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Facets of Spirituality
by Swami Krishnananda
Compiled by S. Bhagyalakshmi

March 22, 1979

A visitor: In meditation, I was taught to concentrate on the centre of my eyebrows, which is difficult, and it landed me in physical disturbance. Is it right, and is it the only place to concentrate upon? I am unable to control the mind in meditation.

Swamiji: Has anyone controlled the mind? None except the Realised Souls. As for the centre of the brows, it is not necessary to fix on that point for more effective concentration. The control of the mind is a very difficult matter. The mind is not a thing; it is not a person, and it is not an object. It is like air. Therefore, how will you catch it? But there is a way, a technique. The air is everywhere, and you cannot catch it, but it is concentrated in some place. Find out where it is thus concentrated, the source from where it is flowing everywhere. Even so, the mind is concentrated at some spot or object that it is aware of, and the location is there. What the object is, of little importance. But it should be made to stick there, and never move away from it. It may be only a tree the mind is located in—that is, thinking about—pin it there and do not let it move even an inch from that place (location-object). Do not move it to another place, and then the mind will become very strong. The mind is always thinking about something. But if it is thinking of one thing, let it think of that only, and not of any other thing. That is called meditation. You go from shop to shop when you want to purchase something. You do not find it in this shop and so you go to another shop, and so on until you find what you are looking for. It is the same thing that you are looking for when you go searching one shop after another. It is not that you go from shop to shop for nothing, in order to get fatigued. Is it not? Similarly, the mind is searching for something in the various things it is thinking of. What is it searching for? Here rises another question. The first question is that it is moving. Where is it moving? I have answered that question: it is searching for something. Now the question is, what it is searching for?

Visitor: It is going here and there, thinking of the Divine.

Swamiji: It is not thinking of the Divine. It has no idea of the Divine. It wants to unite itself with some object, and when there is a union with that object, it gets pleasure. And it looks for pleasure. It is pleasure that the mind is looking for. It does not want objects, which are only instruments in creating the psychological circumstance called pleasure. If an object cannot bring pleasure, who wants it! You love a child because you get pleasure by hugging it, but do you want to hug a tiger or a cobra? Hugging a child gives satisfaction. What you seek is pleasure, and not an object. So do not make the mistake of thinking that your mind wants this or that object. You do not want anything, only pleasure. And if you think that a particular object can give pleasure you go near it, but if it does not give satisfaction you will leave it alone and go to another place for another object. In this way, your life is spent looking for pleasure, and not for a particular object, which it really cannot find. And nowhere you will find this pleasure you are seeking—nowhere, because it is not a commodity of this world. It belongs to some other realm altogether.

I have given you a simple picture of the state of affairs. You cannot get what you want in this life that you live. Now comes the next question: Where else you can get it? One question leads to another, endlessly. You can find it only where it is. You cannot get water from the Sahara desert, you can get it only from the Ganga. So you must first know where the Ganga is, then only you can go for water. What the mind is looking for is not in an object. If there had been pleasure in the object itself, there would have been no necessity for it to move from one object to another. That it moves from object to object shows that these do not give satisfaction. So it is not available anywhere in the world, it is available somewhere else. Where is that place? It is not in books, universities. Even Mahatmas and Gurus cannot give you that. If you know where it is, you will never open your mouth thereafter to ask for it. Do you understand what I say? These are the answers to your various questions on meditation. Do not concentrate on the trikuti (middle of the eye-brows) unnecessarily. It is not going to give you anything at all.

Another visitor: Why is it compulsory for us to read the Glory of the Gita, which runs into several verses, reducing the time available for the verses of the Gita itself? Why? I never read them. Sounds like blackmail to me, this compulsion.

Swamiji: It is only to give you an incentive to read the text, and has no importance by itself. We have a peculiar system of glorifying everything; the greater the glorification, the more compelling the incentive to read it, though it is not worthwhile by itself. When a product is advertised, you have a peculiar weakness to go for it. It is a tradition, and you may give it that value. After the death of a person they read a sacred text, such as the Garuda Purana in which there is a vivid description of hell. When people hear that such and such torture is meted out to a miser, or for lack of due respect when called for it, they get frightened and do a lot of charity and so on because they think, “Oh! Let me be saved from such torture.” The Garuda Purana picturesquely and vividly describes what happens to the soul of man who has not done charity or fulfilled his duty or lived a bad life etc., etc. It is an incentive for the living to mend their ways! (laughs)

An ashramite: Does not charity, etc., done by those left behind benefit the departed soul?

Swamiji: No, nothing of the kind. It has no connection with the departed soul. It is meant only for those left behind.

Visitor: The glorification is much longer than the verses, which you can complete in a given time!

Swamiji: (laughs) Yes, yes. Reading even one sloka of the Gita is enough if you can understand the meaning properly. One single verse is sufficient for contemplating upon its glory.

Visitor: What is karma yoga?

Swamiji: Activity in terms of multiplicity and consciousness in terms of unity is karma yoga. Can you, do you understand that sentence? Ponder over it.

Visitor: I shall, thank you Swamiji.

Another visitor: What is your name?

Swamiji: (Without showing any emotion) I am he whom you have come to see.

The luncheon bell—Namaskar—Go and eat hot food!