Transitory nature of
Twelve Facets of
GURU SHREE CHITRABHANU
On Others as Different
In Search of the
Human life is a place where we
can grow in peace and understanding, provided we get some light. Without
light, this place can be chaos and we can get lost in it. Like traveling at
night without a torch in hand, we may stumble and tumble down anywhere.
Human life is engulfed in
beauty and mystery. It is overwhelming. It overpowers us and thrills us. The
mind tries to explore it, peep into it, get to the heart of it. It cannot
succeed. It is like a child trying to tell about the vastness of the ocean by
expanding his arms as he cries out, "I saw so much water! It was so-o-o big!"
His expression does not come close to describing the vastness of the ocean. In
the same way, when the mind tries to describe the mystery of this universe, it
is like a child. The mind cannot reveal or comprehend it. Why? Because the
mystery of the living universe is unlimited and the mind is limited.
So we need some light, some
power which is beyond the mind, which is unlimited. When we have that kind of
light, then we are able to comprehend the universal mystery. Then we are able
to educate the mind and loosen its hold on concepts, forms, and definitions.
If we do not enlighten our mind, then it will assume the role of teacher; and
though the unenlightened mind is nothing but a child in primary school, it
will pretend to explain all the secrets of the universe.
If we allow ourselves to be
guided by this limited mind, two things will happen. Outside we will not know
how to relate, and inside we will not know how to live in peace. Outside, our
relationships will be spoiled or disturbed, and inside there will be constant
upheaval or conflict. From these come frustration and friction.
So we see our need for some
light. From where does the light come? From deep inner experience, from
meditating on those experiences which have come from the masters to the
initiates. Such a light can help us see subjectively the inner conflict and
objectively the outside confusion .
But to understand and
experience the experiences of the masters, we need some preparation, some
ground-work. The vessel must be ready to receive the force of the essence
which is poured into it. If it is not, the vessel will be broken or destroyed
or melted, and the essence will be lost in the dust. In the same way, if our
mind is not prepared for the truth, it may become frightened and be unable to
bear the truth.
So the initiates ready
themselves to receive inside truth. They strengthen their vessel to be in
accordance with the essence. That is why they digest and assimilate the
teaching into their lives. That is why they find peace in life. In this world,
they are able to live with such an awareness that they neither misuse their
energy nor experience conflict. They do not inflict pain, sadness, or torture
on themselves or on others:
Generally, those people who you
think are intellectual and skillful in the world are not what they seem to be
on the surface. If you watch them with a balanced mind, in a nonjudgmental
way, you will see that they are doing nothing but inculcating pain in their
life. There comes a point when there is so much sorrow and pain that they are
not able to bear it. So they take many things to cover it up and soothe it.
They take medicine to tranquilize the pain. Tranquilizers indicate that man is
inflicting pain on himself. To relieve or minimize the effect of the pain, he
resorts to many outer things: wine, drugs, pills; or he runs after pleasure
and sense gratification. They all indicate that underneath there is some pain.
If you can develop insight, at
least you will not inflict pain on your own self. You won't have to be in that
parade. By not joining the procession, at least you will be in a position to
help other people who need your help. If you are driven by the current of the
parade, then your feet are marching to the beat of someone else's drum. You
are not moving according to your own pace.
First you have to stand back
and watch the parade without becoming involved with the march or the music.
You take these reflections to help remove yourself from the crowd. Use them to
come out from the world of make-believe and see reality as it is. It may be
painful. You are not used to seeing in that way. You are used to living in a
world of fantasy. But without clarity, how can you go further?
The last facet was ekatva--to
meditate on that indestructible energy that is you. Unless you get in touch
with that, you will not be able to free yourself from all the fears. Unless
you experience your aloneness, you will not be able to realize oneness.
Today is the day to focus on
the fifth facet--anyatva-swatva. Anyatva means that which is other than your
essence or Self. Swatva means Selfhood. It helps you to see two things: 1)
anya, where you have mistakenly identified yourself or mixed yourself up, and
2) swa, your real Self. It is a process of separation. You are not that with
which you have identified. Your real Self cannot be identified with anything.
It is unique.
Ask yourself, "What are those
things with which I have identified?" You can know what they are by observing
your reaction when you are required to live without them. If you have created
identity with something, and that something is taken away from you, you
experience great pain. In that loss you feel loss. In its destruction you feel
destruction. In its decay you feel decay. In every dependency you are inviting
Observe what happens when you
identify with something. You turn it into an idea. Then you become a prisoner
of the created idea. You want to maintain it at all costs. And that is what
people do. They kill for an idea. Not only that, they die for it. All the
'isms', patriotism, sectarianism, dogmatism, are nothing but a camouflage for
self-punishment. Holding onto ideas, we punish ourselves. But we have not come
into the world to punish ourselves. We are not here to be angry and separate
from other human beings. Being angry, we hurt ourselves. The idea behind this
philosophy is to be free from pain, to be healthy.
