Learn to Meditate
by Daaji, March 17, 2015, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
(Address to the students of Aurangabad Government College)
Good morning everyone. Thank you, the faculty and Shri Advaniji for having me here, giving this opportunity to share the views of Shri Ram Chandra Mission on meditation.
Meditation is not a theory that we learn in colleges. Even whatever we learn in colleges must manifest in the work environment – there is the application of my knowledge in the working environment. And you learn, slowly, that all that we gather, though everything is not applicable in the real world, somehow adds on to each other. It is like climbing or walking to the terrace: unless I take the first step I cannot reach there, and having reached the terrace I cannot say my first step was useless.
Many people say spirituality and religion are far apart. Some people compare them, saying that religion is the beginning stage like a kindergarten, where you are taught to learn the alphabet with stencils. As children we all learnt the alphabet – somebody held our hands and said this is ‘a’, and then they gave us the stencil and we carried on with it. When we enter college we don’t walk around with a stencil and write with the alphabet, as we have become champions. But you cannot say it was useless; it played its part. The stencil had its role.
Religion also has its role, culminating – remembering the word culminating – in spirituality. I cannot remain worshipping the way I worshipped the stencil. It must become my innate nature to worship. It is not about the objects, but it becomes my nature.
So having established this fundamental principle and understanding, I would move on to say, ask, “Why meditation?” Most of us don’t need to be told; the presence of God runs in our blood. Any child you ask, “Where is God?” says “He is everywhere.” We are indoctrinated from our childhood with the presence of God. Some people call it ‘God’, some people call it ‘Ishwar’, some people say ‘Antaryamin’, or ‘Kuda’. There are too many names for the same entity. And we fight over all these things. Until we experience this oneness of God, each philosophy will keep on dividing us. And that is not the purpose of religion.
If one looks at the genesis of the word religion, it means to connect: religare – one that connects me to what? With the source. Yoga is also a similar word. Yogah – one that joins. Yahudi yogah – one that joins. The word in Sanskrit and the word in English both convey the same meaning, the same understanding that I have to unite myself with my Maker. My atma must merge with paramatma. This is the second thing I would like you to understand.
The third thing I would like you to understand is that knowledge, though it is very impressive, the very knowledge that God is everywhere, is it enough for me? You ask yourself a question: “I know God is everywhere – now this ‘know’, how did I come to it?” How did you come to this conclusion that “I know God is everywhere”? Is it a hypothesis? Is it an experience-based claim, or is it borrowed knowledge from my grandmother or grandparents or my father or my friends or from books? Nevertheless, this knowledge has not been actualised through the experience of His presence. Though He’s everywhere, I am not even able to feel His presence in myself. Then what is the use of this presence and what is the use of this knowledge? That’s why we advocate experience-meditation. Only through experience one can be convinced without any doubt that “Yes, it is there.”
As in science, we come up with some hypothesis and then later prove that it is so. Or we begin with the hypothesis that it is not so-and-so, and in the end we conclude either it’s positive or negative. Spirituality is also as scientific. I would not say it is just an imaginary concept – it is not. Theoretically I can convince you, but how long will this ‘whitewash’ last on your heart? But if it is made possible and if you are able to feel the presence of that Lord Almighty in your heart, then all the questions, all the doubts, all the surprises will vanish in no time. That is why we focus more on experience than knowledge. Of course, knowledge is better than having nothing in your head. But the next step should be to actualise this knowledge through experience.
So I would like to offer you a little experiment, feeling this presence in your heart. The act of meditation is described or it can be defined in many ways. But one single definition that appeals, and most people agree on it, is that meditation is nothing but keeping your thought on one object for as long as you can. So you rest your mind on one object. Some people rest the mind on let us say a flame outside called 'deepam' or 'noor' or they fix the mind on some sound or the attention on the tip of the nose. Some people fix their attention on the chakra between the eyebrows, and they call it the third eye. Some people keep it on the nabhi, [navel]; some people on the crown of the head. And everyone has their reasons, whatever reasons they may be advocating. I know some of you may have also meditated on your own. It may not be systematic, it may not be regular, but it will give you the platform for comparison if you have already meditated.
This system is very unique in a way. Though the method is simple, a method is useless unless and until there’s another element that we call transmission applied to it. And what is this transmission?
In order to understand the concept of transmission, which is described in Sanskrit as pranahuti and in Urdu as tavajo, I’d like to a take a little detour and bring up another subject of nutrition. To nourish our physical system, our body, we consume food. As far as possible, if it is a balanced diet it is great – vitamins, protein, fat, carbohydrates and fibre in a balanced state. That nourishes our physical body.
