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SPIRITUAL TRAINING (from the book REALITY AT DAWN BY RAMCHANDRA)

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  • subhash naik
    Our present moral and religious degradation is due mostly to our environment and to our wrong training. Proper moulding of mind is altogether neglected in all
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2005
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      Our present moral and religious degradation is due mostly to our environment
      and to our wrong training. Proper moulding of mind is altogether neglected in
      all phases of education and training. Every possible effort is made to provide
      for worldly training of the right type in order to enable a man to secure a
      decent and comfortable living, but the proper training required for the
      realization of Self is totally neglected. Least significance, if at all, is attached to
      this most vital problem of life. Reciting daily a few verses in praise of a god or
      goddess or observing certain mechanical formalities by way of worship is all
      that the masses are taught to do. They do it for their whole life but probably
      without any gain whatsoever. Internal calmness still remains wanting in them.
      Activities of mind such as desires, temptations and emotional outbursts
      remain as they were ever before. The main purpose of training is that a man
      should begin to imbibe within him as much of godly attributes as possible. If
      this is not achieved the system of training is defective and consequently of no
      avail. Proper making of a man must be the natural result of the right type of
      training. Proper making comprises of the right moulding of mind with due
      moderation in the exercise of all our senses and faculties. Thus the right type
      of training under the guidance of a capable master is by far the most important
      factor in our proper making without which higher attainments in spirituality are
      never possible. Most of the people have, in some way or the other, a natural
      inclination towards God, yet those who succeed in realizing God are very
      rare. The cause is defective guidance and wrong training which leads a man
      away from the real path with the result that he is lost forever. Now for a man of
      ordinary capacity it is a pretty hard task to judge whether his training is rightly
      directed or not. A man tamely and unquestioningly follows the instructions of
      one whom he has accepted as his Guru and practises as he is required by
      him to do. It is very difficult for him to ascertain whether he is being guided
      along the right path or not. This is a great problem before the people who are
      themselves quite ignorant in matters concerning realization. You will find
      numerous teachers of religion who will tell you not to eat garlic, onion or
      carrot and insist upon you to adopt Sadhanas and practices which have no
      real significance or a hundred other such triflings which will never lead you
      even a step nearer to reality. This is no training. Such teachers are really
      deceiving themselves as well as those whom they teach. You must be sure
      that unless internal peace, calmness of mind, simplicity and lightness follow
      as the natural result of your practices, you are proceeding on the wrong lines
      and that your training is defective.

      Methods of spiritual training, commonly adopted by most of the teachers,
      today, are based on hard and fast rules which often do not correspond with
      our worldly life. Hence in most cases they prove to be impracticable for those
      leading a worldly life. Generally teachers induce people to practise restraint
      by adopting a particular form of living disconnected with worldly concerns and
      to practise devotion for hours together. Evidently such a type of training is not
      meant for people in general who cannot dissociate themselves from worldly
      ties or devote so much time to their devotional exercises. It is for this reason
      that their preachings do not produce the desired effect and in spite of their
      best efforts they fail to mould them accordingly. The fact is that they are more
      theoretical than practical. Is it ever possible for the masses to renounce the
      world for the sake of liberation? Certainly not. What good then do the common
      people derive from their teachings? Some of them are even bold enough to
      proclaim their mistaken notion that higher attainments in spirituality are not
      possible in a Grihastha Ashram or household life. It really means that they
      have nothing to impart to the common people except telling them certain
      superficial things such as frequent bath in the Ganges, feeding the fishes with
      flour pills or reading the scriptures over and over again. The real problem
      before us is not to provide means for the spiritual training of a chosen few who
      have renounced the world but of people in general whose duties in the world
      besides devotional are manifold and which they cannot safely ignore. They in
      fact fail in their duty if they neglect any of them. To them it is essential that their
      spiritual as well as worldly life must go side by side equally resplendent and
      for this we have to discover the right means.

      Proper spiritual training, fitting closely with the present worldly life is,
      therefore, the only thing required for the spiritual growth of the common
      people and which has so far been unfortunately neglected. For such a type of
      training we stand in need of help from outside in most of the cases. This help
      comes from the Guru or the Master, who is the only person able to shape our
      destiny. When this help comes, the spiritual life is awakened and the higher
      powers of soul are roused to help our growth.

