Essence of Meditation
Number of Sessions: 12
(I01 – I12)
Number of Lessons: 7
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(q) Understand the role of Wrong Meditation in understanding ONE
(r) Differentiate between Wrong Meditation and Direct Knowledge
(s) Appreciate the relationship between the power to perform miracles and the direct knowledge.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 9.001 and 9.158 of the original text)
1. Describe the four stages in knowing ONE.
2. What are the two types of right meditation?
3. Why Wrong Meditation is wrong?
4. What are the four disqualifications that prevent people from gaining the Direct Knowledge?
5. Describe the need for prescribing Wrong Meditation to those who have these four disqualifications.
6. Describe the method of doing Wrong Meditation.
7. What are the two possible obstacles for doing Wrong Meditation?
8. Discuss the difference between gaining Indirect Knowledge and gaining Direct Knowledge.
9. What are the three possible obstacles for gaining Direct Knowledge?
10. What are the differences between Wrong Meditation and Direct Knowledge?
Lesson 1: Stages in knowing ONE
All activities carried out by all human beings are always directed towards the only goal, Joyful Living, which can come about only when we know ONE. A large part of the journey towards Joyful Living involves refining the mind which happens intentionally or incidentally through these actions. People are bound to do action at all times. Such actions sharpen their mind making it eligible to inquire on the true nature of ONE.
Until this happens, people assume that they are working for the next meal, next promotion or for fulfilling any such materialistic objectives. Only after sufficient refinement of the mind, do people turn their attention towards inquiring about the nature of God/ ONE.
The Scriptures describe the nature of ONE. However, understanding these descriptions varies depending on the level of intelligence.
Stage 1: Not accepting the presence of ONE
Whatever is known is always changing. Everything had a beginning and will end one day. In this first stage, people are sure that there is nothing that is unchanging and eternal.
Stage 2: Accepting the possibility of the presence of ONE
When they hear from the Scriptures about the existence of ONE, which is unchanging and eternal, they start wondering about the possibility of its presence.
Stage 3: Knowing for sure of the existence of ONE
After completing the systematic of study of the Scriptures, people come to the conclusion that there is ONE, which is unchanging and eternal. However they are not able to declare with confidence that ‘I am that ONE’
Stage 4: Knowing, ‘I am ONE’
After the practice of Inner Transformation involving meditation on the knowledge, ‘I am that ONE’, they become steady on the knowledge and declare, ‘I am the unchanging and eternal ONE’.
People refine their mind continuously by involving in various actions across many lifetimes, until they are mature enough to start the process of knowing ONE. Refined minds, which are capable of receiving the truth about ONE, will ultimately reach the destination of Joyful Living.
Lesson 2: Role of Meditation in knowing ONE
The knowledge of ONE can come about only in refined minds. In order to refine the mind, meditation is an essential practice. Meditation will not give the knowledge of ONE. One has to inquire into the essence of the Scriptures for gaining the direct knowledge of ONE. Meditation prepares the mind and makes it eligible for inquiry and comprehension of the knowledge of ONE.
There are two types of meditation.
Type 1: Meditation on God
The Scriptures gives detailed descriptions of God. One may meditate upon God by praising the superior attributes/ qualities of God. This is the initial level of meditation, which facilitates the maturity of the mind.
This meditation makes a person eligible to receive the knowledge about ONE that is revealed in the Scriptures.
Type 2: Meditation on the knowledge ‘I am ONE’
Even after gaining the knowledge, ‘I am ONE’, it is not easy for people to become steady on the knowledge. While dealing with the illusory world, they slip from their knowledge and suffer. In order to make the knowledge steady, the Inner Transformation process is essential, which is done through this second type of meditation.
This meditation involves remembering our true nature and reminding ourselves that the entire creation is an illusion.
Both these types of meditation are right types of meditation and they are required to be practiced for reaching the goal of Joyful Living by gaining the Direct Knowledge of ONE. There is a Wrong Meditation, which serves as a stepping stone for those who are not able to reach the final stage of realizing the knowledge ‘I am ONE’.
Not every seeker of knowledge is eligible to gain the Direct Knowledge of ONE. There are four disqualifications described below which prevent people from gaining the Direct Knowledge. To such people, until they gain the required qualifications, Wrong Meditation is prescribed. Wrong Meditation will help them to gain the required qualifications and be ready to gain Direct Knowledge.
Wrong Meditation can be done while one continues to inquire and introspect which are the steps for gaining the Direct Knowledge.
Eligibility to gain knowledge, ‘I am ONE’
1. Absence of deep desire.
It is impossible to force knowledge on anyone. Actions can be forced on anyone. Only those who are mature enough can receive right knowledge through their own volition and not through any external force.
2. Presence of a strong notion, ‘I am the body’.
Those who are very sure that they are the body cannot understand that they are ONE. They continue to be affected by the sense objects of the world since their sense organs are attracted by them and the mind is not strong enough to restrain the sense organs.
3. Absence of intelligence
Those, whose intelligence is not sharp enough to grasp logic and math, cannot comprehend right knowledge.
4. Absence of complete faith
The Scriptures declare ‘I am ONE’ but our personal experiences suggest ‘I am this body/mind complex’. Until one gains sufficient faith in the Scriptures, the mind will not be able to comprehend the knowledge.
Gaining the knowledge that ‘I am ONE’ is not possible for such persons with the above four disqualifications. Activity based learning across countless births will make them eligible to receive the knowledge.
Only when they accept the authority of the Scriptures and validate the teachings therein through logic and their personal experience are they eligible to gain the knowledge, ‘I am ONE’.
Wrong Meditation for graduating from ‘There is ONE’ to ‘I am ONE’
Seekers of the ultimate knowledge would have progressed to the level of learning that there is ONE. However due to the above mentioned disqualifications they may not be able to proceed to gain the Direct Knowledge, ‘I am ONE’. For such people Wrong Meditation is prescribed.
Wrong Meditation helps in gaining additional knowledge without negating the earlier knowledge. ‘This is a flower’ – This earlier knowledge is not incorrect knowledge but it is inadequate knowledge. One has to gain more specific knowledge and get to know, ‘This is a Rose’.
Similarly, to know that ‘There is ONE’ is not incorrect but it is inadequate. To progress from this inadequate knowledge to the complete knowledge of ‘I am ONE’, the practice of Wrong Meditation (Good Mistake) helps.
Example: If a student is not able to understand the steps explained by the math teacher in solving a problem, he is asked to write imposition of the solution many times until he understands the logic behind it. Solution to a math problem is to be understood and not memorized. However, when there is deficiency in understanding, memorizing helps as an intermediary step. Although memorizing a solution is wrong, it is recommended since ultimately it leads to understanding.
Wrong Meditation involves meditating upon ONE as if ONE is independent of the self. This is called Wrong Meditation because ONE is not different from SELF. However, the Scriptures permit and prescribe such Wrong Meditation since it helps those who are not able to reach the destination without this stepping stone.
