Smt. Dipti Joshi
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Rev. Master has said the above statement in his address at Madras on 24th February 1973 on the occasion of Grand Master Lalaji Maharaj’s birth centenary celebrations.
We have never before come across such a statement which says we are giving wrong suggestions to our mind. Usually we are programmed from childhood to do as our mind suggests us to do. Never has the thought that we ourselves may be misguiding our mind, come up. We grew up learning what is right and wrong as told to us by our parents, teachers and all elders. As we grew up, we were not in the habit of questioning our elders so we continued to follow certain rules and regulations of the society as they were taught to us. Our mind, over a period of so many years got programmed into following certain rules and working paths for different situations in life. Some of these working paths were learnt from our own experiences and some from the experiences and wisdom of our elders. Never did we face any situation which challenged the tried and trusted ways of functioning of our mind. We started thinking that our mind is the best ally we can have in any situation of life and got on with life.
But now Rev. Master has come up with this statement which says we, ourselves give wrong suggestions to our mind. The first thought that comes up after reading this statement is, how is it that we ourselves can be giving wrong suggestions to our mind? Probably, Rev. Master is talking with respect to some particular purpose or goal i.e. with respect to the goal that we all should have for our lives (meaning that with respect to that goal our suggestions are wrong). Now isn’t this concept a new one? contrary to what we have been living before; having a long term single goal of life and working towards that goal all your life. The goal that Rev. Master is talking about is that of living a balanced life. We would like to think that we are living a balanced life right now however, the statement made by the Master demands that we examine our lives and our minds closely. At first it is very hard to believe that we ourselves might be giving wrong suggestions to our mind. To understand Master’s statement let us first know how the mind functions and then understand what is meant by giving wrong suggestions and how can one give right suggestions to the mind.
To explain the current state of our minds Rev. Master gives us the concept of creation. How Divinity willed the creation and how the individual entities that were present before the creation in their subtle form, came out and expressed themselves too. Since man carried within him the essence of the First Mind, humanity too initially was in its purest state. However, as humanity progressed, different contrasts began to make their presence felt and man started forming likes and dislikes for them. Due to this, impressions were formed and our mind has come down from its pure state to its current state.
Our mind consists of four components; manas (mind), chitta (deeper conscience), buddhi (cognition) and ahankar (ego). For better understanding we can consider this statement from the book “The Five Kosas Role in Sadhana under Pranahuti Aided Meditation”, which talks about these four components as “Mahat (Simple Awareness), Buddhi (Awareness of Endowment), Ahamkar (Awareness of being a doer) and Chitta (Awareness of performance)”. A person understands any situation in his life through these four components alone.
The soul is a conglomerate of five different sheaths which are classified as the annamaya or the physical body, the pranamaya or the vital sheath, the manomaya or the mind sheath, the vijnanamaya or the intellectual sheath and the anandamaya or the sheath of bliss or ananda. Due to the impurities in the above mentioned four components of the mind, the bindings of the different sheaths vary on a person. For example a person who has very strong binds in the annamaya will be overly concerned with his/her body and its maintenance. For such a person, the grip of the body and its needs will not allow the person to move beyond it. For an example that we can relate to, we know when we started our sadhana it was hard to get up in the morning for meditation and we used to skip our morning meditation so many times saying that I am very tired so I am not able to get up early in the morning and do my meditation. A person who has strong binds in the pranamaya will be driven by passions and drives as this sheath deals with the basic functions of the body, its needs and drives. Masters have stated that the functions of this layer are associated with chitta. For example a person having strong binds in this kosa will be all for getting more power, money and pleasures. It will hard for him to think about something beyond them. Generally people with hedonistic tendencies will be found to have strong pranamaya binds. For manomaya kosa, Masters state that it consists of the mind and the five jnanendriyas. The pleasure seeking and pain avoiding tendencies of the mind and their justifications find their origin here. For example we would like to live comfortable lives and not try to give away the comforts and conveniences that we already have. One gives a lot of justifications for the kind of life that one wants to live. For the vijnanamaya kosa the intellect and the five sense organs of perceptions form this sheath. In this kosa, the inputs from the sense organs are fed to the intellect and depending upon the past experiences the corresponding course of action is taken. The last sheath is the anandamaya kosa as happiness or bliss is the reason behind all human action. Past vasanas are found in this kosa. Rev. Master says in the same message, “If any of you breed Divine thoughts, mind will grasp it and will not eject them because, it is the real nature of mind since it has come from the real Artery”, (SDG – 26). This means when the mind comes to know that there is something higher than mere happiness in pursuing material things, it will grasp it and here that concept can be nurtured. However if the person pursues wrong paths to reach the Divine, then this kosa can prove to be a strong bind.
