The real state of enlightenment comes when we get into full consciousness of the condition of enlivenment and after imbibing its effect secures our merging in it. When we develop this state and merge into its consciousness we come to know all about it and thus become gnani i.e., enlightened up to that extent. The blissful state brought about by it, tempts our heart to go ahead and our touch with it offers inducement to enter into the next stage. Our courage intimates to us the happy tidings of our onward march towards the real life, which follows every layavastha** state of merging. We get into it. It helps us further and we begin to advance towards the next point. The feeling of restlessness is no doubt there, but if our will is strong and our efforts sincere, the next condition, which is superior to the previous one, shall dawn without doubt. Though in fact we have to go nowhere everything being close at hand, yet we have to arrive at the final state definitely. If we get a good guide who pulls out the inner poison then the nectar alone remains. By self-effort people sometimes do proceed up to some distant limit as well but definitely they take a very long time and the danger of being caught within the whirls persists throughout. In the same way there are numerous sub-points and at each of them the states of merging and identicality repeat themselves.
Now I may throw some light on the state of consciousness, which blooms after this first sub-point. When we cross this point to breathe in the next, everything seems to be changed. When we get merged into it a godly state begins to reign within and when identicality is developed we begin to feel that a peculiar state reflecting a tinge of divine touch prevails over all objects, animate and inanimate. There is such an indescribable outburst of emotional feelings at this point as often drives people, who lack the support of a worthy guru of calibre, to a state of mad ecstasy avadhuta** which keeps him entangled in it for ever, putting a permanent full stop to his onward advancement. Now let us ask those who boastfully profess to be the enlightened ones or gnani whether they have ever come across such a state, which in fact is but the beginning of the first chapter of the book of knowledge. If we try to attain this state by applying our force of thought, it will only be artificial and not true and genuine.
Now we arrive at the next sub-knot. The consciousness of the condition prevailing at it is in the second stage of knowledge. When by dint of our love and devotion we secure our approach up to it we find that the condition now becomes lighter and finer than the previous one. What is it that we find at this second knot? It is a state that presents to our view the presence of the godly state prevailing all round and pervading everything. It reflects a tinge of plainness and simplicity, which shows that we have gone into it further. At every point the process of merging and identicality repeats itself, the latter being the final stage of the knowledge or jnana of the point. When we have gone through it sufficiently and have experienced everything fully, the next knot then comes to our view.
Our intensity of devotion now forces our way into it. It must be borne in mind that on entering into every successive knot there is a slight feeling of heaviness in the mind on account of which people often discontinue the practice. But if we take into consideration that every attack of illness is followed by the restoration of good health, we will be encouraged better to attempt crossing of the knots. Now the tone of spiritual experiences is further changed. We feel considerably relieved of the previous denser effect. A clearer view of Reality now begins to dawn. Lightness develops to the extent of simplicity all through, though perfect purity is yet far off. This condition comes in about the end of the second knot. Here we feel glimpses of soul and our experiences at the point are of similar nature. For this reason it is known as the seat of atman. Cleanliness and simplicity are the characteristic features of this state. A feeling of moderation is also experienced to a certain extent. There are innumerable sub-points, the detailed description of which is not of much consequence and their difference is beyond words to explain. In short now the blissful conditions of the sphere of the soul are being unveiled unto us. We get acquainted with characteristic features of the region and by continued meditation we secure our merging into it. The first covering is now removed and we begin to sense the fragrance of the Soul and similar visions appear within and without. Unless we have attained full realisation of this state we cannot claim to have acquired knowledge at all. If we try to develop it by the force of concentration it will only be sham. The extraordinary mental visions will no doubt come to view but since they have resulted from the exercise of thought-power they will only serve as a bondage to keep us ensnared so tightly that it shall almost be impossible to extricate ourselves from it. A true aspirant is he who adopts the right course and the right procedure from the beginning to the end.
This second knot covers the entire sphere of the soul. It comprises innumerable sub-points appearing in the form of layers, settled round one after the other and which we have all to get over in order to emerge out of the region. Anyhow we now exert ourselves to get out and arrive at the next stage by the help of the divine grace. Now our entry into the next sphere of divine enlightenment justifies our claim to have become gnani or knower up to that extent.
