by Swami Krishnananda
The loftier aspect of meditation is the principle of Vaishvanara Vidya. Isolated meditations on different conceptual entities were considered by the great teacher, Ashvapati, the king, mentioned in the Chhandogya Upanishad, as defective. If you meditate on any particular thing, you are excluding something thereby. You cannot think one thing without excluding something else. The thought that something is excluded – you must be very careful to hear this – the thought that something is excluded from the thought that something is being concentrated upon is also a thought. Exclusion of the thought of some object from the thought on which the concentration is carried on is not possible because the thought that something is excluded persists, while the intention is not to think of the excluded object. It is like a story: someone told 'When you drink milk, do not think of a monkey'; then every time the milk was taken, monkey only came to the mind.
There is no such thing in the history of the cosmos that one thing can be excluded entirely from the other. The idea of exclusion is futile, because to exclude another thing from one thing, the mind that excludes should be present in that object also which is excluded. This is a trick that is played by the mind. This is why the great teacher Ashvapati mentions to the six great sages who went to him for learning the art of meditation on the Atman that they are all defective. He asked questions, 'O Great Sages!' On what do you all meditate?' They gave different answers. Various, different, totally isolated concepts were the objects of their meditation. The king said, 'You are all making two mistakes: one thing is that the thing that you are meditating upon is outside you; this is one mistake; the other mistake is that the thing on which you are meditating is in one place only'.
That the object of concentration cannot be in one place only becomes clear from the fact that the mind cannot exclude anything from the object of its meditation. If excluding something is not possible because excluding involves the consciousness of excluding, the only way of success in concentration is to include everything and not exclude anything.
If some idea arises during meditation that something is outside the object of meditation, bring that object also into the point of concentration. 'I am meditating on banana and it excludes oranges'; you bring the orange also into the banana and let them sit together; now orange and banana have become one fruit only; then you will see that jackfruit is excluded; bring that also! Whenever you feel that something is excluded, that thing which is seeming to be excluded – bring it back to the point of concentration, so that the object of concentration becomes wider and wider by the inclusion of every other thing which appears to be excluded. Then meditation becomes Cosmic, because there is nothing to exclude – so said the Great King. 'Do not meditate on any particular thing, because if you meditate on any particular thing, you have excluded something else. That which you have excluded wrongly will disturb your meditation.' The world is made in such a way that nothing can be excluded from the world. You cannot say 'I want this only and not that thing'; you cannot want one thing without the interference of the other thing which you thought is not wanted.
Very different is the art of thinking in this way. One question was answered by the King: 'never think that the object of your meditation is in one place only, because if it is in one place then there is something else outside that object of meditation, which outsideness is impossible by the very psychology of thinking in wholes and not fractions.
Thus the entire thing conceivable becomes the object of meditation – even beyond the skies, the mind can go. You take the mind beyond, beyond the limit of conception and if it feels there is something outside – bring that outside thing also inside it, so that there is a tremendously inclusive inside. This is how the location of the object in one place is avoided. The second thing: it is not inside; because if the object that you think is inside your mind, then it cannot be called an object – it becomes part of your subjectivity; nobody will want to have a thing which is inside the mind itself. So it has to be outside, but truly no object can be entirely outside the mind because if a thing is outside, one cannot be even conscious that it is outside. The pervasion of the consciousness over the so-called 'external' object is necessary in order that even the concept of externality may arise. If the consciousness has moved out of itself and pervaded the object outside, then the 'outsideness' of the object ceases – it becomes part of the 'insideness'; here also you touch the cosmicality of things. Either way it becomes a Universal Meditation – very deep subject into which the sages were introduced by King Ashvapati.
This is a most potent way of meditation for melting down the ego-consciousness, which locates itself in one place and considers God as something far away above the skies. This also is, in one way, a Saguna Upasana. Even to think everything together is a qualitative meditation; even if you entertain in your mind the consciousness of the whole creation, it is still Saguna only. This kind of meditation is supposed to make one reach the highest Creative Principle, Brahma-Loka, in the language of the Upanishad.
Personality can be of two kinds – one is the human personality; God appearing as a Huge Person sitting on the throne of Heaven, as is usually described by the religions of the world. Whenever we think of God we think of Him as some Person, filling all space. The other personality consciousness of the Ultimate Reality is as Vaishvanara.
If this meditation through the Vaishvanara Vidya process becomes intense, you will no more be there as a meditator of the Vaishvanara because of the Inclusiveness of the same. It is an All-Consuming Fire and you will not be there to behold It. You will be reduced to the Fire Itself.
Then what remains? A big blaze of Self-Identity, Universal in its nature. We cannot speak much thereafter about this, but if this Universal Conflagration of the Fire of Vaishvanara can engulf us, thrice blessed we would be and it will lead us to Sadyo Mukti; you become liberated at once.