Dear ones, as you know by now that the new segment of this blog is of higher level of spiritual knowledge. The following articles need repeated dipping into because it cannot be comprehended easily. After reading the post several times, the thoughts and content need to be contemplated upon, imbibed and then brought into life-practice. It is only after practicing that we understand something thoroughly. For example, when we want to mine diamonds, first of all we have to search for the right place. We then have to dig the earth after which layer after layer of mud, stones and pebbles are removed. Similarly, our mind is a compact, tightly packed mountain of mud. It needs to be loosened, separated, sieved and unwanted elements are to be thrown out until the time the desired aim is met.

Knowledge is of two types- Worldly and spiritual knowledge. Or simultaneously Paroksha and aparoksha  gyan in Sanskrit and Hindi.  Paroksha in Sanskrit means something which is tangible and seen with eyes and by aparoksha is meant something seen without eyes and which is intangible. Paroksha gyan is worldly knowledge, seen and manifested, while Aparoksha Gyan is that knowledge which is seen without eyes. God is seen without eyes and the world with our eyes. If you want to seek God, have knowledge about God, want to know and have Him, want to sense and feel Him then we need aparoksha gyan.

Insight and deeper understanding of Aparoksha Gyan is arrived at when we ponder over a thought or the words of wisdom of men of great stature who have had a grand vision and exemplary mission in their life. Spiritual wisdom can be achieved by the layperson also, provided he makes many repeated attempts and persists in trying to understand, ruminates and mulls over a thought many times until the under wraps and relevant meaning is revealed to him and eventually becomes his own knowledge.

It depends on the devotion of time and attention given by us and the vehement zeal we possess. Great preserved knowledge shrouded in scriptures can be understood by us by repeated efforts of reading and studying it diligently. And along with that, one must also have God’s grace to make things easy. If the grace of God has not been bestowed on the sadhak yet and if the sadhak perseveres, makes many sincere attempts, then God is pleased and bestows his blessing in the form of insight, refined understanding and correct meaning of shlokas and mantras.  Therefore the foremost requirement is  effort.

Adi Shankracharya was a man of great wisdom, yet he worshiped Devi or Divine Mother and Lord Shiva to please them to get additional knowledge and greater depth of understanding of the ancient scriptures written by sages like Ved Vyas and Maharishi Markandey or for that matter even Rishi Narada. And after reading the scriptures, he churned and churned the knowledge, imbibed it until it became his own.

The mind of man is covered with ignorance, lethargy and obscurity because of which the rays of illumination are unable to penetrate. Divine Illuminations are sparks of light which destroy ignorance. Although we identify ourselves with only the physical body out of  unfamiliarity, in reality we are composed of many other bodies or sheaths as well. And eventually what are we? Thought or idea or in Sanskrit it is termed sankalpa!. Sankalpa is also resolution of mind but here it only means a thought. As our  sankalpa so our actions. As we go on creating new karmas, each new karma or action in turn creates a thin layer or sheath around us. If we do disgraceful, demeritorious karmas or deeds, the layers that are formed in our aura or energy field are dark, cloudy and heavy. On the contrary, when we begin to do more and more glorious, meritorious and worthy actions, the prevailing dark and thick layers begin to thin out and disintegrate slowly allowing the positive illuminating cosmic rays of Golden Light to penetrate inside our mind and give illumination and correspondingly better knowing and clarity to our choked and unlit mind.

Sri Raman Maharishi used to often say that our mind is like a well. Go on taking out bucket after bucket of water until nothing is left inside it. The buckets of water, he hinted at, were the worldly thoughts and ‘nothing left’ means silence, a state of thoughtlessness, quietude and peace. (Refer- Awareness-the art of right living) Over a considerable passage of time, with continuous practice of concentration and various suitable meditation techniques and methods and simultaneously performing good actions, a resultant very positive state of mind is arrived at by the yogi when only the effects of our good karmas are being carrying out and the effects of bad or negative karmas are wiped out. At this point, the soul is freed from the heavy, unbearable load of its own wrong doings and ignominy out of sheer ignorance, mental lethargy and lack of interest. Age old unconsciousness of presence of God within is wiped out and knowledge of God in us is slowly re-established.

