Transitory nature of
Twelve Facets of
GURU SHREE CHITRABHANU
Can I get rid off Karmas?
The Art of Cleansing
Observe the way in which a
river goes to the ocean. Why does it reach the ocean? Because it has two banks
preventing it from becoming scattered. The banks protect and guide it, giving
it the freedom to move and reach its destination. Without this protection, it
does not find the ocean. If, instead, the river fights and breaks the two
banks, it will dry up and die in the desert.
In a way, life is like a
flowing river. We have the quest for truth, for reality. To find our ocean,
our treasure, we have to be consistent and dedicated. If our mind is
scattered, our energy will be dissipated, and we will never reach the ocean,
our reality. But if we keep two banks on either side of us, we will keep our
freedom to move, our energy to flow, and ultimately we will reach our Self.
What are the banks which we can
build to guide us toward our reality? They are known as disciplines. These
disciplines are not outside commandments laying down the laws of "Thou shalt"
or "Thou shalt not." There is a difference between laws, or vows, and what we
call disciplines. Vows are imposed from outside compulsion, whereas
disciplines flow from inner self- awareness. They come from realizing that to
do otherwise would be to become lost. They arise from the understanding that
to dissipate one's energy is to abandon oneself to the wasteland. By listening
to inner awareness instead of to out- side compulsion, you know what you want
and what you don't want.
When you prepare yourself
through self-awareness, you take responsibility for each act you do, for each
sentence you utter, for each thought you think. You are no longer random. You
scrutinize. You know what you are taking in and what you are keeping out. You
realize that once something unwanted enters your consciousness, it takes root.
So you say to yourself, "Why do I take it?"
Scrutiny of thought, of speech,
of relationships becomes second nature to you. You are aware of the law --that
anything which comes into contact with you creates ripples or waves in your
life. Ultimately, they disturb your peace, your calmness. So you take a little
time to reflect on your whole life and your real needs. Herein rests the
responsibility--to ask yourself, "What do I want? Why do I want? How much do I
Everything is there, but we
must learn how to select. As we go on asking those questions, slowly we
understand that the world is like a candy store and that sometimes we are like
children. Candies are colorful. They are beautifully wrapped. They attract us,
and before we know it, we swallow them, not knowing how they will affect our
health, our teeth, or our blood sugar level. When our mind is in a childish,
immature state, it likes to grab whatever it is given. At the same time, it
has the tendency to want more and more. Once grabbing enters one's life, it
works like sugar entering the bloodstream. There is an instant energy, a
temporary "high," but afterwards the person's energy deflates with double
That is why inner disciplines
are inevitably necessary.
Without them, we will be ruled
by a mind constantly floating and fluctuating between a high tide of joy and a
low tide of depression.
The seers in their search found
these twelve reflections in which they could sit, meditate, and see with
balanced vision. The seventh, eighth, and ninth facets--ashrava, samvara, and
nirjara--are deeply connected with one another. In ashrava, there is
observation of the influx, of the open gates, of inner vulnerable points. In
samvara, there is an action--of stopping the unwanted elements from coming in.
It is closing the gates of the lake of consciousness. Nirjara is cleansing out
the negative vibrations which have already accumulated and taken dominance in
You are in an observation
tower. What do you find when you scan your life from this distance? You find
your addictions. They may be smoking, drinking, overeating, overindulgence in
sex, greed for wealth or fame. They all create weakness. All are props to
support the crumbling house. No one is going to become stronger by depending
on an addiction.
So the aware person asks, "When
did this addiction start? How weak have I become? I am not at peace. I am not
with myself. Because of this addiction, I am creating scars in my life. I go
in search of happiness and end up finding pain." The seeker continues to go
deep into his self-inquiry. "In pursuit of so-called enjoyment, my mind drives
me in many directions. In the end, when I sit and watch, what do I get? In so
many years, is there any happiness which gives me exhilaration, which lifts
me? Or do I look upon past moments with sadness? Do my memories hover over me
like a black cloud?"
By observing in this way, you
come to the origin of your thoughts, the source of your needs; you see the
quality of your desires and the meaning behind your relationships. When you
see what kinds of thoughts come to you, you see why they come. What is their
connection with you? Thoughts don't come unless there is a connection. If you
haven't seen or heard something in relation to those kinds of thoughts, they
won't occur in the mind. They arise because of the connection.
