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- DHYANA VAHINI: STREAM OF MEDITATION
To be living as a contemporary of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is itself a unique chance, for His is the authentic Voice of the Lord Himself; and He is easily accessible and eager to receive pious souls and persons afflicted with physical handicaps or spiritual confusion. His advent is itself to restore Dharma in human relationships and instill courage in the hearts of Sadhakas and purity in the ranks of Sadhus. He began this mission at the tender age of fourteen, when announced Himself as the Saint of Shirdi, Sri Sai Baba come again, according to the promise the Saint had made that He would re-appear to complete His Work eight years after His Maha-samadhi. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba unostentatiously proclaims His Divinity by a continuous manifestation of miracles beyond the reach of the categories of science; He counsels, consoles and confers boons; and above all, encourages the faltering aspirants to march forward towards Him; for He is the Absolute, the Goal. Every word of His, spoken or written, is a Mahavakya; for He has the authority to make it so.
This book is the translation into English of His Invaluable Advice to all Sadhakas, which was first publised in the "Sanathana Sarathi" as a series of articles in Telugu by Him. Baba's Telugu is sweet and simple and goes straight to the heart. To translate it into English is indeed to squeeze out much of its native nectarine taste. But for those unacquainted with Telugu, this is the best means of listening to His Directions and so this book is presented to all such aspirants.
May success come to all who read and follow the teachings of Baba and may they be led to His Holy Presence by His Grace.
N. Kasturi, Editor, Sanathana Sarathi
Men have to be doing some karma or other from the moment of waking to the moment of sleeping; that is to say, from birth to death. They cannot sit quiet without doing karma. Whoever he may be, he has no means of avoiding this predicament! But each one has to understand clearly which kind of karma he has to be engaged in. There are only two types:
- Sensory or binding karmas, or vishaya karmas.
- Karmas that liberate, or sreyo karmas.
Still, the karmas that bind, the vishaya karmas, have increased beyond control: and as a result, sorrow and confusion have increased. Through these no happiness and peace of mind can be gained. The sreyo karmas on the other hand yield progressive joy and auspiciousness with each single act. They give bliss to the soul, or Atmananda; and are not concerned with mere external joy! Though acts may be external, the attraction is all towards the internal. This is the right path, the true path.
Vishaya karma includes all activity in relation to exterior objects. It is usually resorted to with a desire for the result. This craving for the consequences leads one to the morass of 'I' and 'Mine' and the demon of lust and greed. If one follows this path, there will be sudden flares as when ghee is poured in the sacrificial fire! Assigning priority to sense objects or vishaya is the same as assigning importance to poison or visha! But while engaged in those activities and in those sense objects, if one has no interest in the result or consequence, then not only can one be victorious over the feelings of 'I' and 'Mine' and greed and lust, he can also be far away from all such traits. He will never be troubled by them. Sreyo Karma or liberating karma is so pure, faultless, unselfish and unswerving. Its characteristic is the importance given to the idea of nishkama karma, action without any thought of the fruits thereof, elaborated in the Gita. The practice of that discipline involves the development of Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema: Truth, Righteousness, Peace, and Love. While on this path, if one also takes up the discipline of the name of the Lord, where else can he acquire more joy and bliss? It will give the fullest satisfaction.
If every one treads this holy path, the Lord Himself will bestow on each all that is needed, all that is deserved and all that will give peace of mind. Offer everything to the Lord without any desire for the result; that indeed yields full joy; that is indeed the easiest. While it is very difficult to speak untruth and act against Dharma it is very easy to utter the truth and walk in the path of Dharma. To speak out the thing just as it is, is a very pleasant task; one need not spend a moment of thought upon it. To speak of what is not, one has to create the non-existent! That plunges one into fear and fantasy, in an atmosphere of restlessness and worry.
So, instead of the vishaya karma which offers all such trouble and all these complications, follow the Sreyo marga, the Atmananda marga which is true, eternal and holy.
The best means for this is Dhyana. Today, men with new fangled ideas argue how Dhyana is to be done and even why it should be done. But they do not know either its taste or its purity. That is why there is so much criticism and cynical laughter. My present intention is to instruct such people. Therefore, I am telling this.
Every one in the world has the nature of behaving and acting in two different ways; one outside and another inside. This is known to all, though generally men do not show this out publicly. Just as people lose even the little joy that they have, worrying over the factions they may have in their family, they lose their internal peace when they are pursued by physical obstacles and trouble.
For an example to illustrate this, take the instance of a cart. It cannot move by itself, is it not? It can move only when two bullocks are yoked to it. And the cart can move safely only when those bullocks are trained in the task of drawing carts, and when they are used to the road through which they have to pass. Instead, if they are ignorant of the process of drawing carts, if they have not walked on the road taken, if they have never stepped out of their shed and if they have always moved only round and round the post to which they have been tied, in their own mire, the journey cannot proceed! And the cart too will come to grief!
Likewise, the Anthah-karana cannot move of itself; it must be attached to the externally related bullocks Buddhi and Manas, the Intelligence and the Mind. Then only can it move forward, following the bullocks' tread. So, earlier than the journey, the bullocks - Buddhi and Manas - should be conversant with the road to the village which the Anthah-karana is eager to reach. They must be trained to proceed in that direction. If this is done, the journey will be easy and safe. Instead of this, if the draught animals have no knowledge of the roads, Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema, and if they have never once trodden that path, the cart, Anthah-karana, itself might come to grief! Even if they are prodded to proceed they will only drag the cart to familiar post and the accustomed mire of Confusion, Injustice, Cruelty, Indiscipline and Falsehood! What then of the journey? And when is the arrival to be?
Therefore, Buddhi and Manas have to be taught the art of drawing the cart and moving steadily along the road. This has to be done by Japam and Dhyanam. Man is suffering despair and defeat on account of the waywardness and unsteadiness of the Anthah-karana, which itself is the result of his inability to control and guide the bullocks of Buddhi and Manas, unused as they are to Dhyanam and Japam to the extent of even stepping along that path! At such a time, the conflicting desires infecting the mind of man have to be quenched and controlled. The mind has to be focussed in one direction. Man must walk determinedly, using all his effort towards and for the purpose of the aim and achievement he has set before himself. If this is done, no force can pull him back; he can attain the position which is his due.
When the wayward mind fleeing in all directions is plunged in the contemplation of the Name of the Lord, the effect will be like the concentration of the rays of the sun through a piece of magnifying glass; the scattered rays develop the power of a flame to burn and consume; so too when the waves of Buddhi and the feelings of Manas get one-pointedness through the converging lens of the Atma, they manifest as the Divine Splendour which can scorch evil and illumine Joy.
Every one is able to gain success in his profession or occupation only through concentration and one-pointedness in effort. Even the pettiest of tasks needs for its fulfilment the quality of concentration. The toughest problem yields before unswerving endeavour. Man is endowed with unlimited powers. Not a single man is without them! But the road is missed, since he is unaware of this truth. To gain the awareness of this power, he must join the company of the holy; he must strive in Sadhana; and he must practise Japam and Dhyanam. Of what avail is it even if you have each item of provision in plenty, when you do not know the method of cooking them into palatable food? Similarly, man has in himself all the provisions needed for his upkeep and progress, but he discards them lightly and leaves them unused, because he is ignorant of the process of benefiting by them. Man must seek to see and understand the Universal Sakthi, the One without a Second, which is the Basis of all the multifarious manifestations of Name and Form in the world around him. The mind flies at a tangent all the time. Dhyanam is the process by which it is trained to acquire concentration.
As a result of meditation on the Paramatma, the mind will withdraw from sense-objects and the sensory world. Just at that time, Buddhi must assert its authority and command the Manas not to entertain any feeling except the thought of the Fundamental Basis. When its basic truth is known, the mind will not be deluded by the Evanescent, the Untrue, and the Unblissful; it will, on the other hand, welcome the blossoming of Joy, Happiness and Truth; it will not be affected by sorrow and grief. For Prakriti and Prana are indestructible, is it not? And so, everything which is the product of the mingling of these two has a new value inherent in it. Man's life also assumes a new splendour when he realises and visualises the Satchidananda through Manas and Buddhi, purified and transformed by means of Dhyanam. The taste of the fruit is evident when we see the whole of it eaten with no portion left behind. So too, when the taste of Dhyanam is once discovered, man will discard all doubt and discussion thereon, and engage himself fully in it. Therefore, begin Dyanam, each one of you from today, even from this moment!
Dhyanam should be performed enthusiastically, with full faith and care, and strictly according to the disciplines laid down. If this is done, it will bestow not only all happiness and all victory but even the vision of the Lord. This is bound to the science of Vedantha and also to the science of Nature or Prakriti. These two are different only in one respect. The students of Prakriti are immersed in the objects of Life; the students of Vedantha are immersed in the basic truth of Life. And man is bound to both these! Prakriti is related to Vishaya: Vedantha is related to Swarupa. If man desires to transform his life, internal as well as external, into one of Splendour, Dhyanam is the best Sadhana that he can adopt.
The Method of Dhyanam
The place should be a little elevated from the ground; that is an inch or two high. Place a mat of Durbha grass on it, spread a deer-skin on the mat and have a thin white cloth laid on the skin. Upon this seat one should sit, adopting the Padmasana pose. The right foot must be above the left and the left foot above the right. The fingers of the hand must be in close touch with one another and the hands should be placed in front. The eyes must be either half-open or fully closed. Then by means of mental massage, the neck, the shoulders, the hands, the chest, the teeth, the stomach, the fingers, the back, the thighs, the knees, the calves and the feet should be relaxed. After this, one has to meditate on one's own favourite Name and Form, with Om added. When this is being done, there should be no mental wanderings; one must be stable and quiet. No thought of past events, no trace of anger or hatred and no memory of sorrow should be allowed to interfere. Even if they intrude, they should not be considered at all; to counteract them, one must entertain thoughts which will feed one's enthusiasm for Dhyanam. Of course, this may appear difficult, at first. The best time for Dhyanam is the quiet hours before dawn, between 3 and 5 a.m. One can awake, say, at 4 a.m. First of all, sleep has to be subdued. This is very necessary. In order to keep the hours unchanged, one may set the alarm clock for 4 a.m. and rise. Even then, if sleep continues to bother, its effect can be overcome by means of a bath in cold water. Not that it is essential to bathe, it is needed only when sleep gives much trouble.
If in this manner the Dhyanam path is rigorously followed, it is possible for one to win the Grace of the Lord very quickly.
Sadhakas all over the world will naturally be engaged in Japam and Dhyanam; but first one has to be clear about the purpose of Japam and Dhyanam. Without this knowledge, people begin Japam and Dhyanam believing them to be related to the objective world, capable of satisfying worldly desires, and hoping to demonstrate their value by means of sensory gains! This is a grave error. Japam and Dhyanam are for acquiring one-pointed attention on the Lord, for casting off sensory attachments and for attaining the joy derived from the basis of all sensory objects. The mind should not be wandering in all directions, indiscriminately, like the fly. The fly dwells in the sweet-meat shop and runs after the rubbish carts; the fly which has such a mind has to be taught to understand the sweetness of the first place and the impurity of the second place, so that it may not desert the sweet-meat shop and pursue the rubbish cart. When such teaching is imparted to the mind, it is called Dhyanam!
Look at the other type, the bee! It will have contact only with sweetness; it will approach only those flowers that possess nectar; it will not be attracted to other places; it will not proceed there at all. Similarly, one has to give up all inclinations towards the sensory attraction, towards the rubbish cart of the untrue and the impermanent; and as far as possible, one has to direct the mind to all holy things which yield sweetness and the joy associated with the Lord. For this, time is needed, of course. How long that time will be is dependent on the activities of thought, word and deed as well as on the motives that impel those actions.
The main things to be considered are not at what expense one has prayed to the Lord; nor the number of years one has been engaged in it; nor the rules and regulations one has followed; nor even the number of times one has prayed over; but with what mind one has prayed; with what degree of patience one has been awaiting the result; and with what single-mindedness one has prayed for Godly Bliss, regardless of worldly happiness and delay, with no lassitude, and with constant attention to oneself, one's meditation, and one's task. If one examines deeply how much he has succeeded in getting rid of all idea of self, he can himself gauge the progress he has made. Instead, if one is engaged in counting the rules, and adding up the time spent and the expense incurred, such Dhyanam can belong only to the objective world; it can never come into the subjective and spiritual fields.
