MY MASTER'S VOICE.
General motto: "Old is the disciple, youthful the Teacher: Silent the Teacher sits and the pupil clears his doubts and finds the World all full of Peace!" is a classical expression of the "silent teaching" the Master Soul imparts to the fully-qualified disciple, who has grown old in study and moral discipline, while the Master is overflowing with youthful energy which He imparts to the pupil in the final stages, when he has grown quite receptive to the subtlest vibrations and minutest scintillations of Thought and motif – Afterward to "Gleanings on the
Way." P. 52.
THE GURU AND THE ISHTA DEVATA.
Motto: "Shutting out all external objects, fixing the gaze between the eyebrows, making the prana and the apana airs equal, viz., restraining the outgoing and incoming breaths which move within the nose, the devotee who has restrained his mind, the senses and the understanding having emancipation as his highest goal, free from desire, fear and anger is emancipated indeed. Knowing as the Sole Enjoyer of all Sacrifice and Penance, as the Great Lord of all the worlds, as the Friend of all beings, he goes to Peace." – Bhagavad Gita V-v. 27.29.
"There is but One only God and Mahomet is His Prophet." Is an excellent formula the truth of which deserves to be laid to heart by every spiritual student. "The truth of it" is the Lakshiartham – the spiritual meaning of the words constituting the sentence which is a complete idea. The spiritual meaning of a complete idea must necessarily be an ideal – an organic unity of thought and ideas which must be realized in order to be fully understood. Is the understanding to precede realization or to succeed it? The structure of the sentence, the inter-relation of the words to one another as phrase, clause and sentence, and subject, predicate and object must be understood first with the aid of the intellect helped by the purified emotion of an understanding heart. The only theism which counts as a world-force is the theism which aims at "the purification of the human mind." Without this "purification of the human mind" the subtlety and keenness of intellect will be of no avail for the right understanding or grasping of an ideal. This "grasping of the ideal" is what I call "the previous understanding" of the ideal to be realized. Reason alone cannot understand it. The Intellect as such "is a whore" as Emerson puts it. It must be redeemed from its fallen state: the unsteady and unstable elements in it have to be eradicated and stability of views, and steadiness of application should be imparted to it which will give it the character of constancy and devotion to an ideal, which by itself it is incapable of realization. It must be purified of its natural and inherent dross. That which raises Man as a "thinking being" above the animal in him is the institution of marriage as a sacrament. For, it catches hold of the emotional center of Man and Animal, that something – call it sentiment, feeling or emotion or any other word you like, - before which both Reason and Instinct stand helplessly transformed into that something and make it constant like the Pole Star (Arundati) turning to the One Aim in Life viz., constancy to its own choice (which is what we called Husband). That which makes wife of a woman is constancy through life and death to her own choice of partner in life. It is the wife alone (i.e., unchanging constancy to one's first choice) that has the right to become mother. Others may breed children; but cannot become mothers. Even so the intellect may breed thoughts and fancies; but unless it becomes attuned and fixed like a Pole Star in constancy in its relation to the center of Emotion, it cannot create or make productive thought. Intellect must therefore be wed to the Heart at a sufficiently early stage of its development and that is the reason why Brahmin children are ordained to be invested with the body thread (Symbolical of yagna, the Law of Sacrifice) and initiated into the mysteries of Brahma-Vidya at so early an age as seven to nine years. The Intellect must be trained to work in cooperation with and in constant relation to the Heart, which is the center of Emotion. Lord Morley said, "All Great thoughts proceed from the heart but they must come round about through the brain." And he affirmed a great principle of Action (Karma) in that one sentence. The Intellect and the Heart when wedded together in an inalienable bond of Union (which is social life we call the Sacrament of Marriage), and trained to work in cooperation with each other, we lay the foundations deep for that coordination of principle and correlation of facts which are the essential bases of harmonious life and growth. Any cleavage between the Intellect and the Heart is bound to produce disastrous results both to the Individual as a unit and the society as a whole. This is a spiritual fact which none can change or alter, but it is left to everyone to recognize it or ignore it as one wills; and in doing so that one unconsciously exercises the God-given freedom of choice and elects the path which will lead him to Salvation or damnation in the end as he recognizes or ignores the inexorable fact.
