In FISU a philosophical or spiritual lecture is termed "Satsang", which means "A coming Together for the Purpose of Truth".
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Is it possible for meditators like us, meditating for two half hour sessions a day to reach any states like "Samadhi "?
Q: Guruji, could you tell us if it's foolish to be wise or if it's wiser to be foolish.
Gururaj: Both, next question. ( Laughter).
Q: I have forgotten the question. I don't know what I'm saying. Is it possible for meditators like us, meditating for two half hour sessions a day to reach any states like "Samadhi " or anything.
Gururaj: "Samadhi" - aspiration, carry on.
Q: and if so, can one think too much about one's own enlightenment and I mean, if we spend too much time thinking of yourself, is that not selfish?
Gururaj: Good. Fine. Is it foolish to be wise or wiser to be foolish? Now it all depends on what we mean by being wise and it all depends what we mean by being foolish. Is a person really ever foolish and if a person is foolish, how is he to be judged that he is foolish, for there is so much goodness even in folly. Now an act which would seem foolish to us according to our perception might not be totally foolish to the person performing it. A child does something for example in his or her total innocence and we say, "What a foolish child". But have we looked behind the foolishness? Have we gone deeper to study, to analyse the action itself and if we do, we might find a great depth or innocence, where there is no aforethought, nothing premeditated but just a spontaneous act which would seem foolish to us. But at the child's level it is an expression, a spontaneous expression of what the child feels at that time or if the child is a bit older, what the child thinks at that time. So that kind of foolishness is also a kind of wisdom.
There is a great difference between knowledge and wisdomRead More
Now, when we use the word wisdom, it is so apart from knowledge. There is a great difference between knowledge and wisdom. For knowledge is something which is acquired. You can read a million books and acquire a lot of knowledge. You can walk about as a living encyclopaedia and yet you might not be wise at all. So one does start from the level of the intellect through the various processes of analysis, through the various processes of discrimination and acquire some knowledge.
Then the real discrimination of knowledge lies in the fact of the old eastern parable that legendary bird called the Hansa, who if given water and milk mixed, has the ability to drink the milk only and leave the water behind. Therefore, that is how discrimination should work. So when you sift the acquired knowledge and just leave the essence of it in your mind, then you have not acquired knowledge but a step towards wisdom. That is not enough.
So when that sifting takes place, when the essence of what you have learned is brought to the fore and when that becomes assimilated within your system where this assimilation takes place and assimilation takes place in the form of first, digestion and then assimilation. As I said when we eat food, most of it is discarded, only the nutritional value of the good goes into the system to build up our muscles and bones and flesh and what have you. So you become the food. You become the essence of the food. That is assimilated knowledge.
Now the path to wisdom is not necessarily through knowledge or acquiring knowledge or reading a million books. The path to wisdom could also be meditation, that by, by-passing the various ramifications of the mind one, could dive deep to a level where all wisdom exists, where all bliss exists, where all eternal wisdom, eternal bliss, eternal existence, do exist. That area we call the Kingdom of Heaven within. So by systematic meditation for two half hours a day, one reaches that area, very gradually, very systematically and this of course has nothing to do with any religious belief. But if you are a Christian, I would say become a better Christian. If you are a Buddhist, I would say become a better Buddhist, a Hindu a better Hindu. For the meditational and spiritual practices has nothing to do with your concepts or your religion because firstly, concepts are of the mind. We want to go deeper than the level of the mind. As a matter of fact, the mind could be a stumbling block towards wisdom. For, as we know when we answer one question, the very answer would breed half a dozen more questions and like that it's an ongoing process. It goes on ad infinitum and no realisation comes. The only thing you achieve is some form of mental gymnastics. And by developing the intellect, does not necessarily make you more aware. For the purpose of meditation as you know is to find that integration between mind, body and spirit. And the mind, although it could be a stumbling block, could also be an instrument. But in today's society, more attention is paid to the mind and the material values the mind could produce than the spiritual values that are inherent in man. So where is the foolishness and where is the wisdom? Therefore, it is foolish in innocence that can bring wisdom and wisdom will bring a kind of foolishness which is totally innocent.
