I do hope that most of you know, by this time, how to meditate well. Nevertheless, I wish to say a few things today in regards to meditation, and I am sure that today's talk will be of some help to your own meditation, individual as well as collective.
First of all, why do we meditate? We meditate precisely because we need something. And what is that something? That something is the conscious feeling of our oneness with the Supreme. This conscious feeling must be spontaneous and at the same time soulful.
Let me start with the ABC's of meditation. The best way to meditate is to sit cross-legged. The spine and the neck must be kept erect. If it is not possible for some of you to sit the way A, Sudha, Akuti and Lilly are sitting now, then please try, if you are sitting on a chair, to sit with the whole back straight and erect. Then, if you want to meditate at home, please try to keep a sacred place, a corner of your room absolutely pure and sanctified, and sit on a small cushion or rug. And please wear clean and light clothes. If possible, please burn incense at the time of your meditation, and place one flower, any flower, in front of you. Those of you who are my disciples will, keep my picture right in front of you. The others will also keep a picture of their spiritual beloved person, the Christ or some other spiritual figure. The picture of the person they adore or consider their master must be kept right in front of them. This I am telling you in general, but a day will come when you yourselves will discover a few inner secrets. Perhaps you have already discovered some by this time. My disciples know that they can repeat the name of the Supreme and my name as well.
When you start breathing in and breathing out, please be very careful. When you breathe in, try to breathe as slowly and quietly as possible; and when you breathe out, try to breathe out more slowly than you breathe in. Please try to remember this. And, if possible, leave a short gap between your second inhalation and the end of your first exhalation. But if it is not possible, never do anything against your organs, against your breathing system.
Now we have started breathing in. Each time you breathe in, try to feel that you are bringing into your body Peace, Infinite Peace. Now, what is the opposite of Peace? You all know: restlessness. When you breathe out, please try to feel that you are giving out nothing but the restlessness of your inner body and the restlessness that you see around you. When you breathe this way, restlessness will go. After practising this a few times, please try to feel that you are breathing in strength, power, from the universe, the cosmos. And what do you give out? When you exhale, try to give out fear. When you breathe out, all your fear will come out of your body. Please do this a few times and then try to feel that you are breathing in Joy, Infinite Joy, and breathing out sorrow, suffering and melancholy.
Now spiritual breathing starts. If you want to know the very beginning of secret breathing, in Sanskrit it is called pranayama. Prana is the vital energy; the Life-Breath; yama means control, control of the Life-Breath. The very first exercise you can practise is to repeat once, as you breathe in, the name of God, or the Supreme, or the Christ, or whomever you adore. Then hold your breath and count to four while calling for the Supreme or Christ or somebody else. When you breathe out, call twice for the Supreme. One, four, two. Gradually the aspirant can develop to four, sixteen, eight; but I wish you to practise only one, four, two right now. When you breathe in, one beat; when you hold your breath, four beats; when you breathe out, two beats.
This you can do to try to purify your mind. But if you want to have more purity, you can do one more spiritual exercise which is most effective. You all know the significance of AUM, the name of God. To start with, on Sunday you will repeat the sacred name of God, the Supreme, one hundred times; Monday, two hundred; Tuesday, three hundred; Wednesday, four hundred; Thursday, five hundred; Friday, six hundred; Saturday, seven hundred. Then on the following Sunday you come down to six hundred; Monday five hundred, and so on, to four hundred, three hundred, two hundred and one hundred. If you want to establish Purity all around you, inside you, within and without, then this is the most effective spiritual exercise. In New York some of my disciples have done it, and they are still doing it. They have achieved, I must say, considerable purification of their nature and of their emotional problems. Without purity nothing can remain permanently in our nature, in our body, in our system, in our life. Purity is needed. If one lacks purity, then no divine Truth can stay within him permanently. But whenever there is purity, peace, light, bliss, and power will be able to function most successfully and most truthfully. This does not mean that I am telling you that you are all impure — far from it; but the purest nature, the purest life will always have the deepest blessings of the Supreme. The more pure we are, the closer we are to the Supreme.