So much for the essential union of what is conventionally called "the head and the heart."
Now to the Lakshiartham or Spiritual meaning of the simple formula which Mahomet framed as the summum bonum of all his teachings. "There is but One only God" who is ever At Rest; and He has but One Speech (maunam) and One Speaker only in His name (the Son). Mahomet claimed to be that One. Jesus again claimed to be that One. And so all the Saints, Sages and Siddhas throughout the world in all ages. There is no inconsistency in all this. God speaks the speech of silence which those who have attained to at-one-ment with Him (and become His Son), alone can and so rightly understand. Having understood Him and His Silent Speech by at-one-ment with Him, they come down from that inaccessible height to interpret the same to striving, struggling, staggering humanity. "There is but One only God who is nameless and formless and One Teacher only who is Sri Dakshinamurty" is the formula in which the whole doctrine of the eternal Religion of the Hindus can be summarized. All others are but manifestations of this One Supreme Manifestation (as Teacher of the Absolute Truth) in forms and modes as numerable as the status and development of the pupils who yearn to know the Truth and persistently and perseveringly work for it with heart and soul.
But the heart must first be purified and the intellect too. A pure heart ever aims at pure things only. By the Supreme Law of attunement impure thoughts and emotions cannot enter a pure heart. Conversely, impure thoughts and emotions cannot but ultimately taint the heart and sully its purity. So long as man has an outgoing mind, he is brought into necessary contact with the objects of the senses; and the attitude of his Mind (the inner mind whichever dwelleth in the light and the presence of the Lord) determines the influence of his environment on him as well as his own influence on the environment.
Objects in themselves have no power to influence Man, unless it be by the force which they derive by the attitude of his own Mind towards those objects.
A purified Mind (Suddha-manas) rains its own pure influence on the objects of its choice and so purifies if, while an impure Mind (Asuddha-manas or Kama-manas), caught in the toils of its own heated imagination, is easily enslaved by the objects and inextricably involved or enmeshed in the subtle and gross attractions of the senses. If there be no mind to act as intermediary, there is no such thing as subject and object: the Soul sees itself reflected in its upadhi and knows itself as such. So all the preliminary training and discipline for attaining soul-perception or Atmadarisanam consists in controlling the intermediary which is the Mind. The Science of controlling the Mind is called Yoga. And Patanjali, the author of Yoga Sutras in his very first sutra defines Yoga as Chitta-Vritti-Nirodhah." Controlling the modifications of the mind is the greatest of all tasks, and God alone can teach in the final stages of this most exacting of all Exact Sciences. One can indeed purify the Intellect by study and devotion and living a life of full research into the world-phenomena both objective and subjective as the quadrette, Sanaka and his companions did. But the Lord Dakshinamurti alone and none else can teach the art of Stilling the last Emotion of the mind or its tendency to move, and show the apt pupil, the Way to merge himself in Him and through Him into "the God At Rest" which is the final realization! anything falling short of it is only the gradual climbing of the steep height stage by stage, each stage attained being a realization of that stage and not the final realization and ultimate in the Lord God WHO EVER IS AT REST.
If the GOD EVER IS AT REST, how then doth God manifest as Teacher or Dakshinamurti? Here then is one of the Greatest paradoxes which is none the less true, however paradoxical it may appear to reason and intellect which are but faculties of the 'finite-infinite' mind. Mind is both finite and infinite because it is but a medium between the subject and the object the seer and the seen, the finite and the infinite. It is in sooth the medium for the manifesting principle of life, ever keeping up the relation of subject and object and setting the Law of Polarity in action. When it mingles with and merges in the Infinite, like a river losing its name and form and other characteristics in the infinite expanse of ocean, it becomes infinite. On the other hand if it goes out through the senses and unites itself with the objects of the senses which it creates, it becomes finite like the object with which it identifies itself by the manifesting principle which indwells it, and from which it draws its motive power. Thus to know the mind, involves a knowledge of the constant modifications of the mind-stuff caused by the thinking soul within it, which ever thinks "I am" and acts on that basis. Its thinking "I am" and its acting on that basis, involves a knowledge of its being and becoming. This is what is called "the Law of Being and Becoming" by which Life manifests itself. This Law by which the unmanifested First Cause manifests itself in names and forms, is what is called Evolution, a word much used but little understood by the thinkers of the West.
