You are not the 'I' that you have imagined
Perth, 16 October 2007
Om, Brahmananadam Parama Sukadham, Kevalam Jnaanamoorthim
Dvandhvaatheetam Gagana Sadhrisham, Tatvamasyaadhi Lakshyam
Ekam Nithyam Vimalamachalam, Sarvaadhee Saakshibhootam
Bhavaatheetham Trigunarahitham, Sadgurum Tvam Namaamee.
Again and again, millions of times, I offer my salutations at your Lotus Feet my dearest Lord, my Shivabalayogi, my Master. This evening I once again greet you all with my love and blessings, appreciating your interest of coming here this evening to participate in our meditation classes as well as your readiness to listen to me say a few words about spirituality, meditation, and all such things.
Pay your attention. You are not that 'I' that you have imagined. When this imagined 'I' dissolves, what remains is the real 'I'. This is what you have to achieve through meditation, meaning eventually go towards Self Realization.
During this journey on the spiritual path, the first imagination shall be 'I'. 'Who am I?' That is what my Guru also said, "Meditate and know your Self." Constantly I have been telling that we try to do everything for ourselves. We have imagined this 'I' as something else, which is not, which does not exist, and which is not us also, even if it exists. A misidentification has happened. Because of this, imagination after imagination, thousands and millions and billions of imaginations, we have built up so many subtle bodies of ourselves. Just for example, to name a few, "I am a man, I am this and I am that, my status, my job, my wealth, my power. So all such layers of ego sit into the mind and whenever any of these subtle bodies get pricked, that is when our ego hurts us and we lose our peace, we lose our happiness, we lose our secure feeling. All such things happen and the mind going into craving gives an unhappiness and other emotions also can follow. And so on it happens, it creates a tension, a fear. When we practice meditation, one would be able to overcome all these and eventually one day we would be able to know our real Self, how we exist, where you shall feel Supreme Peace and supremely secure at all times.
My Guru taught meditation as well as bhakti yoga (path of devotion), karma yoga (path of service). Through bhakti (devotion) you can achieve eventually in due course of time, and through karma also. Bhakti means here, you have imagined yourself as something, so you have to set a highest target, which you have to remember, and towards which you have to go. Just like, if you have imagined yourself as a droplet of the Ocean, you have to set the Ocean as your Supreme Existence. That is how the imagination of God has been given. "There is a God who is our Lord, who is our Master, who is our Mother, our Father, who shall take care of our welfare, who shall protect us from all calamities and unhappiness and who shall give us the Truth as to who we are actually. Why are we born? What is the purpose of this life? Are we born with this body and are we going to become extinct when the body will go away?" All sorts of things. For this we have to remember God, we have to pray God.
So this imagination is the bhakti marga, when we try to imagine God. Because what God is, nobody knows really when they try to imagine. Just like, if I tell anyone, "You try to imagine space," it would not be possible for anyone to imagine the space, what it is exactly. Simply we do hear that space is all pervading but yet we won't know what it means really, what are its other features, so thus we try to imagine. So in the same way, when we try to imagine God in a particular form, in a name, so that we can remember, because our minds have become used to imaginations since time immemorial, so this is the bhakti yoga. The more that we can remember God during our life and sojourn on this Earth, that is the yoga which through bhakti we can achieve. This is also not easy. We have to be able to remember God with sincerity, with the purity of our heart at all times. For this I will try to remind and tell you all one story, that I have told before also, which created an impact since childhood, of what real bhakti means, what it is to remember God, meaning how you can see God everywhere. We do hear that God is all pervading, but how we can see that. If we are not used to it, mind has not practiced, then such a thing does not appear.
The beautiful story of Saint Kanakadasa, faith and devotion, how these things can work also. He was an ordinary village cowherd boy, who used to take out his cows, buffalos and look after them and bring them back. So that was his job. Once, when he was out in the forest of that village, on the outskirts of the village he saw some priests, noble scholars sitting there and trying to worship God. They had a big photo, a painting, of one of the forms of the Divine and they were worshipping through some mantra chants and all such things. To this, this young boy was attracted. He would have been probably only around twelve or thirteen years old. He goes there, stands and keeps watching them. His mind gets so much attracted and he is overwhelmed by this. For the first time in his life, he heard something about God, that there is such power, there is such an existence which we have to remember and it gave him so much of happiness.
