Every one of us exists in two modes, one which I call a localized mode and one which I call a diffused mode. In the localized mode of our existence we are identifying ourselves with our body, mind or intellect. This is the limited state of our existence. The non-localized, diffused, spread-out form of our existence, consists of our consciousness pervading all life forms – plant, animal, bird, the sun, the skies, the stars… everywhere. There you are a witness to all these things and you are yet none of these things. The relationship between these two modes is like that between a circle and its center. You cannot have a circle without its starting point, the center. The center is within the circle, it is not attached to the circle. Just like when you a sphere through the center, the center is unchanging and the circle is always changing. The center has to remain fixed. If the center is moving, the circle cannot be formed. There has to be a center. You have to be centered on yourself. We need both these states of our existence to discover our roots, our inner most desires, the purpose of our lives and to be able to express the purpose of our lives through our daily lives.
You need the non-local diffused mode where you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not your intellect, but you are the whole, you have spread yourself, your conscious is part of the entire universe. You have to get in that state a few times a day. Maybe three times a day. If time does not permit, at least two times a day. It is in the silence of the mind that God is known. This has been called sandhyavandhanam: three times a day you have to take the Shakti up into a transcendental state and be there for sometime. In the de-localized mode of your functioning, the importance is not on the content of information, but on the container of the information. It’s not how much you know that matters, but how much you can forget. It is not subject to logical reasoning, not even to emotions. It’s beyond reasoning and emotions. And you have to reach that state.
I’d like to say a few words about how to access this state, what is called samadhi. You have to make a commitment in your lives to spend 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and 15 to 20 minutes in the evening doing this. Now, you may ask, why do you want us to do this? We have already so many pressures at work. Why should we do this? What do we gain by doing this? What is in it for me?
First of all, we need proof that we need to do something. Let me give you that proof. Let’s suppose there is a school, an elementary school, and there is a teacher at the blackboard. The history teacher comes and writes a few lines there. He’s telling the story of the Ramayana. He says, “Once there was a king called Dasaratha”, and writes “Dasaratha” there. “… and he had four sons named Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna”, he continues, and writes their names on the board as well. After a little more story telling, the class is over. Then the mathematics teacher comes, and he writes the equation (a+b)^2 = a^2 + b^2 + 2ab on the board and he explains the meaning of this and he goes away. The student, when he goes back home, has the following information in his mind: Dasaratha = (a+b)^2, Rama=a^2, Lakshmana =b^2, Bharatha = 2ab, and Shatrugna is nothing.
It is not only the chalk piece that puts the information in your mind that is important, but also the duster. If you do not clean your mind of the information you have received, the selected information that’s going to get into the mind gets mixed up and there is lot of confusion in your mind. If we do not let our minds be cleared at least twice a day, then we cannot have clear perception. Which is more important, the chalk piece or the duster? Without the chalk piece you are stupid, without the duster you are confused. You need both. You need the chalk piece, the world, which writes the information on your mind and you have to be able to clear it also. The clearing process of the conscious part of the mind and being able to remain thoughtless for some time is the duster. We need both these things. This is one aspect. The other aspect is that once you are really able to achieve silence of the mind, stop all the dialogues, all the monologues in your mind, then you enter a state called yoga: Yogah cittabuddih nirogah.
When all the manifestations of the mind, the fluctuations of the mind are subdued then your body identification is gone; when you are in the witness state and only the subject remains, the object has merged into the subject. The object is not there, because the subject has become the object. We are seeing the world and we have become the world and you stop seeing yourself. That is the state, which is called manolaya – where you have eliminated your mind. You have got to try to reach that state, three times a day preferably. If you can manage a wink at the office, nothing like that. If you can’t, at least do it twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. It is necessary in this day of high-tension living, high-pressure work; you need this relaxation process.
What are the steps that lead to the relaxation of the mind? I think there are basically four steps involved. If we eat heavily and then sit down for meditation, what happens? We sleep like Kumbakarna. Kumbakarna is a guy who sleeps for six months continuously. If you are totally hungry, with the burning sensation in the stomach, you can’t sit and meditate. So a slight hunger should be there, but not too much.
If your mind is totally fresh, you have just woken up from sleep, and you want to sit for meditation, the mind wants to think. It has finished its sleep. It wants to become active. That doesn’t create the slope that is necessary for the mind to settle down into a thoughtless state. So, if you are totally fresh, again, it is a conducive state for meditation. The second important step is that as you should have a little hunger, you should have a little tiredness also. When your body is tired and your mind is tired, the mind wants to stop thinking and start relaxing. This will set up a small slope in the mind and it starts gently rolling down. If you take a bottle, fill it with water and put some mud in it and shake it well and let it stand, it will start settling down. The settling down is because the mind has naturally a tendency to be lazy. So you try to go into a state of non-thinking in a natural gradient.
But what happens is that when you sit for meditation, some kind of disturbance or the other, some trigger comes. A little sound, and you start analyzing what that sound is. It starts a train of thought. So when you have these trains of thought, it’s like a ball that is rolling down the slope of a hill comes across an obstacle. It stops there. It doesn’t roll down further. Or sometimes the obstacle is such that it pushes it up. So, what do you have to do?
Have you observed that no thought has never remained all the time with you? Is there any thought that has remained forever with you? No, not a single thought. All thoughts come, they are born, they grow, and they die in your mind. The nature of the obstacles in your thoughtless state are the thoughts. If you observe that the thoughts are temporary in nature, they will never stay for long, they cannot. The mind has a natural tendency to kill them. What do you have to do? Remain a passive witness to the thought, don’t get involved with the thought. Don’t invite the thought, put it on a pedestal and do puja like you do to Devi. Nor do you ask the thought to go away. If you push it away, you are working with the emotion of the thought. “This is a bad thought, I should not be having it”. Why do these thoughts come to me when I am trying to clear my mind? I should have only good thoughts, not bad thoughts”. So, suspend your judgment of these thoughts. Your judgment that this is good or bad, this is what I should have, this is what I should not have, is a thought. If I think it is a good idea, then I want to hang on to it, if I think it is a bad idea, I want to push it away from me. Thoughts are not the problem, your judgment of your thoughts is. If you judge not, then you are in a passive state of mind, a witness state of mind. A witness is not affected. If my name is Sastry, I can witness this guy Sastry having this thought, that’s not me, I am witnessing this fellow having this thought. Take yourself a little away from yourself. Detach yourself a little. And without judgment, let the thought come, let it stay as long as it wants, let it go if it wants to. Let a new thought come, let it go.
We talked about three aspects. The first is a little hunger, then a little tiredness to set the slope of the mind. And the obstacles in the way of reaching the settling of the mind are the judgment of the thoughts and therefore you remain a witness to the thoughts, not judging them.
To be continued….