Example: For elderly people, who cannot climb into a bus because the first step is too steep for them, a wooden step-stool is provided. This step-stool is not part of the real steps of the bus.
Similarly, for those who cannot reach the final stage of realizing ‘I am ONE’ through the right steps, this intermediary Wrong Meditation is prescribed.
Lesson 3: Wrong Meditation
Session: I02 – I03
Right Meditation is one of the essential steps to reach Joyful Living.
Wrong Meditation is an optional step prescribed only for those who are not able to comprehend the knowledge, ‘I am ONE’.
After gaining knowledge that ONE exists, one has to gain the knowledge, ‘I am ONE’. However, for many people who have the strong notion that they are insignificant living beings, such a declaration is not acceptable.
Therefore, they stagnate in the stage of praising/ meditating upon God. Wrong Meditation is prescribed to them so that they progress towards the goal by meditating on the attributeless ONE in the same way they used to meditate on God (ONE with attributes).
Example: A man thinks that he is a rat. The psychiatrist suggests that he should meditate upon the thought, ‘I am a man’.
He has to understand that he is a man. It is a mistake to meditate upon this knowledge. However, the psychiatrist prescribes such a Wrong Meditation, since it will lead him to ultimately realize that he is a man.
Similarly, the Holy Scriptures recommend meditation on the knowledge, ‘ONE is the consciousness’, ‘ONE is formless and nameless’, ‘ONE is eternal’ etc with a view to understand the meaning of these terms. Although it is wrong to meditate on ONE as if it is a third person, it is recommended since it will lead them to realize that they are ONE.
Some of our mistakes lead us to the correct destination. Wrong Meditation is one of them.
Example: Two men see a sparkle of light coming from the keyhole of two different closed rooms. Both of them mistake it for a diamond and rush towards the rooms. One of them finds a diamond and another finds a glass piece.
To see a sparkle of light as a sparkle of light is correct. Seeing it as a diamond is a mistake committed by both men. However, such a mistake has lead one person to become rich and therefore the mistake can be classified as ‘Good Mistake’. In case of the other person, the mistake is bad because he is disappointed at the end.
The end result enables the classification of the mistake as good or bad. Wrong Meditation is a case of Good Mistake because in the end it helps people realize they are ONE.
Necessity of Wrong Meditation
ONE with the power of illusion is called God. People pray to God and meditate upon him by describing the various attributes of God. This step is essential to progress towards the ultimate understanding, ‘I am ONE’.
ONE is without any attributes. To pray to ONE and to meditate upon the various attributes of attributeless ONE is a mistake. However, this is a Good Mistake since it will enable people to reach the fourth stage.
Examples of Good Mistake
1. Mistaking fog as smoke, a person climbs the mountain to get fire and actually finds fire.
2. Following the rituals prescribed in various prayers will yield the benefit due to the strong belief even though the procedures are violated.
3. Wrong diagnosis but patient cured.
Prescribing the Good Mistake as a solution is not uncommon. People in general believe that hard work, sincerity, dedication to work and such positive qualities will get them material success in life. This is a mistake.
Results of any action do not depend on the quality or quantity of work done. The result accrues to a person solely depending on the good or bad actions done by him in the past.
However, this mistake of thinking that quality of the action determines the result is a Good Mistake because ultimately people become more intelligent and competent through their hard work. When the intelligence grows to the sufficient level, the revelation in the Scriptures that the result of an action does not depend on the quality of the inputs will be understood. Till people reach this level, they will continue to assume that their action is leading to the desired results. If the results are not in line with their expectations they attribute the failure to insufficiency of the effort. Such Good Mistake will ultimately make them work harder and better leading them to become more intelligent.
When they become more intelligent, they will be able to comprehend ONE resulting in Joyful Living.
Similarly, when people meditate upon ONE as if ONE is independent of them, they are doing a Good Mistake. Such meditation will prepare and lead them to the practice of Inner Transformation.
Eligibility to practice Wrong Meditation:
1. Those who do not know the existence of ONE, cannot do this meditation. Those who are yet to start the journey cannot do this meditation. They need to inquire and ascertain the existence of ONE prior to commencing the Wrong Meditation of praying to the attributeless ONE.
2. Those who are steady on the knowledge, ‘I am ONE’ cannot / will not/ need not do this meditation. Such people have reached the destination of Joyful Living and therefore Wrong Meditation is irrelevant to them.
3. Those who do see the illusory nature of God are eligible only for the Right Meditation until they learn about the existence of ONE.
4. Those who are convinced about the existence of ONE, but think ONE as different from Self alone are eligible to practice the Wrong Meditation. Such people, who have not conducted enough inquiry or gone to the right teacher, can do Wrong Meditation until the external circumstances support proper inquiry.
5. Those whose intelligence is not sharp enough to discriminate between reality and illusion cannot comprehend ONE. Wrong Meditation is prescribed to such people.
Impossibility of wrong ending
Even if a person starts praying to ONE as an independent entity during the Wrong Meditation, there is no possibility of slipping to the wrong knowledge on ONE. Since the person involved in the act is fully aware that he is following this intermediary prescription since he is not yet ready to gain the ultimate knowledge, ‘I am ONE’.
Example: Since the person worshipping a statue of a God is aware that the stone represents God, he will not slip into the status of thinking God is an inert object like stone.
Similarly, those who practice Wrong Meditation are aware of their goal that they should identify themselves with ONE. Therefore, there is no chance that they will conclude that ONE is different from themselves.
Method of doing Wrong Meditation
Any repetition of thought can be called as meditation. Repeating the thoughts about the attributeless ONE is Wrong Meditation. This will involve meditating ‘I am ONE’. Such thoughts should be repeated until the current impression that ‘I am the body/mind complex’ is overwritten.
Therefore, it is essential that we have the ability to repeat and sustain identical thoughts in the mind.
ONE is beyond words and thoughts. It has to be meditated upon as something that is beyond words and thoughts.
There are two different ways in which Wrong Meditation is done. One is to meditate upon the affirmative attributes of ONE, namely that ONE is blissful, consciousness, eternal and truth. The second is to meditate upon the negative attributes of ONE, namely that ONE is formless, nameless and non-perceivable.
Obstacles to Wrong Meditation
People in general have enough intelligence to understand that the stone to which they are offering prayers is different from God, which it represents. However, when it comes to Wrong Meditation, since the object of meditation is formless and unperceivable, higher order of intelligence is required to see the truth. Deficiency in the intellectual capacity is one of the obstacles to do Wrong Meditation.
Example: When there is an information overload and the size of the RAM is limited, the computer hangs.
Similarly, when a person with insufficient intelligence commences Wrong Meditation he may not be able to comprehend the ONE which is beyond comprehension of words and mind.
The second obstacle to Wrong Meditation is absence of a right teacher. It may so happen that the knowledge of the teacher is limited and he has a wrong understanding that the individual self is different from ONE. In such a case, the Wrong Meditation may not lead to the desired result of realization of ONE.