Japam and Dhyanam should never be judged on mere external standards; they are to be judged by their inner effects. Their essence is their relationship to the Atma. The immortal experience of the Atma should never be mixed up with low activities of the temporal world. Such activities deserve to be avoided. If room is given for these and if one sways between impatience and sloth, and if one always worries oneself feeling, "Why has it not come yet? Why is it still away?" then it all becomes simply Japam and Dhyanam done with intent to gain, with an eye on the fruit thereof.
The one single fruit of Japam-Dhyanam is this: the conversion of the out-faced into the in-faced; the turning inwards of one's eye, the inward eye seeing the Reality of Atmic Bliss. For this transformation, one has to be always active and hopeful, regardless of the time taken and the difficulties encountered. One should await the descent of the Lord's Grace. This patient waiting is itself part of the tapas of Dhyana. Sticking unfalteringly to the vow is the tapas.
There are three ways by which apirants try to enter the path of Dhyana: the Sathwika marga, the Rajasika marga and the Thamasika marga.
The Sathwika Path
This means that one considers Japam-Dhyanam as a duty and suffers any amount of trouble for its sake; one is fully convinced that all this is just an illusion; and so, one does only good under all conditions and at all times; one desires only the good of all; being always loving towards all; one spends time uninterruptedly in the remembrance and meditation of the Lord. He will not crave even for the fruit of the Japam and Dhyanam; he will leave it all to the Lord.
The Rajasika Path
Here, one will be craving at every step for the fruit of one's act. If that fruit is not available, then gradually, laxity and disgust overpower the Sadhaka and the Japam and Dhyanam slowly dry up.
The Thamasika Path
This is even worse. The Lord will come into the memory only in times of danger or acute suffering or when one is the victim of loss or pain. At such times, such people pray and vow that they will arrange this Puja, offer this particular food, or build this kind of temple to the Lord. They will be calculating the quantity of food they placed before the Lord, the tribute they offered at His feet, the number of prostrations they did and the number of times they circumambulated the shrine, and ask for proportionate awards! For those who adopt this attitude in Dhyanam, the mind and intellect can never be pure.
Most people now follow only the Rajasika and Tamasika paths in Japam and Dhyanam. The very intention in doing Japam and Dhyanam is to purify the Manas and the Buddhi, the mind and the intellect. In order to achieve this, the best path is the first, the Sathwika Dhyanam. When the Manas and the Buddhi become pure, they will shine with the splendour of the understanding of the Atma. He in whom this understanding shines fully is called a Rishi.
Brahmavid Brahmaiva bhavathi: the knower of Atma becomes the Atma itself. The goal of life, that which makes life worth while, is the understanding of the Atma or, in other words, the basis of Jiva.
Really speaking, man's inner feelings will be evident from his physical body. The stance and the appearance of the body help us to discover these feelings. It is found that there is a close mutual relationship between the attitudes of the body and the attitudes of the mind. Take one example: With the loins girded, the sleeves of the shirt rolled and the palms rounded into fists, it is not possible to exhibit love or devotion. With bended knees, the eye half-closed and the hands raised up over the head with the palms joined, is it possible to show one's anger or hatred or cruelty? That is why the ancient Rishis used to tell the Sadhakas that it is necessary during prayer or Japam and Dhyanam to adopt the appropriate bodily pose. They saw that it is possible by this means to control the waywardness of the mind. Of course, for the expert Sadhaka, Dhyanam is easy in any pose; but for the novice, such physical means are essential. This bodily and mental training must be undergone only to be later discarded as but a means to attain the True and the Eternal Atma. Until this is realised, Sadhana has to be consistently practised.
Until the goal of Dhyanam is achieved, the well established discipline of Asanas has to be followed. The curriculum has to be adhered to till then. After the attainment of the goal, that is after the Manas and the Buddhi have been conquered and brought under control, one can be immersed in Dhyanam wherever one finds oneself: on the bed, in the chair, on a rock or in a cart.
Once you learn to ride a motor-cycle, you can ride on any road and under all conditions. But when you are just learning to ride, for your own safety and for the safety of those around you, you have to select an open maidan; you have to follow certain principles of balance; this is essential. So too, those who engage themselves in Dhyana-Sadhana have to follow a certain course of training. No change can be made in this. So, the Rajasika and the Thamasika forms can never be considered as Dhyanam. If the Sadhana becomes fully Sathwika, it is best.
To describe anything in words is difficult; it might even cause boredom. But to demonstrate it by deeds is easier and more pleasant! To make men understand by doing Dhyana is better than by talking about it! My writing on it and your reading it will not make it easy. Through Dhyana, people reach the Divine experience of realising the Atma within themselves. Through Dhyana, Sadhakas are able to cast off the sheaths of ignorance, layer after layer. They withdraw their sense-perceptions from contact with objective experiences. The process which aims at this holy consummation alone deserves to be called Dhyana. For this, man must be equipped with good habits, disciplines and high ideals. He must be full of renunciation towards worldly things and their attractions. Whatever the situation, one should conduct oneself with enthusiasm and joy. Whatever is done must be dedicated; not for eking out one's livelihood, but for earning Atmananda. One should train oneself to adopt a good Asana or sitting pose, to avoid tension of the body and to ease the mind from weight and pressure of the body. This is what deserves to be called Sathwika Dhyana Sadhana. Discipline is very necessary for this.
The troubles and tribulations that come in the wake of an attempt to destroy the undesirable activities of the mind will disappear through the strict course and rules described already. What remains is only putting them into actual practice by the Sadhaka. Even the most powerful drug cannot effect a cure when it is brought to the bed-side of the patient. The sufferer has to take it in, little by little, as per schedule with all the attendant care and try to assimilate it in the system. The healing principle of the drug must pervade the entire body; the body must be suffused with the drug. Similarly, the Siddhanthas and the Vedantha have no power to destroy individual faults and weakness. If full results are wanted, then man must give up all false and low feelings and act according to the true teachings of the Vedantha and the Siddhanthas. If he does, he will attain the fruit. The secret of success in Dhyana lies in the purity of the inner life of the Sadhaka. The success is proportionate to the importance the Sadhaka gives to Right Conduct or Sanmarga. Every one has the right to achieve this high degree of success. I do not say this in just a quiet tone; I declare this loud enough for all the quarters to hear. Knowing this, Meditate and Advance! Do Dhyana and progress! Realise the Atma!
For man, living is either pleasant or unpleasant, depending upon his basic attitude towards life. See how the same object becomes pleasant once and unpleasant on another occasion! The thing welcomed with great fondness at one time becomes hateful at another time, and there is not the desire even to see it. For this state, the condition of the mind at those times is the cause. It is, therefore, necessary to train the mind and be always pleasant. The waters of a river leap from mountains, fall into valleys and rush through gorges; besides, tributaries join at various stages and the water becomes turbid and unclean. So too, in the flood of human life, speed and power increase and decrease. These ups and downs might happen any moment during life. No one can escape these; they may come at the beginning of life or at the end, or perhaps in the middle. So, what man has to firmly convince himself is that life is necessarily full of ups and downs; and that far from being afraid and worried over these, he should welcome them as adding to his experience. He should not only feel like this, but he should be happy and glad whatever happens to him. Then, all troubles, whatever their nature, will pass away lightly and quickly. For this, the temper of the mind is essential.
Every minute, from inside and outside, promptings and temptations arise and accumulate in man. He cannot attend to all these at the same time. So he fixes his attention on the most important among them only. This is called concentration, avadhana. Concentration is needed to grasp any subject well. Purposefully directing the attention on a subject and fixing it there is ekaagratha or one-pointedness. This is also a condition of the mind. Concentration and one-pointedness help to focus effort on any selected task.
Concentration is essential for all. It is the foundation of all successful endeavour. It is needed not only for Dhyana, but even for worldly affairs and ordinary living. Whatever be the task one is engaged in, if one does it with concentration, one will develop both self-confidence and self-respect; for they are the result of the attitude of one's own mind. The mind may lean on either the bad or the good. Concentrated attention must be employed to keep the mind attached only to good promptings. Success or failure in the good task depends upon one-pointedness.
One-pointedness will increase power and skill; it cannot be won without conquering the worldly cravings that distract the mind. This one-pointedness, this conquest of the mind, is acquired by the exercise of Dhyana.
There are two types of men: one set accusing themselves as sinners and another flattering themselves as great. Both types of men are being worried by their own mental aberrations! What they both need is mental satisfaction and this can be got by Dhyana; for through Dhyana, understanding will increase and wisdom will grow.
From this, a person should develop interest in Dhyana and a taste for Dhyana. That is to say, a yearning which admits of no other step and which will not tolerate any obstacle. Of course, one may yearn to hear music and derive joy therefrom; or see the bodies of near relatives who have died and derive sorrow therefrom! Yearning may thus have pleasant or even unpleasant consequences! Yearning must have the strength to inspire endeavour; in fact, yearning is but dormant endeavour; endeavour is yearning in action. When yearning is weak, endeavour declines; when one is strong the other too is active. Dhyana gives concentration and success in all tasks.
It is through Dhyana alone that great personages and Rishis have controlled their mental activities and directed them towards the sathwik path and establised themselves at all times in the contemplation of the Lord and finally succeeded in achieving union with the Godhead. First, the yearning; then the selection of the goal; then the concentration and through the discipline, the conquest of the mind...
Man must give up the craving for material control and the attachment to sense-objects. He must discard the false fears, the absurd desires, the sorrows, the worries and the artificial pleasures that now fill his mind. That is to say, he must discriminate and train himself to realise that everything is as illusory as the ghost in the well! Every one needs this self-education. The pathetic condition of every man is due to its absence. Dhyana is the remedy for this state of mind.
It is possible through Dhyana to bring into memory the Paradise that is one's empire, discarding as a dream and a delusion the transitory creations of the mind. By engaging oneself to Dhyana, systematically and calmly Dhyana can be made effective and tranquil. Thus, the road towards the highest experience is laid. A new understanding dawns, clear and unruffled. When the heights of Dhyana are reached, this understanding becomes so strong that one's lower nature is destroyed and burnt to ashes! Then, only 'You' remains. The entire Creation is a delusion of your mind! One alone IS, Sathyam, the Lord, Satchidananda, Paramatma, Sivoham - the ONE.
The Sathya, the Truth, is so subtle and so soothing. Once that is reached, there is no meditation, no meditator; no Dhyana, no Dhyatha; all merge into one. That is the fixed, illumined experience. Exulting within himself that is Pure Knowledge, the Jnani will be aware only of Atmanubhava, Atmic Bliss. That is the Goal, the fruit of Immortality. Attaining the transcendent experience, the Yogi finishes his Dhyana and moves among men resplendent with divinity! In him, the Vedas find fulfilment. He is transformed into a pure being. Dhyana and Dhyana alone has the capacity to make a person transcend the vicissitudes of time and make him ever the same equanimous individual, as if he is another Creator himself.
Once the Jivi is on the way to the goal, he will derive contentment from himself and discover within himself the source of bliss. The cravings and ambitions, the delusions and falsehoods and the animal needs and antics which were worrying the Jivi till then, all vanish. Since the Atma pervades all equally and steadily, the Jivi also loses the 'I-ness' and gets immersed in its inherent Divine status. Such a person is the real Mahatma; he is the Jivanmuktha. Fullness is Ananda; Ananda is Santhi. Those who do not give up the Vichara Marga or Path of Discrimination, receive the Grace of the Lord; and they also realise this Atma. They will always be seeking the eternal Truth that lies behind the dreamlike illusions of this world.
Control the Jnanendriyas which run helter-skelter; the origins of the disease will be destroyed. Let the mind keep watch over its gymnastics; dam up the mad flood of thoughts and plans and schemes; then there will be no worries and anxieties in the mind. To diminish the wanderings of your thoughts, repeat the name of the Lord; that will keep out your sorrows and troubles. Without the effacement of the mind Jnana cannot dawn. The full man is he who has succeeded in this. The Sadhaka must first learn the secret of the 'inward sight', the 'vision directed inwards' and take his attention away from the exterior.
You have heard so far little about the inner world; but Divine Life is nothing but this method of 'inward living'. Just as the baby, after learning to watch and understand, tries to toddle here and there at home, so also the Sadhaka learns to toddle in the inner world and understand it. A healthy baby in the cradle waves its arms and legs in glee, watching the lamp on the wall and lisps in joy; the Sadhaka also healthy in body, mind and soul, lying in the cradle of life, watches the Inner world and claps his hands ceaselessly in great glee at that inner joy.
Besides, every thought, every word, every deed has to proceed from the full consciousness of knowledge. Direct your intelligence not to wander about but to dwell constantly in the inner world! This is the inward vision; Dhyana is the most important instrument needed for this.
