"Based on the lectures by Sri Bimal Mohanty" |
Every Sadhaka or for that matter every person who is concerned about his spiritual progress must often also have time for introspection. In our context of giving spiritualism a practical meaning in our day to day life it is good to reflect and ask - which many of you must have done- what progress have I made spiritually. Has all these days of Sadhana gone in vain? What have I gained? What more have I understood? What additional knowledge have I acquired? We are not talking here of material gains but gains in terms of higher values of life, the development, enrichment and evolvement of life in terms of spirituality. If as human beings, we do not ask such questions to ourselves, we must agree that we are literally throwing away that great and invaluable gift that we have been given by the Lord , which is the human birth which we have acquired - Narajanma Durlabhatama, as Sri Shankaracarya said - after thousands and crores of past lives and after doing many good deeds in our past lives. Or if you remember Sri Aurobindo"s thoughts in The Synthesis of Yoga - it is only in man who has the power to think, the nature devises self conscious means and willed arrangements of activity by which this great purpose of self perfection, the union with the universal and transcendent existence may be attained.
So that gives us an idea of our objective which we must constantly reflect upon and unfold layers and layers of meaning which it is full of. But the difficulty here is, it is too lofty and too idealistic for average minds like mine and yours. At least apparently it appears that way. And our objective here is to give it a practical interpretation, if that is possible, and evaluate our own action and progress towards that goal.
We generally understand the human goal - for that matter goal for every creation - as Mokshya. Mokshya is interpreted in various ways Ultimate union with the Supreme, purna Chetana or total consciousness, Bramhi Chetana or realisation of Bramhatva etc etc. All these inter- alia also mean to be one with The Lord - To be a part of Lord Himself - completely and in whole measure - to completely lose one"s identity with the Lord and be a part of Him.
If that is the case, then does it mean that until one has achieved that final state he or she is detached and separate from the Lord. If I have not achieved Mokshya am I not a part of Him? If I have a separate existence vis-à-vis Bramhan then what is the guarantee that I shall never be left out and miss my opportunity to be a part of Him? Is not then there is a probability that I shall forever remain undeveloped to my full potential?
Here comes the very logical and practical concept of Sanatana philosophy to provide guidance. It looks at Mokshya as a development and natural evolution of all creation. It joins the Bramhan to the creation and makes the creation integral with The Bramhan.
Let us explore this concept a little further.
Earlier while discussing some aspects of creation we identified six major aspects. Out of these, two important ones are relevant to our topic.
Firstly, we said The Vedantic philosophy, or more precisely the Sanatan Dharma, believes in á homogeneity a oneness of the entire creation ( what we call the Viswa ) with the Paramatma - or whatever name one may give It as the supreme Lord at the helm of affairs (adhyaksha). He is considered an all-in-all entity with His involvement in the creation inseparable and total. Whatever is manifested, or not manifested, conceived or imagined gross or subtle in character dimensional or beyond dimension, sentient or insentient indeed form a single wholeness (purnam) which is indistinguishable from the Lord himself. Isavasyamidam sarvam yat kinchá jagatyam jagat. Everything that we call this creation is entirely pervaded by the Lord.
The second one is that In this entire universe which is like á gigantic organization, each of us, each of the other living beings, each element or object, is a constituent of this whole, forming á well-conceived matrix. Each dependent on the other, each functioning in association with the other, each drawing from and giving to the other and nothing existing in isolation.
Taking both these concepts into consideration we can derive a few basic and morale lifting truths. When everything is one wholeness that has you, me and others in its fold, then I know that I shall never be left out. We can also say that since everything is part of an interconnecting matrix then a developed soul or advancely developed soul is equally linked with an undeveloped or less developed soul. Our ancient Rishis or even modern enlightened souls like Sri Ramakrishna or Sri Aurobindo are part of the Bramhan, but we are also links of the same chain. We are also linked with The Bramhan.
And finally if every thing is enveloped by Isa-the Lord, where is the question of any one remaining outside Isa?
So when we talk of our efforts to be with Bramhan, one thing gets established, that we are already in Bramhan.
So what is it we are trying to explain in the name of development or evolution?
