Transitory nature of
Twelve Facets of
GURU SHREE CHITRABHANU
The Rare Occasion
The mind is a ladder. If we are
aware, it can help us move upward. If we are not aware, it can cause us to
fall. This ladder has both potentialities--to be a help or to be a hazard. In
its aware state, our mind is a beautiful instrument. It can receive and
transmit truth. It can inspire and uplift us. But in its unrefined, unaware
state it works against us. It can trick us into thinking that what we want is
right, when it may not be. We use it to rationalize that what we are doing is
not wrong, when in fact it is.
When a person depends upon his
intellect alone, he doesn't know whether he is rising or falling. He cannot
tell because he does not rise above its particular bias. By allowing the
intellect alone to judge, he manages to justify even an injustice. He will
perceive as an ascent what is in reality a descent.
For example, a young man
received his salary at the end of the week and started home with three hundred
dollars in his pocket. By mistake he dropped his wallet. It landed on the
sidewalk, but he did not notice. It happened that someone walking behind him
saw the wallet fall. He picked it up, opened it, and saw the money. He was a
good man and his first thought was to give it back. He pictured himself
running up to the man, shaking him, and saying, "You silly young boy! Don't
you know how to protect your money? Here it is!"
Then a new set of thoughts
entered his mind. "For many days I have been out of a job," he thought, "and I
have heard that 'God helps those who help themselves!' He helps us in many
unseen ways. This must be one of the ways; otherwise, why should I have
happened to be here when that man dropped his money? I did not have any theft
in mind. I have not actually stolen anything. God has thrown a wallet before
my eyes. It is a divine gift. How can I ignore it? It would be an insult to
God! There is a reason behind everything, and this is a sign for me." In this
way, he rationalized keeping the money and went home happily.
Waiting for him at home was his
beautiful and serene wife. When he walked in the door, a whiskey bottle in
hand, he announced to her, "Tonight we are going to celebrate!
"How is that possible?" she
asked. "We have no money."
"When you trust in God, He
helps you," he explained. "The human mind cannot conceive of what God had in
store for us today; He gave me three hundred dollars."
Again, she asked, "How did you
"A young man was going along
and dropped his wallet," he told her. "So I picked it up. I did not do
anything. It just fell into my path, a divine gift."
She spoke to him gently. "Don't
you think that when he goes home smiling, full of hope and happiness because
he has just received his week's pay, that someone like me is waiting for him
just as I wait for you? Can you imagine his sorrow when he says, 'See, I have
brought my pay!' and then finds out that his pockets are empty? Can you
imagine his depression? What will he feel when he sees that a whole week's
labor is lost? We can enjoy a dinner and a night of celebration, but what
about the person who goes with hope and ends with hopelessness? Can you not
think of that?"
The intellect is a sword with
two edges. It can cut from either side. It can be used by a person for growth
or it can be used to justify questionable things by saying that there IS some
divine hand behind it all. That is the kind of reasoning which has led people
to justify even animal sacrifice as offerings to God. In the name of God,
animals are killed. God does not eat their flesh, but the priests do while
murmuring "Thanks." Thanks to whom? To the intellect which distorts,
manipulates, and justifies even killing in the name of an unknown and unseen
Anything can be justified in
that manner. Promiscuity is justified by calling it Tantra art. When you speak
against it, you appear out of date, and people say you don't know what you are
talking about. Others burn out their brain cells with drugs, yet justify it by
saying, "I am in heaven, I see so many different colors." If you explain that
it is merely hallucination, they laugh at you. If you tell them that what they
see has no meaning, they say "How do you know? You have not taken drugs."
These are some of the ways the intellect can act as a ladder to take you
That is why the masters tell
the initiates to purify their mind. It is raw; it is crude like oil. It needs
to be refined. If you put crude oil in an airplane, what will happen? It will
not take you up. Before it can be used, it has to go through the process of
becoming gasoline. Once it has been refined, It can be used in a plane. You
can depend on It. You are in the sky and you put your life in its hands. So
refined gasoline is the right fuel with which to fly a plane.
