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The Ascent to Moksha
by Swami Krishnananda

Discourse 8: Bringing Consciousness to Rest in Meditation

Before we directly engage ourselves in an attention upon the subject of meditation, it would be profitable to cast a retrospective glance over the field of analysis that we have tried to carry on up to this time from the point of view of morality and ethics, as well as psychology.

The ultimate aim of consciousness is to stabilise itself. The whole process of the activity of life may be regarded as an attempt of consciousness to rest in itself – to bring about a stability in itself through passages of harmonisation, equilibration and integration. There is obviously a lack of stability in consciousness, and the bringing about of this stability is the art of meditation. The question we have been trying to answer was, “Why is it that the consciousness is not stable?” It is unstable because it is obsessed with forms of objects in which it has got fixed psychologically.

This process of fixation may be identified with what we generally know as obsession. The obsession of consciousness is the fixation of consciousness in an object or a notion. The fixation is so intense that there are people who have what is called a one-track mind. Like the railway carriages that move along a single track, minds can move along one track, completely ignoring aspects which are other than the direction which the mind is taking. This is also a kind of obsession or fixation. As horses run around roads with blinkers, looking at things only in front of them and knowing nothing of what is beside them, consciousness can run on the roads of sense with blinkers on the eyes so that there is a restricted awareness of what is in front of oneself and an obliviousness of factors other than what is in front of one's mental eyes. This is obsession when it is carried to an extreme. This is what we also know as fixation.

When the consciousness gets fixed in this morbid sense, it loses the awareness of what has happened to it. The identification of consciousness with the object of fixation is such that there is a mutual interaction of characters between consciousness and the object. We have studied something about this erroneous interaction which, in common Vedantic parlance, is known as anyonya-adhyasa, or mutual superimposition of factors.

This mutual transposition of qualities between consciousness and the object of its fixation is the great trouble we are all in. Self-analysis becomes the hardest of endeavours on our part because the analysis of the Self is the same as an understanding of what has happened to consciousness. The Self and consciousness are generally considered identical as far as we are concerned.

In a verse of his Viveka Chudamani, Acharya Sankara mentions some of the forms of obsessions or fixations which can distract the attention of consciousness from itself. Obsession has a threefold character – fixation on the world, fixation on learning, and fixation on the body. With these three fixations of consciousness one may lose the goal of one's life.

There are many minor forms of fixation studied in the science of psychoanalysis, but Sankara takes only the broad outlines of these and categorises them as loka vasana, sastra vasana, and deha vasana. Vasana is a psychic impression which impels consciousness to fix itself on a particular object or activity. This impression is embedded in the lower recesses of the mind, and it pushes consciousness with a tremendous force in a particular given direction to an object or a concept.

The world is taken as one of the objects of fixation by Sankara in this verse from the Viveka Chudamani. The consciousness is obsessed by the world, which is one of the obsessions, so that it can think only of the world and nothing else. The obsession takes a form of an identification of consciousness with the world so that the world is taken for a reality and consciousness is taken, if at all consciousness is accepted as existent, as an offshoot of material concrescence.

These days we have, for example, metaphysical doctrines which try to make out that consciousness is an efflorescence of matter, an exudation of the brain cells, and an effect of concrete spatio-temporal substances. This has arisen on account of an identification of consciousness with matter. The world is matter for us because, as far as we understand the world, it is a multitudinous expanse of forms of matter. So when consciousness is obsessed by the world, it is to say that it is fixed on objects which are material, external, and passing.

The world has three characters: it is material, it is external, and it is transient. Now, these three characters of matter, in any of its forms, are enough to cause a lot of agony to consciousness. We are distressed in our life on account of identification with the world which is external, which is material, and which is transient. On account of the materiality of the objects of sense with which consciousness gets identified, there is love and hatred for objects, and there is a sense of loss when there is bereavement of consciousness from objects. There is a feeling that life itself is lost when the objects of affection are lost. People can die of heartbreak or may even attempt suicide having lost any meaning in life on account of having identified life, identified consciousness, with objects of affection.

The objects of affection are, naturally, material. Whether it is organic or inorganic, it makes no difference. It is a material content of the world. And this object, when it attracts the attention of consciousness, directs the centre of consciousness to the object. Virtually, we may say, the consciousness which is itself, or which is characterised by selfhood, is transferred to the object, and the object becomes the self for the time being. The destruction of the object amounts to the destruction of the self. That is why there is so much pain when the object of affection or love is taken away from oneself. When there is bereavement of oneself from the object of affection, there is death of people whom we regard as our dear and near. This is what happens to consciousness when it identifies itself with the objects, which are external to consciousness.