For Evolution implies Involution which they with their outgoing mind and genius for material civilization are hardly able to understand and realize. They talk of Matter and Spirit; but they never could understand their own mind as to what is Matter and what is Spirit. To know the mind, as I said, is to realize the constant modifications of the mind. To attain to a knowledge of this, man must be able to realize the three important states of conditioned consciousness which primarily affect the modifications of the mind. These are best described by the technical words: Kevala, Sakala and Suddha.
(1) The Kevala or Kaivalya
state of (pure) consciousness is different from the Kaivalya state of mind which is a condition of consciousness. When the thought making mind is suppressed, it merges itself in its Cause, the Darkness of Avidya or Ignorance. It becomes a homogeneous mass of darkness or Ignorance. This is the Kaivalya state of the Mind.
(2) The Sakala or "Creative State" of the conditioned consciousness or mind which has been reduced to a homogeneous mass of dead but plastic material, called the mind-stuff or Kevala-Chittam, consists in this homogeneous mass of thought-making material or mind-stuff, being transformed by the heat producing force of Involution into "the molten-stuff" which is ready for receiving the impress of "the Signet" – the creative "I". The creative Soul says: " I am a Signet and I will put my stamp on the 'molten stuff' before it hardens." This it can do only by separating itself from the mind-stuff in which, in the course of Evolution, it has got itself involved by its power of identification or Tadatmya Sakti.
(3) The Suddha or "witnessing state" of the conditioned consciousness or Tejo-manas (Enlightenment mind) is a state of consciousness which stands isolated from "the mind-stuff" (Kevala-Chittam) and "the molten-stuff" (Chitta-vritti) and is able to control both the states above mentioned. This is the state of mind fit for practicing Yoga, - the suddha-manas, which alone can by obliterating the sense-impressions in the mind and reducing to a homogeneous mass (Kevala-Chitta) devoid of any impression, and then preparing it for receiving a given impression from within, impervious to outer impressions from the senses, by making a "molten-stuff" of the same by the fire of Tapas (Tapasagm), effectively controls the outgoing mind and the various modifications which it undergoes to receive sense-impressions.
The process is the same whether the impression is made either by the senses or the soul within. The mind-stuff becomes a molten-stuff in both the cases. Only the fire that melts the mind is different.
In the case of sense-impressions from without, the molten-stuff is prepared by the fire of lust for the enjoyment of sense objects. While in the case, of the "Signet-impressions" (Mudrardham) from within, "the molten-stuff" is prepared by the fire of tapas or sense-control-the power of the cultivated will to withdraw the mind from sense-objects and further abstract from it the Fire of Energy (Prana) from which it drew its own motive force. Just as ice melts by the withdrawal of the latent heat within it, even so, the mind-stuff melts by the withdrawal of the Pranic Energy (the pure of Prana) latent in it. This process is called Prana-Yama, as the previous process of sense-control or withdrawing the mind from sense-objects is called Prtyahara.
The next process which purifies the mind (abiding in the abstracted Fire of Prana) and gives it the "witnessing power" in the Suddha state is a threefold one and it is called Yoga-Samyama in the technology of Yoga Sastras or Nichchya Jnana in the technology of Jnana Sastras. In the former case it consists of the triple process in one, of Dharana-Dhyana-Samadhi; and in the latter it is called Sravana-manana-Nitidyasana in one which alone gives certitude of knowledge.
