Thursday, January 10, 2013

The study of spiritual books and the power of Satsang - by Nityananda Atman

The study of spiritual books and the power of Satsang
by Nityananda Atman

The study of sacred or spiritual books is one of the important spiritual practices during our spiritual journey.

In this essay I will mention in brief the benefits of the spiritual reading in order to help you be more conscious about them. Knowing what we really get by studying we are more inspired or motivated to do so and the study becomes more effective and efficient.

Of course the study is only a part of our daily sadhana. We must include in the sadhana a variety of spiritual practices appropriate to our maturity and our temperament. In our daily program we must include practices for all aspects of our existence (body, mind, heart, intellect, vital) in order to achieve an harmonious integral development.

First of all I would like to clarify which books I consider as spiritual.

Ramana Maharshi
All the Sacred texts such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the New Testament, the Baghavad Gita etc. and all the words and books of the great enlightened Masters such as Swami Sivananda, Mahavatar Babaji, Jesus Christ, Adisankaracharya, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Ramakrishna, etc. belong to the first class.  

Jesus Christ
Swami Sivananda

Then follow all those books that have been written by sages, yogi or inspirited thinkers and writers and they deal with subjects related to spiritual practices, self-knowledge, psychology and the spiritual development in general.

The former are more important because are revelations of the Universal Consciousness or the Divine truth. The Great enlightened Masters are pure channels of the Divine Consciousness and forces. Their books or words are Divine words expressed through them.

Mahavatar Babaji
 It is very important to study these books because except the knowledge which we acquire from these books we are also connected with the consciousness and the vibrations that are related with these texts and their writer. When the mind is focused on something then it is connected with it not only externally but also internally. An channel is formed between them and the mind absorbs the qualities and the vibrations of that specific object. 

Since the enlightened Masters are pure expressions of the Divine Consciousness  when we read their texts we become connected with higher vibrations. It doesn’t matter if we are not conscious of this process. These spiritual vibrations little by little incorporate our mind and energy field. Gradually these Divine energies transform us and make us vibrate in the same frequency. 

I want to mention here that Emoto Massaro has proved scientifically how the vibrations of thoughts, prayers, feelings emotions and sounds affect the matter and specially the water and transform it according to their nature. These experiments prove also how the water in religious rituals by the power of prayers become sacred water and the wine and bread in christian churces become transformed to substunces with holly vibrations.

If the vibrations of thoughts and feelingss of ordinary people can trasform the matter how more easily can the vibrations of high spiritual beings transform the mind and energy field of the other beings? Keep in mind that the mind and energy field by nature (they are subtle and mobile) can be more easily transformed than the matter which is more inert, solid and dence. 

This operative law that enables us to be transformed and develop a nature similar to the object or subject we are connected is the most important one and we must take it seriously, because the effectiveness of all spiritual practices are based on it.

Our mind and energy field is affected by the vibraions of objects and persons we come in contact. We are more affected from those that we have an intimate realasionship. For this reason we have to be very carreful with what people and energies we come in contact because as the positive or Divine vibrations can trasform us according to their nature similarly the connection with negative, lower and daimonic vibrations can affect us accordingly.

If we want to follow the path of light we have to be very very carefull with our relations. It is one of the most important factors we have to take seriously. If you think that you are not affected from external influences, I answer this is not possible. This is mere ignorance and a play of ego. The ego utilize everything to keep you in low vibrations and use your mind, body and energies to satisfy its pleasures and pains. Ego likes very much to keep you in suffering because low vibrations feed the energy field of ego and keep it alive.

In all traditions and especially in India Satsang (meeting with realized Souls) is considered as the most potent mean for self-transformation and Self-realization. After our spiritual maturity the most important factor is the presence of a great master. The enlightened masters radiate so powerfully Divine and sattvic vibrations that can affect us miraculously. In their presence if we are mature enough is possible to be awakened and realize our Divine nature.

The words of an enlightened master carry in them the power to awaken us to truth. Of course is more powerful to be in the presence of a master and listen him directly than to read his words in a book. But his written words are also powerful and can awake us as his living words do. I have heard that several people have been awakened by reading the book of Sri Nisargadatta maharaj ‘I Am That’. I know also this by my own experience.

By studying spiritual books we are permeated by higher spiritual vibrations that enable us to overcome our lower egoic nature and experience the Divine vibrations.

Visiting sacred places

There are similar transformative influences on us when we visit sacred places and places where lived enlightened masters or did tapashya there great yogis

I refer here some very highly vibrated places in which I had the fortune to do sadhana for some time: Delfi in Greece, Ashram of Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, Ashram of Haidakahn Babaji near Haldwani, Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvanamalai.

