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Two Divine manifestations guiding us – Through Whispers within our Higher Minds and Hearts Telling us that success lies within the attainment of
- Blessing (Grace)
Sri Anandamayi Ma
Sri Ramana Maharshi
QUESTION: It has been said that the Name invokes the Named, and His home is within the heart. In my meditation I lose the “thread” of awareness of God’s Name. How does one remedy the “loss of awareness” of the actual sound (aksara) of the Name of God while performing mantra japa, though still retaining awareness of the breath? If proper concentration on the MOVEMENT and LENGTH of the breath is focused, the absence of awareness of the Name of God, or purely “Om”, will be acutely felt and remembrance will ensue. Concentration on the length of the breath entails awareness of the beginning, middle and end of each inhalation and exhalation. Nama japa, which most commonly includes an even number of sylables, is most effectively linked to the breath evenly. If this maxim is properly applied, the middle point of each breath actually marks the point of shifting from one syllable to the next. For instance, with the proper intonation of “Om”, equal matric value (length of intonation) is given to the “ooo” sound as well as the “mmm” sound. The exact middle of the incoming or outgoing breath marks the point where the change from the first to the second sound occurs. This same practice applies to any of the various Namas (Divine Names) used within meditation, i.e. Rama, Siva, Krishna, Jesus, 1
Allah or Buddha (Buddho in Pali). There are various two-syllable Namas used within Jewish meditation, but according their tradition they are not written down. Respecting that ancient custom, they are not written herein. Though this harmonized movement of sound and breath takes time to develop until it becomes a habit, when this stage does occur, the practice also becomes natural. Thus, when forgetfulness of the aksara (sound) of “Om” does happen, we feel an acute unnatural feeling while crossing over the middle point of each breath. This should create a sense of dis-ease, which will cause remembrance of “Om” to again activate within our mental movement. The positive aspect of this process is that upon recognition of the absence of the Nama or Om, some degree of “desperation” will be experienced – even possibly a feeling of being “out of touch” with the Divine Presence being invoked. This could also be experienced as being “out of breath”. This desperation is the beginning of the needful intensity of longing for God - Iswarapranadana. As in human relationships, the deepest sincerity of love is developed most profoundly through the “despair of temporary separation”. This is an active movement of the grace of God. God pushes us through our remembrance; God pulls us through our forgetfulness. FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT! The process of spiritual transformation, once activated, works through the instinctual aspect of our personality. Habits, especially derived from vasanas are extremely difficult to change merely by an act of will. But on the instinctual level, habits can and must be dismantled. There are two main areas to concentrate on and work within. First is to break the instinctual urge to procrastinate, to delay, or even to do two or more things at once! This habit fosters leaving things undone, which seeps right into our spiritual practice. Here, though we have begun to adopt a routine of spiritual practice that fosters and promotes a continuous flow of thoughts towards completeness, through the procrastinating habit in external worldly affairs, we infect the potential achievements of our higher mind and heart with a negative directional flow of a discontinuous character. The most significant obstacle man faces within the practice of religious life is a discontinuous mind. For most, especially without proper guidance, this is an insurmountable obstacle. Regardless of this obstacle, vanquishing this enemy from within heralds in a supremely important level of advancement. Prayer and meditation are the key factors. For when we pray; we speak and God listens. When we meditate; God speaks and we listen. God speaks to us, in a diffused way, through our instincts. This is God’s response to our prayers. We have become sunk within the restraining confinements of the base intellectual mind; separated from the intuitional realm (vijnanamaya kosha) where God converses freely with us. Thus, the only way, the only avenue that 2
is “open” for our real Self to positively influence a mind in which sufficient meditation, reflection or enquiry is absent, is through our instincts. If we meditate with constant regularity and deeply enough, we can in time perceive God speaking to us even outside of our meditation. The counter forces to this are the vasanas that manifest as habits and character traits. They cannot speak, but only vibrate; doing so with enormous power! They do not entice us, we fall victim to them only through mutual vibratory attraction. If our minds are “tuned” through unskillful (discontinuous) awareness, then we “pick up” on the bad vibration and initiate action towards satisfying the desire that is at the heart of the vasana. If we are skillfully tuned, through right attention, i.e. meditation, reflection or enquiry, japa, prayers, breath awareness, worship and specifically the Practice of the Presence of God, the vasanas vibratory rate (power) is slowly diminished to the eventual point of destruction. If we are properly tuned through our active sadhana, then the intuitional mind perceives God’s guiding advice from within. His voice becomes audible. We have all, at one time or another experienced the surety and possibly the thrill of this concrete “human” contact that the Divine is making with us. The lower aspect of our mind immediately attempts to trivialize, and thus minimize, the wonder and supreme significance of these revelations by “suggestions” that they are merely “hunches”. God’s voice, though emanating from within the highest levels of our mind, resonates within the heart. The age-old enemy, the ego, makes further attempts to blind us to the reality of these mystical movements through both distracting thoughts and even actual bodily feelings that cover the truth. Though when in truth God is actually guiding our way through life, the mind diverts our perception of this by suggesting that it is only “ a gut feeling”; “I