Prabhāṭa-Raśmiḥ 39 : Meditation & the Sensitivity of the Mind
24 October 1999
Harih Om Tat Sat. In Kuala Lumpur, I was speaking on meditation. ‘Why Meditate?’ was the topic of discussion. I was explaining that the first purpose of meditation is to study, understand and evaluate one’s mind.
One generally uses the mind without knowing how it functions. We live in our houses. Do we know how the house is built and what are the technical skills employed in it ? What is the finish generally given to the wall, what should be the thickness of the walls or what should be the strength of the foundation – a number of such points are to be looked into before the house is built. But we don’t know all these and yet we live in the house. Similarly we employ many gadgets while living and working. We use them freely. But we may not know anything of the technology used in producing these gadgets.
In the same manner, every one is using his or her mind; but the user does not necessarily know what exactly is the mind.
In the case of the many articles we use including the house, we may not know their details, because the technology and production are handled by others. And there is a facility for purchasing and making use of these articles. In the case of the human mind, your own mind, is it that it is made elsewhere and you can buy it? Can anybody else have an access to it ? Thus, with the mind, unlike with the physical articles you use in your life, you alone have access to it. You alone will understand it. Hence, there is a genuine need to know about the mind yourself.
In meditation, first of all, you become aware of the functioning of your mind. The purpose of meditation is generally to bring the mind to a state of absorption, called samadhi. But this samadhi is only one aspect of meditation. To attain samadhi, you have to know what are the factors and conditions congenial to such absorption. After attaining samadhi also, you have to consider and understand the functioning of the mind in the light of the samadhi experience. Before as well as after meditation, the mind alone is the subject of concern for us. Just as the blood ceaselessly circulates, the lungs constantly breathe, the heart pumps, and the brain continuously sends signals to the entire body - the mind also is a process that is constantly at work. The difference lies in the quality of its work and in the purity of its content.
Everyday you are expecting me to talk, sitting here, during this Prabhāṭa-Raśmiḥ. Unless my mind is active and vibrant to give me ideas, will I be able to speak? So, should the mind be inactive, still and insensitive or should it be active, vibrant and sensitive? The sensitivity is not to be lost. On the other hand it should go on increasing.
This morning Ma was reciting a verse from the 5th skandha of Sreemad Bhaagavata. A beautiful verse:
jnanam visuddham paramarthamekam
anantaram tvabahirbrahmasatyam I
pratyak prasantam bhagavacchabdasamjnam
yadvasudevam kavayo vadanti II
[By God or by Vaasudeva, the Seers verily mean the Pure Knowledge – the Supreme Truth which has no within or without, which is the very Self, the stillness within.]
I heard it. She chanted it once or twice. It was so beautiful a verse and so suggestive, that I wanted to know it well. I was sitting there, repeating the words in my mind.
I am mentioning this to highlight a point. The mind must have the sensitivity to know what is right and what is wrong, to avoid the wrong and to incorporate the right. This requires a lot of effort and alertness, absorption and sensitivity. Unless these are had, how can anybody function well?
This Swamiji, as you already know, goes on speaking. Wherefrom does he get the words and the ideas to speak? For that, the mind has to be active. The sensitivity of the mind is improved by meditation. The sensitivity, in turn, should also lead to absorption in meditation. Then you will understand that there is something in you which is different from the mere thoughts and emotions, and that something reigns in you even when the mind and thought processes become extinct. That something is what you are, even when you are asleep, disconnected from and unconscious of all other things.
My dear children, it is so subtle and at the same time so permeating, that you are missing it. It is almost like swimming in a beautiful lake but unable to recognize the presence of the water. You are in the water and you are swimming. Right from the beginning you were born in water, and you have been swimming – but you don’t know that there is water on which you swim. Think of the fish; it is constantly in water. But the poor fish is not able to know that there is water. Likewise, you are so full of consciousness and yet you don’t know that it is there.
How to know? For that, you have to eliminate all other things that you are normally connected with and in the all-eliminated and all-extinct state you get into the absorption where you will know what that something is. Hence, the absorption is an important factor. Equally important is the mind becoming sensitive, sublime and pure so that it constantly gives rise to pure and noble thoughts.
Imagine Valmiki, who wrote the epic Ramayana. He had to express romance, hatred, passion, jealousy and many other emotions. Yet, the entire contents remain sublime and sweet. Veda Vyasa, in Mahabharata, has also elucidated these notes even more vividly. When I was writing on Ramayana or Mahabharata, sometimes I used to find my fingers and body throbbing. I also had to deal with a variety of emotions and conflicts. In describing every role there is a joy — knowing the emotions but at the same time not getting involved in any one of these. It is a wonderful state and by meditation you can come closer to it.
So, the focus should be on absorption on the one hand and constant sensitivity, alertness, purity and sublimity on the other. In the inner being of yours, both can be had, supporting and reinforcing each other in a beautiful harmony.
Harih Om Tat Sat
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