Concentration, meditation, will-power and loveNew York University; New York, New York, USA
28 February 1973
Concentration in Kundalini Yoga. A seeker concentrates on the centres to open them. This is a long, arduous, uncertain and dangerous process. If the seeker does not make enough conscious effort, then the process is bound to be long. If the entire being of the seeker does not co-operate, then the process is bound to be arduous. During the journey, if the seeker makes friends with teeming fears, then the process is bound to be uncertain. During the journey, if the seeker makes friends with brooding doubts, then the process is bound to be extremely dangerous.
In all Yogas you need a spiritual Teacher. In Kundalini Yoga, the need for a spiritual Teacher is paramount. If you follow other Yogas, you undoubtedly need a Master; but if you do not care for a Master, if you want to go slowly, steadily, like an Indian bullock cart, there is no harm. There is no danger involved in other paths. You will reach your Destination only after thousands of years, in another life, but there is no particular danger in your travelling without a guide. But in Kundalini Yoga, if you do not have a real Master to teach you, then you are playing with fire. If the spiritual centres, especially the lower centres — muladhara, svadhisthana and manipura — are opened untimely, without full preparation, they can create untold misery for the seeker. The Teacher uses his vast wisdom to shorten the long road for the student. The Teacher uses his deep compassion to transform the arduous road into an easy and smooth road for the student. The Teacher uses his illumining light to remove uncertainty from the mind of the student and replace it with absolute certainty. The Teacher uses his indomitable power to cast aside all danger to the student from the journey’s start to the journey’s close. He also makes the path a sunlit path, so that the student can run the fastest without danger or obstruction on the way.
Meditation in Kundalini Yoga. The seeker meditates on his mind, on his heart or on any object or subject. But his main aim at the beginning is to empty the mind, still the mind, silence the mind. He meditates to expand his human individuality into God’s highest Universality. He meditates to expand his human personality into God’s endless and eternal Life. There comes a time in the seeker’s life when he discovers that he is at once the lover and the Beloved. The aspiring soul which he embodies is the lover in him. And the Transcendental Self which he reveals from within is his Beloved.
In the beginning, in the formative years of his spiritual life, the seeker has to observe some strict disciplines. He has to meditate early every morning at the same hour, in the same place, a place safe from the intrusions of the outer world. If he is fortunate enough, he can face the rising sun while he meditates. The dynamic energy, the creative force, the hope-message of liberation from the rays of the sun, will enter into the seeker. Before he enters into meditation, he must take a proper shower so that his outer body will be clean. The seeker should be lightly clad when he meditates, preferably in white, which is the colour of purity. He should burn incense and candles, and place flowers in front of him during his meditation to give himself additional inspiration.
In the course of time, if the seeker does all these things, peace, light and bliss will descend on him; and at God’s choice Hour he will hear the Voice of Silence. The Voice of Silence will bless the seeker with some intuitive power. If the seeker uses this intuitive power not at his own sweet will, but in accordance with God’s Will, gradually he will open the kundalini chakras. This process is quite easy and, at the same time, the result is quite effective and most satisfactory. The seeker does not go through severe disciplines. He does not concentrate on each centre as other seekers do. He simply uses his intuitive power. Intuitive power can very easily and effectively open the centres for him.
Will-power in Kundalini Yoga. Spiritual Masters of a very high order do not go through concentration and meditation to open their chakras. They simply use their invincible and all-conquering will-power and open the seven centres as easily as a man eats seven grapes. You can call this will-power the light of the soul or the breath of the spirit. This will-power is like divine, volcanic power. It does not take them more than a few seconds to open a centre. But these great spiritual Masters also once trod the path of strong concentration and deep meditation. They did not concentrate or meditate on the chakras; they concentrated on God’s Feet and meditated on God’s Heart. From God’s Feet they received God’s ceaseless Compassion and from God’s Heart they received God’s boundless Love. While playing with God’s Compassion, they saw and felt that God’s Compassion was nothing other than God’s indomitable Will-power. While playing with God’s Love, they saw and felt that God’s Love was nothing other than God’s Wisdom-Light.