Existence comprises of all the various forms and conditions in which the different elements appear to us. Now the next stage comes in when the divine luminosity appears in the form of bursting flames of fire. A true devotee associates the heat thereof with that of true love. I may also add that at the time of the creation the Origin wherefrom the currents began to flow out was cold because it was unalloyed with matter. As they flowed out they gave out jerks, which went on multiplying. The jerks occurred mostly at the point wherefrom the process of creation had started. It will be more comprehensible if for the sake of understanding we divide it into three parts. When the coolness got extended up to the limit where it started generating heat mostly by its own actions, there from it began to assume the differentiated form. It was of course the central part. Now the same central part came to our lot in the form of a granthi or knot. There we find some circling rings in it. To be more plain I may frankly say that the very Root-Element now by itself turned into a knot and owing to the multiplicity of actions and counter actions, assumed such denseness as to transform it into matter. Now we are absorbed in it through our thought and are wandering round in it so that we may be able to proceed onwards. When our intense craving brings us in direct contact with the real condition at the knot we find it to be related with the element of fire. By securing merging in it one acquires command over the element of fire. When we cross this sub-point we come to the consciousness of its original state, which serves as a ladder for our further approach towards fuller apprehension. Merging has developed in us the knowledge of the condition of the place. It is now ours and we have acquired mastery over it, and have become gnani up to that level. This is what jnana really means and such is the actual condition of the gnani the knower of the divine knowledge. The real knowledge of a state means complete identicality with the state we have merged in. It brings us to full consciousness of the condition and for this very reason it is interpreted as the real life, which can be experienced only by an animate being. Being thus encouraged we now begin to aspire impatiently for further knowledge.
We proceed on and come to the next higher region. The state of fire now disappears. This shows that we have now entered the state which is quite opposite in character to the previous one and it is that of water. If we settle down at this merging, then in spite of all our wanderings in it we can but master this element alone. The help that knowledge offers us is that it infuses us with a longing for the search of the Ultimate. If this longing is absent or one does not crave for Reality in true sense, he stops at the point and begins displaying miracles. We can truly realise the condition of the region only when our craving for reality helps us to develop in us the state of identicality, which follows every merging. Since we aim at the absolute Reality, we, in spite of our mastery over the knot, never feel inclined to utilise this power. There is such a soothing tranquillity at this point as one would feel by the refreshing effect of a vast stretch of water before his view. Identicality with that condition will bring the abhyasi to fuller realisation of the state.
Yet there remains one thing to be brought to light. It is that at every knot the state of identicality following the merging is not in fact the final phase of the condition at the point. This state of identicality too merges again into another finer state known as sayujyata (i.e., close conformity). When that has been attained, then alone can the knowledge gained be deemed as complete. Now this closeness or sayujyata having been attained we proceed on further for higher knowledge.
There is a great difference between search and craving, the latter being more appropriate. Our craving brings us to the knot, which is decidedly superior to all previous ones. Now we have reached the point and begun traversing it through and experiencing things in a practical way. Now we have our firm stand on it, and our thought assumes a similar trend, which continues till at last we develop the state of merging in the state of wandering. This offers us opportunity to experience its condition, which is somewhat peculiar in nature.
By now we acquire control over the element of air. But the air here is quite changed. There are no gusts in it. It is something very calm and soothing. At this point an abhyasi often develops two conditions. Sometimes a feeling of sadness is felt and tears well up while he is passing from this state of knowledge to that of the real one. And sometimes the air here thrills him with experiences exciting laughter and weeping. In our system an abhyasi is not allowed to stay long at this state but is taken onwards after having developed the state of identicality through the Master's power. Thus the time now comes for the abhyasi to move ahead. The full knowledge of the pind - or the material sphere - is now attained.
There is a particular sound too at every knot, the higher the knot the sweeter is the sound. It is loudest in the pind - material sphere - but it grows softer and softer as we ascend higher. If one concentrates one's attention over these sounds or on their rhythmic rise and pitch he develops only the siddhis or the miracle-working capacity. The sound at all the five knots, though slightly different, is much similar to each other. It is known as the wisdom of five-fires** (panch agni vidya) over which Ravana had acquired full control. But friends, my purpose is not to make one a demon, so I keep them unrevealed. Let any one who likes to do so, try for himself. The vibrations at the point are such as to make one feel the echo of the sound there. They grow loud and low with the change in the condition.
Now we move on to the supra-material sphere, the brahmanda mandal. It is now the sixth knot, wherefrom the supra-mental sphere begins. It may not be here out of place to mention that one who after passing through the pind-desh has stepped into the brahmanda mandal shall not return to this earth for rebirth. This is the only benefit derived from knowledge up to this limit. The form of experiences is now changed and the effect of matter thins away considerably. From this point we now proceed either by the usual course stated previously or if available by the help and support of a worthy guide, who does not detain him longer than it is absolutely necessary but helps him on to the next knot after creating in him the conditions of the previous points. Those who proceed independently also get up to it through the usual process of merging and identicality but the result often is that they are attracted by its charming aspect and do not feel like going up towards the next stage. There is sufficient light at this knot along with a slight tinge of haziness. When we attain identicality, the haziness melts away and light alone remains. This point is the distributor of power coming down from the above. It also supplies power to the pind or the material sphere.
