Isha Upanishad- The Mother’s Institute of Research, Delhi - Session 3: Prayer and Surrender; Verses 10-18

Prayer and Surrender

Question: O Agni burn and surrender is the same thing?

Answer: Then it is the further because that is the exactly the last prayer. Now we shall read the last one since you are speaking of it. That is exactly the prayer which has to be done. It says:

अग्ने अस्मान् राये सुपथा नय। देव विश्वानि वयुनानि विद्वान् अस्मत् जुहुराणाम् एनः युयोधि ते भूयिष्ठां नम विधेम ॥ 18॥

O god Agni, knowing all things that are manifested, lead us by the good path to the felicity; remove from us the devious attraction of sin. To thee completest speech of submission we would dispose.

Right, this is the complete prayer. The last word विधेम is very important. We do our obeisance नम उक्त्ति that is we pray, we pray consciously so that we utter that prayer and विधेम we put it in a methodical manner by vidhi. Yoga Shastra whatever yoga shastra gives you, the method by that method, I put forward my prayer to you. So in the short sentence everything is actually contained. The whole secret of the Vedic knowledge is given in the last passage.

Question: Does one need a guru…

Answer: It is like this as I said that shruti is necessary, is important, or you have to come an experience by repeated whatever has happened to you, and you have come to a exhausting point and then you put up your hands, whether you know a shastra or not you say, O my Lord! Please do something, I am now at the end of my tether. This prayer is enough to lift you up. You may not have any guru, you may not have any shastra or anything. You have come to the end of your effort. What can you do more? That is also a helper, but otherwise if you have not come to that point and you are looking, groping, in the condition in which we are now all the things may help. First of all, shruti may help. If somebody tells you that this is the whole secret of the world, it is a great help. Secondly, if you can know how to light the fire in you, the fire which is in you, how to bring it forward and this last verse is known to you that this is the method by which you can submit yourself, by submission it can be done, that is a great help. Or if you know that the Supreme Lord has the power of grace, then you invoke the grace to come down. In doing all this, a guru’s help is very useful. If the guru is the right guru, if he knows all this and takes you to this, but even without guru because Supreme Lord Itself is the Guru, Agni, which is in you, is your guru. The circumstances of life are your guru, your experience is your guru, but an external guru or teacher is also a very good thing and for most of us it may be regarded as an indispensable aid. Very important one, but a true guru is one, who always takes you to the real guru—the Supreme Lord Himself, so that he passes out of your life as quickly as possible; so you are in the hands of the Supreme Lord Himself. The Supreme Lord is your guru and at least you should concentrate on Him and if you need the right one will come. This is the sign of the real guru. The real guru always comes, when you really need him, he really comes not that you should not look for one, it is good, you should go on looking for one and invite God Himself as your Guru and He will send you one. You will find somebody who will help you but if you do not need the help of an external guru, he will not come because then you will already be in the hands of God. It is not necessary that you must have a guru. Guru is a help, a very great help, almost indispensable but not absolutely necessary. So you continue your effort. I don’t say that you should not make an effort but rely upon the Supreme Guru Himself because He is always available, always there and be in touch with the real Shastras, real knowledge because there are many shastras which are not correct because they give all kinds of mistaken ideas. There is a lot of confusion in our country on these questions. Lots of confusion!

If your aspiration is correct, sincere, then you will detect at one time as she said she went from guru to guru. It can happen only if her search is sincere, otherwise you can get caught in something. If there is insincerity then one begins to insist upon the error and falsehood begins to increase and then one remains bound like that. So the solution for that is whatever we may do we should always say ‘O God, please put me on the right path’. That is the right thing to do.

I think we should stop here today because we could not do the other verses and I think we have covered almost everything that is in the other verses. Like the last verse, I already took up in the end because of your question and other verses can now more easily be understood in the same light. Is it all right?

Question: Would you like to discuss in detail the last verse?

Answer: I wanted to avoid coming again. All right, we can have one more meeting on the Ishopanishad. Ishopanishad now only a few verses are left and most of them I covered in a certain sense. By all these expositions, which were quite long, I thought that I had explained the questions in detail. I have gone around the whole, – long coverage, I covered so much! There has been a lot of confusion in India for the last two thousand years. Our concepts have been greatly twisted. That is why this Upanishad is very important. It is very striking. It does not mince words at all. It is very striking. This Upanishad is therefore like a sword you know it cuts across all wrong notions and establishes the truth very clearly. So it is a very important one.

In the Gita, Sri Krishna that is why very clearly Himself says that the teachings were given earlier but it was lost and then Sri Krishna himself I am now again giving it to you and then afterwards again it has been lost. The teachings of the Gita have been lost.

Those who know Sanskrit, I shall analyse each word, alright?

Agnao means O Agni, O Fire, नय means lead, सुपथा means by the right path, राये means to felicity, to delight, अस्मान् means us, विश्वानि वयुनानि means all things that are manifested, विद्धान् means the knower. Agni is supposed to be the knower of all things because right from the inconscient, Agni has been present to build up everything, that is why Agni is also called जातवेदाः – jatavedah—one who knows all that is born, so Agni is addressed as one who knows all things which are manifested. It is Agni who is prayed to, asking it to lead us by the good path to the felicity. युयोधि means you fight, अस्मत् from us, जुहुराण्म means attractive, distracting, tempting, एनाः – the sin, fight so as to remove from us the attractive sin; भूयिष्ठां to nama उक्तिं विधेम – विधेम means we offer by ordered method, भूयिष्ठां means the best, उक्तिंM means speech, नम उक्त्तिa the speech of submission, to means to you, to Thee, to thee completest speech of submission we would dispose.

So, I shall read again:

O god Agni, knowing all things that are manifested, lead us by the good path to the felicity; remove from us the devious attraction of sin. To thee completest speech of submission we would dispose.

There are three things in this prayer. One is that it is a prayer to Agni. Agni is our inner soul. It is also the spirit of the Divine Will, which is manifested in the whole universe. It is Agni, who has presided over the whole movement from the inconscient upwards. Therefore, Agni has the secret of all things that are there in the world. Agni, therefore, knows both what is virtue and what is sin. It has an immediate understanding as to where exactly is the danger, where is the peril and where is the right path. Therefore, Agni is asked to lead us to the right path avoiding the path of sin. That is the second element, to go to the right path and to be liberated from the temptation of the sin and third thing is that Agni is asked to fight for us because Agni is the warrior according to the Veda. Our inner soul is the warrior, he is the leader, he is the real worker, he is the mason who builds, so he is asked to युयोधि—you fight, so as to remove from us the devious attraction of sin and it is to that Agni that submission namah, submission is made but submission is made not ordinarily, but in the right order through the path of Yoga shastra. The entire word vidhi is meant for the right order of the process. It is Agni who knows the right process, it is like the scout in a journey, one who knows all the paths and we are the passengers, we are the travellers and Agni is to lead us in the right order. That is why this particular prayer is to Agni.