When these Masters, in the course of time, were granted the use of this boundless Light and Power, they were to use it only when the Inner Pilot commanded and not at their own sweet will. A real spiritual Master has less freedom in the ordinary sense of the term than an ordinary human being. The ordinary human being has a limited power of choice. He can use his limited power of choice to go against God’s Will at his own sweet will. But a real spiritual Master has surrendered his individual will to the Will of the Supreme. He can never have any personal will other than the Divine Will.
The Absolute Supreme asks the spiritual Master always to use his wisdom-light before using his will-power. Very often, ordinary Yogis and people who are fond of occultism and magic do not use wisdom-light at all. They just use the will-power that comes from the vital. Will-power can come from the vital world or from the soul’s region or from the Transcendental Self. When we use the will-power from the Transcendental Self, we are safe, totally safe. When we use the will-power from the soul’s region, we are also totally safe. But when we use the will-power from the vital—the lower vital, aggressive vital, destructive vital or even the dynamic vital—then we run into danger. Very often people who do this create danger and difficulty for themselves and for others because they do not have proper control of the vital force. But a real spiritual Master first uses God’s Wisdom-Light and then uses God’s Will-Power in order to illumine blind mankind and feed hungry mankind.
Love and the lower vital life in Kundalini Yoga. Real love and the life of the lower vital are two totally different things. Concentration is an outer vigilance. Meditation is an inner vigilance. Concentration says that the life of the lower vital must not be suppressed, but sublimated. Meditation says that the life of the lower vital not only has to be sublimated, but also has to be perfected, illumined and liberated. It is not an easy task to conquer the lower vital movements. It cannot be done all at once, but must be done slowly and steadily. If you run towards the goal at a steady pace, then you are bound to reach it. Always you have to live a life of purity, a life of conscious awareness and a life of self-dedication. Then the lower vital can be transformed into the dynamic, illumined vital, which can be utilised by God Himself.
Concentration tells us that the life of love must not run between the binding human in us and the binding human in others. Concentration further says that the life of love must run between the divine in us and the divine and immortal in God. Only then can our love and God’s Love together be fulfilled. Meditation says that the life of love must run between our realisation of God and God’s manifestation in us. Meditation further says that the life of love must run between the transformed and perfected passion of the body and the illumining and fulfilling ecstasy of the Spirit.
The animal in us does not know what real love is. The human in us knows perfectly well what real love is, but it feels that real love is beyond its reach. The divine in us knows that real love is within our easy reach. And it tells us soulfully, emphatically and categorically what real love is. Real love is ceaseless self-offering and endless God-becoming.
Most of you know much about concentration and meditation. I wish to say that no matter which path you follow or which Yoga you practise, concentration and meditation have to be given utmost importance. Now what do we mean by concentration? What do we actually do when we concentrate? When you concentrate, you have to feel that nothing exists except the thing that you are concentrating upon. When you concentrate, try to forget the rest of the world: what is within you, around you, before you, above you, below you. Concentrate on only one object. If you want to concentrate on the tip of your thumb, start with imagination. Imagine that your only possession is your thumb. There is nothing else which you can claim as your own. The rest of the body does not belong to you — only the thumb. If you want to concentrate on the tip of your nose, feel that you are the possessor of only your nose; you are not the possessor of your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your limbs. If you begin to think of something else, feel that you are entering into foreign territory. In this way, you will develop your power of concentration.
You are at liberty to choose any part of your body to concentrate on, but try to use some part which you feel as your very own. And do not concentrate on your arm or your hand or your leg. Take a very small part of your body, the eye or the nose or the fingertip. The smaller the better for concentration.