To illustrate this, Ramakrishna was seen one day - Ramakrishna was a Sage at the turn of the century - was seen one day sitting down with a dog and eating from the same bowl. Now if a psychiatrist had to pass there, he would say "This man is mad. Look how foolish he is, there is something really wrong with him." But a mystic that understands the deeper levels will say "Ah what a wise man, for he has found no distinction between himself and the dog". He has seen the name and form, the psychiatrist will see the name and form only and that this form sitting there is a dog and he has given it a name 'dog'. And the other he sees as a form of a man and he calls this figure a man. But the mystic will go far deeper. He will not delve in the realms of the mind to make this discrimination, although discriminations are necessary, but he will go deeper and see what it really means for Ramakrishna to sit and eat in the same bowl with the dog. He will see the spiritual value and he will find that the spirit in the dog is the same spirit that is in the man. So when Ramakrishna did this, he was operating from that level where all is one and there is no differentiation. He has reached the level of going beyond individuation. He has reached the level that goes beyond the collective unconscious and to that realm which is far, far finer, which is the source, for the collective unconscious which Jung would speak about, is only the manifestation of the manifestor. And the collective unconscious remains in the relative level while the stage Ramakrishna had reached in sitting down to eat with the dog, was in the stage of the absolute and the absolute is but one. So such an act, can we call it foolish? How wise that man is. So therefore I said the answer is yes to both.
Now, to reach the stage of being able to really know what is foolish and what is wise, we can use the process of meditation and as we know, it has this intuitive value where the mind does not function on it's own but the mind is empowered by the spiritual self or the real self of man. So if we have inherent within us the absolute, why do we just dwell in the relative. The relative is necessary and in its necessity, the greater necessity lies in combining the absolute with the relative so that every thought we think carries the force and the weight, the clarity, the Divinity of the absolute within us. And meditation teaches one to tap that source of infinite energy. So, by this we mean that life should be lived not in the absolute only, for it is impossible. Life should be lived not in the relative only for that too is impossible. For every relative thought or action is empowered by that inner energy but what we have to do through meditation is to bring that inner energy to the conscious level. It is there but veiled. The light does not shine as it should. If we can use another analogy - you take a light bulb and wrap around it various pieces of material so the light does not shine through. So through meditation as we start unveiling piece by piece, more and more light shines through. More and more light shines through until all the materials are removed from the bulb and the pure light is there. And when the pure light is there, you will appreciate the material things more, the material things will be illumined. You will be able to see the colours so beautifully, 'ah that this is a blue piece of material and this is red and this is green and this is yellow and this is orange' but while in the darkness, you had no appreciation, you only saw it as material.
So that is very much needed in the world today which is very oriented to the material, mundane values of life. Now this is not to be denied for materiality is required but if it is enhanced by the spiritual value of life, if the two could function in unity, then life becomes smoother, sweeter, harmonious, happier, joyful and life is really worth living. Most people, most people, 99.999999 per cent of people have a niggling doubt in their minds of 'Why am I living? What is the purpose of it?' They have that niggling doubt - say if something goes wrong and they say "I wish I wasn't existing". Such a thought passes through practically every mind. Sometimes they have a bit of pleasure and in that pleasure they say "Oh life is so wonderful" and then the next day pain follows. Now we have talked about the law of opposites, the see-saw where pain must follow pleasure and pleasure must follow pain. Rain will follow sunshine and sunshine will be followed by rain. What is this that Shelley I think, said "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind". So that is life. That is life.
So what we have to do through meditational practices is to go beyond the law of opposites, to go beyond the pains and the pleasures. Now this does not mean ignoring the pleasures or ignoring the pains. Nothing wrong in going to the theatre, nothing wrong in going to see a lovely ballet, all the nice things of life that could be pleasureful, but, how much emphasis we put on it. There lies the point. You see the Prima Donna, the Ballerina, flitting across the stage like an angel, as if she's flying through the air and not even touching the ground. "Ah, I see that" and the first thought that would come to my mind is "I am seeing Divinity in it's play", hah, Divinity playing. Here is Divinity dancing for me. I see the blade of grass in the wind. What great harmony there is? What great force and power there is in it's very flexibility? And the music in the leaves of the tree, what a great symphony it is? So we infuse, we allow through meditation that Divinity within us to permeate all our senses, hearing, seeing, touching, smelling. It is a total fallacy when people talk of subduing the senses. Enhance the senses by imbuing it, by allowing the real self within to permeate the senses so that everything becomes more enjoyable and life is enjoyed. I talk of joy not of pleasure, for pleasure must be turned to joy because joy is an area which is beyond pleasure and beyond the law of opposites. And then with meditation as our awareness expands our perspective changes. You could be put into the same circumstances and with a greater awareness you would have a total different value of the circumstance. You'd have a different perspective, like the favourite saying of mine 'Two men behind prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars' - both in the same circumstances. Or another one where two men were digging holes in the street, digging holes somewhere and one said he's digging a grave, the other said "I am digging the foundation, I am digging for the foundation of a cathedral". Ah, so look at the change, the perspective. So pain comes, pain has to come for we are creatures not only of circumstances, not only influenced by environment but we have come with a burden into this life, with a whole collection of experiences perhaps of many, many lives past which in Sanskrit is called Samskaras. So through meditation we lighten this burden until the entire burden disappears, then you go into Samadhi. Now Samadhi does not mean like the practice we did last night where you merge away into the absolute. If you keep on with that practice for about 20 / 21 days, your entire body will disintegrate but it is nice, twice a day even in elementary meditation. Yes. Even in elementary meditation, to take a dip, to take a dip in the cool waters on a hot day - well I don't know about England really (laughter) - but where I come from, we have a very nice climate and it is very pleasurable taking those dips, I mean surrounded by the sea - we have the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean and you can choose either - the Eastern philosophies and the Western philosophies and you dip, feel cool, refreshed.
