Solan, September 12 th , 1948.
From SRI MA one can but rarely get a definite decision on any problem. That is why I wondered of what use it was to write down her utterances? I asked SRI MA about it.
SRI MA: At least you have understood that there is a state, ’where’ problems are no longer settled in any particular way. In the course of your life you have after careful consideration come to a decision on many questions, have you not? But now you will have to realize that no solution is ever conclusive; in other words, you will have to go beyond the level where there is certainty and uncertainty. The resolution of a problem arrived at by the mind must of necessity be from a particular point of view; consequently there will he room for contradiction, since your solution represents but one aspect. What then have you actually solved? You will find a complete and final solution of each particular question from its own particular angle of emergence; and you will also find that there is a place where all problems (actual and possible) have but one universal solution, in which there is no longer any room left for contradiction. The question of solution or non-solution will then cease to arise: whether one says ‘yes’ or ‘no’, – everything is THAT.
Solan, September, 1948.
Concerning the value of religious and philosophical discourses, SRI MA said:
By listening repeatedly to discussions and discourses on topics of this kind, the path to first-hand knowledge of what has been heard gradually opens out. You know, it is as when water uninterruptedly dripping on a stone finally makes a hole in it, and then a flood may suddenly surge through which will bring Enlightenment.
Be it the perusal of Sacred Texts, listening to religious discourses, engaging in kirtan – God must be the alpha and omega of whatever is done. When reading, read about Him, when talking, talk of Him and when singing, sing His praises. These three practices are intrinsically the same; but because people respond differently, the same is expressed in three different ways to suit each person’s temperament and capacity for assimilation. Essentially there is only He and He alone, although everyone has his own individual path that leads to Him. What is the right path for each, depends on his personal predilection, based on the specific character of his inner qualifications.
Take for instance the study of Vedanta. Some seekers become completely drowned in it.
Just as others may so lose themselves in kirtan as to fall into a trance, a student of Vedanta may become wholly absorbed in his texts, even more so than the one who gets carried away by kirtan. According to one’s specific line of approach, one will be able to achieve full concentration through the study of a particular Scripture, or by some other means.
First comes listening, then reflection, and last of all the translation into action of what has been heard and pondered over. This is why one has first pf all to listen, so that lat on each may he able to select Vedanta or kirtan or whatever else be in his own line.
Have you never come across people making light of kirtan, saying: “What is there to be gained by it?” Nevertheless, after listening to it for some length of time, they actually develop a liking for it. Therefore one must listen before one can reflect, and then later, what has been heard and reflected upon will take shape in action suited to the person concerned. To listen to discourses on God or Truth is certainly beneficial, provided one does not allow oneself to be moved by a spirit of fault-finding or disparagement, should there be differences of outlook to one’s own. To find fault with others creates obstacles for everyone all around : for him who criticises, for him who is blamed, as well as for those who listen to the criticism. Whereas, what is said in a spirit of appreciation is fruitful to everybody. For only where there is no question of regarding anything as inferior or blameworthy (asat) can one call it Satsang – a play upon words: Sat means True Being, the Good; satsang the company of the good, and also a religious gathering. Asal, the opposite of sat, means non-being, wrong, evil. Therefore to find fault (asat) in a religious meeting (saiang) is a contradiction in terms.)
Who is known as a Vaishnava? One who sees Visnu everywhere. And as a Sakta? One who beholds the Great Mother, and nothing save Her. In truth, all the various ways of thought spring from one common source – who then is to be blamed, who to be reviled or suppressed? All are equal in essence.
Thou art Mother, Thou art Father,
Thou art Friend and Thou art Master,
Truly, Thou art all in all.
Every name is Thy Name,
Every quality Thy Quality,
Every form Thy Form indeed.
Yet He is also where no forms exist, as pure unmanifested Being – all depends on one’s avenue of approach.
Is it not said that what is viewed by the Saivas as the Supreme (parama) Siva, and by those who inquire into the Self, as the One Self, is none other than the Brahman Itself? In reality there is no contradiction so long as the slightest difference is perceived, even by a hair’s breadth – how can one speak of the state of Pure Being?
For this reason, no matter what path anyone may choose, it is THAT . Vedanta* actually means the end of difference and non-difference. ( Vedanta – end or culmination of Vedic wisdom. SRI MA here plays upon words: Veda, and bheda difference. In Bengali the letters B and V sound alike. ‘Anta’ means ‘end’.)
While engaging in sadhana one must concentrate in a single direction; but after it has been completed, what comes then? The cessation of difference 3 distinction and disagreement. Differences do indeed exist on the path, but how can there be a difference of Goal?
Solan, September 16 th , 1948.
A member of a well known Indian family, who had distinguished herself by devoting her life to social service, came for SRI MA’s darsana and asked: “Does the capacity to meditate come by practice in this life, or is it an aptitude acquired in former births ?”
SRI MA: It may be the result of either of the two, or of both combined. Meditation should be practised every day of one’s life. Look, what is there in this world? Absolutely nothing that is lasting; therefore direct your longing towards the Eternal. Pray that the work done through you, His instrument, may be pure. In every action remember Him. The purer your thinking, the finer will be your work. In this world you get a thing, and by tomorrow it may be gone. This is why your life should be spent in a spirit of service; feel that the Lord is accepting services from you in whatever you do. If you desire peace you must cherish the thought of Him.
Question: When will there be peace on earth?
SRI MA: Well , you know what the present state of affairs is; things are happening as they are destined to be.
Question: When will this state of unrest come to an end?
SRI MA: The fact that many of you feel concerned about it and ask: ‘When will it end?’ is also one of the ways of His Self-manifestation.
Jagat (world) means ceaseless movement, and obviously there can be no rest in movement. How could there be peace in perpetual coming and going? Peace reigns where no coming exists and no going, no melting and no burning. Reverse your course, advance towards Him then there will be hope of peace.
By your japa and meditation those who are close to you will also benefit through the helpful influence of your presence. In order to develop a taste for meditation you have to make a deliberate and sustained effort 3 just as children have to be made to sit and study, be it by persuasion or coercion. By taking medicine or having injections a patient may get well; even if you do not feel inclined to meditate, conquer your reluctance and make an attempt. The habit of countless lives is pulling you in the opposite direction and making it difficult for you – persevere in spite of it! By your tenacity you will gain strength and be moulded; that is to say, you will develop the capability to do sadhana. Make up your mind that however arduous the task, it will have to be accomplished. Recognition and fame last for a short time only, they do not accompany you when you leave this world. If your thought does not naturally flow towards the Eternal, fix it there by an effort of will.
Some severe blow of fate will drive you towards God. This will be but an expression of His Mercy; however painful, it is by such blows that one learns one’s lesson.
The obstinacy of the mind must be curbed with resoluteness. Whether the mind co-operates or not, you must be adamant in your determination to do a certain amount of practice without fail – simply because sadhana is man’s real work. For so long you have been accustomed to perform actions that fetter, therefore from sheer force of habit you feel the urge to bind yourself by activity again and again. But if you try hard for some time, you will be able to see for yourself how you are caught in your work, and that the more you engage in sadhana the quicker will be your advance.
As to self-surrender: by constantly endeavouring to live a life of self-dedication, it will come about one day. What does self-surrender mean, if not to surrender to one’s very own Self!
Keep in mind what this little daughter* of yours is asking you to do!
Solan, September 11 th , 1948.
A Government Official and his wife had come for SRI MA’s darsana. They were meeting her for the first time. To a question of theirs, SRI MA replied:
If you say you have no faith, you should try to establish yourself in the conviction that you have no faith.
Where ‘no’ is, ‘yes’ is potentially there as well. Who can claim to be beyond negation and affirmation? To have faith is imperative. The natural impulse to have faith in something, which is deep-rooted in man, develops into faith in God. This is why human birth is such a great boon. It cannot be said that no one has faith. Everyone surely believes in something or other.
The word ‘man(h)us’ (man) is derived from ‘man’ (mind) and ‘hus’ (conscious), which denotes the mind’s awareness and vigilance. This shows that man’s natural calling is to attain to Self-knowledge. When children learn to read and write, they have to accept rebuke and censure. God, too, now and again administers to man a mild beating – this is but a token of His Mercy. From the worldly standpoint such blows are considered extremely painful, but actually they bring about a change of heart, and lead to Peace: by disturbing worldly happiness they induce man to seek the path to Supreme Bliss.
It is of course true that the human body lives by breathing, and hence there is suffering. ( Human life, in fact animal life in general, depends on breathing, which is a sign of disturbance in the universal equilibrium. The entire creation is characterised by this disturbance. The process of breathing implies a dual movement, inward and outward, and a periodic rest between the two. The state of harmony can be reached by getting rid of this urge for movement, by attaining to repose, calm and peace. This is possible through yoga. When one is in a state of perfect poise, there is no longer any need to breathe.)
There are two kinds of pilgrims on life’s journey: the one, like a tourist, is keen on sight-seeing, wandering from place to place, flitting from one experience to another for the fun of it.
