A- A+

The Relation and Structure of Objects
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on March 9, 1973)

The objects of the world are connected with one another subtly at the base of their structure by a relation of relativity. This external relationship that obtains among objects by their mutual dependence is what is called the world of perception, the world of ordinary experience. The things of the world are not self-dependent. Their structures hang on the structures of other things, which is what is meant by saying there is a mutual relationship among them. The characterisation of any particular object is in terms of the characters of certain other things as, for example, when we distinguish colours of objects. The distinction of a particular object from other objects is due to certain specific peculiarities of that object, which are distinguishable merely because other objects exist with other specific characters of their own. There is thus a reciprocal relationship of the characters of things so that now we can understand what we mean by saying that we live in a relative world.

There is no absolute definition of anything in the world. Everything is in terms of something else. A red object is that which is differentiated from colours other than red. A tall, a short, a stout, a thin object is similarly characterised by such references to characters other than what belongs to itself. This is a distinction between an absolute character and a relative character. While the relative character is such that it needs the existence of characters other than its own for its specification, an absolute character needs no such external aid. It stands by its own self.

Even our personalities are relative. We are not independent, as I mentioned yesterday from the point of view of psychology. Even from the physical point of view, we are not independent. Our physical bodies appear to be independent, moving about as if they are absolutely dependent on their own natures. The physical body is made up of the elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether. It can be decomposed into these elements at any moment. Parts of the physical cosmos are held together in a concentrated form at a particular point in space, and we call it an object. It may be even a human personality.

What holds these physical characters concentrated at a particular point in space is not known to the individual himself or herself. It is a force, generally called a desire in common language, which draws sustenance from the forces of the world, brings them into a pattern or a shape, and this shape or pattern is called the object or the body. Everything in the world is of this nature. Things are brought together into a pattern by certain internal constructive elements that give formation to the external objects; and when they are absent, the forms do not exist.

In the terminology of the Vedanta philosophy, this force that determines the form, character, shape, etc., of a personality or an object is called a linga. It is also called a linga sarira. A sarira is a body; a linga is a mark, an indication, a specification, a concentralisation, that which distinguishes it. Thus, we may say that the differentia of a particular object or a person is what we know as the linga sarira. It marks us out as something distinct from others. Therefore, we are called a linga. This specifying character is not the physical body but that which is holding the body together in its formation. When the purpose of this particular specification is over, there is decomposition of this form, which is called death. What we call the death of the body is only the returning of the constituents of the body to their original sources. They come from the elements and they go back to the elements, but temporarily they have been held together in one shape due to a power that is inside the linga, popularly known as desire.

Desire is the cause of bondage, which means to say that it is this peculiar indescribable wish within that causes the formation of any particular personality or the object, for a particular purpose, to fulfil a particular desire. When the group of desires which have to be fulfilled through a particular type of activity by means of a peculiar specification of bodily formation is over, there is the withdrawal of this linga or the force into itself for a new type of formation, which is called rebirth. While death is the decomposition or the decentralisation of the components of the physical body held together by the force of desire, rebirth is only the formation once again of a new type of body for the fulfilment of desires which have been left unfulfilled at the time of death of the previous body.

This state of affairs continues endlessly, as it were, since desires have no end. We cannot fulfil our desires even in millions of births because desires arise on account of the limitation of personality, and the intention of the desire is to overcome the limitation. The intention of the desire is good, but the methodology it adopts is wrong. The intention is to overstep the limitations of bodily encasement and enter into an infinitude of possession. We have seen people asking for many things. They are not satisfied with any number of things given to them. The reason is, the infinite is asked for by the desire within. The wish of the personality is to possess the infinitude of things. The infinitude means endless possession, hence no amount of accumulation of things can satisfy the sense of desire inside because infinitude means endlessness. We cannot come to an end of things in the world, which means we can never fulfil our wish for the possession of the infinite as long as it remains merely a desire for the collection of particulars or objects of the world by means of sensory contact.

