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Meditation is not enough

- Sri. K.C.Narayana

  

Many abhyasis are of the opinion that it is enough if they practice meditation, cleaning and prayer methods as advised by our Master. Master himself has stated that it is not enough if we just do meditation and follow the methods as advised and we need to develop love and devotion to Master. However in the many mails I received and also during the course of discussions and talks many make me feel that they have done the routine practice as advised and they need to get results from such a practice. This is a very interesting and fairly common expectation.

But there is much more than the routine meditational practices in the system advocated by our Master which we call satya pada marg. The truth is that there's a lot more in authentically liberating and transformative spirituality in satya pada marg than just meditating. The most important point to take into consideration is the way we spend the remaining period of time of the day when we do not actively do the meditational practices. Many of my friends and relatives even ask me as to why I meditate and even suggest that much time need not be wasted like that.

I used to think why should I meditate at all and waste my time on this rather amusing exercise for the sake of enlightenment or realisation of what I really do not know and while clarifying escape into the word " Nothingness". I wonder what my motivation is. What am I looking for or even lacking, for that matter?

To think that our system is all about meditation is to misunderstand it. Many of us think even as our Western country brethren attracted to Eastern thought and practice often make the mistake of seeing meditation in the narrowest sense of going into a quiet room and closing our eyes. In fact, there's a lot more to these things, both externally, internally, and ultimately the process of spiritual development is an integral and holistic endeavour. The concept of constant remembrance in our system is more similar to the mindfulness of Buddhist thought rather than the concept of Bhajan that is popular in our Country and this is not the same as meditation. Constant remembrance can be practiced formally while sitting and while walking, or informally in whatever activity in which we may be engaged. Being present, wakeful and efficient in all aspects and walks of our life, beaming with the awareness of the presence of the Master in the core of our being, is more important than any particular posture or set of words of prayer in which we are engaged.

Master asserts that finally we find the Ultimate is in us and adds further that it is ourselves. He wants us to understand that we are masters in essence and that it is only the coverings that need to be removed to bring to light the true nature of our self. In fact we are all masters by nature, and through sadhana we only have to recognize and awaken to that fact. In reality what we seek, we are; that realisation is not far away, in future time or in another place, but in fact is inseparable from samsara (the cycle of birth and death governed by karma) and found hidden in the here and now. The lives and teaching of our Masters Revered Lalaji Maharaj, Revered Babuji Maharaj, Ishwar Sahaiji, Saint Kasturiji, Revered K.C.V. Revered Kumara swamiji, Revered Parthasarathy and many more apart from many tales in the classical enlightenment literature about karmically ripe individuals experiencing awakenings --while engaged in all kinds of ordinary activities prove this point more eloquently than any logic can.

It is over four decades that I have been meditating for more than a minimum of two hours a day and certain days over eight hours. Strain in the physical realm was present in the initial days of practice and it was all the time invigorating. So far as I understand meditation is more about being than doing routine practice. Master has advised us to see or examine our condition after the routine practice of meditation for an hour and also after the performance of purification process and offering prayer.

Each day I was finding after the influx of Pranahuti there is introducing and unveiling of a new way of seeing, far beyond sitting or just keeping still. Yet I found on my part, there is inevitably some appropriate effort, intention, and attention involved. There is no other way I am aware of by which we can go about the task of being with the Master and be attentive to him. Meditation is called by Master even as puja as we may see in the Commandment number 1. Yet, it is my experience oflate that meditation is more of a listening to Master than the usual supplicant's so-called submission to Master. The voice of the Master is more keenly heard when our submissions end and an absolute silence in the presence of the Lord is maintained. Surely this means that we have left the realm of desires not to speak of seeking gratification of desires.

Then the stage of intercommunion or receipt of orders arises and in that blessed state the individual mind and infact the entire internal apparatus is put off totally. This is really the final state of constant remembrance of prayer. This is verily the core factor of enlightenment.

From my understanding of the Masters instructions gleaned through books and through the inter communions, I have found several factors that characterise enlightenment. I understood, IT, through the core of my being as blessing splendour. The great joy of awareness of inseparableness with Him is another factor in enlightenment. The awareness of the intimate proximity grants a courage and confidence that is beyond all rational understanding. With all the handicaps of the physical and mental functioning, there is a competence almost intuitive in character more particularly in the work related to spiritual help to fellow brethren.