In the same way, this mind,
this intellect. in its crude form can be dangerous. What we are learning here
is how to refine it. It takes time. We don't want to discard it, abolish it,
or blow it off. It is very precious. Imagine what power our mind has--it takes
hundreds of people into the sky in a single jumbo jet. What is that which
lifts the plane? Not the plane itself, but a human mind. If the human mind
were not responsible for this feat, then the plane would not budge from the
ground. Try throwing a stone into the air; it comes down. Even a feather does
not stay in the sky. Here hundreds of thousands of tons are lifted into the
sky for fourteen hours at a time! And we all trust it. The trust is based on
what? Not on the inanimate plane, but on the human mind which created such a
marvelous machine, and on another one that flies it.
Your life is more precious than
any airplane. You cannot afford to waste it by stagnating, by keeping this
intellect in a crude form. Engage yourself in refining it, and it will help
you harness your energy, create beauty and harmony in your life, and move in
the direction of evolution. How to refine the intellect? You take on a process
of training, of awareness, of meditation. As you go on purifying, gross
elements accumulated in the mind are dropped and it becomes clearer and
clearer. That in you which is pure, subtle, and beautiful emerges. When you
become subtle, even your thoughts become transparent, no longer heavy and
crude. Thoughts no longer drive you in various directions. They begin to take
you in the right direction.
For the initiates, this right
direction, this refinement, this insight is called bodhi. Bodhi means to know,
to be aware. It is the knowledge which comes from an inner opening, from inner
experience. Bodhi has many more meanings. From this word is derived Buddha,
meaning one who knows.
The eleventh bhavana is called
bodhidurlabha, which means the rarity and difficulty of achieving such a deep
knowledge. The path to Enlightenment takes time and energy to discover. In
this reflection, the student marvels and rejoices at the fact that he or she
has been able to seek out and walk this path. In fact, bodhi is such a rare
and precious treasure that it has been compared to a unique radiant diamond.
The lustrous diamond which Indian monarchs used to wear in their crowns was
called the Kohinur diamond. Such a diamond was not available to everyone; it
was reserved only for special persons. In the same way, when we think of
bodhidurlabha, we observe that inner awareness is a rare treasure that
"common" people cannot afford. What is meant by "common"? It has nothing to do
with post, position, wealth, or status. The common person is he or she who is
living without inner richness.
How can you describe this inner
treasure? Let us say that there comes a moment in your life, in your
experience, when you realize that what dies is every body, not every soul. It
may come from meditation, from hearing the words of the right teacher, from
remaining in the company of the right person. Slowly it unfolds in you. You
realize, "I am not a body. I am living in a body. I am unborn." So though you
are born, you are unborn. It appears a little paradoxical. You might think,
"How can I say I am unborn? I was born. I have a birth date." You know that
which has a birth certificate will have a death certificate. That is a fact.
And it is horrifying to think that all of our efforts end in a graveyard. It
is such a sad, tasteless thought.
So we go deeper. We go beyond
intellectualization. We begin to have the experience that something in us does
not believe in death. If we truly believed in death, we would not get up in
the morning. When we hear of somebody who has died, we feel a little sad, we
inform someone else, and then we go on our way. Even though we hear of someone
else's death, we do not think about our own death.
Why do we not think, "Death is
coming. I had better take precaution"? When we sense danger coming, we take
the necessary precaution. Is not death the biggest danger? And yet we enjoy
life. Think for a while. Does it mean that we don't believe in death? Are we
skeptics? Do we think it is only an illusion? If it were real to us, we would
be serious about it, and yet we are not serious. That shows that we see, yet
we don't believe in our seeing. We don't trust our eyes. Like a mirage, it is
seen, but we know it is not water. Knowing that it is not water, we don't run
after that mirage.
In the same way, we see death,
and yet we are not afraid. There is a real meaning to this. The secret is
this: the Inside Dweller knows that he has no death, because he has no birth.
