Techniques of Meditation

by Mouni Sadhu

Techinques of MeditationONE OF THE INITIATIONS through which we pass while in the presence of the Maharshi, is true meditation which years of study of occult literature had assured me was the key to the awakening of supraphysical consciousness. During my allegiance to Theosophy I practiced different forms of meditation in accordance with their literature. From what I have since found out, the knowledge given was for beginners.

Their aim was to direct the mind into certain deliberately chosen channels of thought. There were meditations on different themes such as Beauty, Love, Purity, Wisdom, Devotion, God, the Creator of the Universe and so on. The object was to keep these ideas in the mind as long as possible, and to imagine the working out of these virtues in the consciousness. Such “meditations”’ can create certain currents of thought in the mind, conditioning it to a positive force which activates the thinking. Such exercises have a certain usefulness, for it is said “a man is as he thinks.”

In other words, the manner of a man’s thinking creates his worthiness. If he associates himself with good and positive thoughts his nature will be improved; if with negative and evil currents—he will retrograde and fall. All this is true in the relative field, but it’s founded on the assumption that man’s consciousness is derived from his thinking apparatus or mind.

Formerly it was impossible for me to conceive of anything beyond mind. Its ocean was shoreless, and from each island as I reached it, there appeared others still to be investigated. The goal could never be reached by this process. I know now that there is no “limit” to the mind’s activity either for good or evil.

Man can elevate his mind, as do the Yogis, and perform “miracles” as have many of the saints of all religions. The mind is a power, and when controlled and directed, its force and subtlety are apparently unlimited. But only apparently, for the power of mind is based on the false notion that there is one who thinks, and an object of thought. This is the old lie of duality, and its end cannot be brought about by the ennoblement of the instrument.

The subject and object still exist. This conception hinders the relation of the unreality of the outer world. And to count this as real is an insurmountable obstacle on the path of realization of the true Self in man.

So long as a one’s consciousness is unable to merge in the whole, there will always be the necessity for re-births and reincarnations in matter. The bewitched circle is closed.

Mouni Sadhu PhotoStrangely, from the first days of my stay at the Ashram, my old mental meditations were forgotten and I could not practice them in the presence of the Master. So it still is, and for me there will be no return to those old currents of thought. Every day there is a more and more urgent inclination to be still, to remain without thought, to merge in the silence. The inaudible inner voice tells me that there lies the truth.

Maharshi himself insisted on the necessity for meditation, but what does he mean by this term? He calls true meditation “silence,” “being still,” “stillness.” So it was the same power which drew me then and now.

While one is immersed in water one cannot see anything above the water’s surface. The world is veiled from sight. To gain the wider horizon one has to rise out of the water, and only then will one realize how limited was one’s former vision. So long as one is merged in the world of thought—the realm of mind—his consciousness will be bounded by its limitations.

Thought must always have an object, however sublime it may be, thus there must always be two, not one. Therefore thought and its process is a blind alley.

ramana-maharshi-photoThe Master’s power released me from all desire to follow this by-path. It was simply forgotten, as mentioned before. In a previous chapter of this diary it was said that I am not a believer in miracles. So I cannot put the help and activity of the Master into this category. But the fact remains, and that is all that matters. In this manner I came at last to the secret of true meditation. This state when I am aware of being apart from the thinking process can be called true meditation. This Awareness is the source of all Life, of that which is my life. It is the source of everything. From It alone I draw all that makes possible what I say on these pages. What I can express is tragically little.

When I first realized the impossibility of conveying anything more than fragments from this source, it seemed to me that the rest must be lost. After my first plunge into silence, I could not remember much about that experience and I simply said that the bridge was destroyed. Now it is different. Perhaps the mind-brain has learned to transmit something more of this higher realm of consciousness. It is immaterial what the reason is, the fact alone is important.

But how can one enter this state of supra-mental meditation? Analyzing the process in myself, I find that first, must come the stopping of all thoughts. The Vichara ripens the mind so that interest in the thinking process vanishes, and the stilling of the mind, so difficult in the past, becomes easy.

Secondly, when the mind is still, there arises a strong urge to be united with the whole, but what this whole is, cannot yet be conceived and I feel that I could never attain it alone. The closest comparison is—melting and dissolving in That which alone Is. It is different to leaving the body or ego for there is no movement. One remains where one is, but is not what one was before. Everything that could be seen or felt before is now apart from me. No more can be told.

Thirdly, the state of unity with the whole brings an unshakable certainty that only this state is real and permanent. That it is that last refuge which one has always sought, and from which one can never more be lost. There is nothing beyond it, for—it is all.

The conception that we know as “death” is obliterated, but this does not mean that we are in that state thought of as “life after death.” The only fact one knows is, that this fife will always go on. In this state of being there are no such false distinctions of time as past, present, and future.

It is possible to force language to convey to the mind something of that which one brings back from such a meditation, but it is likely to be of no avail, and more likely to be misunderstood. And there is no certainty that others wall come to this kind of silent meditation by the same way as oneself. So that any description can only suggest and even that may not be an appropriate path for another.

There is a mysterious experience which proves the power of the Vichara. The Master insisted that we should not use it as a Mantra, that is, as words only, but soak each question with the desire to know “Who Am I?” By using the Vichara in this way, after stilling the mind, the answer comes of itself, but without words or thought—you know who you are.

What follows—is inexpressible.

This is the great service that Maharshi performed for humanity—the welding of this infallible instrument of achievement, the inspired Vichara.

Mouni Sadhu wrote the classic book on Ramana Maharshi In Days of Great Peace, first published after the Maharshi’s death, in 1952. He was an earnest seeker who pursued many different paths until he met his master—whose profound presence had an ever-lasting influence on his life. For more information on Mouni Sadhu, visit: www.mounisadhu.com

From In Days of Great Peace, by Mouni Sadhu. Copyright © 1952 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd.