Middle East and North Africa Seminar
Bulletin No: 2019.01 - Tuesday, 1 January 2019
Kanha Shanti Vanam, 30 November to 4 December 2018 Also available at: https://www.daaji.org/travels-and-conversations-with-daaji-30-nov-to-4-dec-2018/
Namaste MENA – transformation and change
We started trickling in to beautiful Kanha early before the start of the seminar, some with expectations, others embarking on their first journey of spiritual discovery. Many said they felt the preparations for the seminar weeks before.
The weather in Kanha at this time of the year is quite pleasant. For many of us it is the coldest weather we know. We brought shawls and pullovers to wrap us in a comfortable cocoon for the 6:30 am satsangh.
The special treat every morning was the enchanting scenery and nature’s gift of sunlight perfectly illuminating the flowers just outside the meditation hall.
With the first meditation on 30 November, our beloved Daaji welcomed us and opened the door for transformation and change. Here is his inaugural talk:
Namaste ji and Salaam.
A hearty welcome to all abhyasis, especially those of you from the Middle East and North Africa. Some of you have sacrificed a lot to come here, especially seeing the economic situation of our sisters and brothers from Iran. Our hearts are with you and may Master bless the country.
This morning while having breakfast, one sister asked me: “Hum sadhna toh karte hai lekin aur kya?”, meaning “We are practising but what more can I do?” Practice is just a beginning; it is not the end. Practice makes us listen to our heart; practice makes our heart purified. In a purified heart, we get pure signals from within, because of changed consciousness. Not only people who meditate have a better conscience – that is not true either. In fact, a lot of people who do not meditate have a greater conscience. But for those of us who meditate on a regular basis, our consciousness continues to improve at an exponential level and, with this improvement, we interact from a new level of approach. The old level, the old habits, will not go well with the new level of consciousness. Old habits must die, old traits must die, and old tendencies must die if we want to grow along with our consciousness.
Through sadhana, our Masters bestow us with a different level of consciousness each time. And to match that consciousness we change our lifestyle, and that is what is expected from us. When Lalaji Maharaj talks about akhlaaq, it is only this: how we constantly go on changing our inner tendencies, our inner behaviour, our inner thoughts, our inner likes and dislikes. Having sensitized our hearts through meditation, now it is time to act. That is all there is to it.
A devoted abhyasi
What is the difference between an abhyasi who is really devoted and one who is not? It is only this: Devoted abhyasis go on changing their lifestyle and actions constantly. Some abhyasis, though they feel “I must change”, remain the way they are. Their consciousness is changing at one level but the heart is not changing at all, the tendencies are not changing at all, because they are not making efforts.
When we talk about a better condition, when abhyasis come to us for sittings, we think, “The work is done.” When Babuji Maharaj travelled to Western countries, before taking off on the flight he said, “My work is done.” It is one way of thinking that what you have projected in your heart and mind is now actually taking shape, be it in the field of emotion or the field of the physical world, with your health or in the spiritual realm.
If you think that you have made it in the company of Masters, if you have nothing more to achieve, and if this is a heart-based sentiment, I should congratulate you. I am often reminded of Babuji’s couplet:
Rah-e-talab mein aise bekhabar hogaye, pyarki manjil ko doondte.
Having reached the path, having met the Master, have you felt in your heart that you have reached your destination? If your heart agrees, then I must congratulate you.
If it doesn’t, then you need to practise more and more – well, continue until you feel “The path has become my destination.” Because the path is infinite, and on an infinite path where is the destination? The path itself becomes the destination. Do we truly belong to this path? Then it can happen. If we are still searching even after experiencing some lofty stillness in the heart, then I think something is wanting in us.
So I hope you will all leave your ‘signature tree’ here in Kanha. You should all plant something and if you cannot plant because of physical limitations, that is also okay, just enjoy the evening walks here.
The well-planned and heartfully delivered daily workshops were enthusiastically received by one and all. The first program allowed us to learn more about the presentation of Heartfulness. We were reminded that each one of us can bring Heartfulness to our environment by small heartfelt gestures. The workshop concluded with a wonderful exercise in small groups. We had to convey the essence of the Master without words. The intensity of this short practice proved to us once again the beauty of interiorizing Master’s presence and sharing it with one and all.