Lesson 4: Method of gaining Direct Knowledge
Session: I04 – I06
Indirect Knowledge of ONE is to know that there is ONE.
Direct Knowledge of ONE is to know, ‘I am ONE’.
After spending time and effort on various activities that refine the mind, people start their inquiry on the Scriptures to know about ONE. Knowledge of ONE happens in two steps. The first step is gaining Indirect Knowledge and the second and final step is gaining Direct Knowledge.
Step 1: Gaining Indirect Knowledge.
Indirect knowledge can be gained by a matured mind. Initial part of the Scriptures prescribes the practices and rituals that are to be followed to make the mind matured.
There is no need to conduct inquiry as to what is actually prescribed in the Scriptures. It is enough to follow the traditions and customs that are handed down to us through the past generations.
All that is required is the faith that the Scriptures will ultimately lead us to Joyful Living.
Various descriptions of God are given in the various Scriptures. It does not matter which religion we follow or which personal god we worship. The only important factor is to have faith in God and follow the religious practices as prescribed by our elders and priests.
After spending sufficient time in the religious practice, the mind will be refined. Once the mind is mature enough, one gains Indirect Knowledge that there is ONE.
Thus, the requirements to gain Indirect Knowledge are:
1. Faith in the words of the teacher
2. Practice/ Action in line with the teaching
There is no need of the following to gain Indirect Knowledge:
1. Inquiry of the content of the Scriptures.
2. Inquiry whether teaching of the teacher is in line with the Scriptures.
Once the Indirect Knowledge is gained, one is ready for the next step of gaining Direct Knowledge.
Step 2: Gaining Direct Knowledge
Once Indirect Knowledge, that ONE exists, is gained, one should embark on gaining Direct Knowledge of ONE. It is similar, to hearing about a foreign country (Indirect Knowledge) and actually visiting and experiencing (Direct Knowledge) the foreign country.
There is one important difference with respect to the Direct Knowledge of ONE compared to the Direct Knowledge of any other object. ONE is constantly experienced by everyone, even before the Indirect Knowledge of ONE is gained. Therefore, the moment one comes to know the declaration in the Holy Scriptures that ‘You are that’, it is normally expected that one gains Direct Knowledge.
Such instances do happen, although they are very rare.
Example: Ramana Maharishi gained Direct Knowledge of ONE after hearing the declaration of the Scriptures, just once.
Such rare instances are due to the extensive effort put in by the concerned individual in the previous births. Those who have put sufficient effort but not attained the Direct Knowledge in the previous births may gain it in the next birth without much apparent effort.
In general, even after hearing the declaration of the Scriptures, many do not gain the Direct Knowledge because they do not understand the declaration. One has to conduct detailed inquiry to comprehend the true meaning of the declaration, ‘You are that’.
Thus, as opposed to gaining indirect knowledge, following are the requirements to gain Direct Knowledge.
1. Faith in the teacher and the Scripture
2. Deep inquiry into the teaching through application of logic and validating the teaching through personal experience.
Blind faith in the word of the teacher will not lead to Direct Knowledge. In order to inquire and comprehend the meaning of the declarations of the Scriptures, one should have the following qualifications:
1. A mature mind obtained through many life times of doing action
2. Indirect Knowledge gained by listening to the teaching of the revelations
3. A sharp analytical mind to question the teaching and validate it.
4. High level of intelligence to discriminate between real and false.
Normally, a person with the above qualifications will gain Direct Knowledge after fulfilling all the requirements.
However, many may not still gain Direct Knowledge. This is due to the presence of obstacles.
Example: Late in an evening, a teacher asks the students to memorize a particularly long poem and recite it from memory, before leaving home. Some students may not be able to recite the poem although they have memorized it well. This is due to presence of some obstacles in the mind. May be they are concerned that it is getting late to go home. However, on the next day, without any additional preparation, they will be able to recite the poem. The effort spent on the previous class in memorizing the poem is not wasted.
Similarly, all the efforts put in by the individual in gaining the Direct Knowledge does not get wasted. Due to the presence of one or more of the following obstacles, they may not gain the Direct Knowledge during their lifetime. However, in their next birth when the obstacles are removed, they will instantly gain Direct Knowledge, just as the students regain their ability to recite the poem without any additional effort.
Three types of obstacles:
Type 1: Past Obstacles
Type 2: Present Obstacles
Type 3: Predetermined Obstacles
Each of the three obstacles and the solutions to remove such obstacles are discussed below:
Type 1: Past Obstacles
Our strong past preferences will obstruct us from realizing the truth.
Thoughts in the mind originate from two sources. The first is an external source. When we interact with the external environments, our five senses report the presence of sense objects around us and this interaction create thoughts in our mind. However, such thoughts do not pose any threat to our knowledge nor do they obstruct us from realizing the truth. By now through our inquiry we would have realized the unreality of the world and therefore the thoughts originating from external source do not have any impact on us.
However the second source of thought is internal and they arise from our past actions. If we have created strong imprints of preferences in our past, they continue to give rise to thoughts which disturb us and prevent us from realizing the truth.
For example, if we were attached to our spouse, who is no more, the thoughts about the spouse will bind us to this world.
The solution to this obstacle is to meditate on the non-reality of the past since even the present is an illusion. Such meditation should continue till the strong imprints created in our mind by the past preferences are completely erased.
Example: A foot path is created across the field due to repeated walking of the people. Even after people stop walking on the path, it will continue to be present for a while until fresh growth of grass covers the path until it can no longer be distinguished from the rest of the field.
Similarly, although we do not take any action due to the influence of our past preferences, our mind continues to spring up thoughts for a long time depending on the strength of the preferences. When we meditate on the illusory effect of our specific past preference, slowly they will vanish and the mind will no longer will have disturbing thoughts.
Thus the first obstacle to Direct Knowledge is removed.
Type 2: Present Obstacles
We might be still attached to some specific object or person in our life. While the Past Obstacle refers to an object which is no longer present, Present Obstacles refer to those objects which are still present and in continuous interaction with us.
This happens due to four factors.
Factor 1: Deficiency in dispassion
Normally, it is expected that a final level student of the Scriptures is completely free of attachment to the objects of the world. If there are deficiencies in dispassion then one will continue to the attached to some specific objects of the world.
Such attachment will prevent one from realizing the truth.
Withdrawing from the object of attachment and inquiry into the true nature of the world is the only solution to overcome this factor.
Factor 2: Deficiency in the intellect
Some may not have a sharp intellect that is essential to discriminate between the reality of ONE and falsehood of the universe. Such people should repeat the process of inquiry until the deficiency of the intellect is compensated.
Example: A bright student does one hour preparation for the exam. A dull student may have to spend 3 to 4 hours to prepare for the same exam.
Hard work can compensate the deficiency in the intellect.
Factor 3: Over dependence on intelligence
If the intelligence is crooked, it will over analyze the truths revealed in the Scriptures. It should be understood that the logic is a supporting tool to be used to understand the content of the Scripture and it cannot be used to validate the contents.
