The Summit of All Religions; Regular Meditation


Religion has a oneness in mysticism but has major differences in terms of beliefs and practices. Unrelenting effort, working on the outside with our faults and weaknesses, allows us to manifest actual experience as a mystic, intensify our purification. We are perfect on the inside. Condition the mind by practicing meditation daily; hold a meditative vibration, samskara of restraint.

Master Course, Living with Siva, Lesson 305

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This is from recent daily lesson, Lesson 305, Living with Siva. Unity at the Mountaintop.

"If we return to our analogy of the mountain peak, the path to it, religion would be likened to a well-trodden trail. There are many people all along the way to assist in times of need. There are also those few in each religion who have walked the entire path, reached the summit and can lead others along the way. Those pursuing yoga, philosophy or mysticism separate from the foundation of day-to-day religion are like lone climbers treading through unknown territory, up unknown slopes. Theoretically they too can reach the summit. But realistically they do not. Mountain storms, unforeseen precipices, dead ends and untold other dangers and detours eventually claim such would-be seekers. Many fall into the crevice of intellectual rigidity and arrogant argumentativeness."

Yogaswami had a simple way of looking at it. He said: "The train needs to run on the tracks." Train is very powerful but unless it has tracks it can't get anywhere. And so, likewise, we need to pursue the tracks of religion.

"The path of dharma, which is India's word for religion, is the sure and proven path. They call it the eternal path, Sanatana Dharma. True religion does not discount mystic experience. Every true religion has produced its mystics. And it is here where religious unity is realized. The Zen master, Christian mystic, master of Kabala, Sufi mystic, Shinto shaman, Hindu sage and Taoist recluse can all speak of unity. They can all look into each others' eyes and see no differences, but only oneness of spirit. For there is but one mountain peak that rises above the clouds. And all true seekers regardless of their religion, find their way to this one summit within themselves, sometimes transcending the religion of their birth. In mystic experience lies the unity of all religions."

Well that's a good point and sometimes it's, it's misunderstood. Particularly among Hindus, we take the mystical side of religion where there is a oneness and apply it to all aspects of religion, where there isn't a oneness. And, I forget where I was reading this, something having to do with Yogaswami on the last trip. And Hindu family in Sri Lanka was sending their son to Catholic school. And the Catholic nuns were saying that he was a sinner and was going to go to Hell if he didn't accept so and so, of course, as his savior. And the boy came and asked his father and he said: "Well, you know that's not the way we look at it." Don't pay any attention to that. They have their own way of looking at things. Kind of looking at the negative side of mankind and we're looking at the positive side.

So religion is, has a oneness in mysticism but it definitely has major differences in terms of the beliefs and practices of the regular followers through those traditions.

"Vedanta is an attempt to describe the experiences of the mystic. But how many actually attain to these final heights of realization? Many speak of them, but in the final analysis, too few ever reach them, for very few are willing to go through the rigorous efforts of purification. Few are willing to face each fault and weakness in their nature. Few are willing to take their scriptures, their spiritual leader's words and their own intuitive knowing to heart and apply and practice their religion every day, every hour, every minute. But this is what it takes. It takes this kind of dedication, this kind of unrelenting effort."

That's one of the beauties of Gurudeva's teachings is he makes it clear, both of these aspects of Hinduism, one is the high philosophy which we can encounter in many places: "Man is not man, man is God." You know, Gurudeva likes to put it that way. The high philosophy. But if we only have high philosophy it's just philosophy. It's not an actual experience. So we need practices which allow us to manifest that experience as a mystic and Gurudeva's pointing out a few of them here: "...the rigorous efforts of purification." So different kinds of tapas, different types of vratas for festivals, those are the ways we can intensify out purification.

By facing "...each fault and weakness in their nature." To face each fault and weakness requires a sense that we're not our faults and weakness. unique in philosophy. That's why Gurudeva starts out in Dancing with Siva, the first shloka: You are a divine being. You are perfect on the inside. So we, we need that sense of being a divine being to be able admit that the part of us that's not divine, which is our outer nature, has faults and weaknesses. And those faults and weakness can be improved. Admitting the faults and weaknesses does not lessen our divinity. We're still perfect on the inside. What we need to work with our faults and weakness on, in our outer nature, in order to move toward mystic experience.