Tangle of Human Consciousness; Verses 10-18

Now the significance of this prayer is understood best when we realise the tangle in which we are involved and that is where we were last time before we came to this prayer. We had said that when the mind is manifested in the evolutionary process, then two advantages open up before the individual. Mind has two capacities, which are not available at the lower levels of existence. There are two other lower levels of existence – the level of the body and the level of desires and impulses that is body and life. Mind is at a higher level of development and the mind has these two important capacities which are not available to the body and to life. One is that the mind has the capacity to become aware of itself—self-awareness and secondly, the mind has the capacity to withdraw from its own movements. It is capable of standing behind. The mind can observe itself. Mind can watch its own thoughts, its movements although with difficulty and sometimes it is not capable of it but this potentiality exists in the mind. When one is very angry then one may not be able to watch one’s anger because one becomes so much rolled up with the wave of anger that one is not able to withdraw from the movement of anger but otherwise in normal moments we are able to watch ourselves, we can give a good account of what is happening to our mind and that is a great capacity of the mind which is not available to desires, or to the bodily conditions. The body cannot give a good account of itself. The life cannot give a good account of itself but the mind can give a good account of itself from time to time at least.

Now this capacity of self-awareness and the capacity of withdrawing from itself is made use of by the Agni element in us, by our inner soul. As I said last time it is the Agni that is evolving gradually and leading the whole movement from inconscient upwards. If you recall we had said that when there was complete darkness then Agni was injected into the darkness and from that time onwards Agni has been growing upwards and leading out and first, matter was brought out, then life was brought out and then mind was brought out. So when mind is brought out, Agni becomes much more capable as it were of handling the material because now in mind there is a kind of a helper, greater than the helper that was the body and the helper that was the life. Now it is at this level that I have explained how error becomes possible. I had said that whenever the mind moves upwards, it moves upwards in search of knowledge, apart from its self-consciousness, apart from its power of self-withdrawal, it has this power of seeking for knowledge. So when it seeks for knowledge, it has a special kind of movement, which is called groping. The mind gropes towards knowledge. It does not know its goal, it does not know the method of reaching the goal but somehow there is a feeling that there is something to be pursued and it pursues it by the method of groping and in this method of groping error becomes inevitable, mistakes are committed. If the mind knew exactly what it was looking for, if the mind knew the right method of looking for what it was looking for, then there will be no mistake but because it does not know what it is looking for and does not know the method, therefore, it commits mistakes.

Now in committing mistakes there is a further movement by which it becomes complicated and that is insistence on the error. I commit an error, which is quite normal, but then there is a tendency in the mind to justify the error, to stick to the error, to insist on it and to claim that it is the right thing. It is this insistence, which causes falsehood. So the distinction between error and falsehood is that whereas error is the pathfinder, truth finder, the falsehood is insistence on the error itself, and limitation to error and insistence that we should remain confined to the error and claiming that it is the truth. This is the falsehood – if we are only open to the error there is no problem but when the tendency arises to insist upon the error, to justify it, to insist upon it then the falsehood arises and all that we call sin, evil, devious methods of working, the crooked methods of working in the world, which is called in the Veda duritani, duritani means crooked methods as opposed to straight methods. Straight methods are rijutani, rijuta that which is straight, duritani is crooked so all crookedness arises out of this insistence on error. The question is whether we can come out of this tangle of insistence on error resulting in falsehood, sin, evil, etc. and if so – how?

The entire human life is located at this point. Animal life is located at a lower level. At the level of impulses, instincts, it has only concerns with the body and desire. It has no mind or very rudimentary mind, therefore, animal life does not have this problem which human beings have got. Animals do not insist upon errors; therefore, you cannot say that a tiger commits an error when it attacks upon the victim. It does it out of its own nature. The tiger does not insist upon its error, if ever it committed an error. Therefore, the element of falsehood, sin, evil etc. is not present at the lower levels of consciousness. Falsehood and evil and sin is precisely at the level of the human being because of the powers of the mind. So human life is located exactly at this point, so you might say that human being is a knot and this knot consists of several tendencies—one is the tendency to grope for knowledge, another is to be self-consciousness, third is to be able to withdraw from the movement, the fourth is to insist upon the confinement to error and as a result of that the mind goes on moving in a circle of these three, or four, or five tendencies. So all human life, all human beings, the psychology of man basically is the tangle, is the knot of these tendencies. Now this stage is, therefore, called the stage of ignorance in the Vedantic terminology. The level of the mind where there is a groping consciousness, committing error, insisting upon error and attraction to remain within the error—जुहुराण्मेना – is the sin and जुहुराण्म—is the attraction. There is an attraction to remain confined within that area.

Now basically why is there this tendency to remain confined to this? This is because of what we had seen earlier, last time, the tendency of exclusive concentration of consciousness. Last time we had spoken of exclusive concentration of consciousness. We had said that there are various kinds of concentration—there is integral concentration of consciousness, multiple concentration of consciousness and exclusive concentration of consciousness.

अन्यदेवाहुर्विद्ययान्यदाहुरविद्यया ।
इति शुश्रुम धीराणां य नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ।।10।।

Other, verily, it is said, is that which comes by the Knowledge, other that which comes by the Ignorance; this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding.

विद्याञ्चाविद्याञ्च यस्तद्वेदोभयं सह ।
अविद्यया मृत्युं तीत्र्वा विद्ययामृतमश्नुते ।।11।।

He who knows That as both in one, the Knowledge and the Ignorance, by the Ignorance crosses beyond death and by the Knowledge enjoys Immortality.

When there is integral concentration of consciousness then all that there is known simultaneously and perfectly. There is integrality that is to say we realise the Brahman as atman, purusha, Ishwara, we realise the Jivatman, we realise the universal movement coming out of the Brahman, atman, purusha, Ishwara and all this is known simultaneously as integrality.

In the multiple concentration there is a play of a few items of these elements being put at the back and you are aware of many such elements not the whole but many elements.

