by Swami Krishnananda
The communion sought in meditation is such that its meaning has to be properly understood before the practice is made to commence. There is a double activity which goes on at the time of meditation – one aspect being a separation of oneself from those conditions and factors which have separated the individual from the essence of the objects; the other aspect being the actual entry of the very substance of the meditator into the substance of the object. There are conditioning factors that persist in creating a difference between the meditating consciousness and its object, space and time being the foremost among them. The person who attempts to meditate is a phenomenal individual located in space and time, in the same way as the object is located. Inasmuch as the two, namely, the meditator and the object of meditation, stand on a par and belong to a similar degree of reality, inasmuch as both are involved in the complexity of space and time, there is a difficulty of an obvious nature in attempting the communion of subject and object through meditation. As was noted in the last chapter, A is A, and B is B. A cannot become B. This is the philosophy of empirical life. What one is, that alone one is, and one cannot become another. This is simple logic, and this logic is the sorrow of man, which keeps him tied to a conviction of his separatist existence, separate from everything else, each of which is also separate from all other things. There is an interference of space and time in every little thing in this world, not only outwardly, but even inwardly. Externally we perceive the isolation of objects – persons and things – on account of the space and time factors conditioning the existence of these objects, and inwardly, we are unable even to think except in terms of space and time. Even the mind operates spatially and temporally. So, there is an insistence of a very vehement type, outwardly in society, and inwardly in the mind, towards an affirmation of utter isolation and self-existence, self-affirmation, and love of one's own individual life to the dread of death. The aspect of meditation which severs oneself from the relationship with those factors which serve the individuals is known in the Bhagavad Gita as "Duhkha-samyoga-viyoga", a separation from contact with the causes of pain. So, it is separation from a union; it is isolation of oneself from conditions or factors which contribute to the union of everything with the limitations of space and time. This is the crux of the whole matter in meditation. The personality of the meditating consciousness does not forget its earlier placement in the context of social values. This is the reason for distraction and jumping of the mind in meditation. No one can be free from these difficulties in which the mind finds itself the moment one sits for meditation. Because, the meditator is a temporal individual, outwardly as well as inwardly, socially as well as psychologically. And he cannot get over these limitations. The hardship may well be compared to one's attempt at climbing on one's own shoulders, a practically impossible thing, yet something to be attempted if the intended communion or union is to be successful.
Every individual, every man, everything in the world, has a double character of empiricality and transcendentality. Philosophers describe this situation as being empirically real and transcendentally ideal. We are not living only in this world even now. We are living in other worlds also. From the bottom of our feet to the top of our head, we touch the heavens and the nether regions at the same time in a very strange manner by relationships and connections which are not visible to the naked eyes. To every realm of being, we have a relationship, and that relationship obtains even now. However, only one form of it, one degree of its expression, one density of it becomes the object of our sensory perception. The world that we see with our naked eyes now is one type of density in which the whole universe manifests itself or descends in the process of evolution or creation. It does not therefore mean that other densities are not there. There are realms that are invisible to us. There are things that are invisible to us in our own internal structure. We cannot see our Pranas, we cannot see our mind, we cannot see our intellect, we cannot see the five Koshas, the five sheaths of the body. We cannot see our own selves as we truly are. But, we see ourselves as we appear in our external, empirical relationship of space and time. We are cosmic individuals, at every time, in any state of affairs, wherever we be, in hell or in heaven. The difference is only tentative and not real in itself. So, when we touch the borderland of meditation, in the real sense of the term, according to the requirement prescribed by the system of Yoga in Patanjali's style, we are working upon certain features of our life which are not available to ordinary workaday existence. We begin to interfere with our own selves in a very mysterious manner, which is at the same time, a coming in contact with invisible factors that connect us with all things outside, so that, in an act of sincere meditation, we operate upon the switchboard of the whole universe. Suddenly, all the sleeping dogs begin to wake, and we know what we can expect when dogs that are sleeping are awakened at once. From every side there is an awakening to a new system of values, and things in the world, which were related to us in a particular way, assume a new relationship.
