Standing Parallel to the Object
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on October 5, 1997)

Swamiji [to an ashramite]: Have you an idea about yourself, what kind of person you are? Do you feel anything about yourself? Every day you are seeing yourself, so what you think about yourself? You have a lot of ideas about other people, but what do you think about yourself? Do you think you are a good man? You think others are not good, and you are very good. Is it so? “Everybody is bad except myself.” This is creation.

When people say God created the world, here is the whole thing. This is creation. When you have some idea about another but you have no idea about yourself, creation has taken place. That is why God has no quality, because you yourself have no quality. You can’t say anything about yourself, but you can say everything about other people. So a definition is necessary for what is other than you, but a definition is not necessary for yourself. God has no definition, and creation has definition.

People ask whether God has created the world or not. Every minute you are creating the world, but has anybody thought about oneself? You have no idea about yourself, but you have an idea of another. This is called creation. When God faces another, He has an idea, but about Himself He has no idea. That is why God has no quality, and everything else has qualities. This is not a joke; it is a very serious matter. We are out of track, actually. That’s why we are suffering so much. Why don’t you judge yourself in the same way as you judge your brother? Why you cannot do that? You think there is no fault in you. Does anybody accept they are full of faults? Even if there is, you cannot tell. You keep quiet.

Yoga means thinking of oneself in the same way as you judge another, and seeing oneself in the same way as you see another, and behaving with another in the same way as you behave with yourself. This is the essence of yoga. Patanjali is saying the same thing: purusha and prakriti. Prakriti is another person, and purusha is yourself; this is all, simple. Anything other than you is prakriti, so there is a clash between purusha and prakriti. You should not think that prakriti means something like a stone or a huge mountain that is sitting outside, and purusha is shining somewhere in the sky – that you are the purusha and another person is the prakriti.

Well, in terms of Patanjali, when prakriti stands in union with purusha, it is liberation. When prakriti is opposed to purusha, it is creation. Now, everybody is prakriti for us – stones, trees, animals, the sun, moon and stars – because all are outside us. If you can stand in union with them, there is liberation.

Here is one example. Suppose there is a tree in front of you. It is prakriti, because you are seeing it in front. A thing is in front of you; that is the whole point. You cannot see that the thing is behind you. You will never believe that. The thing which you observe is not behind you, it is not to the right side of you or to the left side of you. It is in front of you.

I was saying you have an idea of everything in the world. Have you an idea about yourself also? Are you something, or are you nothing? Everybody is something – this man is like that, this thing is like that, a cat is like that, a dog is like that, a horse is like that, an elephant is like that. And what are you like? What is your description about yourself? You have something to say about another person. Have you anything to say about yourself? No.

I was thinking we should have a meeting where everybody will speak about oneself only. You should not talk about another man. Let us have a conference. Generally in a conference one talks about something else. Each one should speak about oneself only. When there is subjectivity arising, objectivity vanishes. The whole conference will be a huge subject, and not an object. And there will not be a controversy afterwards, because how can you have a controversy about one’s own self? No one has a shortcoming, because your shortcoming has become identical with yourself, so it is not troubling you. Suppose a hundred people hold a conference and talk only about themselves. What is the outcome of the conference? They will all be in a state of yoga at that time. The whole Parliament, each member, will talk about himself only and not say anything else. What do you say?

The whole universe is a subject. It is called the kingdom of ends, and is not a means. Other people are a means to me, but I am an end. Yoga is nothing but a consideration of ends, and not means. But everything about which you have some idea is a means; otherwise, why do you hold an idea about it? Suppose you don’t do that; what kind of connection have you got?

Suppose there is a tree in front of you. You can never imagine that it is behind you, or to the right, to the left, and so on. What you should do is, you should remove the idea that it is in front of you. The first stage is to stand parallel to the tree. Now, let’s say here is the tree. Instead of looking at it, you be like this. [Swamiji turns to the side.] So I am not looking at the tree now, I am parallel. Then fifty percent of the problem is gone, because you will never see an object afterwards. It is in your own line, in your own group, in the same party, your own party. You don’t criticise a person who is of your own party. The tree that is being looked at is outside; it is another party, but I am saying, convert it into your party. Now you will never have any complaint. You will have no complaint about anything afterwards. You stand parallel to it. That is the first stage. This is a yoga practice I am telling you. It is not a story.