So the purpose of meditation is to find that integration within ourselves of mind body and spirit and by finding the integration, by the three aspects of man functioning in harmony, we become harmonious. And to be harmonious is to be joyful. Therefore Jesus always said 'Be of good cheer.' Have that joy. Yes. Yes. And to find that joy one has to understand the value of pleasure and pain. And how does one understand the value of pleasure and pain, is that we do not give either undue emphasis. Now meditation helps us there because of the widened awareness, because of being able to look at a thing from a different perspective. The sting in the pain is lost and we see it as a necessity in life. For pain too, could become joyful if we examine it closely! And we realise by this expanded awareness that if pain comes to us, we have brought it upon ourselves. Most people say the environment has brought pain to me but you have attracted your environment. You have placed yourself in that environment. There is no such thing as an accident. Nothing is accidental. It is all within the plan that you have created with your free will, within the framework of the Divine will.
So meditation helps us to use that instrument of free will in a proper manner. And by using the freewill in a proper manner, you are flowing with the laws of nature. And the laws of nature are governed by Divine will. So freewill here joins hands with Divine will and no separation exists. Then you know the meaning of being an individual person and yet saying "Thy Will be Done". Even before one realises the universality that man really is, man has everything within himself - the acorn has the entire oak tree within itself and - but the acorn has to be exploded. An explosion occurs in the ground. The seed explodes for it to grow. So in meditation we undergo a process of explosion and being internal we could call it implosion. And in that implosion one grows, the awareness develops, the mind's perspectives, attitudes change. We reach a height where we have a panoramic view of the whole scene, not the little streets that we walk through that seem so dirty.
I was lecturing in America last year and one meditator through her meditations had an experience, which she wrote to me about and she is here in the audience. She says "I went through an experience while I was driving my little mini car through the Alps and you were sitting next to me. So she said "Guruji look at this winding road through these mountains. Look how dangerous it looks. What must I do?" And Guruji, you replied "Just drive on, don't bother, your attention should be on driving. Never mind those Alps. They can be even bigger." And then the scene changed for her where she found herself in an aeroplane and I was still sitting next to her. And then she asked "What are those little things down there?" I said "Those are the Alps". Ah. See the perspective.
So when our awareness is expanded, when we can view things from a different standpoint, pain goes away and the basis of pain is always fear. And here I am not talking of physical pain and physical pain too originates in the mind, as doctors do verify nowadays that even all organic illnesses has its basis, 90% of it if not more, in the mind. So once that fear is eliminated, pain can come but it loses its sting. So by losing it's sting, you do not place so much emphasis on it. Now, when we place emphasis on things, it creates an impression in the mind, be it either of pleasure or pain and if the impression is deep enough then it must manifest itself in some form and that conditions our actions in the future. Many times we do some act and afterwards we ask ourselves 'Why did I act in such a way?', little realising that that so called action that happened impulsively or on the spur of the moment, has been the cause of some conditioning. And that conditioning of the mind was produced by ourselves. The impression, the Samskara was driven deep within the subconscious layers of the mind and it manifested itself in some kind of action, be it good or it might have been detrimental to yourself or to others.
