Friends, from time to time thoughts come. Thoughts come from within myself. Thoughts come from the writings that have been preserved in the great ancient texts, the thoughts that came to the minds of the ancient Rishis, recorded in the scriptures, handed down for thousands of years.
Sometimes when I read these, too, that I would like to share with you ancient traditions and scriptures, I'm ecstatic and cannot help wanting to share those words with you also, as well as my own thoughts inspired by them.
The thoughts I have been thinking of lately concern my meditation hut. Some of you have heard of my little mud hut. A few friends have visited it. But then there is a portable meditation hut I have been living in for the last 59 years. It's traveling around with me, I travel in it. It is my meditation hut; it is my chariot. But then if I were not so body-bound, I would like to have a different kind of meditation hut. That is the kind that I describe in the following words. These words were originally written in the Hindi language; and languages, says the great poet Tagore, are jealous. You cannot really translate. An Italian proverb says that to translate is to betray. Some of the words, idioms, proverbs, associations, cannot be expressed in another language; they do not sound the same. They do not carry the force. They do not convey the sentiment. Still, I shall try to do my very best to translate:
I have built myself a meditation hut.
I have built myself a meditation hut, far from the traffic of planets and their satellites, where even the thoughts from the minds of the dwellers of various worlds cannot reach me. At a curve of the vast space beyond, where three space-flowing energy-rivers converge, there, in a place called tri-kuti prayaga I have built myself a meditation hut.
To ward off the invasions of intruding thoughts of the world-dwellers I have done many dig-bandhanas by reciting Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah, oh, how many times. These dig-bandhanas I have saved up and of them have I erected the walls of my meditation hut. They're really very firm!
On the surfaces of an uncountable number of earths, the sheets of sunshines and moonlights lie strewn about. They're indeed very light: whoever needs may carry them away. I have picked up many from several earths, and made of them the roof and the ceiling of my hut. It's really very attractive!
On the lily petals, in so many dewdrops, lie imprisoned such beautiful rainbows. The dew dries up, the rainbows imprisoned therein wilt away and are extinguished. I went around to gather these dewdrops. By casting my affection-filled glances upon them, I opened their doors; and the rainbows, thus released, sprang to freedom and now form the arches for my meditation hut. They're really very charming.
The souls who become liberated after attaining the highest samadhi are like a novice renunciate who drops the clothing he wore as a householder; and after renouncing he never looks back at them again. So do the liberated souls drop their subtle bodies and senses by the wayside and never care for them again. I have gathered those subtle-body senses and made of them the doors and windows of my meditation hut, and I have hung on them curtains made of the pearls that the world knows as inspirational revelations but that, truly drop from the necklace of Mother Sharada, when the music of herself playing the veena reaches them; and its ripples vibrate and pluck them. The pearls that the swans of Mother Sarasvati were unable to pick in their beaks were lying plentiful around the lake of Manasa; I filled my hands many times over, to bead them to make my curtains.
At the Hour of God, before the Lady Dawn, Usha, appears with the red cinnabar dot of the sun upon her forehead, I go to take my sacred morning immersion at the convergence of those space-flowing rivers. In the vessel made of the silver of rays, I bring holy water from the milk-river of the galaxy--the same one drinking which, Lord the Creator, Lord the Preserver, Lord the Dissolver have been satiating themselves for cycles upon cycles of creation. How much more so of a mortal's mind? Only a few drops, touched upon the limbs of a mortal's mind, cause all thirst, hunger and craving to dissipate and to disappear.
When the gods, the shining ones, come bathing at the convergence of these rivers, they splash many a star. These sprinklings sometimes come through the windows into my meditation hut. I gather them and I tie them in a neat bundle. They serve me for the night like little gems, casting their glows and providing me with illumination. They do last me a very long time.
Ah, yes, the three flaws of Prakriti, Mother Nature, which are called the three Gunas, qualities, sometimes cast a shadow, like clouds, over the roof of my hut. I immediately sprinkle the mantra-consecrated waters upon it and wash the spots away, lest they accumulate and form for me another mortal, physical body.
