The Vaishvanara Vidya
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on August 17, 1997)

Swamiji: What happens when you meditate?

Ashramite: You become one with the Cosmic Being.

Swamiji: Then who is meditating? The Cosmic Being is meditating on itself. You are not existing any more, because you have gone into it. It includes everybody, including you and me, so there is nobody to meditate on it. It itself contemplates. Do you understand this very subtle technique? But you will assert your existence separately anyway by thinking, “I am meditating.” As long as you feel that you are meditating, you are not meditating because you have put it out as an object of your perception.

An object cannot enter into the subject. It is separate. The object has to melt into the subject, and the subject must melt into the object; therefore, meditation means the whole universe is aware of itself. You are not there any more because you have gone into it. You should not assert yourself too much. Actually, you should not be there at all. You have to become one with it. And so, meditation is the consciousness of the Cosmic Being of itself, by itself, for itself. This is the highest democracy: by itself, for itself, in itself. Do you catch the point? When you think like this for five minutes, your whole body will vibrate. The whole universe enters into you. Can you bear it? This is meditation. And if you continue it systematically, you will never be born again into this world. You will enter into it.

You cannot meditate on it because the moment you start meditating on it, you stand outside it. Then it ceases to be the Cosmic Being. The Cosmic Being includes everything, including yourself, so actually who is meditating then? Who is meditating?

Ashramite: The Cosmic Being itself is meditating.

Swamiji: That is it.

Ashramite: Then what is the necessity of asking someone to meditate?

Swamiji: But you are only saying it. Your heart is not accepting it. You are only saying it orally, and the mind refuses to accept it. It will take one second. Japa and prayer take time. This does not take time. It is a matchstick: suddenly.

Ashramite: Even then, the mind will revolt.

Swamiji: That is because the mind has not been purged of desires. Your heart should say, “I want it and nothing else, and everything I want I will get in one second.”

I will tell you why the mind is not concentrating. It has a fear that you are losing some glory of the world; but it is stupid to think like that. The glory of the world has gone into it. You will find in it greater glory, and whatever you want, you will get there. So why are you worrying?

Ashramite: Even though the heart and mind appreciates it and wants it, yet there is a...

Swamiji: That is because there is a desire that is quite different from a desire for God. And it has no meaning, actually speaking, because if you reach God, what have you got here? The whole universe is inside it, so what is the difficulty? It is a meaningless cry of a child. It has no meaning. In one second you are there, and the whole body vibrates.

Ashramite: Cosmic consciousness should vibrate with that power but, as Swamiji says, the mind is not fitted.

Swamiji: Because it wants something else. It doesn’t want God. You must accept the fact.

Ashramite: [laughing] Yes, Swamiji. Then what is this wanting, aspiring, weeping and wailing?

Swamiji: It has no meaning. There is the bird’s path and the ant’s path. You can go to God like an ant crawling or like a bird flying or like a high jet. The jet method goes immediately, whereas the other method will take several births to reach like that.

Ashramite: Swamiji, intellectually...

Swamiji: There is no intellectually. Your whole being should go there. Why are you using the word ‘intellect’? Are you an intellect or are you a person? What are you?

Ashramite: Consciousness.

Swamiji: Pure Being. Don’t bring intellect, mind, emotion, and all that. The whole thing goes. “I am coming,” people say. Does it mean an intellect is coming? The whole being is coming. That being should meditate. The whole problem is, there is no acceptance of the fact that you can find everything there. There is some doubt: “I cannot find it. I have a bank balance, I have a FDR, I have property. What will happen there? What happens to it? Will God throw it?” God will not throw it. All your FDR’s will be there on a gold plate. Instead of paper there is gold. Which is better?

Ashramite: It is not what is better, but at present, as Swamiji says, our mind is having more faith on this paper.

Swamiji: That is because you don’t have time to think. You foolishly believe in silly things, unnecessarily chatting and wasting time, and running about here and there. You need not move an inch from the place where you are sitting in order to reach God. You need not go to Rameshwaram, Badrinath, and so on. These are all simply unnecessary distractions of the mind. The sense organs are more powerful than the intellect, the reason, and everything. They will not allow you.

The first chapter of my book on the Chhandogya Upanishad is an exposition of this matter. I have given lectures on the Chhandogya Upanishad, and they are there in the form of a book. The first chapter is the Vaishvanarna Vidya, and that goes together with the Panchagni Vidya in the sixth chapter.

There were mighty people, established in meditation. They sat together one day and discussed among themselves what the Atman is. Each one was looking at the other. They could not come to a conclusion. The king of that country, called Ashvapati, knew this vidya, called Vaishvanarna Vidya. They were Brahmins and he was a Kshatriya, and usually Brahmins do not go to Kshatriyas for study. But here they were very humble, so they all went and sat outside the palace. Usually Brahmins go to kings for dakshina. They are invited for yajna, pravachan, so the king thought they had come for that and said, “Tomorrow I am performing a sacrifice. I will employ you.”

