|Monday, 4 August 2003|
Sahaj Marg system of meditation
by C. Suntharamoorthy, Preceptor, Shri Ram Chandra Mission
Meditation is the process by which we return to our own centre. We try to gather ourselves at one and the same point to create our own pralaya, which is the state we were in when we came down.
By meditation we gather ourselves at one point so that our individual mind may leave its habit of wandering about, which it has formed. By this practice we set our individual mind on the right path because it is now metamorphosing its habits.
By regular meditation the mind is disciplined. It is regulated automatically. Senses begin to come under control, and you gain mastery over them.
In Sahaj Marg, we are advised to meditate on the heart. This is because the heart is the field of work for the mind, and all the points which are in the body and the brain, almost all of them, are found in the heart and, by meditating on it, it facilitates in purifying all those points.
The heart is the middle point in the human being and it is at this point that the connecting link between the animate and inanimate is most clearly felt.
Therefore, when we meditate on the heart, we not only regulate the heart but also regulate the mind. Concentration is the automatic and natural result of meditation.Realization cannot be achieved by mere practice, for the reason that at higher stages the conditions are such that even if one ascends a little by self-effort, he quickly slips down because of the strong push from above.
Hence so far as our entry to higher regions is concerned, the help of the Master is essential. There have been cases, however, where sages have attained perfection by mere self effort by surrendering themselves direct to God. But such examples are rare. In Sahaj Marg, we call our Guru as "Master". This is because we have a person who has actually mastered the path to reality and also one who has mastered in guiding all the willing abhyasis towards self realization.
The Master, by the application of his inner powers, awakens and accelerates the dormant forces in the abhyasi to action and directs the flow of Divine current towards his heart, through the process of pranahuti. "Pranahuti" is a Sankrit word for yogic transmission - prana means life, breath or vital force, and ahuti means offering. Pranahuti is the offering of life force, the life of life.
It is the Master's own yogic or life energy which is transmitted into the heart of one who begins the practice of meditation under the Sahaj Marg system. Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga contains the following eight steps to follow to enable one to reach the centre: 1 Yama (Self restraint) 2. Niyama (Binding observances) 3. Asana (Bodily posture) 4. Pranayama (Breath Control) 5. Pratyahara (Sensewithdrawal) 6.
Dharana (Concentration) 7. Dhyana (Meditation) 8. Samadhi (Union with the Divine) The modern system of Sahaj Marg makes a diversion from the set old path in that it does not take up the different steps of Ashtanga Yoga one by one separately. Rather it starts from step seven. Under the guidance of our Master who transmits and removes even the deepest of impressions, the earlier six stages become naturally established without any undue physical or mental effort on the part of the abhyasi being necessary.
Samarth Guru Mahatma Shri Ram Chandra Maharaj of Fatehgarh (U.P), affectionately called as Lalaji, was a spiritual genius and the founder of the Sahaj Marg. With him dawned the new era of yogic training through transmission of which he was the Master. It was he who made it possible that a man could attain perfection in one life only, even while leading a family life. He used to say the troubles and miseries of grihastha (family) life are the penances and sacrifices for spiritual attainment. He was born mahasamadhi on 14.8.1931. He nominated his successor who also bore the same name, Shri Ram Chandra but of Shajahanpur (U.P) affectionately called as Babuji. Babuji was born on 30.4.1899. He began his spiritual voyage under the guidance of Lalaji at the age of 23. Babuji founded the Shri Ram Chandra Mission in 1945 to honour the holy name of his Master.
Until his mahasamadhi on 19.4.1983, Babuji worked tirelessly to spread the Sahaj Marg system to the entire world. Babuji nominated Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari affectionatey known as Chariji. He is the present President of the Mission and Spiritual Master of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Chariji did immense service ever since he joined Babuji in 1964 and was a tower of strength to Babuji. Chariji graduated from Banaras University and started his career with Indian plastics Ltd.
He held various positions and finally retired as the Executive Director of Indian Textile Paper Tube Company in 1985 to devote his time for spiritual work. In the loving memory of his Master Babuji Maharaj, Chariji has constructed a massive Ashram at Manapakkaam, Chennai, India. He travels extensively throughout the world to meet his abhyasis and encourage them towards spiritual progress.
