Shanti Sadan and Self-Knowledge name
Key Yoga Teachings: on Meditation

by Hari Prasad Shastri

From Self-Knowledge Autumn 1961

The sole object of meditation is to bring that tiny streamlet of life which passes through the mind into contact with the infinite reservoir of all life - God.

The branch of a tree, when it considers itself different from the tree, is in perpetual danger of withering and being broken off by the high winds, but if the branch identifies itself with the tree, it can say: "What does it matter if my little individual self is gone? I am the tree, I am one with the tree and as long as the tree lives I also live and enjoy life. As long as one seed dropped by the tree germinates and fructifies, I am there and I am living there." The very branch which before this illumination was trembling with fear and praying to an imaginary God for help, the same branch now realizes its innate, intrinsic unity with the tree and with all seeds that have fallen and continue to fall from the tree, and has acquired supreme peace and supreme significance.

Similarly, the little human mind when detached from inner power is afraid at each and every instant, thinking: "I do hope I may not catch cold - that my stocks may not go down - that I may not lose this or that friend." When filled with apprehension, the mind is restless and cannot enjoy the fruits of its existence; but when the little mental streamlet issuing from the eternal reservoir of life called God is brought into a conscious, vital and active realization of the fact that it has its being in the infinite source, it enjoys supreme peace and is free from fear.

The process which brings about this connection, or rather this rediscovery of connection between the individual mind and God, is called dhyana or meditation. This science has been developed and practised through the ages in China, India, Japan and other countries of the East where the truth of the ancient statements "In God there is no death" and "To know Him is to acquire immortality" has been verified. Such aphorisms are strewn like spring flowers in the garden of every religion, and Sages by means of meditation have put their seal of confirmation upon them through experimental verification.

Few things are necessary for the practise of meditation. More important than all else is the decision to persevere at any cost. It is doubtful whether any success will ever attend our endeavours if they are apathetic. When we have once made the decision to enter into the realm of meditation every day with interest and enthusiasm, we must carry out our final determination unswervingly.

Silence, without fear of being disturbed while meditating, is essential. Sitting in a comfortable position, we begin our meditation. First, and this is very helpfull, we still the mind and emotions. To accomplish this takes some time, but it can be done if we keep before our eyes a picture of a divine incarnation - Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other. If we keep that image before our eyes and then see it after our eyes are closed, by dwelling on it we are able to still the mind and emotions. Taking the name of God with love, not mechanically, also enables us to quiet the mind and emotions, while a desire to remove the sufferings of humanity helps substantially.

Before a proper, definite and ancient path of initiation has been known and entered upon, the process described is that usually practised in the Orient.

When the mind and emotions have acquired a certain degree of calmness, then imagine that the morning sun is shining here in the centre of the breast. We fix our thought on this point, called the centre of vitality, where the Lord Omnipotent is seated. We visualize the morning sun radiating there, and let its rays of peace, plenty and power issue forth and, while pronouncing the name of God understandingly, not mechanically, live in this condition half an hour every day at the same appointed time, seated in the same place. Soon we shall find the little streamlet of life in us striking its root deeper and deeper into that eternal reservoir of life called God.

Now visualize the morning sun shining in the solar-plexus. The Shruti (Scripture) tells us that the heart is the central sun of the body just as the sun of God pervades the all-eternal space. When the two strings of a dynamo are pulled, there is an explosion. So God, all-pervasive, is manifested only here in the heart of man, and God-realization is the explosion. If anyone. asks "Where is electricity?", you say "Here, in the wall" and switch on the light; "Here it is." Well, where is God? Here He is - at the back of your emotions in the heart. So it is; the sun is here in man. It is a fact, and that sun is shining for each and every one of us. There is no room for disappointment, weeping and crying, because He is there and all that is necessary is to recognize that He is there. Now the process of recognition is embodied in the meditation which is offered. We locate the sun here [pointing to the centre of the breast] and then - slowly - realize the radiation of peace, plenitude and power. Power includes all kinds of power, issuing from God in us and going to all His creatures and creation.

After meditation, it is very necessary to undergo self-examination. Several times a day we should withdraw into solitude, if only for a few moments, and ask ourselves this question : "Have I today violated the laws of peace, plenty and power, either in action or thought?" If poverty is banished from the mind, it is banished from one's circumstances. Illness, worries, anxieties, will all be driven out when the Lord dwelling in our hearts is recognized and worshipped by means of good thoughts, good words and good deeds. If self-examination tells us that we have violated the imperative law of goodness, either mentally or in our dealings with others, let us make amends at once. There is no earthly use in repenting or crying. To meditate is to pass into the realm of rulership and to recognize the God in self and in all men, and to treat everyone as a King treats a King, for all are Kings. The Lord is dwelling in every human being, and can He be less than a King?

According to the experience of those who have performed it, this practice, if followed every day for two or three weeks, changes the life - not only the inner life, but the outer life as well. Those who have looked upon us as inferior beings, unworthy of respect, alter their point of view and regard us with feelings of affection and honour.

Now let us for a short time try this meditation, and practise it every day at home. Even if nothing be obtained, nothing can be lost, and we have made an effort to rise towards God, the highest ideal, and only good can come of it. Success is bound to crown our efforts if they are made with sincerity and according to the principles just indicated.