Prayer of Gajendra, from the “Shrimad Bhagavatam”:
I take refuge in Him Who is the Substratum of the Universe; Who is the sole Cause of all this Creation; Who Himself has become the Universe; yet Who is beyond this effect and its cause and Who is Self-evident.
At the destruction of time and of the worlds and all the Devas supporting the worlds, a darkness profound and inscrutable covered all. May He, that ever-pervasive Reality, Who was then shedding His undiminished splendour beyond that darkness – may He protect me, and all others.
Desirous of seeing Him in their own Self – Him the ever-attached friend of all living beings – the virtuous Sadhus live as Brahmacharis, in solitude, finding inner unity with all.
He who acts like an actor and Whose nature is not understood by the Devas and Rishis, how can men know or describe Him? May that inscrutable One, Who eludes the grasp of the mind and of speech, protect me and all others. My salutations to Him, Who is free from births and deaths, actions, attributes, names and forms, qualities and blemishes and Who yet, for the withdrawal and extension of the worlds, takes birth through His Maya. OM.
When the lights of the sun and other luminous objects are berated, when there is profound darkness, gloom covering the sun, when there is profound darkness, gloom covering the gloom, he who perceives that darkness in the light of his own luminosity, that is your Self, immortal, eternal and all-bliss, and not that which can be described or experienced or perceived; that is your Self . OM.
When the causal world expanding in time and space is merged into its cause avidya, when the mind which perceives and conceives the universe is at rest in the state of deep sleep, he who knows that state of bliss and is conscious of his continuity in that state, blissful omniscient Lord is your Self. OM
” Yoh devan am adhideva eka. The One who is the supporter of the names of the diverse Gods.” (Rig Veda10. 12.7).
“Names” here means their very existence. “The One”; he is not two, not three, not even one. To indicate, we call Him “One” but the word “One” here does not mean positive One but it only means negation of duality. Then “the One who is the holder of the names of the diverse Gods” – ‘diverse Gods’ means the forces of nature and their controllers – then that One who is the support of all forces of nature and the deities who control nature, the One who transcends all sentient forms and forces, that One is One without a second. Let us unite our mind with Him. OM.
We live in daily life in which everything, as Heraclitus has said, is in a state of constant flux. Nothing stays still there even for the fraction of a second. It is a show of constant passing, and we perceive this show of by means of our mind. The one who perceives this show is greater than the show itself; it stands to reason. And the mind can be turned inward. Those who know how to turn the mind inward, they can know how to live.
You will say, how do we know that the mind can be turned inward? Ask the young mother who has lost her only child today. Isn’t her mind all inward? Ask the philosopher in his study, who is unconscious of anything; isn’t his mind turned inward? You know the Alexandrian philosopher who was engaged in doing a mathematical sum. A revolution broke out, the Government was overthrown, the city changed hands, and when someone entered his abode, he whispered with a flourish of his hand: “Wait a little, I have solved it.” It is a well-known fact. What was the matter with him? His mind was inward.
If circumstances turn our mind inward, it is no merit at all whatsoever. But he who knows how to turn his mind inward, he knows the secret of life. When you meditate on OM in your intellect or in your heart, when you imagine the form of Shri Dada, closing your eyes and shutting your ears and lips, you mind is turned inwards. Voluntary turning of the mind inward is the way to the truth, and the truth is Self and there is no other truth but the higher Self of man.
This is the law. Shri Shankara uses two words, bahirmukha and antarmukha. Bahirmukha means extrovertive, antarmukha means introvertive.
To be voluntarily introvertive in the reflection
“All is the Lord”,
“From Him the universe comes forth, in Him it stays and to Him it goes back”, “He is the first of all the Gods; when the universe is destroyed He still stays in the same glory, majesty and bliss”,
To turn the mind in reflection in this way is called the state of antarmukhata. He who is antarmukha, he is on the way to know the truth.
Monsieur Gide says that as a child when he used to study in the room of his tutor, he saw two little mice coming out of their hole. They were so beautiful that he threw them crusts and by and by they came on the table and used to play with him. He says “it was my joy, greater than the study.” But as soon as the teacher came, they at once ran away into the hole hurry-scurry. They knew that there was someone who was not friendly to them.
In the same way the mind may be bahirmukha, but occasionally we should withdraw it by saying an OM and taking a deep breath, as the mice of Monsieur Gide withdrew into their hole and they were safe.
The world of cause and effect, the world of time and space, the world which is ever changing and passing, contains many taints and those are rajas and tamas. Many taints, and therefore we should withdraw our mind and reunite it in the contemplation of the One-without-a-second, from whom the universe springs, in whom it stays and to whom it goes back.
