Sraddha is the faculty that enables you to be here and now. Lord Sanat Kumara gives this as the first step towards self-realisation, I Am. Without Sraddha not much can be accomplished. The mind has the habit of wandering. It is a vagabond, a street dog, a stray dog. It moves hither and thither. It has no directed movement. It takes you on flight without destination. It makes you absentminded. It doesn’t let you to be and to do what has to be done. Mind entrusts work to the body and moves away. Body is a machine, which mechanically does things like a robot. When mind wanders while the body is at work, the work is done in an opposite way. It is not fulfilled. This is because the intent is not focused there. The consciousness is not present. Therefore the related experience is not gained. People choose delicious food, but engage in talking while eating. The attention shifts from the act of eating to the theme that is talked. Eating becomes mechanical. The taste of food is not experienced. Such eating is not conscious eating. When there is no conscious eating, the experience of eating food is missed. When there is no conscious eating, one does not eat as much as is required. One tends to eat more or less, but not as much as it is required. When eating is not conscious, the life force would not effectively function. It assimilates what is eaten. People talk while eating. The consequence is absence of experience of food. Similarly people put on music, but within a couple of minutes they start talking. The music comes to the ear of the listener, but the listener is not there. The listener is otherwise occupied. The result is, the music concludes and one did not muse to experience the music.
Be Conscious at all Times
Like this man sees, but does not see, since the seer is not present totally while seeing. He listens, but does not listen. He eats, but does not eat. He talks, but doesn’t listen to his own talk. If he listens full well what he talks, he would not talk rubbish. Man is a unit of consciousness, but is not consciously present in the talk when he talks. He is not consciously present when he listens. He does not consciously see. He does not consciously eat. Most of the things are done mechanically. The difference between man and machine is that man is conscious, machine is not. Because of the consciousness that he is, he has the facility to experience. When consciousness is not present the related experience is absent.
The mind has to be trained to be here and now. It is a discipline, it is a practice. From the minute acts to big acts one needs to learn to be consciously present. When one is consciously present, there is continuity of experience. It even enables continuity of consciousness to be present through series of different acts done during the day.
Be present in every act that you do. Be full of intent in every action. It is the way to Be. Man’s consciousness is posited in the mind’s layers. When mind is fully present, man is present. If mind is not fully present, man is not present. Work happens mechanically. Work does not give experience. Therefore ensure that presence of mind, which enables you to enjoy the juice of action. Action itself is juicy. Results are not that juicy. Unfortunately man projects into the future results, missing the present action. Result-oriented actions are full of tension. Actions done with intent are full of joy. Action itself is joyful. A Master of Wisdom says, “Joy is in action, rest is in action, recreation is in action, action refreshes.”
Bring Heavenly Happiness to Earth
Be full of intent when you brush your teeth in the morning. Enjoy the fragrance of the paste, look at your beautiful and dutiful teeth. Without them you cannot eat, you cannot heartily smile. By enjoying brushing you can start the day joyfully. Likewise when you bathe, be present with the bath. Feel the life of the waters, feel the beauty of your most choicely soaps and jellies. Don’t be too hasty to finish the bath. You can bring heavenly happiness to earth, if you know how to be with full intent while at action. Likewise be present to enjoy your selection and wearing of cloths when you put them on, likewise the watch, ornaments and the shoes. Look to them, speak to them and smile to them when you put them on. This is how you need to train your mind to be here and now. A mind that learns to be here and now is the mind that has tremendous power to perceive. Your perceptions are sharper, your learning is faster. You are like a sharpened arrow that can pierce through any situation and perceive solutions. It enables intuition to happen, because it is all alert.
Be All Alert
An all alert mind is compared to a highbred dog. Sarama is the most high dog that watches over our solar system with astounding alertness. Sarama is Cerberus. Cerberus is Sirius. Dogs are considered the most alert animals. Highbred dogs are ever alert. They listen farther, they sense faster. A mind that inculcates Sraddha becomes focused, alert, ever ready to perceive. Its antennas protrude in all 360 directions. High souls only have such developed minds. Human minds are unidirectional. Master-minds are multidimensional.
The facilities of mind are at their optimum when one learns Sraddha. Knowledge divine or mundane can be pursued only by such alert minds. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita:
“Sraddhavan labhate Jnanam.”
Means, knowledge is gained only by persons with minds of Sraddha – alert minds.
Patanjali speaks of this state as Asana. He defines Asana as a state of mind which is stable and comfortable. A highbred dog stays in a comfortable posture that is very, very, very alert. Only when this is achieved Patanjali gives the fourth step, namely Pranayama. Lord Krishna also speaks of Sraddha as the basic requirement of discipleship. Lord Sanat Kumara instructs that one needs to cultivate Sraddha to progress in the path of discipleship.
