Beginning to Meditate: How to Attaining Moksha?
Merging with Siva
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2022-11-10
As the years go by, consistent practice of meditation allows one to live in higher states of consciousness, increasing awareness and perception. Moksha may take many lives to accomplish. One of the beauties of Saiva Siddhanta is it defines the path in progressive stages of practice: charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Be armed in Vedic wisdom; become invincible to the emotions of formerly locked away experiences. The light of the mind has its source in God. Bhakti, the yoga of devotion, is a foundation for meditation in Saiva Siddhanta. Become the ruler of the mind. Over many lifetimes the destiny of all living on this planet is to pursue going beyond the mind, unraveling the mystery, identifying as pure soul being, the Self.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lessons 70, 78.
We are continuing with "Merging with Siva" lessons, going through them in the order in which Gurudeva gave them. We're up to 1965 and we're starting Chapter 12 entitled "Beginning to Meditate" which is a compilation of materials from two time periods, 1965 plus 1970.
So we have a Guru Chronicles item about 1967, close to 1965.
"Also in 1967, the founder of ISKCON, Vaishnava guru Swami Prabhupada, took up residence in San Francisco, establishing a small Krishna temple on Frederick Street, on the edge of the Haight-Ashbury district. Gurudeva, as he always did, visited, welcoming the spiritual master from India and offering help getting established in the West. Members regularly took boxes of fruits and grains to help feed Swami Prabhupada's followers. He would regale Gurudeva's followers with long stories from scripture, and he once visited the Sacramento Street Temple, giving a short upadesha and leading bhajan."
So I remember that, he was playing his drum. Visited the San Francisco Temple.
"Desperate states of mind are disturbing many people these days. (Life hasn't changed much.) They are caught in emotional turmoil and entanglement, scarcely knowing how to get themselves out of it, or even fully realizing what state they are in. This condition, which often deteriorates as the years go by until nervous difficulties and mental illnesses set in, can be alleviated by the simple practice of meditation. Those who are content to live in a mesh of mental conflict, which is not only conscious but subconscious, will never get around to meditation, or even the preliminary step: concentration. But a person who is wise enough to struggle with his own mind to try to gain the mastery of his mind will learn the vital practice of meditation. Just a few moments each morning or evening enables him to cut the entangled conditions that creep into the conscious mind during the day. The consistent practice of meditation allows him to live in higher states of consciousness with increasing awareness and perception as the years go by."
So my commentary, so Gurudeva's talking here about as the years go by. So I'm commenting on as the years go by which is the idea that it takes a long time. Years go by, this is not something you rush.
Moksha is an interesting topic in that Hindus tend to either not think about it as being relevant to this life or think that it can be accomplished in a short period of time. Two extremes. I have talked to a number of Hindus who at some point in their sixties decided that they wanted to achieve moksha in the remaining years of their life having done little of a spiritual nature up to that point in their life.
"How can I achieve moksha in this life, swami?" So, you know, interesting point is they didn't do anything up till then, then all of a sudden there's a real motivation to take it up. An accurate concept is that it is a slow process that for most takes many lives to accomplish. That is one of the beauties of Saiva Siddhanta in that it defines the path in progressive stages of practice: charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Meaning, it takes you from the very basic practices to the most advanced over many lifetimes.
Back to the text:
"There are surprises, many of them, for the beginning meditator, as well as for those who are advanced--unexpected consequences that are often more than either bargained for, because on the road to enlightenment every part of one's nature has to be faced and reconciled. There are surprises, many of them, for the beginning meditator, as well as for those who are advanced--unexpected consequences that are often more than either bargained for, because on the road to enlightenment every part of one's nature has to be faced and reconciled. This can be difficult if the experiences of life have been unseemly, or relatively easy if the experiences have been mostly comfortable. What is it that meditation arouses to be dealt with? It is the reactions to life's happenings, recorded in the subconscious mind, both the memory of each experience and the emotion connected to it. Buried away, normally, waiting to burst forth in the next birth or the one to follow it, these vasanas, or deep-seated impressions, often come forward at the most unexpected moments after serious meditation is begun. It is the shakti power of meditation that releases them. There can be no repressed secrets, no memories too woeful to confront for the serious meditator. These experiences can be scary if one is 'in denial' about certain embarrassing or disturbing happenings."
So my comment is:
Gurudeva is pointing out that we have the memory of an experience, then we also have the emotion connected to the memory. We are not trying to forget the memory, rather we are trying to take the emotion out of the memory. We want it to be emotionally neutral.