This whole long procedure of change in our mind can be compared to this simple example. Suppose I hide a brilliant diamond under a pile of clothes on my bed. Obviously, the shine and brilliance of the diamond cannot be seen. But if one wants to retrieve the diamond and look at its glitter, one will have to make efforts to achieve that. And what is that effort? The effort is to start removing each cloth one by one until only the diamond remains lying still on the bed. We have drawn parallels here to understand that the diamond is our Spirit and the layers of clothes are the layers of ignorance and darkness created by the individual himself.

When we deliberately put our mind on words of spiritual wisdom,  it produces wondrous results. It begins to affect us and continuous repeated thoughts begin to make a dent on our thinking mind. Good thoughts compel us to do good actions and vice versa. Good actions save us from the misery of unimaginable pain, agony and sorrow. So let’s make sure that we distinguish between the two.

The mind is by nature frivolous and restless. It cannot stay still even for a few minutes. Our mind is like a sponge. (Ref- Learning a pleasure) It absorbs a multitude of thoughts floating in the atmosphere around us. Each mind in the universe is like a radiating or emitting machine. It sends out waves of good or bad thoughts which float and are suspended in the atmosphere for a long, long time. The suspended thoughts can either be harmonious or inharmonious. Many a times we accept, absorb and assimilate undesired thoughts of doubt, fear, greed, uneasiness, unholy deeds, ingenuity and so on. But a trained and seasoned mind can distinguish between his own thoughts and unwanted thoughts that have entered the mind from outside. With silencing of mind during meditation, the alien thoughts should be rejected and holy thoughts of peace, goodness, compassion, knowledge and wisdom should be procured and assimilated. During periods of isolation and meditation, we must train our mind to join and connect with the illumined and God-realized souls and the wisdom which is previously theirs can be ours.

Chapter 4

In Bhagwat Geeta, Bhagwan Sri Krishna explains to Arjun.

Shreyandravya mayadhygya gyan yagya  paramtap I

Sarvam karmakhilam Partha gyane parismapyate II 33 

Arjuna, sacrifice through Knowledge is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions without exception culminate in Knowledge, O son of Kunti.

Tadwidhi  pranipaaten  pariprashnen sevaya I

Updekshyanti  te  gyanam gyaninstatwadarshinaha II 34

Understand the true nature of that Knowledge by approaching illumined souls. If you prostrate at their feet, render them service, and question them with an open and guileless heart, those wise Seers of truth will instruct you in that Knowledge.

Yagyagyatva  na punarmohammevam  yasayasi pandava I

Yena  bhutanyasheshena  drakshyasyatmanyatho mayi II 35

Arjuna, when you have reached enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no more. In the light of that Knowledge you will see the entire creation first within your own self, and then in Me.

Dear readers, in the last few days, many of us might have been immersed in the festive season but I was unable to work on and compose my post with full attention span and ease because of the blaring, boisterous noise of the Ganesh Utsav celebrations, a festival getting bigger and louder by each year in my neighbourhood. However, my namaskar and pranam to the Lord of buddhi, riddhi and siddhi to eliminate and remove all the obstacles and hurdles on our way to spiritual uprising and awakening for all of us.

The relentless  noise and crowd has not deterred me but has made me recognize the fact that we have two types of sadhana- the inner and the outer sadhana. Or antarmukhi sadhana and bahirmukhi sadhana respectively. The outer sadhana consists of rituals, ceremonies and many possible visible actions to appease and please the deities and God. Such a pooja, aradhana  or vandana is fine, it is so much better than doing any detrimental and immoral acts but the doer always has some wish, craving or fancy to fulfil, some type of yearning from the Lord and they in most cases are rewarded. (Refer What is the purpose of my life? )  The outer sadhana is easy to perform but the results and gains are diminutive, short term and perishable with no alteration in the person’s present level of wakefulness and consciousness. Years and years may pass by but the admirer or devotee of God and deities shows no signs of alertness, progress and transformation. On the contrary, the requests and wants multiply with each year.

On the other hand there is inner sadhana in which we cast, shape, train and discipline the wandering nomadic mind to be hushed, silenced and become desire-free. Instead of asking, one thanks and is appreciative and grateful to God for whatever one has. The aspirant by now knows that asking tangible material objects and fulfilling gratifying wishes are in no way an answer to his lingering complex life problems. Even though the inner sadhana is tougher but has very enduring, influential effects and then asking God to make us desire less is a difficult thing to ask conversely and it is no mean task by any standards. It is easier said than done I must agree. Praying to God for contentment and peace is a very wise, sane and a prudent thing to do as the wisdom of the sages goes.

