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Your Questions Answered
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 4: Total Thought and Meditation

Krishna Kumar: What is meditation?

Swamiji: Meditation is an integration of consciousness. It is not a routine or a ritual. It is not a religious exercise belonging to some religion. It is an opening of yourself to the final realities of life. It has nothing to do with Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, or any religion. It has no connection with any scripture, also. It is an impersonal act on the part of yourself, wherein you lift up your consciousness to a recognition of the fact that you are a temporary sojourning entity into eternity.

You have come from a larger realm, and will enter into the same realm after some time, which will indicate gradually that your existence has a kind of cosmic sweep. From plane to plane you have journeyed in your millions of incarnations. How many planes of existence have you crossed, through what forms of life, what types of experience; how many parents, relations, types of work you have had! All these things you cogitate slowly in your mind so that you start thinking along these lines, and you will not think you are Krishna Kumar any more.

This is only a temporary form that the cosmic form has taken due to some karma, some pressure of circumstance. Neither do you belong to Jaipur, India, nor to anything. You are a travelling cosmic force, like a meteor, coming from one plane and moving to another. Your thoughts have to be oriented along this fashion. Don't think like a man or woman thinking. We are ultimately, in what we call a spiritual sense, neither human beings, nor males nor females, but only forces of Nature which have concentrated themselves in certain space-time points, looking like individuals. This is how self-analysis has to be carried on. When you think along these lines, you will find that your mind becomes "total" instead of fragmentary.

Generally, nobody thinks in a total fashion. You always think of something other than yourself. It is taken for granted by the mind that what you are thinking is something different from yourself. If it is not different from you, there is no need of thinking it. You don't go on thinking yourself. So, every thought of every person is directed towards something which is assumed to be totally different from the process of thinking. This is a mistake.

From this little introduction about your being a sojourning individual in a cosmic setup, you will appreciate that you cannot even think unless all the atmospheric conditions of the cosmic condition are involved in the very process of thinking. When you think, it looks as if you are thinking like a cosmic being, because your mind is connected to all the circumstances through which you have passed in all your various incarnations.

They say if you can remember some thousand births through which you have passed, and all the relations which you had during these thousand births, you will find today that there is nobody in this world who is not your relative. Everyone is related to you in some way or other through the circumstance of some incarnation, some birth or other. This is why they say that the world is a single family. Though it is told in a socialistic sense, it is much more than that. It is really so. Like the various branches of a tree coming forth from the root, all these manifestations and forms of existence have come out from One Root.

I was just telling you about meditating, in my own way. We don't do meditation merely for doing it; we want to get some benefit out of it. There can be benefit only if your thoughts are harmonious with reality. If you dichotomise your thought from the reality of the world and consider it as an external object, then it will be finite thinking, and finite thinking will produce only finite results. So, I am again coming to the point of total thinking, which is called meditation.

All the thoughts of everyone and of everything will be comprehended within the total grasp of your mind in this act. When you sit for meditation, what should you do? I am thinking of some object, person, situation. Your mind has to consciously, vitally, involve in itself the object which it is thinking; otherwise, you cannot even be conscious of the object. The very fact that you are conscious of some object outside you implies that it has already entered the mind. It has become part and parcel of your consciousness. Now, here is the technique of total thinking. You cannot think the object unless you accept that it is a part of your thought itself. Thus, the thinker is not Krishna Kumar. It is something in between the object and the so-called subject. It is a connecting link, transcendent.

In our ancient scriptures we use words like adhyatma, adhibhuta, adhidaiva, etc. Adhyatma is the thinking subject; adhibhuta is the object, but we don't know anything else. We think only two things. I am here and I am seeing and thinking something else. But you cannot think something else unless there is a connecting link of consciousness between you and the other object. The thinker is actually that connecting link. That is called adhidaiva, the superintending divinity. So, who is the meditator?

Now I am coming to another more advanced step. You are not meditating, because if you consider yourself as the meditator, you cut yourself off from the object. But I mentioned to you that you cannot cut off your consciousness from any object, inasmuch as, unless it is involved in that object, thinking is not possible. So this involvement-consciousness is a transcendent consciousness which is above both you and the object. Do you understand the point? It is a very subtle thing, and very difficult to catch that little crux of the matter.

You transfer your consciousness, as it were, to the middle connection, transfer your consciousness to the centre where you contemplate both sides, as if the body is thinking of two hands. This is the subject and this is the object, but the thinker of both is the body; so you are not one person thinking of another thing. Meditation does not mean thinking of an object; it is a transference of consciousness from the subjectivity of yours and from the objectivity of the object to a central point which is transcendent to both. That is the divinity which is called Ishtadevata. You contemplate like this. This is what they call total thinking, and this is the essence of meditation.

Another Visitor: But Swamiji, I don't understand...

Swamiji: What I was telling is that your consciousness of an object implies the presence of a connecting link of consciousness between you and the object. Actually, the thinker of the object is not you. There is something else in the middle which thinks you and the object at the same time, which fact is not known to you, due to which you get stuck up with an object. You must transfer yourself to the middle point where you will also look like an object only, so that you have no attachment to yourself any more. Neither are you attached to yourself nor to the object; you are a totally impersonal, isolated, transcendent Being which is the devata, the controlling principle of both yourself and the other. And there are degrees of this involvement until it reaches the Absolute. This is how you have to meditate.