The objects are not merely external and material, they are also transient, so that we are always in a state of insecurity in the world. We are never stable or possessed of a sense of security or stability in our life. The consciousness unconsciously, we may say, is possessed of a form of unknown fear. Or, we may say, a fear of the unknown is always before us. We may not be consciously thinking of any calamity that may befall us today, but unconsciously there is a sense of insecurity. We are not fully relieved of this tension caused by the fear of the unknown. We are in a tense state inwardly, in the lower levels of our minds, though for utilitarian purposes of practical workaday life we look all right.

The materiality of the object, therefore, brings about the identification of consciousness with objects to such an extent that the loss of the object is mistaken for loss of the Self, due to which we cry when a person dies. We beat our breasts when a dear person passes away. On account of externality of objects, we can never reach out to any object. We can never possess anything in this world, really speaking, on account of the externality of the content of the world. That which is external, well, it is defined properly. There is no need of expatiating on this meaning of externality. That which is external is external. That which is external can never become internal. If it could become internal, we would not call it external. The externality of the material objects of the world prevents the object from coming into our possession, so that we never possess anything ultimately. Everything is subject to destruction, separation and isolation.

So the externality of objects is a great defect introduced into our conscious life, due to which we are tempted, tantalised, promised, but given nothing ultimately. It is a false promise that the world gives us. It is false because the external cannot become the internal. What is outside consciousness cannot enter consciousness. But, unfortunately, the delusion that is in consciousness makes it feel that the objects can enter into it. Materiality cannot become spirituality. Externality cannot become internality. Transiency cannot become permanent. Yet, we hope for these impossibilities. This is life in the world. Transiency of objects, apart from their externality and their materiality, is another cause of our suffering in the world so that, all told, we may be said to be perpetually in a state of agony, restlessness, fear, insecurity, and unhappiness.

The fixation of consciousness in the world is of this nature. Loka-vasana has brought about all these troubles for mankind. This is one of the vasanas Sankaracharya mentions in the Viveka Chudamani. Loka vasana, the love for the world, the attachment of consciousness to externality, which includes love for name, fame, power, authority, and so forth, are all included in the loka vasana – love for the world, not merely this world but all the worlds that we can think of, conceive of, or hear of from the scriptures, such as the other lokas. Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, Satyaloka – all lokas are included when we say loka vasana. Because of their transcendence of the physical world, all these lokas, whatever be their subtlety, are external and transient, so that whatever be the world, whatever be the loka or level of being we may be lifted to, we are not going to be in a better state of affairs. Reversal is possible from any loka. And this loka vasana, the psychic impression impelling consciousness to attach to external things in any loka, is an obstacle.

The second vasana which Sankara mentions is sastra vasana, the love for learning, scriptures, books, etc. Now, learning is very essential; study is good because no one can escape the need of education. But what Sankara mentions here is a state of unnaturalness of consciousness which takes learning as an end in itself. While everything has a meaning and a utility, it has also a limitation. It cannot be carried to its extreme, beyond a logical limit. Everything is good so far as it goes, but not beyond that. The love for learning is all right so long as learning is a means to the discovery of the facts of life, and learning ceases to be useful when its limitation is reached, when we reach its boundaries, or when its purpose is fulfilled. As we say, a ladder is useful to climb over a wall or to the terrace of a building. When the climbing is over, the ladder has no purpose.

What Sankara actually has in his mind when he says that sastra vasana is an obstacle is that intellectual comprehension of the truths of life is not a realisation of the truths of life. We should not mistake understanding for experience. The logical analysis of a philosophical situation is not necessarily a coming to a conclusion regarding the truths of life because every philosophical argument and every scientific formula, every conclusion rationally arrived at, has a pro and a contra. It can be argued in its favour, and also against it. We can prove something, and also disprove something by logical arguments. One and the same person can argue both on behalf of something and against it, which is possible by the sifting of the processes of logic and the sifting of the evidences for or against a particular person, object or a condition.