In the exclusive concentration of consciousness you become concentrated only upon a small limited area and all the rest is put at the background. This is the condition of exclusive concentration of consciousness. Now we are subject to this exclusive concentration of consciousness and because of this tendency we have the impulse to remain confined to our limited circle. What is called in the Upanishad avidya is the field of exclusive concentration of consciousness and multiple concentration of consciousness. What is called vidya is the opposite concentration of consciousness of the one, which excludes the multiplicity. This is what happens in one of the processes by which we try to come out of our avidya. By lots of experimentation it was found that if you reverse your consciousness backwards then your exclusive concentration of consciousness can be lifted up. We are at present concentrated exclusively upon a few elements of our limited field. Now what you do is that to reverse it, take the car in the reverse gear as it were, instead of exclusively concentrating upon your present field you withdraw from it and this is aided by the fact that the mind is capable of withdrawing. So try to withdraw from this exclusive concentration of consciousness and when you go backward, backward, backward, sufficiently backward then you may discover behind a luminosity. It exists already but we were not aware of it because of our exclusive concentration of consciousness. So if you sufficiently withdraw from it you become aware of luminosity in which you discover a status of immobility, luminosity and immobility and vastness and oneness. These are the qualities that you find when you withdraw from all this movement. This is the real reason why yogis prescribe meditation because meditation is nothing but withdrawal of exclusive concentration of consciousness, backwards. Although it takes time, when you can do it sufficiently well then you may find at one point a sudden entry into this level of consciousness where there is luminosity, immobility and oneness. So you may say that from the field of avidya you enter into the field of vidya. You discover the one; you discover the luminosity and immobility. You find yourself liberated from the limitations of your fluctuating movement of the mind in which we were jumping from one point to other point although in a limited field and in that limited field we were insisting upon our errors and this insistence upon errors have constituted or created a formation of two things—insistence implies desire. When you insist upon something it is actually a form of a desire, all desire is nothing but insistence upon something. And secondly, since it insists upon a small formation, it takes the form of what is called an ego –अहम् भावः – so we were tied up to desire and ego and that small field of exclusive concentration of consciousness. Now when you withdraw and go into this luminosity, you suddenly find that there is no desire at all and there is no ego formation at all. It is just abolished. It is not there at all.

Now this experience is normally called the condition of liberation, the condition of moksha or mukti. So you find yourself liberated from the ego and desire when you enter into this luminosity which is immobile. But now having understood these two important terms—vidya and avidya—the Upanishad says that those who pursue avidya enter into the path of darkness but those who pursue the path of vidya, they enter into greater darkness – very surprising statement.

Then the next verse it says that actually if you pursue avidya rightly and if you pursue vidya rightly then this would not happen. So there is one way of pursuing avidya and there is another way of pursuing vidya and that is indicated in the next one that if you pursue avidya rightly then you cross over the death and by vidya then, gives you the enjoyment of immortality. Now this is a very important statement so let wait on it a little and try to understand what it means.

During the last two thousand years in India, it has been prescribed that you should give up avidya and reverse yourself and go into vidya, and you will then be liberated and you will be free from egoism, desire and all limitations. This became extremely popular in India in the later period of the Upanishads, not the first part of the Upanishads. Ishopanishad does not favour it, which is very clear. In the Upanishadic periods there were two periods—one earlier period of the Upanishads and the other was the later period of the Upanishads. The twelve famous Upanishads, particularly, are the products of the earlier period of the Upanishads but gradually there was a kind of a decline in the knowledge of the Upanishads, the kind of the knowledge that is given in this Ishopanishad for example. Now this was anticipated by the Rishis of the older Upanishads, so they had already given a warning that it may tempt many people to make this reversal and enter into the immobility and therefore, it said that if you do so, you will go into greater darkness. It was a warning as it were, although ultimately and even today for example this is the path which is very much favoured and people simply tell you, you just meditate, be quiet and by entry into it you will enter into liberation.

There are many paths which are now prescribed among many yogis—withdraw from everything, do the minimum type of work, the call of the Himalayas, renunciation, renounce everything and withdraw as much as possible and by reversal you enter into the immobility. This is the proposition of Buddhism in different terms. It says that if you withdraw from everything, you enter not into immobility but you enter into shunya—into nihil. In jnana marga it is said that if you withdraw from all activities, all emotions, all sentiments, all relationships, withdraw from everything and meditate constantly on saying: ‘I am not the ego, I am not the desire, I am not the body, I am not the life, I am not the mind, I am not the universe, I am Brahman, I am immobile’—constantly by meditating on this, you will be able to enter into immobility and you will be liberated.

Sankhya also ultimately prescribes this very proposition—withdraw from movements of prakriti and enter into the immobility of the luminous purusha. This is the Sankhyan proposition.

There are some other propositions also but they are subordinate. They are not very prominently known; what is prominently known is this path at present. Mostly when people talk of yoga it is this that is meant, against which Ishopanishad gives a warning. The reason is that the goal for which this body is assumed, why this whole trouble is taken of evolving into the inconscient first and then coming out of it and all that as I told you last time, the purpose is not to go back again as soon as possible that was not the purpose. If the purpose was only to return back to the original silence then this world would not have been created at all. There is a purpose why this has been done that is the embodied individual, the integrality, the totality is to be manifested.

So if you withdraw from avidya straight into vidya, then you do not pass through multiple concentrations of consciousness and you do not have the possibility of entering into the integrality of consciousness. You enter into another exclusive concentration of consciousness, which is of course vast, luminous, immobile without the limitation of desire and ego. Quite true, very fine, but then you are forfeiting the possibility of multiple concentration of consciousness and ultimately entering into integrality of consciousness.

Now so long as you are in avidya, the possibility of entering into integrality of consciousness remains but once you enter into that immobility then that possibility goes away. You are stuck into it, therefore, it is said that you enter into a greater darkness, if you go into vidya. So what is prescribed by the Ishopanishad is a double movement – a movement in avidya in which you enlarge the field of your avidya. At present our field is limited in which we are exclusively concentrated. Develop multiple concentration of consciousness, enlarge your field. At the same time develop also the perception of the immobility—a double process, an integrality of the process. If you do this double process then avidya will lead you to larger and larger fields and you will understand the real purpose of desire, the real purpose of ego, real purpose of limitation and real purpose of death and you will be able to use all these gradually as instruments of further progression. At present, death is regarded as a negation of life but if you understand the real meaning as to why death occurs at all, if you examine the field of avidya much more closely then you will understand that death is a process of life itself. It is not a process of negation of life but death is a process of life itself.

Now let us concentrate on this point a little more. What does it mean? We find that a human being is born, grows, develops, gathers a good deal of experience, develops one kind of personality, another kind of personality, develops one capacity, another capacity and one fine day he simply stops developing and there is death. And then we begin to wonder if this was the end of the whole thing and what was the point of taking birth, of developing, of our capacities being developed, personality being developed and what then happens to all this after death. If this is the ultimate thing that happens ultimately, that all this seems to be in vain. Having no meaning, no purpose at all and some people might even derive a conclusion out of it that the best thing in the world is to commit suicide because the world is so troublesome, so painful. You develop your personality, you struggle so much and ultimately death is the only ultimate consequence of all that in which everything will be finished.

