Be Selective in Your Association
Remember, as student of Yoga you are initiating a process of transformation in you. It is a long journey of transformation. Until you have transformed you have to be selective of your association with persons, places and events. You need to regulate your movements in objectivity until you have transformed. As said earlier, it is a process of incubation where the movements of the caterpillar are restricted until it transforms into a butterfly. Jesus the Christ left the known people, the known place, and the known associations for 18 years. He returned as a transformed person. Pythagoras of Samos also disappeared for a period of 24 years from his native land, persons and associations. Moses came back to Egypt after the exile. All of them returned apparently with the same name and form, but different from the previous state in terms of energy system.
A seed goes through many transformations to become a tree and to yield fruits and flowers. Today in this industrial world there are so many manufacturing formulae to transform the raw material into a fine useful product. Yoga is also a scientific process through which the energy system is transformed. Alchemy, the most alluring science, is also a process of transformation.
The transformations require certain conditions, as you all know. It requires certain heat, certain rhythm, certain organisation, certain period of seclusion and so on.
The student of Yoga firstly needs to observe silence and dwell in a place of silence. He cannot be talkative as before. The rush of thoughts slows down when one practises silence. Secondly, he should be choosy of words when he speaks. Likewise he should be choosy of his movements in the objectivity. Limiting one’s movements in the objectivity only to the extent the duty demands, is an important step. One cannot visit any and every place. If he visits places and persons of Divine Presence, he can associate with activities relating to the Divine without partaking in the side issues. Students tend to forget the purpose of associating with groups of divine activity and indulge in personality issues. One needs to remind oneself that he goes to the group and group activity only for the sole purpose of interacting with the Divine Presence in the group. If the group is a group of charlatans, one would lose what is sought to be gained. Similarly the student needs to be selective of the food that he eats, of the persons and articles that he touches. He is recommended not to eat in congregations, not to participate in social dinners. Likewise in matters of touch: he must ensure that he does not contact any inferior energy with his touch. Domesticating animals is not recommended. The sense of smell also should be selective, in the sense that he maintains a neutral smell of body. He would do better to insulate himself with the vibration of sandal, carrying a piece of sandalwood or applying sandal paste or utilising sandal perfume. Sandal enables unwavering will. The mind’s eye and ear should be open more for the Divine than for other things. He is not prevented from his daily normal routine. The above are a few rules of self-restraint.
Organise the Time
Time has to be well organised and is not allowed to be wasted away. Normal entertainment and relaxation are not prohibited. They are marginally allowed. Much time would be found when one organises himself, which can be utilised to relate to Divinity, either in silence or with uttered prayers or with worships and rituals. Time can also be found to read scriptures or teachings of various teachers, prophets, world disciples, devotees. Unfocussed students generally feel and complain that they have no time to practise. It is not true at all. If they make a critical analysis of their time utilisation and utilise time constructively, they find ample time to do what is to be done in terms of Yoga practice and also to relax and engage in pleasantries, even on a daily basis. It is only Sraddha that is needed to organise oneself and enable time slots for restructuring.
Rely on the Divine
Virtues and abilities grow in the focussed students who regulate and submit themselves to the Yoga process. Their relating to the Divinity brings forth virtues and abilities to act. True students not only carry good virtues with them but also abilities. They tend to be effective. When worship of the Divine is appropriate, the student unfolds the wings of virtue and ability. Remember, a yogi is as able as he is virtuous. The Divine Will, Love-Wisdom and Intelligent Activity – all visit when one prays the Divine. When the Divine moves towards you, He moves with His three Divine qualities. Such is the beauty of a yogi. A yogi is as much a warrior as he is a devotee. Arjuna is such an example. Hercules is another example. Abilities also unfold in Yoga concurrently with virtues. Let not the student rely on virtues and abilities, but rely on the Divine. A disciple’s abilities and virtues are multiplied by the Presence of the Divine. He cannot attribute them to himself, for they belong to the Presence of the Divine. When he is in the Presence, the abilities multiply, the virtues multiply. When he is not in the Presence, the devotee looks ordinary. The strength of a yogi is, he establishes himself in the Divine Presence. He cares to be in it. He does not divert to his strength, to his abilities and virtues.
Sanat Kumara says, “Be selective in your association.” The secret is, to seek to be in the Presence. Seek association with the Presence. Seek not abilities, seek not virtues, seek not various occult sciences, seek not the keys to wisdom, seek the Presence. That is the secret of this teaching. When you are on the single-pointed program of seeking Presence the occult sciences visit you, the occult keys visit you. The abilities prefer to stay with you. The virtues hug you. Such is the beauty of seeking the Presence and staying in it. Do not get tricked to get sidelined. Your personality tricks you. It looks more for glamour than for the truth.
In the story of Mahabharata Yudhistira was the true yogi who remained in the Presence all the times. His abilities are far beyond the perception of many. Generally it is thought that among the five sons of light Arjuna is the best and Bhima is equally the best. But the truth is, Yudisthira is the best. He lived in the Presence at all times and the Divine worked out the plan through him. There are times when Arjuna and Bhima failed. In those times of crisis it is Yudhistira who saved all. The encounters with Yaksha and Nahusha reveal this clearly. Similarly when the sons of light departed it was Yudishtira only who could consciously depart. Others did not. Only a true yogi can consciously depart. A true yogi is one who chooses the association with the Divine in all that is, within and without.