So learning is like a torch which illumines the path, but the walking has to be done by the person who holds the torch. Thus, we should not be too much addicted to literary pursuits such as the study of grammar, rhetoric, lexicon, logic, semantics, and the like; they are processes or intellectual preparations for coming to a philosophical conclusion regarding the facts of life so that later on these concluded facts become the objects of meditation. The purpose or the aim cannot be completely ignored, and the means should not be mistaken for the end. Hence, vasanas, or psychic impressions, that attach themselves merely to intellectuality, rationality or sheer literary pursuits or scientific observations without any practical utility in regard to life become obstacles. Consciousness can get fixed on the world of objects, or it can fix itself on mere intellectual notions such as learning. Scholarship is not the goal of life because learning about things is not knowing things. They are two different things altogether.

When Sankara speaks of deha vasana as a third obstacle, he refers to the fixation of consciousness on the body. Just as there can be obsession in regard to the world of objects, and obsession in regard to scholarship and pedantic learning, there can be bodily obsession, identification of consciousness with one's own bodily individuality, so that the whole reality is limited to the bodily personality. The love of the body is the final love for us. All love is physical love when it is limited to the contours of the body and the frame or structure of the physical personality. So love for the world of objects, love for intellectuality and learning, love for one's own body are three forms of conscious fixation, says Sankara in the Viveka Chudamani. These are obstacles, on account of which what happens? True knowledge does not arise on account of these fixations of consciousness.

It is these fixations that make consciousness unstable, because it is identified with the unstable objects. The world of objects is transient. Intellectual notions are passing, and the body itself, being a part of nature, is transient; therefore, all these fixations of consciousness are fixations on transient forms. On account of the transiency of the forms over which consciousness is obsessed, there is an apparent transiency in the feeling within ourselves. We are perpetually oscillating between alternatives every moment of time, without being conclusive about any item or any fact or truth of life. Every day there are newer and newer discoveries of fresher and fresher truth, the older discoveries getting supplanted by the later so that we do not know where we actually stand and how far truth is from ourselves. If every day the discoveries are to get transcended by later ones, then which is the final discovery? No one knows. We cannot come to a final conclusion at all. Truth is never known; perfection is never reached. All this difficulty is because of the transference of the properties of consciousness to objects, whether they are of the world, whether they are purely notional, or whether they are physical or bodily.

As we know very well, the aim of the spiritual sadhaka, or seeker, is the final fixing of consciousness on truth or reality, which is meditation. And inasmuch as the consciousness has to be fixed on truth, it has to be weaned from all fixations on untruth. Everything that is untrue, or false, has to be taken away from association with consciousness so that it may be allowed to rest on truth in its pristine purity. For this, the analysis of appearance is as much necessary as that of reality. That which is untrue, that which is unreal, that which cannot be the object of the meditation of consciousness, is what is known as the appearance, as contradistinguished from reality.

In order to fix consciousness on reality, which is ultimate meditation, it has to be disentangled from association from levels of appearance, various degrees of untruths, the various stages of error which consciousness commits in its perception. Just as Sankara mentions three errors of consciousness as three obsessions or fixations – loka vasana, sastra vasana and deha vasana – Swami Vidyaranya also mentions in the Panchadasi three types of fixation which are almost similar to the three mentioned by Sankara, only in a different language. It is, in the words of the Panchadasi of Vidyaranya, what we know as the attachment to gaunatman and mithyatman, as different from the mukhyatman, or the ultimate Self. These words occur in the Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Sankara also, though he has not explained it in detail. Gaunatman is the secondary self. What we call the world of objects may also be called the gaunatman, or the secondary self. It is called the secondary self because it is not the true self. But why is it called the self at all? How do we say that the world of objects is a self? When we say it is an object, it cannot be called a self at the same time. Why on earth do we call an object a secondary self, or gaunatman? How can the term ‘atman' be applied to an object of sense? It is so because of the character of selfhood being recognised in an object.

We are here, in the analysis of appearance, concerned not with things as they are, but with things as they appear to us. A thing may not be good, but if it appears to be good to me, nobody can prevent me from trying to possess it. Therefore, my concern with it is more important than what the thing is by itself. The object by itself may not be the Self as it really is, perhaps, but to me it is a self. When I look upon an object, I look upon it as a part of myself, in one sense at least. That is, I transfer certain characteristics of my consciousness to that object which I see with my eyes. Then it becomes a part of myself.

How do we detect whether consciousness is fixed on an object or not, whether a particular object is a gaunatman, a secondary self, or it is otherwise? If anything that happens to that object will affect the consciousness, it is a gaunatman. We will be, to a certain extent, moved when something happens to that object. This is a test that our consciousness is attached to it. It is there already. It is not merely within us, it has also exceeded the limits of our body and gone towards that particular object.

