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Thus Spoke Mahapragya - Vol.1: 14. Role of Meditation

Published: 07.04.2011

Role of Meditation

Whenever we try to read something we first try to visualize it. When we see a person the first thing that comes to our to mind is his face, when we see a material the first that comes to our mind is its image. When we see sadhutva (asceticism), what is it that image that comes to our mind?  There is an artificial image and a natural image. People are aware of the artificial image, as it is associated with beautiful clothes, accessories and make up. This is a temporary image. It looks appealing in the beginning and loses its charm as time passes by. A new cloth looks good as long as it is new. To enhance one's beauty people use many artificial things. They may look good for sometime but it fades away gradually.

The natural beauty is more appealing and attractive. The question that still remains is what is the image that comes to us when we think of asceticism? Being a good speaker is not his image. Being a writer or a philosopher is not his image. Being a good musician or a good artist is neither his image. Then what is his image?

Sadhutva (asceticism) image is chaaritra (character). One must make a sincere effort to understand the meaning of the word 'character'. The word character has a very broad meaning associated with it. Acharya has summarized its meaning in a very beautiful way. Wherever there is kashaya (Passions like anger, conceit, deceit and lust) character is destroyed. Wherever one has akashaya (dispassionate anger, conceit, deceit and lust) the character develops. If we understand and analyse this, then whether it is a householder or a sadhu wherever character is there it will bring a new meaning to one's life. Where there is no character, it can lead into numerous problems.

A question is raised on the character of a person when he gets angry or wild. If one is greedy, egoistic then his character will never be attractive. When the head of a family is short-tempered his family members would not like him and say that his temperament is bad. The same is applicable for greed also. When a person is free of kashaya his character, individuality will blossom.

Once during the period of Lord Buddha, King Shrenik approached Buddha and asked him “O Revere! My prince who has got everything at his disposal and all the comforts in life, yet he is so sad? Your disciple who walks bare footed, hardly gets anything to eat, stays in a hut and is so happy. What is the reason?


True happiness can be experienced by a person who has given up everything voluntarily.

Lord Buddha said happiness can be found everywhere when one doesn't possess anything. A person who has voluntarily given up everything can live happily. A poor man cannot be happy even though he doesn't posses anything. He has not given up anything voluntarily. He is leading a life where there is dearth of everything. One who lacks everything in life cannot be happy as his worry is to seek those things. One who possesses everything cannot be happy as his worry is to protect his wealth. One can give up things voluntarily or may be forced to give up based on circumstances. When a person is forced to give up, he cannot be happy because he could not possess that and hence he had to give it up. Such persons cannot be happy. True happiness could be experienced by only that person who has given up things voluntarily.

Chanakya was a fearless man. He was free from fears and hence he used to sleep in his hut peacefully. He had relinquished many things in his life. He was such a powerful man that he had everything at his disposal. Despite being in power, he had relinquished all comforts. Today people who are at the top cannot even think of leading a life like that of Chanakya. Today, security guards escort the people who are at the top. Chanakya also could have arranged security guard for himself. He however, chose to live the life of an ascetic.

Some thieves had entered the Chanakya's house with the intention of stealing. The thieves found a heap of valuable blankets piled up in room. Those blankets were kept for distribution among the poor masses. They then entered the room where Chanakya was fast asleep. He was sleeping on a mat spread on the floor. The thieves were surprised to see the simplicity and greatness of Chanakya. They were carried away with the simplicity the man lead his life and they left from there without stealing anything.

A great man, who leads such a simple life, can change the heart of a rogue also. And a great personality who doesn't lead such a simple life can even turn a simple man into a rogue. The image that asceticism should have is akashaya (dispassionate towards anger, conceit, deceit and lust) and we can also say that a good person's image also has akashaya.

The right image of an ascetic should be one with total freedom from passions and attachments. Where does the greatness of a sadhu lie? It does not lie in his looks, appearance or in his bright clothes. It lies in total freedom from passions and attachments and how above he has risen on raag-dwesha?

When Mrugaputra became a sadhu, his penance included guarding himself against the Aprashasta Yoga (inauspicious activity). We must be very cautiously aware of the Aprashasta Yoga. Aprashasta Yoga is an impious combination of mind, speech and soul.

A sadhu, whose mind, speech and soul are pious, is the true characteristic of a sadhu. The entire meditation lies within this shubh yoga (combination of mind, speech and soul which is pious) and ashubha yoga (combination of mind, speech and soul which is impious). Our meditation should embrace this shubh yoga. The 'Nirvikalpa Yoga[1]',(free from emotions of like and dislike, pleasure and pain) is the higher level of consciousness. First we must aim at the shubh yoga meditation.

A question that comes in mind is that should we confine ourselves with shubh yoga? The word Shuddhopayoga was coined by Acharya KundKund. Shuddhopayoga is a state where consciousness is not tagged onto any external object or sensual pleasure. It is a process of ridding oneself of mental afflictions. Itis the state of individuality even amidst social living. In it there is nothing else beyond the state of existence.

One must ponder on the role of an ascetic. This differentiation is very important. In the ancient times Sutrakrutang and Nirgranth had clearly differentiated the roles. Today this differentiation does not exist. In the ancient times one of the primary roles adopted by the sadhu was dedicated towards the shubh-yoga (auspicious activity). Once he played this role successfully he would move up towards next role called Shuddhopayoga (state where consciousness is not attached to any object or sensual pleasure). In it the importance is not on pravritti (nature of mind) but on nirodh (confinement). Yethalandak Muni lives in the state of apramatta (consciousness). This is another form of meditation. When a person sits for meditation, he finds it very difficult to concentrate. The flow of thoughts begins pouring in and never stops. The wind also plays a very important role in making the mind more volatile. The wind also brings the volatility in our body. In Ayurveda, there are three different forms of diseases: Vaat (wind), Pitta (bile) and Kaf (phlegm).

Pitta and Kaff cannot travel. Vaat has so much of energy that it can make them to travel anywhere in the body. The volatility of the mind is due to vaayu. The volatility of the mind is directly related to this vaayu. If this vaayu is more, then the volatility of the mind also increases.

In the present context, it is very important for one to think over the roles and the perception that a sadhu brings about. One must move from the shubh yoga to Shuddhopayoga. One must move from good thoughts to being thoughtless. This will bring about a new transformation with a new radiance to the ascetic.

On a 19th January


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Mahapragya ne Kaha - Vol.1 Translated by:
Rakesh Kumar Jain Online Edition: 2011

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Kundkund
  3. Anger
  4. Apramatta
  5. Ashubha
  6. Ayurveda
  7. Body
  8. Buddha
  9. Chanakya
  10. Conceit
  11. Consciousness
  12. Deceit
  13. Greed
  14. Kashaya
  15. Kundkund
  16. Meditation
  17. Muni
  18. Sadhu
  19. Shrenik
  20. Soul
  21. Yoga
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