So contemplate how many things
you have bound yourself to: racial, cultural, or religious labels,
possessions, sensory objects, relatives and friends. See that by holding onto
them, instead you are caught. By trying to make them yours, you become a
prisoner to them. Stop punishing yourself. Disidentify, untie, and free! Why
create attachment to things which are on the road to decay? Ultimately they
depart from us or we depart from them. When this happens, there is inner pain.
Why? Because identifying with them, we keep them deep down in our
subconscious, and when they go along with the process of nature, our clinging
mind feels the loss.
To transcend all forms of
self-punishment, know your incomparable Self. Experience the difference
between what is Self and what is not, and see that what is yours can never be
taken away from you, and that what is not yours never can be owned.
Take this insight into your
meditation on your relationships. For example, you may have built a
relationship with a particular man. When you see him talking to another woman,
there is a burning sensation, an uncomfortable feeling. Why? What has gone?
Nothing has gone. But your mind has built an identity with that person, and
because of its attachment to "mine," it feels threatened and in pain. If you
did not build identity with that person, seeing him with someone else would
not bother you. You would not care. But when the mind is spying, it is
constantly engaged. It is thinking, "Why does he meet with her? What is his
intention?" So long as the mind is spying in that way, do you think you will
be able to meditate and think of divinity?
Moreover, if you are not able
to free yourself from that burning sensation, and if it lasts for three or
four days it will create indigestion. To digest food, the whole body needs a
pleasant, relaxed flow of energy. When you are tense, the body cells are
contracted. Where there is contraction, there is no digestion. Constipation
indicates that inside we are burning with unhappiness. The burning energy
absorbs all our digestive juices. People don't see how much energy they are
burning up in jealousy, in spying, in thinking "mine" and "thine."
The word "agony" comes from the
Sanskrit agni; or fire, and later, from the Greek agou, or struggle. Jealousy
is both, a fire and a struggle. It burns! When you are completely roasted and
toasted inside, the juice is gone! Agony comes when people create an
attachment for each other's bodies. See what happens when there is a
separation or divorce. People break with difficulty . They say , "She has
spoiled my life." No one has spoiled your life except you with your own
In reflecting on anyatva, start
with your own body and say, "The body is different from what I am. The body is
anya, or other. I am swa, or Self." Don't confuse one with the other. See them
for what they are. When you stop mixing them up, you will be able to know what
it is to have companionship. You will know, "What is living, sentient, and
formless is evermoving energy; that is me. What is composing and decomposing
is insentient energy. That is the body.'' The first is neither composing nor
decomposing; the second is always composing and decomposing.
Our bodies are conceived from a
single cell. The formation of the body is a process of cells dividing from one
to two, from two to four, from four to eight, and so on. The body increases
its weight every day. Eight or nine pounds of weight have come from one single
cell multiplying, composing, and decomposing. There is not a single moment in
which the process stops. It goes on until the last day of our lives.
When we meditate on that, we
see the process in its entirety. At any time, that which is composed can
decompose. It is not a new discovery. There is no reason for it to give you a
shock. When you understand it, you are no longer surprised by anything. The
unknown surprises you, but the known is a fact, a statement. You accept it.
Separating yourself through
meditation from this process of composing and decomposing, you then ask, "Who
is animating this process ? Who is beyond this process?" You answer, "That is
I." "I" sits there in the center. This must become your experience, as clear
as the day. Then you will know you have experienced a spiritual glimpse. You
will realize, "I am that which is not destructible. I am that which remains
unchanged. It is the outside which goes on changing."
Go further and observe, "This
body is nothing but a reflection of my inside perception." A person who goes
on thinking in an ugly way builds an ugly body. A person who thinks
beautifully builds a beautiful body. If you feel rage and bitterness toward
someone, it will be seen on your face. If you were to set up an automatic
camera to take your own picture every time you felt rage, you would not want
to recognize yourself.
Faces are neither young nor
old; it is inside perception which changes them. There are young people whose
faces are cruel, and there are old people whose faces are mellow, molded with
compassion. An angry face takes a tense form. It is distorted. A peaceful face
takes a poised form, due to an inside composed feeling. The world is not agony
or pain. Pain is your own confusion. The world is neutral. You can make what
you want out of it.
So now we see that the
condition of the body is the result of yesterday's perception. There is no
need to blame anybody else. There is the body and there is the Self. The Self
is that which animates the body. Our body is not at fault for the way it
looks. By feeling an inside feeling of health, pleasantness, love, we are
slowly changing our form with our thoughts. These thoughts are formed inside
and the result will ultimately show on the outside.
Watch the outer world and
experience the inner world. In this way, you will know the two are
complementary to each other. Live with pure joy in the body; keep it clean,
beautiful, relaxed, and wholesome. This vehicle is not for any masochistic
purpose. The real ascetic is he or she who does not destroy this beautiful
vehicle. Ignorant people torture their body instead of changing their
perception. They punish it as though the body were the cause of their
suffering. They do not see that the body can be at their command. It is inside
perception which must be changed.