When we are talking of merging with the Bramhan we are not talking of any kind of mixing of two ingredients. We simply mean the full realization of this fact that we are indeed in Bramhan. It is the degree of this Chetana, this realization, this transformation of mind into an exalted superior state, where everything is full and pure knowledge, total consciousness or Sampoorna Atmabodha is how Mokshya is explained. It is already there. The mind and the inner soul or Jivatma have only to realise the state of Satchidananda.
How does the inner soul - the Jivatma- progresses in its path towards Satchidananada? It does not happen overnight. Contrary to popular belief that the enlightened ones get a sudden vision and then become enlightened, it is really not so. The journey from here to the ultimate is indeed a continuous process of development. It is as Sri Aurobindo implies it, is a case of evolution and involution of mind. Other philosophers have also expressed similar views.
We are constantly walking on the path of development which happens to be our very nature, and our unquestionable goal is the union with Paramatma. There is never a break in this journey. There may be setbacks but never a halt.
In our Sanatana philosophy this Goal of ours, which is also described as Brahmatva, is explained as attaining a state of Brahmavastha. What is this state of Brahmavastha? It is a state of attaining supreme consciousness. The ultimate, all knowing, all capable and all encompassing consciousness of total knowledge. It is the Chetana ( consciousness) of all Chetanas. Chetana chetananam. Amongst all Chetanas the supreme Chetana beyond which nothing further is there to know.
That supreme consciousness is synonymous with Bramhan. As a matter of fact the definition of Bramhan is the sum total of all consciousness without any limiting factor.
This entire universe around us, every creation, whether living or non-living, is endowed with some consciousness. That is because everything that is created, phenomenal or subtle, is simply an expression of chetana or expression of this consciousness. Every element such as humans, plants, animals, mountains, earth, metals or elements each has a consciousness. Depending on the stage of development, they vary in degrees. But none is devoid of Chetana or consciousness. In humans this Chetana is more developed, more evolved than insects. But insects are also endowed with the same consciousness of the Bramhan in some small degree.
The process of development is nothing but gradually increasing this level of consciousness to that final level of total consciousness .
Body changes, mind develops, Viveka or the discerning power gets accentuated, knowledge grows and the development process continues non-stop and without a break.
This journey is a continuous journey - a spectrum of change. It is not like one chapter closing and another chapter opening.
In many of our spiritual writings we come across description of various demarcations of stages to explain, so to say, one stage of development being different from the other. The reason for this is precisely to highlight the dominant principles of such states of development.
This is perhaps understood more easily if we take examples from our own life. From the birth to the end of our present life, we have been undergoing constant and continuous changes all the time. What we were twenty years back or one month back, we are no more the same. Nor shall we be the same tomorrow or next year. A person passes through childhood, adolescence, youth and old age all so gradually. No one can say on such time and date the child became an adolescent or the youth became old. Yet we differentiate the various stages of life by giving them a name.
Same thing happens in this journey of development.
Understanding this various stages of development and their interlinking features helps the Sadhaka to watch his progress and keep his or her mind steady on the journey to the destination.
When we talk of development, we ofcourse talk about a total development and not development in parts. It is the spiritual evolution of the entire being that we all are. Development to be holistic must get registered in both body and mind .i.e in all the constituents that we are made of.
Earlier we have understood the various constituents of which we are all made of. Lord Krishna explained this in Bhagavad Gita these eight constituents .
Bhumiraponalo vayuh kham mano Buddhirevacha
Ahamkara itiyam me bhinna Prakritirastadha
Apareyamitastu anyam Prakritim biddhi me Param
Jivabhutam mahabaho yadyedam dharyate jagat.
We are at the base level having this gross body made of the five elements. The earth, the water, the energy, the air and the space. These are the constituents of the gross body. Superior to the body we have the active agent or the ahamkara who is actually the performing agent who manages the organs of the body engaging them in action. This is the ego-self which carries out the work - the doer or the initiator.
Superior to this ego self we have mana or the mind. The uncontrolled, unbridled, free, desire-driven mind which if left alone, will take us wherever the desires drive us - like the wind taking away the rudderless boat.
Higher than the mind and superior to it we have Buddhi or viveka - the discerning force that constantly decides which is right and which is wrong and sends out its instructions.
We are all combination of these eight constituents.