      Such impulse is to be sought only from one of our own fellow beings of the
      highest calibre, who may be within our approach ready to solve our difficulties
      at any time. The practice of seeking inspiration or guidance from gods and
      demi-gods or from some departed soul treating it as Guru or Master is in most
      cases very dangerous. Similar is the case with those also who seek guidance
      from their inner voice, as they call it. I have come across people who lay great
      stress upon their inner voice which they think to be the real guide in all
      controversial matters arising in the mind. We have concrete examples of
      people relying on their so-called inner voice who are found to have been
      misled in the spiritual field. Really what they think to be their inner voice or an
      impulse from the departed soul is only the play of their indisciplined mind.
      This undesirable practice, if followed for some time, makes the mind so much
      unduly powerful and over-active that it begins to question and answer by
      itself. This the people often misunderstand as a stage of Yogic attainment
      where one acquires the power to intercommune with departed souls. They
      are really far away from it. The inner voice or the voice of the real self is no
      doubt never misleading, but how many there are who are advanced enough
      to catch it. To most of those who profess to follow the inner voice it is quite
      inaudible. They are merely befooled by the wonder-working tendencies of the
      mind which can create anything and everything by itself. It can even present
      fearful ghosts to their view or make them hear strange voices in trees and
      stones. This is all due to the activities of the mind in its indisciplined and
      polluted state. Unless the coverings of Mal, Vikshep and Avaran are removed
      and the mind is brought to a state of perfect poise and moderation, inspiration
      or guidance from the inner voice is meaningless. Most of those who pose to
      follow the inner voice or seek guidance from a departed soul are really
      following the dictates of their own unregulated and indisciplined mind. It is
      mere hallucination. If we develop this vicious habit we are lost for ever. It
      leads us to constant mental worry and harassment. I know of a gentleman,
      prominent among the so-called Bhaktas, who professed that he had secured
      direct connection with the soul of Tulsidas, the author of the Ramayan, whom
      he had taken as his Guru. He went on for some time feeling exultant over his
      supposed achievement. Later on, a discord arose between him and his
      celestial Guru which soon developed into a bitter quarrel on account of which,
      as he used to say, he was constantly belaboured and harassed mentally with
      the result that his mental equilibrium was almost shattered and he felt
      extremely miserable. It was after two years of hard labour with him that he was
      cured of this evil. Then he was able to understand that it was all an illusion or
      self-deception and what he understood to be the inspiration from the soul of
      Tulsidas, was really the magic play of his own indisciplined mind. Since he
      has been relieved of that miserable state he now feels peace and tranquillity
      restored to him. The inner voice is in fact the voice of the mind in its perfectly
      pure state. Unless the mind is cleared of all pollutions and defilements and is
      brought to a state of perfect Peace and moderation, it can never reflect the
      inner voice. In fact for one whose mind is perfectly pure, it is his inner voice
      alone that always speaks and the impulse from highly developed liberated
      souls continues to flow to him continuously. The practice is thus evidently,
      very dangerous and in most cases leads to disastrous results.

      The realization of God which has so far been considered to be extremely
      difficult, requiring hard labour and persistent efforts for many lives, is not really
      so. God is simple and can be achieved by equally simple means. The hard
      and fast rules of life and tiring practices prescribed by teachers for realization
      have really made matters so complicated that people are led to believe it to
      be beyond their power and capacity. I may assure you very sincerely that
      realization is not at all a difficult thing, only if you earnestly divert your
      attention to it. Iron will to achieve the goal together with proper means and
      guidance is the only thing required for the complete success.

