BASICS (COMMANDMENT 1) - COMMENTARY BY PUJYA K C NARAYANA
The first Commandment exhorts us to "Rise before dawn, offer your puja or prayer at a fixed hour preferably before sunrise, sitting in one and the same pose; have a separate place and seat for worship; purity of mind and body should be specially adhered to".
This is the longest of instructions we have got. This commandment has got in itself the whole system of sadhana. If we have understood this commandment, perhaps we don't have to read any more books of this system. 'Rise before dawn'. This word 'Dawn' has been explained well in 'Reality at Dawn'. The whole book of Reality at Dawn in a sense is a commentary on this. Why before dawn? Revered Babuji goes immediately to the concept of the Origin, the beginning of creation. How the latent motion has started? How the individual souls have shot up from it? Incidentally there was a question in the philosophy of Advaita, whether the individuality will continue when we reach the Base. The answer is the individual souls were already there, it was there inside first, dormant and then they manifested. However this is not acceptable to the Advaitin. Master however holds when the Kshobh started, that power, which stirred also, stirred the individualities lying dormant and the individuals expressed themselves by coming outside the Base.
Because the individual soul that has already had the taste of the origin, though comes out, wants to get back. But seeing before him the display of Kshob, Nature, Prakriti, he gets involved in it and gets carried down. A recurrent theme of Revered Babuji's philosophy has always been this, the origin of Kshobh, the Latent motion and Stir, the fall or creation. Latent motion is in individual, Stir is a cosmic thing. Divinity wills this creation, but then the individual who was with Origin was not inclined to sit there, he also comes out. In this connection there is a Sufi story to be recounted. God was with all the souls. Before creation we were all present, the individuality in the dormancy was also present. Then perhaps for His own Leela (divine play), no one explains why it happens, the Divinity created the world. Then nine out of ten souls who were around Him ran towards it, and got into the play of Nature / Prakriti. Then He created heaven. Again out of 10 remaining, nine people went to heaven, to seek pleasures, happiness. Then He created a Hell and 9 out of the remaining ten souls who were around the Master also started running away from Him. Then he put a question to the remaining souls, 'what sort of fools are you? Why are you still here? I created the world, I created the heaven, I created the hell", what else I am to do? They replied 'We want you and nothing else'. The point to emphasize here is that though people reach God, it is not as though they continue to be with Him forever. That is the reason, it is absolutely essential that our attention should always be at the feet of the Master. To start with we are not concerned about the Base itself as such.
The morning meditation is to be done. The Master says "Offer your prayer and puja at a fixed hour preferably before sunrise, sitting in the one and the same pose." Revered Babuji goes very deep into the subject. This is the version of Sri Ram Chandra's Raja Yoga on sandhyopasana of the Rishis. When I say this, I warn you also not to be misguided in thinking that sandhyopasana as taught else where has got everything that we have got. But this point is clear, Master asserts that just as at the time of creation, now there is a small heat that is generated at Dawn, before sunrise, indicating us the type of consciousness that is possible at that time when we reach the base. This Dawn is some sort of reflection of that Dawn. That eternal day that now we are having, (the reverse process of Prakriti has not started), is going on. We are not concerned about when the Mahapralaya starts, as it is a far off future. There is a lot of literature on this, which is purely religious and we don't know how much of it is sensible. But it is certain that there is a time when there will be a withdrawal. We are not waiting for that withdrawal. If we wait for that withdrawal naturally we get back to the Base, with all our identity to come out again when the Kshob starts, now that we are not liberated. Please note the company of the Divine at Mahapralaya does not grant us sayujya, it only grants you a place near that. The Bhagavad Lila or drama is closed temporarily. We will come out again. A hint to this we find in the "Talks on Essentials of Sahaj Marg" of Dr. Varadachari. "I do not know whether Prahlada will again be born?" he puts a question mark there and then leaves it there because they are all just vague. We don't have to go into that. But we are in a clear endeavour to annihilate the creation we made.
If we sum up, when the Kshob starts- the initial stir of the Divine is present, but around it the individual souls, who are there, come out of that dormant state. We have come out like that. Not content with our coming out we have created our own vrittis, and slowly we have come down. How was this possible? We find the clue to this in one of the commandments, how we got involved and formed several samskaras. The point to note is we come down; we have created ourselves, by attaching ourselves either to the beauty of the Mother or the beauty of the Heavens. These samskaras have got accumulated. We are now trying individual annihilation. We are trying to get back to that original condition which was there at the time of Dawn. That is the Dawn of creation; this is the Dawn of the Sun. This Reality at Dawn at the physical plane asks us to think about Reality at the time of Creation our Base. The dawn of the Sun reminds us about that Reality of the Master, of God.