After the worship was over, he goes to them and requests those priest-scholars, "Can you please teach me how to worship God and what is God, who is this God, what He can do for us? Somehow I have fallen in love, I enjoyed all your worship. It was so pleasing and peaceful for me." All the scholars make fun of him first, "You are a cowherd boy, what can you learn about these things? You need to be a big scholar, you have to be born in a particular caste," this type of thing they teased him and said, "Okay, in any case, still if you want to know, you sit underneath the tree and go on repeating the name of 'buffalo, buffalo', because you keep going with the buffalos and cows everyday. You remember 'buffalo, buffalo', then God will come to you." They just told this out of fun to tease the boy.
But when the student takes it in good faith and goes ahead with that method and tries to do sadhana then the things click and work. Though the priests here just teased him, made fun of the boy, that boy took it in good faith, one hundred percent faith. Innocently, he considered it to be an initiation from the priests to him, and went and sat underneath the tree. He started repeating, "buffalo, buffalo" in his mind, and closed his eyes and his mind became so concentrated.
Kanakadasa lived about five hundred years ago in the southern part of India in the state of Karnataka. The story says that he eventually had the vision of the death God, Lord Yama, who came on the buffalo and guided him towards spiritual truths, initiating him into Lord Krishna's name as Keshava. He guided him to go to another saint of those times, who was a great Realized soul, Swami Vyasa Tirtha, and asked him to go to His ashram, in this vision. So thus with his faith such a wonder and miracle did happen in his life. What everyone saw was a great transformation. And then he goes to that great Saint and He takes Kanakadasa as a disciple and tries to teach him more truths about spirituality and Self Realization, about God, all these things he goes on teaching. Whereas, there was still some other students of the institution who did not like him because they considered him to be an untouchable boy and thought, "What is he doing in our midst when we are learning about God? It is our monopoly and only we are able to learn these mantras." They always used to tease him. But quietly he went on learning because he simply ignored all their teasing. He concentrated on the Master's teachings, he paid total attention. With sincerity he went on learning everything.
Once the Master just wanted to show the other disciples how futile their efforts were, how they were wasting their mental energies by not paying proper attention to learning and practicing the things that He was teaching. One day He gave bananas to all the students and just said, "You have to go outside this ashram and eat this banana and come back before sunset. One condition is that noone must see you, that you must eat it while noone is watching." All the students thought this must be a test to show how foolish Kanakadasa actually is, "He won't even be able to complete this simple task. Then the Guru will throw him out."
So they all went and quickly, one by one they all returned after having finished their bananas. The Guru asked each of them where they had gone. Some said in the forest behind a tree, some said over the mountains, some said on the other side of the river and so on. And they all said no one saw them. Only Kanakadasa didn't return. Afternoon became evening. All the students started whispering how foolish Kanakadasa is.
Finally as sunset happened Kanakadasa returned with the banana still in his hand. He prostrated to the Guru and put the banana at His Feet. He said, " Forgive me Master. I have failed Thee." The Guru asked, "Why have you failed me? Did you not try enough? Where did you go? " The boy said, "I went into the mountains, I went into the bushes, I tried to stand behind the doors of this ashram also and I went everywhere, but wherever I went, whenever I tried to peel the skin off this banana, Lord Krishna was watching me there at all times." So that was the beautiful consciousness that he had developed by listening to the Guru's teachings and with his purity of heart he was trying to remember God at all times. So all twenty four hours it had set into that. So all the time he saw God only, everywhere. He knew that God was everywhere.
So in this world, all of us, we read so much about scriptures, and we try to listen to talks and lectures, teachings, all such things, but when the test comes, how much can we remember God? That is the question. That is what the real bhakti is, the highest pitch of bhakti. At all times if we can remember God, even when calamity comes and disastrous things happen, when we are put to test, when we are into difficulties and troubles. Can we take it as the Divine's Grace and blessings at all times? Because in bhakti marga the important phenomena taught is that we have to surrender to God and take everything as His wishes. This is all not easy to remember, to understand. In due course of time, if one practices meditation, then the real devotion also comes. That's what my Master said. He said, "When you practice dhyana, both knowledge and bhakti come. You gain the devotion when you understand that the Divine is all pervading, when your mind gets concentrated, and also you gain the knowledge that you cannot imagine and conclude what God is. You cannot imagine and define what God is, He is boundless." So like that my Master taught.