The solitude here is such that only a soul in a-cognitive samadhi can experience. As I said, no mind of any dweller of the Three Worlds can come here and intrude into my solitude. But, yes, it did so happen once: I was merged into the ocean of the joy and bliss of deep meditation, like the reflection of a full moon immersed in a ripple-free, absolutely still, crystalline, clear lake; yet the sound of a song,--sung in a feminine voice--sweet, yet filled with pathos, reached me. She was Brahmani, the lady consort of a Brahma,--the lord of a universe, which existed in a rock on the side of some mountain upon a distant earth. When my eyes and ears came into the half-awake state, out of meditation, she addressed me: "For countless aeons, my dear lord, my husband, has been performing his intense, ascetic endeavors to obtain liberation. Neither does he become liberated, nor do I receive the marital joy and bliss that is the share of a dedicated consort. My internal life has been filled with agitation, and through that, not only the living beings of my universe, but also the forests, trees, vines, grains, plants, suns, moons, rivers, lakes, oceans of all my worlds have become agitated, as though passing through a volcanic quake. I fear what destruction might be waiting around the corner of time! Is our universe going to be dissolved, even without my lord, my husband, ever gaining his liberation?
How could I not, hearing such a plea, melt with compassion? The passage of time in the rock-universes is immensely slow. One day of human beings becomes a thousand years in the rock-universes. If I had made no attempt to free the Brahma and the Brahmani, the Lord and the Lady of that universe from the travails and tortures, lasting such a long period, would not the dwellers of that universe scorch themselves in all the three kinds of heat of suffering; and would not they have created a hell for themselves in their world? Then, knowing myself to be responsible for such devastation, would I have been able to sit in my solitude and enjoy my meditation without any distractions arising out of the memory of a duty not yet discharged?
So I went to that Lady's world with her. It must have taken us at least as much time as passes in a hundred-millionth part of a micro-moment. Then the problem arose: on one hand, I, a brilliant, minute photon of light, and on the other that rock-solid universe; how was I to enter it?
By the power of my intentness, with the force of my sankalpa--resolve, all of it that I could muster, applying the entire force of the concentrations I had learned, I managed to break through that solid state and, making the outer surface of the rock somewhat thus transparent, I entered into the universe within it.
The Brahma, the Lord of that universe, using a pebble-world for his meditation seat, was indeed making a god-like effort to go deep and deeper and yet deeper into meditation, but, because of so many affairs of that universe that must pass through his mind, there was no end to the distractions disturbing his self-contemplation. 18,000 cycles of creation and dissolution had already passed. Half of that Brahma's lifespan had already been spent, and after another 18,000 cycles of creation and dissolution, the final mega-dissolution of that universe would occur, and along with it, he too would die. With this abhinivesha, he was fear-stricken. I gave him the diksha, the initiation of bursting through the highest point of the Brahma-opening in the skull and returned to my meditation hut, and the time that still remained of that micro-moment, I utilized in the joy of unbreakable intentness.
Since then, would you like to know what I have done? There were still some dig-bandhanas left over after I had made the walls of my hut. With a few more dik-bandhanas added, I constructed a fence around my cottage. Now, even the streams of distractions from the minds of the Brahmas and the Brahmanis of any universe, no matter how sharp, no matter how forceful they might be, can pierce through these fences to intrude into the secret mystery of the seed of my consciousness. Only my Guru-deva, Acharya Hiranya-garbha, whose name means "the Master of the Golden Womb," whose cottage is quite distant from here, on the mountain peak of Chid-akasha, the peak of the mountain known as the Sky of Consciousness, when he considers me deserving, unasked, when I am least expecting it, casts a ray of his light towards me. And that light, passing through the fences and the walls of my hut, pierces through my Brahma-bindu, the point of Brahman in the skull. This ray of light, sent from the mountain peak of the Sky of Consciousness, frees me, liberates me, burns those lily petals along with the letters written upon them, from A to Ham, from Alpha to Omega of which I have at any time claimed proprietorship, any of which I have identified myself with. It makes me truly the son of the goddess who is known as Aparna, the Leafless One, she who when performing her ascetic endeavors to be united to her lord Shiva, fasted. First she abandoned grains. Then she abandoned fruits. Then she lived on leaves and lily petals. And then, having consumed them, she was Sushumna, the slim, brilliant Lady, having lost all worldly weight, a straight sword of lightning passing through the spine, but without any leaves or petals, only reaching a single point from which the universes are created and into which the universes dissolve. I truly become her son.