Into the Inner Realm, the Sadhaka can enter through the gate of Self-examination. That gate accords welcome for every Sadhaka endowed with humility and devotion into the highest and holiest status possible in Life.
The Dhyani considers the realisation of Atmic Bliss as important; but the promotion of the welfare of the world is also an equally important aim. For carrying out that aim, he must bring under control certain physical, verbal and mental tendencies. These are usually known as the ten-fold sins: the three physical, the four verbal, and the three mental. The physical tendencies are: injury to life, adulterous desire and theft. The verbal sins are: false alarms, cruel speech, envious talk and lies. The mental attitudes are: greed, envy and the denial of God. The person intent on following Dhyana must take every care that these ten enemies do not approach him. They have to be eschewed completely. He needs tendencies that will help him to progress and not those that will drag him back.
He must speak and act only Subham, for Subham alone is Mangalam, and Mangalam alone is Sivam. This is what the Sastras also say. The Good is the Auspicious. The Auspicious is the spiritually helpful. If man is to merge in Sivam, the Subham is his instrument. Through the Subham or the Good, he can achieve this world and the other; he can promote his welfare as well as the welfare of others. Welfare is the fruit of knowledge; illfare is the fruit of ignorance. Through welfare alone can peace, joy and progress be attained. The basic duty of man is the welfare of all beings! Promoting it, contributing to it, is his right task. Living out one's span of life in discharging this task is the ordained path.
The Buddhi in us is the witness of all things in this objective world. The latter limit and colour the former they affect it and mould it into Chaithanya, or Consciousness. Maya is only the Buddhi as warped and twisted by the impressions of everything. Therefore, the Chaithanya which is unaffected by Maya, upon which the world has failed to produce any impression, that Chaithanya is Iswara. The person who is striving to reach the stage of Iswara must, therefore, be unaffected by Maya unimpressed by the world. How to remain so unaffected? Through analysis, ratiocination, fearless inquiry, pure reason. To acquire this Viveka or analytical reason, the sharing in the task of promoting the welfare of every being in Nature is essential.
The Jagath, this passing show, is based on Maya. That is why it is branded 'false'. But do not conclude that a mere recognition of the falsity of the world or an awareness that one has certain shortcomings will lead man along the higher path and take him to the Highest Truth. If he has not got a good character full of sterling qualities, he can never achieve progress in the spiritual field. Progress depends on the worth and quality of the individual, as the harvest depends on the fertility of the field. Upon a worthy piece of land, sow the seeds of sterling qualities and irrigate with the waters of reason and analysis; the plentiful harvest will be ready in due time! On lands where the seedlings of good qualities are not planted and tended, useless weeds multiply; and where orderly gardens could have been formed, thorny bushes create a jungle of impenetrable confusion.
Even if a person through perversity or blind conceit, has so far not cultivated good qualities, he can at least make a try or carry on efforts to secure them! If this is not done, he cannot taste the excellence of life; his life is a waste; its worth is nil. The mind, by sheer force of these opposing forces, gets lost in false values and is unable to develop on the right lines. Such a mind, turned away from good, might cause indescribable evil. All progress won by the Sadhaka might be destroyed by such a mind in an unguarded moment like a spark falling, due to a second's negligence, on a keg of gun powder!
There are some who try to be quality-less; but they achieve only living death. Their pale faces reveal only lack of zest and interest. This is the result of unreasoned haste in spiritual discipline. Though becoming quality-less is ultimately needed, there should be no hurry to reach the goal; even though a person may have the ardour, it very often leads to dilemmas, which many solve by means of suicide! First, one must accumulate the wealth of character. Since they evince no interest in earning this qualification, many stalwart Sadhakas have lost their way and not regained it in spite of years of effort! Others have slipped into the morass through which they were wading!
Therefore, the path of achieving the absence of qualities is strewn with dangers. One cannot exist without activity; so, one must of necessity act through 'good' qualities. One must put down all desires and become free. The mind filled with good qualities will help in this process; for it will bear other's prosperity gladly. It will give up doing injury; it will seek opportunities to help, to heal and to foster. It will not only suffer, it will also pardon. It will not incline towards the false, it will be on the alert to speak the truth; it will remain unruffled by lust, greed, anger and conceit; it will be free from delusion; it will seek always the welfare of the world. From such a mind will flow an uninterrupted stream of Love.
When this mind matures and attains fruition, it easily becomes free of all qualities - placid, calm and pure. It easily merges in the One Atma without a second.
Unfortunately, though man has the unique chance of tasting the inner peace that such a mind can grant, he is a stranger to the joy and equanimity that is his birthright. Dhyana is the only island of refuge in the ocean of life for all beings tossed on the waves of desire, doubt, dread and despair.
The Vedantic truth must be present in the mind, even while the Vishaya world is being attended to!... Consider the condition of this world hundreds of thousands of years ago. At that time this globe was the scene of two things only. On one side was the fiery lava which poured forth from the volcanoes and crevices that scarred the surface of the earth. The flood of destruction descended on all sides and spread fear and death in the regions around, as if the end of everything had come. On another side, the scarcely noticeable molecules of living matter, the microscopic amoeba floated on the waters or clung to the crevices among the rocks keeping the spark of life safe and well protected. Of these two, one, boisterous and bright; the other, quiet and secluded; upon which would you have built your trust? At that time, surely no one would have believed that the future was with the amoeba o the animalcule! Who could have forseen that these minute specks of life could hold out against the gigantic onslaught of molten lava and earth-shaking upheaval? Those specks of chaithanya or Life-Consciousness won through nevertheless. Unheralded by fire and dust, by swooping gale or swallowing floods, the amoeba, in process of time, by the sheer force of the Life principle it embodied, blossomed into goodness and strength of character, into art and music, into song and dance, into scholarship and Sadhana and martyrdom, into sainthood and even Avathars of Godhead! In all these, the history of the world is found summarised.
In the confusion of overpowering events, we see men sometimes placing faith in loud and noisy men who are enslaved by their own passions. But this is a passing phase, it will not last. When things are placid, calm and unruffled, man can get himself merged in the atmosphere of Maya-less Chaithanya; that is the highest he can reach. The Santhi he tastes there is subtler than the subtlest. He must ascend to it through effort guided by reason, through Dhyana. When the enjoyment is full and complete, it is no other than the Status Divine, the coveted Goal of Life. Men do not generally strive for it, because they know nothing of its supreme attraction. Dhyana gives them the first inkling of that Bliss.
Therefore, every one must now strengthen the mind and make it aware of the happy moment of Bliss. Otherwise, there is a likelihood of the mind discarding all effort to reach what it now dismisses as 'empty' and 'useless'. But once it is convinced that the moment of attunement with Chaithanya is a moment of complete Power, then the effort will not be slackened. The Sadhaka can reach, without further interruption, the Atmic realisation.
With this as the ideal, carry on Dhyana and mental Japa, henceforward. The step immediately after Dhyana is Samadhi. Dhyana is the Seventh of the Eight-fold Yoga. Do not give up this Royal Road that leads you on to that sacred goal. Dhyana is the very basis of all Sadhana.
People are engaged in various forms of cultivation but the most important of these is the cultivation of spiritual experiences. All cultivation is based on spiritual cultivation. It is the King of Cultures. The King makes laws but he is above and beyond them. So too, all rules and laws, all distinctions of right and wrong, of sin and virtue, of joy and sorrow, affect only the Jivi, which attaches importance to the inexperienced Manas and Buddhi and not to the Atma. So, cultivation of the Atmic experience is essential for all, the Atmic experience which is pure, convincing and self-transcending. It is also easy, for the Atma is as the mother to all and hearkening to the Atma is like the son hearkening to the mother. Every one is competent to have that experience; in fact, it is everyone's right to have it. This is why the Atma Sadhana is being treated by me as so important. The Atma is also known as Brahma; so the learning of the Atma Vidya or Brahma Vidya is to be considered as the objective by every student.
Such students have to earn some primary qualifications. Then only do they deserve the status of studentship. They are Viveka, Vairagya and the Six-fold Wealth; that is to say, Discrimination, Renunciation and the six qualities that constitute a good character. Aspirants who have these three can hope to attain the Atma, with confidence and without much difficulty.
Paramatma has six chief characteristics; completest Jnana, completest Vairagya, fullest Beauty, the fullest Splendour power, undiminished Fame, and inexhaustible Fortune. His Nature is Sat (Full existence), Chit (Full knowledge) and Ananda (Full bliss). These are also related to Man through the Atma in him. So all humanity has a right to realise and enjoy these characteristics and this nature. It is the ordained duty. The travail of the world today is due to Man not performing this ordained duty.
The common man is acting in daily life quite contrary to the dictates of the Dharma of the Grihastha, or householder. He does not follow the path laid down by the Sastras and by the Manusmrithi. He does not have an iota of truthfulness in him. Truth is the most holy virtue. So, leading a primitive type of life, he loses courage at the slightest upset and gives up the adventure of life. He develops a kind of pseudo-renunciation. If only he entered upon the house-holder's life with the attitude of performing one's duty, then he need not run away from it and seek caves and forests. Each one can realise the Lord through each one's assignment of duty, in each one's Dharmic life.
The contemplation of the Lord must proceed in union with the Dharmic life. This type of life has no need for status, scholarship or vanity. The latter only lead men astray. It is only through this life that the mind and the intellect can be controlled, the Atma Vidya cultivated, the Will sublimated.
A good character is essential for the realisation of the Atma; that is to say, all evil propensities have to be uprooted. Just as the army becomes dispirited and surrenders when the Commander falls, the army of evil qualities will surrender its arms as soon as Egoism or Ahamkara is destroyed. These are all natives of the realm of Anger. So if that region is devastated, the soldiers can never again raise their heads. What can the Commander Ahamkara achieve without a single soldier to march under his orders? So all efforts must be directed to destroy the realm of anger so that no Commander can venture to let loose the hounds of war. Let each Sadhaka preserve the region of his mind in peace, by putting a stop to the rise of these soldiers and this Commander. Let each Sadhaka bask under the smile of the Ruler, the Atma, always.
The destruction of the modifications and agitations of the Mind is the condition precedent to getting audience with that Ruler. His Durbar Hall has eight doors through which one has to pass for the audience: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, and Samadhi.
When the mind has been brought under control by these eight disciplines, the Will can easily be developed thereafter. The will is the Nature of the Lord; it is also referred to as the Lord's Ordinance. The Lord, by mere willing, can do anything immediately and easily. But man cannot realise his will as soon as he entertains it. The Power of the Will is the deciding fator. In Man the Will is not so overpoweringly strong; when he achieves that Power, he gets something equal to the Power of the Lord. That is the meaning of Laya, Merger. Such Merger is made possible through Dhyana.
Of the eight doors mentioned above, Dhyana is the seventh and Samadhi is the eighth. Dhyana is the royal road to Samadhi.
Some people use 'will' and 'wish' as if there was no difference between the two. This is very wrong. The wish is related to the Vasanas, to traditions embedded in the Manas or Mind. The will is related to the fundamental characteristics of Atma. Wish means the craving to get something; will is the determination to acquire it. Both are based on the moral culture of the individual. Once the Atma is cultivated, the will and the wish can be sublimated accordingly. If the wish and the will are cultivated without the Atmic point of view, the faults and failings of the Mind will get mixed up with what is willed and wished for.
The lower step can be seen from a higher step, not the higher step from the lower. So, one should strive to go step by step, higher and higher; that is to say, from the culture of the Atma to the culture of the Will; and thence the culture of the Moral Conduct. Then the enjoyment of the Bliss of the Atma becomes quite easy and natural.
When the baby is unable to walk, the mother encourages it to toddle a few steps at a time at home and then it is allowed to go on the road. Instead, if it is put on the road first, how can it learn? Besides, what of the dangers of the road? So also, first the internal factors have to be strengthened; then the external factors like moral conduct etc., become easy. Morals without the basis of internal uplift will not be deep-seated. So the cultivation of the consciousness of the Atma is primary.
The aim of Sadhana is to remove the motive, the wish, the Vasana or attachment, the yearning for the fruit. Understanding this clearly, the Sadhaka must not give way to any dispiritedness, despondency or feeling of failure or doubt. He must be patient and bear things with fortitude. The Sadhaka must, therefore, develop within himself enthusiasm, faith, activity and joy: keeping constantly before him the Great Big Result of his effort, he must boldly discard all temptations. Since these latter are but short-lived and weak, they can be overcome with ease, with a little patience. If the Sadhaka is not vigilant and patient, all the success he has achieved will melt away in an unguarded moment.
