In the Hours of Meditation
~ Swami Sivananda
~ Swami Sivananda
Brahman, Self, Purusha, Chaitanya, Consciousness, God, Atman, Immortality, Freedom, Perfection, Peace, Bliss, Bhuma or the Unconditioned, are synonymous terms. If you attain Self-realisation alone, you will be freed from the round of births and deaths and its concomitant evils. The goal of life is the attainment of final beatitude or Moksha (liberation). Moksha can be attained by constant meditation in the heart that is rendered pure and steady by selfless service, Japa, etc.
Reality or Brahman can be realised by man. Many have attained Self-realisation. Many have enjoyed the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Sankara, Dattatreya, Mansoor, Shams Tabriez, Jesus, Buddha were all realised souls who had direct perception of the Truth or cosmic vision or Aparokshanubhuti. But one who has known cannot communicate it to others for want of means. Even the knowledge acquired by the five senses, which are common to all, cannot be communicated to others. You cannot tell the taste of sugarcandy to a man who has never tasted it; you cannot communicate the idea of colour to one born blind. All that the teacher can do is to tell his disciple the method of knowing the Truth or the path that leads to the unfoldment of intuitional faculty.
These are the signs that indicate that you are growing in meditation and approaching God. You will have no attraction for the world. The sensual objects will no longer tempt you. You will become desireless, fearless, ‘I'-less and ‘mine'-less. Deha-adhyasa or attachment to the body will gradually dwindle. You will not entertain the ideas, "She is my wife; he is my son; this is my house." You will feel that all are manifestations of the Lord. You will behold God in every object.
The body and mind will become light. You will always be cheerful and happy. The name of the Lord will always be on your lips. The mind will be ever fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord. The mind will be ever producing the image of the Lord. It will be ever seeing the picture of the Lord. You will actually feel that Sattva or purity, light, bliss, knowledge and Prema are ever flowing from the Lord to you and filling up your heart.
You will have no body-consciousness. Even if there be body-consciousness, it will be in the form of a mental retentum. A drunkard may not have full consciousness that he has a cloth round his body. He may feel that something is loosely hanging from his body. Even so, you have a feeling of the body. You will feel that something is sticking to you like a loose cloth or loose shoes.
You will have no attraction for the sex. You will have no sex-idea. Woman will appear to you as manifestation of the Lord. Money and gold will appear to you as pieces of stone. You will have intense love for all creatures. You will be absolutely free from lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, delusion, etc. You will have peace of mind even when people insult you, beat you and persecute you. The reason why you are not perturbed is that you get immense spiritual strength from the Indweller or the Lord. Pain and pleasure, success or failure, honour or dishonour, respect or disrespect, gain or loss are alike to you.
Even in dreams, you are in communion with the Lord. You will not behold any worldly pictures.
You will converse with the Lord in the beginning. You will see Him in physical form. When your consciousness becomes cosmic, conversation will stop. You will enjoy the language of the silence or the language of the heart. From Vaikhari (vocal speech), you will pass on to Madhyama, Pasyanti and Para (subtle forms of sounds) and eventually you will rest in soundless Omkara or soundless Brahman.
Dispassion and discrimination, serenity, self-restraint, one-pointedness of mind, Ahimsa, Satyam, purity, forbearance, fortitude, patience, forgiveness, absence of anger, spirit of service, sacrifice, love for all, will be your habitual qualities. You will be a cosmic friend and benefactor.
During meditation you will have no idea of time. You will not hear any sound. You will have no idea of the environments. You will forget your name and all sorts of relationship with others. You will enjoy perfect peace and bliss. Gradually you will rest in Samadhi.
Samadhi is an indescribable state. It is beyond the reach of mind and speech. In Samadhi or the superconscious state the meditator loses his individuality and becomes identical with the Supreme Self. He becomes an embodiment of bliss, peace and knowledge. So much only can be said. You have to experience this yourself through constant meditation.
Contentment, unruffled state of the mind, cheerfulness, patience, decrease in the excretions, sweet voice, eagerness and steadiness in the practice of meditation, disgust for worldly prosperity or success and company, desire to remain alone in a quiet room or in seclusion, desire for association with Sadhus and Sannyasins, Ekagrata or one-pointedness of mind are some of the signs which indicate that you are growing in purity, that you are prospering in the spiritual path.
You will hear various kinds of Anahata sounds, of a bell, a kettle drum, thunder, conch, Veena or flute, the humming sound of a bee, etc., during meditation. The mind can be fixed in any of these sounds. This also will lead to Samadhi. You will behold various kinds of colours and lights during meditation. This is not the goal. You will have to merge the mind in that which is the source of these lights and colours.
A student in the path of Vedanta ignores these sounds and lights. He meditates on the significance of the Mahavakyas of the Upanishads by negating all forms. "The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor does this lightning shine and much less this fire. When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light all these shine." He meditates, also like this: "The air does not blow there. The fire does not burn there. There is neither sound nor touch, neither smell nor colour, neither mind nor Prana in the homogeneous essence. Asabda, Asparsa, Arupa, Agandha, Aprana, Amana, Atindriya, Adrishya, Chidanandarupa Sivoham, Sivoham. I am blissful Siva, I am blissful Siva." Be a spiritual hero in the Adhyatmic battlefield. Be a brave, undaunted, spiritual soldier. The inner war with the mind, senses, Vasanas and Samskaras is more terrible than the external war. Fight against the mind, senses, evil Vasanas, Trishnas, Vrittis and Samskaras boldly. Use the machine-gun of Brahma-Vichara to explode the mind efficiently. Dive deep and destroy the undercurrents of passion, greed, hatred, pride and jealousy, through the submarine or torpedo of Japa of OM or Soham. Soar high in the higher regions of bliss of the Self with the help of the aeroplane of Brahmakara Vritti. Use the ‘mines' of chanting of OM to explode the Vasanas that are hidden in the sea of subconscious mind. Sometimes move the ‘tanks' of discrimination to crush your ten enemies, the ten turbulent senses. Start the Divine League and make friendship with your powerful allies viz., dispassion, fortitude, endurance, serenity, self-restraint, to attack your enemy-mind. Throw the bomb of "Sivoham Bhavana" to destroy the big mansion of body and the idea "I am the body," "I am the doer" and "I am the enjoyer." Spread profusely the gas of "Sattva" to destroy your internal enemies viz., Rajas and Tamas quickly. "Black-out" the mind by destroying the Vrittis or Sankalpas by putting out all the lights or bulbs of sensual objects so that the enemy ‘mind' will not be able to attack you. Fight closely against your enemy ‘mind' with the bayonet of one-pointedness (Samadhana) to get hold of the priceless treasure or Atmic pearl. The joy of Samadhi, the bliss of Moksha, the peace of Nirvana are now yours, whoever you may be, in whatever clime you are born. Whatever might be your past life or history, work out your salvation. O beloved Rama, with the help of these means come out victorious right now, this very second.