In “Spring Showers” in one of the poems it is said: “I am travelling in a train which is running at sixty miles per hour. The compartment is empty. Who has just come in, that time and space have been blotted out? Who has entered, that has swallowed up the speed of the train, the space and time?”
This is a description of the state of antarmukhata. When you have created it for some time it becomes natural, it becomes natural. St. Francis speaks of the visit of Jesus when he was in prison and had spent the money which had come for his own ransom to free his two fellow-prisoners and preferred to stay alone; then he said: “Someone came and I was happy and said ‘Now we will live, you and I, you and I. Not the outer world, nor my friends and parents, but you and I.'” This experience is not difficult. With a little practice it can belong to each and every one of you. This is something positive.
There is a negative side also. It is that we must curb the activity and agitation of our mind. An active mind is good but a passive mind is better. To be active in order to create something beautiful is alright, but the imperishable truth is created in the state of stillness of the mind. The time has come when anything that agitates the mind, useless discussion, company of the people who are very touchy and sensitive, should be entirely given up.
We have no time to ask anyone: “Are you angry with me, dear? What have I done? What has happened?” It is a great sin to be in this mood. The best thing is to remember the One who is without-a-second, who is designated as Jesus of Nazareth, to remember Him and to invite Him in the heart. To get rid of the agitation of the mind, you have to learn to fix your mind on something where it can stay longer than in any other place. That can be sometimes subjective and sometimes objective. It can be done objectively, but much sooner and more quickly than otherwise by fixing the mind on God.
We cannot live like those who live only on grass and cabbages and thorns and raga and dvaisha. The life that becomes you is the life which occasionally, slowly, voluntarily, leads to a withdrawal into yourself and focussing of your mind on the One-without-a-second. Must the sentient (chetana) be a slave to the insentient (achetana)? The world and its objects are insentient; they are devoid of consciousness.
It is your consciousness that animates your mind, and your animated mind passes its rays through the senses. If you begin to linger longer and longer on insentient states and get attached to them and begin to think of them to the exclusion of the truth “I am That”, “I am That”, then think, how the sentient has become a slave to the insentient! You do not do any good to anybody by being his slave, no good at all whatsoever.
Mothers spoil their children by acceding to any request and by not contradicting them or by being afraid of their being annoyed. One day those children will drag her by the hair in the street before everybody!
Therefore, antarraukhata. The sentient must not be the slave of the insentient. When you read a book, do you become a slave to the words? You may sometimes like a verse, but you do not become a slave to the written word. And if your mind lingers on the meaning of the phrase, then it is something subjective and not objective.
What will you call the fool who begins to love the letters in which the sense is couched and forgets to read the sense of the letters? the children, parents, husband and wife, King and Queen, sun and moon, earth and planets, spring and autumn are all letters. Read these phrases. And the meaning of all the verses is “the One-without-a-second from whom the universe springs, in Whom it abides and into Whom it dissolves, is in you, and to know Him is to know all.”
In one of his short verses Shri Shankara says:
” The vishayas or objects must not be given the power to direct you.”
How much wisdom is in this sentence of a few words! The objects of your senses must not be delegated the power to direct you. If the old lady is directed by her pet dog in the road, very soon the undertaker will benefit! And therefore this independence of the mind and its perfect dependence on God within, is the meaning of life, is the only practice, is called wisdom, is called holiness. You may learn as many Shastras as you like; this is the essence of the Shastras which is offered to you.
Ekagrata: you may have come across it. Eka – one, agrata -focussing. Focussing the mind on the One.
How many focus their minds on their dogs, on their power, on the fact “I am somebody; I am not considered; I am not respected!” But this ekagrata is poison.
The real ekagrata is to focus the mind on the One-without-a-second in the form of “I am”, “I am”, “I am”. A party of men went to eat luscious mangoes in the rainy season. When they came to the garden they found that there were pigs grazing there. The pigs had had their share of the mangoes and had left many of them partly sucked on the ground. Some of the people who were foolish took them and began to suck those soiled with the saliva of the pigs. But those who were wise saw the mangoes on the branches, smelt their fragrance and said “we will go and have those” and entered the garden and began to help themselves.
Our ” I ” , the Truth, the God of gods, is guarded by the pig-eaten vishayas, and as long as we focus our mind, ekagrata, on them, we are devoid of the real luscious mangoes of concentration and meditation. A tired mind produces tired nerves. Tired nerves produce tired muscles. A tired mind is tired because it is not given what the mind likes most, which is internal focussing of the mind on the presence of the Lord in our intellect.