There is a sense of joy accompanying every act of seeing, knowing and doing which acts in an almost instinctual nature. The equanimity that accompanies these acts has in it as though embedded the nature of perseverance, concentration, serenity, and analytical investigation. The balance of these factors is something that is usually not disturbed.

According to my understanding there are actually three liberating trainings in the path of the Master: the ethical self discipline, the meditational practices, and wisdom.

Without the moral discipline and wisdom I may state that meditation alone is not enough for enlightenment. If we ask how to undertake and accomplish in the path of enlightenment, and how to implement and practice these three trainings, we only need to study in depth our Masters' books particularly the one relating to the Ten Commandments he has given us to follow. That is the practical guide in a book form while other books give us the philosophy and his modified Rajayoga systematically. The book Towards Infinity is a description of the path he has taken to accomplish what he accomplished and eventually the same is the path we take to become just like him. I have tried to explain how the experience during meditation becomes our guiding spirit in the path, in the book Imperience Beckons. True seekers would have noticed that in these Ten Commandments, the steps to enlightenment. They would have also noticed that there are practices that suggest ways and means to enrich ourselves with Wise Livelihood and Sagacious living. These practices are not solitary or/and contemplative in nature but engage us fully in daily life, through constant remembrance that may be considered as mindfulness and loving kindness expressed in all our actions and tasks. We should note that spirituality is never learnt through books. Master while writing about this book said " In this book I have endeavoured to put up in words those spiritual secrets which have up till now come down from heart to heart…" and also added that " it is not only difficult but almost impossible to express them adequately in words." One needs to live with and understand the masters to understand the WAY. But it is almost impossible without having the proper attitude as simply staying with the masters never help much. Physical proximity is good but spiritual nearness is what is required.

Love at work, compassion in action, spiritual and social activism, efficiency in discharge of duties without undue attachment as well as devoting ourselves to the welfare of the world is an important part of spiritual practice in the system of Master. It is the practical wisdom that we observe in the master that really guides us. It is an age old wisdom that we may not do great things, but can do small things in a great way. For that the path given to us by the Master has been very efficacious for many seekers.

The spirit or soul of every spiritual path without exception is some kind of basic morality and self-discipline. If we wish to live wisely and contribute to a better world, we must try to become better people--authentic people, honest, straightforward, and decent and more particularly serve all beings unselfishly. Practices such as truth-telling, non-harming, non-covetousness, non jealousy, peacemaking, balancing, showing generosity and engaging in selfless service are too often overlooked by many in their urgent and mad rush to gain Grace of the Master to achieve higher states of blessedness.

They seem to ignore the fact the above mentioned characteristics are in reality off shoots of small gains in the path and they need to be nourished and developed by sincere and conscientious efforts through constant remembrance. Sincere attention to them may even be called as yogas, and in fact they enable us to connect with divinity on a firmer basis. They then reveal to us an inherent beauty and sacredness of life which otherwise presents a picture of meaningless detachment. Yoga that means union, then only can be said to yoke us to the highest and deepest form of spirit in expression. Nowadays wherever I am, I meditate and attend to purification process and in a sense continue to live in constant remembrance. One thing I would like to state is constant remembrance is really sinking roots deep into the present moment and living in the present and is not trying to think about the Master or Goal (whatever that might mean) as an object of achievement in either the near or farther future.

Another important factor that I feel like sharing is that there are innumerable ways to worship and awaken. "There are countless ways to kneel and kiss the ground," sang the Sufi poet-saint Rumi. Especially in our diverse, multicultural, pluralistic era, I feel we must be respectful and tolerant of the many options people have discovered for pursuing spiritual development, even within each faith, not to mention among the different faiths. Moreover, we must be patient with ourselves and our karmic condition, and we should try to be more kind to ourselves and avoid indulging in expressions of guilt, shame and self-bashing in the name of deep spiritual aspiration. Surely we need to repent for the wrongs done but we need not kneel so low as to totally lose our awareness of individual endowment and end up in self pity.

We should learn to understand that the spiritual weapon of self-purification, intangible as it seems, is the most potent means of moderating our internal and external environment and to a large extent loosening the external shackles. We find the purification process works subtly and invisibly; it is an intense process though it might often seem a weary and long-drawn process. Purification process given to us may appear too simplistic but to practice this we require faith - an unshakable rock like faith that flinches from nothing.