Previously I have given an analogy to describe what actually happens when an object becomes a gaunatman, or a secondary self, to a particular person. The object is identified with consciousness in the same way as light is identified with an object which it illumines. An object cannot shine, but it seems to shine on account of light rays falling upon it. When we see a piece of tin shining in sunlight, it is the sunlight that really shines upon it, not the object itself. Yet, we cannot distinguish the light that has enveloped the form of the object from the object in itself. Likewise, we are unable to make a distinction between the subtle activity of consciousness, on account of which it has gone outside and pervaded the shape of the object, and the object itself independently. What we actually see there is a part of our own self. The skin of a person has been peeled, as it were, and covered over the object. Our own skin is seen there in a subtle form.

The gaunatman, or the secondary self which the Panchadasi speaks of, is the pure object of sense which is influenced by the personal consciousness enveloping it intensely, so that the processes of vicissitudes through which the object passes are identified with consciousness. This is the condition in which we find ourselves when the world of sense – the gaunatman, the secondary self – is mistaken for the primary self. What is loved or hated is, really speaking, that which is really connected with ourselves. Unconnected things cannot be loved or hated. They are psychologically connected, positively in love and negatively in hatred. Whatever it is, it is connection. Whether you love something or hate something, you think of it. What is important is the thought of it. Whether or not it is a thought of love or hatred, the connection is established. Now, what we are interested in is the disconnection of consciousness from the object, whether this connection is positive or negative.

The second item of fixation mentioned in the Panchadasi is the mithyatman, which is what Sankara refers to as deha vasana. The false self, or untrue self, the bodily self is the mithyatman, as distinguished from the true self, or the mukhyatman. These are only scriptural and traditional analyses of the fixations of consciousness. But there are many more forms of fixations we can see in practical life, on account of which neither can we understand what is happening to ourselves, nor can we know our relationship to the world outside.

Just as we have the psychoanalytic science in the West – the Freudian, the Adlerian and the Jungian psychoanalysis – we have the yoga psychoanalysis, which has also made a similar vivisection of the internal structure of the human personality and gone deep into the entanglement of consciousness with the objects in various levels. It has become necessary to know what these entanglements are so that we may consciously, of our own accord, disentangle ourselves from fixations, whatever they be.

But all this analysis will prove to be futile if one does not really wish to be cured of this psychic illness. A psychopathic patient does not really wish to be cured of the illness. A psychic case does not know that it is a psychic case. That is the symptom of a real case, and any attempt at the cure of this illness will be taken ill. We cannot give good advice to a psychic patient because he will immediately regard us as an opposition, an enemy or an obtrusion in his life. But these are acute cases of illness.

In the path of the spirit, the way of sadhana that we are discussing, we are not so much concerned with the psychic illnesses studied through Western psychoanalysis, but the higher types of psychoanalysis of the normal human being. We are not concerned with abnormal persons, as they are unfit for yoga. Only the mental condition of normal persons who are regarded as perfectly sane is to be studied through the psychoanalysis process of yoga.

Though normal persons of the world may be considered to be perfectly sane from the point of view of common society, they are not perfectly normal from the point of view of the psychology of yoga. We are not normal persons, from the point of view of Patanjali's yoga at least, though from the point of view of Freud and Jung we may be very normal. We have various degrees of personality, and it is only from the point of view of one type of personality that we may be regarded as normal. But there are other standards of judgment of normalcy of behaviour, from whose standpoint we may not be in a fit condition to be called normal, because normalcy is conformity to truth. If our conduct, our behaviour, our thought and feeling and appreciation of things, the attitude we have towards life in general, can be in conformity with facts as such, then we may be regarded as normal human beings. Otherwise, from the strictest analysis of the psychology of truth, we are far from being normal because normalcy is perfect stability and rest of consciousness. At least from the point of view of truth, when there is instability and restlessness of consciousness for any reason, we may doubt the compliment we are given that we are normal.

In yoga, we have to attain perfect normalcy in the ultimate sense of the term. It is not social normalcy that we are called upon to seek. This is an attempt of consciousness to go back to the farthest limits of truth so that it need not be subject to further transcendence of experience. The test of reality is non-contradiction. When experience is not contradicted further on, we may be said to be in a state of reality. When our experiences are subject to transcendence, when they can be sublated by other forms of experience, when we have a subtle feeling that there is something beyond us yet, then we cannot be said to have reached the state of reality. An uncontradicted experience is truth experience. On this concept of truth it is that meditation has to be practised.