Thus, man is man; he is what he is, and he cannot be different from what he is. No one can be happy as long as happiness is sought through the contact of bodily senses with the objects outside, numberless as they are, infinite as they are. This is samsara, earthly bondage, worldly existence, the cause of transmigratory pain, or birth and death.

Yoga puts an end to this. Asaṅgaśastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā (BG 15.3); tataḥ padaṁ tatparimārgitavyaṁ (BG 15.4), says the Bhagavadgita: By the act of detachment we sever the roots of the tree of samsara and seek that beyond the empirical realm, the eternal, by reaching which we do not return to this mortal coil – yaṁ prāpya na nivartante (BG 8.21).

The relationship of things being relative, as I mentioned, it is difficult to contain in the mind the essentiality of any object. The depth of an object is very far from its outer surface, which is merely visible to the senses. The senses do not perceive the entirety of any object because the objects have a deeper base than is outwardly visible to the senses. This phenomenon is generally compared to an iceberg in the ocean. The iceberg is very big and has a huge base at the bottom, but only a little crest of it is visible outside. Similarly, the conscious level of our personality is only a little crest of the iceberg of our personality, of which the deeper part is inside as the subconscious and the unconscious. The same is true with the objects of the world. Only minor part of their structure is visible, and the major part is deeply hidden inside. The objects of the world are connected to an ocean at the bottom of their structure, while outwardly they appear to be located in different parts of space and in time.

Yesterday we introduced our mind to the subject of meditation. This situation of the world gives us an idea as to the way in which the mind has to be concentrated on the phenomena of the world. The purpose of meditation is to break relativity and enter into eternity. When we talk of the objects of the world, we have to include our own selves. Anything that is sensorially cognised or perceived is an object, and inasmuch as this body of ours is also a sense object, it is among the many objects of the world. The purpose of meditation is to break through the objectivity of things and enter into their essential subjectivity.

Now, we should not make the mistake of thinking that we are the subject and others are objects. We are also an object like anybody else because we are a sensorially cognisable something. We can see ourselves through the senses as a body. The subjectivity in us is different from what we perceive as our personality, so we have to carefully distinguish between the pure subjectivity that we are aiming at, and the objectivity that covers it. What we generally see is an object, and not a subject. Subjects can never be seen. We ourselves are objects as far as we are seen, touched, sensed in any manner. By the act of meditation we bring about a change in the constitution of this objectivity.

Generally, in the Yoga Shastra, the scripture of yoga, we are asked to concentrate on a single chosen object. It matters little as to what object we choose for our concentration because all objects are structurally the same, though in their outer shape they appear to be different. The basic fundamentality of a human being is the same whether we go to the west, east, north or south. Man is man wherever we go. He never changes. If we study the psychology of one human mind thoroughly, threadbare, down to the very bottom, we have studied all human beings. Likewise, if we study the nature of one object properly, we have studied the whole world because the specimen of the structure of the world, the macrocosm, is in the microcosm, which is called the individual. The object, the individual thing, is a microcosmic specimen of the structure of the whole cosmos. So if we want to study the whole cosmos, we study a single pattern given to us before our eyes, an object.

The purpose of meditation is to strike this relativity of the object by focussing, as we focus the light of the sun through a lens, for example. Mind, when it is concentrated, is like a focused force, while, when it is left to itself in its usual activities, it is diffused and has no energy. Sunlight is everywhere, and it does not burn things, but when it is focussed through a powerful lens, it can burn things. Likewise, the mind, in its general perceptional career, is not capable of breaking through the objects of relativity. But when it is concentrated, it pierces through the structure of the object and disentangles the object out of the pattern of relativity in which it is involved. The centralisation of the object is broken. It is decentralised, which means to say, that linga, that particular force which has kept the object in a formation, in a particular point in space making it an object, as we call it, is withdrawn, and we see through the object rather than see the object.

This is very elaborately described in the sutras of Patanjali, for instance. Various stages of meditation are mentioned – how the mind is to be brought round gradually to this function of meditation. This is a large subject by itself, which requires study for several months. The mind cannot be easily brought to this focus of attention. It will not come. We should not imagine that we can suddenly close our eyes and concentrate the mind. It is like a wild bull, which is the analogy given in certain mystic scriptures. The control of a wild bull is very difficult.