In the afternoon, we eagerly gathered again to hear more on consciousness. So much to discover and assimilate! We were reminded of 3 elements that will allow us to progress fast:
- Intense longing
- The Teacher
- The Goal firmly in view
We were encouraged to re-read the chapter called ‘My Pain’ in Voice Real where these elements are explored by Babuji. Here is one excerpt from that chapter:
“There is nothing difficult on the Divine Path. A firm will coupled with undivided attention is all that is required. Everything that you seek for shall then be found to be quite close to you, rather with you; nay, in fact you are yourself that which you seek.”
‘Open Your Heart’ was the theme of the following session. We had a lovely greeting exercise where we bowed to each other multiple times and received a more profound understanding of the meaning of Namaste: “The Divine in me sees and salutes the Divine in you.”
In the afternoon, we experienced a transformative 20 minutes walking meditation in silence among the trees. We concluded the session with a prayer for those who were not with us, and together made the sankalpa that they would be included in the evening satsangh. We were all moved by the tender intention and tears were flowing.
Being in Green Kanha, we experienced how to communicate with trees. This was our last workshop on communication, and we experienced the need to go beyond the five senses to connect and feel the subtle energy of all living things around us. The workshop ended with a reading of the ‘Principles of Conversation’ by Lalaji, which transported us to a deep meditative state.
For some time now, during seminars in Kanha, we have been given the chance to do early morning gardening work. This opportunity is not just about gardening and volunteering, but also gives us a chance to deepen our connection with fellow gardeners and Nature. Here in Kanha we observe the natural closeness of hearts, beyond regional strife and politics. This was exemplified by people from seemingly opposite world views (Iran and Israel), who were drawn to each other with tenderness and kindness and appreciation for each other.
On the evening of the 2 December, after the evening satsangh, there was a Q & A session with Daaji. Here are some excerpts:
Q: Is the superconscious spectrum of the mind available in a normal mind, or is it the result of a meditating mind?
Daaji: It is available to a normal mind.
Q: Do people have superconsciousness even without meditating?
Daaji: Yes and no. You see, if you are born with a superconscious state, then you need not meditate. And if you are not, you had better meditate. That is the beauty of Heartfulness. For example, Babuji Maharaj used to write to his Master Lalaji and say, “Sir, I cannot meditate more than five minutes, at the most ten,” because for him time was irrelevant. Just close your eyes and see if you can go into a deep state of meditation within two minutes. Then why waste one hour of time? So meditation of course helps – even if only for two minutes you will have to meditate to get centred, to touch that plane of consciousness.
I will give you one more example: consider the avatars, prophets and messengers of God, like Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, The Prophet Saheb, Jesus the Christ, Moses, Buddha, Mahavir; haven’t you seen them meditating? Haven’t you heard of The Prophet going into the mountains and gaining that knowledge? He spent some time in seclusion. Moses went to the mountain. Buddha attained Nirvana through meditation. So when we ask such a question about ‘normal people’ not meditating, even extraordinary people meditate! So a normal person should love to meditate. It may not be Heartfulness Meditation, but some method has to be followed to centre the mind, to focus the mind. It does not matter how you do it: you can play table tennis, maybe you can jog, maybe you can cycle, may be you can paint, or maybe you can play music. But somehow, somewhere, something is needed to focus.
A method like Heartfulness is not only about consciousness. We often make the mistake of thinking that it is only about consciousness. We have to go beyond consciousness, as consciousness is not our goal. Babuji says that consciousness is great, and superconsciousness is even greater, but there lies something even greater than that, a potentiality that supports consciousness. We wonder: What supports consciousness? So we go there and, if possible, beyond.
That is why we meditate and do cleaning and other practices. Some of us have joined this system with a lot of awareness, while others have fallen into it by sheer accident, because of a friend or relative who said, “Let’s meditate.” But as we move along this path more seriously, we understand that the original aim is no longer the same. And we go on changing: “Okay, what next?” And we keep on following the next step.
