Re: [Meditation Society of America] Words of Wisdom by Swami Chidananda
Your words and flow are with waters of Grace....eternal heart and ear
Mbl sentOn Sep 4, 2011 7:40 AM, "medit8ionsociety" <email@example.com> wrote:
> The Power of Persistence
> Come out of the cage of your little, egoistical,
> selfish personality. Renounce and sacrifice
> this selfish personality at the altar of humanity.
> Where there is no "I", where there is no mind,
> where there is no selfishness, there is ideal
> karma yoga. It becomes upasana (worship).
> You can be established in a state where even
> though acting, you are no more acting. Karma or
> work cannot bind you because you are acting without
> sense of doership. The feeling "I am doing" is not
> there; rather, "He is getting it done through me."
> You are a witness of your own activity, a witness
> of your own actions, and the poison of kartritva
> or sense of doer-ship is removed from the activity;
> it becomes sublime activity. Then it is God's will
> that manifests itself through you.
> To be established in this state of inner absence
> of self, one has to diligently pursue a method of
> sadhana (daily spiritual practice) and persist in
> it, diligently continue to negate the ego, negate
> the self. It does not come in a day, but it comes
> if you are persistent.
> In his "Song of Eighteen Ities," Gurudev has used
> two expressions that seem more or less similar in
> their meaning. He used the expression "fixity": being
> firm, firmly fixed in your vow, in your pratijna
> (resolve), in your determination. Be firmly fixed,
> let nothing shake you. Become so established in
> your niyama (observance) that nothing can move you.
> Fixity indicates a certain attitude, a state that
> you have achieved or attained in your interior.
> You have become strong within, unshakable within,
> firm within.
> While fixity involves a certain inner state you
> have reached after much diligence and struggle,
> the second expression, "tenacity," indicates an
> attitude, a certain inner attitude with which you
> live your life, engage in your sadhana. And that
> attitude is a firm resolution not to give up no
> matter what obstacles come, no matter what setbacks,
> no matter what disappointments or discouragements.
> "I will not leave my pursuit until and unless I
> get complete success in it. I shall not give up
> this sadhana, I shall continue with this abhyasa
> (practice), I will not give up"—this attitude is
> called tenacity. Having taken up something wise,
> something good, never to abandon it, never to leave
> it, to be determined to come out victorious—this
> attitude is called tenacity.
> Tenacity is different from obstinacy. Obstinacy
> is a negative, tamasic quality. You should not have
> tenacity with regard to some wrong things that you
> might have taken up in a state of folly. Tenacity
> is a positive quality, sattvic: never to swerve from
> your purpose, from your determination. In this way,
> there should be in the heart of the sadhak (one who
> is getting or trying to get realization)the
> determined adherence to one's ideals, and one must
> be established in an inner state which is unassailable,
> not affected by anything.
> A person of a very negative nature does not commence
> any serious undertaking due to hesitancy. "Oh, if
> I undertake this, who knows, afterwards this difficulty
> may come, that obstacle may come." So thinking,
> even though he intends to have a good life and do
> good things, because of this nervousness and fear
> of obstacles, he never does them. This is not good.
> There are others who no doubt start doing something
> good, but when obstacles and troubles come in their
> way, they give it up. But the real spiritual seeker,
> the real sadhak, once having taken up something,
> no matter how many obstacles or difficulties come,
> how many adverse circumstances face him, he always
> thinks, "No, I'll never leave it! I have taken this
> up, I will see it through, I shall not be deterred
> by anything." This is the uttama adhikari (best
> qualified aspirant).
> That is the thing needful in your spiritual life.
> Fixity of principles, and tenacity—never to let go.
> It leads to success. Lord Krishna says in His Gita
> jnana upades (wisdom teaching): "Never leave your
> abhyasa, never give up your abhyasa. Because that
> is the secret of success and attainment. You may
> fail, that does not matter. If you are persistent
> in your abhyasa you will attain Me." A seemingly
> impossible thing becomes possible in the face of
> sheer persistent abhyasa, regular, unfailing, unbroken
> abhyasa. It breaks down all barriers; it breaks down
> all obstacles on the way; it overcomes all hurdles
> and reaches the goal. This is the type of nature that
> the sadhak should seek to develop within himself.