Then we go on to the second aspect of our existence: mental enrichment. How do we nourish that? You all are going through the process at the moment of enriching yourself mentally. And please don’t let it stop with the end of this degree. Let it continue. Don’t let it rust. Education should never be stopped till we die. Otherwise, as they say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
And we also have a third body. The first body is the grosser body, the physical body, and we get nutrition from food. The second is mental, and that derives its nutrition through such enrichment via our professors, and via what we do with their teaching. We assimilate it, we absorb it, we assimilate it and later on make it more intense through our work, actualising it in our experience.
We also have a third entity we call the soul or the atma. Did you ever think how do we or how can we enrich that soul? Is there any food for that? Suppose some of you say yes, and some of you say no. Let’s put it differently: when a baby is hungry and eats something, without realising that it is food, if it satisfies the baby’s hunger he is happy. The baby does not need to say, “This is my food.” A child doesn’t say, “It is my food.” When you are thirsty, without knowing the name water, the water still quenches your thirst. And when we are so desperate about knowledge, it really does not matter from where we gather our knowledge – it just impresses our heart so much that we are lost in that knowledge. We are somehow in a state of joy when we learn something new.
It is similar with this inner being, the soul, though we do not know how it feels hungry or not. If somehow, through some process, it is satisfied; if it remains at peace, if it derives immense calmness that it has never experienced before, then you can say, “Yes, something is all right. I am being fed.” That is what I call pranahuti. Pranas-ahuti is the sacrifice of someone’s soul for the enrichment of my soul.
Now when you say sacrificing someone’s soul, it does not mean you are killing someone. But a yogi at the pinnacle of his sadhana or his evolution merges in the Ultimate. He derives the essence from the Ultimate and he is able, after drawing it, to transmit it. And the people who receive it feel it. And that is what we offer to you if you are interested.
And to simply encourage you all to try it out, I will share with you another possibility, of how limited we are in the physical world. Our body has its limitations at a genetic level – if you are going to grow to five feet five, you’ll grow only five feet five, maybe five feet six if you keep on exercising. Your muscles may not be as big as one of those macho men, but you can surpass your parents’ physical status by exercising and by properly looking after your body with the right nutrition. But a five-footer cannot dream of becoming a six-footer. There’s enormous limitations imposed at a physical level, restrained by genetics, by the genes that we have inherited from our parents.
If you go to the next level, growth at the mental level, it is not as restricted. It is not genetic. If my father is a farmer, I have all the possibility of becoming a PhD. A son or a daughter of a rickshaw puller can still become a PhD or a super PhD, a double PhD, or a triple PhD. But not all can become Einsteins. There is limitation there too, but there is greater flexibility than at a physical level.
Going to the spiritual realm, there are no limitations. The possibilities are infinite. You can go on expanding, and keep growing infinitely in the spiritual field because now you’re merging with God. And if God is infinite and your merger is in the Infinite, your growth must be infinite. So there is a greater possibility through meditation.
I welcome you all to try it out. If you like it, continue with it. If you don’t like it, there is no loss to anyone. But once you like it, make it a commitment to yourself. It is not that you are going to satisfy either of your parents by sitting quietly with closed eyes and becoming a saint. You are not even here to satisfy God; you are here to satisfy your existence. The very purpose of existence is to excel in whatever you do. Most people have these questions: Why was I born? Was it a mistake? After many years of interaction within myself I’ve come to this fundamental conclusion that this life is given to us so that we excel in whatever we do. It is as simple as that.
First I will teach you how to relax. So if you have phones, please turn them off, don’t keep them on in vibratory mode. Keep your bags on the floor, not in your lap. If it is possible you can remove your shoes or chappels.
I am about to demonstrate how to relax before meditation. You need not meditate if you are not interested later on, but somehow take on this method of how to relax. You can teach your parents as well. You can say, “Papa, please relax. Don’t be under tension.” And the same method can also be used when we cannot fall asleep easily. Instead of sitting down, the same process can be repeated in a supine position on the bed.
So this process will take about two to three minutes. But remain focused inside and be relaxed through this process. Follow the process and the commands that I give you.
Just close your eyes please. We’ll start with the feet. Try to feel the toes and the ankles. See if they’re relaxed. Your calf muscles and your knees are relaxing. The entire legs are feeling relaxed. The area of the body touching the ground or the chair is relaxing. Your entire back is relaxing. Abdominal muscles are relaxing. Your chest is relaxing. Feel your arms, your fingers, your wrists – they’re all relaxing. Your shoulders, they’re melting, dissolving. Your neck muscles are relaxed. Your facial muscles are relaxing. Your eyes are soft and gently closed. There’s a lot of softness in your eyes. Feel the crown of your head. The whole body from top to toe is relaxed. The energy is flowing from the heart and charging the whole body.