(i) Dharana and Sravana involve the power of fixing the attention absolutely on a given point or subject.
(ii) Dhyana and manana involve the power of grasping the point or subject presented thoroughly so as to be able to express it in one's own way or in different ways as the occasion may demand, to make another understand the idea grasped and presented by the student
(iii) Samadhi and Nitidyasana involve the power of assimilation of the idea or subject presented in such a way that the knowledge so gained, shall become part and parcel of the student's own self and come to him spontaneously without adventitious aid of mnemonical devices such as notes. Glossaries, recitation etcetera.
These three processes are the initial points to be gained and they are the most difficult to achieve by the novitiate.
Until the Novitiate has successfully scaled these lower heights, he must ever remain a subject unfit for initiation into the mysteries of life and any teacher who initiates him into the higher mysteries of life will be doomed to eternal suffering and misery, for he stands guilty, in the eye of the eternal watchers of Dharma (the yoginis of Avaranasakti) of "allowing loaded pistols to be handled by incompetent (and I may add, ignorant) marks-men" who are apt to use it at the slightest provocation – a heinous crime in the eye of the Guardians of Law, be that Law earthly or heavenly (I mean natural or Spiritual).
There are three obstacles for the successful achievement of these three necessarily preliminary disciplines. They are inattention or carelessness in the first stage; thoughtlessness or inefficient power of investigation in the second stage; and incertitude or the wavering attitude of mind of the Student in the third stage.
The remedy for the defect in the first stage must be corrected by the disciplinary Guru during the stage of character-building or Gurukulavasam. The second defect can be cured only by Devata-upasana or worship of Ishta-Devata.
The third defect ("wavering attitude of mind") in Samadhi or during assimilation of knowledge can be cured only by the companionship of realized souls or Sat-sangam, by which is meant, intelligent intercourse and spiritual communion with them in the higher mysteries of Life.
This wavering attitude of mind is the most deplorable of all, for while it heightens the sensibility of the Student, it deprives him of the Peace that he yearns for so much, without having that steadiness of mind which its realization absolutely requires. The Sruti declares that he who has no certitude of knowledge as to his own realization is the most abandoned wretch of all. "Satyam, Satyam, puna-r-satyam, samsyanubhavam gathi nastih." That is to say, "Verily, verily, in sooth the wavering mind (wallowing in doubt) in the process of realization never reaches the Goal."
These preliminary thoughts I have jotted down for the benefit of those who like the aged and respectable correspondent who has written to me,* [* I request my correspondent to accept this as my answer to his very touching letter, which I very much regret, I cannot, for obvious reasons directly answer. I must wait for the Call and cannot presume it for myself.] has been touched to the quick by the articles which by the Grace of My Guru, I have been contributing to the pages of the Brahmavadin (now collected in book form), who in their commendable real to attain to self-realization declare themselves ready to give up family and all to go and fall at the feet of the Sat-Guru who will help them to reach the Final Goal- "the Home of the Lord," there to rest for ever in Peace and Bliss.
Well! I sympathize fully with their zealous watch and noble desire to attain the final Goal and reach the home of the Lord. But I wish to point out to these long-suffering long-enduring devotees of God, through their own Ishta-Devata, that the Final goal is not to be reached by merely longing for it, however earnestly, with fleshy desire. They must get rid of their own karma first (Sakala-tyagam as it is technically called) and for this there is nothing like sticking one's post of duty be it amongst wife and children or in the midst of forest and wild beasts. That Great Statesman saint and Sage of the Tamil Land, St. Tayumanavar says:-
"Oh, Student of the mysteries, Renunciation, internal or external is difficult to realize; whether it be external like that of Pattanattu Pillai, or internal, it is equally great. Make thy choice of either and stick to it. For 'internal' and 'external' are mere names to the realized soul who realizes the Truth as one both internally and externally. Immanence and transcendence are distinctions to be observed only in the field of Practice and Sadhana. They are not in ultimate Realization. Aum Tat Sat.
C. V. S.