In the beginning, there is an opposition of a very stalwart type, a strong hectic opposition from everything. Nobody would like to change his relationships with anything in this world in a way quite different from the one he is used to maintaining. The world is accustomed to a particular habit of relationship and it cannot brook any kind of interference with it. But, our relationships are empirical which is the cause of our sorrow. Thus, the importance of making ourselves ready for this arduous task is very stringent. Nobody should attempt this difficult technique, unless one has the internal strength to confront the consequences that follow from an attitude of change in the relationship of oneself with things in the world, not merely with this world of physical frame, but with all the other realms with which also we are connected. That is why the Yoga Sastras tell us that the denizens of other realms put obstacles on our path, which they do not do when we are not openly connected with them. The test of a person is when we oppose that person. This is a law operating everywhere in the case of everything. True, in meditation, we do not try to oppose anyone; on the other hand, we try to befriend everyone and everything. But then, as a result of some meditation, it may appear as if there is a sudden increase in the intensity of our illness, as it often happens in the case of diseases that are to be cured by strong drugs or medicines. This problem arises on account of our double relationship with things. Our connection with anything in this world is not uniform, is not a straight beaten-track dealing. It is a very complicated relationship. On the one hand, we cannot commune with anything in this world. A is A, B is B. Otherwise, our logic falls. But, on the other hand, we cannot get on with this kind of complicated relationship with things where A is A and B is B; if we do that, then society cannot exist. There cannot be any such thing as social co-ordination or amity, for any sort of relationship of anything with anything, if A is always A, and B always B. Our endeavours in the different fields of activity in life, and our aspirations and loves and hopes in our own minds, tell us that A is not always A, and B is not always B, really at all times and under every circumstance, though it may appear to be such under certain given conditions. So, this peculiarity of A or B which confines them to their own framework of individuality, this peculiarity, is our obstacle which may come in the form of an angel from heaven or a so-called friend from this world itself. It can take any shape and stand before us like a hard impregnable fortress, which we cannot pierce through.
Problems arise from two sides, outwardly as well as inwardly. There is no such thing as a merely inward problem, or a merely outward problem. Because, the whole world is a complete whole in integrality, and therefore, everything is everything else also. So, to the world, there is no inside and outside. To us only, it appears as if there is something inside, as distinguishable from that which is outside. So, the law of connectedness of things, which does not see any distinguishing factor between the outside and the inside of things, compels us to place ourselves in this quandary of not being able to do anything either way. So, in certain places, Patanjali tells us that the sorrow of the individual is the union of the seer with the seen. But, from another angle of vision, the sorrow of the individual is the incapacity of the one to be in union with the other. Both statements are correct from two different angles of vision or two different standpoints. The attempt of the individual empirically to come in contact with another thing, which is totally different from himself, is the cause of sorrow. So, the seer trying to come in contact with the seen, is the grief of this world. To grab anything, to possess anything, to enjoy anything or to maintain any kind of true relationship with another, is impossible in this world, because the empirical law of isolation operates, and therefore, there is no such thing as one possessing another thing or holding another as one's own property. There is no property here in this world. Thus, on the one hand, there is an urge to grab, to come in contact with things. On the other hand, there is the insinuation of an incapacity to achieve success in this direction, because of the very nature of things. We are grappling with a very hard situation when we are in meditation. Many of the meditators do not realise what they are actually attempting. We merely listen to certain definitions of concentration, meditation and Samadhi and get carried away by the noise of the teachings. But, any amount of adumbration, proclamation or advertisement of the need for meditation cannot touch the fringe of the problem, because the problem is hard-boiled. We have been in this circumstance of spatial and temporal empiricality since ages. We have had several incarnations. We have been born in various forms through the process of evolution; and in every stage of evolution, in every form into which we were born, we were entertaining the same notion of this empirical isolation of ourselves from the others. The impressions formed by these experiences of the past are present in our mind even today and they persist in a repetition of these experiences and contacts. So, we become our own enemies internally when we try a complete transvaluation of values in the interest of spiritual meditation.