Whosoever is wearied, whosoever is scorched with thirst, whosoever feels broken-up by the slaps of craving, whomsoever the dualities and the principles of opposites have torn into shreds, let him seek his balm of solitude. Let him take to this meditation as his potion, prescription and provender for the path.
Dig-bandhanas can be performed in a moment. There is no shortage of the sheets of sunshines and moonlights strewn about. In the Forest of Lilies, the dew-drops are uncountable million, the rainbows imprisoned in them are longing to be released, relieved, to be allowed to bloom and open up. From the Great Mother's necklace, the pearls drop like dots of snow from the snow-laden trees when a few gusts of wind touch them. Whosoever likes can find one of the confluences of space-rivers, for there are innumerable such convergences. Let him make a cottage at his own trikuti-prayaga, fill his vessel made of the silver of rays daily with waters of the milky river of the galaxy, touch it to his limbs and be free of hunger, thirst and craving. Drunk on the wine of solitude, let him in the same way live the life of joy and carefree pleasure, as I do
I have built myself a meditation hut.
In the traditions of India, wherever three rivers meet it is a sacred spot. At certain times, millions of people gather together to pray and immerse themselves for a sacred bath. Most of the most famous where two or three rivers meet are called prayagas. It means a place of intensively-performed sacraments, because in ancient times the great Rishis sat in the ashrams and the forests in these areas and performed lengthy and intensive fire-offerings, and other sacred acts.
Tri-kuti is a triangular place in the upper half of the forehead, so I have named this place tri-kuti prayaga. When you go up the river it is Ganges... Here suggested you read a book by Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, entitled From Sea to Sky. It is a description of a journey up the river Ganges, and it is not an ordinary description of an expedition, but one that speaks of the Gangetic culture, the culture of the peoples on both sides of the river. So, One of the places he passes is Prayaga, the modern city of Allahabad, just west of Benares, which is still in the plains. Then after a thousand miles or perhaps more, we come to a place called Deva-prayaga, where two tributaries of the river meet, and from that place south it is called the Ganges. Similarly, further up the mountains are Nanda-prayaga and Ruda-prayaga and so on. So here we have a tri-kuti prayaga, a meeting place of three rivers in a triangular spot in the upper half of the forehead. Where three kundalini rivers have their confluence you may build your meditation hut there.
Notes 2 & 3
Many meditators are familiar with the word, dig-bandhana (tying-up the directions, tying-up the ten quarters around you). It is an act of sitting down, and, if you want to do it externally, sprinkling a stream of water around you, or (internally) visualizing three circles of light around you. This is done with the mental recitation of the mantra Om, bhur, bhuvah, svah, which is the first part of Gayatri mantra. Before one begins one's meditation, the first act one performs is to do this dig-bandhana to ward off all intruding thoughts.
Of the senses of the subtle body: One may have to study the lectures on the gross body, the subtle body, the casual body, and the seventeen constituents of the subtle body. Some of the explanation is found in Swami Rama's Lectures on Yoga, and Freedom from the Bondage of Karma; in Arya's Meditation and the Art of Dying.
Notes 5 & 6
Two words for the Great Mother of the Universe: Sharada and Sarasvati, the Lady of Wisdom, Music, Knowledge, and Inspiration. White-clad, with a swan for her vehicle, carrying a veena, a most ancient and powerful three-stringed musical instrument on which the Vedic hymns were, and are still sung. When the musicians of India train, they sit before her icon at the Hour of God in the morning, and make their music a prayer-offering to her. So do the dancers train by giving their dance as homage, as an offering to her.
