Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications.
Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.
4: Spirit Enveloped in Matter
The Hydra-Headed Monster.
In reality, we nothing but the 'life centre'; ever were, are now and always will be. Due to falling into an ego identity with the sheaths, we have come to believe we are the body. We identify with each of the sheaths at different times with '"I" am short (annamaya)…"I" am doubtful (manomaya)…"I" have no idea (vijananmaya)' and so on. We are constantly bounced around in our own delusion, one minute it's about the physical comforts, next its all about our feelings, or another is about ideology. Each of our 'personalities' has its own requirements to be satisfied and they are not necessarily the same as for another; what suits the body may not suit the intellect; what suits the mind may be contraindicated by the praana… In each of us there is a war going on with that is best for 'us' - multifacted personality that we are!
When we identify with one or another of the upaadhis (envelopments - another name for koshas), we come to suffer the sense of limitation, sorrow and unrest which comes with having to balance them all. In this sense, samsaara, the writhing sea of life, is our own creation. What happens, very often, is that we are generally disposed to sacrifice the grosser in order to satisfy the subtler. For example, if we have a gangrenous leg, we will permit the surgeon to remove it in order to cure the agitation and pain it is causing. In another instance, when an ideal takes possession of a person's intellect, her or she is ready to suffer much for the sake of those cherished convictions. Thus, when we identify with our intellect, to ensure its satisfaction, we are prepared to ignore the demands of all the 'selves' which are grosser to it.
Therefore it is easy to understand the Rsis, who, after discovering their real nature to be nothing but aatman, cheerfully suffered mental pains and mortifications of the flesh. Christ crucified could sincerely pray "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Mahatma Gandhi, collapsing with bullet wounds, could still chant the name of God, "Ram Ram".
"The masters of the Upanishads declared that their observations on our multiple personalities need not dishearten us. Instead, these facts should encourage us to venture forth into a closer and more diligent observation of life. The Rsis explained a method of self-effort by which we can dissociate ourselves from the false attachments and wrong identifications with the matter envelopments and rediscover ourselves to be in essence nothing but the eternally sweet spirit. The process by which this consummation can finally take place is meditation."
Rediscovery of the Self does not only end all our confusions but is an ascent into the state of 'supermanhood'… Godhood. The Rsis could see this potential in mankind and provided material by which each individual could follow that path. The onus is upon us to do so. "Let us offer our animal values of life as oblations to the fires of our discrimination. This is jnaana yoga, the way of the discriminating mind. Blind faith born of fear and thriving on ignorance is a veritable chain of slavery. Knowledge alone lends an edge and gives a positive direction to our spiritual quest."