by Swami Krishnananda
Effects follow causes. But in the process of meditation, causes follow effects. That is to say, the meditational technique is a reverse order of the movement of consciousness as related to the process of the evolution of the universe. We have noticed in our earlier studies that the first conceivable evolute is space and time. It is something which cannot be seen with the eyes, but which precedes everything. The perception of things—consciousness of anything, for the matter of that—is conditioned by the presence of a pervading factor called space and time. Therefore, we may say that the first thing created was space-time—a complex of arrangement, a precondition to the consciousness of the existence of the world itself.
You have to remember all that we went through for the last several days. Space-time is a potential for vibration, which gyrates in a particular fashion as required for a specific formation of a universe of this kind. The type of world in which we are living, the kind of creation that is around us, is determined by the kind of vibration that is generated by the specific order of space-time at the beginning of creation. If the vibrations were of a different kind, there would be a different world altogether; it would not be the world that we see with our eyes.
Hence, the first evolute is space-time, which has the latency of the production of a further effect, almost comparable to what we today call electrical vibration, or perhaps subtler than that. These perceptional potentials are known as tanmatras in Sanskrit. Tat means that, matra is a potential. ‘A potential of that’ is the meaning of the word ‘tanmatra’. There are forces behind every physical formation in the world. These forces are not objects of sensory perception, but without them no perception is possible. Just as we cannot see our own eyes even though everything is seen with the eyes, these potentials cannot become an object of sensory perception—although without them, no perception is practicable.
These tanmatras are difficult to explain in ordinary language. They are a vast sea of energy, released by the vibrations of the space-time complex—or the space-time continuum, if we would like to call it that. The so-called potentials arranged themselves in a particular pattern, mixing in a specific proportion. In Vedanta psychology, the proportionate mixing up of these potentials is called panchikarana. When this mixing up of the potential elements in given proportion takes place, we begin to perceive. Things are placed in an external context, as it were, and we begin to be conscious of our own selves as a physical body.
We are also like objects in the world. Inasmuch as we can see ourselves, we are objects. But we regard ourselves as subjects for another reason altogether—namely, that our consciousness is able to peep through the apertures of the sense organs and become conscious of what is external to it. The physical world, including the bodies of the individuals of all species, manifests itself in this manner. Creation, in a cosmic sense, is only this much. That is to say, right from the origination of space-time up to the manifestation of the five elements, all realms of being, all the lokas or bhuvans, and all the planes of existence, are constituted of these tanmatras and the physical elements. The tanmatras are also known as sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha—the potentials for hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling. These potentials are not abstractions or mere theoretical existences. They are as real and workable—like electric energy, for instance.
When creation takes place in this manner, down to the earth of physicality, cosmic creation is complete, almost. But there is another type of creation, called individual creation, which we manufacture by ourselves due to an ignorance that is incipient in our personality. No individual, no human being, can be fully conscious of what has happened prior to the manifestation of this body. We may think that we have come from the mother’s womb; that is all we know. But something else is behind it which we cannot know on account of the pressure of the physical existence of this body and the velocity of the sense organs. On account of this ignorance of our prior relation to a cosmic setup of things, we assume a kind of independence that is totally unbecoming in the light of our relationship to the cosmic setup, and this independence becomes the source of a new type of psychological world that we create before ourselves by the work of the mind and all its operations.
Our relationships with things—we may call them social relations or psychological relations, whatever they be—do not form part and parcel of cosmic creation. For instance, we like certain things and we do not like certain things. The cosmic creation does not manufacture likes and dislikes. We manufacture them under the impression that they are for our good; but they are for our bondage. There is no evil in cosmic creation, though there is evil in individual creation. The existence of the world as a physical presentation cannot harm anybody, but its so-called relationship with a particular individual or group of individuals can create circumstances of great suffering.
In Vedanta psychology, the cosmic creation is called Ishvara-srishti; the individual creation is called jivasrishti. A human being walking on the road is just like any other human being from an anatomical, physiological or even psychological point of view. But on to this cosmically valid physicality of the individual we see walking on the road, we foist certain characteristics saying, “This is my brother, this is my enemy, this is my mother, this is my sister, this is my husband, this is my wife.” Creation by Ishvara, or cosmic creation, does not manufacture husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. They do not exist at all for the eye of the cosmic setup. But for us, only they exist; nothing else exists. Here is the distinction between the cocoon that we have woven around ourselves by our psychological operations called jiva-srishti, and things as they really are by themselves.
