THE NATURE AND ADVANTAGES OF REAL MEDITATION
Meditation comes from the Latin word medi which means middle. It is the same as the word concentration. Con means with. It is also a Latin word. Centre also means the middle. So both words, meditation and concentration, mean focusing all your attention into something and this focusing will give the mind peace, for when the mind is concentrated on something, then it is still, then it is rivetted. And from this stillness, this concentration, arises a feeling of peace, satisfaction and contentment. Only, therefore, through meditation does the mind find peace, for only then is it settled in something. Otherwise it is restless, always searching for something to engage it, always flitting from one thing to another. When it is not flitting, it must be settled in something, it must be at rest, it must be in peace. So everyone really, whether they realize it or not, is seeking something to meditate upon, something on which one's mind can become concentrated and hence find peace and satisfaction. At such a time the mind is completely in the present, it is neither thinking of the past nor future. Hence it is trapped in the here and now, there is no thinking, "What should I do now?" or "Wasn't it wonderful yesterday" or, "I wonder what will happen tomorrow", or other thoughts that cause dissatisfaction and desires. The present moment is bringing you total fulfilment.
You do not have to be a great yogi or indulge in any special practices in order to meditate. If you are watching a jet plane moving through the sky, then for a few moments when your attention is completely concentrated on that plane, you are meditating. Nothing else is on your mind. When the plane disappears behind a building or a cloud, then the meditation is broken, and immediately the mind will think, "Where am I, what have I got to do now?"
The key to meditation is constancy or regularity of the object of the meditation. When the object is constant, then a flow is established. When it is regular, then a rhythm is established. It is easy for the mind to fix itself in either of these. This is why people find peace in contemplating clouds floating in the sky, waves breaking on the beach or fish swimming in a tank. This is why 'beat' music has become so popular. The repetition of a sequence of notes, punctuated by a regular beat, is a simple meditation technique.
So every human being surrounds himself in his life with a maze of mantras, or those objects and activities in whose regularity or constancy he finds his peace. His wife and family may be one, his morning coffee another, his annual vacation another, his regular consumption of a narcotic another, his daily paper another, his regular coition another, his job satisfaction another, and, of course, the one common to all human beings, his occupation of a human body.
The word mantra is composed of two Hindi words - man, meaning mind, and tra, meaning shelter. It is something in which the mind finds shelter, and any of the above mentioned are therefore mantras. To many people, however, it has come to mean an actual word or phrase repeated to oneself, either silently or verbally, upon which one can fix one's concentration. This more limited meaning of the word has arisen because of the increased interest over the past few years in Eastern techniques of meditation, and the spoken, repeated mantra plays a great part in many of these. There is no significance at all in the meaning of the words that are spoken in such a mantra. The effectiveness of the spoken or mentally repeated mantra lies only in its repetition, by which the mind is fixed onto a very small regular mental movement. The mantra is like a metronome. Whether you are repeating gravy gravy, or a more complicated phrase such as By repeating this sentence I shall obtain peace of mind, or one of the many words for the absolute state of peace, such as Jesus, Jesus or Buddha, Buddha, or Krishna, Krishna, or Rama, Rama, it does not matter. One very popular Indian teacher of meditation who sells mantras gives a simple Hindi word, meaning some everyday thing such as buttermilk or water. The idea is that the Western recipient, not knowing the meaning of his mantra, will not have any excuse for his mind to wander away from the mantra. If he were repeating sunny surf, before long he would probably begin to think of many pleasing associated subjects, hence forgetting the original phrase.
In the Christian church, mantras have always played an important part. One is instructed to repeat so many times a short prayer, a Hail Mary, or Pater Noster, and in early days, and also today in some branches of Christianity, the Gregorian chant, the monotonous repetition of a single sound is meant to
provide a means of getting closer to God. Also the counting of beads, another act of regular repetition, is recommended by many religions.
The principle for all these repetitive practices is the same. They fix the mind in a regular circle of movement, hence giving it concentration, stillness, and a subsequent feeling of peace, just as the body also feels rested after having lied down for some time. It has nothing to do, as some people ignorantly maintain, with what word or action is being repeated or constantly indulged in.
There is no doubt that a mantra, in its true meaning as anything in whose flow or rhythm the mind finds shelter or rest, and in its limited meaning as a verbally or mentally repeated word or phrase, brings some peace to the mind. It must do, because the less the mind is moving, the more rest it has, and peace wines from rest. The difficulty, however, with all mantras is that they are temporary, and hence the peace, satisfaction or understanding that they give rise to are also temporary. From a finite action must come a finite result, and all mantras are finite. Even that most constant and ever-present mantra, the human body, so constant and ever-present that most people take it completely for granted, is finite in its duration. Everything that comes to the individual from outside himself is contained within the duration of a human body, and that means everything that was not inherently there in the beginning and will not be inherently there in the end. This includes habits, possessions, families, religious practices, beliefs and opinions, etc. A mantra which has to be given from outside by word of mouth, or by having it written down, is also included in this. So God, eternal consciousness, permanent peace, and everlasting happiness cannot be reached or even approached in any of these ways. The way to the infinite must also be infinite. The way to God must be God. You do not get wheat by planting pebbles, only by planting wheat.
All the great saints in all the religions have spoken of a mantra which is eternal, silent, and nonphysical. A never-ending flow of energy. God Himself, who flows through and therefore sustains all life. Being inherently in the heart of everything, as the life-force, He cannot be introduced into something from the outside. His nature, if it is not known, is knowable; if it is not already visible, is able to be revealed. This is the supreme mantra because it is the eternal one. In the Hindi language it is called the Maha Mantra. Maha means great. In the English version of the Bible it is called the Holy Name. Holy means whole, complete, perfect, or self-existent. In the ancient Hebrew language it is called the Magi Cabala. Magi means great; cabala means word. This is how Lord Jesus expressed it in His original sermons: "Know the Magicabala, know the Magicabala." When this is abbreviated, it forms the word magic, which is a very popular word today. Many people talk a lot of nonsense about different kinds of magic and pretend they are learned on the subject, but not many of them know the real origin or meaning of the word magic. He is the true magician who knows the Holy Name and constantly meditates upon it, and to know this you have to be a simple and pure person for the Name is simple and pure, yet wise enough not to be deceived into bead-counting or phrase-chanting, for the Name is the source of all wisdom. For the Name is God Himself. It cannot be spoken, for before there was voice, there was Holy Name. How then can it be known? Only by going to Him who can reveal it, and by becoming the true devotee of Shri Guru Maharaj Ji who is that person, and who is alive today. His discourses are to be found in this magazine.
The disciples of Guru Maharaj Ji are asked to contribute in every way to the Divine Light Mission, which is spreading the Divine Knowledge of Holy Name, the ender of suffering and bringer of peace for all humanity, over the earth at this time. The speed with which it does this depends upon the practical resources and financial assistance afforded to it by its own members, those who have received the Divine Knowledge. The Knowledge is freely given. Any contribution you make is voluntary and will be put to the best possible use. You can send your donations to the Treasurer, who lives at 3 Woodside Avenue, Highgate, London, N.6, and a receipt will be sent to you. Without a receipt you cannot be sure that your contribution is being spent in the right way. Cheques, postal orders, and bankers orders should be made payable to Divine Light Mission and will be much appreciated.
Jai Sat Chit Anand