Method of withdrawing within Oneself
(to go within)
From times immemorial, man has been extroverted, observing outside objects through the sense organs. Three sense organs are chiefly responsible for drawing our attention, namely, the tongue, the eyes, and the ears.
With our tongue we talk to the people of the world. With it we repeat our thoughts and ideas about the world, and communicate with the world. In this manner the impressions of the world enter our mind and intellect.
With our eyes we see the objects of the world, and their forms get imprinted on our mind. With our ears we listen to the voices of the world. And by listening to them constantly we become one with them. Our eyes are responsible for 83 per cent of the impressions imprinted on our mind, our ears for 14 per cent, and the remaining 3 per cent are formed by the other sense organs of the body put together. If our attention ceases to go out and we thus stop the entry of impressions from outside, we can, with an inward gaze, realize the Truth. It is for this reason that Saints always impress upon us to shut our eyes and our ears while doing Repetition or listening to the Shabd.
The power of speech of the tongue should be utilized in Simran;
the power of the sight of the eyes should be used in contemplating the form of the Master;
and the power of hearing of the ears should be spent in listening to the Sound Current.
These three practices are absolutely essential. We are now dealing with the first, namely, Simran. The other two, viz., Contemplation - Dhyan - and Shabd or Sound Current will be taken up in subsequent chapters.
Whenever we wish to withdraw our consciousness inwards, the thoughts of the world invade us. These are the impressions that have continually entered through the sense organs. Thus, the affairs of household, office, shops and other places, also the forms of relatives, friends and foes that we have been seeing, project themselves on the mind’s screen and obstruct concentration. The first step for spiritual uplift, therefore, is to eliminate them.
The removal of the impressions that are formed in our subconscious mind and which come before us involuntarily is the second step. It is only after the devotee has ascended the two steps, that he can become introverted or turned inward. It is also necessary that repetition should be replaced by Repetition, just as a water-stricken crop is revived with water. The Simran of the objects of the world should be replaced by the Simran of God, and thoughts of the world by Contemplation of the Master, who is God incarnate. Thus is imprinted on our subconscious mind the impression of God in the form of our Satguru. Where the waves of the world once dominated the scene, there will now be remembrance of the Lord and Contemplation of the Master. The devotee begins to forget the world and its shadow shapes. The mind loses much of its fickleness and a certain amount of concentration is achieved.
Any left-over rambling tendencies are ended by listening to the Sound Current, which resounds in all human beings. Then only comes complete concentration. This Sound Current is the heritage of all. We do not hear it, because our attention is extroverted. This Divine Melody resounds at the headquarters of the soul in the body and can be heard at the eye focus by going within.
The Sound Current has the force of a magnet, which attracts the soul and makes it still. Then the soul passes through the Sound Current, to the place form which it emanates. This place is the origin of the whole world. When a person listens attentively to the Heavenly Sound, he begins to be enraptured by its bliss and automatically turns his back upon the world.
The display of name and fame, and learning and intellect in the world is responsible for the scattering of our soul currents and is an impediment in the way of our achieving concentration. Because of such a display, we find it difficult to collect our attention within. It is easy to become educated and intellectually advanced, but it is difficult to subdue the mind, collect the soul current, and ascend to higher regions.
We cannot see our Lord with the eyes or our intellect. It is only the eye of the soul - nirat - which can perceive God. So long as our mind’s currents are spread out, it is impossible to behold Him. If therefore we control the mind and the sense, we behold within the refulgence of the Lord.
When through Simran we complete the course of concentration, we reach the second stage, namely, Contemplation. And through Contemplation we are able to listen to the Sound Current.
For self-realization Saints advocate these three steps:
- Simran – Repetition
- Dhyan – Contemplation - and
- Bhajan – Listening to the Shabd or Sound Current.
Rhythmical control of the breath, known as Pranayam, which is perfomed by some persons for attaining concentration, is an artificial method.
The methods taught by the Saints, as described above, are natural and easy. They can be performed by a child, a young or an old person. In practising these methods no difficulties are encountered. Moreover, they do not adversely affect our health. The Ashtang Yoga practices are difficult, and householders cannot perform them.
The Saints’ methods are complete in themselves. By following them, we realize the Truth without fail.
Maulana Rumi says:
Close your eyes, your ears and your mouth, and if then you do not perceive the beauty of God, you may laugh at me.