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Swami Krishnananda in Conversation
by Swami Krishnananda
Compiled by S. Bhagyalakshmi

25. Awareness

The chill of winter was in the air. There was bright sunshine too... Devotees, visitors, admirers and ashramites, about fifteen in number, sat in a close circle before Swami Krishnananda as questions were put and problems discussed.

Question: How can one be convinced of God's presence as immanent and transcendent?

Swamiji: The technique is meditation, where a persistent affirmation that God alone is, is made. This brings the conviction that God is everything—“all existence”. Meditation is focussing the mind on something. What is that something? That decides the whole matter. If the focus is on God, then you can feel God. And if He is omnipresent, then you do not exist as an individual. For you two things cannot co-exist, and your individually vanishes.

There is no question of thinking or meditating on God within yourself or outside, because God does not exist as if in a vessel. He is omnipresent. The vanishing of your individuality is God Realisation. “Awareness” of this fact cannot come to you until you feel convinced that only He is and not you. Two realities cannot co-exist. That awareness is the awareness of God That is the realisation of His omnipresence.

Effort is a natural corollary to the sense of existence. With persistent meditation on God, you achieve Nirvana—the vanishing of you. That is God possessing you rather than you possessing God. Then only the feeling of joy exists.

The point is, social relationships arise when the sense of otherness arises due to the intelligence working in the individual. Until that state, the newly-born soul works only through instinct. Social relationships do not exist at birth. It is an accretion which grows upon the individual along with his growth of social relationships. And so it is a movement of consciousness in the outward field of space-time complex.

Ignorance and emotions go together in a child. A brick does not have the evil qualities of human beings, but it is not for that reason superior to human beings. In its biological existence the child is also “matter”. The child must develop for the child to be able to meditate. It must know, at each stage, the various levels through which it passes. That is, it must become aware of itself and what surrounds it as it grows. The child passes through all the processes of evolution from childhood to the adult stage. It is like the awareness that expands gradually as you come into the waking state from sleep. Thus, the accretion of social relationship grows. The regression of the mind from this accretion back to the state of the newly-born would be what you achieve through meditation, at which point the realisation that God alone is and nothing else exists, dawns.

Another point to remember is this—negative withdrawal of the mind without positive concentration on the omnipresence of God creates darkness.

Another point to remember in meditation is that you should concentrate on God as a totality. When you see the District Collector, you are seeing really the whole Government, but you think of him only as part of it. Even so, the Ishtadevata on whom you concentrate should be conceived as a part of the totality, which you will come to know ultimately. The idea of God is a partial concept in the Ishtadevata, chosen for meditation. It is only a 'point' of focus which leads to the awareness of all the forces or attributes of the totality, the Reality which has got focused in the Ishtadevata. The mind meditates on the object of its desire to possess it. This is an attitude of duality. The subject wanting “the other”, the object. This is materialistic meditation and not spiritual meditation. Both are meditation only in the grammatical sense. Meditation on the totality is meditation on the Universal, and not on duality and multiplicity. Therefore, this is spiritual meditation. This meditation will free you, and will not bind you as meditation on material objects will. Both these are actions of meditation. It is for you to decide what your act of meditation should be. Even potassium cyanide, normally a poison is nourishing food under certain conditions. The purpose, the motive, the direction are all important factors in meditation.

A visitor: Is japa a better healer than time... because in japa one detaches oneself from the problem and gets attached to the mantra.

Swamiji: Japa increases the vitality in you, and this vitality cures. Japa is not diversion, but rising from the lower to the higher level of understanding. It is not detaching from one and hooking on to the other at the same given level. Japa is a vertical ascent—not a horizontal movement leaving something out and grasping something else to proceed forward.