So, by meditation you would enjoy and enhance all the pleasures of life. You take the sting out of the pain and yet not leave a scar on the mind. So that is how you clear up the Samskaras. That is how you clear up the impressions. For I have said many times that man is nothing else but a bundle of experiences or rather the impressions of the experiences he has had throughout all his lives perhaps. And that bundle sometimes is heavy. And as we meditate the bundle becomes lighter and lighter and lighter. And that is what is meant 'That I shall lay you down besides green pastures and I shall give thee rest.' Who is that 'I'? That 'I' within yourself will lay you down besides green pastures and cool waters. It is that 'I', that consciousness, call it Krishna consciousness, Christ consciousness, Buddha consciousness, whatever label. These are labels. So with the expansion through meditation of one's awareness, one's state of consciousness also finds the expansion. There is no such thing as an altered state of consciousness. Scientists normally use this word, an altered state of consciousness. You cannot alter your consciousness. Consciousness is there in it's totality but your consciousness is not altered but unfolded. For as we all know, man only uses 10% of his mind. Man only uses 1 millionth amount of energy that is contained within his brain for example. Out of those 12 billion cells, how many cells does one use or activate?
So with meditation, greater and greater areas of the brain are activated and the brain is but an organ through which the mind flows. The mind in turn is an organ through which the spirit flows so that it covers the whole area, the mind and the various organs such as the brain and of course the body. So in the integrated process of meditation we find ourselves reaching that area which could only be described as bliss. And by regular meditation we are cleaning out the carburettor so that the petrol flows smoothly and you have a smooth ride. If your car is not giving you a good ride, it is not the car's fault, it is your fault because you have not cleaned the carburettor - too much dirt in it? Meditation dissolves the dirt so the petrol can flow smoother. And by that flow, one's life is enhanced and enriched. You do not need poverty. Man is not poor in spirit. He has all the wealth, all the wealth of eternity, infinite wealth, invaluable wealth but he turns the word invaluable into valueless. So now, we have to turn back and find the invaluability that which we cannot put a price on. And then life becomes really valuable and not valueless. Then life has a purpose, instead of just drifting along. What am I going to do today? Many people spend more time thinking of what they are going to do rather than doing. Yes. And as I said in some lecture, a woman might wash the dishes ten times in her mind before she washes them.
Now meditation is not a cure-all for everything. But it is a system, especially when it is personally prescribed according to the needs of the person, according to the evolutionary status of the person which the Master could see. And when one practises a personalised meditation, for that person his path to integration is expedited. Life becomes more joyful. This morning, last night many people were saying to me "Since I've started meditating, my life has been transformed, thank you Guruji". I said "Don't thank me, thank Divinity, I am nothing". Is there a word that could describe something which is less than nothing, that am I. It is Divinity.
So meditation helps to bring about this integration. With that in our daily activity, we consciously try and improve our actions. We know we are creatures of habit, patterns are set in and we work according to pattern. I know one man who has the habit of going to the cinema every Wednesday night and if something should happen that he cannot go to the cinema on a Wednesday night, he feels awful. You see, this is an extreme example that life itself is a pattern, it's in a groove. And we have to alter the pattern. And as the burden is lessened, as the burden is dissolved through meditational and spiritual practices, it makes it easier for us to alter the pattern of life. And that we call self-help. And when we alter the pattern of life, life becomes better. We cease doing the things that we have been doing which were harmful to ourselves and the environment. And when we cease doing the things that are harmful to the environment, then would we really realise the meaning, assimilate the meaning of 'Love thy neighbour as thyself' or the other great injunction 'Do unto others as you would wish it to be done unto you.'
So see how all this ties up, how meditational practices tie up with all the greatest injunctions of all the religions of the world. It enhances, it makes one understand because of the widened expanded awareness, consciousness, we appreciate these injunctions more and life assumes a different quality. Now by consciously altering certain patterns of our life and by meditating regularly, we draw to ourselves what we call Gurushakti which you know about, that power of Grace. Through meditation and a conscious effort in life, we become receptive to that force that helps one in everything we do and we then don't just believe in some power existing somewhere sitting on some kind of throne. That God becomes a living God. And that's what we need. That's what the Western world specially needs and more so in today's circumstances the Eastern world too, is to become more integrated. Indulge in activity but let the absolute be infused in all relative activity.
And that is how one progresses and reaches the state of Samadhi, which is a total oneness with Divinity. One reaches that progressively, in stages. It is not a question of instant pudding and instant coffee and instant what have you. Gradually, for what is worth having is worth striving for and waiting for. And when, through meditation our bodies become more rested, physiological, biological changes take place in the system. The mind becomes calmer. Then so many virtues develop in us, even without trying to develop them, virtues of tolerance and patience and kindness, compassion. These things come about automatically. You become more loving, you experience love. You don't, you can't create love, you can't make yourself love someone, you are only bluffing yourself. Love is a happening, a spontaneous, automatic happening. And as we look around the room, we could see how people's lives have improved, how they have become more spontaneous, more loving. Like here this week that we have had together, it is like a family. There is a family feeling, togetherness and this family is expanding wider and wider like the ripples around the world. And that is the purpose of meditation.