“No, we have not come for that,” they said. “We have all the earthly things with us. We want to know what you know.”

“It is not a proper practice,” the king said, “for Brahmanas to come to Kshatriyas and ask such questions.”

Then they said, “We do not consider ourselves as Brahmanas. We are disciples of a great soul like you.”

“All right, let us see tomorrow,” replied the king.

Usually Gurus do not give instruction abruptly. They will put them to so many tests. But here in this case, this king did not follow that method because he realised the greatness of these people, that they were fit for instruction. So he asked one of them, “On what are you meditating?”

“I am meditating on the sun as the object,” one replied.

“This is why you have got so much glory in your house, you have got plenty of food in your house, your family is shining like the radiant sun, but it is the eye of the Vaishvanara. If you had not come to me, you would have gone blind due to this erroneous meditation. Consider the eye as the whole.”

Then he asked another person, who answered, “I am meditating on space.”

“That is why you are very famous in the world. Your renown is as vast as the whole space itself. But space is the body of the Supreme Being. If you had not come to me, your body would have cracked by this time.” Like that, he asked them one by one. One said, “I am contemplating on the earth.” Another said, “I am contemplating on water.” Another said, “On air.”

He said, “All of you are making two mistakes, which is the crucial point. The Atman is not earth, it is not water, it is not sky, it is not fire, it is not the sun, it is not anything. One thing is, you are thinking the Atman on which you are meditating is outside you – it might the sun or space or whatever it is. How can the Atman, which is the Self, be outside you, and how can anyone meditate on one’s own Self as something external? This is the first mistake you are making.

“The second mistake is, you are thinking that your Atman is in one place only because the sun is in one place. Everywhere you cannot find the sun. So you have located the Atman in one place, while it is everywhere. And secondly, you have made the mistake of thinking it is outside you. If the Atman is outside you, it is like yourself being outside yourself. It has no sense in what you are doing. The whole mistake is this. Your meditation is no good.”

Then he mentioned what I told just now. It is an inclusiveness, inconceivable by any kind of human thought. There is no human being there at that time. There is no individual at that time. That which includes everything includes the meditator also. The meditator is the Cosmic Being itself. It is aware of itself: aham asmi, I am what I am. The first feeling in the process of creation was ‘I am’, not ‘you are’. There is no you. I am. If any one of you is able to centralise the consciousness in this inclusiveness, to include all the space, time, stars, sun, moon, galaxies, whatever you can think, as melted together into a single mass of existence, without making the mistake of thinking that you are outside and looking at it, that is exactly what Ashvapati said. Ashvapati said that you should not think that it is outside. You have gone inside it. The most difficult thing is this point. This is the most difficult thing.

Ashramite: Swamiji, at that time identification of body and mind will be there.

Swamiji: Body and mind will not be there. Then your being will be there. Everything is all right. You can meditate on anything, but the last crucial thing is frightening: I am also going. That is why Arjuna said, “Sufficient! Now you come down. Let me see you as you were once upon a time. You want to swallow me also. No.” The last thing which is dearest is ourselves. You can forgo any dear thing in the world but ‘me’ – no. The last desire of a person is “Permit me to be alive”. That is all you want. You must be alive and existing. You don’t want anything else. If all things are taken away, even the cloth and raiment and food, even then you don’t mind it provided you are allowed to exist. Suppose somebody says you cannot exist, oh! “I may not allow you to exist,” someone might say. If this can be accepted by the mind, all the purificatory processes will take place simultaneously. You take long years of purifying yourself – so much japa, so much pranayama, so much asana – these are all included in one single concentration. All the sadhanas will get bundled up and go into it, and enter the fire of this meditation, and you have done all the sadhana in one second. It is sufficient to burn all your evils and your individuality. In an instant you will be there. This is instant meditation. And this can continue for a protracted period, at least for five minutes every day. I don’t say that it is possible to think like this for more than that. If for five minutes your heart is vibrating in this way every day, it is sure that you will not take another birth. It is the last birth.

But the trouble is that we think, “I am also going. No. I will live in the world for some time. What about my family?” Like that, a question will come. Even the wisest of people will put this question: “Am I leaving the family and going? Have I no duty towards them?” Who will answer this question? Again and again that difficulty comes. “I have a lot of land and property and so much of money, so much of wealth. I have earned it with great difficulty. In one second you want me to throw it away. Can I do it?” The mind says, “Be careful, you are going to lose everything.” It is the whisper of the devil, as they call it. In one minute you lose everything.