The other treads the path that is consistent with man’s true being and leads to his real home, to Self-knowledge. Sorrow will of a certainty be encountered on the journey undertaken for the sake of sight-seeing and enjoyment. So long as one’s real home has not been found, suffering. is inevitable. The sense of separateness is the root cause of misery, because it is founded on error, on the conception of duality. This is why the world is called ‘du-niya’ (based on duality).
A man’s belief is greatly influenced by his environment; therefore he should choose the company of the Holy and Wise. Belief means to believe in one’s Self, disbelief to mistake the non-Self for one’s Self.
There are instances of Self-realization occurring by the Grace of God, whereas at other times it can be seen that He awakens in some a feverish yearning after Truth. In the first case attainment comes spontaneously, in the second it is brought about by trials. But all is wrought solely by His Mercy.
Man thinks he is the doer of his actions, while actually everything is managed from ‘There’; the connection is ‘There’, as well as the power-house – yet people say: ‘I do.’
How wonderful it is !
When in spite of all efforts one fails to catch a train, does this not make it clear from where all one’s movements are being directed? Whatever is to happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, is all fixed by Him; His arrangements are perfect.
An eternal relationship exists between God and man.
But in His Play it is sometimes there and sometimes severed, or rather appears to be severed ; it is not really so, for the relationship is eternal. Again, seen from another side, there is no such thing as relationship. Someone, who came to meet this body, said : “I am a newcomer to you.” He got the reply: “Ever new and ever old indeed!”
The light of the world comes and goes, it is unstable. The Light that is eternal can never be extinguished. By this Light you behold the outer light and everything in the universe; it is only because It shines ever within you, that you can perceive the outer light. Whatever appears to you in the universe is due solely to that great Light within you, and only because the Supreme Knowledge of the essence of things lies hidden in the depths of your being is it possible for you to acquire knowledge of any kind.
The human brain may be compared to the root of a tree; if the root is watered, nourishment spreads to every part of the plant. There are occasions when you say your brain is tired. When does this happen? When you are very busy with outer things. But as soon as you return home and talk to your loved ones, your head feels light and you are full of joy. For this reason it is said, because your brain belongs to yourself, your own work does not produce weariness.
Really speaking, all work is your work – only how can you understand this? Indeed the whole world is yours, of your Self, your very own – but you perceive it as separate, just as you see ‘others.’
To know it to be your own gives happiness, but the notion that it is apart form you causes misery.
To perceive duality means pain, conflict, struggle and death.
Pitaji, do take to some kind of sadhana!
INQUIRER: It is all in God’s hands.
SRI MA: Exactly! Always bear this in mind:
Everything is in God’s hands, and you are His tool to be used by Him as He pleases. Try to grasp the significance of ‘all is His’, and you will immediately feel free from all burdens. What will be the result of your surrender to Him? None will seem alien, all will be your very own, your Self.
Either melt by devotion the sense of separateness, or burn it by Knowledge – for what is it that melts or burns? Only that which by its nature can be melted or burnt; namely the idea that something other than your Self exists. What will happen then? You come to know your Self.
By virtue of the Guru’s power everything becomes possible; therefore seek a Guru. Meanwhile, since all names are His Name, all forms His Form, select one of them and keep it with you as your constant companion. At the same time He is also nameless and formless ; for the Supreme it is possible to be everything and yet nothing.
So long as you have not found a Guru, adhere to the name or form of Him that appeals to you most, and ceaselessly pray that He may reveal Himself to you as the Sadguru.
In very truth the Guru dwells within, and unless you discover the inner Guru, nothing can be achieved. If you feel no desire to turn to God, bind yourself by a daily routine of sadhana, as school children do, whose duty it is to follow a fixed timetable.
When prayer does not spontaneously flow from your heart, ask yourself: “Why do I find pleasure in the fleeting things of this world?” If you crave for some outer thing or feel specially attracted to a person, you should pause and say to yourself: “Look out, you are being fascinated by the glamour of this!” Is there a place where God is not?
Family life, which is the Ashrama of the householder, can also take you in His direction, provided it is accepted as an asrama. Lived in this spirit, it helps man to progress towards Self-realization. Nevertheless, if you hanker after anything such as name, fame or position, God will bestow it on you, but you will not feel satisfied. The Kingdom of God is a whole, and unless you are admitted to the whole of it you cannot remain content. He grants you just a little, only to keep Your discontent alive, for without discontent there can be no progress. You, a scion of the Immortal, can never become reconciled to the realm of death, neither does God allow you to remain in it. He Himself kindles the sense of want in you by granting you a small thing, only to whet your appetite for a greater one. This is His method by which He urges you on. The traveller on this path finds it difficult and feels troubled, but one who has eyes to see can clearly perceive that the pilgrim is advancing. The distress that is experienced burns to ashes all pleasure derived from worldly things. This is what is called ‘tapasya’. What obstructs one on the spiritual path bears within itself seeds of future suffering. Yet the heartache, the anguish over the effects of these obstructions, are the beginning of an awakening to Consciousness.
Solan, September 21 st , 1948.
A young girl was talking to SRI MA. She said:
“When I sit down to meditate I do not intend to contemplate any form, but how is it possible to meditate on the formless? I have noticed that at times, when I try to meditate, images of deities come floating before my mind.”
SRI MA: Whatever image arises in your mind, that you should contemplate; just observe in what shape God will manifest Himself to you. The same form does not suit every person. For some, Rama may be most helpful, for some Siva, for others Parvati, and again for others the formless.
He certainly is formless ; but at the same time, watch in what particular form He may appear to you in order to show you the way. Consequently, whichever of His forms comes into your mind, that you should contemplate in all its minute details.
Proceed as follows: When sitting down to meditate,
first of all contemplate the form of a deity;
then imagining Him to be enthroned on His seat,
bow down before Him and do japa.
When you have concluded the japa bow down once more and, having enshrined Him in your heart, leave your seat.
This, in short, may be your practice if you are not able to meditate on the Brahman.
Be ever convinced that at all times and without exception He will do and is doing what is best for you. Reflect thus: In order to aid me, He has revealed Himself to me in this particular guise. He is with form as well as without; the entire universe is within Him and pervaded by Him. This is why it is said: “The Sadguru is the World-teacher and the World-teacher the Sadguru”.
The aforesaid is especially meant for you. The same does not apply to every person. The more you contemplate Him, the more rapid will be your progress. If any image arises in your mind, it is He, just as He is also the formless; mark what comes spontaneously.
Benares. August 18 th , 1948.
QUESTION: How can meditation on a particular part lead to meditation on the whole? One can concentrate completely only upon one aspect. It is said that when one is absorbed in meditation, a gradual expansion of consciousness takes place; and when the mind reaches what is beyond its containing capacity, it spontaneously dissolves (laya). Then there is no more meditation, there is Divine Insight (Jnana). Some hold this theory. How the mind can become all-pervasive by this method, I am unable to grasp.
SRI MA: When meditation (dhyana) occurs spontaneously, then only is it real meditation. It must come of itself, effortlessly. Furthermore, when you say the mind subsides (laya), from where does it originate?
INQUIRER: From the Self (Atma). In the Srutis is said that it has emanated from the Self (Paramatma) like a shadow.
SRI MA : Where birth is, there must be dissolution (nasa); is this what you mean? But if it were so, the mind would emerge again. You say, you cannot grasp the all-pervasiveness of the mind; quite naturally so, because it is not a thing to be grasped it is neither a thing, nor can it be grasped.
You experience the pleasures and pains of the world; again, you enjoy temporary happiness or bliss while in meditation. This also is an experience, is it not? Yet it is of a slightly different nature from the former.
When a man says that he describes or refers to an experience after he comes down from the heights of divine ecstasy (samadhi), it implies that ascent and descent still continue to exist for him, otherwise why should he use these expressions? But there is also a state where ascending and descending are out of the question. You may maintain that the mind should be held as existing in samadhi, although in an absorbed state; otherwise how can a person, on issuing from samadhi, speak of the experience he had in that state?
You may further maintain that his mind is a purified mind.
I am speaking from your standpoint. Experiences occur on the path.
Between the two types of experience that have just been mentioned, there is a difference. Nevertheless, they are both of the mind, though on different levels, even what you call samadhi.
However, there is also another state of being where one cannot speak of ascent and descent, and consequently not of a body either.
Should the question of the body or of action, or any question whatever, still arise, it means that this state has not been reached.
When you say the mind dissolves (laya), into what does it dissolve ?
INQUIFER : Into the Self, of course.
SRI MA : Just as salt dissolves, so does the mind -is this your idea? From a particular angle of vision it may appear thus. In the case of a dissolution of this kind, a perfect )’ogi can resuscitate the mind again.
INQUIRER : I was thinking of absolute destruction (nasa).
SRI MA : Destruction ( nasa) or dissolution (laya)?
Na Sa – means ‘not He’, na Sva* ‘not the Self’ – this surely is what is termed destruction ?
Where destruction is destroyed, there is THAT. Do you call the annihilation of the ego-mind (manonasa) its dissolution (laya)?
IQUIRER: How am I to grasp this?
SRI MA : It is for the Guru to point out the method; he will show you the way to understanding and instruct you in your sadhana. It is for you to keep on practising it faithfully. But the fruit comes spontaneously in the form of Self-revelation.