> In that lies the guarantee of his success.
> May the grace of the Supreme Lord be upon you, be
> upon your spiritual life, be upon your spiritual
> striving, so that casting aside any doubt, any
> misgivings like, "whether I shall attain or not,
> whether I shall succeed or not, whether I have
> chosen the right thing or not," and not allowing
> any such misgivings or doubts to come into the mind,
> with determination and tenacity, be firmly
> established in sadhana. Let your sadhana, your
> abhyasa be akhanda (unbroken). And with firm faith
> and determination, may you through such unbroken
> sadhana enter into that supreme state which is
> beyond sorrow and suffering, which is peace and
> joy! For that is your birthright. For that attainment
> alone you have been born as a human being and with
> good samskaras (mental impressions) and good vasanas
> (subtle desires). May you not be indifferent to your
> own highest welfare. May you be serious in your
> sadhana. May God shower grace upon you!
> Much more by and about Swami Chidananda can be
> found on this spiritual treasure:
- People also suffer due to egoism, arrogance,
exaggerated self-importance. If you feel you
are not getting the proper respect, or are being
treated in a slipshod manner, you can be terribly
upset, incensed for the whole day. "That person
ignored me, or spoke to me in that way; this person
did not pay me the respect I am due; they did not
give me the right seat." Because you feel you are
important, all these things can cause misery, sorrow
and torment. They are not from outside, but are
self-created, coming from within yourself.
Discretion being the better part of valor, it is
usually possible to escape from things outside you
or to be far away from them. You can master the external
objects and say: "No, I will not let them interfere
with my inner peace of mind." You may be able to avoid
them entirely. But how can you avoid things that emanate
from within you? You cannot run away from yourself.
So you have to realize that greater danger lies within
yourself, more harm can be done to yourself by yourself
than by all the objects of the external world put
together. Hence you will have to engage yourself in
an inner discipline, inner transformation, an inner
restoration of a right state of affairs within yourself.
Think about it. Then you will find that because the
state of affairs within you is not right, you are caused
much misery. You are made restless. You are at the mercy
of these things which come from within. And if you are
not able to clearly recognise their presence within you,
or if they are vague and illusive, you cannot deal with
them. You know that they are there when they manifest,
but otherwise you do not know where they are hiding, in
what form they are lurking in the depths of your mind.
Unless you find out, it is not possible to deal with
them. How can you deal with an unknown, unseen adversary?
They have to be brought to the surface. They have to be
cornered. You have to go after them.
That is why Guru Maharaj Swami Sivananda said: "Sit alone,
turn your mind inward, introspect, do self-examination,
try to find out what is within yourself, analyse the
inner contents." This is indispensable. Otherwise you will
not know yourself. And you will be surprised, amazed and
even dismayed by what things can come up from within
yourself when you sit for meditation, for example, or
when you are moving about in society. You will discover
things you never dreamt of, things you never suspected
you are capable of. You can be such a stinker. You can
be such a nasty person. Or, you can be dismayed by
seeing within yourself qualities you cannot stand in
others. Suddenly, you humbly experience, they are there,
right within you. It is a chastening experience.
If you are honest with yourself, if you are wise and if
you are keenly introspective and analytical, then these
things can be found out. However, they are not found out
in a day. One day's introspection will reveal nothing.
One week's introspection will reveal nothing. They have
been there for decades, from your birth, maybe from
another birth. Therefore, you must be after this sadhana,
this process of self-introspection, analysis, self-examination.
If you practice this unrelentingly, with determination,
if you persevere in this sadhana, you will be rewarded with
a lot of knowledge, a lot of revelation about yourself. Then
you are in a position to bring about the desired change, not otherwise. Until you know yourself, you cannot work upon
yourself, you will not be able to turn brass into gold, to
bring about the transformation that Yoga and sadhana are
supposed to bring about, that Guru, mantra, japa, prayer,
worship and bhajan are supposed to bring about. And they
must bring it about, but only when they are accompanied by
this type of honest self-examination, earnest introspection,
sincere desire to find out, see, know yourself, to discover
the inner contents of your mind.