Removing the wrinkles in consciousness
Meditation is like a mirror. It tells us our status. When we close our eyes, it helps us understand where the wrinkles are in our consciousness, and what the problems are. There are times we are not able to dive deep. There are times when we immediately go into the depths of meditation. Recall those states if you can. What were the circumstances when you were not able to meditate properly and you struggled? There must be a cause behind this non-meditative mind.
So once we figure out the causes, we can work on them. Meditation helps us to understand what our defects are, and having highlighted those defects in meditation, now we have to work on them. It is not enough to understand that we could not go deep in meditation. Go further. Find out why, and how to work on it. So meditation always helps us. Even when we are in the state of superconsciousness, we still meditate, because there is something beyond superconsciousness to which we are taken.
The seed of liberation
Q: In Complete of Works of Ram Chandra, volume 5, Babuji writes that in the first sitting the Master transmits the seed of liberation to the seeker. Does the Master transmit the seed of craving to the seeker or is it the seeker’s conscious effort?
Daaji: Well, it is the Master who does the job. Even preceptors should not worry about how to do the work, because we are only conduits; we cannot determine the quality of the Transmission. Transmission is always the same. It comes from the Source. Of course, a seeker with a craving heart, a thirsting heart, a crying heart, will accelerate the whole process.
We read that in the first sitting the state of liberation is transmitted. The ‘state of liberation’ is transmitted, but this does not mean that you will get liberation instantly or at the end of your life. The state is given; now it is up to you how to make use of it. The seeds are given, it is up to you how to make them grow into trees and make more seeds out of them. Babuji was a very humorous man. He used to say, “Liberation from liberation, freedom from freedom.” He used words like baqa ye baqa and fana ye fana. What did he mean by liberation from liberation? He meant, forget the whole idea of liberation! That is his business, God’s business. Be free even from the anxieties and worries of liberation. That will then be true liberation. Otherwise you will keep worrying about: Was it in the first sitting I got liberation or was it after three bhandaras?”
Cleaning the subconscious mind
Q: Does the cleaning of samskaras from the subconscious mind allow us to increase the superconscious state of the mind? While we are cleaning samskaras from the subconscious mind, does that increase the capacity for superconsciousness?
Daaji: Not necessarily. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, we have a level of consciousness available to us at any given time. At this moment we have some level of consciousness. He said that this thin layer of consciousness available to us is sandwiched between two giant oceans – one of superconsciousness and the second of subconsciousness. Imagine the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean sandwiching one millimetre of consciousness. Will whatever happens at the subconsciousness level increase the availability of superconsciousness? No, it will not, but cleaning the subconscious does help widen the existing consciousness to expand in that direction.
Q: When our samskaras are cleaned through taking sittings and doing our own cleaning, can it cure illness?
Daaji: Yes it can. When the cleaning happens, samskaras are removed little by little, to the extent our system cooperates. For example, in some individuals, Nature grants an affectionate heart, but if it becomes too affectionate, it will not be good for that individual. So those samskaras will remain there because it is more detrimental if they are removed. Some samskaras create fear in a person. I think Nature has granted a certain level of fearfulness in that heart, because if it were missing, the person may become a criminal. So there is some level of moderation placed automatically in the system by Nature. It is not Sahaj Marg regulating this; it is inbuilt in us. So as the layers of samskaras are removed, little by little, the extent to which all these things are removed depends upon our lifestyle.
If you keep thinking about money all the time, there can be a problem. Your mind will be too focused on money and what money can get for you, which will eventually affect point A. A preceptor may clean the point more and more, but does it mean that the capacity to make money will be removed? No, it is not so. The whole purpose of Heartfulness Meditation, Cleaning and Constant Remembrance is to arrive at a state of moderation, and ensure that we progress both in the spiritual realm and master the material realm. No person who does the practice properly will ever suffer miserably, though they may be sick, though they may be poor. Suffering and lack of things are two different things.
Mergence with the Master
Q: Can we perceive the subtle body of the Master within us? If so, how?
Daaji: Well, it is enough that we feel his Transmission. And, as we go deeper and deeper into our own Self, I think the whole system will be purified to such an extent that the Master will start occupying it. And there is beauty in feeling such a state. Try it. What is needed here is the willingness to try, and understanding the possibility of such a phenomenon. It is said that a time will come in our life, during meditation, where you become him: “Mun tu shudam tu mun shudi,” meaning “I have become you and you have become me.” So what is the point of only having him or feeling his presence in the subtle form when there is the possibility of becoming him? So our goal should be higher.