Let us focus our mind by cultivating something. Some focus their mind on knitting. It is better than slandering, because it gives you silence. But the mind should be focussed on devotion, virtue and quest after the spiritual truth.
Meditate on “devotion”, one word. Sit down; find its meaning as given in the Gita, here and there in the pages of the Gospel by Jesus and His followers, in “Shrimad Bhagavata”, in the holy saints. Find out the meaning of “virtue” and then always be on the quest of truth. It means, “What am I? From where have I come? Where am I going?” This is the quest of the truth, or the quest of “I”. If this is followed, then , all becomes well.
Consciousness takes many forms, to use an expression of modern psychology. In our psychology Consciousness does not take any forms, but there they make a difference between the instinctive consciousness and rational consciousness etc. Let us assume it takes many forms. We want the best form. If you go to buy apples for yourself, you will buy the best, but if for me, “just give him apples” !
“O darling, not for the sake of the son the son is dear , but for the sake of the Self the son is dear “.
” ( “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad” 2.4.5.) The best phase of consciousness is called dnyana or meditation.
There is a verse from the “Chandogya” (7.6.); this is a very eloquent verse:
“The earth meditates , the ether meditates, the mountains meditate, the water meditates, all meditate.”
And when the whole world and every object is meditating, should man allow his mind to graze in the field of raga and dvesha, desire and slander and so forth? Contemplation is superior to any other form of consciousness.
The earth seems to contemplate, the waters seem to contemplate, the mountain seems to contemplate, time and space seem to contemplate, says the “Chandogya”. The whole earth is born of dhyana, the whole earth is constantly contemplating. This is the non-rational method of acquiring truth. Truth is acquired by rational method to a certain extent, by non-rational method, by the method called intuition, and by one thing more, the grace of God expressed through the Guru.
“The Purusha is one and is distinct from pradhana” is the cardinal doctrine of the philosophy of the Sankhya. It has nothing in common with matter, and matter exists on the existence of Purusha. And if it is so, then let the Purusha behave as the King of matter and not as the slave of matter. To acquire this sovereignty of one’s own Self, svaraj siddhi, is acquisition of the real self-rule. When Indians in their ignorant madness were crying for svaraj, self-government, Dada heard and said: “It means Government of the Self and not of matter, to place the Self in a state of ruling by its own light.”
Who cares for the Sage? Confucius died broken-hearted. No one employed Mencius. Who cared for Dada when he was alive? Even Rama Tirtha had to retire into the Himalayas. Who cares for the Saint? He is the doctor of the future; the present will not accept his voice.
The greatest thing in life is experience. When Faust had only heard of Helena, he was not so keen on her, but when he had a glimpse of her, his constant desire and constant saying to Mephistopheles was: “Get her for me by any means”. Anubhava is experience of the bliss of one’s own Self.
A desire for bliss from anything other than Self, where it does not exist, is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, in a dark storm, where the black cat does not exist. This peace and satisfaction we seek in the world of the senses but it does not exist there. The best thing is to have an experience of the bliss of the Self. It is subject to two factors, jnana and sadhana (discipline).
The philosophy of Patanjali is rejected by Shri Shankara but the method of Patanjali of controlling the mind is accepted as leading to jnana; and therefore let us adopt the method of Patanjali for attaining the intuitive knowledge of Brahman.
I conclude with the passage in the “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad” (5.2.) when the holy Rishi was in his cave in the Himalayas, to the right and left of which were flowing two tranquil streams and a waterfall tumbling not far below, and the fawns had come for a dip in the water. Suddenly thunder came and crashed in the sky, saying “Da, da, da.” The Rishi, who sees the spiritual meaning in everything, says: “Practise self-control, practise charity, practise kindness.”
These are in Sanskrit the meanings of “Da, da, da.” (damyata, datta, dayadhvam). The heavens are thundering forth this great lesson:
“Practise self-control, charity and universal kindness.”
To these Rishis, whose disciples you are, it was a lesson, an expression of God in every phenomenon of nature. Perhaps it is from them that the Chinese, who see also in Nature moral lessons, took their lessons.
Purnamadah, purnamidam, purnat purnam udachyate Purnasva purnam adaya, purnam evavashishvate. (“Brihadaranyaka Upanishad” 5.1.)
Grant that we may depend on Thee, that if in a mood of complaint we may complain to Thee, if in a mood to cry we may cry to Thee, if to be silent to be silent in order to know Thee. Grant that any object other than this be a stranger to us.