Tuesday, June 14, 2016

OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION - Mental Obstacles - PART III ~ Swami Sivananda

by Swami Sivananda 


19. Manorajya

Manorajya is building castles in the air. This is a trick of the mind. Look at this wonder! The aspirant is meditating in an isolated cave in the Himalayas. He plans in the cave: "After finishing my meditation, I must move about in San Francisco and New York and deliver lectures there. I must start a centre of spiritual activity in Columbia. I must do something new to the world. I must do something which none has done up to this time." This is ambition. This is egoistic imagination. This is a great obstacle. This is a powerful Vighna. This will not allow the mind to rest even for a second. Again and again there will be resurrection of some scheme, speculation or plan or other. The aspirant will be thinking that he is having deep meditation, but if he closely watches his mind through introspection and self-analysis, it will be a pure case of building castles in the air. One Manorajya will subside and another will crop up in the twinkling of an eye. It will be a small Sankalpa or ripple in the mind-lake. But it will gain tremendous force within a few minutes by repeated thinking. The power of imagination is tremendous. Maya havocs through the power of imagination. Imagination fattens the mind. Imagination is like musk or Siddha-Makaradhvaja. It renovates and vivifies a dying mind. The power of imagination will not allow the mind to keep quiet even for a second. Just as swarms of locusts or flies come forth in a continuous stream, so also currents of Manorajya will stream forth incessantly. Vichara, discrimination, prayer, Japa, meditation, Satsanga, fasting, Pranayama and practice of thoughtlessness, will obviate this obstacle. Pranayama checks the velocity of the mind and calms the bubbling mind. A young ambitious man is unfit to remain in a solitary cave. He who has done selfless service in the world for some years, and who has practised meditation for several years in the plains in solitary rooms can live in cave. Such a man only can really enjoy the solitude of Himalayan retreats.

When you constantly contemplate on the meaning of the Mahavakya "Aham Brahma Asmi" or "Tat Tvam Asi" through the process of Maha Vakyanusandhana, all the Vishayas (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling) will stop. But owing to the force of Samskaras, Manorajya (building castles in the air) will continue. Sleep also will intervene. If you are alert and if by protracted efforts and incessant, vigilant Svarupa-Chintana (meditation on Brahman) you get over these two obstacles, the steady Brahmakara Vritti and Brahma Jnana will dawn in no time. Ajnana will vanish. You will be established in Sahaja-Paramananda state. All Sanchita (accumulated) Karmas will be burnt up in the fire of wisdom.

20. Memory

When you sit for meditation, thoughts of your friends and office-work, memory of conversation that took place in the previous evening with your friends and relatives will disturb your mind and cause distraction. You will have to withdraw the mind again and again cautiously from these extraneous worldly thoughts and try continuously and fix it on your Lakshya or point. You will have to disregard and ignore the worldly thoughts. Be indifferent. Do not welcome these thoughts. Do not identify yourself with these thoughts or ideas. Say within yourself, "I do not want these thoughts. I have nothing to do with these thoughts." They will vanish gradually.

You may be living in a solitary cave in the Himalayas. You may be practising meditation. If the memory of your past experiences in the plains comes, if you allow the mind to dwell on it again and again, you are living actually on the plains only, though your abode is in the solitary retreats of the Himalayas. Further you do not lead the perfect divine life in the cave, because you lead the past worldly life again and again subjectively in the sacred cave. Thought is the real action.

When you climb the ladder of Yoga, when you walk in the spiritual path, do not look back, do not remember your past experiences; kill all memory of your past experiences. Build up your mental Bhava ‘I am Brahman' strongly. Strengthen it. Generate again and again Brahmakara Vritti. Keep it steady by regular and constant meditation. A single thought of your past experience will give a new lease of life to the thought-image or memory-picture, rejuvenate and strengthen it and will pull you down. It will be difficult for you to climb up again.

If the memory of past experiences recurs again and again, the old mental images will be energised or galvanised. They will express themselves with redoubled force again and again. They will crowd together or come in packs or in multitudes or in a party and attack you with formidable vehemence. Therefore, look not back. Destroy memory of past experiences by remembering God.

Be concerned yourself with the present only. Do not look back upon the past or the future. Then alone you will be happy. You will be free from cares, worries and anxieties. You will have a long life. Destroy the Sankalpas through strenuous efforts. Meditate ceaselessly upon that Satchidananda Brahman and attain that Supreme immaculate seat. May you prosper gloriously! May you live drowned in the ocean of Brahmic bliss in an illumined state!

Exercise Vichara and Viveka in your attempts. Do not think of the past and future. The past days of boyhood, your days of schooling are all dreams when you are at forty. The whole life is a Deergha-Svapna (long dream). The past is a dream to you now. The future also will be the same hereafter. You will have to deal with the present only. You will have to cut down the two wings of the mind-bird, two wings representing the past and the future. But it will flutter about as there is the present. Keep off all external impressions. Stop the Vrittis. Silence the mind. Restrain the modifications of the mind. Concentrate. Overcome the multiplicity of ideas that result from the impressions. Give now a good food to the mind-some sublime thoughts of the Gita, Avadhoota Gita, meaning of OM, to reflect upon. After sometime the luring present also will vanish. The mind will become perfectly serene and tranquil. The highest knowledge of the Self will dawn in your pure mind. You will rest in Brahman, the Adhishthana, the source, support, the basis and background for everything. You will get Jnananishtha or Svarupasthiti (Sat-Chit-Ananda State).

