Guru and his disciple meet after a long time. Disciple has come to see his Guru to get some clarifications. Here goes their conversation. (Last article on Guruji Speaks series was published on March 09, 2013. Series so far can be read here à GURUJI SPEAKS
Guru: It is good to see you again. Are you Self-realized now?
Disciple: I am not sure; but there is some transformation happening in me and I am not able to explain this.
Guru: What is the transformation that is happening? Are you becoming too emotional nowadays?
Disciple: I think so. More particularly, when I mentally repeat the mantras, I forget the mantra repetition halfway through. During this stage, I completely forget myself.
Guru: What is the mantra I have given you?
Disciple: Mahāṣoḍaśī mantra and when I asked for more mantras, you said that one should not practice too many mantras.
Guru: Yes, as I said, you should stick on with one mantra, align that mantra with your breath and meditate on this mantra and its Devata.
Disciple: When I sit for doing japa, I am mysteriously forced straight into mantra repetition, without doing dhyāna and nyāsa-s. I am not doing this wantonly, but I am enigmatically drawn straight to the mantra repetition. My purpose of coming to you is to know how to rectify my mistake.
Guru: It is not your mistake. This shows that you are now spiritually getting elevated. Why do you use dhyāna and nyāsa-s? Dhyāna verse describes the deity associated with the mantra. There is no point in simply reciting dhyāna verse without understanding its meaning. When you are able to understand the meaning and with your understanding if you are able to contemplate Her, where is the need for mundanely repeating dhyāna verse? Similarly, nyāsa-s mean mental appropriation of various parts of the body to a mantra and it’s Devata. In other words, you mentally fix your Devata in various parts of your body. You can visualize this for a few days and after sometime you realize that your Devata is within your body. Do you understand this concept?
Disciple: Can I say that the seed of mantra which you had implanted has already sprouted and is now growing?
Guru: The seed of the mantra that was imparted during initiation has grown due to your efforts and these efforts are known as sādhana. When you have practiced sādhana perfectly, you are automatically drawn to higher spiritual status due to Her Grace.
Disciple: But what is this to do with forgetting dhyāna and nyāsa-s?
Guruji: There is a lot to do. You have not stopped dhyāna and nyāsa-s consciously. In fact, beyond a point, there is no need for them, because you now feel the Deity within your body. This is the stage, where your transformation from dualism to non-dualism begins. When the purpose of dhyāna and nyāsa-s are achieved, what is the need to repeat them prosaically? Don’t worry; you have reached a very comfortable stage in your sādhana. Your further spiritual journey will be a lot easier.
Disciple: Do you mean to say that what I am doing is right? I mean not repeating dhyāna and nyāsa-s? But mantra śāstra-s do not approve this.
Guruji: At the same time, śāstra-s do not say that you should continue to do this. This advancement depends upon one’s mind. Further, it depends upon your goal. When you want to realize the Deity of the mantra, without properly contemplating the Deity, how can you realize the Deity? This is where dhyāna plays a vital role. It enables you to contemplate the Deity. In order to make you understand and in order to firm up your mind that you are not different from the concerned Deity, nyāsa-s are practiced. When you firm up your mind that your Deity is within you, where is the need for nyāsa-s? It is not a ritual; it is meant for contemplation. When you reach this stage, you will be known as sthitaprajña.
Disciple: What is sthitaprajña?
Guruji: I have already told you to read Bhagavad Gītā. You need to develop your spiritual knowledge or you have to interact with me more frequently. If you are able to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day, you can reach the state of sthitaprajña. Kṛṣṇa explains sthitaprajña. He says that when a man relinquishes all the desires of his mind and contented in the ātman, by the ātman, he is considered as sthitaprajña. This is the spiritual state of a person who established himself firmly with God-consciousness. He, whose mind is neither shaken at the time of misery, nor attached to happiness, he who is totally free from desires, fear and anger is known as sthitaprajña.
Disciple: Do this mean that I in the state of sthitaprajña now?
Guruji: Not really, but surely you have advanced in your spiritual path. The questions that you have asked can come only from a well advanced spiritual aspirant. You are about to reach the state of sthitaprajña. In order to reach this stage, you have to intensify your sādhana.
Disciple: But, what is sādhana? Different people interpret this differently and I am confused.
Guruji: Sādhana literally means accomplishment. This can be simply explained as practice. How you practice depends upon your knowledge and perception. Someone will have a great urge to realize the Self in the quickest possible time. Their way of practice will be more intense. Such people will make repeated introspection. Unless you know yourself first, the Self within cannot be realized. Introspection is a way of meditation. When your introspection becomes deeper and more powerful, you could be spending more time in introspecting. At the end of perfect introspection, you will realize that the Self within is the Real. Now you begin to realize the Self and this is the next state of meditation. You are now in this stage. Now, if you meditate in a proper way, you will be able to realize the Self very soon.
Disciple: Do I need a more powerful mantra to realize the Self within?
Guruji: Why you are coming back to the starting point? When you have advanced to this state, why do you want to go after mantras? The ultimate mantra is ॐ and there is nothing beyond that. Please do not fall down from your present state.
Disciple: When you say this, will not scholars abuse you?
Guruji: They will, but I will never go against my conscience. They will have their own views and this is my view. Whether you take this or not is up to you. I have high respects for scholars and I never undermine them. But, I am of the opinion that one should get liberated in this birth itself. When you know the right path to liberation, why should we postpone our liberation?
Disciple: What is your advice for me to move forward from my present state?
Guruji: Follow this meditation, which is simple, but at the same time very effective.
Disciple: How long do you think that I should practice this?
Guruji: You will be able to attain a very good perfection in about three months, if you practice this twice a day at least for about 15 minutes each time.
(Guruji and his disciple will meet again after sometime.)