RIGHT BACKGROUND FOR MEDITATION
Truth and non-violence; conduct generous and pure,
Non-acquisitiveness, artless behaviour,.
The ideal of Anuvrat; freedom from addiction;
Good and natural living, sensitivity, magnanimity;
And when pride and the sense of ĎIí are dissolved,
The groundwork of meditation is complete.
Q.Curiosity about one's being is the starting point of meditation. Is the
resolution of this curiosity enough in itself or is some other sadhana necessary
for going into various aspects of dhyana?
Ans. The most important element for meditation is the purity of the heart.
Without the observation of certain vows it is not possible to achieve mental
purity. Vows are of two kinds---great and small (mahavrats and anuvrats). Of
course, a vow is always great-it is beyond considerations of great and small.
However, on the basis of the capacity of the individual undertaking a vow, it
may be differentiated. There are five main vows---nonviolence, truth,
non-stealing, brahamcharya and non-acquisitiveness. The practice of non-violence
means freedom from attachment and aversion; its fruition is the feeling of
goodwill towards the whole world. Freedom from attachment and aversion leads to
veetaragta (freedorn from affections and passions), and the feeling of goodwill
leads to identification with the soul of the world. In so far as the realisation
of veetaragta and the feeling of goodwill increase the purity of the mind, the
state of meditation is equally strengthened.
Truth is the symbol of straightforwardness. A sadhak who is simple and
straightforward, does not accumulate filth. Telling an untruth stains the mind.
A liar is always assailed by fear. To avoid a possible evil, he indulges in
falsehood and when his falsehood is exposed. he becomes restless. Restlessness
is productive of malice and the man loses his reputation. Fear, anger and
duplicity cannot be separated from untruth. And wherever these tendencies grow,
it is impossible for the mind to be pure. And in the absence of purity, the seed
of dhyana does not sprout.
The third vow is non-stealing. Stealing is the culmination of the lack of
discipline. A man who steals, violates other people's rights. It is a ruthless
act and the man indulging in it can never achieve self-realisation. All his
attention is turned to material things. A materialistic mind has no conception
of purity, whatever. A man who takes the vow of non-stealing, rises above the
world of matter, and progresses in the direction of mental purity.
The fourth vow is celibacy (brahmcharya). Brahmcharya is the worship of
self-knowledge. It is an inexhaustible source of power. It is a kind of special
discipline. One who practises brahmcharya is able to preserve both his physical
and mental energy and becomes luminous. He does not allow his urges to grow
licentious. Contrary to this, the lack of brahmcharya makes for uninhibited lust
and creates difficulties in the path of inner observation. From the point of
view of self-realization and preservation of energy, the practice of brahmcharya
makes an important contribution towards the creation of the right background for
dhyana. The fifth vow is non-acquisitiveness. The fruit of non-possessiveness is
alert awareness. Unconsciousness is a bondage. An attached mind cannot be
introversive. It remains identified with both body and matter. The thicker the
layers of attachment, the more densely is purity clouded. In order to dissolve
the layers of attachment, it is necessary to strengthen through constant
practice the spirit of non-possessiveness.
Non-violence, truth, non-stealing brahmcharya and non-possessiveness are the
means of keeping the purity of the mind intact and are therefore, called the
fundamental virtues. It is on the basis of their strength that meditation can
progress. A person whose conduct-is not absolutely guileless, does not deserve
to be a dhyanee. Without the practice of a mahavrat or anuvrata, one's conduct
cannot be straightforward. Violence, untruth, stealing lust, possessiveness-all
promote cunning and deceit. The ground of meditation cannot be cleared in the
face of dodging and duplicity. Therefore, the observance of the vows has its own
importance in a sadhak's life.
Q.Even while living in a spiritual environment, why is a manís mind assailed by
evil tendencies like violence, untruth, etc.? Some sadhaks cannot rid themselves
of these tendencies, despite their desire to be free. Why?
