"The power to promote and reward, as also to demote and punish the individual and his fate in this world, lies within his mind, its thoughts and feelings. No external agency is necessary to bring this infallible fruition. As the growth and development of a seed, an embryo, or a cell designed and preserved by its own inner makeup, here too the causal forces for what one rightly deserves lurk within one’s own invisible bosom."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.      

Last night I had a discussion with ‘X’. I was telling him about the days I spent before coming as a sannyāsin to Kerala, the days I spent in Kolkata, how I was very much given to meditation, I called myself as a 'meditation monger'. I used to meditate about 2 1/2 hours a day, both in the morning and evening, definitely two times, in spite of the usual official involvement, life etc. Then by about 10 o’clock at night, I used to read whatever I wanted to read, maybe about an hour or  1 1/2. Whatever I read, which I had to remember, was in Sanskrit. I had no problem in understanding the Sanskrit with whatever translations or commentaries are there. So I used to read the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Prakarana Granthas. With these three - Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Prakarana Granthas, I think the entire gamut of true spiritual knowledge is over.

In terms of general reading, I read Swami Vivekananda’s complete works in eight volumes. Then I read his biography written by the Eastern and Western disciples. I also read Ramakrishnadev’s biography and Sarada Devi’s biography. I don’t know whether it was during that time that I read a small book on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There was a book available called ‘Rambles in Vedanta’ written by Rajam Iyer. Of all the things that I read, this Rajam Iyer’s writing stood very unique and distinct. I remember particularly one portion which was titled ‘Vāsudeva Śāstri’ or 'True Greatness'. I don’t remember all that I have read but I believe that this particular narration had a very special influence in me.

Now of all these things I read, I want to tell you and I want you to understand, only the Sanskrit reading was supposed to be read over again and then committed to memory. All the Upanishadic verses or statements which I am speaking about, repeating now, they were all learnt at that time, maybe in the course of a year or one and a half. Many other things I would have read volume-wise. The general reading was many times the Sanskrit reading. But from the general reading, I cannot and I do not remember any portion at all except some instances, but I cannot remember them nor can I quote from them. But poetry is not so. They are very aphoristic, precise and perfect and because of the meter in which each is presented, it lends itself to be committed to memory, remembered. So, all the poetic reading I remember perhaps and maybe I learnt them also. How much time, I will read them once, twice, three times, I don’t remember how many times and I learnt them, refer to them back again to see that the memory is all right and all that. My mind always thinks of poetry whenever it has time even now.

I was given to meditation. The meditation was always an experiential one. I was getting absorbed. But you know, I started questioning my meditation. In meditation, I used to get absorbed, maybe one hour, one and a quarter hours, forty-five minutes, fifty-minutes etc. then I used to get up. At one point, it became uniform absorption and the absorption was something pleasant, sometimes very exhilarating, but the point was that it was always only that. So, my mind started questioning - What is this meditation in reality worth? It will take me to a state of absorption, a pleasant absorption. Whether I remain in that state for one hour, two hours or one thousand hours, it does not matter at all! Suppose I got into a state of absorption and never got up for a month and then when I again get up, the moment I open my eyes, I see the same world, the world of colours, the world of shapes, the world of sound, the world of smell.

Now what is that change that is necessary whereby people say God alone is, all are God, Brahman alone is, all are Brahman? So the meditation was something quite detached. It is a very nice, personal experience but what of this experience? I cannot always be in meditation. The moment I wake up, I see the same old world and the world appears to be world. Where is that Brāhmic knowledge or Godly knowledge whereby I feel that everything is God, everything is Brahman? The meditation was not able to answer this enquiry or this urge. So, I was wondering - What is there beyond mediation, beyond Samadhi? Samadhi does not seem to be an answer to the twenty-four-hour life. The post Samadhi or pre-Samadhi spells always remained a conflict, a rigmarole. The enquiry that started questioning the Samadhi and meditative absorption, made me restless. But luckily and fortunately, our scriptures do make statements questioning meditation and also explaining many other things.

For example,

देहाभिमाने गळिते विज्ञाते परमात्मनि ।
यत्र यत्र मनो याति तत्र तत्र समाधयः ।।
Dehābhimane galite vijñāte paramātmani |
Yatra yatra mano yāti tatra tatra samādhayaḥ ||
(DrgDrsyaViveka 30)

Whenever I read these verses, they glaringly touch me.