Above all this we are all endowed with the Jivabhuta or the life element, the Jivatma - the individual self, which is nothing but the extention of The Paramatma, The Supreme Self. This self presides over the eight base constituents.
Therefore the first point to understand is that all these eight constituents have to be taken into account and involved in our developmental process. The body must be engaged, the active agent - ahamkara must agree, the mind must be disciplined , the viveka must guide so that we develop as a whole and effectively.
The Jivabhuta, or the Jivatma or The Paramatma - all are essentially the same - is not undergoing development. It being same as the Satchidananda Bramhan, is already fully developed to the state of total consciousness - Purnacaitanya. That is actually the final destination. It is neither the road to destination nor the agent undergoing development.
All the other eight elements - in whatever form they are- are proceeding to merge with this final destination. The result is Mokshya or final development.
Out of these eight constituents the first five are gross and the last three are subtle. Being subtle they are more powerful. How effectively these three i.e. mana, Buddhi, and Ahamkara participate will determine the quality and progress of our development. The collective force of the ahamkara, mana and Buddhi form part of what is called the antahkarana or understood broadly as the total mental faculty. Sri Aurobindo while explaining antahkarana has actually talked about a fourth element or a parallel element to mana which he calls chitta. There is really no controversy here with The Bhagavad Gita because chitta and mana are really two sides of the same psychic entity. As Sri Aurobindo himself explains in his Synthesis of Yoga, chitta is the base consciousness interacting and responding to external sense experiences. One can call it bahyamukhi. Where as mana is the active sense mind which can be called antarmukhi interacting with ahamkara and viveka and is the participant in voluntary activity.
In any case as ahamkara, mana and Buddhi work together and embark upon the path of realisation of Bramhan , the degree of realisation of this Bramhan or Paramatma or Atmabodha increases. The degree of Atmabodha the mind has acquired, is a measure of the level of development the Jiva has attained.
A sadhaka has to constantly remain watchful about the right conduct of ahamkara, mana and Buddhi. They are the instruments of development the antahkarana. Karana in sanskrit means instruments. Antahkarana means internal instruments.
Therefore in our endeavor of Sadhana what parts of our being will help us ? They are obviously mana , Buddhi and ahamkara.
First my ego element must agree and give consent to walk the path of Dharma. This is a moot point. All our sastras have advocated that consent of ego is very necessary. However one must appreciate the true meaning of this. If consent of the ego is necessary then does that mean that if the ego does not give consent there is no development? Or if the ego delays the consent then there is a halt in the process?
The truth is far from it. As we have said earlier, the evolution or development of Jiva to Bramhahood is a continuous non-stop process. If the ego does not participate, the nature by its very character continues to assist each and every created being to move upwards - to acquire higher and higher Chetana. This is the case with less developed creations like animals, plants etc. Animals do not have the developed ego, which can act for higher consciousness. They have to wait till nature takes its course. However that is not the case with humans. We are fortunate to have an ego which is in a position to decide whether to volunteer or not. If it volunteers then the process of evolution or development of consciousness is speeded up. Precious time and opportunity is not lost. On the other hand if the ego is unconcerned then what is the difference between a human being and an animal? A great opportunity is thrown away. The special human birth was all in vain.
Then comes mana or the mind. Mana as we conceive in the spiritual context is not really the literal translation of mind. It is some thing much more. It is the vehicle and the most powerful force that provides the motive power for the development to take place. Together with Ahamkara, advised by Buddhi and with the ever benevolent grace of the Supreme being -the Paramatma- it carries the Jiva or the `being" in the path of its evolution and development. Mana is capable of taking us either upwards or downwards depending on what kind of influence it is under- good or evil. They say "Manah eva manusyanam karanam bandhamokskyayoh". Mana can be the cause for further entanglement or freedom from it. Sri Sankaracarya has explained in Vivekachoodamani - Manasa kalpyate bandhah Mokshyah teneiva kalpyate. It is Mana, which is responsible for either movement towards entanglement or liberation. It is the most powerful servant that we have without whose assistance we can not achieve progress.
The mana in many ways is like a servant indeed. It reflects and assumes the characteristic of the different level of existence with which it is associated. If it is associated and engrossed in the base existence, the gross body or the sthula sarira, then its actions are also gross. It dwells constantly in serving the desires of the senses with little regard to any higher level of existence.