The Inside Dweller is unborn. Inside life is authentic. We realize, "What dies
is the body, not me. The senses will die. I am not the senses, I am beyond
them. I am using the senses as windows and taking care to keep them clean
while I live in this house, the body." The Indweller does not identify with
the house or with the windows. They are separate from the seer.
If the windows and the one who
sees are one, then there will be no seeing, no seen, no process of seeing. So
here we realize that when a person becomes old and closes the eyes, still he
can see inside. The Indweller experiences what he or she has seen at another
time. When you experience this kind of knowledge, you don't say, "I am the
possessor of knowledge." Instead, you say, "I am knowledge. Before, I was
covered by ignorance. Now I am uncovering myself. I was hidden. Now I am
coming out. I am removing the veils, the curtains until the reality of my Self
is revealed." When you believe in you, you start experiencing inner richness.
That gives you such a deep confidence that insights start coming and doubts
drop away. Doubts which came from the outside stay outside; they don't belong
in your inner world.
Before we begin to unfold our
inner treasure of bodhi, we are covered with mithyathva, ignorance. Because of
ignorance, we take one thing for another. Our main mistake is this: we take
the body for the soul and the soul for the body. In this confusion, there is
pain because of being unable to discriminate between the two. When something
happens to the body, immediately we allow the soul to become identified with
it. From this, our moods, fears, depressions, and projections begin.
Because of mithvathva, we do
not see that the longing of the soul is an entirely different thing from the
desire of the body. When these two are mixed up, then love is taken for lust,
and lust is taken for love. We need one thing, but we take another thing
instead. So we must ask ourselves, "What is my longing for soul companionship?
What is the desire of my body to get gratification?"
We need love. It is the food of
the soul, we cannot live without it. Love is not planning, it is not
remembering. It exists only in the present moment. In love, there is no desire
to hold, possess, or bind. To hold on to someone or something else is to
disconnect from oneself. In disconnecting from yourself, you disconnect from
the present moment, because your energy is used on the future. In this way,
the experience of life, of love is slipping through your fingers. When you
begin to see this very subtle point, you come to know that love has nothing to
do with the past or the future.
Love is to just be. It means to
be in communion. You can be in communion with any being that communicates and
builds some kind of feeling and harmony with you. You can be in love with a
plant, a child, an animal, a grandmother, a villager, a simpleton. It is
possessing nothing, only being present in that moment, feeling and
communicating with life in different forms.
In the same way, you experience
this unconditional love with your own Self. You are in tune with yourself.
When a person is in love, he does not hold anything back. He pours all his
treasure without reserve. He does not say, "If I keep it, it will be useful
one day." No, he says, "Here is the day, let me live it." You create this
experience each day and turn it into your life style. In this way, you will no
longer sadden your day with future thoughts and worries. Your living will be
here and now with love.
The initiates are taught to
live as brothers. The monks live together, yet they retain their
individuality. The word "retain" usually implies that there is a plan behind
what is being done. In this practice, individuality is retained without a plan
or intention to retain it. How is this possible? It's a very subtle point; it
is precisely because you don't have any intention to retain your individuality
that you are able to retain it.
This approach is difficult to
conceive, because you have been taught that you must make a plan, identify
with something, attach to something. But here you don't have any tie; what you
have is you! When you understand this, you separate from the past, you step
away from the future, and you ask,
"What does remain when I
disconnect myself from everything? What remains is myself. What remains is my
life. This is what is communicating in this moment." It is here and now,
continually in communion.
This eleventh facet,
bodhidurlabha, helps you eliminate the gross elements from your intellect. You
make it so fine that it becomes your ally. You come to understand that you are
nothing but soul. And the soul has no mission other than just to be in
communion. From here let the idea of achievement drop.
