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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1995
by Swami Krishnananda


34. Maintaining a Continuous Awareness of Universality

(Darshan given on November 29th, 1995.)

A visitor: I read a book you gave me last year, Problems of Spiritual Life, where you mention that God is consciousness. My question really is, does it mean that once you have no thoughts in your mind, you are God?

Swamiji: No, it is not so. When there is no thought in the mind, you are in a worse condition than your present state. Consciousness does not mean absence of awareness. It is greater awareness. Are you aware that you are existing now?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: In the same way that you are aware that the whole universe is filled with consciousness, and your whole personality is filled with consciousness, can you imagine that this consciousness that is in you, due to which you feel that your existence is pervading the whole universe, is only a little drop of that universal consciousness, which is aware of the whole universe, which includes you also? Do you understand that you are part of the universe? Or you are outside it? What do you say?

Visitor: A part of it.

Swamiji: Therefore, the whole universe is animated by consciousness, total consciousness. Do you understand? And so your consciousness cannot stand separately. That universal consciousness, can you imagine what it is, what kind of thing it is?

Visitor: It is vast.

Swamiji: That is called God-consciousness, and it does not mean the absence of mind. You should not use the word ‘mind'. The word itself is inapplicable. The mind is only an individualised function, whereas consciousness is a universal function. So stopping the mind is like sleeping. A person who is sleeping has not realised the Cosmic Being. You must be awake, but awake in a universal sense, not in an individual sense. Do you understand the implication of what I am saying?

Visitor: So you must have the consciousness, the awareness, all the time.

Swamiji: All the time, of the universal whole, not only of yours. Your personal consciousness is not God-consciousness. You have to be conscious always of the universality of consciousness. That is, you must be feeling the existence of the Universal Being, and it is conscious of itself. It is the consciousness of the Universal being conscious of itself only, not your consciousness of that, because you don't exist separately there. Do you understand the meaning? What is your question now?

Visitor: How do I achieve that state? I mean, what do I do to have the whole universal consciousness in me?

Swamiji: Now I will ask you one thing. Why are you asking this question to me? What is your intention?

Visitor: Actually, I am very interested in this method called atma vichara.

Swamiji: Anyway, the essence of it I have mentioned to you briefly in a few sentences. Are you able to think in the way I suggested to you just now?

Visitor: I can only imagine.

Swamiji: Okay. Your imagination is also a consciousness only, because without consciousness you cannot imagine. So your consciousness is imagining. What does it imagine?

Visitor: I can bring myself to imagine that I am part of the whole.

Swamiji: You are not part of the whole.

Visitor: I am the whole.

Swamiji: Ah, yes. You yourself are the whole. Can you go on thinking this again and again?

Visitor: It would be difficult when I'm working.

Swamiji: Okay, you do your work. I am not saying that you should think like this for twenty-four hours. It is practically not possible. But can you think like this even for a few minutes?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Can you think like this for ten minutes?

Visitor: When I'm meditating, yes.

Swamiji: Can you think like this for fifteen minutes?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Can you think like this continuously for one hour?

Visitor: That I haven't tried.

Swamiji: In the middle you will have some difficulty.

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: What difficulty?

Visitor: I will have thoughts coming in, and I will lose the consciousness of the whole.

Swamiji: Sit and meditate like this, in the manner I have described to you, for fifteen minutes. If the mind is not allowing you to think like this, stop the meditation. Just breathe. Then start again. Bring the thought once again to the mind, and think the same thing. Another ten minutes, then another ten minutes – the same, same, same way. Don't miss the point. Ten minutes intensely think like this. Then when the mind again goes here and there, stop the meditation and practise deep breathing. Then again start. Sit for five minutes, ten minutes. When the mind again goes here and there, stop the meditation and read something which will tell you this point again and again, again and again, again and again. You are reading my book Problems of Spiritual Life. This idea came to you from that book.

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: Read that again and again. Chant it, chant it, chant it repeatedly, loudly, and go on telling this again and again, again and again, again and again. If the mind cannot think like that, at least recite it. Go on telling this, telling this, telling this – this, this, this particular thing. A hundred times you should go on telling this. Then the mind will get charged with this great awareness of universal existence. You have to apply many methods. One thing is actual direct meditation, as I mentioned. If that is not possible, go on chanting, repeating, do japa of the same formula: this kind of thing, this kind of thing, this kind of thing, this Universal Being.

Visitor: Aham brahmasmi.

Swamiji: Don't use any Sanskrit words. Don't use Sanskrit words because they will misguide you into thinking that aham is somewhere, Brahman is somewhere else. These ideas are no good. Don't use any Sanskrit words. Use your own language, whatever it is.

Visitor: I am the whole.

Swamiji: Ah, even in the English language you can say, “I am the whole.” Don't use aham brahma and so on. Then there are two words; two words create the problem. Don't use two words, aham brahmasmi. Simply whatever I have told you in plain language, go on asserting it again and again. Do it daily for 15-20 minutes continuously. After you get up in the morning, do it for 15-20 minutes, and again before you go to bed. And read this book Problems of Spiritual Life. That also is like a scripture.

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: If you go on reading it, you will be charged with some force. Continuously do it, and feel from your heart, “I want this only. Everything that I do is a preparation for this achievement.” Your hands, of course, are given to your daily work, but the heart says, “No, I want this, I want this. I am preparing ground for this great experience.” Don't forget this point at any time. And read that book again and again.

Visitor: Is this what you mean by universal meditation? Is this the same?

Swamiji: This is universal meditation. Right.

Visitor: And you mentioned about this universal continuum where the consciousness is between the subject and the object. Is this the…?

Swamiji: Universal continuum is almost the same as universal consciousness. Subject, object get abolished. There is a transcendent rising above subject-object relation. I am glad that you have understood it. You have caught the point. So go on persisting in this meditation, and some miracle may take place in your life. You will get that blessing. Okay?

Visitor: Just one question, Swamiji. Is there any point in visiting holy places like Patal Bhuvneshwar?

Swamiji: You can visit anything, no objection. You can visit any holy place to purify your mind so that the mind becomes holy and purified as much as possible. You can see holy places, you can see holy people, you can read holy books and scriptures. All are preparations for this greatest of the holiest of thoughts that you are going to entertain. They are only preparations for this. You may do it, you may not do it; it makes no difference. But if it is helping you in maintaining this consciousness, do it. There is no harm. You can go on pilgrimage and study books and meet mahatmas, have discussions – all is good. It is a preparation for this great achievement of the continuous maintenance of this awareness. Okay? Hari Om.