When you go for pilgrimages in India, the most sacred and difficult pilgrimage is to Mount Kailasha, which is the northern-most home of Shiva, where he, the Lord of Meditators, sits, though the processions of history may come and go. It is a mountain in Tibet, now under Chinese occupation. A few pilgrims can still go, and they circumambulate this mountain at the height of 18,000 feet or so. At the foot of this mountain there is a lake, known as Lake Manasa. It simply means "the mind." The Great Mother drops many of her pearls in the Lake of the Mind, and those that her swans do not pick in their beaks are left, strewn around, for devotees like us to pick and to make curtains from, bead them through strings and hang those beaded strings on the curtains of the senses. Thus shall you name you have the doors and windows of the senses curtained.
The Hour of God. We call this measure of time Brahma-muhurta. As the night is divided into four sections, in the ancient ashrams and among those very few who still carry out the tradition, the first quarter of the night is spent in meditation. The second and third quarters of the night are for sleeping. And the fourth quarter of the night, from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. is the Hour of Amrita, the hour when the Elixir of Immortality, the Drink of the Gods, drops from heaven. Listen to the sound of silence at that hour. Drink the cup of solitude at that hour until the music that rises within your heart and mind merges with the music that the birds make. And then rise from your meditation seat. You will need no other wine.
Usha, the ancient Vedic name for dawn. In spiritual traditions she may represent the dawning of wisdom before full daybreak that is enlightenment. "The red-cinnabar dot of the sun" represents the dot of fortune married women of India wear at the spot of the third eye, above the center between the eyebrows. The chemical name for cinnabar is mercuric sulfide, representing the total balance of the universal male (mercury) and the universal female (sulfur). In the traditions of yoga, sun is the name of the universal spiritual energy, taught and awakened in the solar science.
The Sanskrit word for the milky way is akasha-ganga, the Ganges of Space. The suggestion of milky way and the Gangetic holiness is combined here in "milk-liver." It is said in India's cosmogony that Lord the Preserver sleeps on the coiled up Serpent of Infinity on the Ocean of Light (milk) after the universe is dissolved and before the next universe emanates.
Prakriti or Prakrti. Those who have studied Samkhya philosophy will know that this is what might be translated as Ur Nature (the Origin of Nature, the origin of the material universe), when the Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas), the three-fold Forces of the universe, the three Powers, the three Attributes, are in equilibrium, are in absolute balance. Then Rajas, the agitating force, disturbs the equilibrium, and out of a pin-point of light, burst the galaxies. Later they return to the same. Now, there is a play on words here with the word Guna. In philosophy there are three attributes or three forces of Ur Nature. In the Sanskrit language and in Hindi, the word guna also means "good quality," and I have also called them her flaws. Her gunas are her flaws. (Actually the English word good is derived from the word guna, or is cognate to this word). They cast their shadow upon my meditation hut, and I sprinkle the mantra-consecrated water from my vessel, made of rays of silver, to wash off the spots, lest they gather and gather, and become thicker and thicker, so that the shadows become spots, and the spots become new bodies to reincarnate me into this physical world again.
A-cognitive, a-samprajnata samadhi, the highest state of consciousness in which the spirit knows itself unalloyed with matter. For details see U. Arya's Yoga-sutras of Patanjali: a Translation and Commentary.
Three worlds: bhur, bhuvah, svah; earth, sky and heavens; the first being up to the third chakra in the navel region, second up to the fifth chakra in the throat, and the third one above those.
The spirit whose body is a universe is called a Brahma; his feminine consort is Brahmani. Just as common mortals view the frame of their flesh to be themselves, so may a universal being identify with the universe-body. None of these are transcendent or highest spiritual stations. For detail, see U. Arya's book, God, and his commentary on the yoga-sutras, pp. 168-170.