The next step comes: you see
unwanted thoughts as invaders. You are sure that you don't want them, so you
ask yourself, "Why do I allow them? Can I not exert my energy to stop them?
Can I not bring out my willpower, my Atma-virya? Do I not have this soul
power?" You become aware of your power. You exert your will, saying, "What I
don't want must not come in."
When you take time to stop the
intrusion of unwanted elements, your practice is born from inner awareness of
your own power and of the direction you want to take in life. What you do is
the result of a natural flow, not outside compulsion.
In samvara, you are with
yourself. If new commitments or new relationships are continually coming, you
are not able to see your thoughts, your emotions, your life. When you stop,
you are in a position to watch. Then you ascertain which are the thoughts you
do not want. "Let them not come," you assert. If the thoughts continue to
bombard you, you realize you have some weakness inside. Because of the
weakness, although you don't want those thoughts, you allow them to come.
Stopping to observe yourself, you discover the addictions which are binding or
Bandha means to bind. When you
look at your addictions from the point of view of the law of karma, you see
that those inner weaknesses are binding you to matter. When you are in a state
of either infatuation or hatred, you are not in your own nature. Your energy
flow is blocked. Your soul is not free to move toward its destination. Some
residue of matter remains like a cloud over your soul and influences your
consciousness. Because of this influence, you think, speak, or act in an
unaware or distorted way--with kashaya, passion. In this way, the residue acts
like a gravitational force drawing to you particles of matter of a similar
quality. If you hold on to this residue, though you try to take off, the
overload will drag you down.
This ninth step is the antidote
to bandha, or bondage. It is called nirjara. Nirjara means dropping, breaking
off and shedding away the binding elements, the addictions and attachments.
First let us see the mechanism
of dropping this sticky residue. We think things are holding us, but in
reality we are the ones holding on to them. There was a monkey who put his
hand into a small earthen pot and got a handful of chickpeas. But the mouth of
the pot was very narrow, and when the monkey tried to pull his hand out, he
could not. So he started shouting, "This pot is holding my hand!" Then a
monkey trainer came and gave the monkey a spanking. "Silly monkey! Your hand
is caught in the pot because you are holding on to so many chickpeas!" He
dropped the chickpeas, and his hand was free.
The same thing happens in our
life. We are greedy and we hold on to things. Drop that addiction which is
binding you and you are free! No one is bound in the world What binds you is
your own addiction.
Unfortunately, one form of
addiction is unhappiness itself. For example, what happens when people don't
support your addiction? You think they are not being friendly toward you. Or
watch what happens when you come home from work. By the end of the day, what
have you collected from your communications with people? Either you take other
people's emotional problems onto your own head or you blame others for your
problems. Do you sit and chew on them at night? If so, it shows that you
invite problems, that you are in some way addicted to unhappiness.
The sincere seeker goes deep.
In order to drop the negative vibrations or addictions, he or she asks, "Are
people really making me unhappy? Or am I taking their vibrations upon me
because of my own addiction? If I am responsible, let me stop allowing this to
happen. I want to drop all addictions."
Now a new understanding dawns
upon you. When you reach this state, anyone who upsets you becomes your
teacher. Anyone who causes you sorrow, pain, anger, jealousy, or ego becomes
your guru. Why? Because he or she makes you aware of an addiction which was
lying dormant in you. The hidden weakness is brought out in the open. So you
say, "Thank you. It is good that you have made me aware of my preset response.
Otherwise, I would not have known about it."
What do you do when a doctor
tells you there is a cyst in your body? Do you say, "What a nasty person you
are, telling me about it"? On the contrary, you say, "Thank you for making me
aware of it. Please examine it." You have it checked and you pay the doctor
for this service. In this way, the doctor makes you aware of your physical
problem before it increases. You don't despise yourself because you have a
cyst or a toothache or a virus. You say, "I have taken in something wrong or I
have exposed myself to something unhealthy. That is why this disease has
occurred. Let me check it now before it develops further."
In the same way, you don't hate
yourself because you have an addiction. When you find it, you should not
criticize yourself. If you put yourself down because of it you become one with
it. When you become one with Your addiction, how can you separate from it?
Thinking of yourself as hopeless and helpless, how can you move away from the
weakness? You can separate yourself only if you have not become one with it.
So you see yourself as Param-Atman,
as pure Self, perfect through and through. After all, your aim ultimately is
to realize what you are. There must be clarity of vision. If the soul were by
nature unworthy, how could you ever free yourself. If the soul were sinful
from the beginning how could it ever appear sparkling and clean? To be pure
and guiltless is your birthday
Certain addictions become like
heavy colors. They color your inner vision so that you doubt your own Self.