The power to make you grasp the Ungraspable duly manifests itself through the Guru. Where the question “How am I to proceed?” arises, fulfilment has obviously not yet been reached.
Therefore, never relax your efforts until there is Enlightenment. Let no gaps interrupt your attempt, for a gap will produce an eddy, whereas your striving must be continuous like the flowing of oil, it must be sustained, constant, an unbroken stream.
That you have no control over the body’s need of food and sleep does not matter; your aim should be, not to allow any interval in the performance of your sddhana. Do you not see that whatever you require in the way of food and sleep, each at its own appointed hour, is without exception an ever recurring need? In exactly the same manner must you aspire at uninterruptedness where the search after Truth is concerned. Once the mind, in the course of its movement, has felt the touch of the Indivisible – if only you can grasp that moment ! – in that Supreme Moment all moments are contained, and when you have captured it, all moments will be yours.
Take, for example, the moments of confluence (sandhiksana) at dawn, midday and dusk, in which the power inherent in the contact-point, where coming and going meet, becomes revealed. What you call ‘electric discharge’ is nothing but the union of two opposites thus does the Supreme Being flash forth at the moment of conjunction. Actually IT is present at every single moment, but you miss it all the time. Yet this is what you have to seize; it can be done at the point of juncture where the opposites fuse into one.
Nobody is able to predict when for any particular individual this fateful Moment will reveal itself; therefore keep on striving ceaselessly.
Which exactly is that great Moment depends for each one upon his particular line of approach. Does not the moment at which you are born determine and rule the course of your whole life? Similarly, what is important for you is the Moment at which you will enter the current that is the movement of your true being, the Going Forth, in other words, the Great Pilgrimage. Unless this happens, perfection cannot be attained. This is why, for some disciples, the Guru fixes special times for sadhana, such as dawn, dusk, midday, and midnight; these are the four periods usually prescribed;
It is the duty of the disciple to carry out conscientiously the Guru’s orders, which vary according to the temperament and predisposition of the aspirant. The same method does not suit everyone. The average person can have no knowledge of the particular combination of factors that are necessary to bring to completion the hitherto neglected facets of his being; for this reason it is essential to obey the Guru’s instructions. The decisive Moment is bound to manifest as soon as by your attitude of mind, as well as by your actions, you are ready for it. Therefore try to follow closely the path indicated by the Guru, and you will see how everything just happens spontaneously.
Within the twenty-four hours of the day, some time must be definitely dedicated to God. Resolve, if possible, to engage regularly in japa of a particular Name or mantra while sitting in a special posture, and gradually add to the time or the number of repetitions. There is no need for a daily augmentation. Fix the rate and the interval at which you will increase, say fortnightly or weekly. In this way try to bind yourself to the Quest of God; wherever you may be, take refuge in Him, let Him be your Goal.
When by virtue of this endeavour you become deeply immersed in that current and devote ever more time to it, you will be transformed and your appetite for sense enjoyment will grow feeble; thus you will reap the fruit of your accumulated efforts. You may also come to feel that the body is liable to depart at any time, that death may arrive at any moment.
Just as there is ever new creation in the universe, so also does your mental and psychological reaction to i undergo constant change. If you proceed in the manner indicated, you will observe that as a result your outer interests will gradually fall away and your vision turn inward.
The more ardent your pursuit, the vaster the possibilities that will open out for you, and in proportion to your advance, suffering will diminish and not increase again. It is also said, is it not, that karma is extinguished by karma – that is to say, the effects of past actions are neutralize by counter actions.
Indeed, if it be anyone’s destiny, this may be achieved in a very short time. Look, even when the body is not given food, it does not stop the assimilation of nourishment; we are told that in such a case it starts consuming its own flesh. Therefore, just as you keep your body well nourished, so must you take equally good care where your spiritual well-being is concerned; then only will you flourish in that respect. Who can tell, at what moment the flame of illumination will blaze forth?
For this reason, continue your efforts steadily without flagging.
Gradually you will get more and more deeply absorbed in Him – He and He alone will preoccupy your thoughts and feelings. For the mind ever seeks that which gives it proper sustenance, and this cannot be provided by anything save the Supreme Being Himself. Then you will be carried away by the current that leads to your Self. You will discover that the more you delight in the inner life, the less you feel drawn to external things.
In consequence the mind becomes so well nourished with the right kind of food, that at any moment the realization of its identity with the Self may occur.
As regards laya: if you meant the mind’s dissolution into THAT, then what you said was correct.
Jada samadhi is not desirable.
On the contrary, you have to realize what the mind is, who it is.
The mind subsides into THAT ‘- is this what you intended to express?
Laya may signify either that the mind has nowhere to go to, in other words, can no longer find its way and hence subsides into latency; or else it merges into THAT, which is Self-revelation, and consequendy there can be no possibility of a separate existence of the mind. Where Self-revelation is, how can the question as to whether the mind gets dissolved or not, arise at all?
This has been replied to from the standpoint from which you asked.
You began by enquiring how meditation on a particular part can lead to meditation on the whole. Surely, the whole is contained in the part; it is in order to arrive at the realization of this truth that you have to follow the Guru’s instructions, which are instinct with His power.
The aforesaid gives but a faint idea of only one aspect of the whole matter.
Again, look, there are instances when one loses consciousness while sitting in meditation.
Some people have found themselves swooning away, as it were, intoxicated with joy, remaining in this condition for quite a long time. On emerging they claim to have experienced some sort of divine bliss. But this is certainly not Realization.
A stage does exist in meditation, where intense joy is felt, where one is as if submerged in it.
But what is it that gets submerged? The mind of course.
At a certain level and under certain circumstances this experience may prove an obstacle.
If repeated time and again, one may stagnate at its particular level and thereby be prevented from getting a taste of the Essence of Things.
Once genuine contemplation (dhyana) has been established, worldly attractions lose all their appeal. In the event of an experience of anything pertaining to Supreme Reality or to the Self, one does not say:
“Where have I been? I did not know anything for the time being;” there can be no such thing as -’not knowing’. If it is possible to describe in words the bliss one has experienced, it is still enjoyment and therefore a hindrance. One must be fully conscious, wide awake.
To fall into a stupor or into yogic sleep will not take one anywhere.
After real meditation worldly pleasures become unalluring, dull, entirely savourless.
What does vairagya signify? When every single objeet or the world kindles, as it were, the lire of renunciation, so as to make one recoil as from a shock, then there is inward and outward awakening. This, however; dues not mean that vairagya implies aversion or contempt for anything of the world, it simply is unacceptable, the body refuses it.
Neither dislike nor anger will arise.
When vairagya becomes a living inspiration, one begins to discriminate as to the true nature of the world, until finally, with the glowing certainty of direct perception the knowledge of its elusiveness arises.
Each and everything belonging to the world seems to burn; one cannot touch it This also is a state that may ensue at a particular time.
At present, what you enjoy does not impress you as being short-lived, rather does it appear to make you happy.
But to the extent that the spirit of detachment is roused, the relish of such pleasures will die down, for are they not fleeting?
In other words, death will die.
Now that you are advancing towards that which is beyond time, the semblance of happiness brought about by mundane things is being consumed.
As a result, the question – ” What actually is this world?” will arise.
So long as the world seems enjoyable to you, such a query does not present itself.
Since you are progressing towards that which transcends time, all that belongs to time will begin to appear to you in its true light.
If after coming down from the state of contemplation you are capable of behaving, as before, you have not been transformed.
When there is real meditation, which evokes indifference to the world, you will begin to pine keenly for the Divine, you will hunger for It and realize that nothing transient can appease this hunger or satisfy you.
How am I to make it clear to you, Pitajl?
People come to this body and tell of their sons and daughters having got into a car and driven away, without even looking up to see whether their father and mother were weeping. They are quite unmoved by their parents grief.
You see, this is precisely what it is like at a certain stage on the Path; worldly enjoyment cannot possibly touch you.
You feel: “Those whom I had believed to be my very own, are merely related to me by flesh and blood – what is that to me?”
Nobody deliberately puts his hands into fire or treads on a snake; in exactly the same manner, you just glance at the objects of sense and turn away.
Then you will get into the current that takes you in the opposite direction,and later, when you have become detached even from detachment,there is no problem of detachment or non-detachment – what is, is THAT.
Some say, by sustained effort one may attain to Enlightenment. But is it true that effort can bring about Enlightenment? Is Illumination dependant on action? The veil is destroyed, and when this has been accomplished, THAT which IS stands revealed. What is known as the fruit of effort is nothing but the illumination or the particular aspect towards which the effort has been directed
Unveiled light ( niravaran prakasa) is He Himself, the Eternal.- The Guru knows which is the right line of approach for any individual.
QUESTION. : At times we feel that sense objects really exist, at other times that they are merely ideas. Why does one and the same thing appear so different on different occasions?
SRI MA: Because you are in the grip of time.
You have not yet reached the state where everything is perceived as the Self * (*A play upon words: samaya and svamayi sound alike. samaya – time; svamayi – ‘permeated by Self’) alone, have you?
Herein lies the solution of the whole problem.
To feel as you do is good, since your feeling is related to the Supreme Quest; for nothing is ever wasted. What you have realized even for a second will, at some time or other, bear fruit.