One must have faith in the Scriptures and treat it as a primary source of knowledge.
Surrendering to the right teacher and following his instructions is the only way to overcome this factor.
Factor 4: Wrong/ Negative thinking
Even after logical understanding of the content of the Scriptures, some people may continue to think that there are multiple truths and that only some of them are revealed in the Scriptures. They continue to give importance to the apparent discrepancies in the Scriptures and refuse to accept the ultimate truth.
Such people have to go back to their basics and study the scripture until there are no more doubts.
Type 3: Predetermined Obstacles
This happens in rare cases.
Normally, after gaining the ultimate knowledge, people live life joyfully. At the end of their lifetime they discard the physical body. Their subtle body and causal body merge with God’s subtle body and causal body respectively.
However, in certain cases, there will be a need for the subtle body to take one more physical body to exhaust the results of the actions done prior to gaining knowledge.
Suffering of the physical body and sufferings in the mind are the two types of sufferings that people undergo. Only the sufferings in the mind can be removed by gaining the ultimate knowledge of ONE. Sufferings to the body are entirely the result of our past actions. Normally the effect of past actions will lapse within one life time. In some cases this may continue for one or two more births.
In such cases, these accumulated results will function as an obstacle to gaining the knowledge. Only when the effect of this obstacle wears out, the person gains the ultimate knowledge. There is nothing to be done to overcome this obstacle except to wait. After exhausting the effect of the past actions, this obstacle is automatically removed and one gains the knowledge of ONE.
After the removal of the obstacles:
Once all the obstacles are removed indirect knowledge will culminate into direct knowledge. The essential steps of studying under the competent teacher and in depth inquiry are required. However, if these steps are completed in the past either in the current lifetime or during the previous lifetimes, then soon after the obstacles are removed direct knowledge will blossom. Any normal or abnormal experience may trigger the process of gaining direct knowledge and without much effort one will gain it thereafter.
Lesson 5: Gaining Direct Knowledge leading to Joyful Living
Conducting inquiry on the teaching ‘You are that’ is like seeding the field. At the appropriate time such seeds will grow into plants. Similarly, the inquiry will blossom in to knowledge at the appropriate time, although it may take many life times.
Example: A poor man is living in a hut which is constructed on a ground where one of his ancestors had buried lots of gold. This poor man is ignorant about the existence of such wealth. He will continue to be poor until he gains the knowledge of the existence of the wealth and puts in effort to dig up the ground.
Similarly, every one of us is living on the foundation provided by the immortal, blissful consciousness but most of us are not aware of it. Until we gain the knowledge that there is ONE and put in effort to inquire the truth we will continue to be mortals.
It may so happen that even after putting tremendous efforts, we might not gain the knowledge of ONE. Such efforts are never wasted. We will be closer to the truth corresponding to our effort.
We need a sharp instrument to dig out the sand to find gold. Similarly, we need sharp intellect to remove the coverings that is shielding us from perceiving the fact that we are ONE.
One has to progress through various stages before Direct Knowledge is gained. These stages are explained using the example of the poor man living in a hut built on a gold treasure.
The various stages of progress in knowing ONE:
1. Awareness of the suffering (The poor man should know that he is poor and he is suffering from poverty.) Many do not know that they are ignorant and they take many years to figure out that life is a struggle.
2. Eagerness to gain relief from suffering (The poor man should have eagerness to gain relief from poverty). Even when people acknowledge the presence of suffering they assume it cannot be avoided. As long as they do not try to avoid suffering, they will not commence their spiritual journey.
3. Knowledge that there is ONE. (The poor man should know the presence of the gold and its capacity to remove his poverty) Scriptures reveal the presence of the ONE. Unless people study the Scriptures, they will not know about the existence of ONE. In addition, they will not know that the knowledge of ONE will remove their suffering. For most people the word spirituality means praying to god for the removal of the suffering.
4. ONE is not seen. (The poor man cannot see the gold because it is covered by sand). Although ONE is self-revealing, people do not see it due to the impurities of the mind which prevent the perception of ONE.
5. Information that I am the ONE will not remove the impurities and reveal ONE. One has to do meditation to remove the impurities of the mind. (The information, although from a trust-worthy source, will not reveal the gold. One has to get involved in action to remove the impurities.)
6. The only way to gain knowledge is to inquire. (The only way to get the gold out of the ground is to dig) Gaining knowledge involves inquiry of the content of the Scriptures under the guidance of a competent teacher.
7. Sharp intellect to conduct inquiry. (The poor man should have a sharp crowbar to remove the covering – sand – on the gold) Calm mind is essential to conduct inquiry. Meditation is a tool to make the mind calm and peaceful so that the inquiry can be fruitful.
8. Understanding that the meaning of the word ‘I’ is not the physical body. (Removal of loose soil and small stones closer to the ground)
9. Understanding that the mind is also not included in the meaning of the word ‘I’. (Removal of the hardened earth below the loose soil)
10. Removal of the attachment to the world (Loosening of the tightness of the deeper sand covering the gold)
11. Repeated inquiry until ONE is seen as the meaning of the word ‘I’ (Hitting the crowbar on the ground once is not enough. The effort should continue until the gold is reached)
12. Work done in one lifetime is not wasted. The effort spent will be carried forward to the next life time and one can continue from when he left. (Suppose the poor man could not complete the job in one day, he can take a break and resume the work on the following day from where he left)
13. Knowing the ONE as I am will remove all the suffering and ensure Joyful Living. (Gold once obtained will remove all the poverty and ensure the pleasure of riches)
Everyone and everything is ONE but only those who have gained the knowledge of ONE sees this truth. Status of such a person is described below:
1. Mind, body and the external world, do not disappear on gaining the knowledge that all these are part of an illusion. Therefore, even after gaining the knowledge, one will be able to use the body/mind complex and interact with the world. The desire to do any action will be present but will not be binding. As such unfulfilled desires will not lead to suffering.
2. The desire among people, who do not have knowledge of the ONE, comes from their ignorance. They are not aware that the objects of the world do not have any power to give happiness. Desire among wise people who have gained knowledge of the ONE comes from their preferences.
3. Only good qualities will remain in the wise man since while purifying the mind for gaining knowledge all bad qualities would have got eliminated.
4. The desires of the wise man are unselfish and they coincide with the will of God. Actions born out of such desires pave way to the fructification of the results of the past actions of the wise man and others who are affected by such action.
5. There are no rules and restrictions for a wise man. He can live life the way he wants. This is because his wants will always be good for himself and others since his mind is fully refined and he has the knowledge of the illusory nature of the world. Since he does not want anything from the world for gaining happiness all his actions will be out of happiness and therefore they are bound to be good.
6. Wise people are beyond any rules just as babies are beyond any rules. It will be meaningless to impose a rule on a new born baby to stop crying or stop shaking his hands/legs. Such a rule has no meaning to the baby. Similarly, the wise man does not have any meaning for rules and regulations.