Sadhakas, Yogis and Sanyasis have to climb a ladder, the steps of which are Savitharka, Nirvitharka, Savichara, Nirvichara, Sammatha; etc., that is to say, Argumentation, No-argumentation, Analysis, Non-analysis, Agreement, etc. The knowledge of the world is not real knowledge. It is relative knowledge; the knowledge of the non-real. The knowledge of the eternal Absolute is the Real knowledge. That is acquired by Dhyana. The fire of Dhyana and Yoga will reduce to ashes the sapless activities of the Manas. Immediately thereafter, the Jnana of the Real will flash; it will shine with undiminished effulgence; its Light will never go out. For those established in this Real Jnana, there is no past, there is no future; all ages are to them in the present, in the actual moment of experience. Just as soap is necessary to make this external body clean, to clean the interior Manas, Japa, Dhyana, Smarana, etc., are needed. As food and drink are needed to keep the body strong, the Contemplation of the Lord, the meditation on the Atma, are needed to give strength to the Manas. Without this food and drink, the Manas will be tottering this way and that. So long as the waves are agitating the top, the bottom cannot be seen. When the waves of desire agitate on the waters of the Manas, how can one see the Atma, which is at its base? The tottering causes the waves. So feed the mind with the contemplation of the Lord. Clean it with the meditation of the Atma. Dhyana and Sadhana alone can clean the depths of the mind and give it strength. Without purity and strength, the Atma recedes into the distance. And Peace flees from Man. Asanthi establishes itself firmly.
The seen is Transitory; this is seen through Dhyana. When people wander helter-skelter, not knowing the road, in a strange land; and when some one comes to direct them along the right path, it is not just that he is laughed at and dishonoured; it brings about only ruin and confusion! But today it has become the habit of man to curdle the Prema, these embodiments of Love into Poison through their ignorance of the role of helpfulness which these guides have come to play. Love and Destruction arise from the same native spot. Note this! The same sea which yielded gems, the moon, nectar and the Goddess of Wealth, brought forth the world-destroying Hala-hala poison, too. Under these conditions man must, like Sri Narayana, accept the good and the auspicious; otherwise, he cannot have nectar and Lakshmi. The heroic and the adventurous, like Siva, can have the Poison as their need. This Sea of Life or Samsara, turbulent with the waves of joy and misery, can be crossed only by those who have an unflinching desire for Bliss; the rest will be submerged.
The capacity to overcome the gunas of Prakriti is not inherent in any one; it comes to one with the Grace of the Lord. And that Grace is to be won by Japa and Dhyana. This must first be clearly understood: it is impossible for every one to control the tendencies of Prakriti; the power is possessed only by those who have Prakriti in their grip and whose commands Prakriti does obey. Prakriti is the basis of everything in the Universe. It is the basis of Creation and Existence. All this is Prakriti: men or women, beasts or birds, trees or plants; in fact, all that can be seen is inseparable from Prakriti. In this endless Prakriti, the active element, the Purusha, is the Lord. The truth has to be experienced, in order that it might not slip away from consciousness; and the discipline needed for this is also Japa and Dhyana. This Prakriti is like an ocean; even if it is agitated a little, crores of living beings will be destroyed. When the sea becomes slightly ruffled, ships break like hollow reeds; at no time can you cross this sea by your own effort, alone. The Lord's Grace is essential; so pray for that Raft; and when you secure it you can reach the shore in a trice.
Everything in this world is ephemeral, transitory; it is here today but it may not be here tomorrow. So, if you desire to crave for something, seek the Lord, who has no decline. Instead, if you crave for progency, wealth and all comforts, you will suffer untold misery when you are called upon to leave everything and depart. At that moment, you would lament, 'Oh, did I love so deep that I may weep so loud?' In this transitory life, joy and pain are also perforce transitory. So, to get immersed in this search for the evanescent and to forget the Supreme and the Everlasting is, indeed, humiliating to man. Ignoring Madhava who is free from Maya and spending time in things immersed in Maya is fruitless; sorrow alone is the final gain. There is nothing here fit to be worshipped as Eternal. Whomsoever you love, that love has to come to an end. The self-same Lord gives, and takes! He gives and takes as and when He wishes. Everything is His; so how foolish it is to lament when things belonging to Him are taken back by Him? The wise man will, therefore not pine over any one or feel undue attachment to anything. Let all the pining and all the attachment be for the Lord; He alone is eternal; He is the source of all Joy. For the rest, love a thing as a thing, not more. Love Man as Man, not more. If you love them more, it is a sign that you have been deceived about their real nature. You can behave only for a short time as if the house you have rented out is your own. For, as soon as the period is over, it passes on to another.
If you think on these lines, you will know that the wife, the children, the possessions, the relatives, are not yours for long; they are yours for a short time only. So, why waste away worrying over these impermanent things? A millionaire can eat only one bellyful, not more. Man has to come to this world, like the traveller taking refuge at nightfall in a caravanserai; when dawn breaks he departs! He goes towards his goal, from caravanserai to caravanserai, stage by stage. It is good to think of life in this light.
Animals with many legs have to creep along the ground; man has only two legs and so he can freely move about. The larger the number of legs the greater the bondage, the tighter the restriction. Now, suppose he marries. Then he has four legs, he has become a quadruped; later, when he gets sons, daughters, sons-in-law and grand-children, he is transformed into a regular centipede, capable of moving only by crawling along the ground! He cannot stand erect; he loses the freedom of movement; he has to creep slowly along the mire of material objects; he has no time or inclination to secure the Lord's Grace.
The attachments of the world are shortlived. People have been born many times before and have lived out their lives; loving and getting immersed in love, and attaching themselves to others. But does any one now know where all that has gone? Does he worry about any one of those he loved then? Does he remember them at least, now and then? No. The same love and attachment were there then also; but with the passage of time it has been forgotten. So too, when one departs from this world the love one had for others and the joy, pain and happiness one had through that love, will be forgotten. Like the playgrounds of children, the senses of action of Man will also be changing, from here to there and from there to somewhere else! Fixing their minds on the insecure, changing love, how tragic it is that people forget the cultivation of the disciplines that will give them the permanent Bliss of the Lord!
Man is everywhere plunged in worry, all the twentyfour hours. Is it right to increase his burden? Who can be so cruel as to torture instead of lessening the suffering of a dying man? Already the sea is rough; dare we blow a typhoon over it? Learn, therefore, to spread a smile on the faces of the desperate. Keep smiling yourself and make others smile. Why make a sad world sadder by your desperate counsel, your lamentation, and your suffering? Adopt Japa and Dhyana to assuage your own grief; overcome your own sorrow; and plunge in the cool waves of the sea of the Grace of the Lord.
Why should the travellers wrangle through the night over useless things, instead of getting ready to leave the caravanserai at dawn, and starting out on the next stage of their pilgrimage? By wrangling, they lose sleep and deprive themselves of rest; they will not have the energy to continue the journey. So do not worry over-much about things of the world. Worry ends in meaningless hurry and waste of time. That time is better used in meditating on God.
All living beings are actors on this stage. They take their exit when the curtain is rung down or when their part is over. On that stage, one may play the part of a thief; another may be cast as a king; a third may be a clown and another a beggar. For all these characters in the play, there is ONE who gives the cue! Here, some points have to be understood clearly. The prompter will not come upon the stage and give the cue, in full view of all. If He does so, the drama will lose interest. Therefore, standing behind the scene at the back of the stage, He gives the cue to all the actors, irrespective of the role; be it dialogue, speech or song, just when each is in most need of help. In the same way, the Lord is behind the screen on the stage of Prakriti, giving the cue to all the actors for their various parts. So every actor must be conscious of His Presence behind the Maya screen; he must be anxious to catch the faintest suggestion He might give, keeping a corner of the eye always to Him and having the ear pitched to catch His voice. Instead of this, if a person forgets the plot and the story (that is to say, the work for which one has come and the duties that appertain thereto), and neglects to watch the Presence behind the screen and simply stands dumb on the stage, the audience will laugh at his folly and charge him with spoiling the show.
For these reasons, every actor who has to play the role of man on the World-stage must first learn the lines well and then, remembering the Lord behind the screen, await His orders. The attention must be on both; the lines one has learnt for the role and directions one may get from the stage manager. Dhyana alone gives one this concentration and this awareness.
Whatever might be the tangle in which men are caught, if they get immersed in the Lord's Name, it will make them free; besides, by this means, they can realise without fail the Name and Form through which they constantly remember the Lord. There is no iota of doubt in this. The Sadhanas of Yoga, Pranayama or Tapas are beset with pitfalls at every step and they are full of dangers, too. But in the Sadhana of Japa or Dhyana or Smarana there is no likelihood of a fall or of any other danger. In the former type of Sadhana, the practices differ according to the caste or religion. In the Nama-sadhana, there is not even a trace of such distinction. Hindus, Muslims and Christians may differ on many points, but they are all one in the glorification of the Name of the Godhead. All of them take but the Name of the One Lord, though the language through which the name is expressed is different. Each one recites, repeats and remembers the Name as formed on his own tongue. Each one turns with his fingers the rosary appropriate to his religion. But for every one there is nothing so fruitful, so universal, or so holy among spiritual disciplines as these: Japam, Dhyanam and Smarana.
The Lord and His Name are both One but the sweetness of the Name is seldom found in the Form. When the name of the flower, 'Rose', is remembered; its fragrance, its tender petals, its deep colour, these spring to memory; its thorns and the trouble one has undergone to get the flower are all forgotten. Instead, if its origin and previous story are considered; and if the plant, its leaves and branches are taken into account, the flower which is the most important, the beautiful and the most attractive is likely to be forgotten and only 'the plant' is discussed. See this from another angle. As soon as the name 'mango' is mentioned, one is reminded of an incomparable sweetness. Instead, if an actual mango is held in the hand, the doubt first arises in the mind whether it is sweet or sour; then we are engaged in distinguishing the skin, the fibre, the juice, the nut, the rind, the seed etc. When the name alone is repeated, these things do not come to mind. Only the sweetness is brought to the memory. Such is the difference between the Lord and the Lord's Name! There is the pure essence of sweetness in the Name. In the case of the Form, there is the chance of dread mixed with respect; and sometimes, even attributes causing fear show themselves. Again, note another reason why the Name of the Lord is to be craved for, even more than the Form. It is by means of the riches of the Name that the article, 'the Rupa of the Lord' is to be earned. Riches are needed to secure any article in the world. With riches, articles are acquired; so it follows that the riches are superior to the articles got by means of them, are they not? With riches, one can get any article any time. So too, if the riches called Nama are steadily accumulated the Lord can be realised through the path of Dhyana, easily and without difficulty.
Another special thing about Namasmarana is this: It is possible to acquire various occult powers or Siddhis through Yoga and Tapas. So there is every likelihood of the Lord being forgotten when these powers come. Blinded by this pride, a person might even let go the basic victory won by his Sadhanas. This is not the case with Nama, Japa and Dhyana; no such dangers beset those paths. These three make Prema grow in man more and more. Through Prema, Santhi is achieved. Once Santhi or Peace of Mind is achieved, all other conditions are attained automatically. Through Yoga and Tapas, extra-ordinary Power; through Smarana, Japa and Dhyana, extra-ordinary Prema - this is the difference between the two.
However, one should be careful not to discuss these paths with all and sundry. Because, for each one his path will appear as the best. If the person consulted is treading the other path, he will decry the practice of Japa and Dhyana, and treat these with scant respect. He will look down upon them, as if they are very elementary, and as if the Sadhakas are but beginners in school. As a result, one will start doubting the efficacy of one's chosen path; One will get concern where he had joy before, disgust where he had joy before, disgust where he had Prema before. Therefore, reflect within yourself which among these two is sweeter. Or you can approach those who have tasted the nectar of that Nama and ask for the details of their experiences. Do not argue about these things with everyone whom you come across. The time spent in these haphazard disputations is best used for the cultivation of joy through the repeated bringing of the Nama to memory and the meditation on the Form or the Rupa of the Lord. Mere weighing of the pros and cons, like, which is greater among the two, will end with the quick loss of all the success gained after great efforts through Sadhana. Until you become an expert, bring the Nama constantly to memory and repeat it firm and unruffled, either alone or in the company of Bhakthas. Then nothing can ruffle you. Look at the fish! In early stages, it breeds its newly hatched young ones in a quiet shallow spot; then it pushes them into the wide open sea, rough and rude with its monstrous denizens! They can then survive there, courageously, and grow without fear. If the young ones were bred in the open sea from the earliest stage, they would certainly be swallowed up even by minor fishes! So, Nama, Japa and Dhyana have to be practised with a great deal of care, according to a planned routine, and without any discussion with others.