But if you really understand the meaning of avidya, the purpose for which avidya is there, the purpose why desire is there, purpose why incapacity is there, purpose why death is there, you will find that the process of death is a very conscious process even though it might seem as though death occurs accidentally, by chance just as we say that birth also takes place by chance. In ignorance we can only think of chance because this is all happens all haphazard, in a random manner but when we begin to understand the deeper layers of life, when we begin to enlarge the field of ignorance from exclusive concentration of consciousness, we begin to develop multiple levels of consciousness then we begin to see that the world as a design and that the growth and development of man occurs by design. You can design your growth, you can design your personality, you can change your personality, you can grow out of incapacity towards capacity, you can even will your death at a particular moment and utilise death as an instrument of further expansion. This is the meaning of what is called mrityum tritva. You understand death and you even design your own death as it were. You utilise the death as an instrument of further expansion. Every human being at a certain point of development reaches a kind of climax of development in the given field in which he is located. And he still wants to move forward but the circumstances are so circumscribed, so limited that he can move forward only by two methods. If somehow the circumstances are greatly changed and that can happen sometimes and it does happen, so that the further development takes place, or else death occurs as a result of which you are lifted out of the limitations of the circumstances in which you are placed and then you are reborn in another place where there are other circumstances where further development can take place.

Now this understanding comes about by understanding the movement of avidya, you understand the meaning of death that death is a process by which circumstances in which you are circumscribed today are enlarged by a radical operation you might say and you are lifted out into another circumstance in which our development can take place. But mere enlargement of circumstances is not enough. You can go on developing your personality to great extent but a point is reached when you discover that there is an inexhaustible source of development. There is somewhere a source such that if you can reach that source that having reached there, your development can be indefinite. The present method of struggle of development can be replaced by a smooth transition of development in which one stage is followed by another and by a third and by a fourth, so you reach to that source and now that source consists of two elements, has two poises. It is immobile in character and mobile in character, at once. That is why the Upanishad at the very beginning told us तदेजति तन्नैजति (verse 5)—It moves, It moves not. This is the knowledge which has been given already in the earlier part of the Upanishad.

So if you develop in this method, by double method, then you arrive at a source which is immobile and mobile. If you follow avidya and vidya together—double method, then you arrive at this double realisation. When you arrive at that realisation that is what the Upanishad regards as the condition of immortality. To arrive at a condition not only of immobility but immobility from where constant dynamism becomes possible, so that even in life-movement you remain immobile not only by coming out of life-movement you become immobile but even in life- movement you remain immobile then you enjoy immortality. Therefore, the word used is अमृतमश्नुते (verse 11). अश्नुते means enjoyment. You enjoy immortality.

So the goal that is put forward in the Upanishad is the enjoyment of immortality. If you simply enter immobility, it is, of course you are liberated from ego and desire, but you don’t enjoy this immortality even when the life movement is constantly moving out.

Now this being the goal, the goal is that every individual is ultimately destined to lead up to an integral realisation, integral concentration of consciousness in which immobility and mobility are at once realised together and there is a secret of constant development is realised, that being the destiny, there is a law imposed in this world that until you reach this integral realisation, you are obliged to be born, obliged to die. There is a law of birth and death. No human being can escape this law, whether you like it or not. This is, you might say, before the creation started, the Divine had consulted each one of us—look this is the game that I want to play in this world, and we all had agreed that we are prepared to enter into this game, because of this agreement we will not come out of this until we reach back to this realisation. That is why we are obliged to take birth; we are obliged to pass through death and take birth again and again, go to the death and again, this cycle goes on. So this is the ultimate goal that we have to reach and this is the goal that is prescribed by the Upanishad. But as I told you there is always a possibility of being misled, where we can be told that there is a shortcut that just you withdraw from this movement and you can enter into immobility and this has happened in India. This message of shortcut has appealed very much and it always appeals. The human mind which is troubled in this net wants to come out of it as soon as possible and if somebody can give you the remedy of a shortcut, it will be very much appreciated. And this is what has happened. But Upanishad gives a warning against it that although it is possible for you to do it. It is not as if it is not possible, you can come out of this net, you can enter into immobility, you can be liberated but that is not the goal for which you had come and consented to come in this world. You had come into this world with a specific purpose and if you really want to fulfil it, then this is the path अविद्यया मृत्युं तीत्र्वा – you pursue the avidya, enlarge your field of consciousness, develop your body, life and mind on the one hand, discover the source in which there is inexhaustible possibility of development, realise the real meaning of death, realise that death is not a negation of life but a process of life. With that wisdom you arrive at the integrality of perfection. It is then that this world will find its meaning, otherwise it will seem to be meaningless, a mechanical process, a kind of a monstrous machine in which you have been thrown a pell-mell and some God is looking at us and enjoying our pain and suffering. This will be the consequence, if this integrality of vision is not seen. That is why in the next two-three verses, the Upanishad speaks of the birth and non-birth. If you look at the three verses which comes after vidya and avidya, 12, 13, and 14.

अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽसम्भूतिमुपासते ।
ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ सम्भूत्यां रताः ।।12।।

Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Non-Birth, they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Birth alone.

अन्यदेवाहुः सम्भवादन्यदाहुरासम्भवात् ।
इति शुश्रुम धीराणां ये नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ।।13।।

Other, verily, it said, is that which comes by the Birth, other that which comes by the Non-Birth; this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding.

सम्भूतिञ्च विनाशञ्च यस्तद्वेदोभयं सह ।
विनाशेन मृत्युं तीत्र्वा सम्भूत्याऽमृतमश्नुते ।।14।।

He who knows That as both in one, the Birth and the dissolution of Birth, by the dissolution crosses beyond death and by the Birth enjoys Immortality.

As I said that until the goal is reached there is a law imposed upon us that we have got to be born and we have got to die, until we reach this kind of a realisation. This law is imposed and imposed by ourselves. But since we are now in the state of ignorance, we have forgotten our contract with God as it were and we are only in the process of birth and death. We only see birth and death and nothing else. We do not see the purpose of it and the ultimate goal or anything of the kind. So normally what is happening to us is that we are simply pursuing at present – birth. Birth followed by death, death followed by birth, followed by death, followed by birth. And if you want to come out of the birth-death series you can go into immobility, you arrive at non-birth, that is possible but then the integral aim is not achieved. So it is only when you pursue the birth-death process intelligently – why is it all this and why in this birth you discover that integrality – तदेजति तन्नैजति that which moves and that which does not move simultaneously, if you discover that then you attain to non-birth that is to say even if you are born you are free from birth, there is no necessity for you to take birth. You may take birth for the sake of enjoyment, for the sake of uplifting others. You are not necessitated to take birth again, you are free from that whole cycle but even if you take birth, you are not bound by it. You do not have the limitations of birth and death. This is the wisdom that is revealed in this Upanishad. You might say this is the tangle of human life and this is the method of disentangling the tangle.

