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Sant Mat Mysticism




Satsang Discourse:
Changing Your Destiny By Contemplating the Divine Light Within
By James Bean
Copyright December 2005

     Below is from the new book, The Harmony of All Religions, by Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj.

     Below contains a very useful presentation about successful meditation practice. It's so easy to fall asleep during meditation, to discover our attempt at meditation turning into a sleepitation. The focus can also be lost as the mind resumes thinking during that period we call meditation, gets caught up in daydreaming, fantasies, remembering past events, planning for future events, etc.... We can hear our thoughts so well in the silence. The running commentary of the monkey-mind is like a sportscaster constantly giving us the play-by-play and never wants to stop. Discipline is most definitely required, along with good techniques, spiritual exercises that are effective.

     Below, Sant Sevi Ji uses the term "Prat-ya-hara", meaning, "the repeated practice of bringing the wandering mind to a focus", bringing our attention back to the Seat of the Soul, Third Eye Center - withdrawal within with intense focus. We sit ourselves down and focus at the Third Eye with eyes closed. That shifting from the outer waking state to the meditative state, in this particular tradition of Sant Mat Meditation, is called prat-ya-hara. "Dha-rana" is a term for the "sustaining of focus for small periods" of time. The increment of time we remain focused during meditation practice is called dha-rana. I am so glad somebody has identified terms for these mental meditative states so that we may better communicate about these things and examine the quality of our own meditations -- examine and see how we're doing, and seek to develop a stronger, more sustained, focus within.

     So the first step is a deliberate attempt at inverting our attention within (Prat-ya-hara), and maintaining a strong focus for as long as we can during meditation (Dha-rana).

     For those of you who are new to Sant Mat Meditation, I should mention...that at the beginning of meditation, to help overcome the running commentary of the mind, one mentally repeats sacred names of God within ones self as one gazes into the darkness with eyes closed. This mental repetition is called, "Simran", which is a term that also means, "Remembrance". It is, in other words, a way to remember who we are, and call upon the Positive Power for aid and assistance. It is the "Prayer of God's Name". The answer to this prayer is the manifestation of God within us during our experience of meditation. Those of you who have not been given a mantra by the Master to repeat, can, for now, adopt your own sacred word to use during practice - a name you're comfortable with already, like perhaps: Allah, Ram, Radhaswami, Yeshua, AUM, HU, Great Spirit, etc..... Any name of God will work. Whichever name symbolizes for you the highest truth and the Lord of Love.

     As we remain focused, and mentally repeat our sacred word or words, we may discover the appearance of inner Light. We may see sparks of light that look something like fireflies, shimmering light, stars, lights of various colors, or other visions of light. "If thine eye be Single, thy whole body shall be full of Light," say many Masters of the past and present. In the Gospel of Thomas Yeshua says, "if one is (whole), one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.....there is light within a Person of Light, and it illuminates the entire cosmos." Kabir says, "The light of one soul is equal to that of sixteen suns." (Anurag Sagar) If the energy of our attention is scattered and dissipated into the world of the five senses, we see darkness, but if our attention returns to the Single eye - the seat of the soul - light will appear.

     Masters say it is a good idea to meditate everyday to lighten the load of karma. The inner currents of Sound and Light wash away karma and give us more divine grace, thus uplifting our destiny to the highest good. The Force known as Shabd Naam (Divine Sound and Light) coming from above, busts into the world of time and space, freeing souls from the law of karma. We become what we see. If we contemplate the Light of God....we become That. This is what the Greek mystics called, "Theosis" and, "Divinivation by contemplating the Light of the Godhead." Below, the author makes an amazing statement: "When we see darkness with our eyes closed we are in the realm of death and re-birth [we are unaware of our true nature.]. When we come out of the realm of darkness and enter into the realm of light, we will at the same time transcend the web of death. It is not possible that we can remain in darkness and be free from the net of birth and death. Having achieved inner light, we can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death." Sant Sevi Ji's statement reminds me of a saying of Yeshua found in the New Testament as well as in the Gnostic Gospels: "Warning! Do not let the vision within you be darkness." Practice meditation. Find the inner Light. Contemplate it every single day. "Do not cease seeking day or night, and do not let yourselves relax until you have found all the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Light, which will purify you and make you into Pure Light and lead you into the Kingdom of Light...And the soul which receives the Mystery of the Ineffable will ascend to the Hight, being a great outpouring of Light." (Yeshua, in, "Pistis Sophia", The Book of Faith-Wisdom)

     The Light-motif is very loud and clear in the Gnostic writings. The Unseen Supreme Being can be seen indirectly via the inner, divine Light. I like using the analogy of black holes. Black holes are invisible, as the gravity of a black hole is so intense that even light particles can not escape it. But, astronomers can indirectly observe black holes. There is a stage as you approach a black hole when the atoms of matter being sucked into the immense gravity-well of the black hole are smashing together giving off incredibly bright light. Black holes often have this halo of luminosity around them. This is the "donut" of light surrounding the donut-hole or black hole at the center. This is the energy of matter being released before it forever disappears down the drain of the black hole, slipping out of ordinary space-time reality. As the Sufi mystics say, "Allah is veiled by his own Light." "By the light of Allah, I see Allah."