Nowadays, many aspirants are discarding Nama and taking up Yoga and Pranayama. These are fraught with many dangers. To follow them correctly is difficult; even if correctly followed, to preserve and protect the fruits achieved is even more difficult. If a person gropes in the water while spreading the net on the bank, can he find fish in the net? To give up Namasmarna and faith in that path and to sit in Yoga and Tapas is as foolish as hoping to catch fish by this means. If the Nama is taken as the refuge and support, it can be realised tomorrow, if not today. If the name of a thing is known, the thing itself can easily be acquired. But if the name is not known, even if the thing is right in front, it cannot be recognised. Therefore, repeat the Name without intermission and without faltering. By means of Nama, Prema is developed; through Prema, Dhyana of the Lord can be practised. If Prema is deeply rooted in you, the Lord who is composed of Prema becomes your own. However many the paths for the realisation of the Lord, there is none so easy as this.
Note this. When there is a peculiar disease prevalent in a particular country, the drug that can cure it is also found in that very country more so than anywhere else. Though available after vigorous search in other lands, it will not be so good, or as plentiful. Similarly, this specific drug is available now, in this Kaliyuga! It is now in this Yuga that the ghastly evils of injustice, immorality and falsehood infect the world. That is the reason why the Sastras have been proclaiming again and again, with greater and greater emphasis, that in this Kali age there is no means of salvation other than the Nama! Of the four Yugas, the Kali Yuga is the best on account of this. Nama, Japa and Dhyana strain out the evil in mankind. Human nature is guarded and protected by these three. Hence, the fruits of Dhyana are greater than those secured with great difficulty through Yoga, Yajna or Pranayama.
For every item of work, one-pointedness is very important. It is not correct to say that the qualities and attainments needed for temporal progress and spiritual progress are different from each other. The spiritual is only the purification of the temporal. Success or failure in both depends on concentration or Ekagratha. This too is but Sadhana or spiritual discipline. There are two paths along which this Sadhana may proceed:
- (1) No-pointedness and
- (2) Many-pointedness.
No-pointedness is the stage of Sleep; it is also called Thamoguna. Many-pointedness is the result of Rajoguna, turning the vision of the opened eye on creation and its sights. Avoiding both these, without falling into these two extremes, if the eye is neither closed as in sleep nor opened wide as in the fully awakened stage, but half-opened and directed to the point of the nose, the Sathwaguna will become one's nature and concentration of the mind can also be acquired easily.
Of course, this does not mean that mere fixing the sight on the tip of the nose is enough. Fix it there in the beginning and then turn the vision on to the Name and Form you have in mind; that is Dhyanam.
When you are engaged in Japam and Dhyanam other thoughts might enter into you at first; but you should not worry about this. There is no great danger on account of them. When you begin Namasmarana, sit down with enthusiasm. If you enter upon any task with firm determination, no impurity can affect you. Your concern is only to see that you are fully pure when you start the Japam etc. Do not worry about formalities for this. Select the Namam that you like and the Form of that Name. That Namam is itself the Manthram. That Manthram is ever pure, ever active, everything. But do not change the Namam and the Rupam to suit the fancy and have one thing one day and another the next. Whatever the Name and Form that first gave you contentment, hold fast to them without swerving. They will get implanted in the heart, without fail. Afterwards, everything will happen through His Grace. If the worker is ordered to dig the earth, his work is simply to go on digging. The gardener alone knows how much of that earth is to be put under which plant and how that earth is to be so put. So too, the order is 'Do Namasmarana'! Provided you continue to do that work, He will direct, Himself, and how that has to be utilised.
The value of Nama and Rupa consists in the training that they give to the Manas. What need is there to train a horse that has already been trained? It is the untrained horse that is 'broken' through many devices. Similarly, it is to tame the unruly mind that we have prayer, bhajana, japa and smarana. In the initial stages, the horse runs in many directions; the trainer should not worry. He should hold fast to the reins. The mind, too, naturally runs in different directions when you begin Namasmarana and Japam, but you must not yield to despair, anxiety or indecision. Hold fast to the reins, the Namam! Within a short time, your speech and your thoughts will come under your own grip. Only, do not allow anything to come near you that might make you forget the name of the Lord. The profit of that Namam, you will yourself realise in due course.
Do not crave for the fruit the moment the sapling is planted! Do not pluck and chew the leaves and the twigs in the hope of inferring therefrom the taste of the fruit! If you do so, you cannot enjoy the sweetness of the fruit; besides, the plant itself will not survive.
Similarly, your task is simply to cultivate the sapling called Namam. Do not while doing so, doubt and examine whether it has the glory ascribed to it. That sapling will, without fail, grow into a tree and it will give you the fruit you hope to eat. You can achieve it. The Namam is capable of yielding that fruit. So the purpose of Ekagratha or Concentration is to make you stick to the Namam, without altering it and to keep its Rupa always in sight. The net of 'Namasmarana' should have no torn holes; that is to say, it must take place always with no intermission. If there is any gap, the fruit that falls into the net might escape through it! Perform Dhyanam until your mind comes firmly under your control. This is the primary task.
Let the mind run wherever it likes; only, be careful you do not follow it, seeking to discover where it is going! It will then wander about for some time as the fancy takes it and soon, getting tired and exhausted, it will come back to you in the end! It is like a little child, that knows nothing. Since the mother is following it and calling it back, it gets courage and confidence to run forward in any direction; but if the mother does not run behind the child and retraces her steps quietly, the child too, of its own accord, will run back to the mother!
Do not care for the vagaries of the mind. Carry on Smarana and Dhyanam of the Nama and Rupam you like best, in the manner you are accustomed to; in this way you will acquire Ekagratha; you will realise your heart's desire. Do not entertain in your mind the idea of purity or impurity while doing this Sadhana of Dhyanam. There is nothing impure in the world. When the Lord is immanent everywhere in everything, how can anything be impure? Even if something appears to the ulterior eyes as impure, the moment it contacts the name of the Lord, it becomes purified.
Note this one point! If a person discovers a treasure while answering the call of nature, will he hesitate to take it because he is impure at the time? Purity and impurity are the result of the mental reactions of the particular moment. When one is giving money to some one, one talks of the auspicious time and the purity of the hour. But when one gets a chance of taking money, every moment is auspicious! The mind is the reason for both attitudes.
Similarly, no thought of purity or impurity will bother you if you have full Faith in and Love for the Name of the Lord. On the other hand, if you feel some compulsion and some discontent, all kinds of possible and impossible obstacles will present themselves. Therefore, give up all such feelings; strengthen the faith in the unshakable Holiness of Nama and its appropriate Form. Firmly believe that everything is made holy by His Name.
Cultivate prema for the Lord. It has infinite potentiality. An iron chain can be broken with ease, but not the chain of Prema that binds you to the Lord. The cruelest of animals too is overpowered by Love. This is the Maya of the Lord! If only the flood-waters of this Prema are directed, not to the lakes and shoals on the sides of the river, but to the Ocean of the Lord's Grace, what a holy task it will be! Then the Jivi realises the purpose of life. This is the highest Moksha. To direct without interruption that Prema on to the Name and the Rupa of the Lord: that is real Dhyanam. Do not mistake this temporary abode as your eternal dwelling place! Nor should you lose heart at evanescent troubles and short-lived tragedies. Immerse yourselves in the effort to attain the Eternal Lord. Everything in this World is subject to decay; if not today, tomorrow at least, it is bound to disintegrate, is it not?
It is not right to reject the Lord, who is eternally related to you, and be misled by this world with which one is related for just two days! As already written, "the relatives come up to the outer gate or may be, up to the burial ground; but your Real Relative is the Lord, beware!" He will never give you up. Considering the number of births you have come through, you have had countless mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters, friends and enemies; but are they subsisting today? Do these relatives remember the relationship? You are no one to them; they are nobodies to you. But you and they both have the Lord in common as the unchanging Relative; He watches over you from birth to birth. What greater tragedy can there be than forgetting such a Lord! With the senses weakened and powerless and refusing to function; with the parents, the wife and children, the relations, all crowding on one side, and the Messengers of Death compelling you to pack up for the journey without delay on the other... who knows when this call comes and how? Before that moment comes, be ready with the thought of God.
Man has three stages of spiritual development: first the hazy uncertain stge; then, the active stage of striving; and last, the highest stage. These are the stages of Thamas, Rajas and Sathwa. When growing out of the first stage into the second, if man does not improve step by step then it must be recognised as unnatural.
The period from childhood to adolescence need not be taken seriously into account. One need not worry much about it. With the dawn of adolescence, man enters upon the first hazy uncertain stage and engages in many fruitless activities. Later, he attains ripeness and strength. This is the stage between the uncertain and the certain. It is when he has reached this intermediate stage that he must yearn for the fulfilment, possible in the final stage.
In the rules for Thapas also this law is observed. At first, Puja is associated with Sakthi; the subsequent stage of worship is connected with Siva. That is to say, the period when man is under the care of the Mother is over; the period when paternal care, the protection of the Renovator and Guardian of the Universe, Siva , is reached. When the stage of Paternal care is come one should not soil the body and mind, as during the period of Maternal care.
In the intermediate stage (that is to say at that particular age), man will have certain natural propensities and tendencies that are not desirable and which have to be eschewed. These are: conceit, mischievousness, obstinacy, inquisitiveness, lust, greed, shame, fear, vengefulness, disgust etc. So long as one has these, one cannot surrender oneself to Siva. These have to be uprooted completely; or at least, there should be a systematic endeavour to get rid of them. Such aspirants will have to be swimming against the current or practising what is called "Vyathireka pravaaha gath!". Proceeding against the current is the means to reach the Source; floating with the current means getting farther and farther from it and losing sight of the Goal.
Of course, swimming up the river is a bit hard; but every stroke takes you nearer the Goal and not farther. For overcoming the strain, one must have the raft called Dhyanam. Through Dhyanam, the weakness of the physical frame can be overcome, the wayward speed of the mind can be controlled and the progress towards the Seat of Grace made easy; one can attain the Primordial Force, the Adimurthi. Instead, if one cares more for the ease of the journey and floats along the current, he would be travelling away from Grace; turning his back on it. The Adimurthi will gradually become distant and disappear. Such men will get lost in increasing misery. And for what profit?
The evil tendencies mentioned above are the causes for this tragedy. If only they had been overcome, the Source could have been certainly reached. Without the striving for that, all activities will end in failure. Moreover, the world loves only good men, endowed with good qualities; it keeps bad men at a distance. Exterior charm attracts the animal; internal charm, resulting from character, pleases the Lord. Do not be tempted by the low tastes of the world and the cheap regard that people bestow. Strive for the holy Grace and Love of the Lord. The affection that men shower is inconstant; for it depends on their likes and dislikes. But the Love that the Lord bears to you depends on your good qualities alone. It can also give you permanent joy. Those who are enamoured of the external will tumble into disappointment and sorrow every now and then. Beauty consists in character, not in anything else. There is nothing more charming than that.
The good should never even discuss the evil that others do; for that will contaminate them. The stories of Dhruva and Prahlada will, if listened to, grant merit and show the Path; the stories of Savithri and Anasuya will destroy the roots of evil and strengthen character. How does this happen? What is the explanation? They are all holy; their careers are blameless; therefore, to discuss them and their lives is worth while, and beneficial. That is the explanation. Some critics of 'good men' justify their carpings by saying that they are trying to correct them still further and making them even better! No, they are really provoking the good men to evil and drawing that evil upon themselves. They are themselves becoming evil men.
Never think about the badness or evil of others. If you can manage it, keep always trying to turn them into good ways and giving them good advice. One should cultivate the peace of mind, the charitableness and the eagerness to promote the welfare of all necessary for the attitude. These can come only through Japam and Dhyanam. The wealth derived from Japam and Dhyanam is Sadguna. Good Qualities. They clean the exterior, they purify and enable the inner tendencies also.
Waves originate in the upper layers of the sea. They are caused by the wind; and so the wind can be said to have that power. So too, the mind of the intelligent man is full of thoughts and opinions. When the proper atmosphere is present, these spring up and roll in from all directions.
In the same manner, the Lord is manifest in the picture or image which one worships; but is this due to any special excellence of the picture or image? No. The picture, the photo, the image, these are and remain as picture, photo and image. The fact is that on account of the intensity of the devotion of the Bhaktha, the Lord cannot desist from manifesting Himself for him. For that reason, He assumes Form; the Form that Blesses, in stone, wood or paper that the Bhaktha contemplates and meditates upon and worships. He materialised from a pillar for the sake of Prahlada! For Markandeya, He issued from a Linga! In order to fulfil the yearning of the Bhaktha, Hari, the Immanent Basic Being of the Universe, will come, in any Form, in anything, at any place.