Now this process is aided by two instruments Agni and Surya. Agni, we have already seen it as the last prayer we saw at the very beginning of this talk but in the next verse comes the prayer to the Sun. If you see verse number 15, there is a very interesting statement.

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् ।
ततु त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ।।15।।

The face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid; that do thou remove, O Fosterer, for the law of the Truth for sight.

Pushan is the name of the Sun. The Sun stands for the integral vision of Reality. In the Vedic and Upanishadic language whenever the word Sun is used, it is used for the integral concentration of consciousness. It is not the physical Sun which is worshipped; it is the integral concentration of consciousness which is worshipped. So while we are in this state of ignorance, it is revealed to us that there is behind you an integral vision of light of which you are not aware because you are exclusively concentrated upon a limited field but if you can withdraw from yourself and if you enlarge yourself—double method. The method of avidya is enlargement; the method of vidya is withdrawal. By simultaneous withdrawal and by simultaneous enlargement, if you develop yourself then you will realise this integral vision.

Now this integral vision is today hidden from you, hidden by what, hidden by the brilliant ideas of your own mind, even when you rise very high in your mind. Between our present mind and enlarged mind, as you develop more and more, you will discover that between the mind and the integral vision of Reality, there are multiple levels of consciousness of which I had spoken of earlier—there is integral vision of Reality, multiple concentration of consciousness, and exclusive concentration of consciousness.

Now when you withdraw from the exclusive concentration of consciousness, and enlarge yourself, you will come across multiple concentrations of consciousness, multiple levels of consciousness. Now these multiple levels of consciousness are much more brilliant than the mind but even these multiple levels of consciousness, they actually hide the face of the integral vision of Reality. Therefore, it is called golden lid – हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण—our mind is not so hiranmaya; is not so golden, but the intermediate levels of consciousness becomes more and more golden as you rise higher and higher. As we find for example the thoughts of a philosopher are more bright than thoughts of ours. Thoughts of great scientists are much more golden than our thoughts. As we rise higher and higher, brighter and brighter ideas begin to dawn upon us but even these ideas are not that ultimate vision of Reality and if you remain confined to them, then they serve as a cover, again another exclusive concentration of consciousness by which you are limited to that field only and that highest vision is hidden, so what happens is, as you rise higher and higher you will discover a golden lid of higher multiple levels of consciousness. Then you worship Sun, the Supreme Reality and say, “You kindly break that golden lid” and when that is broken then the full light of integral consciousness begins to manifest and that is the goal, the integral manifestation of consciousness. So now read again the same sentence—the face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid; that do thou remove, O Fosterer (Fosterer means the Sun, which fosters this new development) for the law of the Truth (that integral vision of Reality is the law of the Truth) for sight (so that you can see it—दृष्टये for the drishti, you attain to the drishti). This is the prayer which is addressed to the Sun, to the integral vision of Reality.

Now the same prayer is continued in the next one where the process of this vision is further described in detail in a few words.

पूषन्नेकर्षे यम सूर्य प्राजापत्य व्यूह रश्मीन् समूह ।
तेजो यत्त् ते रुपं कल्याणतमं तत्ते पश्यामि योऽसावसौ पुरुषः सोऽहमस्मि ।।16।।

O Fosterer, O sole Seer, O Ordainer, O illuminating Sun, O power of the Father of creatures, marshal thy rays, draw together thy light; the Lustre which is thy most blessed form of all, that in Thee I behold. The Purusha there and there, He am I.

In a few words Pushan again means O Sun, एकर्षे – you are one Rishi, great Rishi, यम—the controller, सूर्य – O Sun, प्राजापत्य—the master of the world, व्यूह रश्मीन् समूह—these are two important words – रश्मीन् means the rays of light, व्यूह रश्मीन् समूह, व्यूह is marshal the rays; समूह is means draw together. Behind every idea that we have there is a ray of light which can be traced to the Supreme light. No idea in our mind can really subsist, if it has not its connection with the Supreme ray of light, but in our consciousness it has become scattered, our mind is scattered, that is the quality of our mind to be scattered, therefore, we are jumping all the time from one point to the other. So if you can draw your mind or any idea of your mind, marshal it to its own highest point and similarly you do with regard to every idea then you draw them together; then you get the totality of the vision – समूह is totality. Marshal thy rays and then unite all the rays. Then it says that if you reach that point where all the rays of light are united and then of course our limited mind ceases to be limited now anymore because then instead of this kind of scattered rain there is simply the sunlight – तेजो यत्त् ते रुपं कल्याणतमं तत्ते पश्यामि—then I can perceive पश्यामि—then I will be able to see तत् that, to means yours, कल्याणतमं रुपं—I will be able to see your most blessed form, – तेजाः यत्त् – it is lustre—that highest form of your being is that lustre which is integral consciousness, integrated development of consciousness. And when I reach that point then what happens – योऽसावसौ पुरुषः सोऽहमस्मि—then I reach that realisation in which I the jivatman, I find myself one with that Reality—That Purusha, That Atman, That IshwaraAtman, Purusha, Ishwara, Jivatman—the internal relationship of all of them and all as oneness, That I realise, and that is the highest state of realisation that is described.

And once this is given, once this realisation is obtained that then even if the body falls, it does not matter because now your consciousness is absolutely united, there is no need of any birth, death, anything at all. If you want to take birth, you will take birth and enjoy birth and you will be immortal even united while born. There will be no difficulty at all.

वायुरनिलममृतमथेदं भस्मान्तं शरीरम् ।
ॐ क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर ।।17।।

The Breath of things is an immortal Life, but of this body ashes are the end. OM! O Will, remember; that which was done remember! O Will, remember, that which was done remember.

Even if this body इदं भस्मान्तं शरीरम् – this body gets reduced to ashes and yet वायुरनिलममृतम—but the Life force remains immortal. And then comes a very important advice to the seeker. ॐ क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर—now this is you might say a very mystic and occult advice given by the Upanishad to each one of us. क्रतो is the Will of Agni. Each one of us is Agni. Now this Agni is described in the Veda as अमत्र्य मत्र्येषु—It is the immortal in the mortal. The immortal is, of course, that which moves and moves not, that which is the integral light is, of course, the immortality. But apart from that immortality..