     I hope you're finding this satsang discourse helpful, and that you will be enlightened by the paragraphs below by Shri Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj of the Marharshi Mehi Ashram, Bihar, India.

Returning to the Source Through Inner Journey is Dharma
     The individual soul has descended from the higher worlds [realm of the Divine] to this city of illusion [bodily existence]. It has descended from the Soundless state to the essence of Sound, from that Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness. The qualities (dharmas, natural tendencies) of the sense organs draw us downward and away from our true nature. The nature of the soul (atman) draws us upwards and inwards and establishes us in our own true nature.

     To go back to our origins means returning: withdrawal from the sense organs to go upward (by withdrawing consciousness) from the darkness to the realms of light and sound. In other words, to go inward from the external sense organs to the depth of the inner self (both of these expressions are exact special metaphors describing the same movement). The natural tendencies of the soul (atman) are to move from outward to inward. The current of consciousness which is dispersed in the nine gates of the body and the nine senses must be collected at the tenth gate (the sixth charka, the third eye, bindu, center between the eyebrows) therein lies the path for our return. This is the act of leaving the gates of the sense organs and becoming established in the soul. We travel back from the realm of Darkness to the realm of Light, from the Light to divine Sound, and from the realm of Sound to the Soundless state. This is turning back. This is what dharma or religion really intends to teach us and it is the essence of dharma. ...

The Inner Journey Involves Reversing the Consciousness Current:
      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, we experience 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".

     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 withdrawal within with intense focus.]...

     The mind is inconceivably more subtle and faster than even the speed light. Physicists have told us that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. We see light, but we do not see the mind. How fast can the mind travel when it is collected and concentrated, instead of being spread and dispersed in the external world? Now consciousness is even more subtle than mind and permeates it 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...

Main Obstacles in the Practice of Dhyâna [Meditation]
     The two main hindrances to success in the practice of meditation are the following:

  1. Procrastination and Laziness
  2. Activity of thoughts during meditation (day dreaming, fanciful imagination, planning, rising of any kinds of thoughts)

      In addition, the lulling silence during meditation puts many practitioners to sleep. During meditation we should be vigilant and awake. Whatever is our point of focus we should diligently keep our mind on that goal and we will not be bothered by sleep.

     Unless we overcome the magnanimous challenge of procrastination and curb the ever-rising tide of mental activity during meditation we cannot reach our Noble (arya) destination (state of unity with God). The unvigilant practitioners usually become engrossed in thoughts or fall sleep. These formidable passes must be crossed for success.

     What is the place to be reached? When we close our eyes and see darkness this is the realm of ignorance. When the light dawns within you, then you understand that you reside in noble regions. In darkness resides ignorance and in light resides Knowledge. For example as we are sitting in light right now we are able to see one another. However, if the electric power goes out ensuing total darkness we will not be able to see others. We will not even be aware of other people, coming and going. In this analogy light signifies knowledge and darkness signifies ignorance. In the same manner when we see darkness with our eyes closed we are in the realm of death and re-birth [we are unaware of our true nature.]. When we come out of the realm of darkness and enter into the realm of light, we will at the same time transcend the web of death. It is not possible that we can remain in darkness and be free from the net of birth and death. Having achieved inner light we can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

     Saint Kabir says: "In each house (heart) the light shines. But we are blind [ignorant of that divine light of knowledge] so we cannot see it. If we keep looking we will find the light and will destroy the shackles of death."

Various forms of Dhyâna
     Without formless or subtle meditation attainment of inner light is impossible. You must get yourself out of darkness. How will this happen? Prat-ya-hara—bringing the mind back—is followed by dha-rana, sustaining of focus for small periods. At first this will be for even a small time. Pratyanhara is the repeated practice of bringing the wandering mind to a focus. By repetitive practice of pratyahara we are able to focus for a little while on the object of meditation. This focusing for small periods is known as dharana.

     When this Dharana continues for extended periods then the state of dhyâna or complete focus occurs. However, mere focus on a physical form or name is not the only type of dhyâna. [Emptiness of mind is also dhyâna.]

     As it is said in the Jnana Sankalni Tantra,

Dhyâna (focus on the physical forms) is not known as dhyâna; the empty mind is known (focus in empty mind) as dhyâna. By the grace of this [focus] meditation, one attains Moksha.

    Some one asked Saint Mira Bai, "What kind of practice did you do to control your mind—our mind wanders far away during meditation?" Mira replied, "Through my consciousness I traveled the skies and then my mind came under control and agreed to be still."

     Let us ponder on this subject. What vehicle did Mira Bai use to travel the skies? Was it an airplane, helicopter or a rocket? Mira Bai’s journey was not in the outer world but it was inside the inner realms. Her vehicles divine light (bindu), and divine sound.