But you have to pray to the Lord, with one-pointed concentration. This type of single-mindedness comes out of Sathwaguna only; and that again is the product of Dhyanam. Therefore, you must cultivate good qualities and in order that these may develop, you should desire the company of the good, Sathsanga. Your real companions from whom you derive the maximum good are those who talk and discourse about the Lord, about truth, about the Seva of others and about Prema that considers all as equal. Association with such is certainly association with Sadhus, for these are the real Sadhus.
Those who never speak of the Lord, or those who are not even aware of Him; who are busy multiplying and strengthening the bonds of Samsara; who preach and practise falsehood, injustice and oppression and who advise you to stray from the path of Dharma; treat these, not as your friends, but as people to be avoided at all cost. Theirs is the company of wicked men, the Dussanga. Associating with such leads to the commissions of wrongs against your will, the utterance of words which should not be uttered, the doing of deeds that should not be done; and consequently, treading the downward road to ruin.
Men who have neither the fear of sin nor the fear of God are capable of venturing into any wickedness; that is no cause for surprise. So, seek the company of those possessed of these two fears; this is the true Sathsanga. The company of persons who have not even an iota of these two is the Dussanga which you should dread. The Sadhaka must always yearn for Sathsanga. In that company, there is no chance for the growth of greed or for Icchasakthi to attain anything. Whether easily available or not, seek and join only Sathsanga. Seek and realise permanent satisfaction and contentment. Do not distract yourself, pursuing temporary satisfaction.
It is profitless for a true Sadhaka to associate with men who spend their time in worldly affairs. If you do not secure friends of the type I mentioned, be solitary, without associates; you do not lose anything thereby. Never even think of the company of the wicked. Do not get entangled in their wiles; if possible, when you get the chance, advise them about the right, but do not yield to their words. In fact, you must not entertain even the desire to be in the place where they are present. If you cultivate these characteristics, then both Japam and Dhyanam will become easy for you and they will yield quick results.
The Jivanmukthas, the realised souls, are as the lighthouses that point out the way to ships caught in blinding darkness in mid-ocean. The spiritual lighthouses show the way to those who struggle helplessly in the thick night of ignorance.
All are born out of the womb of the One Lord. Just as many varieties of fish and crabs and aquatic creatures move about inside a big tank, multitudes of human beings move about in the sea called the Lord. This is indeed a very awesome scene. Some are undeveloped, some underdeveloped; they swim around, greedy and selfish. In the midst of this crowd of ignorant beings, there are a few highly developed souls, Jnanis and Yogis. Since these latter are mixed up with the ignorant crowd, it becomes difficult to distinguish the Wise from the others. A microscope is necessary to identify the red corpuscles in the blood; similarly, we need a special microscope to find out who are the Jnanis; that microscope is no other than Dhyanam.
It is really a source of amazement, this creation and the wonder with which it is filled. But considering present conditions, there are very few who watch for Light and who are guided by the Light. So, instead of following this person and that, and taking devious roads and getting lost, it is best to place full faith in the Lord Himself and rely on Him as the only Mother, Father, Guru and Guide. Then you will never lose the right path. He will never direct you to the wrong path. To have that firm faith and that experience one must take to Dhyana; that is the one and only means. It is enough if the Name and Form of the Lord are meditated upon with Prema and with Faith; and you can choose the Name and the Form which you like most.
For this spiritual discipline you must cultivate the quality of being always joyful; with smile on the face; this will give you good distinction. People will also like you more. And so, the Lord too will have joy on seeing you. Therefore, observe Dhyanam with innocence, purity and humility.
Then you can attain without fail, whatever you strive for. Do not lose your temper in any situation; do not lose courage in any contingency. Respect every one, whatever his status. Then the quality of universal Prema will develop in you. As a result, Dhyanam will progress without disturbance.
For the cure of illness without resort to drug, Dhyanam is the only remedy. Even the capacity to discriminate and analyse will increase and by means of that, illness, however serious, can be overcome.
In every word uttered by man, there are two kinds of senses; the obvious and the innate, the native and the qualitative. The Upanishads take up the second, and elaborate, clarify and make the Brahmam known. One important thing that is to be remembered is that it is possible and desirable to utilise the full power of words, through softness and sweetness. If one is anxious to see God in every object, the sweetness of the word will be of immense help. Sir, Master, Lord, in these words lie the secret of much affection and regard; through these and such words, how happy you can make others and how light your minds will become, by the practice of softness of expression! When Dhyanam is carried on in that happy atmosphere, how quickly can concentration be attained!
Instead, if you use in conversation words that blame others and despise them, you become the target for blame in your turn and your mind gets agitated by the effect of both; so the object of Dhyanam is not realised because the atmosphere turns impure. Therefore, if you really wish to be happy through Dhyanam, you must, as a preliminary to the process, be engaged either in joyful conversation or in happy thoughts or memories. Sweet and soft conversation helps Dhyanam a great deal. Man must cultivate such a character, for character outlasts the body. Virtues are the strength and the glory of Man. Character is Power. So train it and use it to attain the visualisation of the Lord, Sakshathkara; hold fast to the Goal. You must have contentment, whatever the gain or loss, or state. This is essential. Contentment grants happiness and increases it. For the contented mind, life is an endless festival. The mind worried by desire will have no rest. With desire troubling you, concentration is impossible. Desire is the fire in your frame; it reduces you to ashes. Contentment is the effective drug to destroy it. Just as a bath in the cool waters of a stream refreshes a traveller exhausted and perspiring in the burning heat of day, the man suffering from the scorching fire of greed will be refreshed by the pellucid waters of Contentment.
One should have the desire only for the path of Realisation. One should not dedicate one's life for the mean desires of the world. Dedicate all to the Lord; that is genuine contentment. That is the result of the acquisition, of peace of mind, joy and discrimination; of Santhi, Santhosha and Vicharana. Sakshathkara is also possible then.
To acquire these, Smarana and Dhyanam are the only means. They alone can give that power. Nowhere else can you get them, nowhere else will you get them. More than all, if you possess Santhosha, the other two will be added to you. Nothing is more profitable to man than contentment. It is a treasure richer than the three worlds. The contented person can experience indescribable Divine glory. He is more joyful than the owner of Kamadhenu and Kalpataru. He can immerse himself within himself and discover bliss therein. Do not strive for physical joy, discarding the more permanent joy of inner calm and contentment.
Do not get attached to this evanescent body; utilise the body as an implement. Consider yourself as separate from this destructible body, created out of the conjunction of the five Elements. Know yourself as the indestructible Atma. As the house in which you dwell is separate from you, so is the body, which surrounds you for a little time, also separate. The body is the root cause of all the grief, all this calamity and all this slavery. Understand this well; make the body obey your will; never bow down to it and follow its whims. Be prepared to cast it away; resolve to control it and keep it under strict control. You have to deal carefully with the body; you have to train it with great attention.
Though all that was said above related to the Atma, some activities have to be undertaken by everyone. How to use the body as an implement, as a boat for example, to cross the stream of life? Until the other bank is reached, or in other words, until the Ultimate Truth is attained, you must take care to see that it is not damaged or broken or leaky. Let not the boat fall to pieces; be on the look-out for the signs. That is to say; moderate food of good Sathwic quality at the correct time and disciplined physical activities for the body should not be given up. Such activity directed to the spiritual becomes the discipline needed for real Sadhana. This is what is referred to as Dhyanam, Smarana, Puja and Bhajana. When the discipline is practised, as well as later, you must be joyful and not gloomy. This should not be forgotten; never get tired or timid. If however the Sadhaka gets tired, then he can eat at the end of the day's Dhyanam, a few groundnut kernels or almond seeds soaked well in water. These will cool the body and endow it with strength.
Thus every many must develop the virtue of contentment, through Dhyana-Sadhana. Contentment is a Sathwic quality; it will not transform you into an idler; no, not at all! It will, on the other hand, permit the mind to travel towards the Lord; It will grant peace. It will also hinder inessential activities which have profit for oneself as the aim. The contented man will be fully Sathwic: he will lead an inner life, in communion with the Atma, He can do any work, without rest and without complaint. The waves of the mind, which sway in many directions, get a single aim. The Rishis, Bikshus and Yogis of the past realised the goal of life by means of the peace that come to them through Contentment. It gives all Sadhakas the enthusiasm and the vigour necessary for treading the path that leads to Sakshathkara. Contented, the Sadhaka can ignore the dangers and difficulties of that path. He treats as poison all the impermanent things of this life; he discards them as trash. Through Contentment, Discrimination, and Renunciation the spirit of inquiry develops. The story of Meera is an example of this. Understand well the stories of Radha, Jayadeva and Gauranga. They will teach you the Truth.
The fulfilment of the life of man consists in the realisation of the Atma; that is to say, Atmasakshathkara. To get this realisation, one should be entirely free from Vasanas or impulses. Moksha or Liberation is, in the true sense of the term, liberation from the bondage of these Vasanas. These tendencies are of two types, beneficent and maleficent. The beneficent tendencies are saturated with holiness; the maleficent tendencies feed the mind and make it more and more uncontrollable and unsteady; they spread and strengthen the desire for objective pleasure.
If the Subha Vasana or beneficent impulses are encouraged and cultivated, they will not go on multiplying indefinitely and binding the mind: they become fried seeds, which will not sprout. If you stick to the Subha Vasanas, you can easily acquire Bramajnana. These Vasanas are characterised by such activities as the association with Mahatmas, reverence for the great, conversation with them, following their advice, charity, fortitude, love, patience, truth, courage, continence, etc. These are the pure impulses. The impure tendencies (Vasanas) lead one to such vices as the craving to see things that cater to the lower desires (like cinema pictures): to eat dishes that are full of Rajas (like fish, flesh, etc.); to drink intoxicants that ruin one's personality; they develop anger, delusion, greed, conceit, deceit, hatred, envy etc. Such impure tendencies are of three types; Worldly Vasanas, Scholarly or Intellectual Vasanas and Physical or Bodily Vasanas. The physical impulses make man desire a beautiful physique, a strong sturdy build, a glossy skin that will never be disfigured by wrinkles and round hard muscles. The scholarly Vasanas prompt man to crave for being known as an unrivalled expert and for the defeat of every competitor in the field. And lastly, the Worldly Vasanas, the craving for glory, for power, personal authority and pomp. All such desires can be grouped under this head. All these are impulses. These bind you to the wheel of Samsara and tie you down to this Earth. The giant tree called mind has two seeds, Vasana and Prana. The seed becomes the tree, the tree yields the seed. The Prana moves because of the Vasanas. The Vasanas operate because of the Prana.
Of these, even if a single one is destroyed, the other too is destroyed. So, if the mind has to be free from their influence, Ignorance or Ajnana, has to be transformed first. That Ajnana does not exist alone; it has an off-spring: Ahamkara, selfishness. That Asura, again, has two children, Raga and Vasana; that is to say, Passion and Craving. Passion and Craving are closely interrelated. As the passion, so the desire. They are sisters. Raga means attachment or attraction. Through Raga, man gets the feelings of my and mine; those feelings provoke desires; desires breed worry. Therefore, to remove Ahamkara these two, Raga and Vasana, have to be annihilated. That means Ajnana has to go; for by that means alone can Ahamkara be killed. How to destroy Ajnana and develop Sujnana? That is the question! The answer is: through Dhyanam. The conquest of Ajnana, Ahamkara, Raga and Vasana brings about Moksha or Liberation for the Jivi.
He who is a slave to impulses and tendencies is devoid of Jnana. He is, in truth, a weakling! But let me assure him, he need not be alarmed. As soon as Vasanas are uprooted, he can earn back the Divine nature that he has lost by neglect. The Vasanas invade the realm of the heart; they cause endless trouble. They remind you of pleasures, agitating the memory of past experiences, and you start craving for them again. The cravings make the senses and their leader, the Manas, to engage themselves in brisk activities; there is no escape for them from this. So man attempts to collect the things he craves for and to enjoy them. All this takes place in the twinkling of an eye, so to say. The Vasanas operate so subtly and so powerfully. Just as the seed contains within itself the trunk, the branches, the twigs, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits; so too, in the Vasana, all this lies dormant. The Vasanas are the cause of all the objective happiness of man. If they are absent, the mind is pellucid and pure. If they are present all purity is ruined; they are obstacles in the path of Truth, of Atma and of immortality. A mind free from Vasana is transmuted and is no longer Mind.
