Bhaktha: Swami, I have a few doubts concerning the subject of Dhyana
which You are now writing about: can I ask You?
Swami: Of course, you can ask and have your doubts removed. It is good
for you and it gives Me joy.
Bhaktha: Some people practise Dhyana, but they are unable to know whether
the Dhyana has progressed or not! What do You say about that?
Swami: Progress in Dhyana means the attainment of Ekagratha, concentration.
Each one can judge for himself without doubt, how far he has been able
to succeed in concentration, can't he?
Bhaktha: Some say that they see all sorts of things during Dhyana; some
hear all types of sounds. Do these indicate progress?
Swami: They are delusions. They handicap progress. They implant conceit
and disperse concentration. The distraction of sights and sounds is no
sign of Dhyanam.
Bhaktha: Then what is to be done when such are seen?
Swami: Don't allow the mind to wander on to them; never lose sight of
the divine form, which you have pictured for yourself. Be convinced that
these are but obstacles designed to scatter your attention away from the
divine form. If you permit these sights and sounds to creep in, the original
form will be dimmed, your Ahamkara will increase and you will lose your
Bhaktha: But, Swami, some people do say that these things are signs of
progress in Dhyana!
Swami: That only means that they themselves are not practising Dhyana
properly! Besides, not knowing what Dhyana is, they delude their disciples
also by talking like this, to please them. That is the only profit earned.
Bhaktha: Well, does it mean then that, by means of Dhyana, we cannot
see the Lord?
Swami: Why not? Certainly, it is possible. If you fix your attention on
the sublimely beautiful form of the Lord and concentrate on that alone,
you will receive His grace in that form itself in various ways. While
doing so, many a disturbance might intervene. You should not be deluded;
be on your guard, never forget the auspicious form. Picture to yourself
that all creation is immersed in it.
Bhaktha: But really, can we not know at anytime what stage we have reached
Swami: You can identify the progress or decline of Dhyana only when you
know this is stage number so and so, this stage is such and such etc.,
isn't it? The Dhyana-rupa is beginningless and endless and so its fruition
also cannot be declared, complete and finished.
Bhaktha: Then, do you say that Dhyana is endless?
Swami: What is generally called the end is the end of the I and the merging
of all in the one form. Dhyana has no end.
Bhaktha: How are we to understand its stages?
Swami: You can have an idea of the stage if you examine daily how you
are able to concentrate, how far you have subdued the wandering nature
of the mind, and how deeply you taste the divine form; that is all. The
stage reached cannot be cognised. What you receive and at what time, depends
on His grace. The Sadhaka's mission is to practise Dhyana, without deviating
from the path. The rest is all His grace. It does not depend upon the
number of days or the length of time. Some may require many births; others
may realise the goal in a few days even. It depends on each one's Sraddha,
Bhakthi and Sadhana. It cannot be calculated and reasoned out.
Bhaktha: That means, we should not worry about our Sadhana, its progress,
its stage, possible decline etc.
Swami: Exactly. Worry about the discipline needed for the Sadhana, but
not about its fruition. The reality, the realisation of the reality, these
have no steps or limits. Do not yield to all sorts of delusions or desires
for this stage and that. Stick to the goal and the journey. Never give
up the discipline of the Sadhana. Do not change the time of Dhyana. With
one aim and unchanging attitude, strive to attain it. That will vouchsafe
the fruit. That will bless you with the bliss. Do not be led away by what
others speak about their imaginary experiences. For you, nothing can be
as genuine as your own experience. Therefore, first attempt to gain undeviating
concentration, Ekagratha; let that be your one aim.
Bhaktha: Dhyanam means vision of the form of the Lord, isn't it, Swami?
When such a form is actually seen, they say it is not real and genuine!
What do they mean by this?
Swami: Seeing the form of the Lord is the goal of Dhyanam. To achieve
that, is the aim. But before that goal is reached, there are some obstacles
in the way. These are to be guarded against.
Bhaktha: What kind of obstacles are they? How are we to guard ourselves?
Swami: You have boarded a train to reach a village. You have heard that
the particular village has a station. Many a station of the same type
come during the journey and the train halts at each of them. But just
because the train halts, you do not get down at any of them with your
luggage, do you? If you get down, you will not be reaching the place where
you have to go, is it not? It is no good, alighting at intermediate stations;
for you miss your goal and suffer many hardships, not to speak of delay.