That also is immortal because it has been brought down from that Supreme Integral Consciousness. As I have told you earlier when there was complete darkness there was a question as to how to awaken this darkness into light and then the solution was found that if Agni can be put forward then gradually this inconscient can be awakened, gradually to the light. So this Agni was brought from the Supreme Integral Consciousness as a kind of a spark from it and innumerable sparks – each one of us is one of the innumerable sparks. We were all brought down into the inconscient and gradually we have been growing along with the birth of matter, life, and mind. When we say we, it is the Agni that is we. Agni element is that which is we, it is this Agni which is immortal, and therefore, it is that which connects us from our past life. When we die, then the body is left here भस्मान्तं शरीरम् – this body is reduced to ashes. Then what remains still alive is the sukshma deha which consists of the life and mind, which also gets dissolved in due course but that which does not get dissolved is the Agni—is the soul. Agni is the other word of soul. It is immortal, it does not die, it is inextinguishable—that spark is inextinguishable, it is amritam – मत्र्येषु अमृतं—it is the immortal in the mortal. Therefore, our soul, if you can go back to it, can remember all that has happened in the past and this is the mark of a development of the soul that when you can glance at your life in a flash, even the present life. Normally we forget most of our life even in the present life but if our soul is more awake, then we can remember our life more consciously and there are moments when you look back at your life – very critical moments of your life come, when you are able look at your whole life in one glance as it were and you can mark out all the important events of your life, all turning points.

Now the memory of this is very important smar. It says क्रतो स्मर कृतं—that which you have done in the past, you remember and it repeats, you remember. Our death, our disintegration is because of forgetfulness. We do not remember the agreement that we have done with God at the very beginning. We do not know that we ourselves are the immortal soul that we have been forward from birth to birth, that we have been developing under the guidance of the soul. That even now it is our soul which is guiding us and by the help of the soul we can recover again that integral vision of Reality, all this you have forgotten, therefore, it says you remember this क्रतो कृतं स्मर. क्रतो कृतं स्मर– it repeats again and again. And having done this, it ends with the prayer to this very soul.

अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान् विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्धान्।

This is what we had done at the very beginning. O Agni! You are the knower of all things that are born, therefore, by the right path, you take us to the Supreme राये—Supreme Delight not any liberation or immobility but राय—its immense delight of existence. Remove us from the attraction of the sin of our exclusive concentration of consciousness and all its limitations and for that reason we are offering our obeisance to you. Alright?

I think you have finished the whole Upanishad. Is it alright?

Equality, Meditation and contemplation

The real concern of Yoga is to attain a state of equality as the fundamental objective. Once I had asked The Mother a question—What is the criterion by which you can judge progress in Yoga? How do you measure your progress in Yoga? So The Mother said, “The extent to which you remain equal in all kinds of circumstances gives you the measurement of your progress.” So you might say that equality is itself a definition of Yoga. Yoga is nothing but a state of equality समत्वं योग उच्यते (2.48), this is what the Gita itself says, the very definition of Yoga is समत्वं योग उच्यते. Yoga is nothing but a state of equality, sense of equality and really speaking the highest equality can come only in the supermind, when you reach the supramental level and you really become absolutely equal, till that time you are all gradations of equality. In these gradations, detachment is one of the methods, not the method, but one of the methods because it is clear that so long as you are attached you have preference for it, you have bias in favour of it, you like to possess it, you like to enjoy it, therefore, even the arguments mentally will go in favour of the attached object. There will be rationalisation in regard to the object of attachment. Even the mind will not be pure mind. That is why it is said that detachment is one of the methods, it is called अनासक्ति—असक्ति is attachment, अनासक्ति – is detachment. Therefore, some people use the word अनासक्ति – as the entire teaching of the Gita – अनासक्ति योग—it is called, the whole of Gita is nothing but अनासक्ति योग.

Now in this movement of detachment there are many levels. One very low level is the hardness of indifference; I am using two words deliberately hardness of indifference. In order to detach yourself from the object of attachment, sometimes you become hard towards that object instead of being soft all the time because that is the mark of attachment. While detaching yourself, not knowing how to detach yourself properly, you become hard towards that object which is a wrong thing but this happens in the process sometimes, not that it happens always but sometimes it happens. You become hard towards an object and then whatever happens to that object and whatever happens to me in regard to that object thereafter I begin to develop what is called indifference because of that hardness of outlook or attitude towards the object, I become indifferent. That is to say whatever happens to me or whatever happens to that object of attachment, I say to myself it matters nothing, I remain what I am, – equal, does not please me, does not displease me.

In some human natures hardness and indifference are associated with each other. Even in some hard temperaments you will see that they are quite indifferent and they might even be proud that they are having समत्वं, some kind of equality but this is the perverted indifference. Detachment does not mean hardness but very often one becomes hard and through hardness one develops indifference. Indifference is a state where it makes no difference to you irrespective of what happens to yourself or the object of your attachment that is the meaning of indifference. When you find that it makes no difference to you, irrespective of what happens to you and the object of attachment, this indifference is sometimes brought about by developing hardness. Sometimes it develops by तित्तीक्षा—titiksha, by endurance. You do not become hard to the object of your attachment but you detach yourself to some extent by which you try to remain equal whatever happens to your object of attachment and yourself.

My child passes the matric examination and I feel very, very happy. My neighbour’s child also passes the matric examination. I do not feel, I am quite indifferent to it, it does not make any difference to my consciousness because I am attached to my child. But if now I cultivate this kind of detachment and say to myself although this is my child, I love him very much and normally my state of consciousness is very exalted when my child passes the examination. I try to quiet down my exaltation, I do not allow my ripples of my exaltation to bubble up. This is also a state of endurance. You endure your exaltation and not experiencing exaltation, something that is pleasant and you do not allow the pleasantness to enter into your experience by a psychological adjustment to the situation. It can only come by endurance, you endure the pleasant experience and by enduring you neutralise the pleasantness. You bear the pleasantness instead of becoming excited, throwing big parties and so on. You just bear the happiness, contain it in yourself, do not burst out, is endurance. Similarly, if it gives you pain when the child fails in the examination that pain may give you some kind of discomfort to say the least, or great sorrow or great suffering or great depression, disappointment, frustration and you do not allow it to overpower you, that is also endurance. You endure the suffering without allowing your emotions to arise or even if they arise or even if they arise, to make them weaker and weaker so that they do not overpower you. This method of endurance is called Stoic method—the method of Stoicism, you endure. If I am given an honour in the country, the whole nation is going to watch me on the television and exaltation that I may normally have but by a Stoic method I just do not feel that exaltation or even if it comes, I hold it out as it were by an effort, it should not overpower me, I should hold it out.

So whenever you hold out a certain emotion even though that emotion is present but I do not allow it to be overpower that is the Stoic level by endurance. There also you have indifference whether I am honoured or not although I feel happy but I minimise that happiness by an effort so result is some kind of indifference but it is a better kind of indifference than hardness. When I use hardness sometimes there is even pride. Even if I am honoured nothing happens to me. That could also be indifference, nothing happens to me, I am honoured so what, it does not matter. But there is an inner satisfaction of pride and basically it is not really indifference at all. It is actually an exaltation of my ego. I am not affected by it.