Master in the last paragraph of the commentary on this particular commandment says that we should distinguish between the power of the Sun and the power of the Source. The Sun is more gross; there is more heat, whereas at the Base, it is not. That is an indication to us to understand that at that stage of development in our journey to the Infinite we do not expect this particular type of heat that we are having, when we are sitting for meditation in the early hours of the day, however nominal it may be. Now this brings the awareness of our dawn, links us up firmly. We know we should get back and that is going to be the type of condition we would experience or imperience. It is not as many of my brothers and sisters ask me, Sir, do you feel grey, do you feel brown, do you feel red; it does not make any sense at all. Before creation, as the child came, as the baby was born, what exactly was the condition? It is that stage of stillness, that state of calmness, whatever it is, that image also is stated in one of the commandments. So the morning Sandhya makes us remember the source and to get back. Revered Babuji does not stop with that. Nor he does go to the evening Sandhya. He says in tradition the Sandhya, is offered in the afternoon as Madhyahnika. The sandhyopasana includes the Madhyahnika. But it has become convenient for most of the persons who are enjoined to do this worship according to tradition to ignore this for whatever reason it might be. Revered Babuji says it is deleted as a practice in this system not because it is inconvenient to us but because the heat at that time is more than what is necessary and we do not consider it necessary for us to use that heat to go to the source, to remind us about the power of the Base. He does not deny the validity of meditation at that time. He puts it very clearly, if we meditate at noon our thoughts get unconsciously attached to the powers of the Centre or the Ultimate. It is a fact the material heat at that time is also great. We do not treat Sandhya at noon as compulsory in our system. It is not compulsory, but nothing prohibits us from doing meditation at noon. It is not mandatory; by implication the other practices of Sandhya are compulsory. The Master has given himself the exceptions and following them strictly is the best to gain maximum advantage of the system.
In the evening Sandhya, when the heat is over, it cools down and this reminds us of the state at Pralaya. The beginning, the dawn state brings to our memory the time of creation. The end state of withdrawal, the evening Sandhya suggests everyone is going to his original state some time or the other and will unite with the absolute. Evening is used for cleaning. There a logic behind it. When we get back to the Base, the individual pralaya has to happen. The general pralaya is not the point as it is far off. Individual pralaya means we have got to get rid of various samskaras covering us as mala, vikshepa or avarana. We have got to get rid of all our samskaras. This is the time which is the most natural for us to withdraw. The whole night is one of the dormancy in the Absolute. The whole day is representation of dawn to pralaya. That is why in the ancient literature of this country, it is told not to disturb people who are asleep in the night. The main reason for it is, during sleep we are in the company of the Divinity. That profound concept has to be understood well.
Asking us to sit in one and same pose, the commandment moves from the concept of Origin to the asana aspect. We have noted the need of the individual to get back to the source. We are trying to do that. If we take our own body into consideration and if we have got to withdraw from the material world, it is possible by withdrawal of our senses first. Senses are grosser than mind. The five sense organs and motor organs, which are, attached to the Bhutas and the Bhutadis, have to be first withdrawn. The lower limbs have to be withdrawn first before we withdraw the upper limbs. So we fold our legs and sit in an asan that is convenient. Then we try to keep our hands as unoccupied as can be. We close our eyes and ears and try not to see or hear. All the senses are thus sought to be controlled. First physical control has to be established before mental control is possible. Physical withdrawal is a must before mental withdrawal. Physical withdrawal aids us in the mental withdrawal. It helps us to concentrate when our energy doesn't get dissipated in several directions. So the asana is a must. It should be one, which is erect not to expose our ego, but to allow the flow of Divinity through us. Allow the contact to be established. We cannot just say that we close our eyes and then sit cross-legged, bend and fall down, fall straight in front. Some people do that, maybe they are helpless. But that is not the posture. The type of attention that is required Revered Babuji says, is that of a soldier, firm and alert. Attention is a common word in defense forces; any one who knows a bit of drill also knows what is to be in attention. That is the attentive posture we should have. More so because the other person before whom we conceive we are sitting is the Master Himself, God Himself. We are seeking His company. We ought to be attentive. Attentive not to the noise of the fan, whether it is running or not, or whether someone is talking, this type of attachment and the attitude we are not supposed to have.