"The mystic whom we see poised on the peak of God Realization is the man who once faced each experience that you now do. He didn't skip them or go around them. He had to deal with the same doubts, the same fears and the same confusions. He had those same experiences where all seems against you, and you seem so alone and ask, 'Why am I the one who has these unsolvable problems, these totally situations?' He didn't give in to that abyss of doubt. He threw himself at the feet of God when all seemed beyond hope. And hope appeared. He persevered, tried his best, made the decisions that made the most sense in spite of unclarity--and all the while continued his sadhana, continued his spiritual practices, until one by one the veils of confusion faded and clarity became constant. He is the man who strived so hard on the little things in life, as well as on the great challenges. He simply did--not spoke of, but did--what you know you should do. We are the carvers of our future. God's grace, His love, is always blessing us in our efforts."

Well definitely, one of the challenges is when we're facing..., (don't want to say challenge, not using the word challenge twice in the same sentence.) One of the important aspects of making progress on the path is facing significant challenges positively and not giving up or not avoiding them. As Gurudeva also said, avoiding them is postponing the inevitable. Time you have to face it. As you know that's why I suggest we don't call something a problem. You've heard me say that before but still it's human nature. Got a big problem, as soon as we label something a big problem it becomes harder to solve and it becomes easier to try and avoid. You know, if it's just the next thing to do then it doesn't have that stigma of being a big problem. So some things are easy to do, some things are hard to do. But each one is simply the next thing to do. And if we look at it more like that then it's easier to actually face them and overcome them.

This came in on email recently. It's called Yoga letters. From old yoga letters of Gurudeva, those were in the late 60's. Those Yoga letters. Ancient text... Long time ago.

"The desire to meditate comes from positive accomplishments, which have been gained through the practice of meditation itself. After a certain number of successful meditations, the subconscious begins to anticipate the next meditation until the mind is so conditioned that it constantly holds a meditative vibration. At this point, the desire for meditation is automatic and meditation becomes a way of life. Then, the energies and understanding of the fourth dimension are always available and are ever, and are an ever-present part of a person's life."

That's one of the reasons it's important, if you're serious about meditation, you meditate every day. Don't want to meditate five days in a row and then skip it for two weeks. We can't build up this kind of vibration by practicing erratically. Be practicing every day. So: "...After a certain number of successful meditations, the subconscious begins to anticipate the next meditation until the mind is so conditioned that it constantly holds a meditative vibration." So obviously the mind has changed, right? From not holding a meditative vibration to holding one.

That idea is also in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras so I thought I'd read two sutras on that. He uses the term samskara when he's talking about the subconscious mind. Samskara: The impression that has gone to the subconscious mind from our conscious mind experiences. Samskara.

[Verse III.9]

"The externalizing samskaras are subjugated by employing restraint which in turn manifests new samskaras. This is called nirodha parinama, restraint transformation, which occurs whenever restraint is employed."

Of course the challenge in Patanjali is the terminology. Relate to his words. He's saying the same thing Gurudeva said. That our ordinary state of consciousness, the samskaras, externalize us. When we just sit quietly, our mind is naturally drawn to external things. Before we've taken up the practice of meditation, of yoga in a broader sense, so before we've taken up some type of spiritual practice, if we just sit, the mind will constantly be drawn to external things. That's it's normal state.

Well how do we change that? Through the practice of meditation itself. That's what he's saying. Restraint! You know, restraint, nirodha is the word it's in the second verse. Yoga is the restraint of mental activities. Remember yoga chitta vritti nirodaha. Yoga is the restraint of mental activity. Meaning we want to sit and not have any thoughts going on. That's what yoga is, to restrain.

So when we practice restraining our thoughts, that very practice permits a new kind of samskara. A samskara of restraint. When we build up enough of those samskaras from practice, then they balance out the externalizing ones and so then the mind doesn't constantly want to go for an external object. So, I'll read the verse again.

"The externalizing samskaras are subjugated by employing restraint which in turn manifests new samskaras. This is called nirodha parinama, restraint transformation, which occurs whenever restraint is employed."

So, whenever we sit and meditate and we're actually controlling our thoughts so creating a new type of samskara. And we get enough of those in the mind. And then we have this idea as Gurudeva says: We have a continuity of meditation. The subconscious is different. The samskaras are different.

Next verse:

[Verse III.10]

"A tranquil flow of consciousness is produced by these restraint-samskaras."

Meaning it's easier to sit and not have a lot of thoughts going on.

Thank you very much.

Have a great day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Do you know that the ability to live right now, in the instant, is a spiritual power, reflecting the awakening of the soul and requiring a subconscious control of the mind?
—Gurudeva