Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
KINDLE LIFE. We continue exploring points raised by HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda-ji in the publication of this name. Remember, you can purchase, (very economically!), the book from Chinmaya Mission Publications or if you prefer, the Amazon Link. Thus you can read Gurudev's words directly and bring your own voice to the discussion.
After learning about the 'path' last week we now find that chapter 22 talks of THE STATE OF DIVINITY; it is not merely a state reserved for an abstract 'God'.
We saw that, by attending to the exercises and applying ourselves according to instruction, we can realise our full potential as human beings, which is alone 'divinity'. Godhood, it is advised us by the Rsis and all other 'godmen' who have followed the path, is found in the experience of thought extinction. Not thoughtlessness, note! It is that condition which is attained through continued meditation, whereupon the mind is completely transcended. Divinity is our essential nature. We loose sight of it due to the contamination of thoughts. They are like barnacles on the hull of a ship. Sailing still happens, but not as cleanly, or smoothly, as would be the case without the encrustation of barnacles. We can clean ourselves of thoughts just as the hull of a ship can be scraped, freeing us to sail along in our Godhood.
The classic analogy given for mind and its torrent of thoughts is that of river and its water. River is a term given not to the water itself, but how it is channelled. Water exists in many forms. It only becomes 'river' due to the nature of its flow. Water in and of itself, is pure, existing within the body from which it arises without any other purpose than simply to exist. It only becomes something other than water according to its condition. Thought exists as a pure 'element' without conditioning. It is when it starts to bubble and flow that it becomes 'mind'. Mind, once created, tumbles forth and forgets its 'source' just as the water of the river can seem to belong no more to the Earth from which it sprung. The water, lying at source and without flow, is inert. It exists but holds no power. It is only when it starts to 'flow' that energy is attributed to it. The faster and more turbulent the flow, the more power it appears to have.
So it is with our thoughts. Thoughts will come at varying pace and strength, tumbling forth to create the world we see before us. Just as a fire-stick in the darkness will create the illusion of figures, so the mind creates our world. A more modern analogy is that of film. Moving pictures flicker at speed before the lantern and we are caught up in the illusion of place, time, happening.
The human mind runs harem-scarem in every direction. Rarely do people have full control of their thinking. There is the tendency to believe that to be told to control the thoughts is to have rights infringed. Remember, all the way back at chapter one, we found that freedom is not licentiousness, but having the choice to live life intelligently, with restraint and discipline. To opt for following the path of religion, to take up the example of saints and sages and to make attempts to curb our baser natures is not to succumb to 'brain-washing' but to choose to rise above ourselves. To do this we must decide to rein in the mind, channelling it according to the doctrines of Philosophy. How?
Just as a wild river is contained and controlled by the strengthening of its banks and the building of dams or locks; so it is that the river of mind can be directed by the 'bank' of the intellect. It is the intellect which must be honed, treated and strengthened in order to whip the mind into its proper use.
Rivers can vary in the purity of their water, so too the mind may be coloured according to the nature of the thoughts which flow within it. As we think, so we become! Reform, then, can only take place where the nature of the thoughts is attended. This is the hub of 'purification' referred to in Philosophy. How to bring about such change? Firstly, by reduction of the quantity of the thoughts; secondly by improving the quality of the thoughts which remain; and thirdly by giving a specified direction for the thoughts. These three 'yogas' (methods) of mind purification are referred to in Sanskrit as karma, bhakti and jnaana, respectively. There is a fourth yoga, called as hatha which was devised for those with underdeveloped heart and head.**
By adopting practice of one or more these yoga-s, we begin to 'see' our mind and develop its control for ourselves, preparing it for taking flight into the realm without thought, that place of Absolute Bliss, the transcendental state.
The yoga-s are accessible by all strata of society, all the different types of being under the banner of 'humanity'; neither is this knowledge and its application specific to race. All humanity, the world over, needs this understanding, as much as those in the land from which it arises. Vedantic Philosophy is not tied to India or Indians. It is universal. As Gurudev states at the close of this chapter,
"The state of divinity it offers is not just a personal achievement, but must culminate in a universal resurrection."
**It is is hoped that you will have been reading Workings-day posts alongside these Choose-day visitations to 'Kindle Life'. The text has been split such that the introductory statements, influencing the sorts of thinking which are to do with choosing to follow a philosophy have been presented here, and those chapters requiring more in application of thinking and deeper consideration have appeared on the 'Workings-day'. There is a little more to do for the W-day posts, which will include the breakdown of the nature of personality and which yoga may be best suited to each. As this has been touched upon here, the four categories are now given merely as an indication and the full explanation will appear in next week's W-day post.
- There are those in whom the 'heart' (mind) predominates over the 'head' (intellect)
- There are those in whom the 'head' predominates the 'heart'
- There are those in whom the 'head' and the 'heart' have equal assertion
- There are those in whom the 'head' and the 'heart' lack development.
There is but one more chapter relevant to choice (26) which we will take up here over the next couple of weeks.