Meditation and Action Part I & Part II
by Swami Sivananda
A microscopic minority only are fit for full and deep meditation. The vast majority should combine meditation with action in the beginning. When they really advance in meditation, they can slowly give up action.
The man who can meditate in a solitary retreat for six months and who can work in the world for another six months whole-heartedly, is an ideal Yogi or a perfect man. He is the ideal Karma Yogi. He is really a strong man. He has integral development. Nothing can upset his mind even when he is placed under any unfavourable conditions and bad environments.
Pratyahara or abstraction of the senses he can withdraw his mind, just as the tortoise or snail withdraws its feet underneath its shell. No sound can disturb his mind. The firing of a cannon, the rolling sound of motor-lorries and bullock-carts in the streets cannot make any impression in his mind. He is practically dead to the world, but he is really very busy inside. He can convert a busy city into a big forest.
But if a man has no abstraction or concentration he will find a big city in the thick of the forest.
Aspirants should watch and test the mind always. They should try to keep this perfect balance.
Real meditation gives immense inner strength.
If one cannot realise this inner peace and strength, surely there is some error in Sadhana or meditation. Building castles in the air or Manorajya, Tandra and Alasya, sleepy state, brooding, and other negative states of the mind should not be mistaken for Samadhi or meditation. Untrained, inexperienced aspirants always make mistakes and are deluded.
Meditation and Action PART II
Man consists of Atman, mind and body. The Atman has two aspects, changeless and changing. The latter is called the world and the former God. World also is nothing but God in manifestation. God in movement is the world. Not that the world does not exist, it has a relative existence.
The realisation of oneness in all existences, manifested and unmanifested, is the goal of human life. This unity already exists. We have forgotten it through ignorance. The removal of this veil of ignorance, the idea that we are confined within the mind and the body, is our chief effort in Sadhana. It logically follows that to realise unity, we must give up diversity. We must constantly keep up the idea that we are all-pervading, all-powerful, etc. There is no room here for desire because in unity there is no emotional attraction, but steady, persistent, calm, eternal bliss. Desire for liberation is terminological inexactitude. Liberation means attainment of the state of infinity. It already exists. It is our real nature. There can be no desire for a thing which is your very nature. All desires for progeny, wealth, happiness in this world or in the next and lastly even the desire for liberation should be completely annihilated and all actions guided by pure and disinterested will towards the goal.
This Sadhana-the constant attempt to feel that you are the all-can be practised or rather ought to be practised in the midst of intense activity. That is the central teaching of the Gita. It stands to reason also. Because God is both Saguna and Nirguna, with form and without form. Let the mind and the body work. Feel that you are above them, their controlling witness. Do not identify yourself with the Adhara (support for mind and body), even when it is employed in activity. Of course meditation in the beginning has to be resorted to. Only an exceptionally strong-willed man can dispense with it. For ordinary human beings, it is an indispensable necessity. In meditation, the Adhara is steady. So the Sadhana, the effort to feel Unity is comparatively easy. In the midst of activities, this effort is difficult. Karma Yoga is more difficult than pure Jnana Yoga. We must, however, keep up the practice at all times. That is absolutely essential, otherwise the progress is slow; because, a few hours' meditation on the idea that you are the all and identification with mind and body for a greater portion of the day, do not bring about rapid or substantial advance.