know in my gut that such and such is right!” There is a fragment of truth to this lie from the lower mind. But as always, our mind, by its very nature, goes too far and too fast! Being in a state of panic, the ego knows that we will not believe that such advents of Grace emanate from the mind, and the last thing it wants is for us to perceive that these are, in truth, movements of the heart. So our ego throws out the idea that we are having a “gut feeling”. This is a safe place for the ego to deposit this intuitional guiding Hand of God. Safe indeed, for the human “gut” is a veritable fortress for the ego. QUESTION: Is it true that through my mediation my mind is developing clarity? Without doubt, correct meditation, effectively (repeatedly) applied, does accentuate focus. By definition, clear and unobstructed focus does instill clarity of mind. Within the preliminary stages of a spiritual adepts practice, utilizing the ancient methods of Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Religion), the most effective means of this mental development is achieved though the recitation of the Gayatri 3
mantra. The final phrase of this mantra is the heart of our prayer, for it is essentially our supplication for God to grant us “eyes to see and ears to hear”. Gayatri mantra japa grants us not only clarity to discern right from wrong, but also most importantly attainment of vairagya (dispassion) towards the perishable and love towards the Eternal. Om Bhoor Bhuvas Swah // Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi // Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat “DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT! (The final concluding phrase of the Gayatri mantra) “DHI-YO - Sanskrit for "intellect", this is the essence of this part of the Gayatri Mantra. Having firmly set God in our hearts, we now must try to emphasize His presence and influence on our mind and intellect. Material prosperity holds no true meaning for the person who is truly devoted to God. Pain and suffering are of no consequence to him as, touched by God, he is imbued with God's own Divine Bliss, and all worldly sorrows pale to nothingness in comparison. However, still the individual must live in the world. Thus, it is important that the person's intellect remains focused on serving God, and that it is able, through the medium of the body, to serve God to the best of its ability. Physical objects can be obtained very easily, if one is intelligent enough to know how to go about it. Intellect however cannot be obtained, but must be there from the very first. It is by use of this intellect, in fact, that one is able to cultivate all other qualities (building of wealth, "success" in life (in material terms), physical fitness, etc.) Thus, intellect is the key to all else in life, and as such, it is the most important possession. We ask God in the Gayatri Mantra to gift us with the highest intellect, and to help us by showing us the way to use that intellect. “YO - Meaning "Who" or "That", Yo signifies yet again that it is not to anyone else that we direct these prayers, but to God alone. Only God is worthy of the highest adoration, only God is perfect and free from all defects. It is That God to whom we offer these prayers. “NAH - Nah means "Ours", and signifies the selflessness of the request we make of God in this part of the Gayatri Mantra. We offer this prayer, and 4
make the request of God, not simply for ourselves, but for the whole of humanity. We seek the uplift of the whole of society. Hindu philosophy has since the beginning recognized the concept of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" "The whole world is one big family". Thus, we pray not only for ourselves, but also for each and every member of that great family, that we may all benefit from the greatness and generosity of the All-loving God. “PRA-CHO-DA-YAT - Prachodayat, the final word of the Gayatri Mantra, rounds off the whole mantra, and completes the request we make of God in this final part. This word is a request of God, in which we ask Him for Guidance, and Inspiration. We ask that, by showing us His Divine and Glorious Light (cf. BHARGO), He remove the darkness of Maya from our paths, that we are able to see the way, and in this manner, we ask Him to direct our energies in the right way, guiding us through the chaos of this world, to find sanctuary in the tranquility and peace of God Himself, the root of all Happiness, and the source of true Bliss.” 1 Mantra japa of the Savitri (Goddess) Gayatri is much more than a prayer. The ability to see and be guided by the Divine Light (Bhargo) is woven within the Sanskrit matric sounds themselves. The vibration invoked by repetition of these sylables literally inebriates our consciousness with very special “super sensual” perception. Therefore, we have not at all developed clarity of thought; rather we have been gifted with special faculties of perception (Indriyas). We are now truly human! The word for “Human Being” within the religious context of the language used in Eastern Europe, especially Czechoslovakia, is “Chelovek”. It is translated to mean: “One who has their “third eye” open! Thus, a human is one who perceives the light of God! But alas, we are human. Therefore, though we “see the Light, and hear the still small voice of God”, it is a matter of our choice as to whether we “obey”! Our obedience lies in our abhyasa (repeated spiritual practice). Within our abhyasa sounds the triple knock upon the door to the heart. Having attuned our minds to the Voice of God through right awareness and right concentration, and having been guided by That, the Blessing of Grace comes unto us. God hears our knock and responds. The door to the heart opens from the inside!
The word by word description of the Gayatri mantra is derived from: www.eaglespace.com/spirit/gayatribywords
“The purport of prescribing meditation on the pranava (OM) is this. The Pranava is Omkara…the advaita-mantra which is the essence of all mantras such as Panchakshara. In order to get at this true significance, one should meditate on the Pranava. This is meditation which is of the nature of devotion consisting in reflection on the truth of the Self. The fruition of this process is samadhi which yields release [moksha], which is the state of unsurpassable bliss.”
(Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, 6th edition, Self Enquiry #28 p. 23-24)
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