Ashram of Haidakahn Babaji

Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Delfi in Greece

Ashram of Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh
Let’s see now some the benefits of the study of spiritual books. 

By study we can be inspired and do our daily practices with more zeal, steadiness and determination. Especially in the first years of our sadhana when it is very easy to lose our courage and our orientation to spiritual life because the ego is very strong and our attachments and identifications to mundane life many. 

The spiritual books always will remind us our goal and give us the courage to continue our journey towards freedom. We can take courage and strength by reading how saints and sages of the past have passed their own difficulties and adversities with patience and perseverance and they have remained steady to their practice until they achieved the highest goal of Self-realization.

If we have not the opportunity to stay for a long time close to a Master to do our practices with the help of his spiritual vibrations and also his guidance, the study of spiritual books assumes even greater importance. We can be connected with the master’s vibration and consciousness by reading his words and meditating on him. 

By studying spiritual books we develop positive thinking and positive attitudes and we get a better understanding of the various aspects of spiritual life. The above are very essential to do our spiritual practices with more effectiveness.

We can also find in the books very useful practical hints either related to some specific practice we want to improve or related to the obstacles we meet in our journey and ideas to overcome them.

The desires are strong and the sensual life is very seductive, so it is very easy after some time of spiritual life to return back to the mundane life of pleasures and pains or to be engaged in spirituality like a hobby. We can very easily forget our way towards Divine Consciousness because there are many things in our psych that bound us with this material world. We are more familiar with the sensual life and experiences than the spiritual life and the Divine vibrations.

We need something daily to remind us what the real purpose of life is. We need something to remind us what we have to do daily in order to succeed in this endeavour. Spiritual books can help us indeed.

The daily study and the reflection on the same ideas that we read in the books feed the mind with sattvic, bright thoughts and vibrations which gradually replace the old erroneous beliefs and ideas and which were the cause to suffer in various ways.

The study can help us also to be more conscious of our self within. It can help us gather our attention from the external objects (pratyahara) and remain focused on the readings and simultaneously, to be more conscious of what happens in mind and heart.

The spiritual vibrations that we absorb by reading can help us maintain a sattvic mental state. The sattvic state make the mind one-pointed, clear, calm, sharp and thus we can more easily be self-aware and observe our mental and emotional states than those hours we are mixed with external situations.

Of course to be self-aware and observe our psychological functions a conscious effort and practice is required. By practice we can gradually develop these abilities  and after some time they will become a natural function of our mind.

The spiritual reading can be also a practice to develop concentration; especially in the beginning where we are not capable to concentrate for a long time in a single point. The study of Baghavad Gita, Upanishads and other sacred texts with deep concentration are considered as Savikalpa Samadhi. Sri Ramana Maharshi also said that reading the Ribhu Gita with deep concentration is a kind of Savikalpa Samadhi.

The study of spiritual books can help us develop two of the most important qualifications necessary to walk succefully on spiritual path, discernment and dispassion. Without discernment and dispassion nobody can success in this endeavour towards Self-realization. Without discernment and dispassion realization is simply not possible.

Finally by studying spiritual books we can confirm what we already know about self-knowledge and yoga from our own experience. This increases our faith and self-confidence which are very important qualifications to march on spiritual path.

Let’s see now some negative states related to the study.

If we read a lot of spiritual books without to understand what they say we can be confused. We can be also attached and greedy to acquire intellectual knowledge without to put this knowledge in practice. Thus the ego of vanity and pride can be developed than to be reduced.

Moreover the ego can use the study as an excuse to avoid practice the essential practices of our sadhana, such as japa-mantra, introspection, meditation, etc.

If we are alert and vigilant we can discover all these egoic games relative to the study of spiritual books and by appropriate means to eliminate them.

It is necessary to be sincere and remember that everything we do including spiritual study we do it in order to eliminate our ego and not to make it stronger. 

We have always to remember that the final goal is to realize truth which is beyond knowledge and theories. Knowledge and theories belong to the sphere of mind and Truth is beyond mind.

Until to realize Truth we have to utilige wisely the mind and the knowledge we get. These are our tools to realize truth. Everything in our life and sadhana has its place. Everything in its place is useful out of its place can be even disastrous. Like fire. Fire can cook the food but can also destroy our house, forests and cities.

Finally I want to remind you that your life itself is the book which you have to study deeply and extract the essence which is hidden in it, viz. to realize your eternal Self as Satchitananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss).

~ Nityananda