Ans. Sanskar, the past action, is the greatest cause of the continuance of evil
tendencies. Long indulgence, combined with sanskar, further strengthens an evil
tendency. Because of this powerful combine of sanskar and indulgence, a man's
mind is disposed towards violence. When the sanskars get ripened, they manifest
themselves. Here, instrumental causes are very active. Violence does not
manifest itself through one's action alone; because of the conditioning factors,
one's mentality becomes violent. Wherever in space and time, the stimuli become
strong violence erupts. In case of fewer stimulants, the consequences of action
are proportionately fewer. In the Yogic Age, the incitements to violence,
untruth, etc. were few. In consequence, man's inclinations too, were not so
wicked. In the present circumstances, there prevails from morning till evening,
an atmosphere of violence. The newspapers provide an abundant fare of thefts,
dacoities, bloody encounters and rapes. People read about or witness around them
similar incidents. These are the outer causes. The inner causes such as the food
for the body, the chemical fluids, etc. are also affected by the rampant evil.
It is only when a sadhak makes an effort to free himself from evil influences
flowing from within and without that he can succeed in sublimating his innate
Q.Is the groundwork for meditation well laid by observing a mahavrat or anuvrat,
or is something else required in addition to it?
Ans. Mahavrat (taking a great vow) is an excellent thing. A sadhak who has taken
a great vow faces no external obstacle to his progress in the field of
meditation. As regards an anuvrati sadhak, the first requirement is freedom from
addiction. Nowadays, some people accept the use of intoxicants in the context of
meditation too. Intoxicants like hemp and hemp preparations were used in earlier
ages, and they are used even today. In the beginning they might prove to be good
stimulants to dhyana, but later it becomes very difficult to deal with problems
resulting from their use. In order to create and maintain a clean and wholesome
atmosphere for meditation, freedom from all kinds of addiction is an urgent
necessary. This also forms one of the main objectives of Anuvrat.
Even in an addiction-free life, two great obstacles to dhyana are pride and
attachment to oneself. As long as the complexes of pride and attachment are not
dissolved, it is difficult to achieve success in meditation, no matter how much
effort is put in. The development of steadfast, unwavering concentration is
essential for meditation. Man creates uncertainty through pride and attachment.
Pride envelops a man's consciousness and attachment conditions it. All man's
action is born of these. The development of passions also takes place because of
pride and attachment. These are also the factors behind the deterioration and
perversion of human nature. It is therefore, essential to conquer pride and
attachment for creating the right background for meditation. When these two
elements are under control, the groundwork for dhyana can be said to be well
Some people are of the opinion that it is not necessary to spend time in
creating an appropriate background for the practice of dhyana. According to
them, one may start practising dhyana at once, and the necessary conditions will
come into existence of themselves. There is no need to disagree with the above
opinion. Still it must be admitted that this is no ordered way of undertaking
sadhana. In the case of farming, one resorts to a planned programme; in order to
make the soil fertile the earth is manured, watered, cleaned and levelled and
properly managed. This process then yields a good crop. Similarly, if the
practice of meditation is done in a planned manner, it brings quicker results. A
brief outline of dhyana sadhana may be as follows:
Dhyana means concentration of mind. For concentration, all uncertainty in the
form of varying options must come to an end. In order to end uncertainty, it is
necessary to evolve a pure, integrated consciousness. In order to cast off the
many layers of dirt encompassing consciousness,.the observance of a mahavrat and
anuvrat is necessary. The fruit of such observance is: goodwill, simplicity and
straightforwardness, disaffection with material objects, self-realization and
awareness By exposing the mind to these virtues, the complexes of pride and
attachment get dissolved. With the dissolution of these complexes, the
consequences of past sanskars surcease. Thus, a solid background is formed for
the practice of meditation. With this background a sadhak, passing through the
various stages of meditation, successfully reaches his goal.