The second stage is, it is coming nearer and nearer. The distance between you and the tree is diminishing, diminishing. When the distance between one thing and yourself diminishes, the character of the object in that thing also diminishes. It slowly tends to become a subject – nearer and nearer, nearer and nearer. Then it touches you. Then the fear you have got about an object becomes less and less. Then you feel it is entering into you, that the tree has entered into you. The root of the tree is the same as your legs. It has become one with you. The trunk of your body is the trunk of the tree. Your own hairs and head are the branches of the tree. What opinion will you have about the tree at that time? You won’t have any opinion. This is called samadhi. Samadhi is only this much: You have merged in the tree. Then the tree will think in the same way as you think. I am giving an example of a tree, but it can be anybody, even a fountain pen or a pencil. Yogis can shake a table like this. It will move because they have become the table itself. I myself am the table. It may be any person, any thing – the sun, moon, stars, anything, whatever it is – if you stand with it, and not have it in front of you, and allow it to enter into you, you become the very thing. This is called savitarka samapatti, according to Patanjali.

There are three ideas about everything: the idea of the object, the name that you give to the object, and the object by itself – shabda, artha, jnana. Three things are involved in everything. You have an idea about a thing, and you describe it by some words, but independent of both it is something by itself. Now, the name that you give to it is not its real nature. A cat can be called by some other name also. Why should you call it a cat? It can be any other thing. And your idea of the cat also may not be correct because the idea that the cat has got about itself is a better idea than your idea of the cat. So that also is not correct. Then comes that which is there actually. With that you have to identify yourself. When the idea and the descriptive characteristics are withdrawn from the thing, then you don’t see the thing as an object outside; immediately it is the thing as it is. The thing as it is is only one in the whole universe. There are not many things as it is, because if you say there are many, one becomes the object of the other. So the idea of many things goes away. There is only one thing which is by itself. Then a great wonder, a miracle, takes place. You don’t know what happens at that time. You feel a strength inside because the strength of that object enters into you so that it is a double strength. A sutra of Patanjali says that if you contemplate that an elephant is identical with you, you will feel its energy entering into you, and you will feel strength like an elephant. If you think of the sun, you yourself are the sun, with all its energy, strength, and force. The sun controls all the planets. In Patanjali’s sutra it is called suriya samadhi. For a few minutes, think that you are the sun. It is great radiance, great energy, great force, health, power, an indubitable thing, pure subjectivity, because the sun is the pure subject of the solar system. The sun is not an object; planets are objects. Everything goes around the sun, but the sun doesn’t go around anything. So you feel the whole universe is going around you, and you are in the centre. You are in the centre of the cosmos.

The idea of the object must be removed, the description in words that you have about the object must also be removed, and then the thing as it is will not be there as an object in front of you because you are also that thing. The thing as it is appearing to be outside becomes one with the thing which contemplates it. People say that samadhi is the union of the subject and the object. But samadhi is not actually the subject and the object coming together, because they cannot come together. It is the subject in the object entering into the subject that is in you. The subjectivity in the object enters into the subjectivity in you so that it is a large subject. If you go on expanding infinitely in this way, the Supreme Subject comes up. If the subject in the object becomes the same as the subject in you, and if you apply this technique to every other object, the Universal Subject will arise. That is Ishvara.

Ashramite: So name and form will not be there.

Swamiji: That is why it becomes an object. Name and form create the objectivity of the subject. Remove that. That is one sutra of sampatti. If you contemplate a thing and you get rid of the idea and the description and go on looking at it, it is one kind of concentration, the lowest kind of samadhi. If I can go on thinking of you continuously, and the mind is filled with you only, that is also a kind of samadhi, but it is not complete because the subjectivity is not touched. The objectivity is still there.

So stand parallel to the object, bring it nearer and nearer to you, and when it touches you, enters into you, the idea of it vanishes and the descriptive characteristic of it also vanishes. The thing as it is becomes the thing yourself. The subjectivity in everything becomes the subjectivity in the meditating consciousness. This is the final truth about yoga. There is no need of reading any book, no need of Patanjali or anything else, if you understand these simple words that I have told. But it is a terrible thing to think like this. It is frightening, though it is the most glorious thing. The most glorious thing can frighten. If God sits near you, you will be frightened. You can’t tolerate His presence. You are sitting here, and the Almighty is sitting. You will simply shudder. Why should you shudder before God? It is because you are afraid of everything.

