11. The Causeless Absolute
A visitor: The transcendental is superior to the Absolute. Is it not?
Swamiji: That the transcendent is higher than everything else, and therefore it is also higher than the Absolute, is not correct. There is no relativity in the Absolute. If there is relativity, then there is its attendant causality and effects as well as mutability of relationships proceeding therefrom. Such cannot be Absolute. Absolute must be causeless and transcending all relativity. Nothing transcends the Absolute.
Visitor: Why two words for one? Why call it the Absolute and also the Transcendental?
Swamiji: You are a human being and you say you are an American or an Indian. Why? The words 'Absolute' and 'Transcendental' are two words to describe the same thing but are used as required contextually.
Visitor: If the Absolute is imperceivable, how can it be also manifest?
Swamiji: It is the same relationship as the dream has to waking consciousness. The same mental force is the connection between the waking and dream consciousness. Dream manifestations are projections of the mind, which works in the waking consciousness.
Even as there is no real existence for the dream world, the world is only a projection of the mind in relation to the Absolute. When you meditate on the Absolute, you are really thinking of yourself. The Atman is the Paramatman only. You are merging with it. The body might have to face trouble in the process as, in meditation, you are reversing the prana which current normally flows outward. It is like reversing the flow of Ganga back to its source. There will be terrific force and waves will rise high.
The inward flow of prana is similar—there would be tremendous change which the body is unable to take. It is not possible to describe that experience. It is subjective and is personal to everyone. Any unfulfilled desire can obstruct the inward current and then a catastrophe may occur. You should be prepared for this reversal of the prana current, or else it might destroy you. A milder result would be frustration. Desire is the assertion of the personality. In meditation the personality is dissolved. So you must be prepared for this dissolution of the personality like you are prepared for any situation that may suddenly arise. Otherwise there is frustration and more serious consequences follow.
An ashramite: Sometimes the body sways gently. Is it also the result of meditation?
Swamiji: Yes. Any systematic movement of the body is the manifestation of Divinity which has been stirred up in effective meditation.
Someone reads from an Upanishad.
Another visitor: What has been said about meditating on the parts of the Virat as isolated from the Virat itself is very interesting.
Swamiji: Yes, the king explains to the disciples, who are themselves yogis, you are getting some benefit, no doubt, because of your concentration on this or that part of the Virat. In truth there is danger in such a meditation in that you take a part for the whole and emphasise it. However, it is very difficult to meditate on the Virat in the manner this Upanishad tells us. The Upanishadic meditations are not for the average man. It is, as you may say, for post-graduate level. The Upanishads start from that level. But a beginning is made in the ordinary meditation and the level at which the Upanishads teach is reached by and by with the traditional religious activities of worship, devotion and concentration of mind.The reading of the passages from the Upanishads was resumed. The passage said that what the yogi follows for meditation is also the process of physical death given in the Upanishad. That is to say that the process of the physical body's death by first losing the senses, then the prana and finally the warmth of the body is for the meditator the same process of losing or withdrawing the sense contacts, getting beyond body consciousness, withdrawing the flow of the prana inward, and thus though the warmth is retained by the body due to the controlled prana within. Becoming dead to the world is the same for the meditator as well. But when the yogi is inert as a corpse with his prana held within, and he does not breathe in the state of samadhi, the yogi still retains the heat or fire-principle by merging himself in Brahman, the Eternal which is the source of his being.