We are all oriented to the idea
of achievement. Many people ask, "What did you achieve in your life?" If you
continue to ponder this question, you may conclude that you are a failure. You
may think, "What did I achieve? Nothing. All my life is in vain." I have heard
these- same words from people of all walks of life. They say, "I feel I have
been a failure. I wanted to be a doctor, but I failed in school. I wanted to
be a lawyer, but I did not get the proper credits. I wanted to be an actress,
but I did not get a good chance. I wanted to find a good partner in life, but
they all cheated me." I have seen clerks who wanted to be managers, and
managers who wanted to be owners. It reflects the way in which people live and
act with the thought of failure.
What is achievement? In my
college days, I witnessed the second richest and most powerful king in India,
the Maharaj of Mysore, Krishnarajvadiar, turn into a heap of ashes on his
funeral pyre. Afterward, I saw all the elephants, horses, and army return to
the palace. He who had so many possessions, a huge palace, was lying alone in
the wilderness, reduced to a handful of ash. Billions and billions of rupees,
name and fame, what did it all mean? Is this achievement?
But this mind is not ready to
understand. This mind is always making you unhappy, giving you the thought
that you have not achieved anything. It mocks you. In this inner mockery, you
are unhappy. No matter what you do during your day, when that thought comes,
"What did you achieve?" all is in vain. The mind puts down even the good deeds
you have done. It compares you to this person and to that. And this failure
bites you, saddens you, weighs on you. You become so heavy that you don't
derive any joy from life. And there will always be someone somewhere in the
world who has more or who has done more than you.
So the master tells the
initiate, "Your achievement is bodhidurlabha. Your achievement is to be aware
of the real and the unreal, to be aware of your inner wealth living inside
your outer garments." There is neither right nor wrong, only the real and the
unreal. They have become confused. It is meaningless to blame anyone for this
mistake; it is important only to see the way in which conditioning and
unawareness have kept us from distinguishing between the two.
This allegory points out the
confusion. One day truth and untruth both went to take a bath in the river. It
was summer, so they took off their clothes and dived in. They were swimming
happily until untruth got an idea. She came out from the river first and put
on truth's dress. When truth came out and saw that her dress was gone, she
said, "It is not good to go naked in society, so let me wear the dress which
is left over." Since that day, the two have been moving in society and people
don't know which is which because of their outer appearances.
See the reality rather than
only the outside dress. Don't be deceived by appearance. See exactly who is
wearing the dress. What we see with our eyes is deceptive because the real is
inside. It can't be seen only with our eyes or heard with our ears or touched
with our hands. It is beyond all the senses. It resides in our very central
core. Because of its intangible presence, we can perceive the tangible world.
What you see is outside of you,
but the real seer is inside. This soul is not born nor is it going to die.
When you realize this in your deep experience, this is your greatest
achievement. All other achievements are outer. They remain outside, becoming
ashes on the cremation ground. But in this achievement, nothing leaves you,
because you are your awareness.
That is why it is meaningful to
meditate on the rarity of this occasion. We realize, "This rare insight, more
rare than any sparkling gem, I have received into my heart. It is not going to
go away from me. It is here and now, making me whole and complete. It is my
inner divinity. That is why I can say I have achieved." Whenever you feel the
lack of worldly achievement, remind yourself of this incomparable treasure,
this precious inner wealth. Continue to remind yourself each day until you
have completely convinced your mind.
That is your work--to purify
your mind, your intellect, through and through. Once it is refined, it will be
a useful ladder, a means by which to lift yourself up rather than a reason for
you to fall down. When you ascend to the height, the clarity within, you will
be ready to realize the last facet of reality: dharma, spiritual essence,
SEED-THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION
I do not possess knowledge ; I
am knowledge, Removing the veils, I am revealing myself.
When I confuse the desire of
body with the longing of soul, I don't see what love is. Love is the
nourishment of soul.
It is to just be and not to
possess. It is to be in communion.
Let me celebrate the unique
moment when I realize that I am eternal , unborn, imperishable. When I
experience this rare inner treasure, this will be my greatest achievement.