A person who likes to join the Sahaj Marg system, has to go to a Preceptor. A Preceptor is one who is nominated by the Master to assist him by cleaning the abhyasis. The Preceptor will give the aspirant at least three introductory sittings lasting one hour each on three consecutive days. Once this is done the abhyasi has to perform the following spiritual practices: Morning Meditation: Say the prayer once and sit in meditation for an hour, eyes closed and focused on to your heart with an idea that Divine light is there. Do it in a simple way without forcing your will or mind. Never mind if you don't see the light.
Sit in a comfortable posture with your attention turned towards the heart in a natural way without any effort to concentrate. Be unmindful of the thoughts arising at that time. In Sahaj Marg, "Cleaning" is given equal importance as that of meditation.
Abhyasis are advised to sit in the evening after day's work is over and before dinner, for half hour thinking that the complexities, the network of their previous thoughts and grossness or solidity in their constitution are all melting away or evaporating in the form of smoke from your back. It will help the abhyasi to purge his mind and will make him receptive of the efficacious influences of our Master. He should get the void thus formed be filled with Divine energy from Master's heart. It should be remembered NOT to meditate or bring back into memory those things that are to be removed.
At 9.00 p.m., every abhyasio, wherever he or she may be, should meditate for 15 minutes thinking that all the people of the universe who are already my brothers and sisters, may all their hearts be flooded as my heart is being flooded with spiritual craving, love and devotion for the Divine Master and real faith is growing in them.
The Sahaj Marg Prayer.
Thou art the real goal
of human life,
We are yet but slaves of wishes
Putting bar to our advancement,
Thou art the only God and power
To bring us up to that stage
This prayer meditation is done for about 10-15 minutes by repeating the prayer a few times and meditate on the meanings of the statements therein. Immediately thereafter one is advised to retire to bed so that there will be constant remembrance Unlike the traditional Prayer hymns or songs, the Sahaj Marg Prayer does not ask for anything; it consists of three statements of facts.
The first one refers to the goal. The second one refers to the impediment to our progress, namely wishes and desires. The third one refers to the Master who is the only capable person to lift us up to His level. The abhyasi is advised NOT to use this prayer like a 'mantra'. This prayer should be said only on two occasions: just prior to the morning meditation and at night bed-time. The potency of the prayer could be felt by the abhyasi within a couple of months.
Apart from the daily practice of morning meditation, evening cleaning, 9.00 p.m. Universal Prayer and bedtime prayer meditation, all abhyasis are advised to attend Satsanghs (group meditation) on Sundays and Wednesdays.
In Sri Lanka the Sunday Satsangh is held at 34 1/1 Daya Road, Wellawatte at 9.30 a.m. and at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the same venue. Abhyasis are expected to assemble well before the commencement and sit quietly and do cleaning in preparation to receive the transmission, during the one hour meditation.
The unique features in the Sahaj Marg system are the transmission and the Cleaning. All that is expected of the abhyasi is to be attentive and possess the craving towards self realization. The Master knows the level of each abhyasi and will be transmitting Divine energy in accordance to each abhyasi's holding capacity. Evening cleaning once developed makes an abhyasi to do his daily duties without "getting involved". In other words the abhyasi will attend to all his work without attachment.
Finally let us listen to what our beloved Master has to say: "The average human being of today gives a great deal of thought, and applies a great amount of energy to attain high levels of material welfare. But notwithstanding even success in this endeavour, there is much unhappiness, discontent and misery pervading the lives of people. Why is this? It is the result of unbalanced application of effort. The human existence consists of two planes of existence, the material and the spiritual and both are important and essential for the harmonious well-being of the individual. If either is neglected for the other, such a life becomes unnatural.
Neglect of the material existence results in poverty and in sickness, and the neglect of the spiritual, which is the case with most of us, results in the horrors of man-made diseases and sufferings.
To correct this sorry state of affairs, we have to bring back balance into our lives. Once a state of spirituality elevated consciousness pervades the individual self, normal worldly life goes on while spiritual progress also follows hand-in-hand, thus bringing into play harmonious and balanced development of the human being in the twin fields of existence, finally culminating in our achieving the goal of human perfection".
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