Thus, what water, air, the sky, etc. are, and hence what creation is, the knowledge of the real character of each element (tattva) will flash into your consciousness one by one-just like buds bursting open.
Flowers and fruit come into existence only because they are potentially contained in the tree. Therefore you should aim at realizing the One Supreme Element (Tattva) that will throw light on all elements.
You asked about sense objects: an object of sense visaya,( – sense object, vis -poison, ha – ‘is’) is that which contains poison, is full of harm and drags man towards death. But freedom from the world of sense objects (nirvisaya) – where no trace of poison remains – means immortality.
QUESTION: Still, something of the burning pain of vairagya is left over?
SRI MA: What is it that produces the sensation of burning?
A sore surely! Because of it there is inflammation ; but whose sore is it? Unless there is a sore, there can be no smarting. Therein lies the deception : so long as Reality is not revealed, the sore will persist. If the inflammation is a healing process, it is of course beneficent. A patient who becomes unconscious is not aware of his agony – you can see how man is drowned in pleasure, loss and affliction – this surely is not what is wanted! This is the way of the world with is never-ending uncertainties*( Sansara – world, sansaya – uncertainty.)
Can you tell why one feels anguish?
INQUIRER: One is pulled in two directions, towards God as well as towards sense enjoyment – this causes anguish.
SRI MA: You have a desire to give up, but you cannot let go; such is your problem. Let that desire awaken in your heart – its stirring signifies that the time is coming when you will be able to give up.
You obtain a coveted object, but still you are dissatisfied ; and if you fail to get it, you are also disappointed.
The disillusionment you experience at the fulfilment of your wish is wholesome; but the torment of the unfulfilled hankering after the things you could not secure, drives you towards which is of death, towards that misery.
INQUIRER: The hunger of the senses can never be appeased; the more one gets, the more one wants.
The fulfilment of worldly desire only begets greater longing.
SRI MA: This world is itself but an embodiment of want, and hence the heartache due to the absence of fulfilment must needs endure. This is why it is said that there are two kinds of currents in human life : the one pertaining to the world, in which want follows upon want; the other of one’s true Being. It is characteristic of the former that it can never end in fulfilment – on the contrary, the sense of want is perpetually stimulated anew. Whereas by entering the latter man will become established in his true nature and bring to completion the striving which is its expression. Thus, if he endeavours to fulfil himself by entering this current, it will eventually bring him to the perfect poise of his own true Being.
QUESTION : And the anguish of not having found, the anguish of the absence of God? I have no wish for sense pleasures, but they come to me.
I am compelled to experience them.
SRI MA: Ah, but the anguish of not having found God is salutary. What you have eaten will leave a taste in your mouth. You wear ornaments because you wish to, and so you have to bear their weight. Yet this weight is fated to fall off, for it is something that cannot last, can it?
QUESTION: Are there instances when an Enlightened person may be in Ignorance?
SRI MA: You call a person Enlightened, and in the same breath say he may be subject to ignorance? Such a thing, Pitaji, is quite impossible.
There is, however, a state of attainment that is not maintained at all times, where what you suggest may apply; but never in a case of final Realisation. In whatever way you may perceive an Enlightened Being, He remains what He is.
How can there be a possibility of ignorance in what is termed Knowledge Supreme? When you speak of ignorance with reference to a Realised man, it is an example of Supreme Knowledge being mistaken for ignorance. Therefore, you also talk of ascent and descent. Just as there is no question of a body for one who is liberated, so for Him there can be none of rising up and coming down.
Nevertheless, there is a state of achievement in which ascent and descent do exist, really and truly.
Solan, September 19 th , 1948.
Someone told SRI MA about a man who, without stirring from his seat, would produce all sorts of articles, like flowers, garlands, sweets, etc. They just appeared in his hands. In this connection SRI MA related an incident that had taken place in Dacca many years ago.
SRI MA: What an incredible number of similar incidents has this body not witnessed! As a rule this body makes no comments upon such things, but on a particular occasion somehow something rather strange took place. When a certain lady came, I felt like lying down across her lap. As I did so, I distinctly noticed that a bundle containing various articles was tied in the lady’s sari in the region of her waist. Everyone began to request her to show them some objects that would come to her by supernatural means, since many had seen her do this before. People had heard it said that even the prasad from the Kali temple in Dakshineshwar would of its own accord appear in her hands.
This body said: “Even before it arrives from there I could disclose it; but would you like me to?”
The lady said : “Yes, of course !” The question was repeated several times, and every time she, as well as her devotees, replied : “Yes, please !”
This is how it all came about.
Even so, this body did. not take anything out with its own hands – only what was fated to happen, happened spontaneously.
Afterwards one of the lady’s devotees came to this body and inquired: “Ma, you never put anyone to shame, and certainly not in public. Why then did you do so in this case?”
She got the reply: “Yes, as you know, this body does not as a rule interfere with anyone’s natural ways. Yet, whether it concerns the most ordinary or the most extraordinary event, – call it as you please – what holds good for this body to this day and has until now been so always, is simply this:
whatever is meant to come about just happens spontaneously.
When that lady arrived, this body welcomed her with great respect, offering her its own a sana and putting a garland round her neck. How very pleased everyone felt !
Every form, every expression is He and He alone.
That day this body did not disclose anything.
But the lady of her own free will declared: ‘I shall come again tomorrow!’ You all heard it, did you not? What occurred then was His way of revealing Himself. Tell me, what is there to do? By whatever method He may choose to teach anyone, at any time – as far as this body is concerned, it has no desire of its own, – whatever comes to pass is all right (‘ja hoye jay’).*
*’Ja hoye jay’ This terse phrase is uttered by SRI MA again and again. It is pregnant with meaning; in fact, a whole philo sopby of life is implied. It ignifies that whatever happens is according to the Divine Will, and therefore equally welcome o SRI MA. It also expresses the complete absence of personal desire, surrender without reservation to Providence, and the conviction that nothing can come to pass that is not ultimately wrought by the Creator.
When (in the early days) this body used to do pranam to every creature, whether an insect, a spider, a dog, or a cat, it did so with the full consciousness of the presence of the Supreme Being in everything.
‘Whatever comes to pass is all right’ – there is something else to be said in this connection. To take recourse to falsehood or deception can never be for one’s good. He who deceives, will himself be deceived. On the other hand, falsehood may also be converted into truth. Someone may deliberately play false, yet through his disciple’s sincerity the truth may actually be brought to light. As a result the disciple excels the guru. The resolve to find the truth will inevitably lead to its revelation.
I told that lady’s devotee:
“How many times did I not ask you all ‘shall I disclose it?’ And without exception you kept on begging me to do so. Therefore – what more can be said?” What a great variety of similar incident occur!
Listen to the story of a young woman who, under the slightest provocation, would go into ‘samadhi’ so people believed. She appeared to become lifeless,. her hands and feet turning cold. When she came to this body, she also went into this strange state that people mistook for samadhi. The girl’s mother was called ‘grandmother’ by this body, both of us being from the same village. She said to me: “Grand-daughter, please try and help this girl!” I quite understood what was the matter with the young woman, so I whispered into her ear :
“You will very soon receive a letter from your husband;” whereupon she recovered in no time. The news of the cure spread far and wide. People felt greatly mystified, wondering at the powerful mantra SRI MA had whispered into the girl’s ear. Indeed, under the circumstances it was the appropriate mantra for her. The girl’s condition was solely due to worrying about her husband’s prolonged silence.
Then again there was a young man – into what supernormal states he used to pass, how many kinds of visions he had! He would, for example, do pranam and remain in that posture for hours together, without raising his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. He declared that he saw and heard n Krishna teaching Arjuna, as described in the Gita, and that he used to have many other visions and locutions of the kind.
This body told him that, if a sadhaka could not maintain firm control over his mind, he would be liable to see and hear many things, both illusory and genuine, all mixed up. He might even be subjected to the influence of some ‘spirit’ or power.
Such occurrences, far from creating pure divine aspiration, would rather hinder than help. Moreover, to see someone in a vision or to hear him address you, may well become a source of self-satisfaction or egotistic enjoyment.
To lose control over oneself is not desirable.
In the search after Truth one must not allow oneself to be overpowered by anything, but should watch carefully whatever phenomena may supervene, keeping fully conscious, wide awake, in fact retaining complete mastery over oneself.
Loss of consciousness and of self-control are never right.
In the course of the same conversation, SRI MA said:
The Lord Buddha is Himself the essence of Enlightenment.
All partial manifestations of wisdom that come in the course of sadhana culminate in Supreme Enlightenment (Bodha Svarupa).
In a similar way, Supreme Knowledge (Jnana Svarupa) or Supreme Love (Bhava Svarupa) may be attained.
As there is a state of Supreme Self-knowledge, likewise is there a state of perfection at the zenith of the path of love. There one finds the nectar of Perfect Love identical with Supreme Knowledge. In this state there is no room for emotional excitement; indeed, that would make it impossible for Supreme Love (Mahabhava) to shine forth. Be mindful of one thing: if, when following a particular line of approach, one does not attain to that which is the consummation of all sadhana, namely the final Goal, it means that one has not really entered that line.