On the other hand if it is associated with the subtler level of existence whose characteristics are reasoning, knowledge and bliss, then it undergoes a change itself and assumes characteristics of a higher nature. More and more the Chetana or realisation or consciousness increases, the mind itself undergoes this metamorphosis and reflects this changed existence. That is development.
Man is described as a mental being. A being which has a powerful mind. The mental being is not mind. Mind is a part of mental being. This mental being evolves into Satchidananda, passing through various levels of intermediary consciousness or Chetana. When we talk of higher minds, superminds or things like Turya Chetana or Bramhi Chetana etc we must understand them as different levels, which this mental being has reached.
Before we go into more details on this, we must talk a few words about Buddhi. Buddhi or Viveka (these two words are used interchangeably) is simply the discerning power that we possess. Based on various and innumerable experiences, knowledge and memories it simply analyses every step that mind or mana takes. Good, bad, desirable or undesirable - it supplies the information and consistently advises what is good or shreya. If we straightaway listen to Viveka we move forward. If we do not listen, we fall backwards, suffer, realise the mistake, again learn the lesson and then start moving forward. Obviously by listening to Buddhi or Viveka a great amount of time and wasteful energy can be saved. Therefore, if human life is an opportunity, and conscious engagement in Yoga is a speeding up process, then Viveka is another great tool in our hands.
So, antahkarana which is the combination of ego element, mind and discerning power, is indeed the tool that we have in our possession to lift ourselves up in our path of development. We should remain ever mindful of this. Like any tool, it needs constant usage and care to retain its effectiveness. If I waste it, I throw away my very life itself. Who knows when shall I get a human life again?
When we meditate, we should constantly analyse ourselves the activities of this antahkarana or the internal tool. Am I committed to my spiritual progress? Is my heart in it or am I doing it half heartedly as one of the many rituals that I do daily? That is the first question.
Am I able to keep my mind concentrated on the Bramhan consciousness even for a short while, by keeping my senses under control? Can I increase this concentration a little more and remain a little longer in that state thinking of Bramhan? That is the second question.
Am I able to analyse my actions and thoughts from the stand point of what is Preyas or likable and what is Shreyas or desirable? Am I walking on the path of Dharma - the righteous living- or am I deviating? That is the third question.
How does one monitor and evaluate one"s development? What are the stages of development? These have to be known well if our efforts towards development has to be methodical and effective. It is also important to know if we are on the right track and are then able to correct ourselves if otherwise.
While every developmental process and evolutionary achievements are abundantly self evident, yet, various stages of achievement and experience have been explained in our sastras. They are so logical and convincing that one is bound to deduce that they are the results of personal experiences through which others have gone and therefore it is also within the reach of human capability.
A clarification, at the cost of repetition here is necessary. We have said this before. The various stages that we talk about are by no means disjointed and separate stages. They are always descriptive titles of a continuous spectrum which Yoga Sadhana is. This aspect should never be lost sight of.
The process of evolution is nothing but a process of acquiring experiences. The measure of evolution is nothing but various degrees of chetana or consciousness. Since it is a matter of experience, many knowledgeable people who have gone through these experiences have tried to codify and explain in various ways for others to follow. Taking into totality one can see that they are talking of the same thing. Explaining it in various ways and giving them a name they all try to help the novice to understand and relate his or her own experience likewise.
However it should be kept in mind that these different explanations of levels of experience, though broadly relate to one and the same thing, yet have embedded in them subtle explanations of a large number of intermediary experiences. Each has some uniqueness to declare and is indeed a great help in the path of progress. These are matters of detailed study.
There are great many stages of experiences which our sastras explain. They talk of many heavens or Lokas with their further subdivisions of fourteen levels - the chaturdasa bhuvana. Or consider the pure consciousness levels of jagriti, swapna, susupti, turiya, turiyatita, bhagavat and bramhi. All these are different experience levels of the same experience. By experiencing each of these stages we not only can realise how we are progressing but can also correct ourselves and refine ourselves.
