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  • subhash naik
    Jul 10, 2005

      I don't know whether people in the West recognize that all the modern
      problems that the world faces, particularly in the developed nations-problems
      of pollution, problems of corruption, problems of health-originate in the mind,
      and through the mind in science, in technology. I raise this question because
      when we talk of yoga, people are generally inclined to say, "What is the value
      of yoga?" They wish to know what is the applicability of yoga to modern life.
      There is also a general tendency to belittle yoga as something which is not
      applicable to societies except primitive ones. The teachings of my Master are
      specially formulated to prove to the world that yoga is a must not only for
      primitive societies but even for the highest developed ones. The basis for this
      is the fact that everything originates in the human mind and, therefore, unless
      the mind is purified and regulated in its functioning, and has a definite
      orientation in which it should function, it may yet function efficiently, but not
      necessarily for the good of mankind.

      We are all familiar with the use of power. You see power by itself is neither
      corrupt nor good. But the way in which power is used, whether it be physical
      power or mental power, is what determines the utility of that power to
      mankind. And when we recognize that everything begins with the mind,
      whether it is scientific discovery or philosophic speculation, whatever it may
      be, then we will understand that if we are to cure the ailments that are facing
      modern societies, it is with the mind we have to start working and not at the
      periphery of existence.

      Now, right at this stage, I would like to clarify that yoga is very much
      misunderstood, particularly in the West. What people generally mean by yoga
      here in the West is hatha yoga which is good for the body, of course. I am
      specially mentioning this because at any level we function, the force that is
      used or the power that is applied can work only at that level. When we work at
      the physical level the effect can only be at the physical level. So, in our Sahaj
      Marg system of yoga, which is based on raja yoga, the culminating point of
      yogic systems, the emphasis is on the mind and the training of the mind by
      appropriate techniques. My Master says that when we start with the subtlest
      level of human functioning, then the effect of that purification or regulation
      automatically percolates into the rest of the system, into the grosser levels of
      the system. It is not only automatic, it is natural. But on the contrary if we start
      at the grosser level it need not affect the finer levels of functioning. In our
      system of Sahaj Marg we therefore start with the mind.

      In this system there are two aspects of mental training. The most important
      one concerns the Master's own work. By continued thinking, by continued
      activity, we impress upon the mind certain impressions that we create and that
      are created in us. As habits are strengthened by repetition of the same act,
      similarly the mind also gets a tendency in a definite direction by the formation
      of such impressions. What my Master says is that the first step in yoga is to
      purify the mind and remove those impressions of the past. The essential step,
      the first step, is of course to accept his work and permit him to work on us.
      Having accepted his service, the second step in yoga is what we have to do
      ourselves. Master generally covers this in the single word 'co-operation'. Now
      co-operation is very easily understood but it is practised with considerable
      difficulty. To really co-operate we have to accept that his work will be
      successful; and secondly, we must follow the instructions and practices that
      he prescribes for us. We can call this second step the moulding of the person
      by his own effort to some extent. In that moulding, there are of course the
      practical aspects of yoga itself which we have to follow meticulously. Then
      there are the usual ethical and moral precepts that are laid down, and
      assuming that we are able to do all this, we are then in a position to begin the
      practice of yoga. So the system of Sahaj Marg, which is the name of the yoga
      system that we practise, accepts any individual human being, whatever may
      be his present condition or state of mind, because the past, the burden of the
      past, the Master removes, and the future we create by co-operation with him.
      The process of removal of the impressions is called 'cleaning'.

      You will all appreciate that there is no use in removing the impressions of the
      past if we are going to continue creating further impressions by thoughts and
      actions. So our participation in this yogic teaching is to mould our lives in such
      a way that we do not create more impressions, and thus we avoid creating a
      further past for the future, because everything becomes the past. Today is the
      past for tomorrow. The next step is to take the forward step of practising the
      meditation, which makes the mind capable of becoming a real instrument of
      human endeavour. So our system is very simple. That is why it is called Sahaj
      Marg, which means the 'natural way' or the 'simple way'.

      We are taught that we should sit in meditation for about an hour in the
      morning. Nowadays, Master specifies half an hour, but originally it used to be
      one hour. And about this meditation, we are often asked a question, "We are
      not able to concentrate. What should we do?" My Master has clarified that
      meditation is the process and the result is concentration. Now this
      concentration, by itself, is not of much value in our development because
      concentration is only the use of a power, and power, by itself, does not lead to
      evolution. But it has a positive advantage in our daily life because by
      meditation, when we are able to make the mind concentrate, we are able to
      exclude thoughts we don't require, or we don't wish to receive. Here I come to
      one of the most important teachings of my Master. When we have thoughts it
      is our attention, it is the power of our attention, that gives the power to the
      thought. A thought by itself has no power. It is the attention that we give it that
      gives the thought its power. By meditation if we are able to exclude such
      thoughts without fighting with them, without attending to them, then the mind
      achieves a state¾a state of existence, a state of being¾where a single
      thought alone can exist at a time. Thus, the process of meditation gives us the
      ability to concentrate, or makes the mind come into a state of concentration,
      which we in India call one-pointedness.