At the supreme summit of Love, – which is Mahabhava – exuberance, excessive emotion and the like cannot possibly occur. Emotional excitement and Supreme Love are in no wise to be compared: they are totally different from one another.
While absorbed in meditation, whether one is conscious of the body or not, whether there be a sense of identification with the physical or not -under all circumstances, it is imperative to remain wide-awake; unconsciousness must be strictly avoided.
Some genuine perception must be retained, whether one contemplates the Self as such, or any particular form.
What is the outcome of such meditation?
It opens up one’s being to the Light, to that which is eternal.
Suppose the body had been suffering from some pain or stiffness – lo and behold, after meditation it feels perfectly hale and hearty, with not a trace of fatigue or debility. It is as if a long period of time had elapsed in between, as if there had never been a question of any discomfort. This would be a good sign. But if tempted at the first touch of Bliss to allow oneself to be drowned in it, and later to declare : “Where I was, I cannot say, I do not know,” – this is not desirable. As one becomes capable of real meditation, and to the extent that one contacts Reality, one discovers the ineffable joy that lies hidden even in all outer objects.
If on the other hand one loses oneself as it were, lapsing into a kind of stupor while engaged in meditation, and afterwards claims to have been steeped in intense bliss, this sort of bliss is a hindrance. If the life-force seems to have been in abeyance -just as one has a sense of great happiness after sound sleep – it indicates stagnation. It is a sign of attachment, and this attachment stands in the way of true meditation, since one will be apt to revert to this state again and again; although from the standpoint of the world, which is altogether different, it would seem a source of profound inward joy and therefore certainly an indication of spiritual progress.
To be held up at any stage is an obstacle to further progress – it simply means one has stopped advancing.
While engaging in meditation, one should think of oneself as a purely spiritual being (cinmayi), as Self-luminous, poised in the Bliss of the Self (atmarama), and in accordance with the Guru’s instructions, try to concentrate on one’s Ista.
The young man previously mentioned (the one who used to have visions) was intelligent, and therefore able to understand this sort of reasoning. As a result, the spectacular experiences ceased, and he now attends to his meditation and other spiritual exercises in a very quiet, unobtrusive manner.
Later, when the conversation again reverted to dhyana and asana, SRI MA said:
Look, if you spend hour after hour sitting in a certain posture, if you become absorbed while in that pose and are unable to meditate in any other, it shows that you are deriving enjoyment from the posture; this also constitutes an obstacle.
When one first starts practising japa and meditation, it is of course right to try and continue in the same position for as long as possible. But as one approaches perfection in these practices, the question as to how long one has remained in one posture does not arise; at any time and in any position – lying, sitting, standing, or leaning over to one side, as the case may be – one can no longer be deterred by any-thing from the contemplation of ones Ideal or the Beloved.
The first sign of progress comes when one feels ill at ease in anything but a meditative pose.
Nothing external interests one; the only thing that seems attractive, is to be seated in one’s favourite posture as long as possible and to contemplate the Supreme Object of one’s worship, plunged in a deep inner joy.
This marks the beginning of single-mindedness, and hence is a step in the right direction.
Yet, here great prominence is given to posture.
If one stays in that position as long as the inclination lasts – confident that the Beloved can never do one harm – and if one is able to remain fixed in it, then the posture becomes of overwhelming importance.
This only shows that one is nearing perfection in the practice of asana. Standing, sitting, walking in fact, any gesture taken up by the body is called an a sana. It corresponds to the rhythm and the vibration of body and mind at any particular moment. Some aspirants can meditate only if seated in the pose indicated by the Guru or formulated in the sastras, and not otherwise.
This is the way to proficiency in meditation. On the other hand, someone may begin his practice while sitting in any ordinary position; nevertheless, as soon as the state of japa or dhyana has been reached, the body will spontaneously take up the most appropriate position, after the manner that a hiccup happens involuntarily. As one’s meditation grows more and more intense, the postures will of themselves correspondingly gain in perfection. When a little air is pumped into a tyre, the tyre will be flabby; but when it is filled to capacity, it remains completely stable in its own natural shape. Likewise, when real meditation has been attained, the body feels light and free, and on rising after meditation there is no fatigue of any kind, no pain, numbness or stiffness in one’s limbs.
In true meditation Reality is contacted, and just as the touch of fire leaves an inipression, this contact also leaves its mark.
What happens as a result?
Impediments fall away – they are either consumed by vairagya, or ‘melted’ by devotion to the Divine.
Worldly things seem dull and insipid, quite foreign to oneself; worldly talk loses all its appeal, becomes devoid of interest, and at a further stage even painful. When a person’s earthly possessions are lost or damaged, the victim feels disturbed, which gives evidence of the stranglehold that sense objects exercise over men’s minds. This is what is called granthi – the knots constituting the I-ness.
By meditation, japa and other spiritual practices, which vary according to each one’s individual line of approach, these knots become loosened, discrimination is developed, and one comes to discern the true nature of the world of sense perception. In the beginning, one was enmeshed in it, struggling helplessly in its net. As one becomes disentangled from it, and gradually passes through various stages of opening oneself more and more to the Light, one comes to see that everything is contained in everything, that there is only One Self, the Lord of all, or that all are but the servants of the One Master. The form this realization takes depends upon one’s orientation. One knows by direct perception that, as ‘one exists, so everyone else exists ; then again, that here is the One and nothing but the One, that nothing comes and goes, yet also does come and go – there is no way of expressing all this in words. To the extent that one becomes estranged from the world of the senses, one draws nearer to God.
When attaining to true meditation, one’s chosen posture no longer represents either an obstacle or a source of enjoyment ; in other words, it is quite immaterial in what particular pose one happens to be. Whether one sits straight or crooked, the right posture will form of itself, pulling the body into the proper position. Again, there are occasions when one becomes entirely independent of the physical pose; in whatever attitude the body may happen to be, meditation just comes about effortlessly. Though, without a doubt, there is also a state in which, if one takes up a special pose, such as for instance, padmasana (the lotus pose) or siddhdsana (the perfect pose), no interruption of one’s union with the Supreme Being can ever occur.
Benares. August 11 th , 1948.
QUESTION: The other day, when speaking about visions and similar experiences that one has during meditation, you said these were not real visions but mere ‘touches’.
SRI MA : Yes, viewed from the level where one can speak of ‘touch’, this is so; that is to say, you have not been changed by the experience. Yet it is attractive to you, and you can express the feeling in words, which implies that you still take delight in sense objects. Therefore it is a mere touch. If transformation had ensued, you would be unable to feel worldly enjoyment in this way. How can there be enjoyment or relish in a transformed state of being?
QUESTION: Atman and Brahman are different only by way of posited limitation. The vision that comes by constant ‘meditation on ‘I am Saccidananda’ is Atma darsana (the vision of the Self). Since there can be no vision of the Brahman, it must therefore be a partial, that is a limited vision of the Brahman. Is this correct?
SRI MA: If you think there are parts in the Brahman, you may say ‘partial’. But can there be parts in the Absolute? As you think and feel in parts, you speak of ‘touch’ – but He is whole, THAT which IS.
QUESTION: Are there grades (krama) in knowledge?
SRI MA: No. Where knowledge is of the Self (Svarupa Jnana), how can there be various kinds or grades? Knowledge of the Self is one. Proceeding step by step refers to the stage where one has turned away from the pursuit of sense objects and one’s gaze is entirely directed towards the Eternal. God has not yet been realized, but the treading of this path has become attractive.
Along this line there are dharana, dhydna and samadhi.
The experiences at each of these stages are also infinite. Where the mind is, there is experience. The experiences at different stages are due to various forms of desire for Supreme Knowledge. The mind that has formerly been en-grossed in material things, and arguing that one cannot know whether God exists or not, had come to deny Him, is now turned the other way. Therefore, is it not natural that light should dawn upon it in accordance with the state it has reached? These states are known under various names. When do the visions that one gets in meditation cease? When the Self stands Self-revealed (Svayam Prakasa).
QUESTION : Does the body survive when the egomind has been dissolved (mailond)?
SRI MA: At times the question is asked: “How does the World-teacher give instruction? From the state of ajnana?” If his were so, the mind would not have been dissolved, the threefold differentiation (triputi) of the knower, the knowing and the known, could not have been merged. So what would He be able to give you? Where could He lead you? But there is a stage where this question does not arise. Is it the body that is the obstacle to Supreme Knowledge? Is there even a question of whether the body exists or not? At a certain level this question is simply not there. On the plane where this question arises, one is not in the state of Pure Being, and one thinks this question can be raised and also replied to. But the answer lies where there is no such thing as questioning and answering where there are no ‘others’, no division. And so, how can one possibly approach the Supreme Teacher and receive instruction? Similarly, the teachings of the sastras and other Scriptures have then become quite useless. This is one aspect of the matter.
To speak of grades (krama) in knowledge, as if one were studying for a university degree, is presenting the matter from the point of view of sadhana. Where the Self stands revealed, there can be no question of this. Yet, where there is personal effort, like the practice of meditation or contemplation, it will certainly bear fruit. But in the state of Self-illumination, there can be no such thing as attainment or non-attainment: though being there, it is not; and though it is not, yet it is – just like that.