We have to recall to our minds the various disciplines that a student of yoga has to undergo before he plunges into the highest reaches of yoga, called meditation. The most important of them all, as we saw, was moral discipline, a test of oneself from the moral standard or ethical point of view. The reactions that our psychic personality sets up in respect of events that take place in the outside world are also tests of our ethical perfection and the standard of morality that we have reached.

What is the reaction that we set up in regard to persons, things, objects and events that take place outside? This is to test ourselves morally and ethically. If the reactions are such that they disturb our peace of mind and we become restless for the time being, it means to say that we are morally unstable, not merely psychologically unstable. This is the great study of the kens of yama made in the sutras of Patanjali, the essence of which is the practice of ahimsa, satya and brahmacharya. The more we say about these, the less it is, because all success in yoga depends upon these fundamental moral canons. It is futile and foolish on the part of any student to be overenthusiastic in these matters and overestimate oneself in such fundamentals as the discipline of ahimsa, satya and brahmacharya. It is no use appearing too big before the eyes of people by entering into the field of asana, pranayama, pratyahara, etc., while there is a shaky foundation of ahimsa, satya and brahmacharya.

It is commonly seen that students of yoga take little notice of these most important essentials of the yoga practice. The foundation will shake from its very roots if a huge edifice of yoga structure is built on the unstable and inadequate preparations made morally and ethically. I need not expatiate on this subject since we have already seen to it in our last lesson.

Subsequent to the moral and ethical discipline that we are called upon to be perfect in, we have to be psychologically stable, and not unstable. After we become morally stable, we have to become psychologically stable until we are certain that we have some sort of control over ourselves. The control that one can exercise over oneself is to be tested now and then. Otherwise, there would again be an overestimation, even here. “Oh, I have seen through all these and I know what things are ahead of me,” may be a very unsafe estimation of oneself because the tests that can come upon us are not only sometimes painful, but they can take us unawares. Mostly, our powers are not adequate to the task when we are put to the test. The reason is that we have, again, not sufficiently prepared ourselves morally and ethically. The moral foundation will help us towards the end. It is the reserve force that we conserve within ourselves, and we may consciously, silently, for our own selves, put ourselves to the test of moral perfection and psychological stability.

The energies that are depleted on account of moral falls and psychological instability is to be taken notice of. Its quantity has to be assessed, and then from the quantity of energy thus depleted every day through moral errors and psychological mistakes, this quantity of energy can give us an idea of the extent of progress that we have made in psychological concentration and spiritual meditation.

As all sadhana is a conscious endeavour to subdue and stabilise oneself, it becomes necessary to effect this stability, whether moral or psychological, in every stage of practice. Though such teachers as Patanjali have given us only a few stages of ascent, such as yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, etc., other teachers such as Vasishtha in the Yoga Vasishtha has given us other stages such as subheccha, vichara, tanumanasi, etc. While such numbering of the stages may be regarded as a broad outline of the processes we have to undergo in yoga, when we actually tread the path we will personally see that there are many more stages than these seven mentioned by Patanjali or Vasishtha. We have got many stages to pass through every day. We know it more than anybody else, and in every stage of psychological experience or opposition we have to gird up our loins to test ourselves and bring about an act of stability in all these levels. In action, in emotion, in understanding, and in spirit, in all these levels stability has to be maintained. This is abhyasa, practice. Abhyasa, or practice of yoga, is the introduction of stability into consciousness in action, in emotion, in understanding, and in spirit.

The first of these, namely, the introduction of stability in action and emotion, is perhaps the most difficult of tasks because actions and emotions are of many types, many categories. We have to perform various duties in life, on account of which it will be difficult to think of the aspect of stability while we are plunged in a particular work. Especially when we have to change the types of work every day, this introduction of conscious stability into action would be a difficult thing. We may be upset by the changes of activities themselves. Changes of persons, changes of activity, changes in the atmosphere, may bring about changes in our consciousness and in our attitude. This is not to be. If we can maintain a uniformity of attitude even amidst the change of activity, change of atmosphere, and change of personalities around us, that would be a great success. That is, we begin to see a particular meaning and significance in every kind of activity that we may be performing. The meaning is the same. The meaning should not change. This would be the spirit of karma yoga, as we would like to call it in the spirit of the Bhagavadgita. If we can see a single, uniform, unchanging significance or meaning in every activity, that would be stability of consciousness in activity. If a determinate, fixed attitude can be maintained in respect of every person around us – whatever be the nature of that person, our attitude is the same, and we think the same thing in respect of every person – that would be introducing stability of consciousness in respect of people and environment.