The analogy given by a mystic philosopher is thus. Suppose we want to control a very ferocious bull which will gore us to death if we approach it. What is to be done? The philosopher says the first thing to be done is to put a fence around it, at a little distance, so that we have limited its movement. Put a barrier all around it. The fence may be even one furlong around because the moment we go near the bull, it attacks us. Such is the mind. We put a fence around it; that is all. That much, at least, can be done. Then the bull is wandering round and round within the limitation of the enclosure.

Then later on, what do we do? The next step is that we bring some grass or some eatable and throw it in its presence. We cannot touch the bull; we cannot even go near the fence. Naturally, it comes to eat the grass. We go on doing this practice every day. After some days it recognises the man who throws this foodstuff and gets accustomed to seeing a person daily coming with an article of food. Then later on we do not throw it, but hold it with our hand and thrust it through the fence. Then it will come near. Having seen us for several days, it will not be so violent towards us as it could be. Then it starts munching the grass and eating the food from our hand. Yet we cannot go inside the fence, and are still outside only. This practice should continue.

Later on, when we give the grass or the food to the bull through the fence, we touch its face, but while still standing outside the fence, not going inside. It will not mind because it has seen us for so many days and knows that we are a friend coming with an article of diet. We scratch it, touch it, caress it, yet standing outside the fence.

This process should go on, says the philosopher, for long time, a protracted period, until we are able to hold the bull with both of our hands while standing outside the fence. Then later on, we stand on the fence and try to go nearer to it, and see how it behaves. Finally, the sage says we will be able to ride it, and it will not do us any harm. We can sit on it. Previously it was so ferocious that we could not approach it or go near it because it would kill us, but now we can ride on it. Instead of our being afraid of it, it is afraid of us.

Like that, the mind should be controlled gradually, is the advice. The mind is a wild animal, very ferocious. It looks all right, but it is not all right. The purpose of yoga meditation is to make it tame. Read one of the plays of Shakespeare called The Taming of the Shrew. It is very interesting. The methods employed by that gentleman Petruchio to tame the shrew are very interesting. Likewise, we have to employ many methods to control the mind. Sometimes we have to cajole it, sometimes we have to hold it hard with discipline. Sometimes we have to talk to it very mildly, sometimes firmly, as we do with children, for example. We employ various methods of education.

The focussing of the mind on the formation of an object is the primary act in yoga. This is the ultimate aim in meditation. But the mind is not an atom that is moving inside our body, as many people would wrongly imagine. It is not like a small particle moving hither and thither inside our personality. We cannot even understand what the mind is. The mind is not a grain of sand moving inside the body. It is not like a spark of light which is in one place only in the body. It is nothing of the kind. We may have such notions of it, but they have to be given up. The mind is a force, and a force has no shape. It can take any shape, any form, and this force pervades the whole body, our whole personality.

We have layers of personality, and personality does not mean merely the bodily form. When we talk of personality in the yogic language, we do not mean merely our physical body. The personality is everything that we are made of. Inside the body there is something, inside that there is another thing, inside the second thing there is a third thing, inside the third thing is a fourth thing, inside the fourth thing is a fifth thing. These are called the koshas, the sheaths.

The sheaths, again, are not like peels of an onion. They are different densities of the same force. There is a difference between density and layers like the onion peel. It is like the pressure of air. The air pressure is more dense when we come nearer to the earth. When we go higher and higher, the density of air gets less and less until it becomes rarefied to such an extent that in distant space we cannot even breathe. So the sheaths are not like layers of objects kept one over the other, but one and the same thing appearing in different densities, like air pressure.

So this body of ours is the densest form of this force constituting our personality. Now, this force is only the word that I use to make you disillusioned of any location of mind in our body. This force is nothing but the mind. That which forms your personality is the force; we may call it the mind. It has five types of density: the body, the pranas, the mind, the intellect, and something beyond the causal formation of it. These are called the five koshas. The personality is the total of these, or rather, all these aspects taken together.