So that indifference may be because of pride or may be because of cruelty. Some cruel men are very indifferent whether some people are going undergoing great strain or torture or great happiness makes no difference. It is such a cruelty in the consciousness and some people on the path of hardness either develop cruelty or develop hardness or pride. Now these are perversions but some people are prone to this. In the name of indifference, in the name of detachment they fall into this kind of a pit and many natures fall into one of these pits actually, so one has to guard against it.

Some people who are very hard, very hard, sometimes they become hard afterwards instead of becoming much more divine, they become harder because they undergo the practice of अनासक्ति. And they need to be told that this is not necessary. You can be very gentle and yet be equal minded, yet be indifferent and one of the good methods is Stoicism—endure but endurance is not something that is permanent. You can endure something by a great effort but the effort does not continue all the time. So Stoic detachment or Stoic indifference that arises, detachment is the method, indifference is the result.

By the method of detachment – detachment is the process by which you withdraw yourself from the object of attachment. So the movement of withdrawal is detachment and the result that is obtained is indifference—a state where whatever happens does not make any difference to you in your psychological being there is indifference. So since this state of indifference, this state of endurance cannot last all the time, some people can endure for a long time but even they have got limitations. As long as there is an effort it is always temporary. It is not the natural state of being. It is not like jala kamala vata, like a lotus in water. Whatever water flows on it, it remains dry, it is jala kamala vata, the water does not make it wet. Lotus has not to make any effort; its very nature is as such that whatever wetness spreads over it, it remains without it, so Stoic detachment does not bring you this result. It can be a stage in your development but it cannot be your real goal.

The higher level is an intellectual perception of justice in the world. We discussed justice recently, just now. If you develop a perception of the world that everything in the world is in the right place, whether you recognise it or not but if you develop an intellectual perception, you will find that at that given moment everything is given a right place then detachment becomes much greater, much more quiet. You do not need to have this endurance. Intellectually you perceive that everything happens, it tends to happen, it has happened. So what! Today I am victorious, tomorrow I may not be, I need not be. There is no pride, there is no cruelty, there is no idea that I am something fundamental and I am in the centre of things. This brings up a very important point. Basically, attachment arises out of putting ourselves in the centre of things, which is called egoism. As long as … pardon…

Question: You have been referring to it as the object of attachment all the while, it could be the opposite feeling also, something which you hate or dislike. Similar emotions can also be entertained.

Answer: Quite true. It can be applied similarly.

Question: It is applicable to both the states.

Answer: To both the states. Attachment is only one example but it can be applied to anything where emotions are unequal.

So when you see that you are not important in the world at all, if you see philosophically, largely, you find that you are only in a corner. Actually every individual is in a corner in this world. Anybody who thinks that he is in the centre, is a wrong perception. He does not really happen to be in the centre; even if you are honoured by television so that you are in the television hero, it is an illusion actually. Thousand people may voice your praise but if you look at the whole universe where there is a gong of sounds going on in the world—universal rhythm, what is the voice of thousand people praising you on a television—nothing? You are in a corner actually. In the whole universal sound this sound is simply a little burst – a cracker. So if you look at the universe so widely, you always find that everything in the world is in a corner. It is in the centre only from a certain point of view, that's all. I am sitting here by virtue of what I am talking, I am at the centre but to my mind you are the centre because if you are not there then my talks have no meaning. So I am in a corner as far as I am concerned, you are the centre. And from the universal point of view, neither you nor me is in the centre, we are all in the corners.

So if you have this wide perception of things, always you realise that you are always in the corner then detachment, indifference will be automatic. You want to make an effort, you do not endure, you just see really even if a thousand praises are showered on you, it will make no difference. It is only one little sound in the huge sound of the world which is going on. So it will make no difference to you at all really when you see this large vision. This is called the higher state of equality, higher state of detachment, higher state of indifference which is called philosophic detachment. The lower was the Stoic detachment, this is called philosophic detachment.

Still higher one arises from your inner sense of resignation, you perceive that there is some Reality which is the centre of the universe. You are not the centre, we are all in the corner but there is some centre. There is a Supreme Divine in the centre of the universe and you have learnt the art of offering everything to the Supreme. Whatever experience you have, you just offer it to the Divine and just say—idam na mama—this is not mine, this belongs to the Lord. You offer it to the Lord and truly, heartily then you will have not only a dry indifference but some happy condition of indifference. You resign that you are offering to the Lord.

Your child may become victorious and win a gold medal and realises that his gold medal is because of the effort that you as a mother put into the child and comes to the mother and says, “Mother I won this medal, it is yours really.” That resignation on the part of the child will not make him proud and will not be dancing about. He will have a real sense of equality but it is not a dry equality, there is a joy in it – the joy of giving, of offering.

So although there is indifference whether you win or not even if when you are offering it away, it is not yours. You do not attach yourself to yourself. You offer it to somebody to whom it really belongs. That gives you joy. So it is an indifference which is coupled with a joy, which is still a higher condition. So it is a detachment, indifference but arising out of resignation and the quality of indifference that arises will be quite different.

Then there is still a higher level in which you find that everything here is an expression of the Supreme Ananda. All this world is the breath of ananda and here there is no need for an effort at all. Everything is mangalam, idam mangalam, etat mangalam—this is mangala, that is mangala. You live in the sea of delight, where you lose nothing, you gain nothing, everything happens and everything gives you delight, equal delight. You do not have to make a stoic effort of keeping some emotions outside your being. You are constantly in a state of delight whatever happens. You can’t now even call it indifference. Now the state of indifference is also transcended. The word detachment looks so petty. You are so attached to the Divine; so much in love with him so where is detachment. It is a huge love for the Divine, huge ananda and everything that happens is ananda. In that state even the idea of detachment, the idea of indifference is washed out and yet you have a pure equality. A true state of equality is a state of prasada. Not of dryness, not devoid of smile, not devoid of kindness, it’s full of grace, full of kindness, full of gentleness—gentler than a flower. In that vibrates the delight and over all the creatures of the world, for everything the same emotion spreads out. Greater than that is the action of equality. It is only a state of equality, greater than that is the action of equality where although delight is everywhere you distribute the delight in the right manner. You don’t give the child a dose of delight which the child cannot bear. You distribute the delight to every individual around you in the right measure without any partiality for anybody because basically you are bathing in constant delight. Therefore, whether you give this much or that much in the right measure makes no difference to you. So when your action is an action for distribution of delight in the world passing through you then whatever you do; there will be equality. This is the action of equality that Sri Krishna wanted of Arjuna: whether you kill Bhishma, who is your own great grandfather and you win the battle and enjoy the kingdom, must make no difference at all. You have given to Bhishma what is to be given to him. You give to yourself what is to be given to you by an action which seemed to be sanguinary, bloody, horrible घोरं कर्मः Arjuna says but if you have seen that delight of the Divine which he perceived in the Eleventh Chapter Vishwaroopa darshana having seen that delight of Divine and the power of the Divine action and Bhishma himself was so wise that he himself explained to Arjuna what is the secret of his death. He himself told Arjuna how to kill him; he himself was seated in the state of equality. So when you are seated in that state of equality the action that proceeds is always just, the right. This is the word used by the Veda ritam, right action is the action proceeds from complete equality, from the universal vision of things in which everything is the manifestation of the Delight, sarvam priyam, through the word of Veda, priyam, what is ananda in Upanishad is priyam in the Veda.

