Is it all right if we sit without a chair in meditation?
The best way is that the spine should be straight. There should be no tension in the body. That is the natural way, you see. In the yoga way you have tension in the Lotus (posture). That's a different, natural way. Just sit in any pose most convenient to you. Only the spine should be straight, that's all. No tension in the body, in the neck or anywhere. You may sit on the floor, you may sit in a chair; anywhere. But once you've adopted a position don't change, that's all.
If you get tired periodically and lean back against the chair, that's bad?
The only thing is you shouldn't go to sleep, that's all. Sometimes you sit - you're relaxed - you may feel drowsy ... because you're fully relaxed.
Is there a better class of distractions during meditation? For example, if your mind suddenly starts thinking about the Master and the Master's work and what He's said and so on during meditation, is that a better class of distractions than thinking about other things?
Comparatively it is a bit better, but not much. Why do you talk outside - why don't you go in and see? I am just talking, standing outside, talking about you, but when I enter I see you ... which is better of the two? His sweet remembrance is all right, pray and sit down - pray and then sit - that's all right, that will create a good atmosphere to start with. The mind has a very curious way of deterring us from the goal. You might be talking: Master is all right - He is this - He is that - well, already thought is there. You must see Him. Seeing is better than thinking. The only thing is, sit with single-minded attention; He is all alone. He wants everybody to come all alone ... not to take all worldly thoughts or even the body or the intellect. Leave them. Go straight in to Him. Go into His lap. By training you'll be able to do this. That's after a while, of course, but the man who is lost in bookish knowledge is in wilderness; there is no way out. We have to understand. "Well dear friend, He is within you, go ahead within." Intellect used for that purpose is all right, but once you've understood, then do it. You've once understood something - that is sufficient. Then the only thing remaining is to do, is it not?
That's the hard part.
This is what's wanted. Time flies. The mind tries to evade you from the goal. It will try to - in a very gentle manner he will come - say, "I've been talking of the Master" - why don't you listen to me? Remembrance of the Master is all right. When you develop receptivity you'll have radiation - effect of the radiation. But that will come only when there is receptivity. Receptivity develops when you only are there, with nothing remaining between you and the Master. Not even thought. This is something practical. Kabir said, "Your Master may be living across the seven oceans and you're living on this side. Direct your attention to Him." Your attention is between you and Him; nothing should intervene. Then you'll receive radiation from hundreds and thousands of miles.
As you may know, we were here last year and then we went back home and now that we're back here I can say for myself I think for my wife too - the meditations suddenly once again are better than they were back home.
Of course, the only point is: We cannot underrate the atmospheric effect of the Presence of the Master. But from thousands of miles away, if you develop receptivity you'll have that effect. Similarly, when you sit, there should be no other thought even of your own self. Then you'll have receptivity.
Here in the ashram we don't have these outside thoughts pressing on us. We are in isolation. We don't get the news of the world. We don't have people coming in and gossiping and things like that, so it's much easier.
What did Christ say? "Shut yourself in a closet." What did He mean by that?
Well, going in here [points to forehead], I'm sure.
Either that or -- if you wan to see that newspaper, we'll give you one. For awhile, you see, it is like a sort of training. For awhile, say a week, ten days, a month or so. If you're devoted regularly the whole time, from day to day you'll develop. When going to a Master anyway, the best thing for you is just to make the best use of your time - put in more time by developing receptivity. You've a hundred irons in the fire over there. Here I think you've not many. You might create many, that's up to you. But there are not many now.
One should, I suppose, pull each of those irons out of the fire gradually as life goes by rather than leaving all of them in and including a few more.
I tell you. If you leave it to the mercy of the mind, that time will never come. The mind's work is to go overboard.
Some of us are more inclined toward using the mind, aren't we? I mean, say, astrologically some people are more inclined toward mind things and have a bigger burden to start with?
Their further progress will be retarded. If for awhile you have to do something, do it and see. Our work is to see God. For instance, I will tell you: Go in and see Him first, then do anything you like. We begin to do many things before we see Him. That's all. For awhile, maybe a day - ten days - each day we should reserve some time for that purpose. That is a great helping factor. Reserve some time for that. If it is not a day or two at least some hours in the day, maybe two - three hours - just cut off from all outside. Shut yourself in the closet in the room and then nobody will disturb you. This comes from training of course - there's no high road to that.
Must we sit perfectly still? Now I notice when, for example, Master Ji is singing for You and listening to You talk, he sometimes sways back and forth. Is that permissible?
I tell you, if you think of the body, you'll feel rocking. If you don't think of the body, you won't feel it.
Even if you're swaying?
You won't feel it. You'll be rocking, but if you're not thinking of the body you won't feel.
I see, yes.
That is why I always say, just fix your gaze into the middle of whatever is before you and in front of you. Not here (pointing inside His forehead). There the body will wake. By concentration man develops these things. So there is no high road to concentration, but to concentrate, concentrate and then concentrate, that will come.
Are there any exercises outside of pure doing it that you can work on in order to improve concentration?
