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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1997
by Swami Krishnananda

25. The Astral and Physical Bodies

(Darshan given on March 13th, 1997.)

A visitor: During the meditation, when we start meditation, we start concentration, and in one moment we need to divide the astral body from the physical body. Are there any special mantras which can help us to divide the astral body from the physical body?

Swamiji: Are you… What is your name?

Visitor: Katani.

Swamiji: Katani. Is this Katani an astral body or it is a physical body? Who is talking to me now? Who is talking to me?

Visitor: Both astral and physical.

Swamiji: This is the answer to your question. There is no need of separation. It is not possible for you to talk to me through the subtle body only and reject the physical body. They join together and act. So in meditation there is no separation. Both act simultaneously.

Visitor: But when I'm in the physical body, I am present only in one place. I am here with you. But if I am in the astral body, I can be everywhere in the same moment. Am I right?

Swamiji: An astral body also cannot be everywhere. It is as limited as the physical body. Only your mind and thought can expand itself beyond the body, and beyond even the subtle body. The subtle body is only a replica of the physical body. It is a kind of photograph of the physical body, so it is as much attached, as much limited as the physical body. Whenever you are thinking, it is through the subtle body only. But in meditation you are not expanding the subtle body, but your thought, which is superior to the astral body. Your reason and your thinking process expand, through which the soul manifests itself. It is the light of the soul manifesting itself through the mind that expands itself. So don't think of the subtle body and the physical body at that time. Even the idea should not arise. Forget yourself at that time. That is my answer.

Visitor: I want to know about Kailash, about the cave where Siva was sitting and meditating. Would you be kind to say something more?

Swamiji: Kailash is not in this world. It is in the high heaven. The other day you asked me where is Meru. Kailash is on the top of that Meru. That is the real Kailash.

Visitor: I would like to know if the coming down of the principles are after buddhi and ahamkara, the tanmatra and the mahabhutas.

Swamiji: Yes, you are right.

Visitor: And where is manas in this?

Swamiji: It comes after the mahabhutas because there is no manas in the cosmic scheme. It is only the individual. There is no manas in the mahabhutas, and in the cosmic setup there is no manas. There is only mahat. That is the cosmic buddhi. When the individual separates itself from the cosmos it develops a replica of the buddhi or mahat, and that is called intellect, and it is called manas, etc.; and also, together with that, the sense organs manifest themselves. The sense organs, the pranas and this body, they are all individualised ramifications of the original, unramified cosmic setup. So we are all, as individuals, like shadows cast by this Universal Being, and split into parts. Whereas that is one integral whole, we are all individuals, one disconnected from the other. So manas is only for the individual. There is no such thing for the cosmic.

Visitor: Which guna is coming first? Is it tamas or is it sattva?

Swamiji: In the original condition, they are in a state of equilibrium. There is no first and second. Then comes sattva, which manifests mahat, and a little bit of rajas enters into ahamkara, then tamas comes below in the tanmatras and mahabhutas.

Visitor: Rajas is for the karma indriya and sattva for the jnana indriya. So the jnana indriya comes before the karma indriya.

Swamiji: Yes, you may say that. Right. You are very fond of Sankhya.

Visitor: Yes. We can understand very well the descent of the principles and the ascent of man.

Swamiji: Where are you going to ascend? Which place? Where do you want to go?

Visitor: I want to go to God, to the Absolute.

Swamiji: You are asking too much.

Visitor: Yes, perhaps, but I am sure if it is not there, in another life I will go.

Swamiji: You are very modest. Why in the next birth? In this birth itself you must get.

Visitor: Yes, I would like.

Another visitor: I recently saw a well-known astrologer in Delhi, a pretty famous man. He told me some things about my future that I don't particularly like. I asked him a question about renunciation, becoming a monk entering a monastic order, and he said that he wouldn't recommend it because he thought I would probably quit.

Swamiji: There is no question of recommending. If the stars recommend, then it will take place. It is the planets. The planets are the people who are giving orders for you, so the astrologer cannot do anything. He has only to find out what the planets are saying. So let him tell what the planets are saying about you.

Visitor: Okay, so the planets said that if I join a monastic order I will quit in a few years.

Swamiji: So it is not a happy thing. What are you searching for? What do you want finally?

Visitor: I'd like two things: to serve God, and to realise God. Now I don't know whether the best way is through the monastic order or outside the monastic order. I'm not attached. The monastic order is just a stepping stone.

Swamiji: To realise God there is no need of entering into any order. God is not a respecter of orders. He only respects your mind.