Some say a last vestige of the mind remains. At a certain level this is so ; however, there is a stage beyond, where the question of whether a trace of the mind remains or not, does not exist. If everything can be burnt up, cannot this last vestige be consumed too? There is no question of either ‘yes’ or “no’: what is, IS. Meditation and contemplation are necessary because one is on the level of acceptance and rejection, and the aim is in fact to go beyond acceptance and rejection. You want a support, do you not?
The support that can take you beyond, to where the question of support or supportlessness no longer exists, that is the supportless support.
What is expressible in words can certainly be attained. But He is THAT which is beyond words.
INQUIRER: I have read in books that some say, they have to descend in order to act in the world. This seems to imply that although they are established in Pure Being, they have to take the help of the mind when doing work. Just as a king, when acting the role of a sweeper, has for the time being to imagine he is a sweeper.
SRI MA: In assuming a part, surely, there’ is no’ question of ascending or descending.
Abiding in His own Essential Being (Svara);
He Himself play various parts.
But when you speak of ascending’ an descending – where is the state of Pure Being? Can there be duality in that state? Brahman is One without a second. Though from your angle of vision, I grant, it does appear as you put it.
INQUIRER: You have explained this from the level of ajnana.
Now be pleased to speak from the level of the Enlightened (Jnani)!
SRI MA: (laughing): What you say now, I also accept. Here, (pointing to herself) nothing is rejected. Whether it is the state of Enlightenment or of ignorance – everything is all right. The fact is that you are in doubt. But here there is no question of doubt. Whatever you may say, and from whatever level – is He, and He, and only He.
QUESTION If this is so, is it of any use to ask you further questions?
SRI MA: What is, IS.
That doubts should arise is natural.
But the wonder is, where THAT is, there is not even room for different stands to be taken. Problems are discussed, surely, for the purpose of dissolving doubts. Therefore it is useful to discuss. Who can tell when the veil will be lifted from your eyes?
The purpose of discussion is o remove this ordinary sight.
This vision is no vision at all, for it is only temporary.
Real vision is that vision where there is no such thing as the seer and’ the seen. It is eyeless – not to be beheld with these ordinary eyes, but with the eyes of wisdom. In that vision without eyes there is no room for division?.
Here, (pointing to herself) there is no question of giving and taking, neither of serving.
On your level they exist, from there these topics arise.
This evening the following statement was made “Through the observance of silence one attains to Supreme Knowledge (Jnana)”.
SRI MA: How is that? Why has the word ‘through’ been used here?
A DEVOTEE : Silence is itself wisdom, the means is itself the end.
SOMEONE ELSE : By silence we have to understand the stilling of the five senses.
SRI MA : Yes, but why say ‘through’?
A DEVOTEE: Complete and exclusive concentration on the Self this is the significance of ‘through’.
SRI MA : When speech is suppressed, the activity of the mind still continues. All the same, such silence helps to control the mind. As the mind dives deeper, its activity slackens off, and then one comes to feel that He who provides for everything, will arrange matters. When the mind is agitated by thoughts of worldly things, the benefit that should be gained by abstaining from speech is lost.
One may, for instance, keep silent at the moment of anger, but some time or other it is bound to burst forth. When the mind is centred in God, it keeps on advancing steadily, and along with this emerges purity of body as well as mind. To let thought dwell on the objects of the senses is a waste of energy.
When the mind is thus occupied and silence is not observed, it finds release in speech. Otherwise, this kind of silence might put undue strain on the senses and possibly result in ill-health. But when the mind is turned inward, not only can there be no injury to health, but more than that, by constantly dwelling on the thought of God, all the knots (granthi) that make up the ego are unravelled, and thereby that which has to be realized will be realized.
To observe silence means to keep the mind fixed on Him.
At first one feels the impulse to talk, later all inclination and disinclination vanish. It is also like this : just as the bee collects honey, so alt that one needs is gathered together naturally. What is necessary becomes available of its own accord -presents itself, as it were – when there is ever closer union with Him.
When one entirely refrains from speaking and even from communicating by signs or gestures (kasta maunam), how is the body kept alive?
Everything dovetails, and the silent person just watches as a kind of spectator. In the measure that one progresses towards union, one will notice that obstacles disappear, and whatever is necessary provides itseif;
It is one thing if everything happens by itself, and quite another to make arrangements by one’s own effort.
Real silence means there is actually nowhere else for the mind to go.
In the end, whether the mind exists or not, whether one speaks or not, makes no difference.
To say “through silence He is realized” is not correct, because Supreme Knowledge does not come “through” anything – Supreme Knowledge reveals Itself.
For destroying the ‘veil’, there are suitable spiritual disciplines and practices.
QUESTION: What about the silent sadhu at Navadvip?*
( Many years ago, when SRI MA went to Navadvip with Bholanath, a sadhu there attracted very wide attention. He used to sit all day long in the lotus pose, so perfectly still ‘that it was difficult to find out whether he was a living man or a statue. Everyone felt awed and took it for granted that he was a great saint in a state of deep samadhi.
SRI MA, however, made no comment on the matter. Staying next door to the .u, she soon made sure that he bathed, ate and slept secretly during the night. By and by the sudhu confided to SRI MA that he was made to assume that pose in order to get money. Through SRI MA’s benign influence he gave up this life of deception.)
SRI MA: By practice he had made the body still, but his mind had not been transformed at all; it was a case of mere physical control. If his mind had been stilled, that kind of worldly behaviour would have been impossible. However, even such practice is altogether useless, it does lead to some result.
But That, which is the real need, is not found.
Benares, September 27 th , 1948
QUESTION: When the mind is immersed in samadhi, does one or does one not experience the supernormal (camatkara)? If so, does this imply that one has deviated from the object of one’s contemplation? And what is the real cause of this?
SRI MA: Samadhi means samadhana (solution, completion).
INQUIRER: Solution involves a question, whereas samadhi is a state in itself
SRI MA: This body does not use the language of the shastras; it refers to ordinary things, such as water, earth, air, and so forth, when it speaks. Those who have understanding are able to comprehend this kind of broken and incomplete language. Samadhana signifies the perfect resolution of form, formlessness, manifested being, and non-being – of everything. The solution of a problem is one thing; yet there is another kind of resolution where the possibility of problems and their solutions cannot occur; this is called samadhi.
INQUIRER: Quite so; thus there are two kinds of samadhi, namely savikalpa and nirvicalpa.
SRI MA: The first signifies the resolution of cosmic existence into the One Pure Existence (Satta), and as for the second – there, there is even no such thing as ‘Existence’.
INQUIRER: No such thing as ‘Existence’? What then is it?
SRI MA: So long as thoughts and ideas (sankalpa and vikalpa) persist, not even Savikalpa samadhi can occur. Savikalpa samadhi signifies Awareness of Existence. But when there is no question of Existence – when there is no possibility of differentiating ‘what is’ from ‘what is not’ – can anything be expressed in words, however little?
This is nirvikalpa samadhl.
Where is there room for the supernormal here?
INQUIRER: The supernormal, in other words, matters that are beyond this world (aloukik), are not within the reach of ordinary intelligence; yet they can most certainly be grasped by the mind. If one accepts the mind as a fact, its own creations are themselves the subjects about which it thinks. There is of course something apart from the mind – Cit, which is said to be complete in itself. Anything before the vision of the mind in contemplation, other than THAT, is what is usually called camatkara.
SRI MA: Who perceives the camatkara?
INQUIRER: The mind.
SRI MA: So then, if there is no mind, the super-normal cannot be perceived. Consequently, how can visions be seen in nirvikalpa samadhi?
INQUIRER: My reason tells me that in both types of samadhi the mind must be present. According to the shastras, in Nirbikalpa Samadhi the mind ceases to be. Of course, the gross mind does not persist, yet it will have to be admitted that the subtle mind remains in a state of latency. Otherwise, how could the experience be known afterwards? In other words, is it or is it Not remembered when it is over? If it is, then it will no doubt have to be conceded that the subtle mind still exists.
SRI MA: Some say that a tiny particle ( the technical term is ‘avidya lesa’ – a small residue of ignorance) of the mind remains; for if it did not, how could there be the manifestation of the body? But this body declares also this: If by the fire of illumination everything can be consumed, should not this tiny fragment be burnt up as well? Where experience occurs, the mind must of course exist; there can be no camatkara without the mind.
INQUIRER: If that small portion of the mind ceases to exist, how can the body continue? In which condition does the last trace of the mind disappear? While the prarabdha is still active, or after it has been exhausted?
SRI MA: What is your opinion, Pitaji? Of course, some maintain that in samadhi the ego-mind does not exist. However, this body says that, if by Supreme Knowledge everything is burnt up, should it not have the power to consume the praradbdha as well?
INQUIRER: If the prarabdha has been effaced, how can the body possibly persist?
SRI MA : Do you mean by this that so long as the body endures, there must of necessity be some prarabdha left over, and therefore the mind must also have survived? Well, yes, if you accept as a reality the body in the usually accepted sense of the word, you will undoubtedly have to admit the existence of prarabdha and, from your point of view, the existence of the mind too. ‘Body’(Sarira – body, sora – to move away) means perpetual change, that which is ever moving away. But in the state where death may be said to be dead, can there still be any question of a body?