Though I have many times stated that I am a slow learner few agree with me. Otherwise why should I be doing sadhana for over four decades? As Master has stated if only we enter into his consciousness he would deliver us within a few months. May be many of the aspirants in the path can gain such an entry into his consciousness. One of my sincere prayers has been this that all should some how sneak into his consciousness to solve the problem of their lives. Getting into Masters Consciousness is tough enough but living in the same is tougher. The purity of the consciousness of the Master does not permit any blemish in us of any kind. That is the real problem. Total vaccumisation of our selves is not possible. The goal of reaching the state of Nothingness is always a never ending journey to the Infinite. Infinite humility is the real goal. That is the real enlightenment.

We need to develop enormous capacity to put up with our own flaws in action, fallacies in thinking, and prejudices in our relationships with co-born - the entire expression of the Divine that we are aware of. Development of fraternity is not possible through intellection. The lowliness of our nature needs to get established in heart in every sense of the term. This is a prelude to accepting others mistakes or lapses. Only because we fail to accept our lowliness the problems of rage, outbursts, insults and prejudices arise and these are the factors that need to get literally burnt into ashes and exhausted out of the system as smoke and vapour. Then and then only it becomes possible for us to develop greater tolerance and patience. Talking of compassion without these virtues of tolerance and patience is talking of the blue moon.

Only when we understand that single factor of our acceptance into the path by the Master, which he expresses through the influx of His Blessing Splendour that we call Pranahuti, do we make ourselves eligible for any progress. This is what I understand by the word YIELDING. Many aspirants asked me how to develop yielding attitude. How else can we do it, than by recognising our total unworthiness for the Divine blessing that we have. If we in the path of the Satyapad judge ourselves well and understand our real nature of unworthiness that gets remarkably worthy and noble then it becomes possible to yield to him and stop judging others. That is the dawn of real patience and tolerance. This learning is possible only through observing the Masters than reading the books.

When patience and tolerance is developed the way to develop compassion becomes easy to tread. Karuna is a very special quality of the Divine. The lowness of the other is not a matter of ridicule but a matter of sincere awareness of our own deficiency. The flaw in others is a flaw in us. This is the key to move in Universal consciousness or Brahmand mandal. Accepting these handicaps of our real being, is the training required to attend to cleaning of others. We need to develop the capacity to Evaluate others than Judging others. Evaluate, recognise the problem and solve the same is the way Masters teach us when we observe them. No book does this. Guru Kitabis can never reach this stage.

When compassion sprouts in the core of our heart the seeds of altruism are sown. A small digression on 'altruism' before I end the topic. The Tamil classic Tirukkural or the Voice of God, I understand says "The crow does not conceal its food but calls its kind to share it; Prosperity will abide with men of such a nature." I understand the spiritual prosperity of the crow as much as my forefathers and I am sure most of you in this glorious land of Bharat do the same. One needs to practically know the ladder in spirituality and one gains more by sharing than saving for the rainy day.

What goes by the phrase 'practical wisdom' is not many times compatible with real wisdom. The laws and codes of the Lower human nature are different from the laws and codes of the Higher human nature. Regressive tendencies and Progressive tendencies are infact the same line. The moral code of Sukra or Sukraneethi is entirely different from Brhaspatineethi or moral code of Brhaspati. We know the former is the code of conduct of Asuras and the latter that of the Devas. No wonder there has been confusion in the minds of many who do not differentiate between these two sides. But it is worth noting both are spiritual masters. Which side to extend our choice and seeing the masters one can decide.

The book on the Commandments of the Master is His Master piece. I have found that reading the book is being with my Master in every sense of the word. I hear his voice as audibly as I hear the voices of others here and now. The sound reverberates in the mind and I lapse many times into a state of deep contemplation as if I am by his side. His advice on the book on commandments- "Read it again and again. You will find each word and each sentence commendable and when you begin to understand, I am sure you will be greatly pleased." There are no important sentences and unimportant sentences in this book. He adds in the same context that "It is a virtue to make (correct) oneself and to make (guide) others." Virtuous living is the key and there is no virtue greater than the understanding that we are infinitely insignificant and Master is infinitely significant. As I have expressed above getting into Masters Consciousness is tough enough but living in the same is tougher. It is obvious when we live in his consciousness we have none of our own. I pray that this may this happen soon and we live and move in a world of non possessive abundance. It is obvious that we can live like that only when we make a conscious choice to be with the Master.