Balancing spiritual and material life
Q: We either live a material life with too much involvement, or we are totally away from material life. How we can live a balanced life?
Daaji: Meditate well. When you wake up in the morning and meditate to your heart’s content, have you felt contentment after meditation? It is the true contentment of feeling that “I have really, really done a great meditation today.” Then all these things will open up. Unfortunately, what we often do is a haphazard thing. That is why all these problems remain and we continue asking questions like, “How to balance material and spiritual life?” It will fall in place if meditation is done correctly.
The process of preparation for morning meditation must begin at bedtime the night before. Recall your teenage days: before meeting your girlfriend or boyfriend, did you sleep at night? Do we have that sort of restlessness in our heart for God-Realization, or for perfecting our consciousness and going beyond it?
At night-time, make a resolve, a loving sankalpa, that “All through the night I will have my Lord in my heart in my sleep.” You will have a very peaceful sleep with this idea. Hold Him in your arms and go to sleep. Pretend. As they say, “Fake it until you make it.” See the effect. As Babuji Maharaj has said, shed two tears! Express your love to God before sleeping and say, “My Lord, as soon as I wake up we will be together once again. I will be waiting for your Transmission.” Then meditate as soon as you wake up and see the effect of such a meditation cultivated through such an attitude.
In spirituality, attitude is very, very important. When you are here in this assembly, while coming from the dormitory to this place, or going from here somewhere else, are you able to preserve the condition while walking? Or are you simply gossiping and diluting the inner state? Ashrams are playing fields for us to get trained. Remain aloof and alone for at least three to four days. Sit here peacefully and observe your condition, see what it is.
Often I ask, “At least vibrationally, tell me where you felt the Transmission or the effect of cleaning.” Not many people are able to answer, even after 30 years of practice. What is the use? Become serious about these things. Having felt the vibrations arising out of Transmission and the effect of cleaning, observe at which point. Further observe what state or what sort of thoughts it has created. What sort of bhava or emotion has it created in your heart? Sometimes it is so tranquil, sometimes it is so still, sometimes it is so peaceful, and sometimes it is so full of restlessness. Sometimes you feel a churning sensation. Sometimes you feel an itching sensation.
All these things have to be observed and written in your diary. You have spent so much money coming here – make the best use of it. How? You all know it. Be yourself, be alone, appreciate what is around, what is given. Be grateful for all that is here. It helps. Whereas the moment you say, “Oh, this bloody ashram has no facilities, it is so hot here and mosquitoes bite me,” there goes your condition. Instead of being grateful for what little you have, you are now on a different trajectory and you spoil your state. So attitude does matter. And this idea of creating restlessness and making a good prayerful resolve before bedtime in order to prepare for morning meditation, will surely help, because now you are seeking the help of God.
At the time of meditation our attitude should be so simple: “My Lord, whatever it be, I would like to feel your presence.” That is all. I am meditating on the presence of Divine Light but none of us know Divine Light. It is an assumption. We start with that assumption and hopefully wait for it to become a reality. How long do you want to wait for it to become a reality? So this thought process of the assumption of the presence of Divine Light, and making it a real thing in life, should well up our hearts with restlessness: “Come what may, I will achieve this, I will experience this, I will become this.” Otherwise there is no point if there is a haphazard or lukewarm approach.
If you have a lukewarm relationship with your girlfriend or boyfriend, what will happen? It will not become a mature relationship. And in marriage, if there is a lukewarm relationship it is a sad story. Are we really satisfied with what we are doing? Let’s take the next step. Let us not remain in the complacent confidence that the Master will take care of everything. His work is his business. Let us do our part. And as we grow more and more in spirituality, it will demand more and more from us. It will become a 24x7 affair – not only in receiving but we automatically become great distributors. It is not only preceptors who transmit. Before I was a preceptor, I experienced that work would happen through the heart automatically. It is not that, as abhyasis, we transmit or we clean. Babuji says not to do it, so we don’t do it, but his work is done wherever an abhyasi goes. When does this happen? When we are centred in the heart – when our attention is on Him.
