In my previous post, I described my initiation experience in Istanbul in 1980. Dada K. (the meditation teacher who initiated me) returned to India in 1981. He has been living in India since then. I have not seen him or spoken to him since 1981 but I have always remembered his words of wisdom.
“Establish yourself in the highest ideals by struggle.”
This is what he wrote to me in his letter from Athens before his departure for India in 1981. More than 30 years have passed but I have not been able to establish myself in the highest ideals. I have not given up yet but I must admit I was not persistent enough in the pursuit of my ideals.
Last year, I contacted Dada K. In my email I told him about my struggles in life and also mentioned that I was having difficulty meditating. My difficulty started when I realized that every time I meditated my life accelerated. I was too scared to face my karma. I developed a fear of meditation. In his reply email he said:
“It is so inspiring to read your story of struggle. But why not meditate? You have to. There is no other way out. To appreciate Baba in theory and not in practice will be a kind of duality. Please come out of it and practice what you believe in.”
Dada says I have to meditate. He says “there is no other way out.” My mind resists him and says: is it meditation or is it sadhana that is necessary for spiritual development? What about devotion? What about detachment from the results of our actions? What about ego training? Sadhana means effort; so can’t I reach enlightenment by doing all the other spiritual practices except meditation?
Ananda Marga is very certain about the singular importance of meditation. In Ananda Marga sadhana means meditation, and there is nothing more important than meditation.
What is the goal for human beings? I claim that the goal is to discover the true identity of the soul. This sounds so dry and intellectual but it is not. I think that the discovery (Self-realization) will be more like a ‘lover’s reunion.’ Clearly, the goal is not to engage in certain practices and follow certain rules just to keep us inside a protective box. Meditation is not the goal per se but there are many reasons why meditation may be necessary.
Why do people meditate? There are many motivations. There are logical and scientific arguments from yoga teachers, and the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Buddhist meditators. The logical arguments can be classified as “meditation for a healthy body and mind.” But, clearly there are more reasons. For me, the only reason for meditation is spiritual development.
In the Eastern world there are people who practice meditation to gain occult powers. In the Western world some meditate to develop mental skills because they want to get smarter. Some meditate to be healthy. Others meditate to see things clearly. Some meditate to relax and clear their minds. Others hope for a surprise result after a meditation—some new insight or feeling. Almost every meditator wants more clarity.
When I was younger I meditated to gain knowledge. I was practicing meditation to attain esoteric knowledge. This is not spirituality. As I matured, my meditation practice changed and I meditated to reach the ‘profound silence’ (holy silence). In the last few years, my practice has changed again. There is a greater devotional component in my meditative practice now.
I came to believe that without the attractive force of Divine Love the spiritual development comes in very slow. Spiritual development through personal striving such as ego training and personality development may be too slow. The centrifugal force of the creation is so strong that without devotion, without the help of Divine Love, it is impossible to get closer to the Divine Center.
I have a strong intuition that the reason Baba (Shrii Shrii Anandamurti) put so much emphasis on meditation was for metaphysical reasons. Some spiritual education continues in dreaming and dreamless sleep. People who meditate regularly keep their communication channels open.
Meditation has an effect on the chakras as well. Some people concentrate on their chakras during meditation. A guru is a person who can see your chakras and how well they are functioning. Gurus can see your past lives as well. Very advanced spiritual teachers can help you raise your kundalini. Meditation seems to be necessary to clear the obstructions that prevent the rise of the kundalini.
In my opinion, cultivation of love and beauty, cultivation of a peaceful and tranquil mind, ego training and personality development, observing the mind from a higher level, community service, and many other practices including meditation should be considered sadhana.
I think that a sincere effort in ego training is definitely sadhana. It may yield slower results compared to the devotional practices but ego training is very important. It is as important as meditation.
I talked about combining the devotional practices with ego training. That’s where the ego transparency becomes relevant. Humans can transform the ego and make it more transparent by subjecting it to the fiery brilliance of the soul.
Meditation is a great mystery. When I meditate, my life accelerates and that scares me. But, I realize that I have to meditate. I know in my heart that the liberation of the soul is only possible through meditation.
Sadhana means effort. This implies that spiritual enlightenment is not easy. I described my life-long struggle above. “What if it is easy?” question comes to mind. Is a quantum jump possible in spiritual progress?
I have many doubts about the spiritual quantum jump. Some of you may argue that if I don’t believe in the quantum jump then it won’t happen to me. I understand this. For example, if I don’t believe in the possibility of Self-realization I will not attain it. If I don’t believe that the human soul is a reflection of the Cosmic Soul then the possibility of union with the Cosmic Soul does not exist either.
My doubt about the quantum jump in spiritual progress is not about the possibility. My point is that we should not forget about the process that leads to the quantum jump. When the quantum jump happens it may seem sudden but there were many small steps prior to the jump.
When it happens spiritual enlightenment will be very sudden and it will catch us by surprise. But, to repeat for emphasis, the spiritual enlightenment will not come without sadhana. Effort is necessary.
You should remember another fact. This is very important. SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT IS PURE GRACE. Nobody deserves the spiritual enlightenment. It is a divine gift. After lifetimes of effort, one auspicious day, you will be blessed with Divine Grace and experience enlightenment.