We have now come to the seventh knot, which is completely in the supra- mental sphere or brahmanda desh and is also known as the region of virat. What to say of its grandeur! May God help everyone to get up to it so that the happy prospects of further progress be opened to him. Here the feeling of holiness and piety is predominant, but still the effect of matter breathes. The power of the atom, which was utilised in the war of Mahabharat, is immensely great. The powerful electric energy which a yogi must have full control over, is in abundance at this point and almost every Indian yogi did possess it to a great extent. Perhaps there might hardly be one among the ancient sages of India who might have been devoid of this great power. It is so charmingly attractive that often an abhyasi comes to a stop at it and his further progress gets arrested. Yet the condition though seemingly marvellous, is in respect of yoga but a toy for a child to play with. This power had grown abnormally great in Rishi Durvasa and it had become linked with the rudra-shakti, the centre where the faculty of upsetting others to the extent of tears is predominant. Yet India holds saints in such great esteem that even Durvasa was accepted as the incarnation of rudra. I do not want to comment upon the actual position of Durvasa in the spiritual field or how far he was successful in achieving his object of life in view of such adverse developments.
The region is the storehouse of inexhaustible energy, which supplies power to every thing in the pind-desh. Here every thing is present in the microcosmic state. When we get into the knowledge of this region we become conscious of every power present there. When our merging in it starts we feel in every point within us immense power similar to that of electricity. Our expansion in it now begins and we realise that we are expanded all over the world. It is so because by the effect of our expansion in it, we develop corresponding expansion in the pind-desh as well. Yogis can utilise this power even for the temporary suspension of a law of Nature. He can use this power any way he likes even for the greatest work of any kind. If he gets completely merged in it he can set at naught the force of the fiercest explosives. All events occur here in the astral form before they actually happen on the earth in the physical form, and one can read them there before they come into action in this material world. If we are sensitive enough we can discover at even the most minor points in the brahmanda the presence of all great powers, which govern the parts of the universe, connected with them. Modern science may perhaps exert itself to discover means for utilising them for producing destructive weapons, but only the advocates of Western culture can take up this job since their viewpoint is more material than divine. But a yogi thinks the other way, and his object being realisation, he utilises these powers for the betterment of the world and the well- being of its people, such occasions no doubt being exceptions when Nature itself demands their destructive use which happens off and on. It is such a vast region that even thousands of years may not be enough to have a complete round through the region. Complete traversing of the region is possible only when we get such a worthy guide as may by his own power take us round through the entire region in the shortest possible time. We do need such a guide because we have to attain the goal after crossing all these various knots. He received light from this sphere to distribute it everywhere. The moon, the stars and planets all get their light from it.
It is, therefore, necessary for us to have our merging in this knot and to traverse it all through in a way to know most about it, after going through the usual process of merging and identicality. It is the point where often people embark upon the state of mad-ecstasy like that of an avadhuta, which bars his further progress. Anyhow when we acquire the states of merging and identicality, the phase changes and the knowledge of the sphere is gained. The feeling of purity persists still though with some sharpness which affirms the existence of some force in it. What answer will the gnanis agnostics of today, give if they are asked about the extent of their knowledge, although to confess the truth the condition of the real knowledge has not even dawned in them as yet. It is a matter of regret that people often present themselves in false colours in a state which they never have arrived at. The fact is that either they misunderstand it or they only mean to show off in order to impose their own greatness. The people having eyes and vision are no doubt rare and even if there happens to be one, none of them will ever be inclined to accept him as such or to believe in what he says, rather they will all join together to drown his judgement in their clamour.
How nice a place, beyond all appreciations! A fuller description of the region might cover volumes. I may here add that the sudarshan chakra finger wheel of Lord Krishna which is so highly spoken of in the book of yore, possessed the power of this very region. Now I probe into the knot to tell you something more about it. On entering into its mysteries an abhyasi finds in it some sort of whirling rings which contain so much power and momentum that if it is applied to any of the biggest objects it will not only be shaken but even shattered to pieces by the effect. There are many other things which an abhyasi may experience when he gets into this state.