When we go to Mussoorie, we think one thing; when we go to Delhi, we think another thing; when we come to Rishikesh, we think a third thing. This is not to be. The atmosphere should not change the attitude of consciousness. The atmosphere may change, but the attitude cannot change. Persons may change, but our assessment of the meaning or the values of persons cannot change. All persons are fundamentally made of the same stuff. That we all know. They do not vary in their ultimate stuff. They are the same. If we study one person thoroughly, we have studied all humanity. There is no need of going to study every person. If we know that one particle of rice is cooked very well, we know all the rice is cooked. The study of one person is the study of all persons.

Stability of consciousness is to be, therefore, in activity. We need not go into higher levels of stability. Consider the nature of stability of consciousness in activity itself, the most difficult thing that we face in everyday life. We have to change our offices, our professions, and the nature of work for various reasons no doubt, but what is the ultimate purpose of these activities? If we can see the purpose behind the activities, we will be able to be stable while performing the activities. Though the work may change, the purpose of the work does not change. We work for the same purpose, whatever be the work. The purpose is not different. We think that the different purposes which we tentatively see in life are behind the different activities. It is not true. We have to boil down all purposes of activity into a single purpose. This is a very terrible feat of the mind. If this could be done, activities would not disturb us. If this could be done, people would not disturb us. If this could be done, the atmosphere would not disturb us, so that we can sit for meditation in any place. We need not go to any particular spot on this Earth. We have to change places, change human conditions and atmospheres and vocations on account of not seeing a uniform meaning behind activity, not seeing a uniform stuff behind personalities, and not seeing a single meaning and purpose behind atmospheres and circumstances. We can have a household in a forest, or we can have a forest in a household, according to the attitude of our consciousness.

Now, this is a very essential art that we have to learn in meditation because we cannot always find chosen circumstances in this world. We cannot go on asking different things every day. We have to be contented with what comes to us. We have to be satisfied with the conditions in which we are placed. We have to make the best of what is before us. When you go to Rome, be a Roman. This law applies to everyone. It applies to the spiritual seeker also. Wherever you are, adjust yourself to that circumstance. If you are with children, be like children. Do not say, “They are all small children. I will go somewhere else.” You can also become a child with children. Adjust yourself immediately: You do not see children, because you are also a child. If you see you are in the midst of old people, also become an old man: talk like an old man, behave like an old man, sympathise like an old man, and be happy with old people. You will not see anything unusual around you.

The most important thing of all: Never disagree with people in your opinions of things. This is a great defect of the mind, at least from the point of view of a spiritual seeker. This is a form of egoism which crops up now and then, and descends on everything that is said, everything that is seen or considered. Sometimes we find ourselves in hot water, and atmospheres seem unsuitable. We become unfriendly in human society on account of this peculiar trait in the mind of disagreeing with people. Why should you disagree with people? What have you gained out of it, especially if it is not going to materially affect you? If someone says God does not exist, you immediately want to contradict him. Let him say He does not exist; what do you lose? I also agree with people who say there is no God. I tell them, “There is no God. Thank you.” And they go their way, I go mine. Why do you argue with people? This is very important.

If we are honest seekers, we have to circumscribe the activity of the mind. The periphery of the area around which the mind wanders should be limited more and more every day. The circumference of the circle of the activity of the mind should become smaller and smaller day by day as we proceed further and further in the practice of yoga, so that ultimately there is no circumference at all. There is only the centre. Fix yourself on that. That is meditation. As long as there is a circumference, there is activity. When there is only the centre, there is no activity. There is only attention. This attention of consciousness on the centre by the bringing down of the circumference to the point of attention is meditation.

I would request you all to read Sri Gurudev's book Concentration and Meditation in detail, because I cannot go through all these points, and it is also not necessary to repeat them here since he has mentioned them in his book. Also read his beautiful book Mind, Its Mysteries and Control, and the book Conquest of Mind. At least these three books should be read very well. You will make out some meaning from what I say if these books, and also such books by other authors, may be studied so that you have adequate insight into the structure of the human mind. Good knowledge of the human mind will give you sufficient strength to subdue it and to bring it to the point of concentration and meditation.