Why it is difficult to control the mind and concentrate it on a particular given concept or object is because of the fact that the whole of our personality is not under our control. Look at it. We ourselves are not under our control, and we want to control others. We are mistaken into a wrong notion of things every day in our life on account of our belief that our personality is merely the conscious level of our thinking. But unfortunately, this is, as I have mentioned in an analogy, the small crest of the iceberg of our personality, which is very, very deep inside.

It is not merely the body that meditates, it is the mind in its total surrender to the ideal that is kept before it. It is not a part of the personality that meditates, it is the centrality of the jiva, the wholeness of our personality that surrenders itself to the goal of yoga. But inasmuch as many aspects of our personality are hidden beneath our conscious level, we are unable to know ourselves fully. That is why we change our thoughts every day, and change our opinions constantly. We say, “Well, I have changed my mind today.” Why? It is because we do not know ourselves wholly.

There are certain deeper aspects of our personality which do not come to the surface of our consciousness; therefore, when they come up and push us in a particular direction, we start thinking in that particular direction at that given moment. Endless samskaras or impressions are buried inside us. One after the other they come up like bubbles to the surface, and when they come to the surface, they alone appear as our real personality. We imagine our conscious life as the whole of life, forgetting that the deeper levels are controlling the activities and moods of our waking life or conscious life.

So in yogic life, we are not to deal merely with the waking mind or the conscious level of our personality but the whole of our personality, that which manifests itself in dream and sleep also. How do we tackle our deeper personality? Not while we remain in a world of relativity as the other objects of the world. We have to take to a little of seclusion. Viviktasevī laghvāśī yatavākkāyamānasaḥ (BG 18.52), says the Bhagavadgita. The first thing we have to do as a yoga student is to live in sequestration, in a little secluded place. This is fencing the bull. We have limited our activity to a certain extent, and when we are in a secluded place, the subconscious impressions come to the conscious level more frequently than they would in the bustle of city life. When we are in the midst of many people, our whole personality cannot come out. It is held in check. But when we are alone, much of our personality comes up.

See it for yourself. Go to a jungle and stay for three days. Let nobody see you. For three days and nights, do not come out of the jungle or the secluded place. Be there, and see what difference it makes to you. Life in human society is a little different from life alone.

The mind is a fabric of relative connections brought about by perceptions of various kinds. When perceptions are limited, the mind cannot maintain its stand for a long time since the food of the mind is withdrawn. The food of the mind is perception, and when we live in seclusion the mind has no occasion to keep up impressions of perceptions to such an extent as it did earlier in ordinary society. And even in seclusion we are not to come in contact with anyone or any object. We confine ourselves to our own practice. Then the subconscious samskaras slowly get released either into actual waking conscious feeling or they get released through dream.

Many of the samskaras or impressions of a spiritual seeker are exhausted through dream. That which would actually come out in the waking life can, many a time, be worked out in dreaming experience. In meditation, in dream and in actual waking life we have the experience of samskaras coming out and getting exhausted. The more we pour ourselves through concentration on the object or the ideal of meditation, the more do the samskaras or impressions formed in our personality come up to the surface and exhaust themselves. The only way of exhausting the potentialities of the bodily personality, the individuality, is to concentrate the mind on a given concept. Tatpratiṣedhārtham ekatattvā abhyāsaḥ (Y.S. 1.32), says Patanjali.

The vrittis, or the psychoses of the mind, are multifarious. They keep the mind engaged in various fulfilled and unfulfilled desires, and in various cognitions and perceptions. The mind with all these vrittis cannot be controlled easily except by concentration on one ideal. That is called ekatattva abhyasa. This ekatattva abhyasa is a very general term. It means one thing in the raja yoga of Patanjali, another thing in the Yoga Vasishtha, a third thing in the Upanishads, a fourth thing in the Bhagavadgita, and so on. It is a general definition given of concentration and meditation. Ekatattva abhyasa is devoting oneself to an ideal wholly and solely by not taking into consideration the existence or activity of other things than the chosen object or the ideal, which is called the ishta-devata. This again is a hard job in spite of the seclusion to which we have gone and the various methods we have adopted to control the mind.

