Travels with Daaji, January 2019, The Raipur Diaries - part 1
Bulletin No: 2019.07 - Thursday, 31 January 2019
(Also available at: https://www.daaji.org/travels-and-conversations-with-daaji-14-january-2019/)
Daaji travelled to Raipur from Kanha Shanti Vanam on the evening of the 14 January 2019 for a long awaited trip to the state of Chhattisgarh. He last visited Raipur in 2011.
He landed at the airport around 8:30 p.m. where he was received by a small group of delighted abhyasis. On his way to the ashram he commented that there had a been a lot of development in the city since he last visited. A large group of abhyasis greeted him at the ashram, as if waiting for the first rains after a long drought. Seeing him in the ashram brought a sense of contentment to all the craving hearts.
Amity University: The search for fulfilment
The next morning began with satsangh in the ashram, and then Daaji proceeded to Amity University where he met with students to interact and conduct an introductory meditation session. He was accorded a traditional welcome by the students and answered many of their questions.
Daaji spoke about our three bodies: the physical body is nourished through food, the mental body is nourished through education and learning, but precisely because the soul is not nourished, it keeps on searching for its own nourishment life after life. We have very limited freedom to expand in the physical realm. In the mental realm there is more freedom and there is no genetic limit for mental development, but there is still a limit to mental capacities. In the spiritual realm there are no limits. Yet most of our energies are invested in the physical and mental realms. Daaji then invited the students to take care of their spiritual bodies, where there is infinite possibility of growth.
Daaji asked a rhetorical question: “Will a single or few sessions of meditation lead to gyan and fulfilment in life? No, it is a lifelong process. It does not happen with a few sessions or even few years of meditation. In fact life becomes meditation. If you are prepared for this journey you will achieve total fulfilment. If not, you will go on visiting temple after temple or mosque after mosque, but your search will never end.”
Q & A session with the students
How to meditate
Q: You advise us to meditate on the presence of divine light in the heart, but there are other systems which suggest we meditate on the point between the eyebrows. So what should be our approach?
Daaji: When we ask someone to experience something, do we experience with our feet? No. Do we experience with the stomach or liver? No. Do we even experience with the brain? No. The only organ of deep perception is the heart. That is why our elders would say, always listen to your heart. The mind may say something and confuse us logically, but the perceptions of the heart are unfailing. If you follow your heart you will master the world around you. If you don’t follow your heart you will be miserable all your life.
Of course there are various techniques of meditation. Some may say to meditate on the Nabhi chakra to acquire powers by awakening the Kundalini, but what is the use of those powers? How will you use them? Take the examples of Ravan and Lord Ram, whose Kundalini was awakened. What did they do with it? Then there is the Kantha chakra, the Agya chakra, and so on.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna mentions various forms of meditation and advises Arjuna to meditate on the Trikuti [between the eyebrows], because that was the time of war when much power was required. But we don’t need powers, we are not fighting any wars, we are fighting with our inner conflicts and relationships, which is the killing disease today. In the Gita, after seeing the Universal form of the lord, Arjuna realises that the method Krishna prescribed for him may be relevant to his situation, but what about the rest of the world? Lord Krishna says, “Hridaya me pasyasi,” meaning, “Look for me, feel me in your heart.” Every religion, be it Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and many other esoteric practices, all advise us to feel from the heart.
Daaji then added that he started meditation in 1976 when he was studying in pharmacy college and that it helped him tremendously in his studies and later on, too, in the business world. Before making any decision, he would have an idea of the question or query in the back of his mind, and after a few hours or even a few days a feeling would arise as to whether to do this or not to do this. “Meditation will always guide us. Even if God is seated in front of you today and directly advises you, you will still have to listen to your heart’s voice. If the heart says, ‘No, this is a hoax, this is not God,’ what will you do?”
He cautioned the students to beware, that there are some Gurus today who milk people for money. “If someone asks you to pay for meditation, run away.” Quoting Babuji Maharaj he said, “God is not for sale. If God were for sale, how much would you pay? And if you could pay, why would you need God.” He continued, “Be aware whenever there is a money transaction in spirituality. The Adhyatmik or spiritual tradition has always been that the Guru will never charge you money. If someone asks for Guru Dakshina, run for your life.”
Meditation and mindfulness
Q: Is there any difference between meditation and mindfulness in terms of practice?
Daaji: In meditation we begin with a thought – the presence of divinity within our heart – and wait for the thought to be converted into feeling. In mindfulness the focus is on being aware of thoughts. In meditation a moment comes when you lose yourself completely, you move from thought to experience, and when the experience is transcended you move into the sphere of nothingness, which our Shastras call Samadhi.
