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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

9. Ekadashi, the Universal Being, Consciousness

(Darshan given on January 30th, 1996.)

Swamiji: Today is Ekadashi. In Indian tradition there is a thing called Ekadashi. That day people don't eat a square meal. They eat little food. Every fifteen days we have one day which is called Ekadashi. Ekadashi is a Sanskrit word which means ‘eleventh day of the fortnight'. It is believed that on the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight the mind locates itself in the centre between the two eyebrows. From the navel up to the crown of the head the mind moves up and down according to the movement of the moon. The mind is connected to the moon's movement. Now, there are fifteen days in a lunar fortnight. On the eleventh day, the mind is at the middle point between the two eyebrows. That point is suggested as a point for concentration of mind. The psychology of this prescription is that as the mind is in its own place of concentration on this day, it is easier to concentrate today than on other days. The more you eat and stuff your stomach, the less is the power of concentration of the mind because part of the mind goes to contribute to the digestive process. You can take a little bit of food without disturbing the mind, but if you eat a square meal then the circulation of the blood gets concentrated in the stomach and you feel a little sleepy due to that. But if you eat less, the sleepiness will be less and your concentration power is more. This is the story behind Ekadashi.

A visitor: I am trying to hold on, I am trying to be aware all the time of what you said yesterday, the great Universal Being.

Swamiji: What are you thinking the whole day?

Visitor: The great Universal Being.

Swamiji: Then you are the most blessed man in the whole world. Nobody can shake a hair of your body. You are perfectly safe. Okay?

Are you all maintaining in your mind the consciousness of the Universal Being? Any one of you? Are you hesitating?

Another visitor: Sometimes.

Swamiji: Why are you hesitating to do some good thing? You may hesitate to do a wrong thing, but to do a right thing, why are you hesitating?

From the point of view of the ordinary world perception this great right thing may look like a wrong thing. That is why there is fear. The sense organs, who are wedded to the objects outside in the world, will tell you that you are doing a wrong thing because the consciousness of the Universal Being is totally against the welfare, wishes, longings and passions of the sense organs. That is the difference. What is right for the world is wrong for God, and what is right for God may look wrong for the world. So you must handle this situation very carefully. It is like walking on a circus wire with great concentration.

Another visitor: Swamiji, you spoke about friendship the other day, and about seeing all men as our friends. I wanted to ask you to expand what you were saying about friendship and seeing all people as our friends.

Swamiji: If the only thing that exists is the Universal Being, then this Universal Being includes every person in the world. The people in the world cannot stand outside the Universal Being, so when you are united with the Universal Being, incidentally you are united with every person also. Then what other great friendship do you want? You are not only a friend of people; you are united with them through the Universal Being, so it is something greater than ordinary friendship. You are becoming one with people in the wonderful fraternity of God-consciousness. So through the Universal Being everybody becomes your friend.

Visitor: Right.

Another visitor: What is consciousness? Is it mere thinking?

Swamiji: No. Consciousness is the principle of unity with things. Thinking cannot unite you with others. Thinking is contained within the body only, but consciousness operates through the whole cosmos. So there is a difference between consciousness and mind. Mind is the principle of thinking within the body, and consciousness is the principle which pervades the whole cosmos. There is a difference between thought and awareness through spirit.

Visitor: Swamiji, is God beyond consciousness, or is God consciousness?

Swamiji: God is the same as consciousness, universal consciousness, without any object before it. The mind has an object in front of it, whereas consciousness has no object outside it. It is everything. There is a difference between consciousness and mental operation. When the mind thinks, it thinks of an object outside, whereas consciousness is conscious of itself only. God is just ‘I am I'. He has nothing outside Him: “I am what I am. I am not something else.” The mind says, “I am something else outside in the marketplace,” but the consciousness says, “I am eternal, and therefore not bound by the time process of sensory consciousness.” God does not think of marketplaces, railway trains, and so on, because they are inside His body, so why should He think about them? For us they are outside. Therefore, we have to adopt a means of contacting an external object. That means is called the mind, which is a little drop of consciousness getting externalised in space and time. But in God-consciousness there is no space and time. They are all involved in God only.

It is a difficulty to even think what it is. You have to get identified with every conceivable thing. This is a step that you have to take in developing cosmic-consciousness. There should be nothing outside you. If anything is outside, you are that only, so that you cannot think anything outside. If you are this person, you are the other person also. You are everything, whatever it is, even a wall, a tree, a river, a mountain – everything. Then the mind will not go out. When the mind ceases to think externally, the consciousness that is the deepest spirit within you will rise up to an awareness that is universal. It requires great practice, and merely wool-gathering thinking is not adequate. Tremendous concentration is necessary.

Visitor: Swamiji, universal energy is not the same as consciousness?

Swamiji: Energy is a movement of universal consciousness through space and time. So universal consciousness is superior to universal energy. It is only a manifestation in space and time of universal consciousness. As space and time do not operate in universal consciousness, it is far superior to energy.

Visitor: Thank you.