Doing one thing at a time, wholly and solely, will help you. If you are at work, be fully at work. When I was in the office I was sitting there and never knew who was sitting in front of me. I put my whole attention into it, and the work was done (snaps his fingers twice) in very little time. That requires training. When you are at prayer, learn to be fully at prayer. That's the answer. Prayer, saying prayers, etc., develops an atmosphere for awhile. When you have got the right atmosphere, just do your work.
You'd recommend starting meditation with a prayer then?
Just think of the Master - of the God in Him; not the Master but the God in Him, you see. The God in Him. That will create a little pacifying effect, a boost. Pray - sit - go within. Once I put this question to my Master, very early in my discipleship: "Master, if we are cut off from the outside, and You have not appeared inside, what should we do in the meantime?" That was a very practical question. He told me, "Well, look here, men think of their cattle, of their friends - is it bad to think of the Master for the intervening period?" Then again, after some time I asked Him, "What should a man do?" He answered, "If the Master Whom you want to meet is sitting inside - whether you think of Him or not, go in and you'll find Him." These two points were very much clarified, you see? First, pray. When you can think of so many things, why not think of the Master? This is much better. As you think, so you become. But it is also not enough - go in and see (Him). You come to the door, enter - go within (you know how to), you'll find Him.
You know, there's a note of consolation in what You've just said - in that there was a period in Your life when You couldn't see Your Master.
In the beginning, when I went to Him, for the first two - three days, I tell you, there was not very much radiance at once. He used to guide me within for seven years before I met Him. When He sat there as a man and said, "Go within," that I did seven years before. He was with me. Sometimes I put a general question to Him just to solve the riddles for others. For me it was not so bad because I had that experience. But I asked Him what should a person do in the meantime, those who had just started. He said, "Is it bad to think of the Master?"
Well, it didn't apply to you then. This was just a theoretical question?
Yes, just a theoretical question.
From that moment seven years before You met Him until You did see Him in the flesh, did You seek Him all the time for all those seven years?
No, no. When I sat in my meditation I found Him - I could fly to other places with Him. The Mesopotamian War was going on in those days. You see, 1914-1917. In the Inner flights - He was with me. In the outer life - I was guided also.
Had You been with Sawan Singh in a previous life?
You see, that Power works all through - not in the same form. But that Power is there. Of course man is in the make. Suppose I had or not, will it help you? God Power works, man is in the make: some have more, then again others are not yet ready. But all have the same Goal. Every Saint has His past and every sinner a future. There is hope for everybody. The pity is, you see, a strong man revels in his strength and the weaker man wonders how he got it. Questions can be cleared up, with very few words, very simple words. But for man who is on the Way, well, Master simply leads him, you see. Others say, "How can that be done?" Time factor is a necessity. I tell you, when I was a child, I was reading in the third primary. I saw one man giving a lecture. "How he words it! Where do all his words come from, from where is he speaking?" - I was just thinking from the level of a third primary child. I thought, "very wonderful." Now it seems very ordinary, doesn't it? So time factor is a necessity. Those who are more ready will develop quicker. As I told you yesterday, even those who are not ready, have only to start now and remain regular: obey the Commandments of the Master, live up to what He says, and he can go ahead of the man who has got background but is not fully abiding by the words of Master, that's all. So there's no hard and fast rule for that. But this is the highest thing that we have to do. Main ideal, highest idea is know God - to see Him. In man-body you can see God.
Sacrifice everything for That?
Put God first. Other things follow. Do your best for the good of others. No selfishness, no concealing. Self will expand. That will help you, thank God! If you help others, you'll be helped. If you give consolation to others, you'll have consolation of itself. If you won't let anybody die of hunger, I think you will be cared for.
But I believe You said before that we're not in a position to help anybody until we break through.
That is in the spiritual way. In the worldly way do the best you can. A man should learn to give others something, you see. That has spiritual significance. When you've got no money, (in the spiritual way) how can you distribute? These talks are given sometimes from different levels. Sometimes the same words can convey meaning at different levels - each man should sacrifice - live for others. That's the main thing. First, maybe one percent, then ten percent, then fifty percent, then one hundred percent. That's the ultimate Goal. The more you live for others, the more your self will expand, and the more you'll find peace. If everybody gives, there will be very little hardship. There are some things Saints give directly, but sometimes they speak in parables. Christ also sometimes spoke in parables, sometimes directly. So parables are for those who were of average understanding.
There is among the Hindus a parable like that: Lord Vishnu invited all good and evil, the gods and others for a feast. The feast was served. Lord Vishnu stood up, said, "Look here, dear friends, all this is for you. Eat to your heart's content, but there's one condition - don't bend your elbow to eat." Those who were of average understanding said, "What is he talking about? If we don't bend our elbow, how can we eat?" They were fed up, you see; they got angry. "Lord Vishnu has simply belittled us. He would not let us eat." They went away. The gods remained there. They thought, "This is something from Lord Vishnu - that must mean something." - you see. They went into it. "Oh, very easy! All will be fed if we feed others; then who is left hungry?" They realized they had to serve the food to each other. These are things to make us understand.
