In this letter I am giving you some hints on the subject of concentration.
You know how to get permanent joy; but at the particular moment you forget everything. A blind man wanted to catch a running calf. He himself fell down. But once he regains his eyesight, he will definitely catch the calf sooner or later.
In order to retain and experience that joy you must have strength. Divine bliss and joy demand inner strength to bear it. You do not get that joy because you have not prepared your mind. So long as your indriyas wander in the objects, you will not get that bliss. So long as the gopis are engrossed in their family affairs, they will not hear the flute of Krishna. Simply saying that you are the blissful soul will not do. You might go in silence and think over it and believe that you are not this body but the soul. You might as well develop a little faith in it, but by merely saying that you are bliss absolute, you can’t become that. You must possess the required qualifications. So when you assert that you are blissful soul etc., you must live up to your claims. You must realize it. You must experience it.
The jiva has four phases of consciousness. The first phase of consciousness is sense consciousness, jagriti. The second is subjective consciousness, swapna. The third phase is dormant consciousness, sushupti. The fourth is turiya or superconsciousness. Beyond this is turiyateeta or transcendental consciousness. Yogis have witnessed these phases.
Experiences and motions of objective consciousness depend upon the senses and mental activities. Perceptions of subjective consciousness are reflective projections dependent upon objective experiences. They can be experienced within our own selves because of the subtlety of mental vision. You can even see the biggest objects within you in a very subtle form. Dormant impressions are projected and reflected upon in dreams. Dreams are manifestations of samskaras. Samskaras are born of experiences. Experiences are born of actions, karmas. Thus the numerous impressions of previous incarnations are also manifested in dreams. So we see hitherto unseen things also.
Subtler than dream consciousness is the sushupti stage. The individual consciousness becomes dormant and is temporarily suspended because of the inactive conditions of the senses and mind. However, it doesn’t lose self-consciousness even at that stage. It becomes free from sense experiences just for some time. It contains in it the seeds of reincarnation. It maintains in it the usual link of individuality. There is no loss of the seeds of objective consciousness in this stage of jiva. There is every possibility for the revival of continuous individual consciousness.
Turiya is samadhi. It is that fire wherein all impressions dormant in an individual are burnt in toto. Not only total merger of mind and its vrittis, but total annihilation of every superimposition also takes place during samadhi or turiya. No possibility of remanifestation or reincarnation of individuality is allowed to exist. Veil after veil is rent asunder. Phase after phase of individual consciousness is transcended. The yogi soars high, taking mystic flights from bhu loka to bhuvar loka, then to swar loka, maha loka, jano loka and tapo loka, until he reaches satya loka – the land of reality.
The yogi gradually awakens his inner consciousness. He tears the first veil of sense consciousness and thus ascends to satya loka, which is in the soul. Satya loka is the aim of all yogas. It is reached through yogic concentration, meditation and samadhi. It is only here that the purusha stands separately in his divine glory and divine power. It is here that he exclaims, “I am bliss absolute; I am knowledge absolute; I am Shiva; I am all.” It is here that he really abides in his own self. This is the supreme abode. This is the ultimate experience of all yogas. This is that stage where the consciousness is devoid of all dualities and erroneous notions.
So your bottle should be strong enough not to break when boiling water is poured into it. Let me tell you frankly that until you have concentrated your mind on one form of God by any method, you will not be able to realize the atman. This is a great truth.
God is within you. I can accept any challenge from non-believers. It is the light of your nirakara consciousness, which comes to you in sakara form. Saints and great men have shaken the world from time to time with this great power alone; for it is within everybody. The thing you want is already in you. It is outside also. But you will not get anything from outside. You will have to peep within in order to realize it. It is only then that it will be revealed unto you.
Whichever form you perceive in dhyana is just a sakara rupa of your nirakara atman. Beyond gross consciousness, there is astral consciousness. Beyond that even is causal consciousness or the karana sharira. When a man is awake, his powers are limited. When his sense capacities are withdrawn, the powers are proportionately increased. When he is emptied of all sense capacities, sense experiences and sense vibrations, his omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence find unlimited scope of expression which hitherto was obstructed by impurity, distraction and illusion.
The above mentioned three-fold capacities are expressed in different degrees, depending upon the yogic achievements of a sadhaka. It is only when full-fledged yoga is achieved that he wields these three powers in full swing. These powers are achieved in different stages of yoga.
Inner voice is one of the expressions of these powers. It is something which is beyond all conceptions of empirical knowledge. It is a compelling force from within. It does not require any basis for warning, suggesting and helping. It helps the sadhaka at every stage of life. It helps him to visualize future events beforehand. Inner voice is the voice of God, as it were, from the heavens.
So this soul in us is all-knowing and has the greatest powers within it. Saints have adopted various methods to tap this immortal source of powers. The methods are well known as japa, kirtan, fasting, pilgrimage, etc.
Concentration is the key to open the gates of that greatest power. When you successfully concentrate on one idea or form, you enter into dhyana. Whether you are a devotee of God or an atheist, you can realize the glory through meditation. A person having faith in God can meditate on any chosen form of God, through which he will realize him. An atheist also can be given a way to reach the destination. He can either meditate on a flower, or on a star, or on the tip of the nose, or between the eyebrows, or on the heart and so on. He can concentrate on nada according to the advice of an experienced master of nada yoga.
So long as you don’t realize your real swarupa, you will continue to suffer from positive and negative charges of nature; you will not experience that supreme bliss, which is your personal property. This is your first and foremost duty.
You may go to temples and discharge all religious obligations as taught by your tradition. But that alone will not help you to unlock the secret chambers. At best they will maintain a sense of fulfillment in your psychological condition. However much you may sit for pooja, please note that lack of concentration will render all your efforts futile. It is always best to aim first and then shoot. There is practically no use shooting in the air. So understand that intense practice of concentration is quite essential. It is only then that real bliss will be experienced by you.
However, I don’t discourage and demoralize your presupposed faith. You can repeat the name of your chosen deity in any way you like, anywhere you like and whenever you like. But do it with bhava, intense awareness and non-dual faith. Do it as you do your most important as well as serious work. Remember the name as you remember your beloved and newly-wed wife. I don’t stand in the way of your social and traditional beliefs. I merely suggest that you effect a reorientation.
In the end, I wish to bring home to your mind that the right and proper way to the attainment of joy and happiness is to regain the lost eyesight by the practice of yoga sadhana. Awaken thy God from within. Wake up, O Shiva, from within, from Kailash and dance on the bosom of thy Mansarovar. I know you as my Shiva, my inner light, my Rama. Do thou descend upon thy children!
—Letter to Satyabrat, first published in Steps to Yoga