Hindrances of meditation
Spiritual Discourse: Obstacles In Meditation and How to Remove Them
Post for the Week of July 13th-19th - By Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Maharaj
Some persons complain that they do not have the bliss of concentration during Bhajan [listening for the inner Sound during meditation], or that they have had no inner experiences. The reason is that at the time of Abhyas or devotional practice their mind is either engaged in worldly pursuits or desires, or that they sit in Bhajan soon after doing some worldly acts or ruminating about them, or that they are unable to know and appreciate whatever they see or hear internally.
It is clear that whenever a person, at the time of Abhyas [meditation practice], raises in his mind the thoughts and desires of the worldly affairs, the currents of mind and Surat (spirit) would, at that time, flow towards the sense-organ concerned. As the mind is capable of doing one thing only at a time, and the spiritual bliss is only discernible higher up, or in the higher current, how can, therefore, the bliss or pleasure of Bhajan be had unless the current of the mind is turned upwards and contacts the spirituality of the higher plane?
Whoever sits in Bhajan or devotional practices while thinking of some worldly object or after finishing some worldly work, his mind and spirit are then saturated with the currents of worldly desires at that time, and his attention and tendency would be downwards. So, unless he turns his attention in right earnest and sits in Bhajan with deep love and yearning, his mind and spirit would not be earnestly and wholly engaged in Bhajan and therefore no bliss would be perceived. In those circumstances, it is proper for him to recite thoughtfully some hymns of Chetawani (warning) or Virah (deep yearning) or Prem (love and devotion) from the Sar Bachan Poetry, and thus divert his attention. Then, of course, he can derive some bliss and pleasure in Abhyas (spiritual practices).
There are some persons who, after knowing the secrets of heavenly spheres, desire that the first sphere should be open before their eyes immediately. Whatever glimpse they get of that region, they wish that it should permanently remain before them, and if they hear the Sound of the first stage, they do not properly appreciate it, or do not pay proper attention to it. For this reason, the devotional practices appear to them dull and insipid. The vision of the third Til or of Sahas-dal-kanwal [Thousand Petaled Lotus] and constant contact with these are not an easy affair, for these are the regions of the Virat Swarup or infinite expanse and Brahm. The vision of these regions, quickly and constantly, is rather difficult. Their occasional glimpse or hearing of the Bell-Sound is also a good indication. Gradually the Sound will become clearer and closer, and glimpses of the form of the deity of that region will also be occasionally seen.
It is but proper for a devotee, to continue his spiritual practices with love and faith. It should be understood, that the object of the devotional practices of Sant Mat is to elevate the mind and the spirit, which are tied in Pinda, to Brahmanda and beyond it. If one fixes his mind and spirit, in Dhyan, at the first or the second stage, and allows them to stay there for some time, he is sure to experience the bliss of concentration and elevation, irrespective of the fact, whether he sees anything or not. Similarly, he who fixes his mind and spirit at the time of Dhyan and Bhajan, and gradually takes his spirit and mind towards the centre, from where the Sound is coming, he will then surely feel the bliss of Bhajan. It is, therefore, proper that at the time of Dhyan and Bhajan, leaving aside all thoughts of the world, he should fix his mind and spirit at the first stage. If they do descend or go astray, they should be drawn up and fixed there. If this is done repeatedly, the Shabd will become partially audible, and the Form (Rup) will also be visible to him, and the bliss of concentration and elevation will also be had.
For doing all this, it is necessary to have a sincere yearning and longing, i. e., Virah and Prem of a lesser or greater degree. If, at the time of Abhyas, the mind does not come under control, then it is necessary to read with attention, some such hymns of Virah and Prem or Chetawani from Sar Bachan Poetry, as may appear to him to be more effective, and then he should sit again in Bhajan. If this is done, the condition of the mind will be changed, to a certain degree, and Bhajan will, more or less, be correctly performed.
One should, often, so argue with his mind: that when it is engaged in worldly affairs it does not pay any attention to Parmarth [the Highest Truth or Spiritual Path]; why should the mind then think of the worldly affairs when engaged in Parmarthi pursuits? He should, off and on, pray at the Holy Feet of the true Supreme Being, that his mind may be purified, and he may be able to sit in Bhajan, with all his attention drawn in. A little thought will enable a devotee to realize that at the time of Bhajan and Dhyan, if he thinks of the world, he is guilty of great disrespect to the Supreme Being. As, if a man, while in the presence of his father or his officer, does not hear them or even look at them but talks to others, how then will they be pleased with him? Similarly the Supreme Being is also not pleased, and for this reason no bliss or pleasure is felt in Abhyas.
It is, therefore, proper that if one cannot do his Abhyas for long, he should do it for a short while, but, as far as possible, he should do his Abhyas properly and with attention.
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The Voyage Home (Story of Genesis, Creation/Evolution in Sant Mat), Part 18: Bhanwar Gupha
The following is from the book "Enchanted Land," published by the MSAC Philosophy Group, a section titled, THE JOURNEY, A Voyage of Light & Sound, the Inner Ascent:
THE FOURTH REGION:
Bhanwar Gupha "whirling cave"
The spirit, thereafter, went to Hootal Hoot, which, in Hindi, has been described as Bhanwar-gupha. There is a rotating swing here which all the time in subtle motion, and the spirits ever swing on it. All round, there are innumerable spiritual islands from which the sounds of "Sohang Sohang" and "Anahoo Anahoo" rise all the time. Spirit entities playfully and rapturously enjoy these sounds. Whiffs of scents of various kinds and sweet fragrance of sandal are enjoyed by the spirit there and the melodies of flutes are heard, while it proceeds onwards. [Other characteristics of this region cannot be reduced to writing, as they can be realized by the spirit only when it reaches there after performing Abhyas.]
--Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama
[Sohang; "I Am That"]
Upon arriving in Bhanwar Gupha, the soul's nirat (power to see) and surat (capacity to hear) attain a state of satisfaction (Julian P. Johnson, 1953). This contentment, according to Shiv Dayal Singh's account, is due to perceiving a most intriguing and wondrous structure within the Rukmini tunnel in the entrance to the fourth region. Exactly what this sight is has not been explained by any Radhasoami saint in print. Like all experiences in the upper regions it must be encountered first-hand to be understood, not simply referenced in its decidedly mythological analogies. Bhanwar Gupha is the funnel of the entire creative process from Sach Khand downwards. Its very name exhibits the tremendous power inherent within the region: "whirling vortice". The lord of this realm is termed Sohang ("I Am That"), a descriptive-mantric term which implies a conscious intuition on the part of the soul with its higher identity.
The shabd currents in Bhanwar Gupha are so sweet and enchanting, according to the Saints, that souls live entirely off its invigorating nectar, desiring nothing but darshan of the presiding lord and the manifestations of light and sound. Kabir, the most famous of the medieval saints, describes in his writings (or, at least, those attributed to his pen) how hansas (pure spirits) live on spiritual dweeps (islands) with magnificent palaces for transmundane enjoyment. Faqir Chand, in his Yogic Philosophy of the Saints (1980), gives a more psychological interpretation of the meditator's experiences in the fourth region: "When in the course of meditation man reaches this state of Bhanwar-Gupha he experiences that there was none except his ownself. This centre is compared with Bhanwar which means whirl. At this centre a wheel rotates like a cradle. It means that at this centre a wave springs out of the surat of the meditator and again merges in its own source, or say, it rotates around its own source and produces the sound of Sohang-Flute. The Shabd of this centre is so effective that the meditator enjoys the pleasure of being one with the Supreme Soul."