That’s all. You can open your eyes.
After this is done you go into a state of meditation. This is the way to meditate. Just like this, keep your eyes gently and softly closed. Sit in a very relaxed posture. If you can sit on the ground with folded legs, that is the best posture. If you can’t, sit in the chair. But don’t lie down, otherwise you’ll go to sleep. You’ll see a lot of people while sitting go into a snoring mode. And many people say, “Oh, I was not meditating, I was snoring.” But can you go to sleep within three minutes of closing your eyes? It is not possible. But sometimes when we meditate, you’ll hear a lot of people snoring. I don’t call that sleep. I would like to call it yoga nidra, for which our rishis left their homes and went into the jungles. With this system, it is possible to feel that ease, feel that calm, feel that poise. Well, it is a revolutionary system actually, and it is all possible because of this pranahuti.
I can give you the method. If you would like to experiment, I can give you the method and you can meditate with this method. After a week, you can talk to Professor Advani and ask, “I would like to receive the transmission or pranahuti and meditate.” Then compare the experiences. The method is the same, but one is with transmission, the other is without transmission. So if you like it, you can experiment. If you don’t want to experiment and straight away jump into this meditation with transmission, I’m here to offer that to you now. Those who would like to try, stay put; those who would like to leave, you are welcome.
Okay. Now we will be meditating for about half hour. This process of meditation is very simple. Relax the way you are now. Have your attention focused towards the heart and think that Divine Light is already present in your heart. You are not searching for light, as it is already present. Assume this, and in the end you will either prove or disprove it to yourself.
When it is over I will say, “That’s all,” and that is when you open your eyes gently. And note your own experience in your mind or, if you like, you can maintain a journal of your experiences. Those of you who would like to make this meditation a part of your life, you are welcome as well.
The first session that you’re going to have, is to show to you how profound it can be, and whether you want to make this as a part of your life so that the inner change can happen. This evolutionary path can be adopted and you can evolve to the highest limit available to humans. So, remember this: there are no conditions. You don’t have to drop your religion or puja or things of that nature. Make this an additional part of your approach to God and slowly see how far it can take you. Thank you.
So close your eyes and please meditate. Please start meditation.
So, thank you all. I hope you have had some inkling of what this could be. And if you make this a part of your life, I must say you will not regret it.
I started this practice of meditation almost at the same age as you are at this moment, at the juncture of seventeen and eighteen. I started at eighteen. Somehow I stumbled upon the system with a friend of mine who was already meditating. He was from Zambia. And I said, “Okay, let’s try it out. There is nothing to lose when you close your eyes.”
Some people may find it very funny. Some people may find it very profound. It depends upon their background, their culture, their samskaras, their wisdom and their foolishness. They find their own path depending upon what they’re looking for. After that two of my friends started, and then almost twenty or thirty of my classmates started. It was like a contagious thing. And then my professors were wondering, “What happened to these guys, they suddenly changed.” And our scores were enormous. I studied in pharmacy, which is neither medicine nor engineering. It is a hybrid and it is a curse, because they expect the best of both worlds, and it is not possible. You superficially learn medicine and you superficially learn engineering, and these professors always want to outwit you. They ask some of the toughest questions from medicine and the toughest from engineering, expecting you to answer everything. It is not possible.
But this meditation helped us a lot. Though there was so much pressure, we sailed through without much problem. Most of those students impressed the faculty, so the faculty started meditating. My dean started meditating observing the students. Who would imagine that! It was wonderful. And then most of us scattered all around the world; some went to Australia, some went to New Zealand, and most of us went to the US. There, too, we started meditating while doing our businesses.
And that is the beauty of this path – Sahaj Marg – where we don’t create conflict between spiritual life and material existence where we fulfill our family obligations. We look after parents, and we look after our family. It should be like two wings of a bird. A bird cannot fly with one wing, and so it is in human existence. If I go so deeply into meditation and become a sannyasi and resort to the mountains, what will happen to the family? That is not good. And if I resort only to material things, making money, all this ‘fun’ that you talk about today, then what will happen to my spiritual existence? If you fail in one class, what happens? Will your professor allow you to the next class? If you fail in this life, we will have to repeat this life, what we call rebirth. Think over this very seriously. It will be worse than repeating a class.
Thank you all and I will see you again.