One of the methods generally adopted in bringing the mind to the point of concentration is to chant the name or recite the formula of the characterisation of the particular object of your concentration. If you go on chanting the name of a person, the form of that person easily comes to your mind. Try it and see. Recite the name of any object many times. You will see that it is easier to bring the picture of that object before your mind's eye by this method of chanting or reciting the name or the characterisation of it than merely abstractly, by the force of will. This is called japa. Yajñānāṁ japayajño'smi (BG 10.25): The best sadhana is japa, says the Bhagavadgita. Lord Krishna says: Japa is the best of yogas, the best of sacrifices, yajnas, because it has an element of meditation inside it. It is not merely a recitation or a chant.

Japa is actually the betaking of oneself to the constant repetition of the formula or the name of a particular chosen ideal so that the visualisation of that ideal becomes easy for the mind. Masters and adepts tell us that japa does not do merely this much. It has other effects also. It is not merely that the chanting of a mantra or the recitation of a formula mystically framed helps us in calling before our mind the picture of the object. Though this is one of the things that japa does, there are other things which the japa of a mantra does, which is a science of japa by itself.

The mantra is a mystically construed formation of terms, letters or words capable of generating a particular vibration in our body. If I say now, “Snake, snake, snake!” everyone will jump up without knowing what has happened, what is the matter. “Scorpion, scorpion, scorpion!” – you will all run out. The words have such power. You know what power words have. If somebody calls you an ass, why do you get into a rage when you have heard only a word uttered? A sound is impinging on the eardrum and it has completely transformed the whole personality, and you are in a mad rage with that person who called you an ass. Sounds have such power. They are not mere sounds; they are vibrations capable of rousing certain types of consciousness in our mind.

So the mantra, or the mystical formula into which we are initiated by a Guru is such a beautifully, scientifically construed and constructed atomic force, as it were, which, when is introduced into the system by chant, generates or releases an energy of its own – mantra shakti, as we call it. It produces a reaction, a chain reaction as it were, one thing following another thing, like an injection that is administered into our system. Every word is a vibration, and a combination of these words produces a specific type of vibration. And the devata, or the deity of a mantra, is only this specific formation devolving as the outcome of the chanting of the letters in a peculiar juxtaposition or combination which is called a mantra. So the chanting of the mantra not only brings to our mind the form or the vision of the object or the ideal of our meditation, but also creates a suitable vibration in the system compatible with the object of meditation. We are brought en rapport, as it were, with the object by the very chant.

It is also said that mantras are intuitions of great masters. They are not just slipshod words uttered by people. Mantras are intuitional revelations of great adepts or yogis, and these yogis or masters who had the intuition of the mantras are called the rishis of the mantras. So a mantra has a rishi, a seer who had the intuition of this mystical structure of vibration called the mantra. It also has a devata or a deity which is the reality hidden behind the formation of the mantra, and it has a shakti, the vibration itself, working inside our own body. Hence, the sadhana of meditation can be very easily aided by japa, or the chanting of a mantra.

Svadhyaya, or study of a scripture, is another aid. I am suggesting many methods of bringing the mind to a point of concentration in meditation. Study of moksha shastras, or scriptures dealing with the liberation of the soul, such as the Bhagavadgita, the sutras of Patanjali, the Yoga Vasishtha, the Upanishads, and so on and so forth, of the religions of the world, bring the mind to a focus of concentration. The scripture is nothing but a widespread discourse on a single subject of the glory of the Ultimate Reality. It is glorification in various forms and many ways of a single truth which is called the scripture. So it is also like the chanting of a mantra. The whole scripture is a mantra in one way. While the mantra, so-called, is only a very short formation of words, the scripture is a very widespread mantra in the sense that it focuses our mind on a single topic though the scripture is very wide and extensive in its connotation.