देहाभिमाने गळिते विज्ञाते परमात्मनि ।
यत्र यत्र मनो याति तत्र तत्र समाधयः ।।

When the dehābhimāna falls and the paramātma is sufficiently known, wherever the mind goes, there-ever it is Samadhi.

What is this? So, there is a stage where Samadhi doesn’t have to be sought. It follows you. It becomes concurrent with you. And how? The dehābhimāna should fall and paramātma should be known. What is this abhimāna falling? What is the process? Is it meditation that makes the abhimāna fall? Meditation is a time-bound experience. Beyond that time, all these problems come up. So this enquiry started eating me up. I pursued it, pursued it, pursued it. I am not going to say all of it but one point yesterday I was talking to ‘X’.

Why are we meditating? Because we are unhappy in the wakeful state. Either because of the enquiry you have or the goal that you have set. Whatever disturbance or otherwise you have in the wakefulness, you try to lead the mind to a state of absorption and self-restingness whereby this trouble is not there. But the moment you wake up from Samadhi, what happens? The same old trouble comes up and catches hold of you. In Samadhi, we treat the problem by remaining inactive and only handling the mind. Should we not handle the mind even in the post-Samadhi spell? Maybe we are active, interactive. Even in that interactional state, we must be able to tackle the mind and make it disturbance free. If the enquiry is there, it should be free of the enquiry. If affectation is there, we must be able to dissolve it.

So, I grew into the next stage where the post-meditation spell became my focus. And what can act on the post meditative spell? Certainly it is not an absorptional state. It is something else. What is that? What is that? What is it which will act upon my mind and take away the dehābhimāna? What is that factor which give me that fullness and absoluteness of self wisdom whereby all conflicts and all obstructions will vanish? So, there perhaps my mind picked up true enlightenment as the goal. And everywhere you will find many statements revolving around this.

यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः ।
यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते ।।
yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ |
yasmin-sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate ||
 
तं विद्याद् दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसञ्ज्ञितम् ।
स निश्चयेन योक्तव्यो योगोऽनिर्विण्णचेतसा ।।
taṁ vidyād duḥkha-saṁyoga-viyogaṁ yoga-saṁjñitam |
sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo’nirviṇṇa-cetasā ||
(Bhagavad Gita 6.22, 6.23)

What is that lābha beyond which there is nothing? What is that self-seatedness which will not be shaken by anything whatsoever? So, my dear souls, these scriptural statements were not statements for me. They were floodlights in pitch darkness. So the whole reflection was upon these statements, upon these statements and the enquiry was - 'What is that wonderful state within the wakefulness by virtue of which the mind becomes absolutely free from all kinds of discontent, all kinds of enquiry, and there is a fullness and a persisting wisdom?'

So, the sadhana became a wakeful sadhana. The examination and enquiry were focused on the mind, the active and the thinking mind. When this focus started growing perhaps, that became the real meditation. That became the meditation. In meditation also, we are trying to lead the mind to mindlessness. That is pocketing the mind in meditation and absorption. Here we are trying to make the mind free, keeping it in the manner in which it is. I don’t know whether I explain the subject well.

In other words, it became a continuous meditation or what people try to describe as 'Sahaja Samadhi'. Can I claim that Samadhi anytime in me or only when I sit and remain absorbed? Is absorptional Samadhi always or is there anything different? Brahma-karma samādhinā. What is that Brahma karma samādhinā? Karma itself becomes Brahma, that Samadhi which makes all karmas, Brahma. What is that Brahma karma samādhinā, Brahma karma samādhinā? And there are so many verses in Bhagavad Gita.

यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सरः ।
समः सिद्धावसिधौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते ।।
तं विद्याद् दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसञ्ज्ञितम् ।

That is the yoga where even when repeatedly touched by duhkha, you feel a sense of distinction and aloofness from it. It is like water beautifully remaining on the lotus leaf. The lotus leaf carries the water but the water never touches or stains the leaf. It is not that it is without water. We maybe with duhkha, duhkha samyoga but still you are having viyoga. So, these words, these phrases, these sentences, these statements, when you start reflecting over them, reflecting over them, that becomes much more a meditation than otherwise. Whenever the mind gets affected, then itself we must be able to treat the mind and make it spatial, make it airy, make it pure white. When you develop this quality of, what shall I call it, tattva vicara’ by virtue of which mind’s vagaries, mind’s stains, mind’s conflicts, they are treated right then and there, that is what really clinches your sadhana and makes it perfect. Side by side, if you want to have the joy of meditational samadhi, sit there also. But this inner examination and the inner integration, that is the real essence of spirituality is what I feel.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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