Distraction versus concentration of mind
28th April 2003 at Wollaston College Auditorium, Mount Claremont Western Australia
One seeker asked why the attainment of the Self is so difficult when it is actually our natural state. Babaji explained that the mind has become accustomed to going out into the world to seek happiness and it is this tendency that must be reversed by meditation. Another devotee asked about the need to take out time regularly for meditation. Babaji likened our need for daily food for the body, which we never have trouble fulfilling, with the mind's need for the food of meditation. We have to develop the same attitude towards meditation that we have for the other essentials of life, Babaji said.
Babaji then recounted how His Guru Shivabalayogi always taught that one should become a good student first before attempting to become a teacher. So, before teaching one should experience the Truth and merge with it. One must become eligible by becoming a good student, then one can achieve God Consciousness, virtues like good character and integrity will act like a fortress wall against the calamities of life. If one is in a hurry to become a teacher we may deceive others and ourselves. Babaji recommended we pray for the Divine to keep us from becoming egoistic. It is the Divine in the heart that teaches and we should keep focused on God.
Distraction versus concentration of mind is the essential point. We should talk about the Self, listen to teachings about it and dream of it. Eventually (through meditation) we will come to know how we exist as the Immortal Soul. The mind is actually looking for peace and in its ignorance doesn't realize that there is no peace in this world - Self is the abode of Peace.
Suffering unfortunately leads to extremes and can cause violence, but the stress we suffer, while growing up for example, can also be a boon because it can create the urge for liberation. This is not the same as escapism. We must face our responsibilities. We can remain in our homes and maintain the way of life we have adopted and all our work can become a sadhana.
The worship known as Shiva Manasa Puja consists of prayers like, "My Lord may every step that I take, become Pradakshina (Means 'going around The Supreme being with Reverence') to you, every work that I undertake become Your Worship, every word I utter become Your praise, every time I call somebody become Your name and finally the food that I partake, become your Prasadam (Offered and blessed Food)."
Babaji told a story to illustrate this. Once there was a race between Lord Ganesha and Swami Kartikeya to see who could travel around the universe the fastest. Swami Kartikeya used a peacock as his vehicle while Ganesha's vehicle was a rat. Winning the race seemed impossible to Ganesha until Sage Narada intervened and advised Ganesha that all he had to do was go around his parents Shiva and Parvati three times and in doing so would effectively traverse the entire universe. Ganesha did so and won, while Swami Kartikeya lost. But it was all Divine play and universe was to benefit when Swami Kartikeya came down to earth in anger and played a role in destroying demons and protecting the virtuous (Devotional noble people).
Babaji stressed that reverence to the Supreme will lead to the commitment to pursue the path and the understanding of the need to do so - this is devotion. Some pursue the path of knowledge alone, applying their discrimination to reject all that is unreal (Neti, neti - not this, not this). The process eventually leads to meditation and final absorption in the Self, but the devotional path is easier.
Babaji then spoke about the Advaita philosophy of non-duality. Given the world is unreal and illusory, people always ask why the world was created in the first place. In Samadhi all such questions are resolved, Babaji said. The scriptures say that the universe was created as Divine play, Babaji explained that this happens due to God and not by God's resolved wishes. Baba said it is not easy to explain conclusively. Just as the sun sheds its light wherever it may, a Yogi does not 'award' His blessings to some and not others - they will go to whoever is receptive. Vibrations simply flow, one has to build the Dam called devotion, faith and surrender. Wherever our attention is focused determines what we are devoted to - be it mangos or the Divine! Total attention is meditation. Babaji compared the step-by-step progress in meditation to climbing Mount Everest and asked all present to commit to meditation for 45 minutes each day. This commitment will attract the blessings of God and Guru.
Babaji concluded His talk with a variant of a charming, well-known parable. God once appeared before a sadhak and offered a boon, the sadhak prayed that God take him by the hand along the path to cross the calamities of the universe. Later, after seeing only one pair of footprints in the sand behind him on the long trek, the sadhak complained that God had abandoned him and began to doubt His existence. God replied that where there was only one set of footprints was where God Himself had carried the devotee in His arms !
One young man asked if the rising of the kundalini was necessarily a painful process. Babaji replied that it does not have to be very painful. Kundalini is only mental consciousness. It is advised to control the mind first and when this is achieved it lifts the kundalini which is coiled in the body. Babaji said that some burning sensations may occur in the process. Another devotee asked if profound emotional experiences were a necessary phase in spiritual progress. Babaji replied that they were not, just acquired habits of the mind which vary from person to person.
Another wanted to know about the influence of past lives on the spiritual path. Babaji replied that in the quest for Self Realization knowledge of past lives was not important and it was better not to know. Baba said it is more important to know what you are now.
A young man who entertained the gathering by regularly asking many interesting questions asked why, if God is one, is the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi associated with the power to grant wealth and Goddess Saraswati associated with learning. Couldn't it also be the other way around he wanted to know. Babaji laughed and explained that these were just concepts, and that God wouldn't mind if one prayed to Saraswati for wealth and Lakshmi for learning. There is no fundamental difference.
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