In karma yoga, He used to teach, "If you love the Master, you simply listen to the order and go on doing, without allowing the mind to get agitated, then you gain," because that is what you are trying to do in meditation. When you sit for meditation, you are trying to see that your mind recedes and becomes concentrated, becomes quiet, otherwise you see, it is always wondering like a monkey. It is into its own imaginations and agitations. It tries to analyze, it tries to judge, "Oh this is good, oh this is bad. I know this much better than anybody else. I am the doer of this. I could have done much better. I could have done this. It could have happened like this. Why did God do this to me? Why did God give me only a hundred dollars, he could have given me a hundred and fifty dollars," and so on. Hundreds and thousands, and millions of thoughts keep coming to the mind at all times. It doesn't become quiet and concentrated. So this is why we are trying to practice meditation. This can happen through karma yoga also. You have to live a life in this world. You cannot afford to keep sitting in a corner. You have to earn a livelihood. You might have adopted a particular way of life. Everything is welcomed, there is no problem. In the sojourn, on this path, like this also, you can practice meditation, it would be possible. The sadhana can be possible. The Grace of the Divine can descend upon you.
If only the mind learns to accept the things as it comes, that is what the karma yoga. Whatever we have to do, we go on doing and just do not get agitated why we have to do this, why we have to be like this. So then the yoga can happen, the Divine's Grace can descend. That is how my Master taught. He gave us odd jobs in the ashram when I went there to Him and He teased me sometimes. He used to tell, "You might have thought that 'I am going to go to the ashram and I am going to do great meditations.' But instead of asking you to meditate, I have given you all these jobs and your mind might be wondering, 'Why my Master has asked me all these things? Now I should go away from this Ashram, from this Master. This Master is not going to teach me anything.' But if you can learn these things, if you do not allow your mind to go into agitations and bother, if you can surrender your mind to the Master, then you will understand the teachings of scriptures, then you will understand what you have to achieve through meditation. That mind will be yours, that beautiful energy, that pure consciousness will be yours. And after that, when you think, there will be purity in those thoughts. You will be able to think of a larger cause. You will be able to think of the benefit of the entire universe, of all the worlds. You won't simply be thinking that, 'I have to be benefited.' You will always think, 'Let everyone be benefited.' That's what it is."
That small incident of Saint Ramanujacharya's life also, I have told once before. So he was initiated into a beautiful mantra by the Master and the Master warned, "This has to be very secret and quiet. You should not reveal this to anybody else. If you reveal this to anyone else, you will go to hell. Otherwise, if you practice this mantra, you will get Realized, you will get God Realization, you will go to heaven, to the place of the Divine's abode. Immediately, that young boy, he goes onto the top of the temple and standing on the terrace, shouts to everyone in that small village, small township, "Come everyone, you all want to go to God, if you want to get Realized, if you want the real happiness, chant this mantra." He reveals to everyone. So when the Guru hears about this, He is furious. He calls Ramanujacharya again, "How dare that you would reveal this mantra to everyone when I have commanded you not do this one. Did not I tell you that you are going to go to the hell." Simply he tells, "If all people in this town can get Realized and get Liberated, if I alone go to hell there is no problem for me. It does not make any difference." So such was the beautiful attitude.
So normally, when we initiate thus, it is a practice not to reveal the method of meditation and the experiences. That does not mean that you will go to hell if you reveal it to anyone. Why we try to tell this is, the knowledge is to be given to such people who can respect the knowledge, then only they will keep it and they will gain something from it. It is just like you have to give some money to the child when it is mature, when it can understand the value of that money. Simply a small baby who cannot understand what the note is, if you give a hundred dollar note, it might tear it up. So on this thing only, such a thing is wrong. Other than that, if there is any spiritually inclined person, if you think that such a person would take it and practice it, if it is worthwhile, you can always reveal, there is no such problem.