Study of the scripture, or svadhyaya, and japa, may be regarded as essential aids in dhyana, or meditation, apart from the very essential prerequisite, namely, solitude. In a city of noise, of colour and motion and attraction, you cannot concentrate your mind easily. You must have a suitable atmosphere, and therefore, you must go to holy shrines and places which are renowned for their sacredness, places which have been frequented by masters, saints and sages – tirthas, as we call them – live there for some time. I cannot say that everyone can stay in these places for all times, but for some time at least, it may be for fifteen days, twenty days, it may be one month, two months or three months in a year. This visitation to holy places of an atmosphere of spirituality is essential for every seeker of truth because when you are in the midst of the objects of sense, temptations cannot be avoided.

Physical detachment from the objects of sense is essential in the beginning. Later on comes mental detachment. We rise from the physical level to the mental level, from the mental to the spiritual. We do not suddenly jump to the spiritual pinnacle. Thus, chalk out a daily routine of practice for your meditation, what the accessories to meditation and the actual methods to be employed in direct meditation are. The appetites of the senses are formidable. Do not be under the impression that you can easily reach God or attain samadhi. The senses are terrible. Indriyāṇi pramāthīni haranti prasabhaṃ manaḥ (BG 2.60): Terrible are the senses. They will drag even a sage. Even a master is not beyond susceptibility to weaknesses of sense when he is faced with such conditions. Nobody can be a master in this world. Everybody is a humble student. And masters who think they are above the senses and the longings of the mind will be taught a lesson. Read the lives of saints and sages – how they lived, what difficulties they had to pass through. Everyone should read the lives of great saints. Otherwise, you cannot know the practical implications and difficulties of the life spiritual, what the hardships in spiritual life are, what the obstacles are, and what deceptions you may have to face. Oh, this is very important. You will be deceived into a wrong track while you are all the while under the notion that you are treading the spiritual path. You will be inside a pit while you are under the notion that you are in heaven. It is very important to guard oneself.

Brahma's son Sanatsujata tells us that non-vigilance is veritable death for the seeker. You must be very cautious. Do not be under the impression that you are a master who has overcome the senses. “I am a master of all these. Nobody can tempt me.” Do not say that. Anybody can be tempted if the proper conditions are arranged. Under the given circumstances, anybody can be tempted. Thus is the caution for the student of yoga. Anybody can fall, without a single exception, and so no one can go carefree in this world of formidable forces. It is better to be humble, simple and vigilant. The ego is the greatest enemy of the spiritual seeker. You cannot face the ego because it is behind you, not in front of you. An enemy that is in front of you can be faced, but he who is behind you and inside you, worst of all, cannot be faced.

Thus, taking precaution from all sides through dietetic discipline, through controlled daily routine, through sequestration or solitude, through daily study of the scriptures, through japa of your mantra for a subscribed period of hours, with an earnest longing to attain God and daily prayer offered to God for bestowing upon you the knowledge divine, you will be successful in meditation. Very hard is this great task of meditation which is the goal of yoga.

The practice should be continuous, is another important advice given in the Yoga Shastras. You cannot sit today for a few minutes of meditation and tomorrow go for shopping at that time. You should not say, “Oh, I am very sorry. I have to go to the shop.” You should not go to the shop at that particular hour of meditation which you have chosen daily. Sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra āsevitaḥ dṛḍhabhūmiḥ (Y.S. 1.14): You get fixed in meditation when your practice is continuous, deep, done with great desire and longing and love for it, and is unremitting in every way. You must be persistent, tenacious in the practice, and do not leave it at any cost. You may leave your lunch, but not meditation for a single day. If you miss a single day's meditation, the thread of vibration produced in your system breaks. There is a continuity of psychological activity taking place when we sit for prayer or meditation every day at a given time. But if this is not done, it breaks, like the violation of a medical prescription given by a doctor.

