Volume 5 - Issue 03 MARCH 2007
CONVERSATIONS WITH SAI
Meditation on Light
SAI: (To a group of westerners) Any doubts or questions? Spiritual questions only.
A Visitor: Why a lamp in meditation?
SAI: Why a light? From the sand, if one takes, it will be depleted. From the water tank, if each one takes, the tank will go dry. But a thousand people can take the flame of one candle to light their candles and the flame is in no way diminished.
Light a lamp or a candle. Gaze straight ahead at the flame. Then take the candle flame, the Jyothi, into your heart and see it in the midst of the petals of the heart. Watch the petals of the heart unfold and see the light illumine the heart. Bad feelings cannot remain. Then move the flame to the hands and they can no longer do dark deeds. In turn move the flame in like fashion to the eyes and ears so they may henceforth take in only bright and pure sensations. Then move the light outward and into your friends, relatives and enemies, and then into animals, birds and other objects so that all are illumined by the same light.
Christ said, 'All are one, be alike to everyone'. In this way you will no longer be limited to this body, but will expand throughout the universe. The world which is now so big, will become very, very small. To expand beyond self and see that your light is the light of the universe is liberation. Liberation is not different from this.
A Visitor: To keep sitting straight is certainly not easy to do.
The Importance of a Straight Spine
SAI: To sit straight is important. Between the 9th and 12th vertebrae is the life-force. If the spine is injured at this point, paralysis occurs. If the body is in a straight position, as if it were wound around a straight pole, the life force may rise up through the straight body and give the quality of intense concentration to the mind. Moreover, just as a lightning rod attached to the roof of a building attracts lightning, in like fashion, a perfectly straight body provides a conductor, so to speak, for divine power to enter the temple of your body and give you the strength to accomplish your task and reach your goal. As another example, the divine power is always here, just as radio signals are here. But to hear the radio music there must be an antenna. Further, if the tuning device is not properly adjusted, there will just be some sound but no music. In like fashion, the divine power, which is always present, may flow into you if the meditation is correct and the body straight.
A Visitor: How about the Brahma Muhurta meditation?
SAI: Brahma Muhurta means early morning, between 3 - 6 a.m. It means that the senses are quiet, not yet agitated by the day and mind is quiet from sleep. But the hour should not be taken and changed around, taking one time today and another time tomorrow. A half hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening is enough for sitting meditation. If done all day along, it will lose its attraction after a couple of years. The spiritual practice should be varied for interest. Some bhajan, some repetition of the Name of the Lord, some time spent in the company of spiritual people and so on. Just as in daily life some variety makes the day interesting.
H (Hislop): Swami, how should the period of meditation on the Jyothi be brought to a close?
SAI: First you are in the light. Then the light is in you. Finally, you are the light and the light is everywhere. Enjoy for a while, then bring the light back to the heart and hold it there for all the day. The form of God may also be included. Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Sai, as you wish. The form of God selected may be seen in the centre of the flame wherever it is carried, and, then you are with God everywhere.
A Visitor: At the meeting it was mentioned, people doing other kinds of meditation should not join the Sathya Sai Baba Centre.
SAI: This yoga and that yoga is not the answer. Yes, they may join even if doing other meditations. Let all unite in the one goal. God is reached only through love. Pranayama subjects the heart and the lungs to strain and pressure. The health must be good. Bhakthi yoga is best. A big mixture will only create confusion. The meditation on light is safe and sure and leads directly to the goal.
A Visitor: But if one has been initiated into another meditation, Swami's book says it is a sin to change.
SAI: The goal remains the same. There is just some change in the pathway, method employed. Meditation on light is real meditation. Light is formless, eternal, divine. It is the safe way and the sure way. But above all is love. Love is the royal highway to God. God is love. At the beginning we should carefully consider and investigate the meditation or sadhana that we propose to adopt. Who is the guru? What is the result? If then we have full confidence that it will take us to our spiritual goal, then go ahead and stay with it. But it is a spiritual goal that we aim for, not a physical goal, not a goal at the sensory level.
How to Attain Self-Confidence
A Visitor: But how can I get that self-confidence that I do not have?
SAI: To do the bad things, you have the self-confidence to go ahead. The same self-confidence is also there to do good things. Everyone has self-confidence.
H: That is very good.