That clock has stopped, has it? Oh, what connection has your watch got with that clock, perhaps the battery is worn. Yes. So one should not strive for enlightenment. One should not strive to achieve the highest state of Samadhi, for that could be wishful thinking. One has in the back of one's mind, the idea of enlightenment but if you are too preoccupied with the idea of enlightenment that could prove a block in regenerating yourself. That will automatically happen. The light will automatically come. Do not worry if the bulb will burn or not. Worry more of the mechanism of the switch, of placing the wires properly, connecting the wires properly, connecting up the wires properly through meditation. So, we do not worry about enlightenment, for that is a natural process. I have said many times that you go to work and at end of the month your salary cheque will be there. Now every minute you are working, you are not thinking of the salary cheque all the time, you are just doing your work. And, at end of the month, the salary cheque is surely to be there.
So if a person performs his duties in life - right thinking, right action, which is produced about by meditation, then enlightenment comes automatically. What meditation is really, is a preparation towards enlightenment. The preparation lies in making the candle and the matches, for lighting up is instantaneous. Don't be surprised if you wake up tomorrow enlightened. Somebody might switch on the lights before you wake up. Nevertheless, at the back of the mind, one has a goal, one has a purpose, that 'I want to go home. I want to reach home. I want to be back from where I came. I want to become one with my Maker. I and my Father are one and I want to experience that.' That is the goal that is deep behind in the mind. It is what we do that is important. So regular Meditation, so if we do our practices - all these talks you have been hearing over all those Courses I've been giving, this means one thing that I love you, that's all its saying - really in explaining, in so many different ways. That's all what it is really. Very simple, you can do it better than I.
Fine, so although we have enlightenment as the goal, too much emphasis should not be placed upon that. Emphasis should be placed upon how we are bettering our lives through the help of meditation, how much grace is descending upon us, for nothing happens without grace. Take the analogy of the plant. You plant a seed in the ground. Now there are, it is because of grace that the forces of nature are activated, so that it gets the sufficient amount of nutrition, minerals in the ground. It attracts to itself just the sufficient amount; more of it would kill the plant. It attracts to itself just the right amount of water, for too much watering might kill the plant, the right amount of sunshine where it is needed. All the right elements are attracted to the plant for it to thrive. Who does that? How does it happen? The power of Grace that just brings the right things together for it to thrive. You can thrive, it is so simple. You can thrive in happiness but we create the blocks. And by meditation we clear the channels where all the dirt has accumulated. By meditation we dissolve it, so the waters flow smoothly into the garden of life and the flower grows beautifully. It is the nature of the flower to be beautiful but that's not all that it does. It also enhances the beauty of the garden. So as man improves himself, betters himself, he betters society also automatically. And I said the other day, there are many reformers that tried to improve society collectively and they all failed. The way to improve society is to improve the units, for it is the units that make up the collective whole.
So that is the purpose of meditation. And to have the idea of becoming one with Divinity is not selfish. It is not selfish at all because to merge away with your Maker, it is selfless. You are losing yourself to a greater Self. You are losing the small ego 'i' and merging it into the real 'I', the big 'I', so that it cannot be selfish at all. Moreover, even the word selfish - I love words - 'Ish' in Sanskrit means God, derived from the word Ishvara, yes, Ish means the Lord. So how beautiful this word is - selfish - (Laughter) to be merged in the self that is the Lord. I wish I could take all the languages and pick out all the best from it and have a new language. Yes, that is the beauty of life, for life is forever abundant with beauty, abundant with beauty. As the saying goes 'Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.' So through meditation we become better beholders of the beauty around us. And once we see the beauty around us, all the uglinesses around us disappear. Once the light is there, darkness disappears although we do not say that darkness is banished, it is there. But for us, by switching on the light, the inner light, the darkness is dissipated, disappears.
So there is no need to be unhappy. No man needs to be unhappy, because he is equipped all the time with everything needed for his happiness, for joy. And we say God is omnipresent, so He is present everywhere in every cell of your body, billions and billions of cells of your body that function in a systematic, precise way all the time. Look how beautiful nature is. You cut your finger and then millions, hundreds of thousands of corpuscles will rush to that spot to mend that wound without you even being conscious of it. Many people are not so conscious of what happens to them in meditation but some effect is there. All those corpuscles are rushing there. That is how the good overcomes that which is regarded to be evil.
Gururaj Ananda Yogi