What is Samadhi? People generally think that Samadhi is a zombie-like state, where you don’t feel anything. This is what Patanjali calls Pashantulya, something akin to stone. Have you heard people say that someone smoked marijuana and got stoned? You can be anaesthetised and be stoned, you can take a sedative and be stoned, but Samadhi is different. If you analyse the word ‘Samadhi’, it is ‘Sam’ + ‘Adhi’, that is, similar to the condition that prevailed before the creation. Try to imagine the condition before creation, when there were no galaxies, no planets, no stars, nothing whatsoever. So what was there in such a state? Only darkness, veiled within darkness, and nothing else. That is why our ancient rishis depicted the original state as total darkness in the form of the goddess Kali. God came later, Purusha came later, but Prakriti was already there. The female principle already existed.
Mindfulness is strictly at the mind level. Meditation takes you beyond yourself to God.
To conclude, Daaji briefly covered the Heartfulness practices of Cleaning for rejuvenation and Prayer to connect with the source, and invited all to receive the service of Heartfulness trainers. He invited everyone to Kanha Shanti Vanam and wished that one day the participants would also be free distributors of the spiritual tradition of Heartfulness.
Raipur Press Club: feel Divinity within
The visit to Amity university was followed by a visit to the Raipur press club, where Daaji had been invited to present Heartfulness. It was a wonderful interaction where one could literally see the Great Masters’ work unfolding. Most of the audience of press reporters did not know who Daaji was, so at first they were busy recording other news items for their respective news channels, and their cell phones were continuously ringing. As Daaji continued answering questions, however, the atmosphere changed and everyone became receptive. People who were earlier not bothered about the noise and disturbance were seen asking others to be quiet so that they could listen to Daaji. It was wonderful and all felt delighted at the opportunity. Daaji later remarked that grace from Babuji Maharaj was flowing.
Here are some snippets from his talk:
“Many people say that we should meditate, but how to meditate? It is not clear even in spiritual books. I had deep interest in meditation since my younger days and read all 9 volumes of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. He espoused the benefits of meditation, but how to meditate is not mentioned in any of the volumes. The Gita also mentions that we should meditate and Krishna advises Arjunas to experience his presence by meditating on the heart, but the question still remains, “How to meditate?” People advise us to meditate at Sahasra-dal-Kamal, Nabhi, Trikuti, the tip of the nose, and even on an external flame, but how to meditate and how to become meditative?
“Heartfulness offers a simple system of meditation which utilises Pranahuti so that even beginners can easily meditate. With the aid of the Guide we can experience the shift in our consciousness as we continue to practise.
“Heartfulness Meditation is one way of experiencing the presence of God by allowing our hearts to open. The tragedy of modern times is the omission altogether of the spiritual existence. Can we think that a bird can fly with only one wing? No, it needs both the wings. We need to progress materially and also spiritually. The material and spiritual life must go together. The two wings of a bird represent the material and spiritual wings of life. Just as the tail of the bird gives direction to fly on two wings, so the heart provides direction to life.
“When we meditate on the heart, everything becomes very simple: direction comes, our heart becomes our inner guru, and we don’t need to search outside anymore. Even when a guru is there and tells you to do something, still the heart will guide you whether to do it or not. And the heart can only guide clearly and with confidence when it is pure and the conscience is clear.
“People often say that their heart says something and their mind something else; there is a conflict. And some say that they cannot make out whether it is the heart or mind speaking. There is an easy way to find out. If your eyes are seeing properly, does the heart congratulate you that you are able to see well? If you are able to hear well, does the heart congratulate you that you are hearing well? But when you are not able to see or hear well, then the heart will immediately guide you to consult a doctor.
“If you tell a lie, your heart will immediately let you know, but if you tell the truth your heart will not respond because it is natural. When something wrong is happening, the voice of your heart increases: don’t do, don’t do, don’t do. When you suppress the voice of the heart, by not listening to it, then slowly the heart will stop signalling. Then you start becoming like a stone. You may have heard of the example of Ahilya. We also can become like Ahilya, stone-like. One whose heart has become like a stone is lower than animals. So it is important to clean the heart, meditate on the heart, make the heart like a temple. We will not gain anything by wandering outside.
“Have you seen a baby being born? Normally the baby cries, and if she does not cry the doctor holds her upside down by the legs and gently taps on her back to stimulate the heart and the lungs so she starts breathing. If the baby still does not breathe, the mother will cry because the life force has not come into the child. You may call it anything – atma, jiva, rooh – what it means is that the the soul, the life force, is within me. My soul is not in Dwarka or in the Himalayas or in some temple, or mosque or church. My soul is in me. That is why in our Shastras it is called ‘Antaryamin’, that which is within me.