So, back to the text:
"When this upheaval occurs for you, and it will, combat the paper dragon with the deep, inner knowing that the energy of the body has its source in God, the light of the mind that makes thought pictures recognizable also has its source in God, and nothing can or has happened that is not of one's own creation in a past life or in this. Thus armed with Vedic wisdom, we are invincible to the emotions connected with the memory of formerly locked-away experiences. (Isn't that beautiful? We are invincible to the emotions connected with the memory of formerly locked away experiences.) When they come rolling out, patiently write down the emotional impressions of hurt feelings and injustices of years gone by and burn the paper. Seeing the fire consume the exposed vasanas, the garbage of yesterday, is in itself a great release."
So my comment:
Gurudeva, of course, is describing the practice of vasana daha tantra. This is either from 1965 or more likely 1970 so it's before he was using the word vasana daha tantra. So as we know, vasana daha tantra writing down the memory and burning it in an inauspicious fire; we never want to burn it in the temple. Meaning not in the temple. Watching it burn is an important part of the practice. We have an urn at entrance pavilion to the monastery. It has a sign explaining vasana daha tantra and it's interesting that a number of locals come regularly to burn their emotional memories. We don't even know who they are but you see them coming. Even teenagers come to burn things on a regular basis. So our urn is being of community service down there.
Lesson 70, "Mastery of the Mind:"
"The experienced meditator seeks out the unwholesome areas within himself, endeavoring to expose and rid himself of each knot of karma. The beginning meditator may be shocked and shrink from even continuing the practice of meditation, as his inner mind plays back unhappy thoughts that impose themselves upon his shanti. Many stop meditating altogether at this point and turn instead to the distractions of modern life for solace."
So my comment:
To be able to face the unwholesome areas of one's mind, it is important to have a sense we are the soul and not the outer personality. The soul is always perfect and the outer personality always has some imperfection. Difference there.
Back to the text:
"But true meditation happens because of soul evolution. We evolve into meditative practices from bhakti, the yoga of devotion. The transition is earned through past good karmas, not chosen as an intellectual or recreational pastime. As the transition of external worship to internal worship is made, the devotee has to face all bad karmas cheerfully and honestly in order to resolve them and move forward."
So my comment:
Gurudeva is giving the Saiva Siddhanta approach to meditation which is the importance of first doing well at bhakti yoga before a serious focus is done on meditation. This, of course, is not done by many modern teachers of meditation, they don't lay a foundation of bhakti yoga but Gurudeva says that's very important to do that first and that is part of the Saiva Siddhanta approach.
"Sitting in a state of real meditation, one must be more alive and alert than a tight-rope walker suspended without a net on a taut cable three hundred feet above the Earth. Do you suppose that this man is sleepy, that he allows his mind to wander? No, every muscle and sinew of his body, every thought, every feeling within him, is absolutely under his control. It is the only way he can maintain the balance which keeps him from plunging to the earth beneath. He must be the master of himself, all the while seeking to identify with his pure soul being, not allowing attention to be pulled here and there--to the physical body, to outside sounds, to thoughts of the past or to concerns about the future.
"In meditation, you will feel the same intensity of purpose as the tight-rope walker. Every atom in your being must be alive, every emotion under control, every thought seeking to impose itself upon your mind set aside until your purpose is accomplished. If the man three hundred feet up in the air feels a gust of wind coming against him, he must exercise perhaps a hundred times more will and concentration to remain poised in his precarious condition. Likewise, in meditation your mind may be intensely concentrated upon a particular object or thought, and yet you find an opposing thought seeking to divert your attention.The opposing thought may simply be a wind from your subconscious. You must then put more effort into the object of your concentration so that the opposing thoughts will be set aside and not have power to topple your balance."
So my comment:
The idea of setting the thought aside. A simple way to accomplish this is to tell the thought: "I can think about you after the meditation" or "I don't need to think about you at all." So I don't need to think about you at all is last night's television program. That one you don't need to think about at all. But an important plan for the day, that one you want to think about after meditation. So you can tell the thought what to do.
"Upon entering a state of meditation, one may find awareness enmeshed in a struggle between the subconscious of the past and the conscious, external waking state concerned with the present and future. The experienced meditator learns that he is the watcher, pure awareness. When concentration is sustained long enough, he dives into the superconscious, intuitive state of mind. It enables him, in time, to unravel the mystery. An integrated, one-pointed state of being is the goal--a state of inner perception without vacillation, with the ability to move awareness through the mind's various states at will. To become the ruler of the mind is the goal. To then go beyond the mind into the Self is the destiny of all living on this planet, for most in a life to come."
My comment on the last sentence:
To then go beyond the mind into the Self is the destiny of all living on this planet, for most in a life to come. Gurudeva is pointing out that we are pursuing a multi-lifetime goal. And as mentioned before, that is one of the beautifies of Saiva Siddhanta, is that the four padas of charya, kriya, yoga and jnana give us the progressive practices that we can pursue over multi-lifetimes.
Thank you very much. Very beautiful lesson. Have a great day.