How many different levels should we understand you on?
As a man first; as a man to man. Then in the inner way, you see. First we are man. A man is required for guidance of men. If He comes from above then how can we hear Him? Master should be One Who has passed through His man life. You see the difference in Christ as the son-of-man and as a God-in-man? That's the first thing. When I went to the West they said, "He has got a human nature, the human touch." I'm a man first, of course. We should be man. Man should be perfect all around: physically, socially, lovingly. These are things only to be explained from the level of man. If you make sure everybody is fed, you won't remain hungry. If you don't allow anybody to go naked - you won't go naked. That's the only thing we have to learn.
And for that, right understanding is: God made man with equal privileges. He has got the man-body. He is not the man-body but is the indweller of the body. He's a conscious entity: a drop of the ocean of all-consciousness. We're all brothers and sisters in God. That's the right understanding. If you think like that then right understanding and right thoughts will come - then right speech will result and right actions will follow.
The big thing is in controlling those thoughts; everything else follows?
What are we? We are attention. God is attention, big attention. He was One and wanted to be many. All things came into being. We are drops of the Ocean of all that. When we've become fully concentrated, then ... If God can create the whole Creation can't you create even one town? You are big - great is man. You'll become that, you see. I wish all of you to become Ambassadors, for Love. Man can develop; of course, time factor is a necessity. There's hope, definite hope, as two and two make four. The pity is that we don't live up to what is given.
You say You wish that all of us could come up to that stage. Well, what percentage of us will come up to that stage in this life?
Look here, why should you care further? Look at how far you have developed. The sooner you reach your Goal, migration will be over.
You'd rather not talk about when this is going to happen? It's going to happen some day but You don't care to specify?
Everybody should care, let God come first. See God and then distribute. Don't be the contractors, I would say, for others. You go and others will go - example is better than precept. Example is better than precept!
Don't worry about the spiritual progress of others just worry about your own?
That will lay a good example and they'll follow of themselves. Even one word of yours will help them. But if you don't do anything yourself, you may give very long talks, tall talks, but with no effect. That's the difference. A man speaks from the abundance of his heart. His any words or expressions will go out charged, and give the same effect to others. Like the air which strikes some ice of snow clad mountains; it will become cooler, will it not? But if air strikes fire, naturally the air will be hot. Any words spoken carry the same effect of the condition of your heart. Wanted: Reformers, I would say, not of others but of themselves. And what will be their emoluments? They will get Godhead.
Big job? Big revolution. And that we have to do only in the man-body. The pity is that we have not decided what to do. I decided this in 1912: God first and world next. I was very ambitious, you see. I was a voracious reader of books. I read three libraries. I was wont to have ambition, this side, that side. I had to decide. And that decision took me step by step... And this is for everybody, what a man has done, others can follow. Example is better than precept.
In other words at that time you decided you weren't going to make a lot of money or worry about that?
I wanted big libraries to have at my disposal, for instance. All conveniences. I was very, as I told you, a voracious reader of books. This knowledge dragged me to learn all things here and there. I was not satisfied. I would take up at night and not go to sleep until it was finished. Maybe four o'clock in the morning or five o'clock.
And you wanted to purchase a big library in later life?
No, that was an early ambition, to help to know Him. I wanted God and everything to help. That will come. Everything comes to help you.
This ambition for the big library disappeared as soon as You'd seen Your Master?
I saw my Master even previously - but
that was because of background. When I was just reading in the seventh
class I read one book - perhaps you have read about the Life of Ramanuja.
Ramanuja got something from a Master. He came and stood up on a mountain,
called all the villagers, "Come on, I'm going to give you what I got from
the Master." People said, "Have you got the permission of Master?" "No."
They told him, "You'll go to hell." "All right, I'll go to hell all alone.
Others will be saved - never mind." The thought struck me at the time:
"If I get, I will tell it to everybody." People don't give all these things,
I tell you. Very rarely will you find someone who gives first-hand experience.
It's God's Grace. So my point is: each man has to become man. If he makes
himself into a man I think it's the biggest service he has done.
We don't live up to it. Even living one word will do, I would think. To give tall talks - lip talks - there are so many congregations, lectures, books - do they help in elevating others? Why? The Saints say: "All right, dear friend" - do Simran. Meditate. His Charging helps. Charity begins where? You tell me. At home. If you do that, you'll do a great service, I tell you - by radiation - by example. Everybody coming in contact with you will be guided. Some people say they feel peace. I never tell them to do anything. They receive it. By atmospheric radiation and by receptivity you can have it. This is no new thing I've got specially in me. All of you are endowed with That - simply you have not cared to turn that way, that's all. Lay up your treasures, where? What did Christ say?
Yes, "Lay up your treasures in heaven."
We are to give and take. We have to finish off gladly. God has united you. Some as brothers, some as sisters or wives. God has united you. Don't sow any more seeds. Sow the big seed - of God you see - that's all.