Be Meticulous in All
Be meticulous in all that you do. Be not negligent. You cannot be meticulous in some acts and be negligent in some other acts. When you are meticulous in work, the intent is present, the consciousness is present, you are present. When you tend to be negligent in any act, you dislodge yourself from being alert. The energy you build from meticulous acts is neutralised by your negligent actions. Therefore discipleship recommends that – “While you are at action, be meticulous; while you are at rest, be alert; when you are at sleep, just be.”
Likes and Dislikes
It is normal that men like certain things and do not like certain things. They do not tend to be meticulous when they do what they do not like. Here is a loophole, a slippery ground, where students tend to fall and fail. Do not deny the work because of your likes and dislikes. Discriminate the work as dos and don’ts. What you have to do, do it with liking. What you don’t have to do, leave it. With respect to all that you ‘have to do’, restructure that thought as ‘I like to do’. Replace ‘I have to’ to ‘I like to’. By this restructuring of the thought an attitudinal change happens. The lady says, “I have to wash the dishes.” She would do well if she restructures the thought to “I like to wash dishes.” Perhaps she can even structure it better to “I like my husband to wash dishes.”
Getting back to the main stream of teaching from humour: avoid not the work in terms of likes and dislikes. Avoid in terms of dos and don’ts. Whatever is your lot to do, like it to do. Then you can bring in intent, become conscious and thereby stay alert and stay focused. This is the way to be here and now.
The Science of Being Present
The science of Sraddha is called Ashwa Vidya. Ashwa Vidya means ‘horse science’. Horse is called Ashwa in Sanskrit. Ashwa also means ‘not future, not past’. When it is not future and not past, what is it? It is the present. The true meaning of Ashwa Vidya is ‘the science of being present’. Every Master of Wisdom imparts this science initially to the sincerely aspiring students. Unless the students learn to be here and now, knowledge is not passed on. A wandering mind may be enthusiastic, but it does not stick continuously to the present. Rolling stones gather mass and become heavy, but are not useful to themselves or others. People who look for wisdom here and there, wandering from place to place, do not gain the true knowledge until and unless they are willing to train themselves. Students should be open to change, to learn and learn to change.
Patience (Kshama) and conscious action (Sraddha) are the two fundamental practices for discipleship.
The great warrior, the highborn initiate Arjuna was initially taught Aswa Vidya: to be present here and now, to be fully conscious of the presented situation. He was the best archer of his times due to this knowledge of being here and now fully conscious at the very first instance. When he was a child he was asked to pick up a bow and arrow and aim at the eye of an image of a bird, which was set on a distant tree. Arjuna aimed. The teacher asked him, “What do you see?” Arjuna said, “The eye.” The teacher asked, “Don’t you see the bird?” Arjuna answered, “No, I see only the eye, since it is the target.” The teacher asked, “Don’t you see the tree or the branch on which the bird is set?” Arjuna said, “I do not see the tree, I do not see the branch, I do not see the bird. I saw them before I targeted the eye. Now my vision is focussed only on the eye.” The teacher said, “Release the arrow.”
The very first arrow that Arjuna released for the first time of his life in the childhood has directly hit the eye of the bird. That was Arjuna. Such was his focussed attention, such was the state of his Sraddha. It was so with him in every act he did, be it big or small. That attention is demanded, if one intends to accomplish noble acts in life.
Sraddha is therefore of great consequence to the seekers who seek the soul and who seek self-transformation for self-realisation.
See the One Consciousness in All
Sraddha enables one to see the One Consciousness in all. Consciousness exists in all that Is. It exists as salty nature in salt, as sweetish nature in sweet. It is the active intelligence in all things that we see. To be able to contact this in things and beings, one needs Sraddha. If one has Sraddha, he can remember himself as I Am throughout the day. He cannot be engulfed by his personality. He remembers himself as the soul and sees the soul in the other. Soul is the other name for the consciousness in form. Seeing that consciousness, enables you to be in contact with it and to transact with it. This is how you can transact in light. Transacting in light is the fundamental training that a Master intends to impart to his students. The students generally see the formations, the envelopes around that light of consciousness. They see sound, colour, form, name and many other things, but do not see the individual consciousness. To be able to see that, Sraddha is the key: to be, to be here and now. To see the Be-ness in others you need to be fully conscious and that cannot come by wishful thinking. It has to be practised. It has to be practised with much patience. Without patience you cannot pursue.
Every day an effort can be made to see the light of consciousness in the surrounding forms. Verify how much you remember the light of consciousness in the transactions that you carry out during the day. Every day is a page in the book of your life. Each page should be well written, and every year is a chapter. Unless you have patience, you cannot practise Sraddha, and unless you gain Sraddha, you cannot transform as light.