Ashramite: That is why love should be there.

Swamiji: No, you cannot love. You cannot love God due to fear, because He is the object. You are seeing Him sitting outside. He has not become you. It is like a lion sitting there. How will you tolerate it?

Ashramite: Swamiji, this technique was tried by Swami Ramakrishna, and it was practised by him?

Swamiji: All saints do this. It is a purely practical technique. Every day you must do that. What other work have you got? You are doing some puja, somebody is cooking some food, and a third man is cleaning some vessel. All right, do that, but that is all secondary. The main thing is this only; otherwise, a serious problem will come one day. Beware of old age. You are all young people and you can run about, go to Rishikesh and come back. Afterwards, you cannot move one inch. You will be doddering. Who will take care of you at that time? You have no father or mother. Nobody is there. You have no property and nobody to take care of you, and you will simply collapse in utter agony. Why should you invite such a condition?

Nobody has got any friend here. Your friend is somebody, and you have no time to think about them. Simply you make jokes and run away. You say, “It is a very difficult thing. I will try my best.” Don’t say you will try your best. Say you shall do it now, today. If the idea that I have explained to you has entered into you, you will be happy anywhere, even in a dustbin. Even if you are in the dustbin you will be happy, no problem. You will not even talk. At that time you will not like to talk to anybody. You will feel that the person to whom you want to talk is with you only, so why should you talk to him? You do not go on chattering to your friend; he is well known to you. Your own brother, why do you go on talking to him? Too much talking also is not good. Chattering and gossiping are a waste of energy. People sit together and talk. What do they talk about? They talk about somebody else, not about themselves. Why don’t they talk about themselves? What is the harm? What do you say? Why such a partiality about oneself?

Otherwise, what is the use of staying in Sivananda Ashram? You can stay in the railway station and do some work there. You can be a porter carrying luggage and earn some money. Why are you sitting in Sivananda Ashram? Because you thought you will be a different person. A person who has been trained here in thinking like this is not like other people. Even when you walk on the road, people will know this is a different person. You need not say anything; they can see it from your face. But you don’t practice.

Ashramite: I am doing japa.

Swamiji: Japa is only another way of saying the same thing. Because you cannot think properly, you are uttering some word. So the whole of Patanjali Sutras I have told. Have you understood?

Ashramite: Swamiji, what will happen if a snake comes towards you?

Swamiji: There is no snake. It doesn’t exist. It is an object. A snake does not bite itself. It is very difficult to understand all these things. It is frightening. Yoga is a frightening thing to think properly. But you have to pass through a frightening thing in order to become better. Before you enter into heaven you have to pass through hell.

This sense of identity with that which you wrongly call the object, and converting it into the very existence that you are, is samadhi, and that is described by Patanjali by the terms savitarka, nirvitarka, savichara, nirvichara, sananda, sasmita, savikalpa, nirvikalpa, and so on, according to the gradation of the intensity of the feeling of identity of the subjectivity in the other object. The identity of the subjectivity in the object with the subjectivity in you is gradually felt. As you cannot feel it immediately, it goes stage by stage.

The first stage is savitarka, then more intensely, more and more, more and more, more and more, until you simply become possessed. It is impossible to describe what it is. It is indescribable transcendence, shuddering. People call it madness almost. People become God-mad, shuddering, impossible to understand. They dance, they cry, they sing, they kick, they do anything because it is impossible to control that experience. If the whole universe has entered you and God is dancing in your own heart, how will you control it? That is nirvikalpa samadhi.

Kaivalya moksha is the purpose for which we have come here. We have not come here to quarrel and talk nonsense and waste our energy and all that. You can go on talking and quarrelling, I have no objection, but one day Yama will come. Who cares for your quarrels? You will gain nothing. “There is no death except heedlessness,” Sanatkumara says. People are careless about others, but if there is carelessness about oneself also, then you will ruin yourself. Now there is no question of carelessness in any matter, as the subjectivity enters the object. This pure subjectivity of the object is what is called the thing in itself in the philosophy of Kant. He doesn’t go into all these matters, but that is the thing in itself. The thing in itself is God only, and it is identical with the thing in itself inside everything.