Meditation is just one aspect of the problem solving. As far as my knowledge and understanding goes meditation on the heart imparts the basic message, that we should maintain the delicate balance of the system: first in the individual, then in the cosmic and there afterwards in the para-cosmic realm. In the three realms three different laws apply but the principle is the same: be aware of the insignificance of individual being and the absolute need to maintain the law of balance in each plane. One more factor that we learn is there is a progressive reduction of self awareness and simultaneous awareness of the inviolability of the Divine Law or Rtam.

Part - II

The most troublesome aspect of meditation is the curtain of thoughts that we reckon with. This can be a thick one or a thin one; colored one or colorless one. But every one of us faces the curtain as an obstacle in realizing the true nature of self. This veil of thought first should be recognized as present and then one needs to peep within. This realization is often missed. Famous saints and seekers have appealed to the Divine for help as we find in the songs of Tyagayya (Tera teeyaga raada) and Annamayya (Pannagapu doma tera pai ketta velayya)

Until and unless this is realized one wanders ceaselessly in the mind fixated in thoughts and forms trying to make "it work" and wondering why it doesn't. This missing is neither cultural nor social. The fact that discontent is global irrespective of the subject matter and geographical location is enough proof of this veil of Nescience. This "civilized world" keeps looking in sophisticated ways to fix "it" when ideas and circumstances fail.

In the present day we have many salesmen for ideas, methods, drugs, and enlightenment too and they put in enormous effort to educate us as to how to create the right circumstances, both legitimate and otherwise to achieve our ends. But the fact remains that people keep seeking always something more new and the solution whatever is not accepted. This exposÚs our insatiable quest! Please ask yourself whether you have ever known anyone one who has ended this seeking and come to rest in any area of activity or thinking except in the case of masters of wishes. Even the best possible circumstances always change, ideas are limited, and drugs wear off and have side effects. All this is dubious.

A conversation with a dear friend has brought to light a preconceived notion that many entertain and I am share my knowledge with you here. This notion or belief is that the mind is a gauntlet that is impassable. This idea that governs so many is not true. Master has asserted that mind is the very instrument we have to use to reach our goal and it plays monkey only in undisciplined persons. The veil of thought is so thin that all one has to do is look at it and it disappears. Try to catch a thought and you will be unable to hold on to it. Just try and you will fail. This is what many persons complain when they say they have too many thoughts that are disturbing. They all disappear like dreams in the morning and nothing you can do will stop it. This is what the abhyasis tell when they say they are not able to recall the thoughts and they feel they miss a lot of them. This is due to the habit of identifying oneself with the thoughts, the alleged thinker, or what the thoughts are about (what you call 'you') and then struggle as that falls apart which it will in any way sooner or later. What can be said here is that doubt is a fundamental trick of the mind, it is the flip side of faith and both faith and doubt need belief to exist. In other words doubt and faith are all just nothing more than thought. Neither has anything to do with who you truly are. Doubt and faith are NOT clarity. They are both the minds pathetic substitute for the absence of clarity.

When my friend begins to doubt that he and other "normal people" can never get out of the rut of mind, he is reinforcing things that are untrue.

1) First: that anyone not bound in the mind is higher or gifted in some unusual way.

2) Second: that the mind is powerful. Truthfully it only has the power that one endows it with in the mind. Mind is a self appointed despot.

3) Third: that what goes on in the mind actually stands as real.

It is but proper that we should test these assumptions. If we are in fact who we think we are, then consider who we thought we were years ago, or even yesterday. At that time we had the same confidence in those ideas that we have in the ones today. Yet they don't exist anymore. In fact life has shown us that they were utterly false. We may think that the ideas "about" us today are more accurate than in the past, because we have more knowledge but the fact is that today's sense of self is made of exactly the same substance that it was years ago and that substance is thought. Therefore the sense of self can't be any more real today than it was in the past. Thought can't be who we are. Mind is like any other part of the organism with specific functions and it need not be deferred to beyond those functions which are useful.

The veil of thought is so delicate that if we look at it directly it dissolves before our eyes. The unfortunate predicament of the human condition is that the perceiving of reality through the veil of thought distorts everything that is perceived. This is called delusion, maya or samsara. This problem gets worsened for all those who dwell in the virtual images of the small or the big screen and surely the computers. The more we get accustomed to the virtual plane the more farther we move in reality and poor mind need not be accused for this.

Perception we know is not who we are either as some of the modern thinkers hold. If we go blind or born without eyes the seer is still there without windows to the world. What is the source from which even perception comes from when the eyes are gone? It is my understanding that this source is the original Prana from which all mind arises and also the changing views of the world we develop. Once we realize this inside immediately we recognize the outside. This is our nature and irrespective of the degree of suffering or enjoyment the reality remains untouched by those responses. Whether we are in the realm of the plane of the limited self or have moved into the rarer realms of the cosmic or para cosmic planes this is true. Prana alone exists.