How is this power generated? When several planets constellate they create a force, which maintains them at their respective places. Mastery over this point endows a man with similar powers. Acquiring mastery over a certain condition is nothing but merging in it just like medicine which gets dissolved into the body of a man. When we have achieved so much then a little higher above we come across another thing, which I have termed as mahakal-chakra** the wheel of the Supreme. It is that which creates field for the force, which maintains stars at their respective places. It is far more strong and effective than the Krishna-chakra which cannot hold candle to it. It is the mightiest instrument, which is utilised for effecting a complete overhauling of the entire universe. This force exists at the point where the seventh knot ends. I may, with due apology, also say that most probably Lord Krishna too might not have had it for the reason that it was not required at the time. But now the time for it has come and it is very likely that Nature might have allotted it to somebody for use.
I may herein deal with another striking point which may no doubt be shocking to some of the people, but let the truth be out. Aham brahmasmi I am Brahman is supposed to be the highest state at present and those who claim to understand it are taken as the wise or the knower of the divine knowledge gnani. But can any one claim 'hand aufs herz'(An oath for truth, meaning 'hand on the heart') that the condition has actually developed in him? Just as for the description of the taste of wheat one might express it to be slightly sweetish, but the fuller understanding of it is never possible unless he has practically tasted it, so is the case with these wiseacres gnanis of today who by turning over the pages of books arrive at a declared conclusion without having any direct practical experience. Some light is thrown on this pitiable state of affairs in the Reality at Dawn. Briefly here I may add that the feeling of aham brahmasmi** is
experienced at every knot on the point of contact of the body and the soul. But this experience becomes more vivid and real when this knot is arrived at and one's mental trend so harmonises with it as to keep the sense of the experience alive in him. He feels that the heat and the light of the sun, the brightness and the cool effect of the moon and the glow of stars are all his. So much so if anyone talks about Rama, Krishna or other higher souls, he feels that it is a talk about himself and for this he feels no scruple. After continued experiences when the condition gets matured another mystery is unravelled. When we have become intensely attached to it or in other words, have merged the experiences too, our vision then turns upwards and promotes a tendency for the feeling of "It is what it is." A slight tinge of this state does exist after every merging but there it is more obvious because we are now present in the vast sphere of divinity ishwari mandal. When we go ahead and merge into the state of "It is what it is," we have then no other experience than "All from Him."
It is a mighty vast knot comprising of innumerable different states. One peculiar feature of this region is that after sufficient progress when an aspirant views a thing outside, he does not actually feel its presence though its physical form is before his eyes. That means his heart remains free from the impression of its existence. I have herein dealt with only the main features of the region. If the aspirant has sufficient interest and eagerness for it and also a capable guide to lead him on, he then gets the happy intimation of proceeding on to the next knot after the state of identicality gets matured.
Our craving now brings us to this eighth knot. The entire scene is now changed. The conditions, which had been experienced at the seventh knot, come to view now in a more subtle form. Here the abhyasi feels that the world is like a dream or the playground of Nature. Sense of dissociation or unattachment - vairagya - becomes very strong. Beyond it, even vairagya, as it is, has no access, for it changes its form and then alone it can be taken as fully matured. Everything here seems to be very light. Thought loses its weight and the abhyasi begins enjoying peace and settledness. This blissful state of peace is in due course transformed into Reality. But dear brethren, a real seeker is he who all along with his state of tranquillity, feels a restless craving for the realisation of the Ultimate. It is in fact the very thing which removes thorns and thistles from our path and facilitates our march onwards.
We have persistently been hearing that the world is like a dream and that we should take it to be so. But to my mind those bookworms themselves have never been able to visualise it in that light, though the preachers have ever been emphasising it vigorously. As a matter of fact it is in an inner condition which blooms automatically by the effect of the right practice when one reaches up to it. If we force our mind to accept it as such it will be a mere hoax, far far away from Reality. It is in fact the condition of a particular place which a pilgrim on the path comes across during the course of his journey. If we harden this feeling through artificial means and thereby draw the conclusion that we have acquired knowledge and that we have actually realised the world as a dream, it will be highly deceptive. The characteristic feature of the place is peace and our merging in it means that we have absorbed it fully. When we emerge out of it to attain identicality we gain full experience of the condition. In this state we feel a sort of freshness like that which a sun stricken person would feel after a cool bath in the river in the hot summers. Now when we have attained identicality which in other words, means living in the life of the place, the condition that develops after merging further into that living too, brings to us the happy tidings of our approach to the next knot.
