In the second issue of Mundamala we announced that Babaji had agreed to a request by the SRV Board of Directors to extend the length of his visits to the mainland. In his longest West Coast visit to date, Babaji has just recently completed five and a half weeks of teachings, initiations, concerts, classes, and pujas, culminating in a four day residential retreat in Seattle.
The Sangha and friends of SRV took advantage of this opportunity. The well attended classes were a treasure trove of copious wisdom teachings that grew in intensity. Babaji continued to plumb the depths of the Vivekachudamani, Upanishads, Vedanta, Tantra, and Sankhya, illuminated with new teaching charts. We had the boon of intensive classes as well as the more informal satsangs with Babaji after Arati, where we raised questions and shared personal experiences of the teachings.
The very first class in Portland opened with a chart called “The Nine Complacencies and the Eight Great Accomplishments," which include the "Three Proofs of Truth." Herein it is taught that we must first hear the Truth (Shruti), then contemplate the Truth (Yukti), and finally realize the Truth (Anubhava).
Accordingly, by attending these classes and retreats with the Guru, we are newly inspired to redouble our efforts to reach the goal of transcendence of the unreal, and thus realize God in this very life. These powerful injections of Brahmajnana in the form of sacred study in the midst of Holy Company offer us a strong conceptual base of spiritual instruction from which to understand our experiences.
This, however, is not an understanding limited to mere scholarship; for we saw on that very same chart a quote from Swami Vivekananda:
"Doctrines have been expounded enough. There are books by the millions. Oh, for an ounce of practice."
“Oh for an ounce of practice”; what a great statement from Swamaji!
At the Seattle retreat Babaji spoke extensively of the sacred Bija’s and the power of Mantra to transform the mind. We were reminded of Holy Mothers’ statement that mantra practice is like “digging with a spade on hard ground”. Babaji suggested we “charge the mantra” by bringing all our concentration to bear on the sound and meaning of the mantra during meditation.
The subtle power of mantra is not to be underestimated. From the teachings on the “Nine Step Process of Meditation on Aum” we learned of nava samskara sunyata, the extinction of samskaras:
“The force of past impressions continues to create a physical reality such as illness, health, and other regular operations, until the force of the new impressions of samadhi being created on the mind burn these out completely.”
Along these lines we were encouraged by Babaji to look to Mother for everything and to “Awaken the Goddess within.” The good news of Vedanta-- that we are essentially divine -- was driven home with great skill to all who would hear.
At his first class at the Oregon Ashram, Babaji emphasized Vedanta's 3 Proofs of Truth:
Shruti, Yukti, Anubhava: hearing the truth from the revealed scriptures and the illumined preceptor; reasoning about it in one's mind; and having the direct experience of Truth.
If one follows the 3 Proofs of Truth, one will have the chance to realize Truth in this very life.
Vedanta doesn't take the perspective that Truth can be realized quickly, as in a day, a week or a year. For this to happen, one would have to be in a highly qualified state wherein all karmas are neutralized, samskaras destroyed, and samadhi already experienced.
Early in SRV Associations' history, Babaji began giving a quintessential "neo-Vedanta" teaching about the movements of the mind: brooding mind, thinking mind, illumined mind. Brooding mind is the uncontrolled mind that wanders over the field of objects, sensations, thoughts. This brooding mind can be scattered and happy, scattered and neutral, vexed, obsessed and depressed, and outright insane. Thinking mind is the attempt to control the wandering mind and focus it on higher things. Illumined mind is the perfectly and naturally controlled mind that has transcended the surface of physical and mental existence and rests in the Self.
The senses should be controlled by mind and not the other way around.
We need to give up things that vex and cause the mind to brood. Once, many years ago, while talking with Lex Hixon about the nature of renunciation and illumination, he said that one should examine all that causes the mind to worry, to feel guilty, to brood -- and give those up. That is the real accomplishment of renunciation, not giving up external things only.
Search for all those things in your mind that cause you suffering and remove them. There is no other power that can do this for you. Remove these and you will have peace. Rid your mind of those things that haunt you. Why brood on the unreal? "Resist not Evil." These things are unreal. Don't water the weeds, water the flowers.
We must get beyond brooding mind, and replace it with consciousness that thinks. But thinking mind is still confined to the intellectual realm; it needs to be replaced with illumined mind, which is calmly aware of itself. Replace tamas with rajas, and rajas with sattva and then move forward to eternal purity.
In the illumined state, knowledge becomes Knowing. Everything reveals itself. Thinking mind involves moving outward to know things, and the danger in that is that people get lost on the surface of things.