      Meditation must always have a purpose because nothing is purposeless.
      Even without bringing yoga into the picture, we are almost always meditating
      on something or the other. When we are looking for a higher standard of
      living, or when we are keenly pursuing a better job, we are constantly thinking
      of it. I say this because the correct definition of meditation is to think constantly
      of something. When we bring yoga into the picture we get confused as to what
      meditation really means. The only sense in which yogic meditation differs
      from our normal meditation is in the aim of that meditation, the purpose of that
      meditation. Therefore, we have to meditate with a purpose in mind, and when
      we come into the field of yoga that purpose is evolution, or the fulfilment of
      human life to its highest perfect condition.

      My Master often says that we are born as human beings but most of us die as
      animals. I was myself shocked the first time I heard him say this. So I would
      not be surprised if you are shocked now. But when we understand the
      psychology behind the Sahaj Marg system, we will ourselves appreciate that
      we have no choice in the matter, because our past existence, the impressions
      of the past existence, are definite and positive forces giving us a direction in
      this life. And unless we can find some power outside ourselves to eradicate
      those impressions of the past, we continue to be pushed in the same direction
      that we have laid down in the past. I say this because very often we are
      asked, "What is the need for a Master?" It is clear that without the help of an
      external force-you may call him a Master, or a Guru or anything you like-the
      removal of the burdens of the past is impossible by our own effort. Therefore,
      however well-intentioned we may be, our actions from now to the future are
      but a further superstructure on the foundation of the past. It is for this very
      important reason that all yogic systems, all mystic systems, have specified the
      need for a Master to help us. That is a brief outline of the system of yogic
      practice that we adopt, and on the need for a Master.

      Now coming to the practice itself, we are advised to sit in mediation three
      times a day-morning, evening and bed-time. What we do is to sit comfortably
      without any botheration about asanas or things like that. I mention this point
      particularly, because people think that without adopting an asana, meditation
      cannot be done. Patanjali, the codifier of yogic systems, has himself said that
      any position which can be held comfortably for a length of time is an asana.
      Therefore it is not very important how we sit, or in what position we sit, so long
      as we can sit in that position for the length of time specified for our meditation.
      The only necessity is that the body should not disturb us during that period.
      So, having assumed a comfortable position, we close our eyes. Sometimes
      people ask us, "Can we not meditate with eyes open?" It is certainly possible
      when we reach higher levels of spirituality, but not at the earlier stages. It is
      the eye which receives most of the impressions from the external world.
      Obviously it is better not to receive further impressions, because we are trying
      to remove the old impressions. Therefore, we meditate with eyes closed.

      In this particular system the meditation process is very specific because we
      have a specific aim, which is somewhat higher than what is normally specified
      in the West for yogic systems. As I said earlier, our purpose is to achieve the
      highest human possibilities. Now we meditate on the heart. What we meditate
      on is the heart. There are systems which meditate on other points, like the
      point between the eyebrows, the point of the nose, etc., but we meditate
      specifically on the heart for three very valid reasons, very important reasons.

      The first point is that it is the heart which is the seat of life. The second point is
      that when we meditate on the heart the effect of that meditation spreads
      throughout the system. The third point is the most important, but often the least
      acceptable, and that is that the heart is the particular seat of whatever Divinity
      we possess.

      Therefore, for these three important points or reasons, my Master specifies
      meditation on the heart. In the Sahaj Marg practice we meditate on the heart,
      imagining that there is effulgence or light in the heart. We don't try to see light
      or to project any light. We begin with the idea that there is light in the heart,
      and if there are disturbing thoughts, as I told you earlier, we just ignore them,
      because it is our own attention which gives power to them to disturb us.

      That now brings me to the most important and fundamental point in Sahaj
      Marg. In a sense we can think of Sahaj Marg as operating in three layers. The
      lowest is the cleaning of the past impressions by the Master's own power. The
      middle level is our own effort in meditation and avoiding such thoughts or
      such activities that can create further impressions. And at the apex we have
      the most important feature, and that is the system of transmission that is
      unique to this system.

      When the vessel is cleaned, we must put something into it. When the human
      system is similarly purified and cleaned of all the past, it is emptied. Then
      starts the final process of yoga, which is final not in the sense of time, but final
      in the sense of culmination. Master starts filling us with his own self. This
      process is called pranahuti in Sanskrit, which means 'life offering' or 'offering
      of life'. So this is the most important aspect of Sahaj Marg. Once we start this
      yoga, the purification is done by the Master. Our co-operation is minimal in
      trying to live a better life, think better thoughts, perform better actions, avoiding
      the negatives. Then comes the most important part of Master's work. He puts
      His spiritual essence into us, thereby transforming us into Himself.

      I think that I have said more or less everything I have to say about Sahaj Marg.
      If any of you would like to experience this transmission, my Master generally
      has a short session of transmission after the talk is over. So if you would like
      to sit for a few minutes in meditation, following the practice that I have just
      explained to you-I must emphasize there is no compulsion behind this-those
      who would like to remain and experience the transmission are welcome to do
      so. Thank you.

      (Public lecture at the Hotel Eisenreich, Munich, 14 May 1976 by
      Shri P. Rajagopalachariji as he accompanied his Master, Babuji.)
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