire was a curiosity. Curiosity was of what would it look like if I assume independence and become myself rather than everything. You try to find out what experience will be there if you become independent instead of being one with all people. There is a desire to become independent. It was a wrong concept of independence. This is what the Bible story tells as the fall of man. The fall is nothing but the desire to be individual rather than the Universal. Somehow that desire arose. Why it arose, nobody can answer because once you answer that question, you will not see yourself existing here. You will vanish immediately.

Anyhow, the answer is tentatively that it is a desire to assume an independence and a locality for oneself which arose in the Universal Consciousness, and as the ocean looks like many waves and ripples, the one Being looks like many people and all the things in the world.

You are happy anyhow to be like that. Even now you are happy. You would not like to be something else. That shows there is a joy even in being independent outside the Universal Being. Are you not happy? You don't want to die even in this condition. You want to protect this individual personality also. Though you say it is not a good thing, you would like to continue it for eternity. Independent existence, though philosophically it is regarded as not a worthwhile thing, is so valuable that not even an insect would like to die. It wants to perpetuate its existence. Even a crawling creature wants to continue that existence for any number of years. That shows the desire of the consciousness to exist, though it may be existing in hell. Existence it is that catches hold of you. So let there be, therefore, the desire to become Universal rather than this kind of desire to be independent as a localised being.

Q: What is the meaning of eternal life?

Swamiji: Eternal life means no birth, no death; always you will be the same thing. It is timeless – no process of past, present, future.

Q: What is the purpose of trying to raise the kundalini?          

Swamiji: The purpose is the same as the purpose in raising the mind to God.

Q: How can we attain one-pointedness of mind?

Swamiji: One-pointedness of mind is possible if you have desire for one thing only. If you desire two things, it will swing between two things like a pendulum. If there is anything which you like wholeheartedly and you want only that and nothing else, then the mind certainly will concentrate on it entirely. So find out what it is that you want finally, and on that the mind will certainly concentrate. There is no doubt about it. But if you have got many desires, then it will go in all directions.

Q: Is it possible to destroy sanchita karma by sadhana?

Swamiji: By doing sadhana, all karmas will be destroyed. Everything. Sadhana is like a fire. It can burn even mountains of straw. A matchstick is so small and the mountain of straw is so big; but even if the straw mountain is so high, one little matchstick is sufficient to reduce it to ashes. Like that is the power of sadhana, meditation. The thought of God is the most powerful energy anywhere, and nothing can stand before it. To light gunpowder, you don't take much time; to light firewood, you take more time; and if you start burning plantain stem, it will never catch fire. It takes a lot of time. So it depends upon what kind of person we are: plantain stem or firewood or gunpowder. [laughter]

Q: Swamiji, if it is the psyche that perceives the psyche in the dream world, then is there a second psyche which perceives the dimension of time and space, subject-object?

Swamiji: They're all in dream also. Whatever is in waking, you will find in dream – but in a psychological sense, not in a physical sense. The difference is only the content. It is psychological in dream and physical in waking, but the structure is the same – no difference.

Q: What is the root cause of sensual pleasures?

Swamiji: The root cause is the separation of yourself from the Universal bliss; and senses are nothing but certain instruments manufactured by the fallen consciousness so that it may rule in hell, rather than serve in heaven. I am only quoting a poet.

There is nothing wrong with being social with people. Spirituality does not mean behaving in an odd way. Spirituality is nothing but what you are thinking in the mind. I can speak to you, serve you, do anything like anybody else, but you don't know what I am thinking. My thought is my spirituality. God respects what you feel and think, and not what you do with your fingers. You can do whatever you like. A spiritual man is not an odd, peculiar person. It is not like that. He is the most sensible and normal of people; and as you go higher and higher in spirituality, you cannot even know that the person is spiritual. You will look like anybody else. Only persons who are half-baked put on airs and appear to be spiritual; they wear a mala and all this. But the more you are advanced, the less you will appear to be spiritual. That is the peculiar contradiction. Only in the beginning stages you will put on airs. So don't put on anything. Be normal. But where your mind is – that is your spirituality.

Q: Swamiji, what is the meaning of turiya state?

Swamiji: Turiya is a consciousness which is beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping. In waking, of course there is a distracted perception. In dream there is also the same kind of trouble. I told you that in sleep you are existing as pure consciousness. That is true. Yet, there is a trouble there. It is covered with a thick cloud of past karmas and, therefore, you must also transcend that state.

In sleep, by inference we come to the conclusion that there is consciousness and pure existence, but it is not direct experience. Direct experience is nil in deep sleep. You are completely ignorant of all things. That condition of ignorance also should be transcended, and then sleep, bliss or consciousness – which is now merely a conclusion that you draw by inference – will become direct experience. That state of direct experience of Universality is turiya, beyond waking, dream and sleep.

Q: How can we attain it?

Swamiji: By meditation only – deep meditation on that, and thinking nothing else.

Hari Om tat sat. God bless you.