Training for Meditation

Near the Guru, day and night, let him be!

Only then does the seeker’s sadhana blossom forth;

Walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, eating or speaking,

Ever guided by the Gurus doubt-resolving gaze!

Q.For training in meditation, the need of an effective guide cannot be denied. That guide directs the seeker in the form of a guru. Is it necessary for the pupil to be near the guru all the time or is it possible for him to visit the guru every now and then for guidance, and make progress on his own?

Ans. In ancient literature, the adoration of the guru has been held in great esteem. The Hindi word, upasana, meaning adoration, means sitting near the guru. He who stays near the guru, who loves and reveres him, often finds something which he who stays away can never find. One who stays near the guru, not only has the occasion for hearing and knowing him, but also he is benefited by the radiation emanating from the guru’s aura. The moment a disciple enters the field of the guru’s aura, he experiences extraordinary peace. Through the boundless love of the guru, he comes to see a new direction in life and possibilities of transformation grow stronger. Many new experiments are being undertaken in the western world in the direction of character-transformation. One such experiment has been conducted in Germany. In order to free the young from addiction to smoking, they are being given training in yoga. Again in order to wean them from addiction to intoxicants, people in France are encouraged to undertake long sea journeys. In one such experiment, 20 persons were sent on a long sea-voyage. It has been reported that 13 of them were reformed. The police chief of Cleveland (America) has discovered a new way of reforming the policemen under his charge. These policemen are free to take their wives along with them on their supervisory rounds. It has been found that these people dare not take intoxicating drugs in the presence of their wives.

The experiments mentioned above are no figments of imagination. Both on theoretical and practical grounds, these have been found to be sound. According to the Jain philosophy, remarkable changes take place in both conscious and unconscious objects due to transposition of matter, space, time and feeling. A conscious object when transposed to another area or epoch may become unconscious. There could not be a greater transformation than this. In the above examples, the experiment in Germany may be taken as an instance of change of material circumstance, that in France of transference to a newer area, that in America, of transmutation of feeling.

Even more effective than these is the experiment of living in the vicinity of the guru. The transformation of personality wrought by the effect of the guru’s aura on a disciple living in close proximity, is no less remarkable. In this experiment irrespective of whether a guru transfers his energy to the disciple or not, some kind of transference naturally takes place. The technique of dhyana can be learnt through books but that is a process of indirect training. The training imparted by the guru, on the other hand, is direct. The difference between the direct and indirect training is evident in their results. From this point of view, the reverence of the guru has a special value.

Q.The effect of being directly in the vicinity of the guru is indescribable indeed. In this there can be no contradiction. But is it necessary for a sadhak who merely seeks training in meditation, to be near the guru day and night? Is it not possible to achieve the desired result through occasional instruction?

Ans. Meditation is of two kinds—casual and timeless. Casual meditation is bound to the limits of time. It can be practiced once, twice, or four to five times a day. As regards time, 2-4 hours may be allotted to it. But timeless meditation is not bound by time. Because the man possessed by a keen yearning for self-realization is not bound by time; rather it is time that moves with him. That a sadhak practicing dhyana should be self-aware for one or two hours and keep unaware, or fickle, for the rest of the time, is not at all desirable. That is the condition in. which religion finds itself today. When a man visits a religious place, he appears to be thoroughly religious, but this kind of religion has no effect whatsoever on his conduct. This duplex mentality can neither redound to the glory of religion nor give recognisation to a truly religious person. As long as any contradiction exists in one’s behavior during the hour of worship and the rest of the day, religious worship will not yield the desired results. The mind of the sadhak should be suffused with meditation. The whole day, nay, one’s whole life, should be permeated with dhyana. Meditation is the totality of life, it cannot be divided into segments of time and space. Its impact should be felt on every activity from the time of waking up in the morning till going to bed at night. Walking sitting, standing, sleeping, speaking, eating, drinking etc. Only when all these activities are seasoned with meditation, the perfection of sadhana manifests itself in conduct. It is because of this consideration that various forms of sadhana have been determined—walking yoga, standing-yoga, sitting-yoga, asana-yoga, sleeping yoga, speaking-yoga, eating-yoga, etc. Yoga in these words is symbolic of the fact that any action when complemented with full awareness, becomes yoga.

The greatest problem that a spiritual sadhak faces is how to keep non-violent in this chaotic world of living beings? Non-violence may be his ideal, but how can he evade the inevitability of violence? Oppressed by the possibility of violence, the pupil propounds a question

Lord! How do I walk? How stand? How sit? How sleep? How eat and speak? So that I’m not involved in sin.

The Lord gauged the condition of the pupil’s mind, appreciated his confusion and offering him a way out, said :

O pupil walk in mindfulness, in mindfulness stay; sit in mindfulness, in mindfulness sleep; eat in mindfulness, in mindfulness speak. Thus exercising self-restraint in everything you do, you can keep yourself free from sin.

After one has accepted self-discipline as a way of life, every moment should be a moment of awareness. If every movement is temperate, one’s whole life is permeated with self-discipline. Otherwise one never acquires proper self-control. Similarly, if, one does dhyana sadhana for an hour or two, and spends the rest of the time fidgeting about, one can never truly accomplish meditation. If the mind is not wholly given to meditation, energy thereof cannot be transmitted to everyday conduct. When the entire routine of life becomes yoga, only then does awareness suffuse one’s conduct. Thus, it may be concluded that close proximity to the guru for a short period brings proportionate results, but the impact of long term proximity is stupendous. For one aspiring to enter the higher stages of dhyana, to overlook the importance of constant proximity to the guru cannot be beneficial.