21. Mental Talking

During meditation, you will be frequently talking to somebody mentally. Stop this evil habit. Have a careful watch over the mind.

22. Moha

Here comes another great obstacle which troubled even Sri Sankara. He had to attend the sick-bed and funeral rites of his mother, though he was a Sannyasin. A great sage, Pattinattu Swami of South India, sang when his mother died: "There was fire at first in Tripura-Samhara. Then there was fire in Lanka by Hanuman. Now the death of my beloved mother has caused burning fire in my stomach and heart. Let me also apply fire to this corpse of my mother." Moha is infatuated love for one's own body, wife, children, father, mother, brothers, sisters and property. Moha, like greed, takes various subtle forms. The mind gets attached to one name and form or other. If it is detached from one name and form, it clings tenaciously to another name and form.

Look at the Moha of monkeys. If the baby-monkey dies, the mother-monkey will carry the dead skeleton for two or three months. Such is the power of Moha! Mysterious is Maya! If the father receives a telegram that his only son is dead, he gets immediately a shock and faints. Sometimes he dies also. This is the power of Moha. The whole world runs through Moha. It is through Moha one is bound to the wheel of Samsara. One gets pain through Moha. Moha creates attachment. Moha is a kind of powerful liquor that brings intoxication in the twinkling of an eye. Even Sannyasins develop Moha for their Ashram and disciples. Moha should be eradicated by Viveka, Vairagya, Vichara, Atma-Chintana, devotion, seclusion, study of Vedantic literature, etc. Moha can only be removed in toto by renunciation and Sannyasa and Self-realisation.

You never wept when millions of people died in the world war. But you weep bitterly when your wife dies. Why? Because you have Moha for her. Moha creates the idea of ‘mineness.' Therefore you say: "my wife, my son, my horse, my home." This is bondage. This is death. Moha creates infatuated love for sensual objects. Moha produces delusion and perverted intellect. Through the force of Moha, you mistake the unreal, dirty body for the real, pure Atman; you take the unreal world as a solid reality. These are the functions of Moha. Moha is a strong weapon of Maya.

23. Obstacles in Yoga

(From ‘Rajayoga' of Patanjali)

Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, indolence, worldly-mindedness, sensuality, mistaken notion or illusion, missing the point, instability, causing distractions of the mind, these are the obstacles.

Diseases arise through the disturbance in the equilibrium in the three humours viz., wind, bile and phlegm. If there is more phlegm, the body becomes heavy. You cannot sit for a long time in the Asana. If there is more Tamas in the mind, you become lazy. Diseases may be due to irregularity in taking food, unwholesome food that cannot agree with the system, late vigil overnight, loss of seminal energy, checking the urine and faeces. Diseases can be removed by the practice of Asana, Pranayama and physical exercises, meditation, dietetic adjustment, fasting, purgatives, enema, bath, sun-treatment, sufficient rest, etc. First diagnose the case and find out the cause of the disease and then try for a remedy or consult some doctors.

In Styana, the person is unfit to do any practice on account of inexperience in the line and lack of Samskaras of previous births. It is indisposition of the mind to work. Dullness, laziness, etc., can be eradicated by Pranayama, Asana and active habits. Doubt is whether it is this or that. Such indecisive notion is doubt. The Yogi is not able to proceed further in the path of Yoga. He will doubt whether all that is said in the Yoga Sastras is true or not. This can be dispelled by right knowledge, Viveka, Vichara, study of scriptures and by Satsanga with Mahatmas.

Avirati is that tendency of the mind which unceasingly longs keenly for one or the other kind of sensual enjoyment on account of attachment. This is destroyed by Vairagya, looking into the faults of worldly objects and worldly life, such as impermanence, diseases, death, old age, miseries etc., and constant Satsanga with dispassionate Mahatmas and study of books on Vairagya.

Branti-Darshana is mistaking an undesirable state as the most desirable one due to illusion. Missing the point is going astray from the right path, Samadhi, and falling into the clutches of Siddhis. Mistaken notion is removed by Satsanga with Yogins. Missing the point and instability are removed by developing more Vairagya and doing constant and intense Sadhana in seclusion. Anavasthitatva or instability is that fickleness of the mind which does not allow the Yogi to remain in the state of Samadhi, even though he has reached it with great difficulty. Maya is powerful. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. These obstacles do not come to those who do Japa of OM as stated in Sutra 28 of Chapter II.

When slight difficulties appear, do not stop the practice. Find out suitable means to eradicate the obstacles. Plod on till you get the highest Asamprajnata Samadhi. Success is bound to come if you are sincere and steady in Sadhana.