INQUIRER: When one has visions of the supernormal, does it indicate that one has turned aside from the Supreme state, or not?
SRI MA: When the Ultimate Reality has been attained, there can be no question of either the super of deviating or not deviating from Reality. What is meant by videha-mukti?
INQUIRER: Not to be obliged to assume another body after this one has been left, is called videhamukti.
SRI MA : Very well; is the body then an obstacle, and does it therefore fall away?
INQUIRER: No, the objective of nirvikalpa samadhi is to attain to the power of imparting true knowledge to seekers (and for this a body is required).
SRI MA: Samadhi also has to be called a state. Everything is possible according to the particular stage of a person’s development. Everyone will assuredly gain the knowledge pertaining to the state he has reached.
INQUIRER: This being so, it is obvious that experience of the supernormal indicates a deviation from one’s object of contemplation.
SRI MA: When one’s object of contemplation has become Self-revealed, that is to say, when there is the revelation of THAT in the form of one’s object of contemplation, how can one deviate from it?
QUESTION: Has the experience of the supernormal not its root in desire ?
SRI MA: That only becomes manifest, of which the seed is sown; otherwise, how could it come into being?
QUESTION: Take the waves of a lake; they do not constitute the nature of the water, they are created by the wind; how is it possible to become desireless?
SRI MA: So long as the seed has not been sterilised, it is bound to germinate. Now then, what is your opinion, does the body survive or not, when true knowledge of the Self supervenes?
INQUIRER: I should think it would survive.
SRI MA: Yes – as some say, supported by the tiny portion of the mind that has been preserved?
QUESTION: Does a spiritual teacher instruct from the state of or is he still in the state of
SRI MA: It would certainly not be right to presume the state of ignorance of Reality when the aim of the instruction is Self-realization.
INQUIRER: This is why I feel that the karma cannot have been completely exhausted.
SRI MA: Just as an electric fan continues to revolve for a little while after the current has been switched off?
QUESTION: In this example, the electric current has been cut off completely. Does this then imply that, in a similar way, ignorance has been entirely destroyed?
SRI MA: The connection is broken. What had already begun and is taking effect is called prarabdha.
INQUIRER: If this be the case, can prarabdha bear fruit or not? I think that its destruction is not in keeping with the facts.
SRI MA: Does the teaching of the Enlightened Sage ( Jnani ) refer to truth as it reveals itself before His prarabdha is exhausted, or does it refer to the truth beyond?
INQUIRER: No, not to the Truth beyond. Instruction on pure Truth, untouched by prarabdha, is given by an Avatara. The Jnani teaching is limited by his prarabdha.
SRI MA: Where Knowledge is Self-revealed, does its Self-revelation depend upon karma?
INQUIRER: There are two kinds of knowledge: Svarupa Jnana (Knowledge of Self) and vritti jnana (acquired mental knowledge). The second kind of knowledge, which pertains to the jnani, enables him to reap the fruits of his prarabdha.
SRI MA: Do you mean to suggest that, just as a child gradually increases his knowledge by continuous study, here also there is progressive accumulation of knowledge? But this can not be called the state of Jnani!
INQUIRER: Svarupa Jnana is Self-revealed, whereas vritti jnana is knowledge of objects. Svarupa Jnana does not make a Jnani, He, who posses vritti jnana is called jnani, for knowledge of the Self is common to all.
SRI MA: Does ‘Knowledge of the Self’ mean that one is established in any particular state?
INQUIRER: One is established in the Self.
SRI MA: Quit right, Pitaji. As you say, every-one without exception is rooted in Knowledge of the Self; yes indeed, this is so.
INQUIRER: Nevertheless, not all are aware of this Knowledge. Those who have gained vritti jnana may alone be styled jnanis, for they will be able to guide an aspirant in keeping with his mental make-up.
SRI MA: Yes, but what has this to do with the state where the Self in its Glory stands ever Self revealed?
He who by gradual development has acquired knowledge and been progressively enlightened, he, as you say, is established in vritti jnana.
Words, arguments, language, and the like, are of the mind; whereas in the state that has just been referred to, there, language has no place. This body respects whatever anyone may say, because each person’s point of view depends on the particular stairway by which he ascends.
Whatever idea may be held – be it on a high or low level – it is all the same, so far as this body is concerned.
For this reason, whether anyone is of the opinion that the body can or cannot exist without or advances a theory from whatever point of view, everything is right on its own plane. Yet, beyond words and all expression, where there is manifestation and non-manifestation, duration and non-duration, space and space-lessness – there, nothing holds good.
Even the essence of the things of this world cannot be spoken about; but the essence of Transcendental Being is something far more remote. Then, there is also what is known as ‘merging’. But from that into which one is said to have merged, a yogi may be able to extricate one again; this also is a possibility mentioned by you people, is it not? Yet in the state of which this body tells, there it is not so – and ‘not so’ does not express it either. By reasoning and discrimination, one may arrive at the conclusion that a small portion of the mind remains so long as physical existence continues. But this body speaks of a state where there is not even the possibility of a trace of the mind.
QUESTION: Does the body then continue to exist or not?
SRI MA: In this particular state, if the body were an obstacle this state could simply not be. In this condition, the question whether the body is being retained or not, cannot arise.
QUESTION: Can there be inquiry and response in that state ?
SRI MA : Yes, there can be – if the idea of the body is there. For those who think there are disciples and Gurus, for them there are questions and answers.
INQUIRER: But then to speak of Gurus, disciples and so forth, is quite meaningless.
SRI MA: The progress of the disciple continues up to where the position of a teacher is held. If the teacher is in the state of ajnana, and the question is asked by one also in ignorance, how can there be even an expectation of the revelation of real Knowledge?
All the same, a discussion that aims at elucidating Self-realization will naturally be helpful and beneficial.
Very well, Pitaji, tell me, in the case of a preceptor who is a World-teacher, is it not natural that there should be questions and answers with a view to the attainment of Self-realization?
It is and will ever be so – surely?
Is this an untruth?
Something else has to be considered: Say, who replies to whom?
That questions are being put and replied to, is merely the idea of the inquirer at his stage. Can you call him who gives answers an individual, just because he responds? To whom does he reply ? Who replies, and what is the reply? Who is who in that state of Pure Being?
The place of vritti jnana is, where Self-revelation is not.
This is difficult to accept, while it is still a matter for acceptance or rejection. On the level where the question of acceptance or rejection cannot possibly arise, how can there be talk and conversation?
Pitaji, when you asked: “Tell me your experience,” it would imply that the experiencer has still remained.
This cannot be so here;
further more, the question of transmission of power by the Guru to the disciple is equally non-existent.
If there is no body, this question cannot be there either. There is no question of a physical or any other body. What is beyond even that, cannot be put into words in any language.
Whatever can be expressed in words or speech, is a creation of the mind.
Pitaji, as to the saying “There is only one Brahman, without a second” – in the Self there is no possibility at all of a ‘second’. The notion of the ‘two’ has come about through the operating of reason.
Just as you say:
“Without feet He walks and without eyes He sees.”
This body maintains that whatever anyone may say from the plane of reason – with the idea that the body exists, from the standpoint of the disciple – can be supported on the level of reasoning.
For one’s vision is conditioned by the spectacles one uses. This body declares that, whatever theory anyone may hold is based on reasoning, which presupposes the existence of a residue of the mind and of prarabdha.
But where THAT stands revealed, it is quite otherwise: there, to discriminate or speculate is impossible.
Beyond reason, beyond points of view, there is a state where none of these can be.
Pitajl, in very truth, in THAT there is no room for words, language, or discrimination of any kind. Whether one says ‘there is not’ or ‘there is’ – these are also merely words, words floating on the surface ( Bhasa – means language and also (spelt differently) “to float”. Therefor it said that here words, language, utterances of any type, have no place.
This is the truth, Pitaji, do you understand?
SRI MA added: You will not have received precise replies to your queries. From what has been said, you will have to take what can be grasped by the intellect.
Benares, August 12 th , 1948.
QUESTION: What are the benefits to be derived from hatha yoga, and what are its drawbacks?
SRI MA: What does ‘hatha’ mean? To do something by force.
‘Being’ is one thing, and ‘doing’ quite another.
When there is ‘being’, there will be the spontaneous manifestation of what is due to be manifested, owing to the prana functioning in a particular centre of the body.
On the other hand, if one practises hatha yoga merely as a physical exercise, the mind will not be transformed in the very least. By physical exercise bodily fitness is developed. One hears quite often of cases where the giving up of the practice of yogic postures and the like, has resulted in physical disorders. Just as the body grows weak from lack of adequate nourishment, so the mind has need of suitable food. When the mind receives proper sustenance, man moves towards God, whereas by catering to the body, he only increases his worldliness.
Mere gymnastics is nutrition for the body.
Now, as to ‘doing’ : Sustained effort ends in effortless being; in other words, what has been attained by constant practice is finally transcended.
Then comes spontaneity.
Not until this happens can the utility of hathayoga be understood. When the physical fitness resulting from hathayoga is used as an aid to spiritual endeavour, it is not wasted.