Impressions have been formed due to the activities in the four components of our mind. The inputs to the mind are given by the different senses that a man possesses. Depending upon the influence of the kosas; a person has a set of impressions. Now when he comes across a situation, his senses give him the picture of what is happening around him. Once this input is given to the mind, the different components of the mind process that information looking at the past store of events in the memory, plus any feelings attached to such similar events. Then the person reacts to the current situation according to whether his past similar experience was likeable to him or otherwise. After the person reacts, this current situation is again marked in the memory in its slot of similarly occurring events and the associated feeling that the person had with it. This saga continues and after the passage of time, even if the person does not remember the event, the feeling associated with it is clearly present in the memory and this is how impressions are made stronger and stronger again and again by our own actions. Giving an example in this respect, when a small child is scolded or disciplined for a wrong done by him/her, he/she will feel sad for a moment but after some time when the same person who has scolded the child, talks or tries to play with it, the child will start playing with that same person. This is because the child does not remember what was done by the person to him. Now if the same case were to happen to us, we will remember who did what to us and how and without any reason (even though we may be deserving of such an action). The next time we meet that person, we will have a whole dossier ready on that person, of how were the interactions with that person and our supposed inferences, which we have come to, logically about those interactions. This dossier which our mind presents to us prohibits us from treating that person without any pre information about that person. This makes impressions against that person stronger and we have one more bind for us which makes our behaviour restrictive. Similar is the case with different situations. We always want to lead comfortable lives, now if a situation were to come in our lives when we have to let go of all the comforts that we thought were necessary, then it pinches us a lot. This is because in our mind certain associated feelings with similar situations are already stored. These make us ineffective in accepting that particular situation in our life, thereby rendering us unhappy and sad. However, if our condition was such that we did not have any feelings either positive or negative towards any such situation in life, then it will be easy for us to go through any such situations without forming any impressions about them.
Now that is the kind of life all of us would like to live and hence the goal is to live a balanced life. These above mentioned binds are just the ones which keep us from living a balanced life. So when we are taking in a dossier of past information regarding any person that we meet or any situation that happens in our life, we are actually giving wrong suggestions to our mind.
Depending upon the spectrum of the actions and thoughts that a person functions within, consciousness is divided into animal consciousness, human consciousness and divine consciousness. Animal consciousness is one in which a person is only concerned with the satisfaction of his needs and drives. To live in human consciousness means to practice, satya (truth), ahimsa (non-violence), asteya(non-stealing), aparigraha (non-covetousness) and brahmacharya (company of the Divine). Divine consciousness means to think beyond the boundaries of self constantly and be concerned with the well-being or happiness of the humanity in general.
As we can see the animal consciousness is the lowest and we should at least be at the human consciousness. However in the world today most of us live at the animal consciousness level. This is happening because our lower mind is dictating to the higher mind. The lower mind is the one that concerns itself with the individual’s creation and the upper mind carries with it the essence of the First Mind and so is concerned with the creation as Divinity willed it to be. So unless humanity conforms to the Divinity there will be strife in the world. The individual’s peace of mind is directly related to the world peace. So in order that the individual mind comes to peace, the higher mind should take over the functioning of the individual. Once this happens with the help of a proper guide it is possible to move from animal to human consciousness and further on towards the Divine consciousness as well. In order for our minds to be happy and contended, which can happen only, when we establish our link with the Divine, these four components of mind have to be purified.
We have heard that other systems demand that only by the suppression of mind, we can control it. However Natural Path moulds the tendencies of the mind in the most natural way. In Natural Path, the mind itself is used to move towards the goal.
The next question would be how Natural Path helps a person to move to higher consciousness? Natural Path provides certain meditational practices which deal effectively with these problems of the mind.
We are asked to do Point B meditation which clears off the grossness that clouds the Divine light. This is very effective in removing the desires that a person possesses.