Take the case of the five koshas or the five imaginary bodies or sheaths that our sastras talk about. These are the annamay kosha or the food sheath, the pranamay kosha or the vital breath sheath, then the manomay kosha or the mental sheath, fourthly the jnanamay kosha or the knowledge realisation sheath and finally the anandamay kosha or the blissful sheath.
What are these imaginary sheaths? These are really representative of various stages that our development takes place. Our association with a particular kosha is representative of a mental stage associated with that kosha. The annamay kosha is purely a bodily existence dictated by the reflex actions of the bodily needs. This is really the animal existence. The mind - the obedient servant - is at this stage constantly engaged in fulfilling what the body with its sense organs dictate. Hunger, environmental effects, sex, momentary pleasures of well being are all that seem to be the aim of existence. The mind at this stage is reduced to a base level unmindful or unaware of any higher need. It has little time to listen to Viveka, leave aside the voice of inner self. The mind reflects the level of development and dwells within its limitations.
But The Lord or The Bramhan can not rest leaving the Jiva"s development halted. The Jiva has to rise above its base existence. So by the actions and participation of the nature itself - by the very Guna of Prakriti -He slowly pushes the Jiva to lift itself up. Much like the mother of a new born calf nudges the tottering offspring to stand up. That is how benevolent the Lord and the mother nature is.
There develops eventually more of awakening and the `being" listens to the inner soul, and the viveka, and gets a glimpse of the next higher level of existence. The mind rises to a higher level and starts reflecting a higher consciousness.
It then becomes a higher mind.
Slowly and gradually the developmental exercise addresses the realm of pranamay kosha and the manomay kosha. The vibrations of life force adds strength to the evolutionary process and the mind starts more and more dwelling on the subject of Satchidananda the truth, its realisation and the bliss that follows. These are the regions where the mind assumes progressively still higher levels.
As this consciousness or chetana grows deeper and deeper , the ahamkara participates and viveka goes on advising and showing the way, the truth gets more and more revealed. The demands of bodily needs have now become secondary, like the craving for sweets by a child becomes unimportant as the child grows into adulthood.
As the mind gets some glimpse of a possible higher existence, it stops being restricted to the base bodily desires. It realises that the prana or the force of life breath has more power in it than its base level usage. Prana is not simply inhaling, exhaling, extricating such as Prana, Apana and Vyana. Its characteristic is not limited to simply keep the body sheath or the annamay kosha from dying away. Its other characteristics are also udana the uplifter and samana or the stabilizer. It has power to lift the Jiva into a higher level of consciousness.
When the mind realises this and starts drawing upon this power, it becomes a still higher mind. Further development has taken place.
With certain degree of consciousness acquired, the mind becomes more conscious of its own potential. As we said earlier mind is an extremely powerful tool that we have, to assist us in Sadhana. With the blessings of the Lord, with the co-operation of performing ego element -ahamkara - and the guidance from -viveka, we can achieve anything worthwhile, with unlimited power at our command.
The mind then rests more and more in mind itself, exploiting its power and we are then a true mental being.
The stage the mind reaches, synonymous with the manomay kosha, is the stage of a still higher mind.
The knowledge of the truth, its revealations, are integral parts of development. We have discussed this before. Knowledge and development are inseparable.
The next stage is jnanamay kosha, the pure knowledge existence. The chetana or consciousness is ever so sharp now. All other levels have now become irrelevant and unimportant. The mind realises that the goal is getting nearer.
This realisation is the characteristic of a still higher mind, an evolved mind, a developed mind, a truly superior mind.
Once the full consciousness of the truth dawns, - what is known as the total consciousness or purna chaitanyabodha, it is mokshya indeed. The power of the mind is unlimited, knowledge is unlimited, the ability to achieve is unlimited, everything else is unlimited.
When mind has this consciousness or chetana our existensce is beyond all physical limitations and is consciousness itself. At that stage of the mind its powers are indescribable, unlimited. The Jiva then is not a mere mental being it is a supramental being.
Variously described, it is the state of fullness - purnam. The final chetana. It is chetanaschetananam. The ultimate consciousness of all consciousness.
When this stage is reached, there is bliss or ananda as the jiva"s predominant character.