So this is how we learnt through bhakti, through karma and through meditation also. Repeatedly I keep telling, when you sit for meditation, when you close the eyes, thousands of thoughts come because meditation is a purifying exercise. When you close the eyes, automatically the mind starts getting cleansed unknown to you. You might wonder how this happens. This is a peculiar technology. This is a battle between the mind and brain also, a beautiful relationship between the brain and mind also. Like the brain can be your best friend, the brain can be your worst enemy also.
How it happens, when you close, the mind starts getting cleansed, but it gets applied onto the brain unknown to you. It is a technological, automatic activity that happens. When this happens, the brain decodifies everything and shows the thought processes and visual effects. These are called the drishya and thoughts. When these thoughts are watched by you, because you are forced to watch these thoughts and visions, you cannot help it, just like you are forced to watch a movie. Your mind has a tendency to analyze immediately, "This is good, this is bad. Why is this happening, why not something else?" You have to think that it is like the garbage is being thrown out of the mind's consciousness. All that is required is you have the patience, just observe them, watch them because unfortunately you are forced to watch, you have to watch, there is no other way when it is going out of the mind. Then the mind recedes and becomes more purified and your meditation becomes more successful, and concentration of the mind happens. Then other amazing experiences can occur about the tricks of the mind, about your own Self, peace and happiness. How you can keep yourself composed, restrained in this world when you are living, when you are working. How you won't allow your mind to go into cravings and trouble you, giving you all fear, tension, unhappiness. At all times you can have the beautiful happiness for you and live a very normal life.
So this is one of the greatest secrets of the meditation. Other than that, the eyeballs always move parallelly, it does not come easily into one point, but if you have the patience, if you simply observe slowly, when you close the eyes, whatever is in the front, you just watch. That is all the job that you have to do. There might be a darkness, appears simply, there might be sometimes colors, sometimes some visions, thoughts, anything, you just watch them, whatever it is, without trying to think what it is, then the mind becomes concentrated. Because, during meditation, you should not give any job to the mind.
This mind is meant so that it can be helpful to you when you live in this world. Mind is your conscious energy. When you are in this world, when you are living, you may need to analyze, you may need to make some judgments like, "This is good, this is right for me. This is not right for me." But when you ponder over, for every human it becomes so difficult to make a proper judgment about what is right and what is wrong in life. There might be so many times and so many situations which could have been confusing for you, "Whether I am doing the right thing or wrong thing, whether this is right or wrong, whether this decision is going to bring me proper things or not," all this type of confusions.
When you practice meditation regularly, mind gains this ability. If at all you have to judge, it will judge in the best possible way. If at all you have to analyze, it will be able to analyze in the best possible way, without getting involved itself into any cravings and bringing such unhappiness to you. So you will be able to judge in a proper way, will be able to analyze in a better way which will be beneficial for a larger cause, for the society. All such things will be possible when you practice meditation. Otherwise, I have also pondered, we cannot blame humanity like that. Every human might be simply helpless. When they behave, they are so helpless, they simply behave based on their attitude setup, their practice of the mind. So many times a person might think, "I should not be doing that one," but yet again when the time comes, such a person might do it. The person might try to decide, "Now I am not going to get annoyed for anytime, I will have patience, I will just look into it," but when the moment of test comes, suddenly one might lose their temper. So that's what could happen for anyone.
A person is helpless. But how we can help ourselves is, when we practice this meditation properly, understanding its methods, then the mental energies can be conserved to ourselves, we can have that control, we can be the master for our minds. Just like you have the control of the chariot when you are running it. So that is how you can control your mental energies and live happily, peacefully, a beautiful life and we can build much more harmonious societies, countries, and worlds like this. And it can be a much, much better world for the coming generations, after we go away from this world also. So that is how we always try to honor our forefathers, our elder generations who gave us so much of beautiful knowledge and wisdom, so many beautiful things in this world through science, technology, spirituality, religion and all such things. Beautiful things have been given to us so we can live happily. If we practice this meditation, these things would be possible.
Copyright © 2007 SRBY, All rights reserved.