SAI: Yes, it is important. The self-confidence is already there. If there is the interest in the good things, the self-confidence is already there to carry them out. People go to America and charge various amounts for spiritual information which belongs to everyone and for which no charge should be made. The information should not be sold and the Americans should not buy.
Liberation Through the Jyothi Meditation
H: Swami, in the description of the light meditation, I was not quite sure how Swami said it had liberation as the result.
SAI: You are the light. The same light is found in others also. The body drops away and you are the light. That is liberation.
H: Does Swami mean that by means of light one expands through the entire universe and is no longer limited by body?
SAI: 'My' falls away. There is no longer 'My'.
H: Here is a meditation given by the Lord Himself and it takes one direct to liberation. Why would a person wish to bother with any other meditation?
SAI: Some sensory pleasure, some body result.
H: Yesterday, Swami, people got the idea that any kind of meditation could be used at a Center.
SAI: Don't worry about that. After a little while they will feel how great is the 'light meditation' and change to this. Do not force them. Give them some time.
H: Swami says that it is a benefit of the highest order if an individual's life is such that he merits God's love. How to directly experience that divine love?
SAI: In the kitchen is a sweet. Now, you must come from afar to the kitchen to enjoy the sweet. Only when you eat the food is the hunger relieved. To enjoy the sweetness of divine love, you must attempt to experience it direct. How to get the ability to experience the divine love directly? Our ancient Rishis enjoyed bliss by going to solitude and sitting with their bodies stiff and apparently lifeless. On the other hand, people are all the time shaking their heads and bodies. Such people cannot get concentration. The body is described as a temple containing the Lord. If this part of our body keeps on shaking, the contents, the mind, will also be shaking. That is why in meditation certain postures are described, and they must be maintained.
When in meditation take the mind deep so as not to be distracted. The deeper the mind is taken, the less it is disturbed by the surrounding noise. In the Gita it is said that concentration precedes wisdom. If in sitting for meditation, you keep on scratching your head or your back you will not be doing the right kind of meditation. Some people sit for meditation. They simply sit, but then they are wondering how soon they can move from that posture.
When in meditation, concentrate on the form chosen by you, then pass into contemplation and then into meditation. Only by the three states will you get there. From concentration, one must cross the field of contemplation to enter meditation. There are three things: the meditator, the chosen form, and the process of meditation. The three should merge and become one, and this is the state of meditation. But, if all the time you feel you are meditating, this cannot be called meditation. When there is complete attention on the form chosen, that will lead to meditation. The attention of the mind is totally removed from the body and totally concentrated on the form chosen as the object of your meditation.
H: The other day, Swami, not only were the college boys delighted at the return to Brindavan, but they were very much surprised. I also was, because Swami had said He would definitely stay at the ashram.
SAI: Baba made the decision to stay in Prasanthi Nilayam through Sivarathri. That was His sankalpa. His will is as iron. On the third day of the festival, the boys at Brindavan decorated the cows and had a procession, and their longing for Swami was so strong that Swami made a sudden decision and came to Brindavan. It might be asked, Swami's Sankalpa is as iron, how could that be changed? Well, devotion is as fire. Fire will melt iron. God is moved by devotion.
Swami’s Advice on Vibhuti and Physical Ailments
H: Swami, people are making conflicting statements about the use of Vibhuthi. Should a devotee of Swami use Vibhuthi as the only treatment for sickness and injury?
SAI: Do not give any importance to minor sickness and injury. In more serious matters, it is best that prayer be made to Swami. This is important. Vibhuthi may or may not be used, but there should be prayer.
H: How about the help that is ordinarily available? Should a person try that first before calling to Swami?
SAI: Some people have faith in doctors, and some have faith in Swami.
H: But Swami, that is exactly the problem. People are afraid that if they do anything except use vibhuthi they are demonstrating lack of faith in Swami.
SAI: Actually, both can proceed together. The doctors can be consulted, and Vibhuti can also be used. But, regardless of the degree of faith, it is best to pray to Swami for His Grace.
H: Some devotees go to the extreme. No matter how serious the disease or trouble, they declare they will use vibhuti only and will never go to a doctor.
SAI: If they wish to do that, they may. Swami's preference would be that ordinary means of help be given their due place.
The Importance of Self-Inquiry
H: Swami says that self-inquiry is three-quarters and meditation one quarter. What is skillful self-inquiry? Action can be either skillful or unskillful.
