The Program of Preksha
Q. Anuvrat has its own comprehensive program. The work accomplished through it in the direction of change of values has been unique. Has any such program been formulated for preksha dhyana? If yes, what type of program is it?
Ans. Preksha has no program It is beyond programs. It is an art of renouncing all activity. The greater the activity, the lesser preksha. To understand preksha, one must know what non-action means. Generally, a man is absorbed in some activity or the other. Over-activity results in the dissipation of energy. Because of the loss of energy a man cannot fully utilize his capabilities. Whatever capacity is utilized is mostly exhausted in mundanities. This makes a man extraversive.
There are three sources of activity—the mind, the speech and the body. A man thinks too much, speaks too much, and moves too much. That is the schedule of all worldly activity. If preksha has a goal, it is to moderate worldly pursuits; to think less, to speak less, to restrict the movement of the body as much as possible. That is, non-thinking non-speaking and keeping the body motionless—that may be said to be the program of preksha. In order to fulfill it, one has to abjure other activities. The consummation of such a program of non-activity is religion and spirituality.
We accept religion as the truth which gives us something extra. If religion gave us merely that which is got through the acquisition of material, goods, it would cease to have any special utility. Religion gives us that which material objects do not, cannot give. Therefore the contribution of religion is a special one. Engaging in mundane activity is a part of the nature of a living being. Normally, no living being can survive without indulging in some form of mundane activity. However, there is nothing remarkable about the gains to be got from worldly pursuits; whereas what the renunciation of thought, speech and action gives us, is something unique.
The fundamental objective of preksha dhyana is the practice of three-fold steadiness (trigupti). Trigupti means renunciation of three-fold activity. The mind, the speech and the body are the means of worldly activity. In order to negate worldly pursuits, it is necessary to understand these. Because unless a phenomenon is properly understood, its goodness or badness cannot be ascertained. Knowledge available to man through the mind, speech and the body is limited to the physiological or the psychological sphere, but it is not capable of touching the farther levels. Those whose understanding is based upon these two disciplines, know very little about the mind from the spiritual point of view. As in the case of the mind, spiritual views about speech and the body are also quite different.
Q. You just said that the physiological and psychological points of view as regards the mind, the speech and the body are very superficial, whereas their spiritual analysis is profound. Hitherto, I believed that spirituality related to the soul alone. But according to the new vision projected by you, what are the points to be kept in mind for understanding the spiritual aspects of the mind, the speech and the body?
Ans. The mind has two levels—conscious and unconscious. If the mind is awake, its spiritual understanding offers no special difficulty. Because awareness is in itself a spiritual attribute. A mind that is asleep becomes a hindrance to an understanding of its nature. The urge to awaken the unconscious mind is a spiritual movement. Here, many other questions arise, such as, How can we avoid mental tension? How can the impurities polluting the mind be cleansed away? How can the mind be made to embrace the truth? How can the knots of attachment and aversion be dissolved? What is the cause of the mind’s restlessness? Is the mind really restless? How does the mind come into being? And there are innumerable problems whose solution is possible only on a spiritual basis.
Certain spiritual factors arising out of the disposition of speech can also make an individual introversive. How does control over speech influence one’s life? What achievements flow from silence? How does it affect the course of one’s life? What are the means of reducing mental contradiction and confusion? How is it possible to realize a condition of the mind where thought is totally absent? What role do sound-waves play in the evolution of personality? How is it possible to save the energy lost in constant talking? With a full realization of the importance of speech-control, many experiments can be made in this context.
The requirements of the body, the mind and speech are gross. Science has provided extensive knowledge about the body. But all this knowledge is partial and one-sided. From the spiritual point of view, the noteworthy thing is, how to reduce the activity of the body? Or how can the functioning of the brain and the nervous system be controlled? By what process can the psychic centers in the body be developed? How can the endocrine secretions and chemicals be changed? How to awaken the capacity for objective observation of the happenings inside the body? How to create a pure and powerful aura?
Such questioning invests an individual with a spiritual vision, with whose help he may gain an insight into those aspects of the mind, speech and body which physiology and psychology have failed to illuminate so far, or have only partly illuminated. The program of preksha is to see the body, the speech and the mind from a spiritual point of view, to understand them and be thoroughly acquainted with them. And through the process of seeing, knowing, understanding and acquaintance, to move in the direction of bringing about a change in them through practice and direct experience.
Q. Is only theoretical knowledge about the mind, the speech and the body imparted through preksha or is instruction also given for practicing it?
Ans. The first objective of preksha is to provide right reformation about the mind. But the objective does not end there. The primary purpose also includes the impartation of the technique of experiencing. Thus, it is not merely a matter of theoretical discussion. In preksha are incorporated both elements of our ancient system of education—theory and practice. Without the theory there can be no entry into the subject; and without constant practice, there is no assimilation. So theory and practice go together for a complete education. The theoretical aspect of a subject can be established, but this in itself cannot be the criterion for determining its truth. Theoretical understanding of anything is merely a recognition of it, it serves to establish it in the form of a belief. But the touchstone is its practice. When the truth of something is examined by practicing it, it becomes a direct experience. What is known on the experiential level in itself becomes a proof of its veracity; no other evidence is required for proving it. The procedure of preksha is not merely theoretical; along with the theory, application here is given an equal importance. The validity of any doctrine which ignores the practical aspect, remains open to question.
The process of preksha is something to be experienced. It was tested on the experiential level before its establishment. With the passage of time, its practice is bound to become still more clear. I feel that the spiritual outlook regarding the mind, the speech and the body, will also become more comprehensive with regular practice in preksha. In order that the ground be solid, it is necessary that efforts be made to make clear as many aspects of preksha as possible.