The morning meditation helps the individual feel the presence of the Divine within and teaches it to remain in its company. The objective of morning meditation is to regulate and discipline the mind. The mind only when it is in the company of the Divine is at peace. Once the mind learns to be in the company of the Divine, then we do not accumulate further samskaras and at the same time the past samskaras come up for fruition and the baggage of our mind gets lightened.
The purpose of the evening cleaning is to willfully get rid of impressions. The reasoning behind this is that we have willfully accumulated the samskaras that we possess today and in order to get rid of them, the best way is to do so willfully. This is a very unique feature of Natural Path.
The Point A meditation checks the improprieties of conduct and the indulgences of mind in the field of the needs and drives of a person.
The 9 p.m. prayer helps in reaffirming the common origin of all. Unless we remember our common origin, we will always have a separatist attitude towards each other and with the Divine as well. The nature of the Divine being pure, unalloyed love, we will not be in a position to be better representations of the Divine if we continue having this kind of separatist attitude.
The bedtime prayer helps one become strong in order to keep the lower mind in check.
To guide us in our behaviour during the rest of the time, Natural Path asks us to follow Master’s Ten Commandments. These commandments help us to go through life with the right attitude. If we are oriented to the Divine and do everything as a Divine duty, we will not be forming further impressions and will be only dispensing off the past impressions or samskaras. Masters have suggested us to practice constant remembrance which is greatly helpful in keeping the goal in mind. Constant remembrance is a stage that we have to reach during our march to the goal. When we are in constant remembrance of the goal or the Master then whatever suggestions given to the mind will be right and the mind will accept them.
We get a constant reminder of the goal during sittings and satsangs when we are given a taste of a higher type of consciousness.
Natural Path helps the person to develop viveka and vairagya which help in loosening the binds of the annamaya and the pranamaya kosas.
By following the commandments the manomaya kosa gets purified. The trainers in Natural Path help in lightening the load of the manomaya kosa by diverting the flow of thought from the lower to the upper.
To tackle the binds of the vijnanamaya kosa the abhyasis are taught to yield to the Master in totality. This sheath controls the previous sheaths and once a higher thought takes root here, the other kosas can be purified. If a higher thought is nurtured here then this kosa can help us progress on the path. To deal with the binds of the anandamaya kosa, the trainers remove the past impressions (namely vasanas) so that the mind becomes that much free for the higher thought to take root and grow. During sittings and satsangs the mind comes in contact with the source and that gives it the taste of Real Happiness or Bliss and the mind grasps this higher thought. Now when one follows the system diligently, all the kosas gradually get purified and aid in the abhyasi on his path to the goal.
After joining the system the mind does not immediately give up its old habits and it can keep an abhyasi away from diligent and sincere sadhana. Some of the ways that a mind can keep one away from proper sadhana are, not giving due importance to sadhana in our lives thereby compromising it many times, refusal to look inwards, unnecessary chatter about others’ and our own sadhana, wrong application of others’ lessons to our own cases, trying to tailor our own sadhana on the lines of other abhyasis’ sadhana and then expecting results, thinking very highly of ourselves whereas the actual picture is something else, refusal to take shelter or solace from Master’s system and His support when faced with difficult circumstances, and above all non-yielding to the Master. Accepting all the frivolous reasons for not doing our sadhana sincerely and diligently, is also giving wrong suggestions to our mind.
So what Natural Path asks of us is to do our sadhana in a simple way and with single pointed orientation to the Divine or Master. The point to be noted here is we are here to display the Master and not possess things or people. How does this translate to our day to day life? By letting go and not applying our mind to any situation or conflict. There should be no complaint to our friends, well-wishers and others as well as to our own self about whatever difficulties we are faced with. The reason being that we tend to get into gossip and in the process end up giving more strength to the manomaya kosa and thus staying away from the real path. In Natural Path we are encouraged to have Bodhayanti Parasparam which can help us greatly in clearing our ideas. We should not misuse this tool. There should be acceptance of the events as they unfold without jumping to conclusions or rushing them in some direction.
Rev. Sir has said that Rev. Master is a silencer of thoughts. In Rev. Master’s words, in order that we stop giving wrong suggestions to our mind and give right suggestions to it, we should have the destination constantly in view by bearing no other thought in the heart other than that of the destination. This is possible when we do our sadhana with love and interest and determine to sacrifice our pleasures and shake off our idleness.
I thank Imperience to give me an opportunity to present my thoughts on the topic of the seminar.