Everything is delightful and therefore you put everything in the right place, the distribution of your action by which the forces of action are distributed rightly, so that everything is in the right place; Plato’s definition of justice, everything is in the right place, in the right measure that is true action of equality. And when you are seated in that condition you don’t have to make an effort now, all effort is gone. Detachment is also a wrong word, detached to what, detached from where, when everything is Divine, how can you be detached from the Divine, it is the utmost attachment to the Divine. So even the consciousness of detachment goes away, indifference of what? There is joy everywhere, there is no indifference at all in that state of consciousness. So both indifference and attachment are transcended and you are in a new condition of a true equality that samatvam is Yoga in the Gita’s view. When it is said that samatvam yoga ucyate, it is that action of equality that is the ideal that we find in the Gita. Alright.

Question: The beginning is the individual equality which you have been referring to?

Answer: Depending on your nature and your temperament at a given time. As I said it is better to start with stoicism, endurance.

Question: Which gives equality to the individual?

Answer: Then the higher level of philosophic equality, then equality by resignation and then the equality by ananda.

Question: I have been wanting to understand the difference between meditation and contemplation.

Answer: Let me explain. Both meditation and contemplation are forms of concentration. The fundamental process is that of concentration. Concentration means to bring together threads of consciousness and fix them on one point that is the meaning of concentration. Bringing together threads of consciousness and focussing them on a particular point that is called concentration. Now this concentration can be done in several ways. One way is called meditation another way is called contemplation. Let us see the distinction now.

When you bring the threads of consciousness and fix them on a particular subject and go on thinking about that subject but not allowing any other subject to come into the picture then this is called meditation. It is concentrated in the sense that you are focussing upon a subject. When a subject is concentrated upon and the process in this concentration is that you permit a gradual thinking about that subject that is a process of meditation. Take for example the subject that you take is God is Love and you sit down to meditate on this subject that is to say you concentrate upon this subject – God is Love. Now how do you concentrate on this subject as a result of which it is called meditation? First of all you don’t allow at that time any other idea of God, God is omnipotent for example or any other idea about God and man’s relationship or God and evil, don’t think about any other subject at the present moment. You simply fix your mind on God as Love then allow thinking on this subject, if God is Love then I am giving only two or three sentences which may give the threads on which this thinking proceeds. If God is Love then He must be all the time present with me, if not absolutely intimately all the time but just as a mother loves. You may imagine in your experience mother is the embodiment of love for the child and how is mother present with the child. Similarly, you imagine that God if He is Love, He will be with you as mother would be with the child. This is the first thought which you fix in your mind.

Question: In this case thinking is imagining.

Answer: Yes, quite true. There is first of all thinking, then you imagine, then you create it, then you allow a corresponding experience even as a result of thinking, imagining and as a result of imitating, you arrive at some kind of experience. As if you feel that the Divine is present, that Divine is caressing you, that He looks after you, He is keen to give you help, so imagine yourself in this condition. Secondly, also imagine yourself to be a child, not only God as the mother but now you start another line of thinking of yourself as a child, so imagine yourself as a child. You think of yourself to be a child, you imitate as if you are a child, develop child consciousness in you, all your egoism and so on, your pride, you allow it to break down. This is the second line of your meditation. The third would be that you are waiting for the Divine to come to you. At present you are away from him, so gradually you are now rising but rising as if you are going to meet the most beloved thing, you can wait for many things but this particular meditation you only think of God is Love, therefore even if you wait for God, you are waiting for the most beloved object. Take for example one of the meditations in this respect would be, imagine that God is on the seventh floor. You know God is Love and He looks after you, you are a child but because God is Love, you want to meet Him but He is on the seventh floor and His stairs are all very heavy stairs. So gradually you rise and imagine you are rising on a ladder, like a child, little by little, so have the patience in your imagination, in your experience, in your thinking and gradually you are climbing one step after the other, not lose any patience, not demanding that immediately you should catch your Divine but allow the time to move forward and go on, and on, and on with patience. Now this is the third exercise that you can do, the same meditation. Sometimes when you know that you are climbing but you are not able to climb, you are tired then the child cries out I cannot do more than this. You cry out in your meditation, saying now I have done so much, now you come. So you demand God to come down, you think about and you think He is coming down and then you go on waiting now. You don’t climb now, you stop your climbing and now you are waiting and imagine that God is coming down. Now these different kinds of movements are called movements of meditation. As a result of which ultimately you be with God in experience and the meditation is called successful with some of these experiences obtained, the more you do, the more often you do it, it may take five years or ten years this kind of meditation when you really are even about to start, you find you are already in the God’s lap, already. This is the power of meditation. In fact this is the secret found out by the Vedic Rishis that if you really want to experience something which you are not experiencing now, how can you arrive at the experience, how will you be sure that really God exists. But if you do this process it will really happen and this is the process of meditation.

Now how is it different from contemplation? In contemplation you take this very subject God as Love, don’t allow any other thought to come at that time when you contemplate. But take only one experience of God as Love and enjoy it thoroughly as much as you can, dwell upon it. You are not developing the idea, you are not climbing, you take any one experience of God even in imagination, even in thought. Suppose for example one of the experiences of God is that you stretch your hand and God stretches His hand, if God is Love this would be one of the good experiences. So you just take a thought that you are stretching your hand and God is stretching His hand to meet your hand and just imagine it, think about it and concentrate entirely on it, don’t develop this idea. Just fix yourself, enjoy it absolutely or allow at a stage where you really enjoy it. In the beginning you don’t enjoy, only because it is an abstract idea. But gradually you will begin to have experience of it and then you just dwell upon it, by dwelling you will really find that God’s hand is really in your hand, He is really there and you will realise God’s hand in your hand. This is contemplation. There is a third process in which you fix upon the idea of God as Love, but there are so many ideas coming in your mind at the same time. So what you do is go on watching all kinds of ideas coming, don’t try to reject them, just allow them to go on but keep behind this idea of God as Love and these ideas quarrel before you restlessly, until you reach a point where there will be fatigue of this rush of ideas and they will stop on their own because we are just watching. So in this experience because you are not supporting the movement of rushing thoughts only watching, therefore a time will come when the rush of thoughts will stop and then that which is behind will be experienced. These are the three principle methods of concentration depending upon the stage where you are what is referred to you.