Elements of Meditation
The Self in each one of us and the Universal Self are one in essence. Once the living links with God are revived and the channel opened, man regains God-consciousness. Spiritual Knowledge doesn’t refer to information acquired via the senses or from books, but to the knowledge which is revealed from within, to the revelation and wisdom emanating from the depths of the inner Self.
The sacred and revealed books of all times and civilisations glorify this Knowledge. They place man at the pinnacle of creation, because human beings can reach the plane of absolute Truth, Consciousness and Bliss and thus realise the ultimate Reality. Lord Buddha said, “There is a state where there is neither earth nor water, nor heat, nor air…neither infinity of space…it is without stability, without change. Here is the cessation of sorrow.” Jesus Christ was describing this state when he said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” and, “Don’t you know that you are the temples of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?”.
Initiation into Knowledge gives us access to the four facets of Divine Energy – the Holy Word, Divine Light, Celestial Music and Nectar. We can know God through them. These four aspects are like the petals of a flower. Only a flower in bloom emits fragrance. Similarly, it is only through the manifestations of these aspects of the Divine that the full splendour of God is experienced and salvation attained. God unmanifest is like a bud – It is the potential energy hidden in every particle in the universe. When this potential energy becomes kinetic and manifests itself, it takes the form of the Word, the Light, the Music and the Nectar. When scientists split the atom, the potential energy in the atom expresses itself as blinding light, a tremendous sound, intense heat and powerful radiation. This indicates that the universe is a mass of energy. The greatest wonder of all is that everything is charged with energy but no one knows from where it comes. Science can observe and classify any expression of this energy in Nature, but it can’t observe its origin. Spiritual Knowledge, on the other hand, gives a direct experience of this energy in its perfect and purest form – it can unite the Self with its Source.
The Masters who had the direct living experience of God claim, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Here, Word does not refer to an alphabetical word, because all languages came into existence after the Creation. St John is referring to the Primordial Vibration that is the First Cause of creation. All vibrations are emitted by the Word and ultimately merge in it. This is the real Name of God. All other names used to describe God are not the real name as they are not all permeating. As Lao Tzu said, “The name which can be named is not the real Name. The Tao which can be expressed is not the everlasting Tao.” Psalm 33 says, “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
The Vedas describe the Word thus, “God was certainly alone before this universe. The Word certainly was His only possession. He then desired, ‘Let Me emit this very Word. It will pervade the whole of space’. It rose upwards and spread as a continuous stream of life. Guru Nanak said, “With his one Word, in the cosmic reality of Creation with its vast expanse, the rivers of life burst forth.”
In Genesis we read, “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” The difference between a living body and a corpse is the difference of the Word. In the living body, the Word is circulating in the form of the life breath, while in the dead person it has demanifested. So real meditation is actually tuning into the life-breath and resonating with it. Tuning into the constant vibration of the Word makes the flow of energy natural and spontaneous within man. This is called in the Gita the ‘yoga of mental equilibrium’. Lao Tzu said the same thing – “Continuous return to the root is called repose. The activity of everlasting Tao is in the inner kingdom. To possess inner life we enter by our own private doorway.”
The scriptures also describe the form of God as pure and perfect Light. In the Koran it is said, “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. His light shines as a candle in a niche, although no flame has touched it. Light upon light!” Lord Buddha called it “Amitabha, the unbounded Light, the source of wisdom.” St Augustine described it thus, “With the eye of my soul I saw the light that never changes. It was above me because it was itself the light that made me. What I saw was quite, quite different from any light we know on earth.”
One of the most famous mantras in the Vedas is the Gayatri Mantra, which says “O God, the all-permeating, the all-sustaining Energy, You are self-effulgent Light. I pray that You withdraw my mind from all directions and focus it on Your radiant Form”. Lord Krishna told his disciple Arjuna, “You cannot see My true form with these eyes. I will give you the Divine Eye of Knowledge.” Through the ‘third eye’, or ‘eye of Knowledge’ this Light can be seen. Jesus Christ said, “If your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.” To open the third eye, a living Master is essential.
Music is divine. God is the expression of the highest harmony and melody, which resonates in the form of music. This is self-generating ‘unstruck’ music, which resonates in man when consciousness reverts back to pure consciousness. St Kabir said, “The whole sky is filled with sound, and that music is played without fingers and without strings. The middle region of the sky, wherein the spirit dwells, is radiant with the music of Light.” St Augustine also said, “My soul listens to sound that never dies away.”
Divine Ambrosia, or ‘living water’, ‘soma of the gods’, the ‘Nectar of Immortality’ are some of the words used to denote the endless, ever-flowing ‘divine wine’ within us. No artificially-induced intoxication can possibly compare with the bliss and ecstasy which this inner Nectar gives. St Brahmanand called it the “mother of yogis..which takes a person across the ocean of mortality.” Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman, ‘Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.” The priests today not seems to be aware of this well of living water, but the early Christian saints did. St Augustine said, “My soul…tastes food that is never consumed by the eating.”
So the all-embracing unity of Cosmic Consciousness expresses itself unceasingly within and without. Truth shines in all its splendour with its four facets, the aspects of spiritual insight. Knowledge is knowing, practising and experiencing this. Realisation is the flowering of consciousness. Love manifests these aspects of Divinity, and the more they are manifested, the more love surges in the human heart. In this process, perfect love manifests itself and God becomes the love, the light and the joy of the devotee.
A mystic saint of India, St Brahmanand, has beautifully described the four aspects of the spiritual experience in one of his hymns:
“O saints! I have seen a great miracle. I have seen a bell, a conch and a drum creating music without being played. A deaf man hears this sound and, in ecstasy, totally forgets himself.”
‘A blind man sees light where there is no sun and there is a palace, without foundations, shimmering with Light. The wonder is that a blind man relates everything in detail.
‘There is a well of Nectar in the middle of the sky. A lame man climbs there without a ladder and drinks that ever-flowing Nectar to his heart’s content.
‘The miracle is that a man who is living in this world dies and becomes alive again with a great energy that has no external nourishment. Only a rare saint recognises my experience.’
The meditator who experiences this extreme state of awareness can exclaim, as did Lao Tzu, “Without going out of my house, I know the universe.”