Nature or Prakriti is the world of Vasanas. The Mind is attracted towards Nature and the external objects of the world by means of this tendency for attachment and it starts contemplating on the objects and dwelling on the qualities, all on account of these Vasanas. If one has no Vasana his mind will not be affected at all by the objective world. The Manas is like a piece of cloth; it takes on any colour with which it is dyed. Sathwika Vasanas will make it white, Rajasic Vasanas will change it into red; while Thamasic Vasanas will give it a black colour. The mind is shaped by the type of Vasanas with which it is filled. Man has to undertake Dhyanam and Dharana in order to destroy these Vasanas. The mind is but a bundle of Vasanas.
Some aspirants say to themselves that in spite of many years of steady practice, they have yet to acquire success in Dhyanam and Dharana. The reason need not be specially pointed out. It is just this: they have not been able to uproot the Vasanas! Therefore, such practioners must strive to conquer innate tendencies. They must fortify themselves with greater faith, and act.
If the Sadhaka is disturbed now and then by impure Vasanas, he must overcome them by his will power and his spiritual exercises. The Jivanmuktha has burnt out his Vasanas, but the Grihastha or householder is cultivating them. There is no profit in simply controlling them; a cobra becomes harmless only when its fangs are plucked out; similarly, their roots must be burnt. Then only man can attain the Brahmam.
Of course, even pure desires are a bond. But they are not hindrances, however many they may be. A thorn is removed by another thorn and both are thrown out afterwards, is it not? So also, when impure Vasanas are overcome through the influence of pure Vasanas, one has to outgrow both. This means that even the purest of Vasanas, the craving for Moksha or Liberation, has to disappear in time. Only then can You become That. A shackle is a shackle, whether it be of iron or gold. One has to be free from both. That is to say, one should attain a stage when neither good nor bad will attract or repel.
Any one aiming at the realisation of God should practise the diminishing of impulses, the curbing of the mind and the understanding of the fundamental principle. Not one of these is enough for Moksha. In the Jivanmuktha, impulses persist, but as fried seeds only. They will not cause further births. See, the subtle body is the Ajnani, the seat of Ignorance. It is saturated with impulses and traditions and experiences. The Atma is free from all these. It is ever pure. It belongs to neither sex, has no mind, no senses, no form. Not only that; it has no Prana, even! It cannot be said to be alive or dead. How can contemplation on such an Atma be anything other than pure? How can light and darkness co-exist? How can purity and impurity co-exist?
Of all the workshops in the world, the workshop of the body is the most wonderful, because it is the tabernacle of the Lord. In such a factory, the impulses are sublimated into vows, the impurities are weeded out, beneficent desires are shaped and good imaginings are brought about. The main aim is the uprooting of impulse, though this is a difficult task.
Mountains can be swept away sooner than these deeprooted Vasanas. But with will-power and zest, supported by faith, they can be overcome in a short time. Only, do not give up your determination and faith whatever the loss, hardship or obstacle. Remember, the Vasanas overpower you and keep you down as their slave. Opium and Brandy enslave you and hold you in their full grip only for some time: but Vasanas grip you for a whole lifetime! The entire meaning and purpose of Dhyanam is to attain freedom from these mighty and manifold Vasanas.
Those guided by impulses and instinct wander about the world like drunkards, devoid of discrimination between right and wrong, true and false. The overpowering influence of these animal impulses makes them forget the dire consequences of yielding to them. They have no shame or fear, but they simply revel in the search for worldly pleasures and in the accumulation of comforts and in the sheer enjoyment of luxuries. For those plunged in these impulses, the intellect is a useless, functionless possession. By constant pursuit of sensory pleasures, the Vasanas become hardened and they strike deeper and stronger roots.
That is why the advice has been given in the Githa, to give up the fruit of one's actions. The Vasanas become stronger because the fruits are always kept in mind whenever actions are performed. This makes men proud and conceited and they always try to thrust their pride in the faces of others. The Vasanas enslave them and under their influence they stoop even to the lowest type of wrong-doing, for getting rich and earning the money needed to satisfy them. They start worshipping Mammon as their God. Of course, riches are essential; but surplus riches, riches that give worry, anxiety and pain are not desirable at all. One should not seek to acquire riches to that extent.
Besides, men strive to earn the praise of others and avoid being blamed by others. This too is to be classed as a malina or impure Vasana.
The world is a nest of crows; some caw in praise; some caw in derision. But men should be above the reach of praise and blame. Make light of praise; treat it as something spat out by others. Then only can you be free and enjoy real happiness. And about blame. See how the world has not allowed even Rama, Krishna, Vishnu, Siva and Baba to escape from its tendency to blame! They talk ill even of the gods, imputing to those perfect beings evil motives and actions!
From such foul-minded persons as these, can any consideration be expected towards mere 'man'? Any excuse is enough for them. The white man hates the black; the black hates the white. The Saivite scandalises the Vaishnavite and the Vaishnavite spreads stories about the Saivite. Just as every one loves his own religion, his own native place and himself, he loves his own methods of worship and forms and ceremonies. This love takes the form of praise on one's own creed and blame of the other's faith. Though all this is related to one's relationship with God, such impulses are and must be classed under malina or impure Vasanas.
Such mean attitudes, saturated with ignorance, have to be removed by Japam and Dhyanam which fill the heart with broad and universal Atmajnana; and then the limited impulses vanish; they are transformed and transmuted into holy impulses or Vasanas. It is indeed a wonder why man fails to put forth all efforts to remove the malina Vasanas, for by following their path he gets pain, sorrow and agony! The deluding effect of these instincts and impulses makes him believe and feel that he is on the correct path towards the goal of happiness. That is why he is reluctant to give them up, that explains why he is holding on to them so fast. If he reads some good Adhyatmic books, the brain could be brightened. One could at least grasp the essence of the Sastras, for the number of Sastras is countless; time is too short to study all of them, and the obstacles in the path of understanding them are also too many. Of what use is it to pore over silly books or jawbreaking Sastras, or learn about modes of devotion that are not put into action? It is all wasteful effort. Spending all the time in study, apart from practice, also deserves to be condemned as a malina Vasana.
Listen! Bharadwaja studied the Vedas for three successive lives. When born a fourth time, he started reading again! So Indra came to him and taught him the Brahmavidya and confided to him the secret of Liberation. Then Bharadwaja put an end to his reading and his study and entered upon hard, concentrated Dhyanam. He realised the Atma. Therefore, study is a purposeless exercise if the essence is not imbibed and practised. The greed to read about all kinds of subjects and topics is itself not a very healthy impulse. Once upon a time, Durvasa, the saint, reached the presence of Siva with a cartload of religious books. Narada then compared him to the proverbial donkey; for too much attachment to books is itself a Durvasana, or undesirable habit. "Though one carries the burden of a multitude of books concerning all branches or knowledge; and though he might have read all of them, the teaching contained in them cannot be grasped at all without actual practical experience. Mere pride in learning is itself a malina Vasana, the Vasana of greed." When Durvasa heard such words of advice he was enlightened; he immediately threw all bundles into the sea and plunged into deep meditation, or Dhyanam. See how the sages feel that Dhyanam is all important for attaining full knowledge!
It is impossible to know the truth of the Atma either through the study of manifold Sastras, or by the acquisition of scholarship, or by the sharpening of the intellect, or by the pursuit of dialectical discussion. It cannot be realised by these means. Svethakethu, the son of Uddalaka, was a great pundit. One day the father called the son towards him and asked, "Svethakethu, have you understood the Sastra by understanding which all Sastras can be understood?" The son replied that he did not know of such a Sastra and had not learnt it. Then Uddalaka taught him the unequalled Sastra of Brahma Vidya, which grants one the knowledge of the truth of the Atma.
Hence, man should first grasp clearly the habits and mannerisms of his mind and its tendencies and attitudes. Then only can he control it and gain mastery over it and purify and develop his Memory, Will and Imagination.
Waywardness is the natural characteristic of the mind. It is like the wind. That is why Arjuna described it to Krishna thus:Chanchalam hi manah Krishna
Pramaathi balavath dridham
Thasyaaham nigraham manye
That is to say, "O, Krishna, the mind is very wayward; it moves very fast; it is very powerful; it is very difficult to bring it under control." Then Krishna replied, "Arjuna, no doubt what you said is correct. But by uninterrupted attention and discipline and by the practice of renunciation, it is possible to control it". Hence, practise Dhyanam, as a first step.
Impulses and desires have to be suppressed in order to get mastery over the mind. Desires excite the mind and make it rush towards the senses, as a dog runs behind its master. The Jiva, poor thing, falls into the meshes of Maya produced by the illusion-creating senses and the pleasure-pursuing mind! To escape all this agony, one should have recourse to Dhyanam, freed from the clutches of desires and slavery to the senses. Do Japam and Dhyanam. Then you can cultivate and develop along proper lines your Will, Memory and Imagination too. Without Dhyanam, it is not possible to control and master the mind. All other methods are as useless, as is the attempt to bind a wide elephant in a rut by means of a thin and tiny thread! Dhyanam is essential to immerse the Mind in the Atma.
Therefore, first, free yourself from the bondage to Desires. Some students and householders reserve a few wants and desires for their private satisfaction while giving up the rest. Even those householders who are engaged in concentration, Dharana and the like, find it difficult to give up certain desires. They retain these for their secret satisfaction. So their energies get spent and they achieve little progress in the Sadhana they are engaged in. These aspirants slide down the ladder which they climb so laboriously. To gain control over such unsteadiness, Dhyanam is of great help. It is not enough if one sense is conquered; all should be mastered, from all sides. Of course, this is a very hard task; you might feel like giving up the entire struggle. But never lose heart. Be patient and persevering; final success will be yours. Only, you should not, like some Sadhakas, stray away from the path of discipline as soon as you feel you are not succeeding as much as you hoped. That is not the road to victoy. Persevere; be patient; and earn victory in the end.
The wayward mind wanders hither and thither; but it is possible to fasten it on one fixed point by means of steady discipline and persistent training in Sadhana. This is the condition called Ekagratha, one-pointedness. It is also referred to as single-mindedness or Dharana. The uninterrupted flow of oil from one vessel to another is a fine symbol of the mental process called Dharana. For novices in Sadhana, Dharana appears to be very difficult of attainment since, after some progress is won, they do not usually keep up the practice. Instead, they give it up; even though on those days on which they desist from Sadhana, they will not have peace of mind. Dharana endows man with divine joy, wisdom beyond measure, the inner vision, the insight into the deeper truths, clearer understanding and unison with the Godhead. This science of Sadhana is more wonderful than the three Worlds!
The mind plans and executes innumerable deeds and roams over vast expanses, all in the twinkling of an eye! It operates with unimaginable speed. It conceives an object and dallies with it a little, but it soon discards it for another more attractive object towards which it flees and about which it begins to worry!
The Sadhaka has to be ever watchful of this tendency of his mind. When mind flits from object to object, he must bring it back to the right path and the right object. That is the correct spiritual Sadhana, the path of Dharana and Dhyanam. If, however, the Sadhaka does not struggle to achieve this one-pointedness but leaves the mind to itself, following its vagaries from this to that and that to this, the process deserves to be called Markata Dhyanam, or monkey-meditation; a type of meditation very harmful indeed to spiritual progress.
In short, the chief purpose of Dharana and Dhyanam is to minimise the travels of the mind and force it to stay in one place. Holding it on that fixed stage, one should continue Sadhana for a long time. Then there is no limit to the peace and joy that one can have. When for example, you meditate on a table, your thoughts dwell on the wood, the size and measurements, the style, the mode of manufacture etc. No other thought pertaining to anything else should be allowed. If the thought hovers round a cot, the idea of the table becomes hazy; and the cot too is imagined incompletely. Both get confused. The state of mind must be single-pointed. So too, when the Lord's Form is meditated upon, the mind must dwell upon the form of each part and its beauty and splendour; and these ideas must be co-ordinated and combined into the completed picture.
That is the modus operandi of Dhyanam. Persistent performance of this Dhyanam will result in the emergence of a particular Rupam or Form. Contemplating on that Form, looking at it and seeing it for days and days, finally a stage will be reached when the Form will disappear and you will forget yourself. That is the one Samadhi stage. In that stage, if one feeling or ideation alone persists, it is called Savikalpasamadhi, the Samadhi with ideation; and if no feeling or thought persists, it becomes what Patanjali in the Rajayogasastra designated as Bhaavanasana or the end of ideation.