It is worth investigating this in the core of our being sincerely. It is an enterprise for freedom in the real sense of the term and without true inquiry there will be no enjoying of that freedom that is our nature.

We need to meditate in the silence of our being that persists in the midst of the most tormented or pleasured or any state of mind. When we do meditate on the Divine light without luminosity and touch the core of the Reality in expression (that is our heart) we see that it is untouched by both pleasure and pain. We see who we truly are and then enjoy our freedom.

Many persons are in the habit of finding reasons and excuses for not living this freedom and surely the masters were not very appreciative of this lapse in responsibility for ones' own happiness and that is why our Master had to write the small and brief note on "Determination".

I shall try to share some more thoughts on how meditation is not enough. During meditations one of the factors we should appreciate is that there is enough inertia of mind. Looking at the problem from a new perspective we find that the highest state that can arise in the mind is the mind's ability to see its own limitations. Master had to many times tell me and also on certain occasions warn me of the intellectual approach in sadhana. It is not that by that time I was not aware of the Divine possibilities of my little self and to be fair to my Master I had considerable recognition of my mental powers. But understanding the limitations is from my understanding of spirituality, far more greater than mere recognition of mind powers. Because of this understanding that arose in me, I consider myself a blessed person. The mind can never take us beyond the mind, but the mind can recognize this fact utterly. To be able to understand what the mind can do, and then to understand what the mind can't do, is what is attempted to explain here.

I found enough reasons for feeling blessed. When I understood there is no-room for the mind and its doubts and beliefs and faiths I found there is no deception because this is a no-mind condition. The head is gone and that is a great freedom! When I found myself not working hard with mind I found that all that I am left with is truth because I found truth doesn't change as a result of my effort. Truth naked is the reality that I encounter and there is no deluding in this no-mind plane. This is so simple it is no wonder I missed it for decades in spite of Masters guidance. Many may not understand me when I say that we have to work hard to get deluded. Delusion is not a natural state. It requires rationalization, fantasy, denial, and various other forms of artful self-deception to essentially rewrite and replace what actually 'IS' namely our small identity. When I started thinking about the Autobiography of our Master and found how unmixed it is from any type of fantasy or imagination, I understood how hard I have been working to find a meaning to my individuality mixed with real and contrived notions about my self and was desperately creating a story of my life. This lesson in insignificance is a blessing splendour of the Master.

The desire to write our stories is an odd one and yet by the number of biographies and autobiographies that were written and continue to be written is so large we need to examine what it is that they try to express. I find that this is one of the most intimately and closely held desires of any reasonably successful person. The awareness of the all pervasive presence of the Prana should make any sane person avoid such an adventure in mis-information.

One more caution before I end this paper: in any attempt at sharing personal experiences in sadhana there is a peculiar type of ego factor. Generally there needs to be an element of truth to what the speaker is saying, and the more disturbing that truth is the better. This truth is written or spoken into a forum where it will be recognized and agreed with, usually because it is self-evident. This is the nature of reports submitted about ones' lapses or short comings or sins of commission and omission. There are certainly a lot of shocking truths in the world, and there is nothing wrong with speaking them, for that is one of the ways people help one another. Funnily it is the lapse or omission that becomes the starting point of the greatness of the speaker or writer and ones' individuality thus gets established on firm foundation.

Once an emotional truth is spoken, a truth that most people wouldn't have spoken, there is an opening in the body-minds of the listeners. That opening is trust. The expectation that is sought to be set up by the author is simply that the next thing this person says or writes will be true because the last thing he said was obviously true, and in that opening the so-called authority has an opportunity to say anything he wants because the opening is there. The opportunity to inculcate even the most well intentioned idealism rides as the truth into the body-mind of the listener and most of the time goes unnoticed. This I added only to persuade aspirants in the path not to try to impress others with their personal experiences. Two things are achieved there by: we serve our interest in avoiding that particular brand of Ego (the tiger in the garb of goat) and the aspirants of delusion. That is quite a prize for the small effort we put in insignificance. The distance between insignificance and nothingness is quite a leap: the real state at this stage in spiritual life is jumping the ocean with neither the hands nor legs nor wings- we are just cosmic and para cosmic dust particles-with no individuality and bare essential identity.