A liberal initiation first of all
With natural, unforced dedication!
The right path, right understanding, right action-
Excellent initiation, promising goodness to come!
I enter the field of spirituality – my first
Initiation into the way by the noble Guru!
Transmission to an inner world of awareness,
Is the second initiation which I joyfully accept!
I keep roaming within with mindfulness,
Is the third initiation, of which the Agamas speak.
Q.Is a sadhak generally admitted to a meditation shivir unconditionally, or does he have to take certain pledges?
Ans. For good sadhana, it is necessary for a sadhak to be properly equipped, and properly initiated. Without being initiated, the sadhak will not be able to carry out the instructions of his guide. Every technique of meditation has its own precepts. Preksha dhyana has three—the right way, right understanding and self-control. The sadhak accepts these precepts in the following words:
I accept the right path;
I accept the right faith;
I accept the right action.
The first precept is related to the search for one’s aim. Without discovering his aim, no individual can make any headway. One’s aim regulates one’s activity. If the sadhak has no idea of what his aim is, where will he go? A man went to the railway booking office to buy his ticket. The booking clerk asked him, “Where are you going? For what station shall I issue the ticket?” The man said, “I’m going to my in-laws.” “But what’s the name of the village where your in-laws live?” asked the booking clerk. The man said, “I’ve forgotten the name of the village. You just give me a ticket.” Now, unless the destination is clearly stated, no ticket can be issued. Similarly, without first determining the objective, the purpose is not served. The word ‘marg’ in Hindi (meaning ‘the way’, ‘the path’), means, to explore, to enquire, to investigate. The way connotes a kind of search for one’s aim; it is the means to reach one’s destination. After one’s aim is determined, it is necessary to find the way to achieve it.
There are many paths. They take us to different goals. Every path ends in a destination. Now the question is which path is the right one. In my opinion, no path can be said to be absolutely right or absolutely wrong. The determination of right or wrong depends upon the relation of cause and effect. If a man bound for Calcutta catches a train bound for Bombay, he has chosen a wrong path. But for a man going to Bombay, it is the right path. A man suffering from indigestion takes a medicine for high fever; that is wrong. Although the drugs meant to cure indigestion and fever are right, each in its own sphere, but they become wrong, if used wrongly. In the outward conduct of life, a just understanding of right and wrong is very necessary. Likewise, the importance of finding out the right way to one’s destination in one’s inner life cannot be ignored.
In the context of preksha dhyana, the aim of the sadhak is to achieve the purification of the mind. The preksha sadhak does not practise meditation to achieve concentration; because concentration can be found even in a hunter, a lustful person or a thief. In the absence of concentration, no work succeeds. Indeed, success in any work is inevitably bound up with concentration. But a spiritual aspirant cannot reach his goal through concentration alone. Only that concentration which accompanies purity or contentment can take him to his destination. The sadhak’s wholesome attitude towards his goal is the right approach. Right approach is the second point of initiation into dhyana.
The third point of initiation is control or self-restraint. A sadhak can enter the field of spirituality only if the beginning of his pilgrimage is marked by temperance—temperance of mind, speech, senses, and the body. Where these are under control, the individual becomes supremely alert. The greater the inner awareness, the maturer is one’s faith. Right faith is like the lamp on the door sill. It disperses its light on both sides—within and without. Through it one gains the right path, also self-control. Thus, it has an important place in preksha initiation. The first among the three steps of initiation symbolizes movement in the direction of spirituality, the second is an inspiration to explore the inner world, and the third is indicative of roaming within with mindfulness. This initiation in the form of three auto-suggestions serves as stimulating food for the preksha sadhak, from which he constantly derives nourishment for life.
Q.After determining one’s goal one must find out the right way to achieve it. Does that right path become available only after the achievement of right faith or is it possible to discover it earlier?
Ans. The path is of two kinds—goal-oriented, and non-committed. The non-committed way, however good in itself, cannot take one to the goal. One man’s objective is to acquire money. In order to fulfill this objective, he sits in meditation. This way is not goal-oriented. Meditation is very good. It is also necessary for making life harmonious. But the objective of money-making is not fulfilled thereby. Similarly, the man whose objective is self-realization or the purification of the mind, cannot afford to be involved too much in outer phenomena. If a sadhak whose aim is to realize himself, is occupied all the time in money-making, if he is involved in immoral activities like violence, or engrossed in sexual gratification, and yet thinks he is progressing towards his goal, it is sheer illusion on his part. Only right approach can regulate the factual. Until the vision is just and clear, it becomes difficult even to determine one’s goal and many complications arise. In a state of confusion, each individual tries to find fault with the other. That is why it is necessary that the search for the right path must be accompanied by right faith. A mind endowed with right faith alone can end all complications.
Anekant (multi-sided perception) should be the basis for resolving complications. A student studies at school; he also attends to business in his shop. These are two diverse occupations, and yet the student is not caught in confusion. Confusion would arise if an effort were made to merge these two occupations into one. But the two activities are all right in their respective places. To proceed in the direction of the committed objective, it is most important to develop right faith. A man endowed with right vision, irrespective of what he does in life, good or bad, comprehends his action in its proper perspective. What is taken to be true is true no more, when the perspective changes.
In preksha dhyana initiation, the right path, the right faith and the right (temperate) action—all three have an equally important place. Of course, any point requiring special attention at a particular moment, is duly emphasized, but even in the course of emphasizing it, other points should not be lost sight of. The use of the Anekant doctrine is specially useful on such occasions. He who does not comprehend Anekant, often gets confused. “If the path is all-important in the field of sadhana,” he asks, “What is the necessity of right faith or action? Or if right faith or moderation in action are significant, why be concerned about the right path?” As long as one is caught in this confusion, the direction of sadhana does not become clear. What is required is a comprehensive and simultaneous appraisal of all the useful elements of sadhana in relation to one another.