“Yet still people run outside looking for God. Why should we run outside? It is all right for children to realise that the akar is a representation of the Lord, but it is not the Lord Himself and slowly children start understanding this. But we are not children. We are trying to move from akar to nirakar through the medium of meditation.
“Meditation starts with the thought that there is divine light within my heart, and slowly we start experiencing the divine presence, we start entering the condition of Samadhi. When we are in Samadhi the condition of Mukti is felt from within. I can guarantee that within three months you will experience that condition if you practice diligently.”
“If you think that some good person will come and change the country, then forget about it. We have to change, and how will we get the courage to change? It will come when we experience the presence of God in our own hearts. If we look for a God outside then we will be dependent on people outside. The Heartfulness way is simple, as you only need courage to look within your heart. Meditation gives us the courage to depend on the heart, and when we feel the divine presence within what else is required?”
Q & A session: Why teach spirituality?
Q: If India is the land of spirituality, then why is there a need to teach spirituality here?
Daaji: Every baby has to be taught. In fact the child of a human being needs to be taught with love even how to eat, whereas birds and animals don’t need to teach their young ones. As soon as a calf is born it goes straight to the mother’s lap, whereas the human baby has to be carried by the mother.
Second, to infuse good samskaras in our children, we will have to teach them. Nowadays, when both parents are working and they are so busy, who will impart knowledge to their children? Teachers will teach something in school but if the consciousness of the teachers is not meditative then what will happen? Their mindset is often different, as they too want to earn money while doing less and less. Everyone wants to gain something. Very few will be there who will give something. Teachers need to earn to fulfil their material responsibilities, but nowadays many teachers take a lot without giving much in return.
Let me give you another example: what does a mango tree take to give you mango fruits? Just water, sunlight and some manure. If we want buffalo milk, we don’t feed the buffalo some milk, we give it only water and grass. We give them very little and they give us much more in return. What do humans do? They eat everything good and in return what do they give back? It is a big question.
People say, “If the Guru has the capacity, he will change me.” People say, “In the times of Lord Krishna, where was the need for war? If he was omnipotent and could teach spirituality, then he could have changed the heart and mind of Duryodhana, why did he not do so? Was he not capable enough.” So, there is a principle in spirituality that only one who wants to really learn with an open heart and become something can be taught.
Take another example: what is rape? The perpetrator’s passion is so strong that he does not think about the other person. But if compassion is there in place of passion, a person will be willing to die to prevent the pain of others.
Why stress and disease?
Q: What is the reason for stress and other diseases increasing in society?
Daaji: There are many causes, not just one cause. For example, even for a simple thing like rain to occur there are many factors required – clouds, enough humidity in the clouds, temperature etc. Even when all these are there, there is no rain in the Sahara Desert because the Earth repels it.
Now, the field of mental development is an even more complex phenomenon. It is not dependent on one factor; there are many factors that come together and change the personality, especially the outer environment, including the family environment. One of the main reasons is the unnecessary exposure to radiation we have given to children. If a child cries you give them a phone to play with, to listen or watch something. Slowly the child will put the cell phone in their mouth too. It is a proven fact in science that Wifi, Bluetooth and other types of radiation from the phone affect the development of the frontal cortex of the brain. At such a tender age, if the frontal cortex develops even by 2 mm less, then billions of cells will be lost; so what will be the condition of the child?
We asked children to do an experiment: To grow moong sprouts in 4 different cups, 10 grams in each with a little water to enable them to sprout, all exposed to the same environmental conditions except that all cups were kept in separate rooms. One cup was in a room with Wi-fi, one with Bluetooth, on with an active phone connection running and one in a meditation room.
Within one week they saw the effect of Wi-fi and Bluetooth on the growth of the sprouts – they turned yellow. Similarly, children grow but some shortcomings will be there with constant exposure. Even if a little shortcoming is there in the early years, it will become a larger shortcoming as they grow up. So, I think there is an effect of Wi-fi and television, and even more is the effect due to disturbances in the circadian rhythm.
Our ancient sages always said that we have to respect the Sun. Everything must happen at the right time of the day. The right nostril is the path for Surya nadi and the left nostril for the Chandra nadi. When the sun rises the Surya nadi is activated and when the sun sets the Chandra nadi is activated. After sunset the secretion of melatonin is supposed to take place, but if we are exposed to radiation from computer screens, television, white light etc., then the secretion of melatonin is suppressed, and as a result our sleep is disturbed. If sleep is disturbed, then how will the morning be good? Sleep deprivation makes us short tempered, erratic, and affects our judgement.
