Can the energy of the individual mind connect with the universal energy?
Swami Niranjanananda: The mind is the subtle force or energy responsible for giving birth to an experience through the agency of the senses: recognizing them, realizing them, cultivating them, developing them and transforming them. The subtle power of the mind is present in everything in the form of anu, contained energy. The quality and nature of the mind is both anu and vibhu. Anu means atomic, contained and defined, and vibhu means connected, expansive and broad.
The mind in the anu form is contained within the body; it does not have any specific location in the body. It is part of every sense organ and sense experience. It is contained in vision – the moment you look at something, the mind becomes active. It is contained in hearing – the moment a noise comes to your ears, the mind becomes active. It is contained in taste – the moment you taste something, the mind becomes active. It is an inherent part of touch – the moment you touch something, the mind becomes active. Every sense organ, indriya, is connected with the mind; each and every part of the body is connected with the mind.
The second aspect of mind is vibhu, interconnected beyond the body. The sages and rishis have maintained that the higher quality of the mind is vibhu. All minds are interconnected, although one is not aware of this. When one is able to transcend the restrictions and limitations of the anu mind, then one connects with the vibhu mind. The expression of the vibhu mind is seen in the lives of yogis and realized beings.
Yogis have maintained that all minds are interconnected. Your mind and my mind are interconnected, but you are not aware of it. If I can become aware of that connection, then I can know what is happening in your mind. If you can become aware of your connection, then you will know what is happening in my mind. It is fine-tuning the mind, just as a radio is fine-tuned to hear a station without any garbled sound.
Such fine-tuning is achieved through sadhana, sustained practice. In normal life, the anu or contained mind is lived. In spiritual life, the vibhu mind is lived; one connects one’s mind with the universe. In the life of a spiritual aspirant, the anu mind has to be transformed into a vibhu mind.
The anu mind relates to your own life and gives birth to your own desires and needs. Its nature is selfish. However, when the mind becomes vibhu its nature becomes expansive. It connects not just with oneself but with others, for the essence of the mind is energy and energy tends to join with energy. In Hatharatnavali (4:44) this process is described:
Karpoorakamanale yadvat saindhavam salile yathaa;
Tadaa sandheeyamaanam hi manastatraiva leeyate.
Just as camphor dissolves in fire and salt in water,
in the same way the mind also merges (in Brahman).
How can communication happen in the non-material dimension?
Swami Niranjanananda: In prakriti, or nature, the same energy and spirit is flowing in all aspects of creation. The communication between one’s life force and the life force inherent in others is not mental, intellectual or verbal, but communication of thoughts and feelings. Many people have experimented with non-verbal communication.
The members of Findhorn in the United Kingdom were interested in communicating with plants, trees and flowers, as they believed it was possible to awaken the spirit of the devas, the illumined beings, within. In Stalking the Wild Pendulum, the physicist Itzhak Bentov spoke of the energy being awakened in a lifeless rock by giving it worship and prayer over centuries. He discovered the simple principle of non-verbal communication.
Spiritual masters have understood this connection and expressed it, not in a scientific manner, but through experience. They have come to the same conclusion – the mind is energy. The body is matter, the senses are expressions of matter, but the mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions and spirit are all energy. Communication happens in the realm of energy, in the non-material dimension.
Published in Conversations on the Science of Yoga – Hatha Yoga Book 2, Hatha Yoga and the Mind