- Worship God as Virtue
"Have no other God. You can contemplate God, you can
contemplate eternity, infinity, ocean of bliss, Light of
lights beyond all darkness all these things you can contemplate,
think about, reflect over, but you cannot love and worship peace,
or ananda, or jnana. Because they are abstruse, abstract concepts,
and you want something more, something for which you can live and something for which you can be prepared to die also. That is virtue.
Read the sixteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita*, you will understand. Worship God as Virtue. Worship virtue by practicing virtue.
This is a way to spiritual transformation and realization."
16.01 The Supreme Lord said: Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in the yoga of knowledge, charity, sense restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, honesty;
16.02 Nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness;
16.03 Splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride; these are the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna.
Sage Patanjali has said: ‘Success comes to one who makes efforts energetically.’ The success varies according to the means adopted, whether it is a mild practice, medium practice or intense practice. Intense practice will bring the highest success, medium practice will bring little success and if your practice is mild, then success may not come for a long time and it may not be the fullest kind of success. So, he has given two Sutras to answer the question. How can one succeed? Upon what does success depend in a true aspirant, or a true spiritual seeker? Because, you must never forget that Yoga is a science that aims at giving to the practitioner Divine experience. If you are approaching Yoga seeking Divine experience as your ultimate goal, then that is the classical approach and your Yoga will be authentic; but if that Divine experience is not your confirmed goal, then your Yoga might give you other experiences, other results. But then, you will still be shifting yourself from or closing yourself to the true goal and ultimate objective of Yoga in its classical sense.
Success comes to the true spiritual aspirant who has Divine experience as the ultimate goal, first and foremost, through faith that there exists that transcendental experience, there is a fulfilment of all life. There does exist an unwavering faith in the existence of that ultimate experience which is the goal. The greater the degree of faith, the more he is released into an unwavering and intense practice. Where there is doubt, the practice would be woolgathering. There is always wavering in one who knows that he is going to a wild-goose chase. ‘Really is there anything to obtain?’ ‘Am I making a great mistake?’ If there are these doubts, then the entire energy, all power that is released in the effort, will be dispersed by wavering and hesitation. I practise Yoga, may be, but, I also keep some other little objective in the world. If I don’t get at the final goal, at least I will have the latter. This should not be the attitude.
With a high degree of true faith, there comes greater energy in the practice; and when one practices energetically with firm faith, the entire personality potency of the being comes ingathered, collected and centralized. There is recollectedness. There is lesser room for the possibility of dispersal of one’s energy in the practice. One’s personality is not scattered. All faculties become centered to this one effort, this one goal. And with ingatheredness brought about by faith and energy more and more, comes deeper and deeper absorption, and this leads to illumination. In this way if the aspirant proceeds, then he gradually begins to reach a deep state of concentration where he is totally absorbed within.
Different states of the concentration are listed as the stages where one is absorbed upon an object. First is concentrating upon the object as it presents itself through one’s consciousness. In the second stage, one goes beyond the mere appearance of the object goes deeper into the consideration of the very essence of the object. Then one goes beyond the name and form of the object and the whole concentration goes upon the perceptual process of the mind itself. Concentration shifts from the object to the area of the mind. Ultimately, even this is left behind and concentration becomes involved in the subject who is doing these processes. So, one concentrates upon the mere fact of one’s being. That is awareness of oneself. These are the four stages of the one aspect of absorption. In the second stage there is no object at all. So the external world is no longer the field of focus of the mind of the yogi, but the internal world, that which is groundwork of dreams is in focus. So, the concentration takes place only upon the submerged impressions of previous experiences. This is a very subtle state of concentration.