Otherwise, it is not yoga, but bhoga (enjoyment).
In effortless being lies the path to the Infinite. Unless hathayoga aims at the Eternal, it is nothing more than gymnastics. If in the normal course of the practice His touch is not felt, the yoga has been fruitless.
One comes across people who, by engaging in alt sorts of yogic exercises, like neti, dhauti, and others of the kind, have become seriously ill.
At Nain(dh)al I recently met a young man who had ruined his health completely by practising hathayoga. He was suffering from persistent diarrhoea, which simply would not stop. He and some of his friends had decided to become experts in hadzayoga, and to start a College, where union with God would be attained through this discipline. But they, one and all, fell ill.
A competent teacher, who understands every change in the movement of the disciple’s prana, will accordingly either speed up the process or slow it down just as a helmsman steers a boat with the rudder held firmly all the time. Without such direction hathayoga is not beneficial. He who would guide, must have first-hand knowledge of everything that may occur at any stage, must see it wit the perfect sharpness of direct perception.
For is he not the physician of those on the Path! Without the help of such a doctor, there is danger of injury.
Everything becomes smooth once the blessing of His touch has been felt. It is just as, when bathing in a river, one at first swims by one’s own strength; but once caught in the current, whether a good swimmer or not, one is simply carried away. Therefore it is detrimental if this ‘touch’ is not experienced. One must enter into the rhythm of one’s true nature. Its revelation, acting as a flash of lightning, will attract one to it instantaneously, irresistibly ; there comes a point where no further action is needed. So long as this contact has not been established, dedicate to God whatever inclinations or disinclinations you may have, and devote yourself to service, meditation, contemplation – to anything of this kind.
Generally you perform your daily worship in the accustomed manner. If you feel the desire to practise some extra japa or meditation, it shows that you have caught a glimpse, however faint, and there is then hope that gradually the rhythm of your true nature may emerge. In this condition, the sense of ‘I’ (aham) still persists, but this I is turned towards the Eternal, intent on union with Him. Whereas, actions done with a view to fame or distinction are of the ego (ahamkdra), and therefore obstacles, impediments.
Whether you practise hathayoga or rajayoga, or any other yoga, it can be harmful only if pure spiritual aspiration is lacking.
When doing asanas and the like, if you have found access to nature’s own rhythm, you will see that everything proceeds smoothly and spontaneously.
By what signs is this to be recognized?
There is a sense of play, a deep delight,
and the constant remembrance of the One.
Indeed, this is not the outcome of the practice of worldly observances. What has been referred to here is that which can only become revealed spontaneously – of its own accord. This is why there is constant remembrance of the One: man’s true nature flows towards God alone.
Again, sometimes when sitting in meditation you will find that rechaka, puraka, or kumbhaka have come about without effort. When the movement of your true nature sets in, then, because it is directed solely towards God, the knots of the heart will be unravelled.
If during meditation you find perfectly correct asanas forming of themselves – the spine becoming erect of its own accord – then you should know that the current of your prana is turned towards the Eternal.
Otherwise, when you are engaged in japa, the right flow will not come, and your back may begin to ache. Still; even this kind’ of japa is not without its effect, although its specific action is not experienced. In other words, the mind is willing but the body does not respond, and therefore you do not get the exhilaration that comes with the aroma of the Divine Presence.
To let the mind dwell on sense objects, still further increases one’s attachment to them. When intense interest in the Supreme Quest awakens, ever more time and attention will be given to religious thought, religious philosophy, the remembrance of God as immanent in all creation, until thereby every single knot is untwisted. One is stirred by a deep yearning: “How can I find Him?” As a result of this, the rhythm of body and mind will grow steady, calm, serene.
Some of you naturally conceive a desire to do asanas and the like as spiritual exercises.
If in this no wish to show off is present, it will be easy to enter into the rhythm of your true nature. But if the mind is held captive by the body, these exercises become mere gymnastics. It happens that aspirants are driven in the direction they are meant to go, although at first they are not conscious of this, or even if they be, they are unable to resist.
Suppose some people go to bathe in the sea and make up their minds to swim ahead of everyone else; consequently they will have to look back. But for him, whose one and only goal is the Ocean Itself, no one has remained for whose sake he looks back or is concerned; and then, what is to be, will be.
Give yourself up to the wave, and you will be absorbed by the current; having dived into the sea, you do not return anymore.
The Eternal Himself is the wave that floods the shore, so that you may be carried away.
Those who can surrender themselves to this aim will be accepted by Him.
But if your attention remains directed towards the shore, you cannot proceed – after bathing you will return home. If your aim is the Supreme, the Ultimate, you will be led on by the movement of your true nature. There are waves that carry away, and waves that pull back. Those who can give themselves up, will be taken by Him.
In the guise of the wave He holds out His Hand
and calls you: Come, Come, COME!
QUESTION: How can we benefit spiritually by action?
SRI MA: By doing work for its own sake, engaging in karmayoga. As long as a desire to (distinguish oneself is lurking, it is karmabhoga – working for one’s own satisfaction). One does the work and enjoys its fruit, because of the sense of prestige it brings. Whereas, by relinquishing the fruit, it becomes karmayoga.
QUESTION: How is it possible to work without desire?
SRI MA: By doing service with the feeling that one is serving the Supreme Being in everyone. The desire for God-realization is obviously not a desire in the ordinary sense. “I am Thy instrument; deign to work through this, Thy instrument”. .
By regarding all manifestation as the Supreme Being, one attains to communion that leads to liberation. What ever work is undertaken, let it be done with one’s whole being and in the spirit: “Thou alone workest,” so that there may be no opportunity for affliction, distress or sorrow to creep in.
Another point: If the attitude “through my shortcoming the work has not been done well enough, I should have taken still greater pains over this service,” is not persisted in, the work must be considered to have been done carelessly. Therefore, as far as it lies in your power there should be no neglect. Beyond that, feel that whatever happens is in His hands; you are but the tool. Because’ of this, put your body, mind and heart into any service you may do, and for the rest take it that what comes about was destined to be – “Thou has manifested Thyself in this way as was ordained, and so has it been wrought.”
QUESTION: Even when there is spontaneous action, it is still action. Hence, if there is no other Guru, how can our doubts be cleared?
SRI MA: There are two kinds of action you may say, and an infinite number of kinds.
However, this requires explanation.
When an asana begins to form, it speaks just as you – “I do”.
In what manner? When the purpose for which the asana is done becomes disclosed, when that, which can be attained through any particular yogic posture, is accomplished, this may be called as “its language.”
When a sick man moves about too much, he overstrains himself and becomes breathless. Naturally everyone’s breathing changes its rhythm constantly according to the way one sits or moves, only one is not aware of it. One who has control over his breath can transfer it at will to any level. In the beginning, those of you who practise yogic postures do not know which leg to cross first and which after, and whether to inhale or exhale while doing so.
Consequently, what you do is in part incorrect.
When you want to open something and you do not know how it is done, damage may ensue. When an asana forms spontaneously, you will notice that your legs fold and unfold in the correct manner and in harmony with the breath. It is a sign that the Guru is – at work, when the asana and the breath are in perfect concord.
While before one had no knowledge of the posture, it is now clearly understood.
In terms of the mind: one watches oneself as a witness, like a child as it were; one feels that someone is causing everything to be done, and that at the same time the movement of the mind is being stilled.
When the vibrations of your body and prana have reached a stage where there is great skill in every-thing relevant to the Supreme Quest, you will find yourself voicing spiritual truths – this is the spontaneous action at that stage. And when you become established at the level of a Risi to whom mantras are revealed, that is to say, when the vibrations of your body and prana have become centred there, words corresponding to this level will issue from your lips.
There is a state in which you may have neither knowledge nor understanding of what is taking place, as for instance, when a yogic posture of which you are ignorant forms unawares. Who has brought it about?
The inner Guru.
In a similar way, when a mantra bursts forth, the solution to your problem and the inner significance (tattva) of the mantra in its supramental form (pratyaksa murti) appear directly before you ; in other words, together with its essence, its subtle form stands revealed. At that moment you come to understand the real nature of the inner Guru:
He dwells within and works from there.
Not only have your doubts been dispelled, you have also gained understanding of the mantra’s esoteric meaning.
This is real darsana.
Here you receive a response without being aware of how it has come about. In another ‘variety of experience’, the hidden process of what is taking place is uncovered. Here the mantra, the tattva, the Guru and the Ista are revealed simultaneously. This is an example of receiving revelation with the full knowledge of all its phases and aspects. Suppose one is engaged in japa or meditation. A question arises in the mind.
In a flash the reply is there.
One realises: “The Guru has told me this what has come to me is the Guru’s own teaching.”
There is a line of approach through action, and another through the mind: or to be more precise,
in the first case action predominate,
in the second the mind, although concentration of the mind is necessary for both.
They work together, only there is predominance of the one over the other: when asanas are, that means, action prevails, but when mantras are used, the mind.
Again, who is it that guides me from outside?
It is also He, for verily, there is no other.
What has just been said are fragments from here and there. They have been given, so that each one may get what is helpful to him, and as much as he is able to grasp.