The role of the Master
Q: I want to know the difference between an individual sitting and satsangh versus my own meditation. While in a sitting or in satsangh, I receive the Transmission from the Master. When I sit in morning meditation and offer my prayer, I get connected with the Source.
Daaji: I will give one small example and hopefully it will become clear. Have you played with a convex lens when you were a kid? You have a convex lens or a magnifying glass, put it in front of the Sun and ask someone to put their hand under it. It gets hot. Or if you put cotton, it burns. In olden times, this is one way they created fire, besides rubbing sticks together. So when we are with a preceptor, either in a sitting or a satsangh, the person who is transmitting is like a convex lens. That’s all. They are able to harvest all that is and beam it. When you are sitting alone, it is like sitting in the sun absorbing it yourself. When the convex lens comes in front of you – that is the role of the preceptor.
Q: There is a question regarding the third part of the Sahaj Marg prayer that says, “Thou art the only God and Power to bring us up to that stage.” Does it refer to the living Master?
Daaji: You have to figure it out. When someone asked Babuji, “Who is this Master?”, did he say, “I am the Master”? It is a catch-22 situation. When he has himself forgotten that he is the Master, how can he say it? That is why I said, “You figure it out.” Experiment. Sometimes associate it with the unknown God. Sometimes associate it with Chariji Maharaj and see what happens, and sometimes with Babuji Maharaj and see what happens. Associate it with your father and say, “Thou art the only God and Power,” and see what happens. I am open to all sorts of experiments. Then you will come to your own conclusion. Why must someone tell you, “Meditate on the form of the living Master”? Try it and see what happens. If it helps, good. If it does not, so be it!
The subtle bodies of trees
Q: If trees and plants don’t process, i.e. they don’t have minds, through which instrument or channel do they feel the vibrations of humans?
Daaji: Well, they do have subtle bodies. They do have causal bodies. They do have physical bodies. We cannot perceive the way those bodies are organized, but they perceive it. Let me give you an example. We have a very complex physiological system. We have blood flowing through the circulatory system, and in the blood we have so many cells. One group of cells is the white blood cells or WBCs. They have their role of securing and giving us protection, giving us immunity. They are like scavengers, trying to find what is detrimental to our system, looking for bacteria and foreign bodies to remove. Are WBCs connected to the brain? How do WBCs perceive danger?
Q: They have receptors.
Daaji: That is what I am trying to say: everything in nature has receptors, though they are not directly connected with the brain. I can feel things on my skin because it is enervated with so many nerve endings, which are connected to the brain. But the WBCs are not running around attached like kites with threads, moving nerves connected to the brain! They have their own intelligence; they have their own receptors. So have the trees – they all have independent receptors. A flower has its own receptors, leaves have their own, and roots have their own. And the fascinating thing is, they don’t have such a well developed mind, so whatever is given they absorb. They cannot destroy what is given because there is nothing in them that can destroy, as manas or mind.
You give Transmission to a human being who has a special condition, which is that you walk from here to there and you lose it. In reality, what is expected of us as we walk out of this meditation hall? It must increase. Instead of allowing it to dissipate, our mind must be able to accelerate it further, intensify it. In order to do that, we must identify what we have felt. We may not be able to give a name to the state or condition, but we should be able to say, “Oh, yes, this is what I am feeling.”
Only when we recognise these inner feelings can we carry the condition forward and intensify it. This we have discussed in detail with the AEIOU concept: acquire it, enliven it, intensify or imbibe it, become one with it and remain united – what we call merger.
Gratitude & love
The culmination of the seminar was an al fresco dinner with Daaji at the cottage after the Q & A session. The palpable vibration was the gratitude we felt for all that we had received during these few days.
It was indeed a delightful seminar where we experienced an opening of the heart and the resulting transformative effect, all due to the subtle and loving presence of our beloved Daaji. Leaving Kanha was only possible by reminding ourselves that we will return again soon. One participant summed it up by saying, “Love is the most prominent feeling in this seminar. I felt my heart opening, and the feeling of love and appreciation for all growing. This is not the love we know, it is something divine.”