The three tapas, the three kinds of heat, the three kinds of burning. Not the good kind of burning known as tapas (ascetic perseverance), which is the ascetic heat to burn impurities, but the three tapas, by which we ourselves burn: the mental ones, the physical ones, and the ones that exist in our surroundings, in our societies in the world, in nature and in the environment. When our interior tapas gather together their force and become collectivized, they become the fires of hell. Then truly a hell is created in a given universe.
According to Yoga-vasishtha text the universe, that is our experience of it, is nothing but a projection of the spirit's resolve to ideate, to emanate as an idea in a given form. The more intense this sankalpa, the more "solid" the appearances of realities.
The worlds are but pebbles flying about as and in mind-time-space-causation co-ordinates.
Regarding the life-span of a Brahma, see U. Arya's God. This life-span is normally a hundred years only; each cycle of creation and dissolution of the cosmos counted as one day; thus hundred years means 3600 cycles of creation and dissolution.
There may be innumerable minor creations and dissolutions of little universes in a cosmos at any given time. A mega-dissolution, maha-pralaya, is the dissolution of an entire cosmos.
Abhinivesha (the fear of death), the fear that the Brahma, the Lord of this universe, had. To understand that, I suggest that one may read U. Arya's commentary of the 8th sutra of the first chapter of the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali, available from the Himalayan Institute. Read especially the last two pages of commentary on that particular sutra. Also see sutra II 9. Abhinivesha is the fifth of the kleshas (the five afflictions), that are discussed in the sutras. If you need to go further into it, just inquire where you may study this.
Hiranya-garbha, the Golden Womb, is the name given by yogis to the first guru who is the Spirit as the Teacher, whose embodiment the personal teachers are. Acharya means a Master Who Teaches.
Bindu, the point, from which the universe emanates and into which it dissolves. In samadhi it is experience as the Point that is God, Brahma-bindu, located in the center of the thousand-petal lotus in the skull.
The letters written on the lotus petals from a to ham. The word a-ham means "I" in Sanskrit. That is what we have in So ham. So means "that." Aham means"I am that." A is the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, and ham is the last letter. In the vibratory principle, the different petals of the lotuses of the chakras are inscribed, as it were, with the specific letters assigned to them. You may read about it in more detail in U. Arya's book Mantra and Meditation. All of these vibratory forces put together, expressed in these letters of the alphabet, a to ham, constitute aham: the "I" with which you identify, the "I" on which you have a claim of proprietorship.
Notes 24 & 25
Based on the story of Parvati, the eternal consort of Shiva. In kundalini-yoga, when sushumna, the central stream of divine consciousness and Life-force, is re-united with the Lord as Brahma-bindu, there are no more emanations of centripetal and centrifugal forces forming petals in the whirling wheels of chakras.
The pranas, the animating forces that emanate from mind and move the physical forces of the body.
This writing is inspired from the great text, the Yoga Vasistha. An epic in 26,000 verses of lyrical, philosophical poetry, rare in world literature.
Swami Veda Bharati was trained from childhood in meditation and yoga philosophy and has taught yoga to thousands of people from an early age. He is an expert in raja yoga which is the source of all branches of yoga. A faculty member of the Himalayan Institute, he has written many books and articles on yoga and meditation. In addition to his writing and meditation, Swami Veda Bharati has lectured and taught meditation throughout the world.
Now you can have 5,000 years of wisdom, knowledge and inspiration in your own home. Swami Veda's taped lectures allow you to study, meditate and review various facets of yoga science at your own pace and level.
In 1982, Dr. Arya took the vows of swamihood, and is now known as Swami Veda Bharati. He lives in Rishikesh, India.
You may write for a free copy of a catalog of his taped audio lectures to:
West-Art Publishers, 10545 Main Street, Clarence, NY 14031. Telephone (716) 759-6078, fax (716) 759-7925.
May we recommend some books?
Living with the Himalayan Masters, by Swami Rama
Primer for Those Who Would Govern, by Hermann Oberth
Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer
Arno Breker: The Divine Beauty in Art, by B. John Zavrel
Mantra and Meditation, by Dr. Usharbudh Arya
Alexander the Great, by Robin Lane Fox