Now let us come to the problem of thought. Most of you become victims of thought — ugly thoughts, uncomely thoughts, silly thoughts, fearful thoughts — the moment you enter into meditation. How can we be freed from this attack? The first thing you have to know is whether the thoughts that are attacking you are coming from the outer world or from deep inside yourself. In the beginning it is difficult, I must say, to recognize the thoughts that are coming from the outside and those that are arising from the inside. But gradually you will be able to know that some thoughts are coming from outside, and the thoughts that are coming from outside can be driven back faster than the thoughts that enter us from within.
You have started your meditation and all thoughts and impure ideas enter you. Now, when you see that a thought is about to enter, please try to collect your soul's will from your heart and bring it right in front of your forehead. The moment your soul's will is seen by the thought, the thought is bound to disappear. But we have to know whether it is a good thought or a bad thought, a divine thought or an undivine thought. If it is a divine thought, please welcome the divine thought. If it is a thought of God or a thought of Divine Joy, Divine Love, expansion of Beauty, Purity, then allow that thought to come inside you and let it play, let it expand. Or try to follow the thought. If it is something about Grace, something about Divinity, Infinity, Eternity, Immortality, please try to see where the thought goes, try to follow the thought like a faithful dog. But if it is a bad thought, counter it immediately with your soul's will. These are the thoughts I was speaking of that are coming from the outside.
Now I wish to take the thoughts that we have already accumulated within us. When we see a thought arising from deep within us and that thought is not divine, it is absolutely impure, unlit, immediately we shall try to do one of two things. One is to feel that there is a hole right at the top of our head and that thought is like a channel or river which flows out and does not come back. It is gone and we have lost it. The other method is to see that we are a boundless ocean and that these thoughts are like fish. We represent the very depths of the ocean, with its calm, quiet feeling of tranquillity. On the surface is the play of the fish.
But I wish to tell you that it would be advisable for each of you right now to fight with the outer thoughts and to deal with the inner thoughts later on. If there are inner thoughts which are divine, progressive, encouraging, and inspiring, please try to grow with them and feel that they are like feet, feet of Infinity, Infinite Light, Infinite Bliss. And try to grow your body, mind, heart and soul with these feet.
Now, about the still deeper meditation. Those who are meditating on the ajna chakra should also practise concentrating on the heart. If the heart remains barren — that is to say, if this centre (pointing at the heart) is not opened up and the third eye is opened, then there will be a great deal of confusion in the human nature. If this heart centre does not open up and if Purity is not at all times applied to this centre, then you will have vision and at the same time you will be a victim of merciless temptation. You will try to see something and immediately tell people, or you will try to enter into somebody to see what is happening in his nature. There are a thousand and one things which will eventually lead you far, far away from the path of spirituality. Unless and until the emotional part of our human nature is totally purified, one of the greatest dangers is to open this centre (the third eye).
So I wish to tell you, please concentrate on the heart centre first. This centre is called anahata. You will get all Joy here, you will get all Love here. In this world, what do we need? Joy. What else do we need? Love. When we have achieved Joy and Love, then we want to have Vision or Wisdom here (the third eye). This centre of Vision should be opened after the centre in the heart, otherwise there is every risk of falling. But there are people who have opened this centre (the third eye) without having opened the heart centre and by the Grace of the Supreme have not made so-called mistakes.
Women, without an exception, should try to meditate on the heart centre. It is easier for them to open the heart centre than it is for men. For men it is easier to open up this centre (the third eye). But both men and women must open both centres. There are other centres as well, but let us think of this ajna centre in the forehead and the heart centre, anahata. While meditating let us concentrate on the heart centre first, and then on the ajna, the third-eye centre. Now, while you meditate please try to get the proper location of the ajna centre. It is not between the eyes, not between the eyebrows, but a little above — not in the centre of the forehead, but right at this point (a point a little higher than the point between the eyebrows). Here you have to meditate. In the beginning if you find it difficult please look at a mirror and put a dot a little above the point between your eyebrows and try to fix the place.