Peace in the mind is sought after and achieved by the aspirant at the preliminary stage. Before he really embarks on the extensive, stretched and challenging spiritual journey, he is like any other regular person, one in the faceless millions. The average, worldly wise man wishes to possess, hoard, amass and consume tangible objects and they could be things, articles, objets d’art or money, wealth, fame, power, success etc.

Man has been given many incarnations to live by Mother Nature in order to develop and advance his soul to the state of higher perceptions, realizations and progressive living. (Read  The process of liberation to know how the soul gradually evolves on the ladder of human evolution) Because he resides in a physical body for too long during this process, he becomes accustomed to living in the physical encasement for a very long duration, his consciousness becomes gross and undivine. And contamination, corruption and other impurities are harboured in his mind during his physical tenement. All the time his mind is engaged in worldly pursuits and it is not joined and tied with divine awareness and untarnished realizations. Hence his mind knows no peace at all and is perpetually active in gain-loss, joy-sorrow, fortune-misfortune, birth-death etc activities .

In fact, all humans are looking for pleasure and delight in some enterprise, adventure and endeavour, not realising that his soul wants peace and not some other acquisitions as the primary requisite for his earthly survival. And if, by probing and introspection, one day when we do come to an understanding that it is not worldly happiness after all but stability and equanimity of mind that should be acquired first.

 Out of stability and equanimity is born peace.

And the sensory world is full of dualities, happiness and sorrow are two sides of the same coin and one has to undergo and experience both the feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, almost all of us do not ever realize it even once in our long life the importance of inculcating peace in our lives consciously like other efforts that we undertake.

But those seekers of peace and self- realization, on their way at a mature stage of advancement, do realize and it dawns on them that I must now not seek and run after impermanent outside happiness and gratifications but must attain permanent peace which comes from within. Hence the mind slowly quietens down and the old desires begin to fade away and die a slow death on its own. The mind seeks happiness and joy in pursuits of inward journey primarily. After which it becomes passive, reflective, and introspective and finds solace in gaining knowledge of self, deeper realizations, devotion, compassion and other such understated activities. And controlling one’s senses and the mind are the seeker’s favourite activities and liking now. The past wandering and restless mind is no longer asking or demanding things of the world as he is satisfied with his fate and is a content soul by now. On the contrary, he carries out actions which bring him relief from its non-stop agitation and restless activities of worldly pre-occupation, attachments and acquisitions. The mind becomes peaceful and is at rest with oneself. Hence we say “peace of mind”.

The ordinary person transforms into a sadhak as he seeks lasting peace. He turns his mind inwards and questions, seeks and finds his answers of self inquiry and dives to find inner peace within himself. At such a stage, the seeker is not yet above the dualities and pairs of opposites of this ever-changing momentary and brief- natured world. The ever-changing quality of the world, the duality of opposites, create agitation and disturbs his mind. The disturbance is also caused by the inevitable sanchit karmas (the previous lives’ accumulated, unmanifested karmas ) They are still manifesting in the ongoing life-stage and negative results of past karmas crop up again and again at set phases, thereby disturbing the equilibrium of his newly found peace. However, with the grace and help of the Spiritual Masters and blessings of heavenly deities, he is able to conquer and prevail over to reap the fruit of the backlog of his past sanchit karmas with considerable ease. As and as the unmanifested karmas begin to bear fruit, he becomes lighter and the mind becomes calmer and composed, because of the lessening of the weight of the load and deeper revelations. When all the sins and misgivings of all the previous lives are burnt to dead ashes, the soul involuntarily  comes to a stable, restful and relaxing state. To substantiate this, now let’s read the shlokas from Bhagwad Geeta

Chapter 7

Icchadweshsabuthen dwandmohen bharat

Sarvabhutani sammoham sarge yanti parantap 27

Oh valiant Arjuna, through delusion in the shape of pairs of opposites (such as pleasure and pain etc), born of desire and hatred, all living creatures in this world are falling a prey to infatuation.

Yesham twantgatam papam jananam punyakarmanam 

Te dwandmohanirmukta bhajante maam  dradhvrta 28

But those men of virtuous deeds, whose sins have come to an end, being freed from delusion in the shape of pairs of opposites (born of attraction and repulsion) worship Me with a firm resolve in every way.