      Spiritual training starts with inner cleaning or the purification of 'Chakras'
      which is the most essential factor in spiritual advancement. Thus the right type
      of training in spirituality, begins with inner cleaning which, if neglected, will
      lead to abuse of power acquired through Yogic means. Hatha Yoga lays
      down mostly physical practices to effect cleaning, some of which are too hard
      and tedious for all and sundry, while under the system of 'Sahaj Marg' it is
      accomplished by easy mental practices, aided by the power transmitted by
      the teacher. Some of the teachers of religion often insist upon the people to
      devote as many as eight hours a day to practise certain mechanical exercises
      in order to keep their mind occupied in Divine thoughts. I strongly condemn
      the type of training which enforces practices that tax the brain or overburden
      the mind. The natural result of such training is that mind finds no scope for
      expansion and consequently the power of realization grows dull. It is just like
      thrashing a boy in order to induce him to concentrate. Strenuous labour with
      long and tedious physical practices as commonly recommended by teachers
      in order to effect the moulding of mind or the cleaning of the Chakras, is
      consequently not of much avail. For this purpose we utilize our thought power
      in a proper way, under the guidance of a powerful Master who is capable of
      removing complexities and entanglements that hinder our progress and who
      transmits into us the force necessary for the upkeep of our spiritual life. The
      simplified course of spiritual training has rendered the highest spiritual flight
      possible for everyone whether man, woman, young or old, Grihastha or
      Virakta (recluse).

      The preliminary step in the right type of training is that the aspirant's
      tendencies of mind be directed towards God. For this the learned teachers of
      religion mostly prescribe physical practices of body and mind, picked up from
      religious books. People often find it a hard task to follow them and thus they
      remain lingering on indefinitely in the beginning with no further progress. A
      capable teacher should do this by own effort exercising the power of
      transmission in order to create a permanent and deep-rooted effect. When our
      mind is directed towards God we naturally begin to feel ourselves in touch
      with the Supreme Power in all our actions and workings. When this state of
      mind is permanently established within, every act we do, will then seem to be
      a part of devotion or Divine offering and we shall thereby be in constant
      remembrance of God all the while. Inner vibrations in the heart soon begin to
      be felt by the aspirant. This is the beginning of the spiritual state known as
      Shabda or Ajapa ( ). It develops automatically as we proceed along the right
      path under proper guidance. Certain people who practise Japa outwardly for
      a long time, sometimes find that even during sleep they go on with Japa as
      usual. This they misunderstand as Ajapa or Shabda. It is not really so. By
      constant practice, their heart and tongue become habituated to it and the
      action continues even when they are in sleep or otherwise unconscious. It,
      however, stops if they give up the practice for some time. This is only by the
      force of the habit and is not the actual state of Ajapa. The condition of Ajapa
      rightly believed to be a high spiritual achievement acquired after years of hard
      labour, is only a matter of weeks or rather days, through right training by the
      process of transmission. The vibrations thus created remain for some time
      located in the heart after which they gradually develop over to other Chakras
      and finally to every particle of the body. It is then known as Anhad ( ). The
      method to be pursued as recommended in our Mission is meditation under
      efficient guidance which is by far the most useful and probably the only
      means of securing complete success.

      Generally people complain of numerous ideas creeping into their mind at the
      time of meditation. They think that they have failed in their practice unless they
      bring their mind to a standstill. But it is not so. We are not practising
      concentration but only meditation. We must go on with meditation unmindful
      of the foreign ideas that happen to come to our mind at the time. The flow of
      ideas is due to the activities of our conscious mind which is never at rest. We
      are still busy in meditation with our subconscious mind, while our conscious
      mind is roaming about and forming numerous ideas. Thus we are not the
      loser in any way. In due course, after sufficient practice, the conscious mind
      too gets moulded and begins to act in harmony with the subconscious mind.
      The result thus achieved is deep-rooted and lasting, and finally calmness, the
      characteristic of soul becomes predominant. In certain cases I have observed
      the teachers exercising their will power to stop the normal functioning of the
      mind during sittings, creating a temporary state of senselessness or
      suspension of brain. The condition, no doubt, is most attractive to a beginner,
      who is ignorant of reality, and he feels greatly impressed by this extraordinary
      display of power. In my opinion it is only a feat of jugglery practised by those
      who are eager to attract the largest number of disciples in order to establish
      their greatness as a Guru. I would call it the greatest misuse of power on the
      part of a spiritual teacher who has perhaps no other underlying motive than
      self-predominance. It is a wrong practice and greatly harmful to the spiritual
      advancement of an aspirant. Ideas thus suppressed or suspended, soon
      begin to react with greater force, spoiling the entire system. Besides, the
      practice creates internal heaviness and dullness of mind. One who is subject
      to such a practice for a long time loses sense of discrimination and his power
      of realization gets blunt. In course of time he gets completely spoiled and
      becomes quite unfit for the real spiritual training. If a man does not grow
      lighter day by day he must conclude that he is receiving wrong type of
      spiritual training. Constant growth of lightness of mind and spirit is the surest
      test of spiritual progress.