Of course, the mind is inert, or jada. Just as when water, inert matter, begins to shine when it is placed in the Sun, the inert mind borrows effulgence from the Atma and appears as if it has Chaithanya, or Consciousness. In the mind, Buddhi gets reflected and so it looks as if the mind too is intelligent, that is all. Its real nature is ignorance or Ajnana. The mind is not self-effulgent, like the Atma. The mind's splendour is as the luminousness of insects in the rainy season. The Atma, however, is the Sun of Suns; it is the Effulgence of Effulgences; it is the Supreme Light, the Paramjyothi. It is Swayam-Jyothi, the Self-effulgent.
While doing Dhyanam, the mind should not be permitted to wander away from the target. Whenever it flies off at a tangent, it must be led back to the Form meditated upon. Finally, if you so desire, all things can be subsumed in that Form itself. Nevertheless, only one Form has to be meditated upon in the beginning. You should not daily change from one to another. Again, during the Sadhana, you should not indulge in thoughts about things you do not like, or things that cause pains, or things that shake your faith. If any such peep in, learn gradually to welcome them as beneficial, and seek to grasp the good in them, instead of the bad.
The senses can do nothing by themselves. They are not independent. If the mind is brought under control the senses too can be controlled. Some people undergo mere asceticism of the senses, in order to control the mind! They are ignorant of the real discipline necessary. The real discipline is the destruction of desire. However vigilant the warders may be, a clever dacoit can still steal in a hundred amazing ways. So too, however skillfully you may try to control the senses, the mind will drag them to its side and execute its desires through them. Note how the sage Viswamithra, inspite of his austerities, fell before the wiles of the Apsaras sent up by Indra to tempt him. If the outer door alone is closed and inner door is left unbolted, calamity is certain. But if both the exterior and the interior doors are safely bolted, you can sleep peacefully; for no thief, however clever, will find it easy to enter and do harm. The Sadhaka should, therefore, establish mastery over the external senses, then the mind immersed in the continuous succession of Vishaya, or Subject-object relationship, has to be controlled by means of Santhi and Vairagya, Equanimity and Renunciation. When that is done, one can experience real Ananda and also visualise the Atma, in its real Swarupa. That is why Krishna once told Arjuna, "Those who aspire to have mastery over the senses must have full faith in Me". The senses are always extrovert in nature; they are greedy for external contacts. Therefore, they drag the Ignorant perpetually towards external objects. So the Sadhaka, endowed with Discrimination and Renunciation, must place obstacles in their outward path and suppress their outbursts just as the charioteer, wielding the whip and the reins, does to the racing steeds. Uncontrolled senses cause great harm. Persons in their grip cannot engage themselves in Dhyanam, even for a single second.
Rupam, or Form, is fundamental for Dhyanam and Dharana. Even in the absence of the Form in front of you, you should have the capacity to visualise it. This is not so difficult for those whose Dharana is correct. But some practise Dharana without first cultivating good habits and right conduct. That is a sign of incomplete knowledge. Dharana must have the Sathwica guna as the basis. The mind has to be purified by proper treatment of the character through good habits. Dharana has to follow this purification process, not precede it. All effort for Dharana without cleansing the mind is a sheer waste of time. Many great men have ruined their careers by aspiring early for Dharana, without the discipline of good habits.
Again, in Dharana you must be careful not to have as the object something your mind does not like; for however hard you try, your mind will not stay on it. In the beginning, therefore, have some object that is a source of joy. Sit in the Padmasana pose and fix your eyes on the tip of your nose. For a minute in the beginning; then for three minutes; for six, some days later; for as long as nine minutes, after some time; thus, the concentration has to be strengthened gradually without undue hurry. In this way, it can be held for even half an hour, with the lapse of time. Only, you should not force the pace. Slowly and steadily, the discipline must be developed. With practice, the mind will get fixed and the power of Dharana will increase. To attain Dharana and acquire one-pointedness, you must undergo exertion to some extent. You must fasten your mind on the Lord and keep off all other thoughts from the mental plane. By constant exercise of this type, your vision will be firmly fixed on the Lord residing in your heart. That is, verily the goal; the full fruition of Dhyanam.
Dharana, according to Yogasastra, is the concentration of the mind on one object, without any deviation. Dharana alone can make Dhyanam successful. Its very nature is one-pointedness; its power will negate hesitation. It is caused by Ananda. The name is essential for Dhyanam, for that alone can ensure quick success. Even if complete faith is not forthcoming quickly, it must not be given up or changed; for practice will certainly yield victory. Dhyanam is spiritual strength, the strength that will keep off the Bhavaroga, or the disease of Samsara. But you should avoid the difficult obstacle in the path of Dhyanam, viz, anger, pride, conceit, tendency to discover the faults of others, mischief etc. These operate even sub-consciously, as the currents in the depths of the ocean.
The Sadhaka must be vigilant not to lose his temper on even small things, for that will block his progress. He must cultivate love towards all and meekness. Then undesirable habits will fall away from him since anger is the parent of all wrong behaviour. Anger can turn any into bad ways, any moment, and in any form. So it should be sublimated first by systematic effort. The Sadhaka must welcome gladly the announcement of his defects by any one; he must indeed, be grateful to those who point them out. He must never entertain hatred against them, for that is as bad as hating the 'good'. The 'good' has to be loved and the 'bad' discarded. Remember, the 'bad' should not be hated. It has to be given up, avoided. Only such persons can achieve progress in Dhyanam and Spiritual Wisdom.
Conceit, jealousy, the Rajasic exhibition of one's superiority, anger, the craving to inform oneself of the weakness of others and their failings, trickery - all these are obstacles in the path of Dhyanam. Even if these are not patently exhibited, the inner impulses urging one alone these wrong directions are latent in the mind. As a room kept closed for a long time is found dust-ridden and foul-smelling when it is opened and as it becomes clean and habitable after elaborate sweeping and dusting so the mind too has to be cleaned by Dhyanam. The Sadhaka must, by inward observation, examine the mind and its contents and condition. By proper disciplinary habits, he should remove the accumulated dirt, little by little, systematically. Conceit, for example, is deep-rooted and unyielding. In the Rajasic mind, it puts forth manifold branches in all directions and spreads everywhere. It might appear to be dry and dead for some time, but it will sprout again easily. As soon as a chance arises for its exhibition, it will raise its hood. So the Sadhaka has to be ever vigilant.
As regards Anger, the Sadhaka has to be vigilant even about the most minor matters which might provoke him; because if he is careless, he cannot progress in the least. Such persons must cultivate a humble, loving spirit. Then the bad traits will disappear. Some Sadhakas become very angry when someone discovers and announces to them the bad traits they possess. This makes matters worse! The Sadhaka must have always the inward look; if he is allowing his mind to wander outward, he cannot identify his own faults. Pride prevents the inward look and confuses the examination of the mind. When the Sadhaka is desirous of achieving success, he must bow down to those who point out his faults. That is the way to progress quick and fast in the path of Dhyanam. And he must endeavour not to entertain the faults any longer.
It is a hard job to get rid of Pride and Self-love or Ahamkara; for every one has been shaping this life from the beginning-less period of time! Each has been allowing his mind to flow in the direction it likes for ages past. So it is very difficult now to turn it from its accustomed path and bend its steps in another direction. The individual full of Aham loves to exercise authority over others. He will not agree with others that it is 'bondage', for their arguments are not advanced by him! They see everything through the glasses coloured by the smoke of selfishness and self love. "My words are true", "My opinion is correct", "My deeds are right", thus they feel and thus they spend their days. Such behaviour is very harmful for Sadhakas. The Sadhaka must eagerly look forward to any helpful criticism or suggestion or advice, from whatever quarter.
Besides, the Sadhaka must minimise all discussion and argumentation, for, this breeds a spirit of rivalry and leads one on to angry reprisals and vengeful fighting. Do not struggle to earn the esteem of the world. Do not feel humiliated or angry when the world does not recognise you or your merits. Learn this first and foremost if you are an aspirant for spiritual success. You should not become happy when you are being praised; therein lies a deadly trap, which might even lead you astray and endanger your progress.
Thus, you must reform your mental traits and habits. Cultivate the habit of never causing pain to others. Try to understand others and sympathise with them and do things that will be helpful. Train yourself to take insult and criticism as "decorations" awarded to you. Struggle hard to be friendly with every one, whatever be their nature or conduct.
A sense of joy is necessary for Dhyanam and Dharana to progress, but many things deprive you of the atmosphere of joy. So you must pray sincerely, in order to be free from such obstacles. The recital or repetition of Manthras will be of great help. Krishna in the Dwapara Yuga said, "Mathchinthanath sarva durgaani mathprasaadaath tharishyathi", which means, "when you start fixing your thoughts on Me, all thoughts that agitate you will be stilled through My Grace.
The Discipline of Dhyanam must be rigorously followed. In fact, Dhyanam means 'discipline'. Discipline, regularity, steadiness; these are essentials of Dhyanam. If the Sadhaka keeps these things in view, he can achieve quick results. Dhyanam is a first class cure for the Bhavaroga, illness of Samsara. Along with it, another drug too must be taken; its name is contentment. If there is Contentment in the mind, one enjoys an endless festival.
At the gates of Moksha and Sakshathkara, there are three guards posted to ask you for your credentials. They are Santhi, Santhosha and Vichara; Mental Equilibrium, Joy, Contentment, Inner Peace, Inquiry, Discrimination etc. Even if one of the guards is made to become friendly, the others will facilitate your entry. First in the series is Santhosha. If you make Santhosha yours, Thripthi or Contentment is yours: and Contentment is the highest source of joy and the most valuable possession. It is as much as an empire.
Without contentment, Kama and Lobha attain dangerous proportions and will overwhelm the power of discrimination itself. Desire easily becomes greed, and greed degenerates into miserliness and lust. They make you flit from object to object in mad pursuit of the evanescent sensual joy. How can such men develop the faculty of concentration? And without the capacity to concentrate, how can they engage themselves in Dhyanam? And without Dhyanam, no one can get Daivam, or Godhead. Advise the mind that flows so swiftly in so many directions: "Oh Mind, do not drag me along the floods of the objects, along the path of sensual desires and spoil my career. Take me to the Lord instead. Flow in that direction, please". Giving up all other desires and ever content, dwell on His Name and His Rupam only, to the exclusion of everything else. Dhyanam on these is real Santhi, genuine Santhosha.
Contentment will not make any one an idler, remember. It is an attribute of true Sathwic character. It will make the mind always turn towards the Lord. It will save you from the tribulation to satisfy the unimportant waves, catering to the selfish needs. It will direct human talents towards efforts that elevate. The contented man will also be truthful and he will therefore be in constant communion with the Atma. That is to say, he can be immersed in Dhyanam for long periods without rest or the feeling of tiredness. Dhyanam is the one method of counteracting the mental activities which surge forward in a thousand directions; there is no other method at all.
The capacity to concentrate is a very useful qualification. You must watch the vagaries of your own mind, how it travels, what objects it runs after, etc., and slowly by means of Dhyanam, you should teach it to stay still and to behave beneficially.
Do not worry about the unsatisfactory environment you may have. Of course, the place may have some drawbacks and it may not be ideal. But it is no use trying to run away from all that. You can overcome the drawbacks by training your own mind. Stay there itself and pray to the Lord! Pray that He may fill you with His thoughts and Vision, making you ignore the defects of the environment. Do not seek comfort, for comfort might not be conducive to Dhyanam. Learn to be comfortable in any place; that is better. Live in joy wherever you are; that is the way. Revel in the realm of your mind; worship there the Lord you have chosen as your goal and be free of all the defects of the natural or human environment! No spot can then be irksome to you, nor will any place seem disgusting.
Pride is an insidious vice; so at the slightest inkling of the disease, try your best to eradicate it by retiring into a lonely spot and engaging yourself in Dhyanam. Delay is dangerous. "Even Amritha, if the dose is delayed, becomes a poison", says the proverb. Remember this, and act swiftly. Dhyanam stills the agitated mind and makes it clear and full of joy. Many in this world, even among the learned, do not spend their allotted span of life in the pursuit of certain selected ideals. Hence, their earthly careers are like the voyage of a storm-tossed ship caught in mid-ocean, which has lost both its anchor and its compass. They are torn between opposing ideals and goals; they listen to diverse appeals; and their lives end in waste and failure, for they say one thing and do another in their ignorance and fear. Dhyanam gives them fixity of purpose and courage, and also wisdom. The feelings that arise in the mind, which are classified as Sathwic, Rajasic, and Thamasic have also to be watched and cleansed. The Rajasic and Thamasic have to be uprooted. Dhyanam is the weapon for this task.
The Dhyanamarga will destroy Ajnana and it will grant the individual Union with the Godhead, or Brahmaikyatha.