Guru & Disciple

lake hlThe following series of questions and answers* between Babaji and a dedicated student epitomizes two regular Mundamala features: “Wisdom in Practice” and “Guru Anushashana.”  Wisdom in Practice presents how a student applies the teachings given by the guru, and Guru Anushashana focuses on how the teacher illumines the teachings.  Together, they represent the time honored tradition of the Guru Disciple relationship.

STUDENT’S QUESTIONS 1 & 2: “When I read Swamiji’s comment on Sutra 21, ‘Nature has no light of its own,’ I thought of what I heard in your class recently regarding the waking and dreaming states. It’s easy to see that my dream state must be illumined by some sort of inner light, because my eyes are closed at the time!  Like all light, that light must be borrowed from the Purusha.  Since being in the dream state is such a familiar experience, I can draw on that, and so I have lately attempted to remind myself throughout the day that the external objects I encounter, having no light of their own, are also illuminated by this borrowed light.  And so I keep contemplating the origin of this light. In class you stated that there is no difference between objects in waking and dreaming.  This is quite a statement!  In fact, I was contemplating this late one night when I fell asleep and had a dream.  In my dream I was driving on a very dark, curvy road when suddenly all of the lights on my vehicle went out! I couldn’t see where I was going so I stopped right away, afraid of driving off the edge of the road! The scare must have woken me up a bit because I found myself remembering the presence of other worlds within me and I simply became/contacted a celestial world in which I could illumine my path and continue my voyage safely.  When I woke up I naturally began thinking about waking life again, and wondered why things like that are not possible when I’m dealing with external objects.  I think perhaps Swamiji explains it in his comment on the next Sutra (22), ‘The whole of nature vanishes only for that man who has become free.  There will always remain an infinite number of others, for whom nature will go on working.’  Is this why, in my waking state, I still have to obey the laws of nature?  Will it cause a commotion amongst the others otherwise?

BABAJI: To answer your initial questions first, yes, the collective consciousness is greatly responsible for the world and its karmas, as much as or more than the individual is.  Not to shirk responsibility (for each one has his own karma to work through), but the strict laws of conventional thinking and the laws of nature are considerable forces to contend with.  Additionally, there are even unwritten laws, as it were, which proceed from the subtle levels of maya.  Never questioning, testing, or pushing against these mentally-fabricated constrictions causes man to incarnate again and again across this gross planetary realm, where after enough appearances as the ego in maya, his thought process transfigures in darksome ways — like coming to believe in the birth and death of the Self.  Did you ever notice how everyone rejoices when you are born, but you are crying?  Later, when you die, everyone is crying, but you are rejoicing — that is, if you have recognized your true nature after breaking through these limiting laws which become malleable in the dream state and broken in deep sleep and samadhi (temporarily in the former, permanently in the latter).
           So, yes, a “commotion,” you say.  But just think of the commotion that an unbound free soul wreaks on the likes of humankind.  First, they do not understand him, then they loathe him, and finally they try to put him to death.  Later, they resurrect him as an idol, make of him an ideal, and try to emulate him.  This great soul is a lawbreaker first, a law-giver later, and The Law itself in the end.  Even his closest of kin do not understand him.  He becomes an outlaw to his in-laws after breaking the by-laws of mankind’s covenant with nature.  Ironically, though people act bound in nature in their waking state, every one of them imagines themselves to be free at some point in the dream state.  And they prove their freedom every time they enter the deep sleep state.  They just fail to recognize Existence behind it all.  If they did, that would constitute Enlightenment.

QUESTION 3: “With this line of reasoning, I feel as though I can start connecting the dots of my consciousness back inside to the Source.  I love your description of how this connection proceeds — ‘….by coming to know the outer world and then tracing its origin to the inner world, resulting in the realization that all lies within oneself.’  I guess I have only one last, not necessarily facetious, question: If it’s all happening Here, then why ever go outside?”

BABAJI: The answer to this question transcends even the realization that you speak of here, and the clue I have given as well.  “Outside” and “inside” are also creations of our thinking process.  There is only “Here;” Here and Now.  If evolution has apparently happened, then the seeker must fabricate an equally apparent involution with which to annul it.  The final result of such temporary matches, the pitting of one mayic fold against another, is realization of the permanent and stationary Self.  This is the import of that sloka I have asked all of you to memorize:

Brahman is an indeterminate mass of pure, conscious Awareness,
ever eternal, and one without a second.
Relegating the outside and the inside into one indivisible principle,
meditate upon That.
Then pass your time contentedly and be free.
— Vivekachudamani

*Excerpted from Raja Yoga lesson #44; all free lessons available by contacting SRV Associations