IN QUEST OF BEING
Curiosity about life, is the starting point,
Each sadhak must ask himself, "Who am I?"
And ask it forever, with no answer satisfied,
Till discontent itself leads him on to the way.
The path beingfound, rules and restraint useful prove,
Like the ground being levelled before the seed is sown!
Q. For integrated development, it is necessary for an individual to be introvertive. For introversion, emphasis is laid on the practice of meditation. The experiences of various sadhaks are different. Some achieve a good state of mind very soon; others get lost in confusion. How should a sadhak start his sadhana?
Ans. Even when impelled by an inner urge to under take sadhana, many people cannot determine how to go about it. When? And where? Until the starting point is clear there cannot be any systematic progress in this field. From the viewpoint of organisation, it is necessary to acquire deep knowledge of the subject. In order to move in the direction of dhyana, one must be thoroughly acquainted with its nature. Dhyana means concentration. But concentration alone is not the object of meditation. "What kind of concentration?", is an important question. There is the marksman's concentration. When a hunter aims at his prey, how intent he is! In the the absence of concentration, no arrow can pierce its object. The heron is notorious for its hypocrisy. With a view to deceiving its prey, it pretends to be absorbed in meditation; it lifts one foot and stands like an ascetic. Impressed by them heron's concentration, the great idealist, Sri Rama, addressed Laxman thus
Laxman! Look at that heron living in this lake.
How religious it is! How carefully it steps,
For fear of killing a living creature!
Laxman kept silent. But a fish living in the same lake smarted to hear what Sri Rama said. Gathering courage,it spoke :
Rama! How dare you talk about the religiousness of that heron!
Can a creature that has destroyed the whole of my family, be religious?
0 Rama,you are not acquainted with its duplicity.
Because only a person living in close contact can come to
know his companion's real character.
In this context, it may be said that we are concerned here not with concentration alone, but with the object of concentration. That concentration alone which creates curiosity about ones existence, is valuable from the point of view of sadhana, and this, in itself, constitutes the starting point of sadhana. Until a mans curiosity is aroused about the nature of his being he does not display any eagerness to know himself. As long as he feels no urge to confront the question, "Who am I?" the fundamental groundwork of meditation is not laid. When a deep curiosity to know himself is aroused in a man, the path of sadhana becomes clear of itself. Because there is not much distance between irresistible curiosity and the path. Curiosity creates restlessness in the mind. When that restlessness reaches its summit, the path of sadhana stands clearly marked out.
A young seeker approached a monk and said, "Gurudev! I aspire after spirituality. Kindly show me the path of sadhana." The monk said. "Pupil! This is good. You have completed your studies. Now you wish to enter the field of sadhana. It is a pointer to your prosperous future. I'll certainly tell you the secret of sadhana, but not today. Come to me after a week." The youngman returned after a week, and said, "Sir! one week is past, now kindly show me the path." However, the monk asked him to wait for another two weeks. The pupil was very modest. He accepted the guru's direction and waited for another two weeks. After two weeks, he returned to the monk, but the monk again turned him back and asked him to come after three weeks. Thus, many, months passed. One day, the disciple got very impatient and said, "What's the matter, Gurudev? Why are you putting me off for ever? Do you think I'm not fit for sadhana?" The monk said "All right, let's go! I'll show you the path of sadhana today."
The monk took the youngman across the city to the bank of the river. They rested there for a little while and then the monk said, "Son! The flowing water is cool and clear. Wash your face and hands." As the disciple descended into the streams the monk caught him by the head and pushed him further down into the river. The pupil rose up immediately, but the monk's grip was strong and he did not let the disciple emerge out of the water. The latter tossed and tumbled about in pain. If he took a breath, his mouth and nose were filled with water, if he held his breath, he felt suffocated. He could not keep in water for a second more. When the monk saw him utterly restless and writhing in pain, he pulled him out of the water and said, "Why are you so impatient; pupil? Couldn't you keep in water for a.little while more?" "The youngman, manifesting his inner turmoil, said, "Gurudev! what do you mean? I would have died. I couldn't endure a moment's delay. Did you really want to stifle me to death?"
The monk smiled and said, "No, son! I didnt want to take your life; I only wanted to show you the path of sadhana."
"How's that?" cried the pupil.
Quenching his curiosity, the monk said, "When you were about to drown, you were so terribly restless for air, as not to endure being in water even for a second more. When you display the same keenness for sadhana, you'll find the path all right."
For sadhana, one must have a deep urge. The irresistible urge leads one to the path naturally and easily. After one sees clearly what path to follow, one must lead a life of self-restraint in accordance with the prescribed rules. Rather, if one may put it differently, after one has attained the starting point of sadhana, life itself becomes disciplined and regular. From the viewpoint of sadhana, the undertaking of certain pledges has a special significance. Without these, the obstacles to further progress cannot be removed. Just as the rough and rugged ground is first levelled before sowing the seed, similarly in order to sow. the seed of dhyana, the uneven ground of conduct is smoothened through the observation of mahavrats and anuvrats. After this ground is made even, the sowing of the seed of dhyana becomes very easy. On the basis of' the above facts, three things become abundantly clear Firstly, there must be curiosity about one's being; secondly, there must be the irresistible urge for sadhana, and thirdly one must take certain pledges and vows. In the progress of sadhana, this trinity plays an important role.