A newborn baby does not know anything and the wise man knows everything. The rules and regulation are not relevant to both of them. Only those who have half-baked knowledge (everyone in the world who has not gained knowledge of ONE) require rules and regulations.
7. When the wise person experiences the dualities of the world he can recollect the knowledge that the world is an illusion. This is similar to a enlightened person working as a bank manager instantly switching his role to become a father when he receives a phone call from his son while at work. Thus, wise men are never affected by the events of the world.
8. Since the wise person knows that the world is an illusion he will not have any desire to gain anything from the world. Therefore, he may not initiate any action although all the instruments of knowledge/ action are available to him. However, he will be involved in action in line with the fructification of the results of his past action. He may spend his time doing something or he may remain withdrawn from the world. Either way there is no desire in him to pursue or withdraw from the worldly affairs.
Lesson 6: Wrong Meditation Vs Direct Knowledge
Session: I08 – I09
Wrong Meditation is an optional step to gain Direct Knowledge. Wrong Meditation involves repetition/ retention of the thoughts about ONE in the mind. Direct Knowledge means, knowing the meaning of the word ‘I’, which is ONE.
Differences between Wrong Meditation and Direct Knowledge are listed below with the view to understand both these terminologies completely.
1. Wrong Meditation is the means. Direct Knowledge is the end.
2. Meditation is an action while Knowledge is not. Only action can make changes in the external world and in the mind. Knowing that the mirror is dirty will not remove the dirt. Similarly, if our mind is impure, knowing it to be impure will not make it pure. One has to perform the action of mediation to remove the impurities and thereby pave the way for knowledge.
3. The quality of meditation depends on the person who is meditating and it varies from person to person and from time to time. Knowledge of the truth is constant and does not vary from person to person or from time to time.
4. Meditation can be compared to an art while Knowledge is comparable to science.
5. There are multiple ways to do meditation. There is only one way to gain knowledge.
6. Meditation depends on the ability of the person to retain the same thought. The person who has gained knowledge of the ONE does not have to meet this requirement although he might have the capability since he would have meditated earlier.
7. For a person in the meditating stage, the process of inquiry to gain knowledge is a necessary subsequent step. A person who has already gained knowledge of the ONE may or may not do meditation. Meditation is an optional pastime for such a wise person. Since he has already reached the destination of Joyful Living, he has no need to do any meditation.
8. For the person meditating, the world is real and therefore the thoughts in the mind are also real. Therefore, there are good thoughts and bad thoughts. For the knower of the truth, the world is an illusion. Therefore, thoughts in the mind of the knower do not disturb him because they belong to a lower order of reality.
9. To perform any action well, all the five layers of our personality should be integrated. Our mind and body should be in a fit condition. Additionally, the external world should be conducive. The quality of an action depends on these three factors. Since mediation is an action, it also depends on these three factors. Knowledge of the ONE does not require any of these factors nor does it make these factors disappear. One may suffer from fever and still the knowledge of ONE is not affected. The knowledge that the world is an illusion does not affect these three factors in any way. Such knowledge is not an essential condition to perform the action well, although people with the knowledge of ONE tend to perform the actions well.
10. A person who is meditating has knowledge as his goal. For a person who has the knowledge of ONE, doing meditation is an optional action.
11. The object of meditation cannot be forgotten. One will always remember that he is meditating on ONE for the purpose of understanding ONE. In case of a knower of ONE, the thoughts that he is ONE will not be constantly present in his mind. As and when the situation demands, he can recall his knowledge.
Imagine a wife who delights herself in the thoughts of her paramour, while doing the house hold work. Since her attention is not on the work, although she may complete the work, she may not have done it perfectly. Similarly, a person who is meditating on ONE, may not be able to live his life perfectly.
A person, who has the knowledge of the absolute, is ever at ease and enjoys every moment of his life. There is no contradiction between the knowledge of the absolute and the changes in the observable universe. The events of life belong to a lower order of reality and therefore he will deal with them effectively like an adult playing a game with children. For the children, the game is life. For the (wise) adult life is a game.
As and when the thoughts pertaining to the realm of suffering enter the mind of a wise person, the knowledge that he is ONE is remembered and therefore, there is no suffering.
12. There are rules and restrictions with respect to meditation. Knowledge is beyond all the rules and restrictions.
13. Meditation on ONE should be done until the knowledge of ONE is gained OR until death. Knowledge of ONE is like any other knowledge. It stays forever, once gained.
14. At the end of the meditation on God, the object of meditation will disappear. This is so because object of meditation is created by the person doing the meditation and therefore it will not be available on completion of the meditation. In case of meditation on ONE, when the meditation culminates into knowledge the object of meditation will become the subject.
Knowledge of an object does not change it because it was not created by knowledge. If we know the pot is just a name and form and the real substance in the pot is clay, pot is not destroyed. We have the knowledge that the pot is made up of clay. This knowledge does not change anything. Similarly, the knowledge that the world is an illusion will not make the world disappear. The importance given to the world by the mind alone will change. After knowing that there is no water in the mirage, we will not run towards or run away from it.
15. A person who is meditating that he is not a mouse will not be scared of cat while doing the meditation. However, soon he will return to his normal state of getting scared of the cat until he gains the knowledge that he is a man and not a mouse. When he knows that he is a man and not a mouse, he no longer needs to retain such thoughts in the mind. He will not get scared of a cat ever. Similarly, in the case of the wise person, who is aware that he is ONE, will not need to repeat the fact that he is ONE all the time. Even if he is immersed in the activities of the world as if he is an ordinary man, he will not suffer any negative emotions since he can bring back the knowledge that he is ONE as and when required.
16. Meditation is done until all the bad preferences stored in the mind disappear and give way to the good preferences required to gain the knowledge.
Example: While making sambar, it should be boiled until the smell of all the individual ingredients is removed and the good smell of sambar alone is present. If the sambar is not boiled enough the smell of perungayam might spoil the taste of the sambar.
Similarly, all the bad preferences are to be eliminated through meditation. If the person dies prior to the removal of the bad preferences, then the meditation will continue in the next birth until the mind is purified to receive the knowledge.
17. Meditation is essential to prepare the mind to receive the knowledge. However, the knowledge is not essential to do the meditation.
18. A person while traveling in the path of may be in a hurry but after reaching the destination he will be restful. Similarly, during the phase of meditation one may behave abnormally but after gaining the knowledge of the absolute, he will become normal.
Example: Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to dance in ecstasy while praying to goddess Kali. However, on gaining knowledge he was like any other normal person.
During the meditation the mind is focused on a specific object and is not available for dealing with the external world. If we interact with a person who is in deep meditation, his response will be abnormal. After gaining knowledge the negative emotions in the mind will no longer affect the person but during meditation the mind is not aware of any external events.