We should have our own seat. Because our thought force is capable of influencing the environment; as all existence is consciousness in some form or the other-grosser or the finer. Even this carpet on which we are sitting is also consciousness, only in a gross form. Because we are meditating sitting on that for quite some time it is in tune with us. It enables us to be stable. If we go on changing the seat and then say, what is there we can sit anywhere we like; after all God is everywhere, what does it matter, then we cannot expect results. God is everywhere, everyone knows that. We are not discussing metaphysics; we are talking about 'yoga'. How best we can utilise the environment for our good is our concern. So, first we have noted the relevance about the time, and then we have dealt with the aspect of posture and then about the 'Seat'.
Master also talks about the place. Have a fixed place. Do not sit today in kitchen, tomorrow in bathroom, third day in bedroom. That's not what is desired. Ultimately, those of us who by the grace of the Master have moved on in our 'Yatra' more and more nearer to Him, know that we have been meditating and continue to meditate through the day. Wherever we are, whether it is in bathroom or in kitchen or in bedroom or in drawing room or in office we have been in meditative mood. Ultimately this is what actually happens. But still even for those people who feel His presence everywhere who remember Him everywhere, in spite of all these there is that uniqueness when we go and sit in the place where one is supposed to meditate every day. When we go to that place the whole frame of mind changes. The environment reverberates with that Divine Consciousness. If a great man has meditated in a particular place, Revered Babuji says, we should be in a position to feel Him also. That is how He has discovered or located the places where Lord Rama or Lord Krishna and others have lived and moved in their times. It is a fact of spiritual experience to note that the consciousness of Great personalities leave some sort of an effect on the place. Therefore if we have been meditating with the idea that Revered Babuji is helping us in our Sadhana in our meditation rooms over a period of time that particular place gets charged with what we call "Sri Ram Chandra's Consciousness" and that place is something where we find calm pervading always. What if we meditate in our chair, sitting in our drawing room is not the correct attitude. But these lapses are likely to happen. That is why He insisted, even when we feel we are advanced, to meditate in a particular place, He particularly practiced it. In Shahjahanpur, those of us who know Him know that though He used to be sitting in the verandah, there was no occasion for any one of us to sit for meditation before him in the verandah. He always asked us to get into the room, and He used to give sitting only in that room. A principle today most of the masters are forgetting, giving sittings anywhere they like. That is not the approach and that cannot be the approach. Even when we go to the house of an abhyasi, we should ask him where he meditates and go for sitting only there. Because this is another mistake we do, generally we don't feel absorbed and we do not take into consideration the consciousness or the imprint of the consciousness already happened in a place. It is true that a house of abhyasi totally has this cover of Sri Ramchandra's Consciousness, this effect is there, but there is still a place where he meditates and that is the place where we should give the sitting.
The Commandment further adds that the purity of mind and body is specially adhered to. Why purity of mind and body? Revered Babuji says the original condition is purity itself, it does not allow any particular speck to be there. There is nothing but purity in its essence that is available there. If we are seeking that condition, we should be pure here and imitate that condition. And physical purity becomes necessary for the mental purity. Just as the withdrawal of senses is a must for the withdrawal of mind, purity of body is essential to maintain the purity of mind. Some abhyasis come and say, "Shall I sit in meditation in the morning without taking bath", then we advise "Please read the Ten Commandments." It is to be impressed, that this is not just a commandment asking us to get up early in the morning to get rid of our laziness. If we are serious about reaching the balanced state of existence -our Goal, if we want the oneness with the Ultimate condition, there is no alternative, except to follow what he has given. That is what is stressed. But then some sort of self granted concessions we hear now and then is, that if we cannot do a thing cent percent we may start some where at 10% and work up slowly to 40% to 50%, 60% and 100%. Even that can do good to some extent. Whatever one can, one of these commandments may be practiced and say that this commandment is complied then follow the other. This is the only concession we may take for ourselves. After 30 years of sadhana suppose someone were to come and state this, then it only shows the type of Goal clarity he has and the quality of sadhana he has done. There is nothing more to say for such a person. We all believe we are practicing sadhana with the explicit purpose of reaching the Reality that is behind all existence. We should endeavour to achieve that goal as early as we can.
Thus the first and foremost commandment relates to the proper observance of Sandhya. We find that in PAM, the trainer at the very outset weakens the downward tendency of the Abhyasi by the effect of his own power, so that it may get automatically diverted towards the Divine. In this process everything that comes into activity by the effect of the Divine flow tends to fly towards the Origin. Thus when downward tendency of the mind is checked the thought of reaching the Origin revives in the heart. This enables the abhyasi to develop regularity in the sadhana.