Affirm the Reality Wherever We Are At!


Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda

Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh

When Pujya Swami Chidanandaji comes here to Gurudev’s holy Samadhi Hall in the mornings, his talks are usually very down to earth and practical. Almost always he urges us to intensify our sadhana in one way or another. However, occasionally he will give a Vedantic type of talk that can be very thrilling.

Two years ago, he gave such a talk; he spoke about the unreality of this world and the body. But the morning after giving this powerful talk, Swamiji didn’t arrive here until well after 6.00 a.m. He then began to tell us why he was so late, describing how it had been almost impossible for him to get up that morning. After being awakened he had risen and then had just collapsed on the floor–two mountains upon him, one a mountain of drowsiness and the other a mountain of sleep. Then he said, “Yesterday I was talking high philosophy, about how there is no reality to the body; but, the fact is, as along as we experience hunger and thirst, heat and cold etc., the body has a reality.”

This is an important point for us to remember. When we surrender, when we repeat God’s name, when we meditate, it is quite possible for us to withdraw our energy and attention from the body and the world around us. We come into what Swamiji has described as an interim stage that is seemingly much more real than our body and mind and the world around us. It is a place of greater power and peace and energy. Naturally we consider it to be a higher state; it has a feeling of Divinity about it. So this we call reality as opposed to our normal body and mind consciousness.

However, the teaching we must never forget is, “All this is verily Brahman.” An analogy that is often used is that whether the ocean is calm and has the capacity to reflect the moon or the sun in it, or whether the ocean is disturbed and wavy, the reality of the ocean is salt water. And so whether our attention is on that part of our consciousness which is very active, perhaps disturbed, or whether our attention is on that part of our consciousness which is full of power and peace and reflects a divine feeling, it is all Divinity–because there is nothing except Divinity.

We are apt to look for our reality somewhere else other than where we are at. Perhaps what we should be doing is affirming the reality exactly where we are. Ultimately this becomes the true sadhana. And it is essential, because it is difficult to control where our attention has to be. Sometimes our attention will be on that peaceful part of ourselves; most of the time it is on the active part of ourselves. The secret is to see the Divine in both, and to actually not prefer one over the other.

Lord Krishna tells us that a sage is the same whether sattva, rajas or tamas is present. Therefore, we should try to avoid the trap of identifying God with some particular state, some sattvic place we have found or imagine. We should follow the instructions of Lord Krishna and see the Lord in all things.

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