When you are meditating at home, if it is possible, please meditate all alone. This rule does not apply to husband and wife if they have the same spiritual master, in which case they can meditate together. And the closest spiritual friends who understand each other thoroughly in their inner lives can meditate together. Otherwise it is not advisable to meditate in one private room together. In the Centre it is not so; the disciples should meditate together collectively there. But for individual daily meditation I feel it is better if one meditates in one's own room privately, in secret.
Now, the hours of meditation: the best hour of meditation, according to Indian seers, sages and spiritual masters, is four o'clock in the morning. That is called Brahma Muhurta, the moment or the time of the Brahma, the best time. But in the West, if you go to bed late, the best hour for you is five-thirty or six in the morning. But if someone goes to bed at twelve-thirty or one o'clock in the morning and gets up at nine in the morning, for him nine o'clock is the best hour. So it is to be settled according to the individual case and the individual capacity.
Now, that is the first time in the day. If you can meditate between twelve and twelve-thirty, for ten or fifteen minutes, it is wonderful. This meditation also you have to do inside, not in the street. A day will come when you will be able to meditate anywhere, while driving or doing anything else.
Then when the sun is about to set, you can look at the sun and meditate. For ten minutes try to meditate. At that time please try to feel that you have become totally one with the sun, with the cosmic nature. Now you have played your part during the day most satisfactorily, and you are going to retire — that will be the feeling.
Then meditate at the time of retirement — nine o'clock, ten o'clock, or whenever you go to bed. It is always better to go to bed by eleven at night. But necessity knows no laws; if under compulsion you have to work overnight, it is all right for you.
Each one should meditate in his own way. Sometimes people ask me what they should do if they don't have a good meditation — they are restless. If any of you find it difficult to meditate on a particular day, then do not try to force yourselves. If you are my disciple, just look at my picture. Do not try to meditate, do not try to concentrate. Only look at my picture, at my eyes or at my forehead or at my nose — just look. If you belong to someone else, or if you have no guru but you have a picture of something to concentrate on, please concentrate on that and do not try to force yourself to meditate. Then when you get up for your daily work, do not even once feel miserable that you could not meditate. If you feel that you could not do meditation and your Inner Being is displeased with you or you are displeased with yourself, then you are making a great mistake. If you cannot meditate on a particular day, try to leave the responsibility on me or on the person you worship, the Supreme or God. Never feel sorry. If you feel sorry, the progress that you made yesterday or the day before will be countered.
There are some who want to meditate while lying down. I wish to tell you that that kind of meditation is not at all advisable for the beginner, nor for those who have been meditating for quite a few years. It is only for the most advanced disciples and for the realised souls. Otherwise you will lie down and immediately you will enter into the world of sleep or a kind of inner drift or doze. Furthermore, while you are lying down your breathing is not as perfect as it is when you are meditating in a sitting position.
About food: please do not take a heavy meal before your meditation. A minimum of two hours should elapse between your mealtime and your meditation. People used to say that one should wait two and one-half hours, but I say a minimum of two hours. If you want to eat after meditation, please wait for half an hour. During that half-hour you can move around, you can read if you like.
But do not eat immediately after you have meditated. After you have had a proper meditation, you may have a very small quantity of milk, water, or juice, but not a proper meal. Then another thing: suppose you are pinched with hunger and you know that if you eat right now then you have to wait for two hours before you can meditate. At that time please drink a small quantity of water or juice. You have to know that when you are extremely hungry you are not to meditate, because that hunger, the monkey, is constantly pinching you. You have to feed the monkey and make him quiet for a few minutes. If you want to meditate for half an hour, first please eat or drink something which will take only a couple of seconds — not a full meal, just a small quantity. In India many people make that same mistake. They are hungry but they won't eat because they know that if they eat then they must wait for at least two hours. Then they don't do proper meditation. In hunger please don't meditate.
MDT 1. Talk by Guru on 24 July 1968, Puerto Rico Centre↩