Visitor: But there is a blessing that comes along with being within… There is some strong blessing, I am sure.

Swamiji: How will you reach God unless your mind is thinking only of That and nothing else? Are you thinking only That and no other thought enters your mind?

Visitor: No, not at all.

Swamiji: Then you yourself have answered the question. Your mind is wandering.

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Then what is the use of talking? You must restrain that mind. Even if you enter into an order, the mind will be working in the same way. The mind cannot take sannyas; it is the body that takes it, so the mind will say, “You are the same man.” It is not going to leave you like that. So cloth or no cloth, sannyas or otherwise, is immaterial. Are you free from the sensory desires of the mortal world?

Visitor: No. Very few sannyasis are.

Swamiji: That is no good. Sannyasa is a mental condition of freedom from desire, and the cloth is only an external symbol of your internally being free from desires. It is only an indication that you are free from desires. Otherwise, how will you reach God?

Visitor: Isn't it also just a stepping stone to God, or can it be that way?

Swamiji: The stepping stone is the control of the senses. You may put the cloth or you don't put the cloth. God does not care for your cloth; He cares for your mind only, what you think in your mind. Your future is depending on how you are thinking, and not what dress you are putting. It is only an indication outside that you are free from desires.

Visitor: Swamiji, I'm not interested in the dress or the colour of the cloth. For me, renunciation would be living in an ashram, staying in a holy environment.

Swamiji: No, that is not necessary. You may stay anywhere. No such rule is there. If your love for God is increasing, your love for the world will decrease automatically because the love for the world is a negative trait, and love for God is a positive character. The more you are able to concentrate your mind on God, the less will you be taking interest in anything in the world. Then you may call it sannyasa or by any name. The whole point is simple: how far your mind is able to accommodate the thought of God in itself, to what extent it is possible. To that extent your attachment to the world will decrease. You need not worry about the world. Think of the positive side. When you go towards the east, you are going away from the west automatically. So you need not worry about going away from the west. Don't go away from the west; go to the east. Then they west automatically goes off. So you need not have any kind of negative aspiration of renouncing, throwing away, and all that. You catch hold of that supreme concept of God Almighty and implant it in your heart; then everything will take care of itself. You need not worry about sannyasa. God is greater than sannyasa, and He will do everything for you. Are you searching for God finally? Really? You be clear about it.

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Then you will get it. Have you got family?

Visitor: Parents and siblings.

Swamiji: You have no responsibility towards them?

Visitor: No.

Swamiji: You are a totally independent man?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Then there should be not much problem for you. You are already free from some entanglements. The world is conscious of what you are thinking. It is feeling inside: “This gentleman is trying to abandon me.” And it says, “No, you should not abandon me like that so quickly.” Your involvement in the world is your family. Family does not mean human beings only. You are involved in the world in some way or the other, whatever be the way. That involvement is the family, really speaking. Anything that you are concerned with, anything that pulls you in the direction of the world, anything that you like, anything that you cannot abandon, that is the thing that gives trouble. If you are convinced that whatever you want you can get from God, then you need not think anything else. You must be convinced that whatever you want you can find there. Anything – even material things you will find there, everything.

Visitor: Sometimes I think that way, and then sometimes I get distracted.

Swamiji: You must do meditation. Every day meditation is necessary; then the distraction will come down slowly, little by little, little by little. Everybody has distraction. Nobody is free from it, but by continued meditation the intensity of the distraction gets diminished. There is a necessity for repeated practice every day, to the extent that it is possible. Go slowly, go slowly. It is not easy to join institutions like that.

Another visitor: How to detach yourself from the personal ego, love of my daughter, to the Universal Being? How can I do that?

Swamiji: To whom have you got attachment?

Visitor: My daughter.

Swamiji: Let it be. It is very good because it is your daughter.

Visitor: I've been taught there should be no personal attachment.

Swamiji: Why did you produce her if you don't want her?

Visitor: Oh, I want her more than anything. [laughter]

Swamiji: Now you have got a duty. Now you cannot say 'no'. You create a problem and then say “I detach”. You should not do like that. It is better not to create a problem instead of creating it and then saying, “I detach from that.” You have got a duty towards her, and that duty you must fulfil. After the duty is completely fulfilled, then you can detach.

Visitor: Now, what is completely fulfilled?

Swamiji: You don't have any obligation towards her.

Visitor: Obligation will be forever.

Swamiji: No, when she is independent, when she is able to take care of herself and she doesn't need your help, then you can say the obligation is over.

Visitor: Thank you.