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Mind Beyond Mind: [12.02] From the Gross to the Subtle (2)

Published: 21.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Let us be very clear about what we want to change. The aim of meditation practice is to change the gross into the subtle. This change involves the complete elimination of passions. In ordinary life we project our minds on others and read in them what is there in our own minds, and we do so quite unconsciously. We impute our own ill feelings to others. That is how we make others our enemies, even when they do not entertain any ill feeling towards us. If we stumble on a piece of stone lying on the path, we feel as if somebody had intentionally placed it to injure us. If we lift an earthen pot filled with water by holding it at the mouth-end with a single hand, it will break. It breaks because we are careless in handling it. But we blame the potter and feel that he had not baked the pot properly. We forget that we had stumbled on the stone and have broken the pot by our own mistake. We make others responsible for our own negligence and error of judgment. We have to change this attitude and for that we will have to be continuously self-watchful. After all what are enmity and friendliness? They are subjective feelings. Enmity docs not mean aversion to others. Friendliness does not mean love for others. They are much more than this. To throw our own responsibilities on others is also a kind of enmity. Love, in the real sense, means admission of the existence of others and a sense of respect for it. We have to accept others as they are. This is what is meant by understanding truth. Sadhana cannot be accomplished without such an attitude. To avoid taking responsibility for our own actions and to find fault with others is a kind of infatuation. It is the base of enmity. Asatana is an important word in Jain literature. It means discourtesy to others, to living beings and even to inanimate things. It means a denial of the independent existence of others. To deny somebody's existence is the greatest discourtesy to him. Sadhana lies in a complete elimination of this attitude. It means self-exploration, self-examination, and self-reorientation. It is self-transformation.

I had said earlier that we and the world we live in are conglomerations of vibrations. The practitioner is called upon to develop an insight to see these vibrations in his own body. There is nothing immutable and solid in the human body which is merely a bundle of vibrations, Gautama asked Mahavira, 'Sir, what is that which undergoes change?" The latter replied, "That which remains unstable must change.' The child undergoes a process of change before it becomes an adult, his whole body changes. It changes because it is unstable. A body, which is stable, does not fall ill. It is the vibrations of the body, which invite diseases. They imply change and instability. The changes, which come may be for good or for bad. That is another thing. We can stop these vibrations by producing counter vibrations, which have assumed a force of resistance. We can stop a thought process by producing a counter thought process. The struggle between the old and the new processes results in the disappearance of the earlier process and the emergence of the new process as the main force in us. We set in motion sound waves when we speak the incantation: 'The body is transitory.' These waves counteract the thought waves already current in our minds. But a mere conflict of sound waves is not enough. The practitioner is called upon to produce the counteracting force of Bhavana (disposition). It is the counteracting currents of Bhavana that negate the entire earlier state of our being, including our mind.

We can also put an end to the vibrations I have been speaking of. I have spoken of thoughtless meditation. In this meditation the body is completely immobilized. This is called Kayotsarga. In the deportment of Kayotsarga the mind becomes completely tranquil and stabilized. The interval between inbreathing and out breathing is a very important period in meditation on respiration. All the vibrations of the body can be stopped during this period. The practitioner should exert himself to enter into a state of mental equilibrium during the period between inbreathing and out breathing. However, you cannot enter into a state of tranquillity all of a sudden. It needs time, patience, and exertion. It can be arrived at only slowly and gradually. It takes some time for a fast running vehicle to come to a standstill position. But once its speed has been reduced you can apply the brakes safely. It is dangerous to apply the brakes abruptly. This holds true of our thought processes also. You cannot put a brake on them suddenly. If you did so, the mind itself may break down. This applies to breathing also. Anyhow, it is a fact that the vibrations can be stopped.

I have discussed very small item of Sadhana. But these small items contain a lot of truth in them. If we understand them correctly, they will strengthen our faith, enlighten us, and make the practice easy. For example you are asked to give a turn to breathing or to feel the interval between inbreathing and out breathing. These are very small things and you may ask what the sense in doing so is when your mind is already following the breathing in and out. The purpose is to make your mind sensitive enough even to the smallest details of your exercise.

The mind is like a photographic camera. An ordinary camera can shoot you only when you are actually before it. But supposing you stood before a camera, which shot you and then went away. Can the camera still shoot you even after you have disappeared? There are such extraordinarily sensitive cameras. When you leave a place you leave behind the atoms from your person. The sensitive cameras, I have spoken of can catch your image from these atoms left behind. They are being used in tracing culprits. The sensitivity of the mind can be increased to such an extent that it can grasp the subtlest thing.

The practitioner is called upon to watch the breath at the end of the nose. Then he is asked to feel the breath in a very small area beneath the nose. You may very well ask as to what the purpose is in this when you are already watching the breath at the entire end of the nose. The purpose is to concentrate the mind on a small point rather than on a wider area. The purpose is to increase the sensitivity of the mind. The entire process of the vibrations in the body as well as the mind have got to be replaced by an entirely new process so that deep rooted prejudices, predispositions and predilections may be uprooted from the mind. This means a spiritual change. That is why it is very necessary to understand the smallest detail.

A king once asked a beggar to demand of him anything he liked. The beggar replied, 'If you are interested in giving me something, give me peace of mind.' The king responded, 'Sorry. How can I give you that? I don't have it.' Having said this, the king approached a recluse and said, I am in a very delicate situation. A beggar has come to me and he begs of me peace of mind. I myself don't have it. Kindly give it to me so that I may pass it on to the beggar. The recluse had peace of mind and could part with it. The beggar was called and was given peace of mind by the recluse. Sadhana is capable of giving something. What we cannot achieve by the gross body, the gross mind and the gross actions can be achieved by the subtle body, subtle mind and subtle actions. What is needed is to establish a direct contact with them. We can achieve success by raising ourselves above the gross body, mind, and actions.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Asatana
  2. Bhavana
  3. Body
  4. Gautama
  5. Kayotsarga
  6. Mahavira
  7. Meditation
  8. Sadhana
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