Somebody asked me, “How many days do I have to meditate? How many months?” How can this question be answered? You have to go on doing it, says the Brahma Sutra, until you die or until you see God, whichever is earlier. If you see God first and die afterwards, well, thank God. You do not bother afterwards. But generally it is a hard thing. In the Brahma Sutra it is given that you must continue it until you leave this body or until you have the vision of the Eternal. Why do you ask how many days, as if it is a business. It is a dedication, a devotion of our personality to the very purpose for which we are born.

All students of yoga should have a thorough knowledge of the Bhagavadgita because it is the main scripture of yoga for us. The Bhagavadgita is not merely karma yoga, as people imagine. It says there is great importance attached to karma yoga, it is true, but the Bhagavadgita is everything. All things are mentioned there if it is properly studied. But people do not read it properly. They have no time. I do not think that anybody has understood the Bhagavadgita. Nobody can understand it thoroughly. It is so complicated, though it looks very simple on the surface. Everything is given there; all answers to every question of yoga will be found there in some verse or the other, or at least the implication.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are also very good addendums to the Bhagavadgita. They supplement each other. A very thorough study should be made, and not merely a cursory glance or running through the pages. We must be soaked completely with the thought of these scriptures, the Bhagavadgita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Everything should be clear to the mind, and no questions should be put afterwards. Everything is clear. Now the only thing remaining is to sit and practise.

More than all, above all things, after everything has been said, one important factor remains. Why do we meditate? This must be clear to us. What is the purpose?

Yudhisthira, the leader of the Pandavas, and Duryodhana, the leader of the Kauravas, were at war with each other. One day, in the middle of the battle, Duryodhana told his generalissimo, Dronacharya, “Sire, today may I make a request? Devote all your energy only to catching Yudhisthira alive, and don't kill him.” Dronacharya was highly pleased at the virtue of Duryodhana. “Oh, how good, my dear boy, you are.” He thought that he did not want to fight anymore. He thought Duryodhana wanted him to bring Yudhisthira alive in order to return his kingdom to him. But the intention of this gentleman was different. He wanted to catch him alive and make him sit for another game of dice, so that he may go into exile for thirteen years again and war may cease. Then Dronacharya knew this and cursed himself. “Oh, this is his intention. O God!” Likewise, we may have an apparently good intention but want to practise yoga for a bad purpose.

The purpose of yoga is to be very clear, and you cannot make it clear unless you sit at the feet of a master. There are, as I mentioned, the dupings of the senses and the weakness of the flesh, which can speak a subtle voice of the devil from inside and make things look attractive, such as flying in the air, drinking nectar, and living for ages. Such ideas may come to your mind. Or you may want to show yourself off as the greatest of men in the world. One student told me, “I want to become the greatest man in the world by showing yoga power to people.” Such ideas also may come. These are all dangers on the path. These are sidetrackings.

If the ideal before you is not clear, concentration will not come. All your attempts will be a failure, like the failure of the tapas of Vishvamitra. The purpose was to defeat Vasishtha, and not God-realisation, so he did not succeed.

Mumukshutva is the principle character, the main quality or discipline of the seeker of Truth – longing for perfection, seeking God. Seeking God does not mean seeking a person in the heavens, a notion which has sometimes made the mind retrace its steps into the world of sense. The God of yoga is not a Father in the heavens, but a principle in the cosmos, and therefore, you cannot avoid Him, you cannot live without Him. The purpose of yoga, therefore, is the realisation of the Supreme Being of all beings, to enter the Eternal from the world of the temporal, to wake up from the dream of life into the waking experience of the Absolute, to be a master in the real sense of the term by mastery of oneself, the realisation by the Atman of the Paramatman. Samyoga yoga iti ukto jivatma-paramatmano, says Yajnavalkya: The union of the Atman with the Paramatman is yoga. That is the purpose of the practice of meditation.

Thus, with all these methods, external and internal, physical and psychological, one has to devote oneself to the practice of spiritual life and yoga and meditation by humility of conduct and vigilance of approach, with a clear ideal before one's mind's eye, so that every day will be a step taken onwards in the march of the soul to its ultimate goal. God bless you.