And then another doubt will come. “I am going. I understand what you say. But what about my people? What will happen to them afterwards? What will happen to them after I go there? My family? Who will answer this question?” You will find your family there. They will all be transported completely. Your land, everything will be there. The whole empire will be inside that. It is a mistake to think, “My family is here only, and they will be suffering without me. I am going for moksha, but what about my family and my relations? I have got so many responsibilities and pending works.” Again and again it will come, but again you must tell the mind that you will find all these things there. You will find your pending works transmuted into liquid gold there in that place, and all the family will be there.

In the eighth chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad this also is said. All your forefathers, all your grandfathers, all the kings of this earth, all the emperors right from ancient times, whoever is there, everything will be there. You should not think, “They are all dead and gone, and I am going somewhere after so many years.” In eternity there is no years. The whole history of the cosmos you will find inside. “Look at Me,” Sri Krishna said in His Vaishvarupa form. “All that you see, all that you cannot see, and whatever you have not seen, see here.” Because eternity is not a time process, the whole history of the cosmos has gone into it. We are space bound, time bound, objectivity bound; therefore, whatever Sri Krishna says, the same doubt will come: “What about my duties? I will leave my father and mother also? Am I going to moksha with my father and mother crying there?” Sometimes people ask this. But your father and mother will be sitting there, before you go. It is a great joy.

Ashramite: In which sense, Swamiji?

Swamiji: There is no sense. Tuk, in one second it will be. Everything will become a molten liquid of gold.

Ashramite: If everything is found there, there will be some variety. Variety is not liberation.

Swamiji: Because you want variety, I am telling you this. If you don’t want it, you will not find anything. If you don’t want it, that also is good, but man will go mad if you say that also is not there, so I don’t want to say that. The Vaishvarupa is known as the great multiplicity. If that is also gone, then what will you see there? You will go crazy in one second, so why should a man become crazy? Therefore, I said multiplicity; let it be there. At least some consolation must be given; otherwise, the whole thing you cannot cut off.

Kleśho ’dhikataras teṣhām avyaktāsakta-chetasām, avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate (B.G. 12.5). Krishna says this kind of meditation is not possible for any person with body-consciousness. It is terrible because you are clinging to this individuality so much and then you are trying to cut it off by meditation on the Absolute. You will go mad in one second, so don’t go to this. “Consider Me as Lord Krishna, as Mahapurusha, as Purushottama, as the Supreme Person who created the world.” The mind will be happy to hear that. “Oh, great God, great Master of the universe, Creator, protect me.” You feel very nice. But if you say “You cut off everything”, nobody wants to bear that sight, not even the best of people. There is an old saying, “Nobody can see God and then be alive afterwards.” So this is the Vaishvanara Vidya.

Ashramite: Why is it named Vaishvanara Vidya?

Swamiji: Vaishvanara means Universal Man, Universal Being. Nara means Being; Vaishvanara means Universal Person, Cosmic Person, the One Person. It requires a little bit of determination of will, and acceptance of the fact that you will find whatever you want. The idea and fear that you are losing something should go away. “What happened to all my earnings?” This question should not arise.

Ashramite: It is very much contradictory, Swamiji. Everything will be found there in that oneness. It is contradictory.

Swamiji: There is no oneness. Multiplicity is also there. You will find a bank also there, the State Bank of India. [Laughter] I am not joking. The State Bank will come and find you. It is a shadow of the State Bank. The original State Bank is there. You are seeing a shadow of a railway train, a shadow of motor car. The real motor cars are there only. You will be laughing at me, that it is not like that. This is a shadow of you; the real you is sitting there. That’s why you are being pulled up every minute. You are restless because the real you is somewhere else, and he is pulling you. Otherwise, if the real you is here only, you will be happy always because a real thing cannot be unhappy. But you are always unhappy. “Something is missing; something is lacking. This is finitude. It is no good.” You are feeling that way because your real self is somewhere else.

They are called the archetypes of being. Every tree has an original tree there, every river has an original river there, every person is there, but in the originality. We are all shadows of our own selves; therefore, the shadow is miserable. It wants the original of itself.

But the mind is educated improperly. You have studied physics, chemistry, geography. What is the good of all this? The real thing is the problem of life itself. Everybody is existing somewhere else, in eternal reality. We are now in a process of time. The time-bound individuality is a shadow cast by the archetype. Archetype means original. Everybody has an original and a duplicate. These are all duplicates, and the duplicate can never be happy because it is a shadow. You don’t want a sun reflected in the water. You want the real sun. Everything which is reflected has no meaning. I will give you a plateful of dishes to eat, but I will give only a reflection. Will it be all right? [Laughter] You want the original itself. So you are not sitting here, you are sitting in high heaven, beyond the seven planes of existence; beyond Brahmaloka you are sitting. That is why nothing can satisfy you.