It is all futile — scripture, books, music, serving others — it is all happening as a dream in the mind, sankalpa. Ishvara's dream is the most powerful — dreams of bliss & compassion & wisdom — but it is still a dream.
We should not pull the carpet out from under people — there are so many Ishtams (Chosen Ideals) existing that people rely upon: Krishna, Christ, and others. Most people get to the formless Reality via God with form. Some have a marvelous ability to dissolve everything on the spot. It is like going from waking state to deep sleep and skipping the dream state — but remaining aware throughout.
Lord Vasishtha talks about the nature of Maya in terms of sankalpa/vikalpa. He talks about it in terms of Atmic and Mayic sankalpa. Luminaries make use of the ego in order to teach.
Atmic Sankalpa: this is done by the illumined.
Lila Sankalpa: this is also done by the illumined souls, but has as its purpose divine play.
Mayic Sankalpa: this is the positive evil wherein beings buy into Maya.
"Jiva is Shiva," "I and my Father are one," "Like gold or clay in objects..." — Phrases like these represent the one enigmatic piece of information that we must never be bereft of, no matter what we are doing.
Consciousness — Does It have mass? Does It expand or contract? What people who laugh at karma and reincarnation don't understand is that Consciousness only associates with form. What is so impossible about Consciousness taking on the form of a moth? The Yogi meditates on a flower. When he gets the essence of it, he becomes the flower. But he gives it up at will — this is Freedom. Bondage is Consciousness taking on a form and mixing up Consciousness and matter — and thinking one is a form. But oil and water do not mix.
If you invest your consciousness and forgetfulness in objects, then this is a Mayic projection. But if you invest your consciousness and remembrance in Consciousness, then this is what Dalai Lama and other illumined (jivanmuktas/bodhisattvas) do. This life is not to be taken seriously. Knowledge that life is a play is to be taken seriously. I am the dancer, dance, stage, etc. This is the stuff that nondual realization is made of.
When Westerners get ahold of nonduality they still relegate it to form. Then they try to explain the inexplicable by means of form. All progression, evolution, and transformation takes place in unreal superimposition.
You're either playing with these forms, called Lila (divine sport), or you're mucking about in them, called Maya. But illumined souls are through with form, whether they play or not.
Cosmic Maya — This is going on, but we are adding our own ignorance to it. Bondage is in the mind; it is the result of ignorance covering the nature of Brahman and making It appear as a world.
You can't get rid of Cosmic ignorance, but you can transcend it.
Brahman/Atman is not energy, matter, or thought.
The ancient rishis didn't think of the world as unreal; they did not have a problem with it. Their perspective was that if one could just shift one's awareness, then one would see all as Brahman. If it is all Brahman than one can live with it.
Babaji presented a chart on Sri Krishna's teachings on rebirth and the refinement of consciousness. Sri Krishna assures Arjuna that the striving yogi who fails to attain liberation in this life will be born under circumstances that will assist him/her toward liberation in the next life, i.e., being born to parents who are pure and prosperous, or pious, or who are themselves yogis. This latter birth, the Lord says, is very difficult to attain. During his classes Babaji often returned to this point — how difficult it is to attain birth in the families of yogis. It is not just about one's own qualifications, but finding parents who are qualified. Is it any wonder, he would say, that there are so many illumined beings born in India, where dharma, knowledge of karma/reincarnation, and teachings around the nature of Reality vs relativity have been so well-developed for thousands upon thousands of years? Thus in this context Babaji stated about our society's parents:
Basically, we're just embroiling children in Maya. We have such a responsibility to our children. The Rishi's taught their children that there is no happiness in this world.
The problem today is that people retire but do not renounce the world. (referring to the vanaprastin/forest-dweller/retired stage of life)
The problem today is that we don't know what we are not before we try to know who we are.
A culture worth its snuff keeps its Seers apart from government and politics, because these special souls need to remain free from mundane convention in order to see beyond the world.
Forget your inner child; unite with the inner Seer. Childishness is a problem, but "childlike" is a start. If you concentrate on Atman It tends to come forward.
The original state of mind is Om.
You do have a relationship with matter: it comes out of you, not the other way around.
Renunciation by stages is a step. Voidness is a step. In these cases, you haven't reached that fullness that is your Self.
Buddha said there are the awakened and the unawakened, but in between is the process of awakening and this is one of the significances of the Mother path.
You can't really help anyone unless you are illumined. Until then, your helping them is all in maya.
Before getting an illumined teacher, you have only one teacher: your ego, or friends and their egos, or parents and their egos — none of these are illumined folk.