SAI: The devotee may not have any particular skill, but all can inquire for themselves if what they propose to do is right or wrong.
H: But are we not to take inquiry as meaning self-knowledge, knowing about what goes on within oneself?
SAI: Self-knowledge certainly is about oneself, not about the outside.
H: In finding out about oneself, Swami advises that we ask if we are the body, the mind or the intellect
SAI: You are the witness of all these.
H: One notices other things. Every desire announces itself as "I" even though exactly contradicted by past and future desires.
SAI: Really, there are only two “I”s. One is the ego; which is always identifying itself as "I", and the other "I" is the eternal witness, which is Swami. If there is awareness of the witness, the ego "I" will not bother, it does not much matter
H: In self-inquiry, Swami, a person may notice that while his idea is that he is a free agent, yet in fact he is pushed around and made to act by all sorts of influences. Actually one is not all free, he is like a prisoner, is he not?
SAI: That you are not free is wrong. Only up to a certain stage is one's life according to the influences that bear upon him - such as heredity, circumstances, tendencies and so on. Later on, one is superior to and free from influences.
H: But Swami, if one is a prisoner that is the fact at the moment. If one observes this fact about himself he may then develop a very deep interest in freedom?
SAI: Very few people have these deep levels of self-inquiry. As yet they have not gone deeply into the matter. Ripeness is a factor here. In talks with devotees, these aspects of Sadhana should be brought forward and their importance indicated by your own experience.
Restraining the Show of Negative Emotions
H: One observes many emotions in himself. Swami, some are damaging - such as anger, hatred, jealousy, depression, fear and so on. These are very strong and they come up despite one's best intentions.
SAI: This is a very important topic. It is important in America where emotions are strong and lead to violent action.
H: There seems to be a possibility, Swami, that a person can curb these dangerous emotions from going on into action.
SAI: The problem is that people have some knowledge from books, but they do not have the general knowledge of life that comes with spiritual power. With discipline, prayer to God and steady sadhana there is a spiritual power which comes up within a person, and the strength of dangerous emotions is reduced
But, even apart from that, people can and should try to restrain these harmful emotions from outward expression. There may be anger, hatred, depression raging within, but the person's outward behaviour should remain peaceful. His smile should be calm. With all his strength he must resist any show of these harmful emotions. This is a topic of the highest importance. Self-inquiry, and this matter of emotions are of the greatest importance. When talking to devotees at centres you must deal with these two aspects of spiritual sadhana clearly and emphatically.
(On previous occasions, Swami has said that dangerous and harmful impulses and emotions will vanish automatically in the Presence of God; that evil forces are products of grief, and cannot exist where there is Ananda, the happiness that arises when one loves God with all one's heart and sees Him everywhere).
H: Another puzzling thing that may be observed is the falling away from one's goal. For example, a person may show the most steadfast determination to hold to the Lotus feet of the Lord. Then a year or so later, that person has left Swami.
SAI: The reason for this is a weakness of mind in the initial stage. In the first perception of his goal, the person's mind was wavering. Had he been one-pointed and clear at first, he would not fall away from his goal. The fault lies in a wavering mind that is lacking in one-pointedness.
H: Swami, one more question, please, about household pests. The housewife is in a constant battle with ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, etc. Unless she fights, these insects take over home.
SAI: It is all right, they must be dealt with.
H: People are afraid they may be committing a sin against Swami if they kill these small creatures.
SAI: There is nothing wrong in keeping the home free from the assault of these small creatures. But only where you are, your area. Not outside.
The Soul is One
H: Swami, if one ant out of a colony of ants is killed, is that killing an individual Jiva? Or, is there a sort of group Jiva whose body is the colony of ants?
SAI: There are no individual Jivas. Jiva is one only. Only one. Jiva is never injured, never killed. Bodies are many. Minds are changeable and may be affected. Bodies may be killed, may die. But Jiva is unaffected. Jiva is one and eternal.
SAI: The rule for spiritual life is to be cautious. Start carefully, drive carefully and arrive safely.
(On a previous occasion, Swami said, "Be steady; be resolved. Do not commit a fault or take a false step, and then repent! Have the deliberation, the decision, the discipline first; that is better than regret for the mistake made".)
(To be continued...)
– Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 5 Issue 03 - MARCH 2007
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