19. Meditation is not necessary when the mind has enough capability to understand the words of the other. Although most educated people have this capability to understand the communication, they do not understand the content of the Scriptures because they do not have faith in the source of information. Meditation will not be of any help to such people. They need to develop faith and not spend time on meditation. Meditation is only for those people whose mind is wavering and not able to concentrate on the topic that is being taught.
20. Both meditation and inquiry are prescribed in the Scriptures. However, those whose mind is restless cannot perceive the Scriptures as a valid source of knowledge. Therefore, they have to follow the words of the elders and practice good virtues and avoid bad qualities. Then during the course of time they can take up meditation and prepare the mind. After this stage, as and when they give the status of ‘source of knowledge’ to the Scriptures, they will embark on the inquiry and will ultimately gain the knowledge of ONE.
Understanding the nature and purpose of meditation is essential. When a person knows the differences between knowledge and meditation, there is no risk of getting lost in the process of meditation. One may not stray into the possible deviations like attempting to gain the power to perform miracles through meditation.
Once the mind is matured through the process of meditation, one will immediately commence the process of inquiry into the Scriptures leading to Joyful Living.
Lesson 7: Meditation and Miracles
Session: I10 – I11
Meditation is the process of refining the mind. Well exercised body gains strength. Similarly, a well-trained mind becomes very powerful. A person with sufficient physical strength can kill another with a single blow. A person with sufficient mental strength can kill another with a single thought.
A refined mind can be made very powerful and such powers may lead to performing miracles. However, the purpose of meditating should be to make it refined for the purpose of receiving knowledge. Since both knowledge and miracles require meditation as means, it is quite possible that some people may end up with either one of them or with both.
Example: Most of the subjects to be studied by a student appearing for the Cost Accountancy Exam are common to the subjects of Company Secretary Exam. Therefore many students study for both these courses simultaneously. They may not know in which exam they will qualify first. It is possible that some of them will become only Cost Accountants and some of them become only Company Secretaries and some may get both the qualifications.
Those who gain the power to perform miracles prior to gaining knowledge may continue their inquiry and gain the direct knowledge of ONE. Else they may abandon their pursuit and try to be happy with their power to perform miracles.
Those who gain the knowledge of the absolute prior to gaining the power to perform miracles will not have any inclination to pursue the meditation any further. Since they have reached the goal of Joyful Living, they may not put in any more effort to gain the power to perform miracles.
Some may gain both the knowledge and the power simultaneously.
The power of the mind to perform miracles is of two types. In the first type, the self is the only beneficiary. For example, using such power, one may walk on water or convert copper into gold. The second type will involve affecting others. Black magic and curing diseases of others are the examples of the second type.
The first type of power is useless because it does not lead one to Joyful Living. The second type of power is wasteful because it only makes superficial impact on the lives of the other people. No one can change the past actions. Everyone has to enjoy/ suffer the results of their past actions. Getting a curse or blessing from a powerful person will be effective only if they coincide with the fructifying results of the past actions of the concerned individual.
Besides the innocent people who do not know the difference between knowledge and such power will be misguided.
Example: Jesus Christ had the knowledge and the power to perform miracles. Although he tried to teach people through his sermons, they did not spend the required time and effort to gain knowledge. They were keen on becoming the beneficiaries of the miracles of Jesus Christ and did not pursue the path of knowledge. Therefore, the power to perform miracles diverts the attention of the people.
There were many people living at the time of Jesus Christ, who assumed that he was doing black magic. They could not see the wisdom of Jesus Christ because they were carried away by his ‘anti-god’ activities.
Thus, people are distracted by miracles and they forget the real objective of meditation, namely to refine the mind for gaining the knowledge of ONE.
The power to perform miracles is an incidental and unwanted diversion to a person seeking Joyful Living. Meditation is an essential step to be completed to reach the destination of Joyful Living. However, one should not get diverted to the power to perform miracles. One should have enough dispassion towards such powers.
In this connection following points with respect to the power and knowledge should be noted.
1. Knowledge is not qualified by the power to perform miracles. The knowledge of a person who does not have the power to perform miracles is not in any way inferior to the knowledge of a person who has both.
2. The person who has the knowledge is superior to the person who has the power to perform miracles because he has reached the ultimate goal of life. Whereas, the person who can perform miracles has to work harder to gain knowledge. He has a long way to go, while the person with the knowledge has reached the destination.
3. Cursing and blessing will be effective in case of a person with mental powers. A person with only knowledge does not have such powers. A person with both knowledge and power will not be cursing or blessing anyone because he is aware that he is only a tool.
4. After gaining the power to perform miracles through meditation, if people stop pursuing their inquiry to gain the knowledge of ONE then their powers have become obstacles to their progress. They are not any different from those who are stuck to material pursuit and not yet commenced spiritual pursuit.
5. Those who have gained the knowledge will have the power not to pursue the power to perform miracles or bless/ curse people.
6. Common people who do not do any meditation but are in material pursuit may look down at people who are doing meditation for gaining powers to perform miracles. This will not affect those who are pursuing various powers through meditation. Likewise, people may look down at a person who is pursuing knowledge but not the power to perform miracles. This will be ignored by the people who are pursuing the path of knowledge.
7. Those who have gained knowledge of ONE may not know everything about the illusory world. Only God knows everything about the creation and the wise person is like any other persons with respect to the worldly knowledge. He cannot read any one’s mind nor can he forecast the future. If a wise person happens to have such powers, they are due to his meditation done prior to gaining knowledge and not the result of gaining the knowledge.
8. To gain the power to perform miracles, meditation alone is sufficient. However, to gain knowledge, meditation is a preparatory step for the main task of inquiry into the messages of the Scriptures. Thus, meditation is a common step for gaining the power to perform miracles and for gaining the knowledge of ONE. The main purpose of meditation is to prepare the mind so that it can do the required in-depth inquiry and gain the knowledge of ONE. The secondary purpose of meditation is to prepare the mind to gain powers to perform miracles, as a joint product.
Gaining the power to perform miracles is very hard and they are not worth the effort. The mind will get matured to receive the knowledge with less effort compared to the effort required to gain the power to perform miracles. One should stop the process of meditation after gaining sufficient maturity and commence the process of inquiry as soon as possible. That is the only path to Joyful Living.
Essence of Life
Number of Sessions: 5
(J01 – J05)
Number of Lessons: 4
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(t) Understand life
(u) Understand the cause of suffering leading to liberation.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 10.01 and 10.26 of the original text)
11. Give the list of the examples centering on the dance performance and how they are compared to our life.
12. What is bondage?
13. What is liberation?
14. What are the three dimensions from which the truth is explained by the Holy Scriptures?
Lesson 1: Understanding life
Life can be compared to a dance performance as detailed below:
A dancer is dancing on the stage.
She initially starts the dance to the tune played by the accompanying musical instruments.
There is a huge audience watching the dance performance.
As the time progresses, the dancer starts dancing to suit the mood of the audience and the accompanying instruments start supporting the dancer.
The dance director who has organized and directing the dance is also watching the dance performance. He takes the credit for the good performance of the dancer and feels bad if the performance is bad.