      Thus the real spiritual training is that which makes our mind disciplined and
      regulated, restores moderation in senses and faculties and creates lightness
      of spirit. Then alone internal peace and calmness is ensured and higher
      approach is possible. For this, the medium of a worthy master of high calibre,
      having the power of transmission at his command is absolutely essential and
      to him the aspirant must surrender with full faith and confidence.

      Some people think that initiation alone is enough to solve their problem of life.
      If they are able some how or other to secure initiation with a Guru, they do not
      stand in need of any further effort or practice. They think that a push by the
      Guru will in the end extricate them from the entanglements of Samskaras and
      Maya and lead them on to liberation. The notion though literally true, may not
      be very encouraging unless you completely surrender to him and the master
      too is of a specially high calibre. The thought of the betterment and progress
      of the disciple is, no doubt, the uppermost in the heart of the master for which
      he exerts himself as far as possible but that does not mean that we may
      remain idle doing nothing ourselves and leave our share of work too upon
      him. We must, as our duty, try our utmost to save him from unnecessary
      exertion on our account in as much as we can do ourselves for our
      advancement and should in no case neglect our part of the duty.

      Most of the teachers of religion have adopted artificial methods for developing
      certain spiritual conditions in an aspirant but it is a very defective process. For
      example, in order to practise Gyan (Gnosticism) and create within the aspirant
      the state of Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma) they advise him to meditate
      outwardly, thinking the same thing all the while and repeating the same words
      every moment. This is a mechanical process and leads to internal grossness.
      The real state of Aham Brahmasmi is never created by such artificial means.
      The repetition of the words over and over again helps him to form a habit of
      tongue and the same words slip out every moment. It is absurd to conclude
      that thereby he has become Gyani (Gnostic) in the real sense. They may
      repeat the words a hundred times and force their thoughts every moment to
      imagine everything as Brahma but still they may be as far away from it as
      ever. The practice creates an artificial atmosphere around him which helps
      him to imagine the same thing outwardly. The condition disappears if he gives
      up the habit of repeating the words again and again. It is, therefore, quite
      evident that the state of Aham Brahmasmi thus supposed to be created is not
      really genuine but only false and imaginary. Besides, even the real state of
      Aham Brahmasmi, which is commonly supposed to be a very high attainment
      is not really so. At this stage, a man, though relieved to some extent of the
      entanglements of Maya, is not actually beyond its final limits. Consciousness
      of self still exists at this stage which is nothing but grossness, though in a very
      subtle form. Those who preach it from the platform as the highest form of Gyan
      beyond which little remains to be achieved are grossly mistaken. It is not our
      destination, but we only pass by it to embark upon the next stage. Those who
      stick to it thinking it to be Reality or the final goal are committing a serious
      blunder. We have finally to arrive at a point where everything ends, including
      this idea of Aham or 'I'.

      Such is the state of complete negation which we have finally to attain and
      where the cry of Aham or 'I' will be quite out of tune. The state of Aham
      Brahmasmi is originally caused by consciousness (or Chaitanyata) which
      automatically develops within us as we march along the path under proper
      guidance. It produces vibrations within, with the result that the mind begins to
      echo the same vibrations. This state of mind appears at every stage of
      spiritual progress in their forms: 'I am Brahma', 'All is Brahma' and 'All from
      Brahma'. The entire state in all its three aspects is in fact unity in diversity in
      different forms. It appears in a crude form in Pind Desh; in Brahmanda Mandal
      it becomes finer and more subtle, while in Para Brahma Mandal it becomes
      extremely subtle. All these conditions end within the first of the sixteen circles
      as shown by the diagram in chapter II. The right course of training for an
      aspirant of spirituality, therefore, is to proceed along the path of realization
      under the guidance of a true and worthy master in the most natural way, with
      due regard to inner cleanliness or purification of Chakras and complete
      moderation in the exercise of the senses and other faculties.

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