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My Pranams to all the co-travellers on the path.

On the happy occasion of the Sri Krishnashtami 2004, it is but proper that we consider the problem of 'self'. This problem has been engaging the attention of all seekers for ages. There are theories and philosophies on that which are familiar to us and there appears no need to state any of them again here. But for us our beloved Master Babuji Maharaj is of paramount importance. I try to share what little I know of this subject without getting into the systems of philosophy or yoga but what I know through practical anubhava of the states I detail here.

He puts the question "What is the Self?" and answers "It is the gross state produced by the charge of the mind. If I may be more vivid for the common understanding I can say that self becomes the individual force with its separate entity." Meditation has been advised as the path for us and its efficacy and use we all know. However we should know that true meditation is not about doing or achieving anything. It is about removing the obstacles that obscure our nature. A spider sits silently in a web without moving. He is not meditating. He is waiting for a fly to land. He wants to exist as an identity, an ego, as if he is his construct of thought and to also possess freedom.

The very silence of which we all have direct awareness reveals that the ego that is seeking is nothing more than thought itself; it is of a substance similar to that of the substance of a dream; for we know in one moment of no-thought that is our daily experience it completely disappears. If we try to look for it with the mind, 'the no-thought/mind is not found to be the same. This has been a regular pastime for many aspirants and they complain about it often.

This is because the 'self' is nothing but thought. We obviously cannot catch hold of a thought; this is the frustration of those who think that another illusion "Sakshi" is not able to watch the 'no-thought' condition. In these cases the aspirant is trying to view silence as an object or experience to be attained. The Ground Reality however is, silence is what cannot be lost. That is why when we get in close with the Ground Reality through Pranahuti we are able to feel that 'silence' which passeth understanding even though we are in the midst of all noise including the inner noise of an agitated mind.

We all know that many times when even in moments when we are internally most tormented, agitated, there arises in us the "silence". That is why we feel like saying Master "speaks in silence". Behind this we may note that the freedom of our nature is not freedom from events that come and go, nor is it the freedom to get out of our way like the renouncers. It is the freedom in the midst of all events, whether we get what we want or do not get what we desire.

Those who feel that we have freedom only when we get what we want and reject what we do not wish are thinking that freedom as something that will give them an identity that will be stable and unthreatened. This is what is behind all seekers' mind-set. There is nothing wrong in thinking that they are all also spiritual seekers, people who seek knowledge, seeking through relationships, or any other kind of seeking.

A seeker is a person who is attempting to achieve some result through a practice, like a person eating idlis and sambar for breakfast because they see some benefit in it. The idlis and sambar may help in forming regularity in practice but there are many things that idlis and sambar cannot do. Once the regularity is established the interest in idlis and sambar wears off. We find that this is a repetitive experience, and the mind begins to see the limitations of the same. The mind starts hankering for something more. Perhaps someone will gather the courage to try something new. They may suggest instead of sambar to try chatni and chatnis of several varieties get suggested over a period. Still, the experience comes, goes, and is limited.

We have the same phenomena in the nature of meditation that we have. If at that time we seek assistance of the trainer to push out of the situation of being bored with repetitive quality of meditation a push by him/her would lift us to higher condition. But before that the attachment to the condition should go and also the willingness to take assistance from the qualified person should be there. It should be clear to us that the having or not having of any experience in any realm of being has nothing to do with who we are truly. We are the being in whom these experiences are arising. This much is obvious to many seekers. However what is not appreciated is that 'the experience of identity itself" is one such experience when we are in the lowest plane of consciousness that works in the body. Identity, or ego, is nothing more than thought - so it is as ephemeral as thought, and constantly changing. There is no way to ever make it secure.

Ego is like the performer in the magic show. The thought is what the performer is doing, and the one in the audience watching is either impressed or not impressed by the performance. When one is deluded, one is constantly either identifying with thought, the one about thinking and the other what the thoughts are about. All of this is taking place in the mind, and it is all gone in one second of no-thought condition. This silence of which we all know can be called by different names. We can call it being, we can call it liberation, we can call it awareness, and we can call it the source from which all perception arises. Nevertheless, silence is a good indication, as far as words go, because it offers nothing to reflect the idea of ego, nothing with which to identify our "self".

Many sadhakas have been asking about the nature of the ultimate and nothingness. This is essentially a game they try to play within themselves in order to maintain the ego which is created by the mind and then evaluate a "concept of" silence. The very evaluation of silence is funny; we know it is not a form, so it cannot be measured. Further to evaluate or measure we do not have any measuring instrument. Even then, to what use to which we intend the 'silence' to be put into is a question that has no answer. Here we find that the mind looks to itself to evaluate the 'silence' and draws a conclusion based on what it can use. Even logic indicates that a mind whose efforts have failed is not qualified to evaluate. It knows only its own limitations and believes that is all there is. In a moment of no thought, this mind that is attempting to quantify silence disappears, and the silence remains. Who remains is answered as 'whoever it might be'. 'It is what it is'. One and only real lesson in spirituality is we know that the mind is secondary to our true nature or 'who we really are'. That is why there is no liberation in thought - it is not who we are.

This is the reason why the question 'what is the self' must be answered - because that is the only way to cease identifying with experiences that come and go. When we identify ourselves with that which we are not it leads to tremendous suffering. Therefore we need to find out our true nature. Then we are free to meet the reality of coming and going of events exactly as they are without asking them to be or do what circumstances cannot be or do. That is the end of the logic of most of the prayers.

As I am never tired of saying that 'The real prayer is to pray and continue to pray so that prayer may continue'. This prayer is what I adopt. The peace that arises from realization of our true nature in the midst of all events is not the point of realization. That peace is a natural benefit similar to energy following the path of least resistance. The joy and peace that comes finally is the outcome of not demanding the world of thought and form to be other than exactly what it is. Then one naturally ceases to destroy the possibilities for life, joy, bliss, and expression. That is why Master has said that in our system we do not try to change the outer circumstances but mould ourselves to the circumstances. That is also what he stressed in his commandments 5 to 8.

To abide by the Will of Master there is no other method than total surrender to Him. First we should mould ourselves on the lines of the Master- then the meaning of 'mat chitta madgata pranah bodhayanti parasparam' becomes true. Once this is done we live in the will of Master when 'manmana bhava madchitto madyaji mam namaskuru' becomes possible. Lord Krishnas' messages are true and eternal. But the Lord is expressing himself as our beloved Babuji now, is what we need to know and feel in the core of our hearts. So long as we are going to distinguish between these two, such a wisdom is beyond us. That is the problem of identities we discussed earlier: not only have we granted identities to ourselves but to others also- a funny game of Ego. Meditation on the nature of Silence which has a music of its own is the refined form of meditation in the method. But this, one learns in the cave of the heart which swells in and with the love for Master. Sri Krishna which means unending happiness is the result of such a music that we hear in Silence. Anything that is unending can be boring and therefore He plays tricks with us to keep our entertainment continuous and ever longing. I pray that all enjoy the game with Him always. One word of caution: please note that boredom does not mean tiredness. Tire not, be continuously restless and He is game for that. The journey to the Infinite is not taxing, it is unendingly joyous. One last thing to share: the Infinity is a dawn that never dawns. It is a continuous grey always luring to make us move towards the brighter light - play the game it will be rewarding as well as relaxing.