That is why one of the basic
steps is called shaucha-- cleanliness. Keep your body and mind clean and you
will go toward godliness. Someone with a dirty body, unclean mouth,
ill-smelling clothes is not headed for salvation. The body must first be
healthy and clean. See that your energy can be felt through all the pores.
See that you are clean
emotionally. Remove bad intentions from your consciousness. Don't encourage
gossip. Don't misuse your hands; use them for service.
When you eat, be in tune with
your food. The monks observe silence while eating, and say to themselves, "Oh
Lord! Through awareness of you, I realize that this body is a means to
liberation. So with innocent and sanctified food, I nourish this body in order
to reach the goal." Keeping this in mind, you make your body a beautiful and
useful vehicle for your growth. You see it for what it is.
Observe: "I am not that which I
am using. My possessions are for my best use, growth, progress, and
communication." When anything comes, you give room to it. When it goes, you
let it pass by, float by. There is no need to lower your horns and fight for
something like a bull!
Those people who want to be
with you, let them be with you! To those who don't want to be with you, say,
"Good-bye now!" When they come
again, say, "Welcome!" Do not live on past revenge or vindictiveness. If
something has gone or is going, let it go! In this way, you become so free.
Ultimately, everything is going
to go. It is easy to talk about it, but difficult to live it. When the moment
comes in which we are tested, sometimes we act differently. Why does a dog
love a piece of bone? It has no juice, no meat. It has nothing. It is dry. But
the dog goes on chewing on it, and in the process of chewing sometimes cuts
its own palate. It bleeds, and the blood gets on the bone. The dog licks it
and thinks, "Oh, the sweetness!" Pleasure is so sweet to it that it forgets
the whole process of pain. Clinging to things is a habit of the mind. The
initiates see material things for what they are, without coloring or creating
distortion. When you see clearly you don't suffer objective conflict or
subjective confusion. You are free from both.
When you meditate on swatva,
you slowly begin to feel that what you are is not comparable with any worldly
thing. Say to yourself, "I am living with living energy." Whenever and
wherever you see living energy, you feel the flow of love with those living
When you see other human
beings, see the soul in them. As you have seen the "I am" in yourself, you see
the "I am" in them. In this way, you will not live on an attachment level. You
will not try to possess people and put them in your "purse." Let them be what
they are. Live on a love level, not on a possession level.
If you are genuine, others will
be genuine. If you don't see a genuine relationship growing, then let the
person go on his or her way. Say to yourself, "I am not here to take on
anybody's pain." See how smooth and pleasant and loving your relationships
will become, because you are not creating suffocation. There is no binding;
rather, it is genuine communication of life to life.
Knowing your reality, you will
see that reality in all living forms. Then you will know the meaning of
compassion. Compassion is not seeing the form of human, plant, or animal; it
is seeing the life. Once Abraham Lincoln saw a pig stuck in the mud. He told
his driver to stop the carriage. He got down into the mud and pulled the pig
out. He lost concern for his dress clothes. He transcended the form and saw
the pain of life.
Compassion is saying to
yourself, "If I were in that condition, how would I feel?" So when you see
pain, your heart flies there to elevate life from its burden. In this way, you
come out from the old habit of identifying life with form; instead, see form
as nothing but the externalization of inner life.
You also begin to see that
nothing is permanent in this world of forms--of things and emotions and
thoughts. You may think you have "urgent" work to do, but when you look very
deeply, there is nothing you can call a lifetime mission except to live and to
grow. In Rajkot, there was a police officer who made an appointment with me.
He had something he wanted to talk about with me. As monks, we had the duty of
complying with someone's request if we had free time to do so. I was a little
busy, so I suggested we meet the next morning. He said, "I would be glad to
make it tomorrow, but I have very urgent work tomorrow. I am expected to
attend a big case in court. Please let us meet today." So we agreed to meet at
A few hours later, a fellow
monk came to me and said, "The police officer has expired." He thought he had
a big case to attend the next morning, but life's mission had changed the date
So what is your lifetime
mission ? To live day by day, to identify with life and to go to bed each
night with love for all, ill will for none. There is no dead end for you. Your
life will go on creating. When you think, "Leaving this experience, I will
continue evolving elsewhere," your compulsion and hurry will drop away. You
will live and grow in beautiful relationships each day, with yourself and with
all living life.
THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION
Let me see that I am Self, and
that I have misidentified myself with that which is other than Self.
I have allowed my limited mind
to identify with ephemeral things and turn them into concepts. Binding myself
to them, I have become bound. Now I turn to that light which is beyond mind
and vaster than the material world. In throwing that light on the octopus grip
of the mind, I can persuade it to loosen its hold. I want to free myself of
dependency and perceive life clearly. I want to experience the beauty of my
The world is not agony or pain.
Pain is my own confusion, my own possessiveness. The world is neutral. I am
now going to use it as a testing ground for my growth, as an inspiration for
my progress, as a means to take me closer to all living life.