The One Universal Consciousness
As much as you see the consciousness in you and the surroundings, you realise that there is only consciousness and that it is only one consciousness, which emerges from pure Existence, and you would feel that this Consciousness is Universal. This Universal Consciousness is called God by theologies. It exists in all. It exists in man, too.
Man exists in God and God exists in man. The God in man is called Narayana. The man in God is called Nara. The two are linked and this link has to be realised through regular recollection of That I Am. The Universal Consciousness Narayana is called That. The individual consciousness is called I Am. When the two are linked the result is That I Am. Verily, the Universal Consciousness is in an individual as individual consciousness. Therefore the daily recollection is not only I Am, as given in the first chapter. It is recollection of That I Am. In Sanskrit That I Am is called Soham. Saha and Aham put together is Soham. It literally means That I Am. Saha is That. Aham is I Am.
The heartbeat regularly sings the song of Soham. That is called ‘the Music of the Soul’. Since each one is a soul, he would do well to associate with the song of the soul, which links him with the source of the soul – the Universal Soul. Only Sraddha enables this recollection. When there is no Sraddha, even if you know this, it remains only as information, but becomes no realisation. Information is not knowledge. People who inform themselves feel that they are knowledgeable. They are not. They are in illusion. Only those who practice the given information would realise the truth of it thereby settling themselves in knowledge.
As you link up your individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness and move with the bird, you would only see that consciousness is at work. Consciousness only is at work when the dog wags the tail, when the cow looks at you, when the bull roars, when a man speaks, when a bird chirps and so on. Contact the consciousness first, later you can familiarise with the details. When you see a dog, a cow, a bull, a bird, a man or a woman – first see the consciousness that is fully at work through the forms. Later you can inform yourself further about the dog, the cow etc. The first contact has to be to the consciousness, not to the envelopes that surround the consciousness. The consciousness is enwrapped by sound, colour, form, name, nationality, religion, gender, caste, creed, race etc. When there are so many wrappings around consciousness, it is difficult to see the gift, which is occult. All gifts are given with gift wraps around. So is consciousness, it is made available with its related wrappings. To see the consciousness through the wrappings is the gift that Sraddha gives you.
There is not much meaning when we do worship, ritual or work with sound, colour and symbol, without being in contact with consciousness. Sound is but a presentation of consciousness. Colour is yet another presentation. Symbol is still another presentation of consciousness. The key to the sound, colour and symbol is revealed to the student of Sraddha, since he first contacts the consciousness presented through the sound, colour and symbol. It is through such contact, he gains understanding of the vibration of the sound, the velocity of colour and the geometrical patterns of the symbol. This is the occult approach.
The Universal Brotherhood
As we see the One Consciousness in the surroundings all around, we realise the brotherhood of all beings. Brotherhood is not an achievement, it is but a realisation. When the One Consciousness is the basis for all beings, the various beings that one sees are products of that Consciousness only. All have the same father and mother. The brotherhood is a reality. It need not be specially achieved or accomplished. It happens with you. Once you are in constant contact with the Consciousness, all beings are but one universal group of brothers. That is why it is called ‘Universal Brotherhood’. When one has realised the universality of brotherhood, it is not difficult to realise such brotherhood in smaller groups. There is no need for building circumscriptions around oneself and one’s own group. It is but glamour that people feel about ‘their’ groups. Illusion prevails, consequently people extend their possessiveness from themselves to their groups. It is but expansion of possessiveness, but not of consciousness, when one feels ‘my group, your group, his group’. It is all one group of all beings of the Universe. Enlarge your comprehension. Limit it not to yourself. Sraddha leads you to the state of Universal Awareness.
Don’t Separate – The Content is One
Feel One Universe, One Lord, One Consciousness, One Existence. Join the grand grandeur of Oneness. By habit we build walls around ourselves and then we feel that we are the centre. Each one creates a circumference and remains a centre, not knowing that he himself is the circumference of something else. Building walls around oneself brings in suffocation of limitation. There are so many groups, so many organisations, who feel the glamour of their special identity. While the truth being that there is only one identity, one entity. This one entity is called by many names in many groups. They differentiate to be distinct and wish to disintegrate and separate by their own names and their own forms. Some groups call Him the Master, some groups call Him Baba, some groups call Him Swami, some groups call Him Christ, or Krishna, or Rama and so on. By holding on to the names, people miss the content. Only names remain and the content is lost. The content is but one. That one content is inside and outside. It is above and below. It is on either side, it is all-round. It is a matter of Sraddha to observe, to know and feel the bliss of it.
At the end of this second instruction of the Lord, I recollect you all the following:
- That is the Truth.
- That I Am is the descent of that Truth as I Am.
- Recollection of That I Am is the fundamental practice.
- Sraddha is the key for such practice.
- Patience while at practice, long years of patience. Impatient ones have no entry into knowledge.
… to be continued