QUESTIONS FROM THE READERS
QUESTION 1 from Sri K S Subramanian- Mumbai
Thank you very much for your enlightening articles that are providing succour to tortured souls. Your responses to questions show deep understanding of the philosophy as well as appreciation of the mental state of the questioner.
I have to make one observation though. When You talk about God, sometimes you talk of Him as though He is a person and cares deeply for the sufferings of the masses and that His mercy will help us cross over the ocean of miseries. At other times when you speak of Him as Brahman, you sound as though it is impersonal, all pervasive and that all Jivas are afterall part of that one being, which sounds like advaita and that at the culmination of Sadhana I will be merging in Him and lose my individuality (which is itself unreal). This creates a dilemma in practice. When I try to surrender, the thought that it is an impersonal Brahman prevents me from feeling love , reverence etc.
Ans: FORM & FORMLESS BRAMHAN - As I understand from your question, it is the conflict of worshipping The Lord as formless as different to communicating with a lovable form of His, with whom one feels a certain approachable closeness.
This is indeed a universal conflict, which torments all spiritual practitioners at one stage and also has to be transcended and resolved by him alone.
In the beginning stages of human thought there had to have a time when man came to a firm conviction that there has to be a God as the only logical explanation to all activities around him.
Such a thought is only a natural expression of his soul within, seeking solace, seeking respite from the mind severely tormented and unable to reconcile the mysteries of dualities of pain, pleasure, happiness, misery, knowledge, ignorance etc. He found God as the very support of his existence, the anchor for his sanity and equilibrium.
However much as man must have tried, no one ever found out what does this God look like? What is his form? He established only an awareness of His presence but never could hold him within the parameters of his faculties of knowing, which are the physical sense organs (mind inclusive). And there lies the problem. When man tried to describe God by using his bodily faculties, he always failed because of the limited range of these sense organs. God is beyond these limits. God is beyond even the supramental and suprasensual consciousness. But God is not a myth. He exists and is revealed only when one transcends every effort to reach Him going beyond his limitations.
However man can not straightway jump to such a stage. There are layers and layers and still more layers of ignorance (or knowledge) he must overcome.
But his need is always immediate. If I am in pain I must have immediately someone to ease my pain. When a child is in trouble he must find his mother to comfort him then and there. So man created ( or the Lord expressed himself for man) a form that can be captured within the limits of its sense organs (mind included). Man saw in this form the power he was looking for to deliver him from all his predicaments. He worshipped this form. He loved this form. Worship and love are two sides of the same coin.
The form became the essential stage to reach the formless. The confused mind found a shelter (ashray). The Divine Lord encouraged man to take shelter in this form as an essential stage of preparation to reach out to the formless Satchidananda. Lord Krishna ( the highest level of Divine form revealed) himself prompted- set your mind in me, worship(love) me, sacrifice for me, surrender your everything to me. (manmana bhava madbhakta, madyaji mam namaskuru).
So it is not a conflict between form and formless, not a question of this or that. Both are absolutely essential for one"s spiritual quest. If you discard the form you discard the very boat that will ferry you to the formless satchidananda - the ultimate truth, its realisation and the ensuing bliss.
As the level of consciousness goes higher one realises this contribution of form towards formless and one"s love towards the form (with whom he relates personally) increases with overflowing abundance. The Lord sees to it that it happens.
Ultimately the form and formless are the same entity.
QUESTION 2 from Sri VIJAY MEHTA - Mumbai
The creation assumes absence before creation. How can from only one Brahman all gross objects can be created? and how at the end of Kalp all gross objects merges with Brahman?
ANSWER: THIS CREATION
The creation does not assume absence before creation."something" does not come out of "nothing". That is illogocal. Therefore it is a falacy to think that this creation was ever non-existent at one stage. Yet when people talk about the beginning of this phenomena originating from a so called void, the true meaning of the same should be properly comprehended.
Look at this universe around us including all the animated as well as the inanimate objects, the creatures, the objects, their movements, their nature, the governing principles et all. The first characteristic that is noticed is that this entire spectacle has no steady state existence even for a single moment. When we look up or around us or even at us, by the time we say "this creation", what we saw has already become past. Every single constituent, whether physical, or subtle has already irrevocably changed. It has been changing all the time and will continue to do so ever from now on.