Now here, in this little brief introduction that I place before you to brush up your memory of the lessons we have gone through earlier, we have to place ourselves in a proper position for this great divine technique called meditation. As I mentioned at the very outset, in creation effects follow causes, whereas in meditation the order is reversed. You have to retrace your steps in the manner you came down. Where are you standing now? You are in a bundle of psychological relationships. You are not very much concerned with the physical world. Let there be a mountain; what does it matter to you? Let the river flow; let there be the earth, let there be sun, moon and stars. Who bothers? You give scant respect to these things, but your respect goes to tinsel, some paltry thing you call your own, or to what you call not your own. You have to free yourself from this chaos of psychological muddle before you set your first foot in meditation. Are there relations in this world? Do people belong to you? How did this idea arise in your mind that something belongs to you? Who thrust this notion into the head of a human being? Is there an agreement or a bond, a written document showing that something is your belonging?
If you carefully go through the process of the entire creativity of things with an impartial eye, you will find these things are just a chimera. They do not exist by themselves. There is no such thing as belongings, property or ownership. It is a concept in your mind that they are your property. When you quit this world, you will leave all that which you considered as your belongings. If it really belonged to you, you would carry it with you when you go. Why should you not carry your luggage when you go and leave this world? This demonstrates that it does not belong to you. It tells you, “Go and mind your business!” The world tells you, the relations tell you, everybody tells you, “Go! We have nothing to do with you.” You hugged and caught hold of varieties of things in this world—humans and material objects—and all of them tell you, “Go alone to the cremation ground. We shall not come.” Will your relations go into your funeral pyre? If they are yours, let all the relatives also enter the pyre. Here nothing is yours; you stand alone, by yourself.
When creation took place, you descended from the cosmic setup of things directly, individually—by yourself. You did not bring relations with you. Nobody was there to be regarded as your relation or belonging of any kind. Then you imagined certain things and created a new world of your own, which is called jiva-srishti. Therefore, the first step in true religion, true spirituality, true yoga is a consciousness, a freedom from these attachments that have automatically been created by the ignorance of the individual’s true belonging to a larger dimension of things. Our real home is elsewhere. We are living in a dharmashala or a choultry on our journey to another destination, but we are caught up in the dharmashala and we begin to say, “This is mine.” We think that everything in the dharmashala belongs to us, but actually we must quit the dharmashala the following morning. This idea is not in our minds.
First and foremost, you should not just sit and brood with all this muddle in your head, under the impression that you are meditating. Are you clear, or have you got subtle longings? You may be physically isolated from people, from your relations. Well, everybody is physically very far from the money they have in the bank, but what does it matter? They still have a consciousness of ownership. A physical distance from objects which you consider as belonging to you does not mean you are detached from them. Detachment is a dispossession by the consciousness itself of its having relation with things. This is philosophical analysis, spiritual investigation, viveka, discrimination, application of proper understanding. Only if your doors and windows are open can a fresh breeze enter you. The grace of God, to which I made reference earlier, is the entry of this enlivening breeze of the cosmos into our own selves when we open ourselves to its influx and entry.
Meditation proper begins when the psyche is cleansed completely. The yamas and niyamas of Patanjali or the viveka, vairagya, shat sampat and mumukshutva of the Vedanta philosophy all point to the single fact of your being prepared for the entry of the cosmic powers into yourself. In the earliest of stages, you will feel as if you are standing alone in a wilderness. A fright of there being nothing around you will take possession of you.
There are two kinds of vairagya, or detachment. One is that you are physically far away from those things and persons in whose midst you were living previously, but you have the conviction that you can go back to that very atmosphere if you want. This is like a life of retirement. A retired person leaves his house, leaves his office career, and goes somewhere far off. It is a kind of detachment, of course, but this detachment will not work because the mind is sure of being capable of returning to the original condition once again, if need be.
It should not be possible for you to return. Then you will see what kind of aloneness will take possession of you. Having a lot of things which you can make use of but tentatively not making use of them is not a sense of aloneness, really speaking, because the inner mind says it is there, after all, and you can take it whenever you want. It should not be there at all, and you should be incapable of returning to that old atmosphere. Everything has gone; and really it has gone. This feeling and conviction of there being really nothing that you can call your own can be created by the loss of all things due to conditions of society, or by an inner arrangement of your own consciousness which refuses to attach itself to anything. There is no necessity for you to wait for the day when society kicks you out. You can deliberately kick it out of your consciousness by knowing what things are made of finally.