Ashramite: Then Swamiji, what is cosmic play and world play?

Swamiji: There is no world play. The whole thing has gone into it. There is no world. To see the world, somebody should be existing. Who will see the world play? The seer of the world play has gone into it. There is nobody to see it. The seer has got into it. Either you will become a god by hearing this, or you will become a fool, one of the two [laughter]. Either one of the two will take place. So you must be ready for that.

Your moral stuff, ethical conduct and desirelessness for anything must be very strong. It is not desirelessness in the sense of rejecting something. We have got a wrong idea of renunciation, that renunciation means throwing away something and coming here. “I have left everything in Orissa and have come to Sivananda Ashram. This is renunciation.” It is nothing of the kind. You cannot renounce anything. You can only include it in the perception of wholeness. The whole of Orissa will be found in the Absolute. Then why are you renouncing it? Your father, mother, everybody will be there, all land and property, all harvest, everything, but in a different sense altogether. You lose nothing. You will find a hundredfold multiplied greatness there. So renunciation does not mean losing something, it is not rejecting something, it is not abandoning something, it is not giving up anything; it is getting everything in the real sense. So now you will be happy. What do you say? Are you happy?

Ashramite: [Remains silent.]

Swamiji: He doesn’t want to be happy. [Laughter] There is a fear of being happy also. It takes many days of exercise like this. What I have told you just now has to be told every day, every day, every day. Whether you are eating food, whether you are going for a walk, whether you are doing work, this is the thought. The whole thing is there. This is the highest meditation, called Vaishvanara Vidya.

Those who cannot understand what I have said may decide that I have said nothing. Let me keep quiet. “We have sat with Swami Krishnanandaji, but he has not said anything.” That’s all you should think if you have not understood it. But if you have understood it, be grateful to God that you have heard this message. You will be highly purified, and God will take you like a dear child. He wants you much more than you want Him. His love for you is greater than your love for Him. You don’t understand that. He is waiting for you to come, but you say you will not come.

Ashramite: More explanation is necessary, Swamiji.

Swamiji: The explanation I have given is sufficient, only every day you must hammer it, every day. I cannot go on telling this every day, but I am mentioning to you. You can keep it in your memory and go on repeating it. Now what you have done is sravana, hearing. Then comes manana, to go on thinking of what you heard, what it could be, what the implications are. Go on thinking again and again, analysing, scrutinising, and then when the heart accepts it, it is nididhyasana. You just collapse your individuality into the Cosmic Being, which is inside you. The Cosmic Being is not sitting outside. It is inside you only, vibrating. You enter into your eternal Self. Every day you must do sravana, manana, nididhyasana. It is your only duty, and everything else will follow.

Ananyāś cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate, teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahāmyaham (B.G. 9.22): Continuously if you start meditating like this, whatever you want will come to you. Even a spoon of sugar for your tea will come. You will think God is giving such a small thing, but there is no small thing for God. It will come. If you find one day there is no sugar for the tea, somebody will immediately bring some sugar and give it to you. You will not know why it has come. You must have some conviction in your mind. The mind is so powerful that whatever you want, you will get. I am not speaking like a pundit, I am speaking from my personal experience.

Ashramite: What vidya was given to Nachiketas by Yama? Vaishvanara Vidya?

Swamiji: Yama refused to give it. He gave two things out of three. Firstly, the glory of the earth, another is the glory of the high heavens, and the third thing is what happens when the soul enters the Absolute. Yama said, “Don’t ask this question. Take whatever you want – long life, as long as the world lasts. All the glories of heaven which even human beings cannot dream of I give you, but don’t ask this question.” This question should not be asked because nobody can bear the thought that you yourself are entering into it, and such a thing Yama did not want to tell the boy Nachiketas. He did not want to trouble his brain. Yama put him to the test. But finally, this thing that I told you is not explicitly explained in the Katha Upanishad. An explicit answer does not come there, only indications are there. The explicit answer comes in the Brihanaranyaka Upanishad when Yajnavalkya speaks yatra hi dvaitam iva bhavati, tad itara itaram paśyati (Brihad.U. 2.4.14): Where there are two things, you can see something. Where you are alone there, what are you seeing? This is the answer to Nachiketas.

The mind must be highly purified and honest in its feelings, and does not want anything else – does not want anything else not because they are useless things, but because they are all reflections of the original. You will find them there. Tell the mind, “You are not losing anything. Everything you will get in their reality, in their completeness, in their eternal non-perishable nature. These are perishable things, so why are you clinging to them? The very same things in their original, non-perishable, eternal nature you will find there. Are you not happy?” God bless you all.