The Inner Journey Involves Reversing the Consciousness Current
In the 20th century the great Sage Maharishi Mehi compared the ascending of consciousness to a fish swimming upstream. The mind must go inward, which is the reverse of its usual and easy outward path. Just as the fish struggles against the current, so an equal effort must be made to go against the current of the mind. By going inward against the current of the mind, one will experiences the divine joy.
In the words of Shri Maharishi Mehi:
The stream of celestial nectar is flowing from the subtle canal of the sushumna nerve. Like a fish the consciousness current is moving upstream”.xiv Like a fish making its way upstream, the mind with consciousness must be recollected in concentration. (This will seem to the mind a difficult and “unnatural” course!)
But how exactly is this concentration accomplished? [It is accomplished by going within with intense focus.] To understand this, we must illustrate examples from the physical substances. Whenever a physical substance is gathered in one place, as it becomes concentrated, [as it is gathered in a pile] it moves upward, whether the substance is a solid, a liquid, or a gas. The more subtle substance is more pervasive, its movement is faster, and it is capable of moving higher: water is more subtle than ice, steam than water, and electric current or lightning is even subtler than steam.
The mind is inconceivably more subtle and faster than even the speed of light. Physicists have told us that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. We can see light, but one does not see the mind. This is something to ponder: How fast can the mind travel when it is collected and concentrated instead of being spread and dispersed in the external world? Now consider that consciousness is even more subtle than the mind and permeates it just as radio waves travel through physical objects. When collected, consciousness is of unimaginable speed. This is the force of the soul which is capable of reaching God.
The Methods for Returning to the Divine Source
As butter permeates milk, so consciousness permeates the mind. When the mind becomes concentrated so does the current of consciousness which permeates ones body and mind. Therefore, the Saints have taught us ways to withdraw and concentrate the mind within. Maharishi Mehi elaborates on this in the Philosophy of Liberation. The following references are particularly worth studying:
In whatever realm of this universe one lives, it is natural to get the support from the predominate element of that realm.xv Therefore, one who is dwelling in the physical realm will naturally take support from material elements (methods utilizing sensory elements).xvi To begin to concentrate the mind, one should make use of Mānas japa (mental repetition of the spoken name of God), and Mānas dhyāna (focusing on a physical manifested form of God). God permeates all realms of nature and the entire universe. The saints, prophets, sages, all radiant and all benevolent beings are myriad physical manifestations of the Divine Powers on earth. Fixing their image in the mind (Mānas dhyāna; focus on a divine form) facilitates concentration of the mind and prepares it to enter into the inner subtle realms. In order to enter into the subtle realms, one must take support of the subtle element. One should therefore, practice taking support of the subtle (non-material) element. Subtle support is “the infinitesimal point”. This point is visualized in the middle of two eye-brows. The infinitesimal point is also known as the subtlest of the subtle forms of God. Bindu (point) is defined as an indivisible point. It is too minute to be drawn or indicated in any physical way. Driśti yoga, the yoga of vision is concentration on (literally “seeing”) this infinitesimal point. Driśti is the power of seeing. By uniting the beams of vision of both eyes, and focusing on a single point in the center and concentrating the mind on that point single pointedness is attained. This is known as Driśti Yoga. In this practice it is advised neither to focus forcefully nor manipulate the eyeballs in any manner. The saints teach specifics of this yogic technique. By this practice the inner divine vision is opened. This is beyond the sensory dimension of seeing. When the state of one-pointedness (complete focus) of mind is attained, it is possible to listen to the divine inner sounds which arise from the juncture of the material and subtle realms. These celestial sounds are not audible to the sensory ears. When the subtle state is reached, it becomes possible to perceive the divine sounds of the subtle realm. Now this sound has the inherent quality of attracting the consciousness to its point of origin. Once that sound is perceived, consciousness is drawn to the sounds of each successive and ascending realm until consciousness reaches the soundless realm. This is the realm of God (shbadatita). To achieve this, service to and association with a Sat Guru, as well as his grace and blessings, are essential. The practitioner must also be diligent in practice. The path described above can be summarized in the following manner. The four practices are gross to subtle in an ascending order: Mānas japa, Mānas dhyāna, Dirśti yoga, Nadanusandhana (Sound yoga), and the Soundless yoga. The practice of Mānas japa (mantra) and Mānas dhyāna is the worship of the physical, qualified (personal) form of God (God perceived in various manifestations of name and form in the gross realm); the practice of the meditation on the infinitesimally small point is the worship of the subtle qualified form of God (God perceived as the infinitesimal point); concentration on divine sounds (other than Sār Śabad, the Divine Sound of the beginning, Word, Logos) is the worship of the qualified formless Divine. And, finally, meditation on the Sār Śabad (the Original Divine Sound) is worship of the Unqualified-Formless (the transcendent Godhead). This is the culmination of all forms of worship. But without completely mastering all these practices and treading the inward journey, it will be impossible to reach the Soundless state (the realization of the Impersonal form of the Divine). This is the Realm of God and the attainment of mokśa. This is the state of liberation, a state of absolute peace.
