THE RULES OF INITIATION
Temperance in food; in speech; universal goodwill;
Freedom from reaction-action natural and free;
And mindfulness for ever and in everything;
Five golden rules of sadhana are these.
Q.Does success in the practice of meditation come
immediately after accepting initiation into preksha dhyana, or something yet
remains to be done? What are the points about which a sadhak should exercise
great care during the sadhana period?
Ans. The mere act of initiation can never be a guarantee of success in any
field. Mastery in sculpture or any other art does not come easily. How could it
be otherwise in the field of meditation? In meditation, there takes place a
transformation of the inner disposition. This transformation does not occur in a
moment. For this one has to pass through a definite period of time and follow a
definite procedure. The sadhak of preksha dhyana initiated into it, acts in
accordance with the rules of sadhana. The initiation into preksha dhyana is
accompanied by the acceptance of five rules---temperance in food; temperance in
speech; friendship for all; freedom from reaction; and mindfulness.
The first rule is temperance in food. Food is related to the body, and the body
to the mind. To discipline the mind, it is very necessary to discipline the
body. Control over food is even more important than the necessity of food for
the body. Often fasting or hunger does not hurt a man so much as overheating.
Over-eating is the greatest hindrance to meditation. A sadhak, if he exercises
restraint in food, can go into deep meditation at any time. On the contrary,
after excessive eating one's state of mind is not at all conducive to
meditation. Over-eating invariably, induces sloth and sleep. Meditation
symbolises a higher level of consciousness. From this point of view, the
simpler, the more wholesome and the more frugal a man's diet, the greater
facility he enjoys in meditation.
The second rule of initiation is temperance in speech. Speech is a necessity of
group life, because it is the means of expressing one's feelings. A man who
keeps alone, has little opportunity for speaking; he naturally falls silent. A
newborn child, if kept in total isolation, would never learn how to speak.
Speech has value only when there is with you someone who listens to you. But
even in community living silence is more important than speech. In order to
delve into the depths of sadhana, not only outer silence, but inner silence is
necessary. It is a great weakness in man that he speaks too much. To use ten
words or sentences where one would do, is a waste of time and energy.
It is desirable for the sadhak of preksha meditation to observe complete
silence, even outside of meditation hours. Specially after taking a vow to
observe silence, to keep on communicating with others through gestures is not
useful. Speaking through gestures involves a greater expenditure of energy than
speaking with the tongue. Therefore, a sadhak, if he cannot observe complete
silence, must at least practise temperance in speech. The criterion of frugal
speech is that a man should consider for a moment or two before speaking, as to
how much speech is required. And after he has spoken, he should try to find out
if it would have made much difference, if he had not spoken at all. Similarly,
to speak with deliberation, to consider what kind of language to use, or whether
to speak aloud or low, are other aspects of temperance in speech. By his sense
of discrimination, a sadhak can avoid unnecessary speech.
The third rule of initiation is friendship. The plant of goodwill can only
flower on the ground of equanimity; it is capable of identifying itself with the
soul of the world. The more a sadhak is swayed by like and dislike, the more
feeble his meditation is likely to be. Both attachment and aversion hinder
friendship. For an individual attached to a particular person or thing, it is
natural to be malevolent to another person or thing. Even if the vibrations of
malice are not clearly perceptible, we have no reason to deny their existence.
Similarly, parallel to disenchantment with things and persons, runs the
vibrations of attachment. In these circumstances, compassion is a state which,
transcending both attachment and aversion, takes an invidual to veetaragta
(total freedom from passions). He who practises preksha meditation, must be
suffused with compassion, otherwise his meditation cannot be self-revelatory.
The fourth rule of initiation is freedom from reaction. It has become man's
second nature to react all the time. From morning till evening a considerable
part of his activity is reactionary. He who lives in reaction, loses
spontaneity. He cannot even remember why he is doing a particular work. One man
abuses another. Whether that abuse has any meaning or not, the victim finds it
difficult not to react. Somebody benefits or harms another, both these
activities evoke immediate reaction--goodwill for the benefactor and aversion
for the enemy. It is a great weakness to succumb to reaction. A man finds it
difficult to act independently. The occasion for independent thinking and action
outside the conditioning of circumstances does not arise. In such a situation,
to strive to lead a life of non-reaction is a great discipline. However hard
that discipline may be, until it is successfully practised, one cannot expect
desired results from preksha dhyana. Everyday, the sadhak should try to act and
live in such a way as to be totally free from reaction. If one constantly
examines oneself from the very beginning, one gradually comes to know whether
one's sadhana is tending. Also, it is necessary that this examination be
conducted by the sadhak himself. One who learns not to act in reaction, is a
deserving sadhak in the true sense of the word.
The fifth rule of initiation is mindfulness. Mindfulness is related to every
activity of life. No action, however big or small, should be performed without
the sadhak knowing it fully. Mindfulness means to give oneself totally to the
thing one is doing without the least seperation between the door and the doing.
Phrases like 'with full consciousness', 'total engrossment' 'adequate response',
etc., symbolise mindfulness. It happens many a time that a person is engaged in
some work but his mind is elsewhere. Such a situation arises for want of
training in mindfulness, i.e. the mind, speech and action are not fully
harmonised. Mindless action is a sign of unawareness.
Once a fly settled on the forehead of Mahatama Buddha. The mahatama's hand
lifted automatically and the insect flew away. After a couple of moments, the
Buddha lifted his hand deliberately and turned it as if to remove the fly. The
pupils sitting near the Buddha were surprised and one of them said, '0 Lord,
what is it you are doing? Right now there is no fly or mosquito here. What makes
you move your hand like that?"
The Buddha smiled and said, '0 pupils! I'm correcting a mistake. A moment ago a
fly came and settled upon me. I did remove it, but not consciously. I was not
fully alert at the time. My mind was elsewhere, and my hand lifted mechanically
to drive away the fly. After becoming conscious of my lapse I am now rehearsing
the act with full consciousness, so that the tendency to act unconsciously does
not grow in future."
The pupils listened to the Buddha and understood the secret of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the element which makes an individual aware of his bad habits and
evil tendencies. Thus, if an individual gets angry, he must know that he is in a
state of anger. Conscious anger is never so fatal as unconscious anger. It is by
being fully aware of all that happens to us, good or bad, that our instincts can
be sublimated. For the upward movement of consciousness or the sublimation of
instincts, the practice of mindfulness is very useful.
Q.All these five rules of initiation are very practical and their utility is
beyond doubt. But the problem is how is one to inculcate them in one's everyday
Ans. Generally, all these five maxims accepted at the time of initiation, imply
a movement against the current. To swim with the current is easy. A little piece
of straw, when dropped in the flowing stream, would be carried along the current
for thousands of miles. But, if it tried to flow against the current, its
movement is stopped. Man, too, by nature swims with the current. To swim against
the current requires extra strength and courage. When the sadhak of preksha
dhyana accepts initiation into meditation, he thereby takes the ipledge to move
against the current. As his determination matures, the practice of the five
rules mentioned above also becomes natural. With the weakening of one's
resolution, the practice of the rules appears to be very difficult and complex.
In order to assimilate these five rules of initiation, the sadhak will have to
commit himself to his objective. In the face of commitment to his aim, no
situation can become a hindrance in the sadhak's path.