If you want to concentrate on your heartbeat, do not be afraid. There are some beginners who feel that when they are concentrating on their heartbeat, their heart will stop and they will die. Tremendous fear enters into them. They feel that they are going to die immediately. They may be able to concentrate on anything else, but when it is a matter of concentrating on the heartbeat, they are terribly afraid. But if you want to be a real hero in your spiritual life, you should try to concentrate on your heartbeat. This is the golden opportunity for you to enter into the endless life. Each time you hear the sound of your heartbeat, immediately feel your infinite, immortal life there.
If you want to develop the power of concentration very rapidly, then please do this. Before you concentrate, wash your face and eyes properly. Then make a black dot on the wall at eye level and stand facing the dot, about ten inches away. Concentrate on the dot. After a few minutes try to feel that while you are breathing in, your breath is actually coming from the dot, and that the dot is also breathing in, getting its breath from you. Try to feel that there are two persons: you and the black dot that you have made. Your breath is coming from that dot and its breath is coming from you. Now in ten minutes’ time, if your concentration is very powerful, you will feel that something from within you has left. And what is that something? It is your soul. Your soul has left you and entered into the black dot on the wall. Now feel that you and your soul are conversing. Your soul is taking you into the soul’s world for realisation and you are bringing the soul into your world for manifestation. In this way you can develop your power of concentration very easily. But this method has to be practised. There are many things which are very easy with practice, but just because we do not practise we do not get the result.
Always bear in mind that the power of concentration can be developed very rapidly only when you concentrate on a very tiny thing, something as tiny as possible. The power of meditation is totally different, however. When you want to develop the power of meditation, then think of something very vast. Think of the sky or the sea. When you meditate early in the morning or in the evening, you do not have to face the ocean or look up into the sky if you do not want to. Earlier I said that if you can see the rising sun in the morning, it is extremely helpful. But if you do not have the opportunity to see the sun or the sky or the sea, no harm. Try to see the rising sun inside you; try to see the sky inside you; try to see the ocean inside you. Your spiritual heart is infinitely larger than the ocean and infinitely vaster than the sky. When you meditate, please do not expect anything either from yourself or from God. You will be able to make the fastest progress if you do not expect anything from your meditation. Do not expect that tomorrow you are going to be the best instrument of God or that God will make you His choice instrument tomorrow. Just meditate on God’s Heart, which is all Light. And if you want to concentrate, concentrate on God’s Feet, which are all Compassion. You do not need thousands of things either from your life or from God. You need only God’s Compassion and God’s Light. If you have these, then you have everything.
Through either concentration or meditation, you can arouse your kundalini. But if you want to develop the kundalini powers, there is an easy process. Practise Hatha Yoga. Here in the West, there are many, many teachers who can teach Hatha Yoga and who are extremely good at doing the exercises. Hatha Yoga will help you to purify your body-consciousness and purity is of great importance in Kundalini Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the union of the sun quality and the moon quality: that is to say, the dynamic quality and the mild quality in us. The dynamic quality is power and the mild quality is beauty. These two are united in Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, on the other hand, is the union of consciousness and illumination. When consciousness and illumination become one, you can achieve anything that you want to achieve.
But if there are some seekers who want only God, God’s Light and the highest Truth, then I wish to say that these seekers should follow only one path, and that is the path of self-offering, the path of surrender, the path of constant self-giving. If you want to realise the Infinite, the Absolute, then follow the path of constant and unconditional surrender. If you follow Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga or Jnana Yoga — no matter which you follow — when you reach your goal it will be like getting a few most delicious mangoes from the tree. You have seen the mangoes and taken them, but the owner is not there. But if you follow the Yoga of unconditional surrender, in which the human will is offered to the divine Will, then you will get the Owner of the tree, and the Owner will gladly offer you the fruits of all the trees in His garden.
The Yoga of surrender can be practised with and in all other systems of Yoga; but he who wants God alone, God the infinite Truth, God the infinite Peace, infinite Light and infinite Bliss, most assuredly must practise the Yoga of surrender. This surrender is not the surrender of a lazy person. This is the surrender of someone who is dynamic, active and constantly ready to offer himself, to become what God wants him to become.