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The Mirror Of The Self: [33] Seek Truth On Your Own

Published: 16.03.2009

Seek Truth On Your Own

One of the exercises of preksha meditation is perception of breathing. It appears to be such a small thing, but in the context of the maxim, "Seek truth on your own!" the moment we start perceiving our breath, hundreds of modes manifest themselves. The man, who wants to enter the depths of meditation, might as well take to perception of breathing. Through the practice of this one exercise, he can reach the state of pure samaadhi.

Laws Associated With Breathing

Knowing the truth means - knowing the changes taking place and the laws governing them, to keep aware of the changing modes. How many modes of breathing are there, for instance? We practise perception of breath for half an hour. Even during this brief period, we perceive hundreds of changing modes. To be subtly aware of those modes, to perceive them, is what "seeking truth on your own" means. All things cannot be told; these can only be experienced. We can tell only a few things. For instance, when we inhale, the air we breathe in is warm. As this air goes inside, it keeps as temperate as is necessary for the lungs. If it is too hot or too cold, it would be held up in the nose. The nasal sensory nerves serve to make the breath mellow. That is why it is said, 'Do not breathe through the mouth!', because the mouth has no means to temper the flow of breath.

Breath And Colour

When the breath goes in, it has a certain colour. When it comes out, its colour undergoes a change. About us subsists an atmosphere of colours. Zones of atoms of various kinds orbit round us; one of them is the zone of colours; it is made up of blue, black, white and red colours. The visualization of colours is one of the steps in the perception of breathing; it is a prelude thereto. We may now advance a step further. The vital air, which we breathe in, has in it all kinds of colour, smell, taste and touch. He who practises perception of breathing should, at the very outset, meditate thus "What colour does my current breath manifest? What colour is subdued?" Start meditating upon the colour that is manifest; also the colour which is unmanifest. Thus, one advances one step further in one's search for truth. Meditation too grows deeper

Resolve For Undertaking Colour Meditation

When we undertake perception of breathing and try to apprehend the colour of our breath, we enter the depth of medita­tion and intensify our power of concentration. The practitioner of deep breathing should sit down to meditate with this resolve “I’m going to practise perception of breathing for visualizing this par­ticular colour. I am going to practise intensive meditation, not indulge in mere fancy." He should perceive what colour the breath he is inhaling manifests and what colour remains unmanifest. He must observe the colour that is manifest. The colour manifested in meditation at dawn, undergoes a change in the meditation undertaken at noon. The colour changes every hour. The first exercise linked with perception of breathing is the perception of colour.

The Odour Of Breath

The second exercise is the perception of smell. A man is greatly influenced by odour. A great deal of research on this subject is in progress in the scientific world. There exists an intimate relationship between odour and feeling. Foul smell prog­nosticates inauspicious feeling; wholesome odour prognosticates auspicious feeling. One part of our brain, called the animal brain', is greatly influenced by odour. Our mental impressions and instincts originate there from. It is said that the breath of omniscient Tirthankars smells like the lotus flower. The whole personality of a man may be comprehended through the odour of his body. Which means - the body of a man whose mind is pure and clean, smells sweet, whereas the body of the man whose mind is defiled, gives out a vicious smell. A person's odour is linked with his leshya. While practising perception of breathing, one should perceive what kind of odour one's meditation has. When one is filled with auspicious feeling, one should practise perception of breathing and observe the pervading aroma; also, when dominated by inauspicious feeling, one should savour the stink thereof. Again, when assailed by inauspicious thoughts, one should prac­tise meditation and perceive the reigning flavour. Thus one would come to know for oneself the whole range of smell.

The Path Of Truth: The Search Within

Let us experience for ourselves the principles of good breath­ing and all the changing modes thereof. To discover Truth, we do not have to go outside of ourselves. He who strays abroad in search of Truth, never finds it. One can find truth only within oneself. He who is incapable of perception will not know where to seek Truth. The important thing is observation. Observation too has its own rules. We must know how to observe, how to think. To see with equanimity is true seeing. The moment free from attachment and aversion is the moment of perception. Only in this state of freedom from attachment and aversion can we find out the truth. Only then shall we know what is happening within us, what else is entering our body along with the breath and what changes are taking place there. Dispassionate ob­servation will reveal many truths.

The Touch Of Breath

Touch is one of the elements linked with breath. Let us ask ourselves, "What is it like - the touch of the breath I'm inhaling at the moment? Is it sharp like the teeth of a handsaw? Is it rough or smooth? Light or heavy?" To observe all this during breath-perception - this is what the discovery of truth means. If we persevere in this exercise of breath-perception for years together, there would be no need to seek an alternative form for meditation. This alone could lead us to self-realization.

The Taste of Breath

Taste is also one of the elements linked with breath. What is the taste of breath? Is the breath sour? Is it sour like emblic myrobalan? Or like tamarind? Or like soured curd? Or if the breath is sweet, is it sweet like jaggery? Or like white sugar? Or like dates or honey? Or is it bitter or astringent? Let us perceive the breath from all these angles and be steadfast in our observation. We shall thus be able to apprehend the entire sequence of the taste of breath. The perception of this sequence and the harmony thereof is what the discovery of truth implies.

Perception Of Breathing: Different Aspects

Let us appraise breath-perception from various angles and discover for ourselves how very significant this exercise is. Let us discover for ourselves the colour of breath, its smell, taste and touch and let us steadily continue our search. We shall surely reach our destination. For this we need no laboratory. Our intui­tion would grow so refined and receptive as to apprehend all modes that present themselves. Those who have minutely practised breath-perception have touched the depths of meditation. Many things become clear to them. They are able to witness many subtle events, which appear to them in the form of pictures. It happens so and every man who gives himself to meditation, can reach such a state.

Many other things are linked with perception of breathing. When we take a breath, where does it actually go, what spot it touches within and wherefrom is it expelled? Let us observe the route it takes. So many modes of breath manifest themselves that we are lost in wonder. With it is also linked the knowledge of the past and the future.

Experiencing Of Truth

The discovery of all these aspects is the discovery of truth. This truth may or may not be demonstrable in a laboratory, but it is certainly sanctified by experience. Today's man relies much more on machines. Until something is tested by machines, it cannot be taken as authentic. Today's mechanical age requires an external, visible laboratory. This need may not be denied. The reigning concept of the time cannot be rejected. Nor am I thinking in terms of denying it. But I should like to add something to it. Along with the external laboratory, an internal laboratory should also be created. The instruments of the external laboratory may prove to be misleading, but those of the inner laboratory never lead astray. The creation of this internal laboratory is possible only through the search for truth.


3rd Edition 1995

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
Ladnun -341 306 (Rajasthan)

Muni Dhananjay Kumar (Hindi)
Muni Mahendra Kumar (English)

Translated by:
Late Prof. R.K. Seth

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Brain
  3. Colour Meditation
  4. Concentration
  5. Equanimity
  6. Leshya
  7. Meditation
  8. Omniscient
  9. Perception of Breathing
  10. Preksha
  11. Preksha Meditation
  12. Samaadhi
  13. Tirthankars
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