Visitor:But the mind gets tormented by thinking of other people.

Swamiji: It is tormented by any kind of thinking. Neither you should think yourself, nor the other. The torment comes either because you think yourself or the object. You must transfer yourself to another impersonal thing, which is neither you nor the object.

Visitor: Even when you are thinking of yourself?

Swamiji: Why are you thinking of yourself, as if you are protecting yourself? The protector is somebody else. The whole mistake is that you are representing yourself so much, as if you are the only important thing. This is not the important thing, nor the other thing. There is something else which is controlling everybody. You have to transfer your consciousness to God. God is sitting between yourself and the other thing, and He is the thinking principle. If that concentration can be done, all problems will be solved. Neither you should think yourself, nor another thing. This art is a difficult thing, but there is no other solution for it. It must be done with great effort, and there will be no problem afterwards.

Visitor: What is the difference between total thought and meditation?

Swamiji: They are the same thing. Total thought means a perfect form of thought, and meditation means the same thing. It is a total thought, not little bits of thinking, one thing at a time. Generally, we think little things, but that is not correct thinking because when you think something, you exclude something else. You should exclude nothing and include all things in your thought; then it becomes a total thought. It is something like God-thought. That is the perfect form of thinking. Then you will have no troubles from the mind afterwards. There will be cooperative forces working together. If you exclude something, that something which you exclude will not cooperate with you. That is why troubles arise.

Visitor: But, Swamiji, in our general life...

Swamiji: General life does not mean imperfect life. It also should be perfect. You have been taught wrongly; your education itself is faulty, right from the beginning. That is why everybody is suffering. Technological education is not real education. One requires also psychological education.

Visitor: Swamiji, we have so many mantras.

Swamiji: That is a different matter. You may have a mantra, or no mantra. If your mind is not thinking correctly, even a mantra cannot help. Your mind should be adjusted perfectly, even to the mantra. Even the mantra is a total thought; it is not only one thing that you are thinking. All things are combined in the mantra. The total divinity is in the mantra, so even the mantra is a total thought. All spiritual practice is an attempt at maintaining total thought, complete thought, which is called perfect thought – or you may even say it is God-thought. Everyone is meant for that ultimate attainment. Nobody is excluded.

Visitor: The people and situations that occur around us – are they creations of our own thought?

Swamiji: These situations in which you find yourself are due to some actions that you performed in the previous birth. They react as circumstances of your present life. Present experiences are results of past actions – a previous birth or even a further birth backwards – something you have done, good or bad. If you have done some good, you are well placed and you are comfortable and happy. But if you have done something opposite, you will have pin-pricks, harassments, etc. You will get exactly what you have given to others.

Visitor: But, Swamiji, through our own experience, we always visualise; so our experience has a limit, and so our thoughts will also have a limit.

Swamiji: That is what I am saying. You must try to overcome that limit by learning the art of a new way of thinking, which is called the spiritual way of thinking, about which we have been discussing now. You have to forget all the old ways of thinking, and start a new way from today onwards. Then you will find a new psychological strength arising from your mind. You will feel confident in yourself; you will not feel diffident.

When you are sure that your thinking is correct, you will receive cooperation from all the forces of the world. But if you start excluding things one by one, those things will also exclude you. Then you will have difficulties. If I exclude you, you will exclude me, also. That is the law of the world. If I include you in myself, then you will also include me in yourself. This is how the world is working.

Visitor: Should we try to correct others?

Swamiji: Whether you are really expected to correct them or you mind your own business, that is left to your personal choice. There is nothing wrong with trying to correct others, provided you feel it is a necessity and also a possibility. Otherwise, you need not interfere with anything. But if it is an essential thing for some reason or the other, then you can, unless you are greater than those whom you are reforming, the effort may not lead to success.

Visitor: How can we know our level?

Swamiji: Your level is known from your desires. You can know what your desires are in one second. You don't express them, but you know them very well.

Visitor: But how can I refine them?

Swamiji: You cannot refine them unless you practise meditation on God. There is no other way for refining desires. Meditation, japa, prayer all mean the same thing, finally. They are only various ways of expressing one and the same thing. You cannot refine your desires except by directing them to God; then they become purified. Ultimately, your desire must be for God only.

We were mentioning about perfect thought. Perfect thought is God-thought, and that only is the way of purification. Desires are all selfish and they have to be converted into unselfish desires in the next stage. Then, the unselfish desires also should cease in the Universal desire for God. The desire by itself is not bad. It all depends upon to what object you are directing it. If it is directed to your personal physical gain only, it is selfish desire. If it is directed to the welfare of all people, it is unselfish desire. If it is directed to God Almighty, it is Universal desire. So all are desires only, but there is a difference in the manner in which different desires work.

There are three stages: selfish, unselfish and Universal. Gradually, you have to rise from the lower to the higher. Nobody, truly, works for God, and nobody works for other people, also. Each one works for oneself, and so mostly the world is filled with selfish people only. A few are unselfish to some extent. But Universal desire is unthinkable. Such a thought cannot arise ordinarily in the mind of a person. A person who entertains a Universal desire cannot be regarded as a human being. Such a one is super-human.

When desires cause pain, you should remove them. When desires cause pleasure, they also should be removed. There are two desires-those that bring pain and those which bring pleasure. Both are bondages. By stages, gradually, they have to be eliminated.