Attach to the Divine
Many priests and philosophers speak of detachment. Detachment is a painful process. It is not easy to detach from something to which one is attached. But the scripture Bhagavatam does not at all speak of detachment. It recommends to the devotees or students of Yoga to attach to the Divine in all and feel the Divine in all. See the Divine, feel the Divine, talk to the Divine, touch the Divine, taste the Divine. Let all your interactions with the surroundings be seen as interactions with the Divine. Your deep association with the Divine remains and other worldly concepts fall. See the Divine in your parents, in the co-born, in the friends, the trees, the animals and so on. There is the Divine in all. When you do so, the Divine remains with you and around you, and associating with the Divine becomes a continuous experience. In this process all life becomes Divine. Attaching to the Divine is the positive approach. Detaching from the non-divine is the negative approach. As one sees more and more Divinity within oneself and the surroundings, all ignorance disappears. Conflict disappears, harmony establishes, beauty of nature is better experienced. A tree has many leaves and fruits. As the fruits ripen, they naturally detach from the tree. One need not plug them. When you pluck a fruit, it causes a little pain to the tree and to the fruit. But when the fruit is ripe and drops by itself, there would be no pain to the tree. In the fall season the leaves fall by themselves. Then the tree does not suffer any pain. But if you pluck the leaves, there is momentary pain to the tree.
When man ripens through the thought of Divinity he departs from the body just as the ripened fruits and leaves detach from the tree. The thought of Divinity enables even transcendence of death. Man can consciously depart from the body and move on. A cobra does so every seven years. Every seven years the cobra leaves the outer sheath and moves in a newly developed sheath, which would be much more shiny. If you peel off the sheath, it is painful. But the sheath falls by itself when the snake ripens. It evolves another sheath within. Most of you may not have seen the leftover sheath of a cobra. You can see similar things in nature. It is easy to peel off the orange peel from the fruit when the fruit is fully ripened. But if it is not ripened, it is not so easy to peel. Likewise, if man the indweller ripens within, he can easily depart from the body. It cannot be so when the inner man is not ripened. Detachment from the body is not so easy when one is not sufficiently evolved. Speak not too much of detachment. Speak of attachment with the Divine. In other words, choose your association with the Divinity in all. It is the most intelligent choice through which detachment is accomplished, through which transcending illusion is possible, and through which a-tone-ment is gained. It is not easy to detach from body, desires and thoughts. Instead see the forms as Divine. Desire the Divine and think of the Divine. That should be the choice.
Bhakti – The Eternal Attachment
The effort to stay in association with Divinity in every activity of life is the true meaning of Bhakti. This word is wrongly translated as emotional devotion. Bhakti is the principle of eternal attachment with the Divine. The path of Bhakti is not different from the path of Yoga. Yoga recommends surrendering to the One Master in all. Bhakti also speaks of the same. The path of Bhakti is enchanting, since the student is at all times in dialogue with the Master or the Divine. To whomsoever he speaks, he speaks to the Master in the other as well. Likewise he listens to the Master as well. In the outer layers of the other being there is the nature of that being and the qualities of nature relating to that being. A Bhakta sees the nature of form, the nature of qualities and the being as well. He firmly links to the being than to the peripheral qualities and form. This is called seeing the Divine in the other. The effort of a Bhakta is always to see the Divine. That is his primary objective. He also sees the peripherals later. When a Bhakta sees another person he sees not the dress, he sees not the jewellery and other ornaments, he sees not the watch, the rings on the fingers, the chain around the neck, the hairstyle, he sees not the gender and not the age… He straightaway sees the Divine wrapped up. A few moments later he sees the peripherals of gender, age, decorations, clothing etc. This is what is meant by the prayer “May the light in me be the light before me. May I learn to see it in all.” Learning to see it in all should be the only effort on a daily basis that leads you to associate with the Divine.
Learning thousands and thousands of concepts of wisdom will not help so much. Learning techniques of breathing and of meditation will not help. Learning Tantra and Mantra will not help. When there is a direct way to see the Divine that presents itself to you in a form, why should you go around beating the bush? It is all the trickery of mind. Do not fall into those tricks.
Bhagavad Gita gives the key in the 15th chapter. The Lord speaks of Asanga. Every non-initiate who writes commentaries on Bhagavad Gita translates Asanga as detachment. Sanga means association A-Sanga means ‘association with A’. A is the letter, the sound, the name of the Lord. This is said in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad Gita. The Lord says, “I am the letter A among the alphabets, therefore A-Sanga means ‘association with the Lord’. That is the key. Sanskrit is a Divine language. It has layers of meaning. Asanga also means detachment. But there is a more appropriate word for detachment in Sanskrit. It is Nissanga. Therefore Asanga should be understood as association with the Divine. It leads to associating with the cosmic person. The 15th chapter holds the most sacred key of association with the cosmic person. Therefore learn to associate with A at all times. That is the best choice to associate.
… to be continued