This is the second type of inner state of concentration, the same concentration but without object. Another means to succeed in such concentration, was also mentioned here. This shows how Yoga is very much involved in religions. Yoga, though it transcends any specific religion, is the most universal and in the basic sense of the term, Yoga is very much involved in religion. It concerns itself with the spirit of true religion. What is that spirit of universal religion? Individuals journey back into the universal. It is the quest of the human towards the Divine, or the finite moving towards its merger into Infinite, man to God. This is the essence of all religions. The universal essence, the basic process of religion, is to take the individual back into his eternal relatedness to the universal. Theologically, it is said that it is the great quest for God. And thus here, this aspect of Yoga is brought out very clearly, when Patanjali said that the success in such concentration may also be brought about by devotion to God and that devotion to God can lead you to Samadhi. Here, he devotes a Sutra to define what the concept of God is.
God is the Supreme Being who transcends this world-process, who is not caught and enmeshed, an ever-liberated Supreme Principle that transcends the world-process, independent, beyond all possibilities of ignorance. It is the nature of pure Jnana or Knowledge. It is all the contrary to our present consciousness. Our consciousness is limited by the finite objects of a temporary nature. Our consciousness is coloured by ignorance, false perception. This Being is of the very nature of pure Jnana or Knowledge, whereas man also has knowledge, but he has got only limited knowledge. Patanjali says that God is unlimited, infinite Being characterised by infinite wisdom, transcending the world-process, a Being in a state of absolute independence, a liberated Being. That is his definition of Isvara, God.
Through devotion to God, Samadhi can be attained. How to practise this devotion? What is this means? The best way of this devotion is used as a means of attaining success. The best practice is constant repetition of the name that symbolises Him, name that indicates Him, with contemplation upon its meaning, contemplation upon its implication. This name that symbolises the universal Deity, not the God of any specific religion, but the God of universal religion, the God beyond all religions, he gave as ‘OM’. And Om is the symbol of the Supreme Being and the repetition of Om with the meaning, is the sure means of attaining success in concentration and overcoming obstacles, which destroys all obstacles. It invokes a special prayer to the Infinite, which is an effective means to overcome the obstacles enumerated.
Then, specific types of concentration to overcome these obstacles were also suggested.
You turn away from gross, sensual pursuits. But what happens, the habit is there. You will have to make special efforts to eliminate them. Then alone you would be able to turn away from those gross, sensual pursuits. If you relax a little bit, once again the mind goes back into its own ruts, old sensual habits. This is another obstacle. Due to this tug-of-war, seesaw of your struggle with your inner nature, despair comes. Because you fail many a time, you become hopeless. Never despair. Always one should have hope—‘I will overcome them, come what may.’ You may get nervous. Nervous condition may come to the practitioner; trembling and even irregularity of breathing. And to overcome all these things, without being a psychiatrist, Patanjali has got different methods of concentration. This is his prescription.
One is, of course, to make up his mind—‘No matter what comes, I am not going to leave this quest which I have taken up.’ So, Patanjali prescribes Ekatattva-Abhyasa—catching hold of some one type of practice and clinging tenaciously to it and never letting it go, come what may. Ultimately, this overcomes all the obstacles. It is an exercise of the power of one’s determination, inner will, and invoking a positive state of mind, always keeping the mind in a cheerful and positive state.
So, he prescribes four patterns of reacting to the outer world. Kumbhaka or retention of the breath is one of the important methods to overcome the obstacles. And no one method alone is supposed to be used. Selected, judicious combination of more than one method may be suitable to you. As a result of study of your own nature, special exercises which bring about some immediate result may act as good encouragement. Meditation upon the inner light of the Atman and meditating upon, contemplating upon the Masters, saints, sages, Yogins and Gurus, give fresh enthusiasm to the mind and fill you with the spirit of elation, and they become, as it were, inspirers. They give you a new spirit on the path. By contemplation upon deep sleep and dream state you become aware of the dream-like nature of the outward phenomenon. And finally, you can meditate upon anything that attracts your mind, anything that is specially pleasing to you, any symbol or any form. This practice will ultimately lead on gradually and progressively to the state of highest transcendental superconsciousness, highest state of non-dual Samadhi which is beyond the earlier stages described by Patanjali.
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