There’s another passage by the same Swami Mangalnath on how to come to this state – not just promoting oneself and this is something that generally gets lost under the conjuring trick. “A few hints” he says, “out of my personal experience may perhaps be useful to you. The hollow in the centre of your body where the ribs join just below the breast bone is the best region on which to fix your mind in meditation. You may have heard the expression ‘the lotus of the heart’; it refers to this point. You can apply a little sandal-paste to the spot and then concentrate your mind on it. Two hours a day is not too long a time for this practice.” Two hours a day! Then he says, “When you can fix your mind there at will, then visualise a lotus of bluish colour, and when this meditation has matured, imagine Pranava or OM placed on the lotus, and meditate on it.” This is Swami Mangalnath. So he is referring also to a state of meditation, seated with the eyes closed.
If we look at the Shri Dada Sanghita we’ll find many references. Swami Mangalnath says, “Dye your emotions in the colour of ‘verily all this is Brahman’. Then you will pass into an ecstasy in which there is neither one nor two.” Shri Dada says, “Devotion is not the end of life. The end is direct perception in samadhi of your own Self as Paramatman. While you have consciousness of time and space, you will not see Atman. But that doesn’t mean that when Atman has been seen, it does not continue after the meditation.” But he says “It is first seen in meditation. While you have consciousness of time and space you will not see Atman.” Then he says, “Meditate on the Lord in the heart”. It’s another form of this meditation. “If you mediate daily (on the Lord in the heart) for eighteen months, and every now and then devote a week or two entirely to it, you will, in your meditation, lose consciousness of both the world and yourself and experience only the object of meditation. You will see an extraordinary light resembling the colour of the lotus in its intensified form in your heart and all mental limitations will disappear. This state is called samadhi.” So this is a reference to a state in which the consciousness of the world and the self and one’s body has been lost.
“My sons, the scripture says: ‘This Atman cannot be achieved by the weak-willed’, and the converse of this statement is true. ‘This Atman can be achieved by the strong-willed’. Then bring the whole force of your will to bear upon the problem and, having made up your mind to know Atman, drive straight towards it… The Shruti says: ‘The wise, renouncing the world, realise immortality. Renounce the mind once and for all and you will realise Atman is bliss.” This is not reshaping ideas, but stepping beyond the mind. It’s not like a mental operation, in which an inadequate idea is replaced by an adequate idea, but a stepping completely beyond the mind itself – like coming to the edge of a picture. “Renounce the mind, once and for all, you will realise that Atman is bliss.”
Elsewhere he says: “Liberation is the name of a mental function, which arises in jnana (knowledge) and loses itself in it. Shut out all other mental functions, suspend all mental and sense consciousness. What still persists is knowledge. This spiritual knowledge is not an idea, not a mental function, but something beyond them. Have no desire, no plaint. Sit calm. Break the mirror of the mind. Silence, mahatmas, silence. Not only silence of speech, but of the mind.” Then Shri Dada will say: “The essence of the teachings of the Gita is this: first the antahkarana (the mind) should be purified; secondly it must be surrendered to the Lord, and then slowly the mind will vanish into the transcendent light of consciousness. This state is called the higher samadhi.” These are all references to samadhi as meditation states. “The avadhut”, a fully realised yogi, whom Shri Dada meets, “the avadhut entered into a state of samadhi”. Samadhi is there used to mean a special state which is not his normal state in which he was talking to the people. There are several of them, but they’re much on the same lines. The last one I’ll read then is a description of Shri Dada. “The sun was at its meridian and the holy Guru was absorbed in samadhi. Sahaja (one of his disciples) touched his feet and … discovered to her horror that there was a considerable swelling in them. She sobbed… Shri Dada opened his eyes (his eyes had been shut, he was absorbed in samadhi) and affectionately patted (her) head; then he stood up and began to walk back.”
These are some of the quotations on samadhi – they can be brought together. We can see that it is both a state of meditation in which the mind is transcended and then it also refers to a state, as the Gita says, “… of walking, talking, moving, in which he is samadhistha – established in samadhi.” The verses are at the end of chapter two. But chapter two also describes him like a tortoise withdrawing his limbs, he withdraws the senses as he sits still.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: The Main Teachings of Shri Dada
Part 3: Verily all this is Brahman
Part 5: Flowers showered upon you
Part 6: The torch of Eternal Truth