A bright light which is fixed in the auditorium illumines the director, dancer, accompanying instrumentalists and the audience.
While there is a continuous change in the stage, dancer, accompanying instruments and the audiences, the only unchanging object is the light which illumines the entire show.
Life is compared to this dance performance as follows:
Stage Settings: Our physical body
Dancer: Our mind
Dance movement: Thoughts in our mind
Mind of the dancer: Our intelligence
Accompanying Instruments: Our gross sense organs
Accompanying Instrumentalists: Our subtle sense organs
Audiences: Sense objects of the world
Dance director: Our Ego
Light that illumines the Auditorium: Our real self
A dance item: Our life
A dance item depicted by the dancer is an interaction of all changing objects of the universe. It is an entertainment and does not affect the light in any way. Similarly, our real self is not affected by the interaction of our body/mind complex with the rest of the creation. Life is a mere entertainment.
Without the light there is no dance program. Without the self, there is no universe.
The existence of the light does not depend on the show. It illumines the presence and the absence of the show.
Similarly, our real self is complete with joy and it is ever-fulfilled. It is non-dual, changeless. It does not depend on life for existence nor for entertainment.
Self is the only reality. Using its power of illusion, it appears as multiple living beings and as the inert universe.
The apparent differences between the living beings are due to the difference in the illusory form and name.
Example: Milk-sweet is sold in different forms with different names. There is no difference in the content. Children are attracted to the name and form and do not know that everything is one and the same milk-sweet.
Due to ignorance human beings are attracted to the name and form of the body/ world and do not understand that in the essence everyone/ everything is ONE.
As a result, they continue their efforts of performing the dance program. The performance happens endlessly from birth to death and the birth/death cycle continues eternally until knowledge of the truth is gained.
Through sincere efforts in improving the dance performance, individuals gain matured mind. Then they do the performance for the sake of God and not for the audience. When they do that, they are endowed with the enough intelligence to inquire into the truth.
When such a desire to know the truth becomes serious enough, they seek competent teachers teaching various religious scriptures of the world. The inquiry will finally lead them to the truth that life is an illusion of light and sound. When the truth is known, they start identifying themselves with the only reality, namely the ONE and disregard the creation, which is an illusion. This is liberation.
Until one is liberated, each person is deluded to think that he is the director of the dance program responsible for the performance of the dancer, his mind. They feel happy when the performance is good and feel miserable when the performance is bad. This is suffering or bondage to the objects of the world.
Thus, bondage is to think of the non-divisible ONE as multiple objects of the world and to think that the SELF, which is always joyful, as the embodiment of suffering. Perceiving the duality and the resultant suffering is bondage.
Liberation is to be our selves.
This is possible by learning our real selves through the Scriptures, taught by a competent teacher.
Our true nature is joyfulness. Joy is filled to the brim and there is nothing else other than joy.
The only cause of our suffering is our ignorance of this truth. The only way we can gain liberation is to conduct inquiry and find out the truth of our real nature with the guidance of competent teachers in line with the Scriptures.
Thus, both bondage and liberation are also part of the illusion. We are not really bound to sense objects of the world. Therefore, the liberation from the bondage is also an illusion.
Example: A child wakes up from sleep, crying, ‘my hands are tied’. A shrewd mother may not explain to the child that it is part of the dream and the hands are not really tied. Instead, she may ‘untie’ the hands of the child with appropriate action and ‘free’ the child from bondage.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for our teacher to free us in a similar way. It is necessary that we need to understand the illusory nature of bondage and gain liberation.
Lesson 2: Our real nature
The Scriptures describe our real self from three different dimensions.
Dimension 1: Who is the human being?
Dimension 2: What are all his main instruments that come with him?
Dimension 3: Description of the activities done by him using these instruments.
The one who thinks that he is an independent entity separate from the world is the human being. The body/mind complex is the main set of instruments, which includes the five sense organs and five action organs that come with a human being. It is the nature of the body/mind complex to be in action all the time. They will be undergoing constant change.
The one, who thinks that he is the body/mind complex, naturally assumes the ownership for all its ceaseless actions. He says, ‘I have done that, I am doing this and I will do that’ and he claims to be the ‘doer’ of all the actions. He is not aware that he is not capable of thinking or acting. The movement of thoughts in his mind and the internal/ external movement of his body including what he talks and hears are all happen as a part of the illusory light and sound show.
Example: In a boxing championship, the spectators identify themselves with either one of the boxers and go through emotional ups and downs as if they are inside the ring, fighting the opponent. The two boxers are fighting with each other and the spectator is a mere witness. However, the spectator reacts as if he is inside the ring and fighting for the cup. The winning or losing of his hero is seen as his own victory/ loss.
Similarly, the entire universe is a light and sound show. In ignorance, we identify ourselves with a small physical body and claim independent existence. This is the cause of all suffering.
Thus, the ‘doer’ is the ‘human being’. The ‘doer’ is an imaginary status assumed by the ego of the individual just as the director of the dance assumes ownership for the performance of the dancer.
The consciousness illumines the doer, the instruments of the doer and the actions. The consciousness is a mere witness and does not create or induce the events.
This timeless consciousness, which is all pervading, is our real nature.
Lesson 3: Two fold actions
The creation is an illusion of light and sound. A small part of this illusion assumes the role of ‘doer’ doing various ‘actions’ using the instrument, ‘body/mind complex’.
Such actions can be divided into physical action and mental action.
Physical actions are subdivided into internal actions and external actions.
Mental actions are also subdivided into internal actions and external actions.
Internal Physical Action
This is driven without the involvement of the mind. Examples of such internal physical actions are blood circulation, digestion, breathing etc. From the time of conception, such actions continue to happen until death. Even after death, internal physical actions do not stop completely. The body starts deteriorating and disintegrating until it merges back into the five elements of the nature.
Even birth is a name given by us, as if the movement has just then started. If we analyze deeply that the cycle of birth and death is the part of the bigger cycle involving our entire universe. The rain bearing cloud seeds the ground with the vitality that enters the male bodies through food. The conception and formation of a human cell is just part of this giant movement.
Internal Mental Action
All thoughts of ‘I’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’ constitute Internal Mental Action.
External Mental Action
All thoughts about the external objects/persons of the world are called External Mental Action.
External Physical Action
This is further subdivided as Inflow Actions and Outflow Actions.
Inflow Actions are carried out by our five sense organs namely, ear, skin, eye, tasting tongue and nose.
Outflow Actions are carried out by our five action organs namely, hands, legs, organs of procreation, organs of digestion and speaking tongue.
The universe is filled up of various sense objects. The External Physical Inflow Actions using the five sense organs perceive a particular aspect of the sense object and communicate the same to our mind.
This causes External Mental Action of flow of thoughts in the mind. Appropriate responses to the inputs are decided by the mind and sent out as signals to External Physical Outflow actions.