We now enter the ninth knot. The form of experiences changes further and we now come to the point wherefrom the real contact with Bhuma - the Absolute - starts. We enter a state in which we feel like born anew into another world. Our expansion in it now begins and along with it we also begin to gain consciousness of That to whom the sphere, we are now reborn in, belongs. Our feeling brings us to a conscious understanding of it and the mind recognises the presence of the Lord. His presence impresses the abhyasi so deeply that unconscious worship starts within. Individual activities of worldly nature get almost exhausted before coming into this state and the bare relationship between the Master and the servant remains to view. "He is the Master and we are his slaves," is the predominant feeling at this knot, together with a reverential consciousness of His presence. Our own state at this stage is that of extreme supplication with an inexpressible softness of heart, marking the total absence of all feelings of ill will or enmity. This in fact opens to us the very first chapter of divine knowledge. From this point the sense of self-existence begins to dissolve and the more we probe into it the more we are successful in the negation of self. For further clarification of the condition of self at this stage I may cite the example of Hanuman, whose inner powers were awakened only when he was reminded of their presence in him. Otherwise he remained quite forgetful of them. But onwards still we have to go, passing through the usual states of merging and identicality at every point. When all these conditions get merged into the state of identicality, which in its turn reaches the merging point, we feel our happy approach to the next knot.
When we reach this tenth knot the previous conditions change their phase. By now we become so much accustomed to supplication that we begin feeling His home to be ours. That is to say, we begin to sense a feeling of "Masterhood." But this, not being an imposition, is the actual condition of the place which develops by the effect of our close proximity with the Lord and which must come to an abhyasi at this level. Just as on witnessing the gentle flow of a watery current one often begins to feel the dancing of the waves in his heart, so does an abhyasi at this stage feel and is inwardly prompted to revere his own self. Putting it another way I may say that for enjoying the fine fragrance of the sandal one has to go to the tree itself, but when he applies its paste on his forehead he gets close to it and enjoys it just in the same way. We are now at His portals and feel the cool breeze coming from within. The Master too starts sensing that one of His slaves is in wait for Him. Sameness also begins to develop to some extent though much is yet to be covered in respect of closeness. Here the function of Ishwar, in the sense of the Creator, ceases and the Ishwar has no access beyond. Onwards we begin to contact with the Bhuma - the Absolute and attain freedom from bondage. It is a place of rare approach. The air does not breathe there, rather the air at the place is of the type which is hardly attainable even after persistent labour, and practice, or we might as well say that the air transforms into its real essence which we have now to pass through. What is that essence? To call it as a vacuum may not be quite appropriate, to express it as the reflection of Bhuma may also not be exact, because all these are comparatively heavier. In all fairness it can only be said that the Bhuma is there and a conscious feeling of its existence is present in the heart, which determines that there is a certain eternal and universal existence towards which we have to move on. Then only we must understand that we have come up to the next knot.
Having accomplished this we now step into the eleventh knot. Off goes the veil and the vision of Reality now comes to light. We now feel helpless, beyond control. A constant craving for Him accompanied by all its aches and pangs prevail every moment. There is no rest or peace without Him. Truly speaking peace has now departed from us. What remains instead may better be expressed as a condition of peace from which peacefulness is sucked out. That is exactly the condition of the knot, which we experience and get it finally merged. What remains there now? Everything seems lost except the pang which persists still and which is the only thing, which helps our onward approach. It ends when we have plunged into the Reality and moved on into the state of identicality. When that too is merged we come to a state of refined identicality, which marks our approach to the twelfth knot.
Now we arrive at the twelfth knot. What is there? It is the merging point of all things, acquired at the different stages of merging and identicality. We now enter automatically into the state of refined identicality or sayujyata, where the panorama is so much vested with purity that even simplicity may seem to be a hundred times heavier. If any other more appropriate word may have been available to denote the condition further on that too must be many times heavier than even simplicity. Now we proceed on with refined identicality and begin to perceive a new form of existence which comes to our experience at the next knot.
As we reach this thirteenth knot we begin to feel existence all through - an eternal existence. I have taken up only the major knots because the minor ones are innumerable and their difference is beyond words. So far words have somehow struggled on to express but they are henceforth helpless. Still our pilgrimage continues. Numberless such knots come in our way and we pass through the conditions of merging and identicality at each of them. Maya loses its touch even before we enter into the thirteenth knot. So is the case with egoism. Further on everything loses its charm. Run is still there, till the run itself ends. And further on, it changes its form. This state is attainable after thousands of years of labour and toil but the onward march is only possible when a capable guide or Master is available. Whosoever has got such a sadguru traverses every knot and finally reaches the shores of infinite ocean, which is the ultimate limit of knowledge.
My only urge to the people in general is that they must try to judge themselves in the light of this version. Only then they will have a clear understanding of what true knowledge is and where it ceases to function. Its function ends where its experiences are over, and the condition becomes like that of an innocent child who knows nothing. This is our actual condition when we arrive at the shores of the infinite ocean. This state falls in the sphere of knowledgelessness and this alone is the actual condition of the real knowledge and the final stage of it.