The wiser course is to note even before starting on the journey, the names
of the intermediate stations etc., by approaching some persons who have
travelled on the same route before.
Bhaktha: Every one appears as if he is a seasoned traveler on the route!
How are we to distinguish between those who pretend and those who know?
Swami: Of course, this has to be pondered over. Each one might have travelled
by a route of his own. Some might tell you the details of the route, this
stations etc., with the aid of maps only. If that is so, you should not
follow their directions on that basis. Consider wherefrom they started
and wherefrom you are starting; consider the route they traversed and
the route you have to take. Moreover, it is impossible to consult those
who have travelled as far as the goal, for they will not come back; they
won't be available for consultation, at the stage where you are. Therefore,
you need not take the trouble to search and secure persons who can tell
you their own experience of the route. It is best to take the help and
the advice given by the veterans, in the Githa, the Sastras, the Vedas
and the Upanishads; rely on the words of the Lord and follow the Upadesa
of the Avathara Purushas. Besides, there are countless great men who can
guide you, as far as they themselves have travelled, and not beyond. For,
how can they tell you things they have themselves not experienced?
Bhaktha: Well, then; how can we get the opportunity to reach that path
and attain that goal?
Swami: If they are destined for it, it won't be difficult at all. The
chance will come seeking them; you must have heard the saying. "The
man who went in search of a creeper, tripped over it on the way".
You need not doubt; this will happen.
Bhakthi: Swami, some people say that if we do not get some visions and
sounds and lights during Dhyanam, we can take it that our Dhyanam has
not progressed! Do You say that they are wrong?
Swami: It is the image of their own idea. Perhaps they do Dhyanam in order
to get such sights and sounds! Therefore, they experience them. They are
things by which each one of them is deluded; they do not analyse the truth
underlying the visions! Really speaking, they should not seek these impermanent
Bhaktha: Then what are we to seek, Swami?
Swami: Seek and desire the principle of everything: that which, if known,
everything is known; that which, if seen, all is seen and understood;
do not seek for the drops, in your attempt to know the flood. When you
have attained the ocean (the basis of all the drops), you will not have
delusion of the drop.
Bhaktha: Some Sadhakas picture to themselves during Dhyanam, the Guru;
is that correct?
Swami: The Guru shows the path; he teaches what is beneficial. So he has
to be shown respect and gratitude, of course. But the Guru should not
be taken to be all-powerful and all-inclusive. Of course, the Lord is
in every one, as the Atma; give each one the status that is this due and
Bhaktha: But some great men declare that the Guru is both father and
mother; that he is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, all in one.
Swami: Based on the Atma, that is correct. But such Gurus are rare. You
can speak of him as father, mother, God etc., on account of love and regard,
that is all. How can he be so in fact? As loving as the mother, as protective
as the father, you can say. But then, what do you say of those who gave
you this body and brought you up, even before you got the Guru? First
and most important, be grateful to the mother and the father; serve them;
make them happy; respect them. Respect the Guru as the person who shows
you the path, who looks after your progress and is interested in your
welfare. Worship the Lord as the witness of everything, everywhere, as
the master of creation, preservation and dissolution, and as the all-powerful
one. Remember, you can consider only the Lord as the universal form and
as the universal friend and protector. All others have to be treated for
just their individual status: the mother as mother, the father as father,
the Guru as Guru; in truth, these cannot be one. Ponder over this. If
you seek Atmasakshatkara, you have to install in your Dhyanam the form
of the Lord (the universal Atma) which you like most, and not the picture
of your Guru. It is not proper. The Lord is of a status higher than the
Guru, is it not? Of course, have his words as the foundation and try to
attain the origin of all things; that will give the fruition of all efforts.
You are asked to treat the pebble as a gem, the gem as a pebble! Of course,
through compulsion and bound by order, people may obey and accept, but
can that feeling be genuine? It is no sign of Dhyanam to have one idea
outside and another inside. Unless this conflict is resolved and there
is the same idea outside as well as inside, there will not be any stability
in Dhyanam; nor will there be any success.
Bhaktha: very good, Swami. Without knowing matters fully, many a Sadhaka
is wasting years in what he calls Dhyanam. They observe no law or limit.
For all such, Your advice shows the reality. It will establish them in
the eternal. Today I am indeed blessed Swami.