Thus, the External Mental Action is caused by the external sense objects that are present within the reach of our sense organs. The External Physical Outflow Actions are induced by the External Mental Action.
Thus, the universe causes the External Physical Inflow Action which in turn causes the External Mental Action, which triggers the External Physical Outflow Action.
Internal Mental Action, namely the thoughts of ‘I’, ‘My’, and ‘Mine’ have no role to play in the above cycle. The Internal Mental Actions are called the functions of the ego. The ego has no role to play in all the apparent actions. Actions are part of the illusion and ego is claiming a small portion of such mass movement by labeling it as ‘my actions’.
We do not think. Thoughts come to us.
We do not respond to our thoughts. The choices that we seem to make are part of the illusion. Some of the thoughts induce physical action and the cycle continues without any role played by the ego.
Ego thoughts are the thoughts that we are this limited body/mind complex. Just as the External Thoughts give the representation of the external objects, Internal Thoughts paint a picture of the imaginary non-existent ‘doer’.
When a rose flower is presented to us, our sense organs report the fact to our mind. Then the thought of the rose creates a thought-rose in our mind. In response to this, ‘I like this rose’ or ‘I want this rose’ or ‘why this was presented to me’ appear in our mind in line with our past accumulation of our preferences towards rose. Accordingly, the mind initiates thoughts like, ‘give a kiss to the rose’ or ‘through it into the dustbin’ which gets converted into physical action. Ego has no role in any of these cycles but assumes that it is the organizer of the whole show.
Just as the fixed light illumines the director, dancer / supporting orchestra and the audience, the consciousness illumines the ‘doer’, the action by the body/mind complex and the external sense objects.
Life is so intelligent as to make the mind believe that it is responsible for the actions and the ego suffers for the shortfall of the action by the mind. The difficulty in understanding this part is due to the fact that one has to use the very same mind as the instrument and as the object on which the instrument is to be used.
Therefore, people who do not have sufficient level of intelligence cannot understand the teachings of our Scriptures. As a result, they will be assuming the status of the dance director. All the thoughts in the mind are like the dance movements of the dancer. If the movements are nice and elegant, the dance director feels proud. Else he feels bad that the dancer is not dancing properly and he needs to do something to improve the performance. However, the fact remains, that the dancer is dancing to the mood of the audience. Although, in theory the organizer of the event is the director, the dancer switches her allegiance to the audience, even before the beginning of the dance. As a result the audiences determine the quality of dance. Similarly, the objects of the world determine the response of our mind and the ego has no role in it. Without this knowledge, people suffer.
The accompanying orchestra also supports the dancer who is dancing to the mood of the audience. Similarly, the sense/action organs function according to the sense objects of the world. The ego has no role in it.
If the dancer is mature, we can expect a quality dance even if some section of the audience wants her to dance to their poor taste. Similarly, if the mind is mature, the sense organs will not have the power to pull it towards unwanted and unwarranted action.
The light continues to illumine the auditorium during the break between the dance items. Even after completion of the entire program the light continues to illumine even though there is no one in the auditorium. Similarly, the consciousness illumines the body/mind complex during deep sleep when the ego is totally absent. Birth and death of the physical body is illumined by the consciousness. Creation and dissolution of the universe is also illumined by the consciousness.
Lesson 4: Oneness of the universe
We need to understand the oneness of the universe and its illusory nature. Universe is inert. The ONE on which the universe is superimposed is the conscious principle.
We are aware that we are conscious. Therefore, we are the ONE. It is not possible to understand the all pervasiveness of the ONE or the eternal nature of ONE because even ‘space’ and ‘time’ are part of the illusion.
Example: An archeologist found a coin belonging to the period 2008 BC
It is not right to expect the coin to bear the year ‘2008 BC’, since in 2008 BC it is not known that Christ will be born 2000 years hence. Similarly, Direct Knowledge of ONE does not mean that we will perceive ONE in the same way we perceive other objects of the universe.
The Scriptures and competent teachers do not reveal us the ONE. They merely tell us that we cannot understand ONE. Our search to find the truth of ONE will end when we realize that we are the ONE. To learn that there is nothing to learn we need the help of the Scriptures and competent teachers.
Example: In an airport, before boarding the plane one has to identify his baggage. This identification process does not bring about a new suitcase. It merely requires one to make a claim, “This is mine”, pointing at a suitcase which belongs to him all the time.
Similarly, the Scriptures and competent teachers do not create any new entity within us. They merely help us to claim, “I am ONE” after realizing that we were ONE all the time.
If the dance movement turns out to be bad, the dancer will blame the audience. Similarly, if our mind has anger, sorrow and such negative thought patterns, the mind will blame the sense objects of the universe. It is natural that the sense objects determine the thought patterns.
The dancer will continue to impress the audience by her dancing skills. Similarly, our mind will continue to entertain thoughts that are focused on satisfying the pull of the sense objects.
The dancer will continue to dance to the mood of the audience. Similarly, it is natural that our mind continues to sway in tune with the objects that we experience. It is not possible nor expected that we stop the movement of thoughts in our mind. The dance of the universe is unstoppable and eternal. The thought pattern in our mind is the part of this universal dance.
Instead of attempting to stop or modify the dance by controlling the dancer one should resign the post of the director and assume the role of the witness. The truth is that the dancer never had any intention to dance according to the wishes of the director. The director is deluded to think that the dance movements of the dancer reflect his direction. In reality, a light and sound show is happening and we are the changeless conscious principle which merely supports the ever-changing illusion.
If we identify ourselves with the dancer, then we will swing between positive and negative emotions as determined by the audience. If we identify ourselves with our true position, the lamp that illumines the entire show, we can enjoy the show and be always joyful.
Example: The words ‘day’ and ‘night’ do not have any meaning if we are living in the sun.
Similarly, for a wise person who has identified himself with the sun, the words ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’ have no meaning.
Life is an entertainment. The sense objects will continue to dictate the physical and mental action. I remain unaffected as I am the joyful witnessing consciousness. I will not own up the dance performance but my role is limited to illumining the dance.
There is a break/interval between each dance item. The stage setting is changed for the next performance. The very same dancer comes back in a different costume. Similarly, there is a break/ interval between death and birth. The physical body is changed after every death. The very same mind comes back in the new body and the dance continues. This is the eternal dance of all the living beings until they attain liberation through gaining knowledge.
The creation is the eternal dance of God. There is nothing to change or control in this dance. My physical body and mind are part of this dance. I am not the dancer. I am the witness of this illusion.
Example: If there is replica of a tiger in my room, I will not be able to live peacefully unless I understand that it is a model. As long as I think that it is a real tiger, I will not be able to sleep.
Similarly, as long as we do not know that the world is an illusion, we will continue to suffer. When we realize the real nature of the world, life will become joyful.
There is nothing more to learn and nothing more to do. One shall enjoy life, which is a well-integrated part of the illusory movement. One does not have any duties or responsibilities. Changes are part of the illusion and we are the changeless joyful witnessing consciousness.