Who doesn’t return to suffering

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It is only when the curd has set perfectly does it become fit for consumption. It is the same with the mind too. In an integrated state of mind, everything outside – the objects of the senses, the thoughts and even the notion of I – have been offered to the Self. Such a person is alone free from the ties of existence and not others who are all the time talking of this meditation and that, quoting from second-hand learning. 

The Vivekachoodamani of Sri Adi Sankaracharya here highlights the importance of down-to-earth practice of meditation rather than waxing eloquent about the different methods and means of quietening the mind.  All the differences seen in the world are caused by the limiting adjuncts of the body, mind and the intellect. When these limitations are no more, the individual recognises that the Self alone exists.

There is a block of ice floating on water. There is no difference between the ice and the water. The limitation of temperature gives the block of ice a separate identity. When that limiting cold temperature changes into heat, the ice melts and becomes one with the water.

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What is the practice here for the seeker of the Self? Dissolve the limitations in one’s own mind. When the wise man does this, he always is established in that still state of mind where there are no thought modifications that disturb the equilibrium. The dissolution of the limitations is possible with the constant practice of quietening the mind in meditation. 

The Master gives an example for how meditation can cause the change. The worm in the cocoon is all the time meditating on the wasp that it shall soon become, flying with its wings extended. Similarly, with one-pointed concentration on that state of the Brahman – Reality – the individual eventually becomes that. The insect within gives up all other activity and constantly thinks about the wasp it is going to be. In the same way, the limited individual gives up all other passions and pursuits to meditate on expressing that reality within. 

The rarity of this state of mind is not evident to the onlooker. It is the master who reveals this extremely subtle essence of the supreme, which cannot be attained by a gross material vision. It is through meditation in an extremely subtle state of activity that the noble person can know this with a very subtle intellect.

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In another example of the process of attaining this pure state, the Master cites gold which is cast in heat to shed its impurities. The same way, when the mind is in meditation, the heat of consciousness burns up the impurities of the desire to know, express and remain inert. 

With constant practice of meditation, the mind moves gradually from its state of absorption with a thought, to a thoughtless state of being where there is the experience of a non-dual state of blissfulness.

(The writer is Sevika, Chinmaya Mission, Coimbatore and can be reached at  [email protected])

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