You lose sight of the fact that you are pure at heart divine by nature. Just
as you take some strong detergent to remove the heavy soil from your clothes,
so you take the powerful light of meditation to rub out the influence which
makes you see yourself as anything less than divine.
Your real Self is the steady,
clear background. See your addictions as an influence, as a virus. Work on
that level. Though they do not go easily because of being rooted in the
long-distant past, still if you are serious about dropping them, they cannot
There are certain trees which
never grow high though they live a long time. That is because their roots are
pruned and cut.
For any living thing to grow,
its roots have to have room. Observe what happens when you put something in a
particular condition. The condition limits the growth. Anything we have done
for a long time and which we continue to do becomes a condition. It becomes
cemented as part of our thinking. It makes itself so much at home in our
consciousness that we are not ready to break with it. Even when we think that
the condition is not going to last, we allow the mind to fool us and trick us
into holding on to the condition in subtle ways. We forget the pain it can
cause us. In this way, we become like those bonsai trees, dwarfed by our
conditioning. If we never break it, we cannot grow and stretch. Without
growing and stretching, we cannot reach our true height.
The idea in this second step is
to break the conditions and free yourself. You want to free yourself so you
can grow. You don't want to remain in a dwarfish mentality. If you do, you
will deprive yourself of the infinite sky. So you make the decision to detect
which conditions are limiting you and to break them. Then you will soar to the
height and have the ecstasy of knowing your own Self.
The third step comes naturally.
It is a shedding process. You are shedding the dry leaves from your life,
because you are preparing for freshness. What happens when you do this? You
discover the difference between "I" and "we." This "we" is the "we" of the
herd mentality. When you live with "we," you always try to be like others. You
feel inadequate and think, "What will people think of me if I speak? What if
they laugh at me?" If you are not able to fit into what others are doing, you
feel awkward and call yourself a "misfit."
Shed this misreading of
yourself. Realize your uniqueness and tell yourself, "I am I. I can't be
anything else. Whether others accept or reject me makes no difference. I am
what I am." When you become what you are, a natural flow comes in Your life.
You begin to communicate with all without fear or inhibition. This is what I
call separating out "I" from "we."
When "I" is mixed up with "we,"
it is drowned in a big ocean. How will you find your true "I" unless you stop
comparing yourself with others? There are so many styles, languages, customs.
Will you try to copy "we" all over the world? You may be able to succeed in
one place, but there are so many other places. Where will it stop?
Where will there be the variety
of human life? It is better to feel, "Wherever I go, I go with myself. I go
with my uniqueness. Everywhere I will add my light, my fresh color, my new
approach." It is a process of accepting your "I." This "I" has come alone and
this "I" goes alone; ultimately, you love to be with yourself. At the same
time, you communicate with all.
When you drop the outer
coverings, you become creative. During the process, if you break down one
shell and find still another one underneath, then you know that something is
still left over. The time comes when you find nothing more to break. That is
When you find yourself, you
realize, "The Self is not breakable. The essence is not going to break." You
break only that which is breakable--the addictions and dependencies, the
outside shells. In finding your real "I," you also find your uniqueness.
Discovering your "I" is not a form of selfishness. Rather, it is
self-reverence. Finding yourself, you experience and revere the same pure "I"
in all. In your aloneness, you are expanding your awareness of all oneness.
Now you know that in hurting
others, you are hurting yourself, and that in helping others, you are helping
yourself. Now what you see in you, you see in all living beings. When this
state of "I" emerges, it becomes for you at the same time a merging--into the
ocean of universal love and reverence for all life.
SEED THOUGHT FOR MEDITATION
Nirjara is the way for me to
drop, break, or shed conditions, addictions, and habits which bind me. I want
to give myself room to grow. I want to free myself from limiting habits and
reach my true height.
What do I want? Why do I want?
How much do I want? What I don't want I will not let into my life. What I do
want is that which will help me grow and move toward my permanent reality.
I am I. I cannot be like
somebody else. Wherever I go, I go with myself.
Religious vows are created from
outside compulsion. Disciplines flow from inner self-awareness, from
penetrating insights. They are like the banks of a river. If I keep these
banks around me, I am freeing my energy to flow toward the ocean in a steady
stream of awareness and love.