So, this is another reason why we are not able to respect time – when to wake up, when to sleep, when to eat and when not to eat. In earlier times people were taught that specific foods should be prepared at certain times, and foods were cooked as per the season. Even a simple thing like the leaf of a tulsi plant should not be picked and eaten after sunset. All these instructions have a scientific backing, but they were made a part of religion so that people would adopt these practices at least out of fear.
When we meditate, the parasympathetic system is automatically activated. When we focus on the heart, automatically the right side of the brain and the left nadi are activated, which are parasympathetic in nature. Because of this, the heart rate and blood pressure come down. It is not that there is a God outside blessing us; automatically our system gets adjusted.
Anger is also a big problem nowadays. If people learn left nostril breathing, i.e. breathing 10 times deeply through the left nostril with the right nostril closed, automatically their anger will cool down. The left nostril will activate the right brain. Even fasting culture is scientific. Today they call it autophagy, which is cellular deprivation. Many people practise Ekadishi fasting, which too has scientific backing. It is not for making God happy but for maintaining good health..
Daaji then narrated a personal anectode: “As a child I used to study in an Arya Samaj School where they would do havan and shanti patt twice a day. We would dip our two middle fingers in water and touch our earlobes, eyelids, Sahasra Dal Kamal, Kantha chakra, Nabhi chakra, knees and shoulders. These are all acupuncture points and touching them has an immediate effect on our system. When you touch them with water, immediately you become quiet, absorbed inside, and some sort of joy develops in your heart.”
Q: Meditation is necessary for which category of people? Many people don’t meditate at all but lead a healthy, comfortable and happy life.
Daaji: Meditation is necessary for those who want to become something, who want become one with God. I too have seen many people who don’t meditate, who are happy, but their consciousness is flat. Their consciousness does not soar or dive deep, unlike those who are progressing on the path of spirituality.
For example, Patanjali described the seven chakras in the human system – Mooladhar, Swadishtan, Manipur, Hridaya, Kantha, Trikuti and Sahasra Dal Kamal. In Heartfulness we recognise 13 chakras starting with the heart, in addition to the chakras below the the Hridaya chakra, which go all the way to the back of the head and beyond Sahasra Dal Kamal.
Now, what is meant by the journey through the chakras? Suppose when I am at the Hridaya chakra I have one type of experience, and then when I am moving to the Atma chakra the spiritual condition changes. One feels slightly different, the mood is different. I was happy at the Hridaya chakra, but the Guru shook me because he wanted to take me further. It is like a child when your place of work is changed to another city. The child will complain: “I will not enjoy school at the new place. My friends will not be there, my teachers will not be there; everything is different.” He will start crying before leaving and not want to go. Your spouse will also say, “I don’t want to move because all the conveniences and familiarity of the current place will not be available.” There will be resistance to the move. If there is anything new, the effect is disturbing. Similarly, in spirituality, when we are moving to a new station or place there is disturbance, but if you have patience and capacity then you will move ahead.
So people may not be willing to take difficulties on their head. If you want to live peacefully please go ahead. If you don’t want to do anything, then don’t, but what will you achieve by not doing anything? You will get nothing, you will remain as you were.
We must bring about a shift in our consciousness. Even science is now saying that evolution is nothing but a shift in consciousness. My body cannot evolve further. It can become older and age but it cannot evolve during the lifespan that is available to me. The soul is complete in itself and hence cannot evolve further. Then why are we doing all this? We are doing this for the evolution of the subtle body. The subtle body has various functions, including consciousness (chit), thinking (manas), intellect (buddhi), and ego (ahankar). We are doing everything for the evolution of our consciousness. Those who are happy and healthy but their chit remains the same do not gain anything. Their consciousness needs to evolve, and if consciousness has to shift then some difficulties will be there. I can assure you that those people who are living only a steady, happy and peaceful life have a flat consciousness.
Q: How essential is it for a person of today to adopt spirituality in his or her life.
Daaji: It is absolutely essential. Take the words ‘man’ and ‘manav’. ‘Human’ translates as ‘manav’ in Hindi, that is, one who has ‘man’ or mind. Can we find peace, anand, while our mind is restless or unsettled? Irrespective of the amount of bliss outside, it will not enter into us. For that we need a contemplative mind, which is possible when we have a focused mind, and a focused mind is possible only when we meditate. The mind is regulated by meditation. While the mind is not in our control, then whatever progress we make in the material world, it will carry no meaning at all.
In the evening at 7 p.m. Daaji attended a gathering of a group of young entrepreneurs of Raipur who have created very large and successful business houses. We will discover what happened there in the next bulletin.
To be continued