Understanding the Twofold Nature of the Divine and the Material Substance
What do qualified and unqualified mean when applied to God? The Prashna Upanishad states that in the beginning God created prana, that is, Hiranyagharba. This is known as the world egg or primal matter [germ from which the perishable beings take place]xvii. That Divine Essence is beyond any distinctions and is without qualities (gunas).xviii
The gunas exist only in the manifested universe. The essential being of God is beyond these three qualities.xix God (Brahman), the Primal Being, is Unqualified (Nirguna Brahman); the secondary (personal) Being (Saguna Brahman) is qualified.
The Bhagavad-Gita says:
There are two beings (purushas) in this world, the perishable and the imperishable. The perishable is all these existences (comprises all creatures), and the unchanging (jivātman) is the imperishable. But other than these, the Highest Spirit is known as the Supreme Self (paramatman) who, as the Undying Lord, enters the three worlds and sustains them (15:16-17).
The Highest Spirit is the most distinct from the two beings (purushas). Prakriti (Nature, Material substance) in its primal state is congruous. In this primal state, sattva, rajas, and tamas stay in perfect balance. They represent three distinct actions: Creation, sustenance, and destruction. These three, the cosmic attributes or the gunas are represented by three manifestation of the Personal God (manifested God): Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer, and Shiva the Destroyer.
Sant Kabir says,
The infinite impersonal supreme God is a tree. The three Lords (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) are the branches of that tree, and the leaves sprouting from the branches are the world
Just as the three gunas arose from the Creator; and just as the world arose from the gunas; so from one absolute Dharma (the Absolute Truth; the Way), a kind of proto-religion which exists at the very basis of creation, there arose three separate dharmas, Sanatana Dharma (Vedic)xx, Judeo-Christian, and Islam, the three most prevalent religions in the world. These three dharmas, though they may seem divergent in various external ways, are related in the same way as the leaves of a tree which arise from and are nourished by the same source.
The Holy Koran sheds light on the ultimate unity of the Truth:
In the beginning all people were of one community. Later people created different convictions and paths” (Koran 11.10). And “in the beginning people were on one Path (Koran 2.2).
Sanatana Dharma is oldest of the major dharmas, followed by the Judeo-Christian, and finally Islamic dharmas. Due to differences of geography, culture, and language, these three religions appear different, but in fact, they are leaves on one tree. The belief in the unity of God is the great theme of the major religions.
As the Rig Veda says:
Truth is one; sages speak of it in different ways.
The teachings of all dharmas, Vedic, Judeo-Christian, Islamic, as well as of the texts of the saints, great religious scholars and poets, emphasize this fundamental oneness of Truth.
In the Katha Upanishad Yama explains this mystery to Nachiketas:
As the one air has entered the world and becomes varied in form corresponding to the shape of the form of every object, so the one Inner Soul of all things becomes varied according to whatever form, and also exists outside (5/13).
The Divine Essence permeates all beings yet transcends them.
Shri Ram teaches this to Hanumanji:
Oh, son of the Wind! Without sound, without touch, without form, without taste, without smell, and without name or caste, as the destroyer of all misery—this form of mine you should meditate on always (Muktikopanishad, 72).
Lord Krishna, in the Bhagavad -Gita, advises Arjuna to meditate upon his form beyond the perishable and imperishable, which is Absolute and One. The Koran is also filled with references to the unity of God. And the Lord’s prayer, the most common prayer of Christianity, addresses God as our Father, the Father common to us all.xxi The following are the quotes from different saints which only reaffirm the oneness of God:
Sant Kabir Sahib says:
My great Lord is one; I dare not say two. If I say two, this pleases not my Lord.
Guru Nanak Dev says:
There is only one Lord, the great Lord. By seeing His unity one is blessed with all treasures.
Sant Dadudyal says:
I found the beginning and the end within [my heart] and now this mind does not go elsewhere. Now Dadu is colored in the color of the One and is absorbed in that One.
Sant Sundar Das says:
One God resides in the heart of each and every person. Why don’t you meditate on that one God? That God helps you overcome misery. Why do you forget that Lord? Four kinds of wealth are with him, eight kinds of siddhis (attainments), and nine kinds of treasure can be obtained from Him. People who pray to any other than this great God have mouths full of dust [wasting away lives], warns Sundar.
Goswami Tulsidas says:
The One [Supreme Being] is unspoken, without form, without name, without birth, the abode of knowledge and bliss.
Sant Surdas says:
If the mind wants to find God, it should leave the outward trappings of texts and external worship. Abandon texts and ceremonies; and be truthful in thoughts, words, and deeds! Then one will see the true Lord within one’s own self.
Author : Santmat Society of North America 2006