So the first striking feature of the creation is that, it is an everlasting continuum. It is not that it was ever non-present, nor is it true that it will cease to exist in any future. All that the truth is, that the form and character was different in the past and the form and character will be different in future. But in some modified form it will remain in future and in some different form it was there in the past. This applies to all, the creatures, the celestial bodies, the planets, the stars and everything else. It changes from moment to moment.
This creation is an extention from that single unified conscious entity that we call Bramhan. Whether extention or projection, the source is Bramhan. The Bramhan is also the creation and the creation is also verily Bramhan. Bramhan never ceased to exist. The creation also never ceased to exist. To repeat, it was only in different form and character, which might have been vastly different in the past from our present perception. Neither the future shape of creation can be seen now.
As regards the physical phenomenon (the gross world), it is easily explained. Today the modern scientists say that energy and matter are inter-convertible. Long, long ago the Vedic seers knew this truth. The state of Super consciousness, the unified total consciousness of all consciousness is Bramhan. (Chetanaschetanaanaam). Consciousness or chetana, is itself a form of power (shakti) or energy. This energy is indeed manifested into matter under different conditions. This continuous process of manifestation and mutation goes on incessantly.
All actions are cyclical. When something evolves from a particular state it also returns to that state to start all over again. An interesting thought is the vision of blackholes in the universe. Millions of stars in a galaxy are formed. They go through their life cycle of changes. Eventually they burn out and collapse. A blackhole is formed and starts gobbling up everything. Galaxies and galaxies vanish into the blackhole. Where do they go? What happens? Perhaps to form new galaxies and new stars, a different universe. The cycle goes on. It appears like the end of all and then another new beginning. One kalpa ends and another kalpa begins.
To the credit of the vedic seers, they did not lack the understanding of a similar concept. We have beautiful poetic descriptions of the creation coming out of Bramhan as the spider"s net comes out of the spider, take form and later eaten up by it. All matters are reduced to energy and return to the ultimate source. The is the concept of creation, manifestation and mutation- sristi, sthiti and pralay played out by the trifold action of Bramhan symbolised as Bramha, Vishnu, Maheswara.
QUESTION 3 from Sri AMIYA ROY - KOLKATA
I crave for your blessings. Your wonderful articles on "Preparations for Sadhana" have helped me to proceed in a systematic manner and I am already experiencing benefits. I have started swadhyayana with right earnest and seeing the light slowly. However I am in a predicament. Although through study of spiritual literature I am gaining understanding about Bramhan, I am failing miserably in my meditation in keeping my mind fixed on Bramhan. There is too much unsteadyness of mind. My question is: " Can I discontinue meditation and concentrate on first acquiring knowledge from our scriptures. Can I devote all my time to swadhyayan and leave meditation to a future stage?
ANSWER- ON MEDITATION :
God bless you. Your sincerity of approach and honesty of confession clearly shows that The Lord"s blessings are already working on you. Why are you so much worried about your unsteady mind. This is absolutely natural and more pronounced in case of beginners. So far all the dust was under the carpet. Now that you have woken up to cleaning it, do not complain of kicking up the dust. Whose mind is not disturbed? Even great sadhakas have gone through this problem. You are in good company.
No, deferring meditation is not advisable. You certainly learn from the scriptures. But it is only through meditation you will truly understand what you have learnt. Knowledge comes from scriptures. Understanding comes only through meditation and samadhi. Understanding is true realisation of the truth. That knowledge is superior. Only dhyana and samadhi give you that. Swadhyana is preparatory to this higher knowledge.
Sage Patanjali confirms: srutaanumaanapranjaabhyaamanyavisayaa vishesaarthatvaat. - Knowledge from scriptures and deduction is one kind. But superior is the knowledge that is experienced through dhyana, samadhi etc. To give an example, you may know all about switzerland by reading travel catalogues, television, movies etc. But by experiencing yourself by being there you enjoy its true character.
If your meditation is disturbed, try again. Let the thoughts float by. Do not fight within. Be passive. If they still crowed your mind try again. Try further again. Eventually you will be the winner. You are not alone. The Lord is not only your object of sadhana but is also the accomplice in your sadhana.
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From Ahwanm the spiritual approach to life by Sri Bimal Mohanty. http://www.ahwan.org/index.php
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