Progressively, at one point, the mind becomes completely captivated and entrenched in God thoughts by the process of sublimation and gets finer and refined in its taste, likes and sensibilities. Nevertheless, at this last crucial stage also, there are a few left over vasanas (refer- How to have lasting peace within our hearts-I) of desires and egotism or self-centredness. As a kind gesture of grace, God permits and facilitates the fulfillment of all the remaining desires so that the soul is completely freed of all its bondage of previous actions. And after the blazing of all the desires, the last remaining remnants and impact of the severest enemy called ‘ego” in us is taken to task. The ego is the last enemy on the battle field to leave the jeeva or embodied soul after a prolonged battle of many, many lives. The delusion that “I am”, “I can”, “I will” , “I”, is very thin and the very fine thin subtle layers of “ego thought particles” sticking and covering one’s soul at last drops off  with considerable passage of time. To give you an example, let’s consider this.

If you have ever pealed a pod of garlic, you must have noticed that after peeling the thicker outer skin there is a very thin inner membrane which sticks to the single garlic piece. It is sticky, transparent and light  yet it doesn’t peel off easily and is of the same colour as the garlic. Similarly, the last remaining  egotism  is so well ingrained and entangled in our consciousness and nature, also called vasana that we are not sensitive towards it and aren’t aware of its presence at all. All the same, it exists and has to be separated to isolate the soul from its pervading blemishes and patchy and itchy impurities. Once this task is achieved, the soul eventually begins to glitter in its own radiance!

After the ego is shed, the duality of you and I, sorrow-happiness, bad-good, pure-impure etc evaporates as the mind is purified and cleaned by the seeker’s meritorious karmas and guru kripa. At this particular stage it is mandatory for the sadhak or spiritual aspirant to perform good meritorious karmas and selfless acts, deliberately and consciously, so that we do not sow and reap any ill effects or ill results at all in future. We must ensure that we perform only positive karmas to have a happy and harmonious life ahead. If we do so, nature is in our favour and there is no more suffering, hurdles, sickness perpetuating and invading us constantly. Even if some people wrong us, cheat us, or act with mean manipulations, we must not react and retaliate-this is the advice of the Gurus to us. After sometime those people suffer in many ways  in terms of physical, mental and emotional illness and deprivation, while our life is good in every sense. Good luck and nature will always side with people who are good at heart and pure in actions.

At such a higher stage of spiritual level of consciousness and vast knowing,  peace flows very gently and reaches us from very high subtle planes in the ether directly in our heart and is sublime and mellifluous to sense, feel and touch. It is very soothing, genteel and endearing in nature and cannot be exchanged with anything of this world, and  it is very, very precious.  It is awe-inspiring.

The quality and duration of peace at the mental level and the heart’s level is different. Peace is enduring and is received directly in the heart centre at this advanced and evolved stage because by this time the heart of the sadhak is completely purified by a long period of practice of saatvik pure karmas, meditation, chanting, japa, charity, love, compassion and service to mankind. There is no malice, grudge, revenge, envy, greed, pride or  materialistic desires remaining in him any longer. In place of all these unwanted things, there is a priceless gift of God presented to us in our heart and that gift is of permanent and lasting nature –It is lasting peace in our heart!.

It’s because the heart centre is purified and energized and it is the seat of the Lord- the giver of bountiful peace. Such a wonderful person is called a yogi, a person whose mind is always connected to and remains one with God. The yogi has peace at all times whether he is asleep or awake, working or resting although there may be a brief  period of ripples of mild perturbation from unexpected quarters, but he soon brings his attention where the Lord resides, i.e. in his heart and God talks to him and soothes his soul for all the abrasions caused by external agencies. The vibration of the aura of such a yogi is of deep calming peace which has a positive impact on other people’s mind and heart. He can convert people with his good conduct, behaviour, speech and selflessness. His speech is full of love and kindness and he is good to  everybody. He never retaliates in spite of someone being harsh, self-centred or hurtful. Instead he prays unselfishly for the wellbeing and happiness for all. The yogi is generous and pious and ever willing to help others in times of distress, any need and agony. And God always blesses such pious and devout souls. Saints, yogis and mahatmas fall in this category.

Lord Buddha

From the fountain of peace of the blissful yogi flows the  gushing  cool waters of  serenity, tranquility and joy.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Om.   

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