Frequently Asked Questions about meditation - Part 1
Since the e-mails coming to us are full of questions and false concepts about Meditation, we had suddenly the idea of publishing a FAQ. We warn you that this page will be constantly and unendingly growing because it will be nourished with the questions asked by all of you. You can put any questions by e-mailing us, and as fast as possible we will answer them on this page -apart from the personal e-mail sent to you, of course-. Use the documents dealing with Meditation and the different techniques given by me on them for your meditation practice.
New questions will be highlighted by a "N". Enjoy and learn!
Gabriel Pradīpaka answers your questions
Q: Do you teach meditation?
A: No. Maybe you are waiting for "yes". No, I do not teach meditation because this is well-known to everybody. It is not necessary to teach how to meditate. No, I teach "meditation on the Self".
Q: What is meditation on the Self?
A: Everyone is meditating all the time. When somebody drives his car, he has to meditate on the road or... crash! When someone is reading a difficult book, he has to concentrate his mind for a long period of time. Meditation is simply that: "Concentration for a long period of time". On Meditation documents you will find more technical terms to define Meditation, but it is lastly concentration on one point for a long time. In the documents dealing with Meditation I taught the whole thing from a technical viewpoint, but here I want to teach the same thing as easily as possible. When you concentrate your mind on something for a very short period of time, that is "concentration" or Dhāraṇā. Nevertheless, when you maintain the concentration for more time, that is "meditation" or "Dhyāna". It is that simple! I teach meditation on the Self, that is, I teach meditation on the real "You" in you, who is a Witness in his innermost nature. You should lastly meditate on that Witness no matter which technique you use to do it. The techniques are only "means", not the "goal". The goal is the Witness or Self. That is why there is no technique which is "absolutely" better than another one. One technique may be good for a person but not for other people. Got it? But techniques are techniques. People often debate about techniques and lose sight of the goal.
Q: What kind of benefits will people get from meditating on the Self?
A: This thought comes generally from the ordinary mind. The ordinary mind is always looking for the fruit of a certain action. One should do the actions completely dettached from their results. If one is attached to the fruits, he will receive pleasure or pain, which are the same thing in the end. No, a person should meditate on the Self and any other thing without any expectations. Bliss, mental quietness and so on, are all by-products. One should not sit for meditation just to get those things. You should meditate because you need it just as you need your breathing. Granted, a beginner may be thinking about the fruits he will reap, but this is not relevant. The fruits will come by themselves. What is the point of wishing them? No, meditate just for the sake of meditation without any expectations behind. Thus, you will be able to tolerate the various tests.
Q: What are those tests?
A: They are different kinds of obstacles on your way. They are not really something "bad" but necessary for you to evolve properly. The first test that one person will probably face is the following: "doubts"
Q: Could you be more specific?
A: "Am I really meditating on the Self?", "Why am I feeling heat in my head?", "Am I on a real spiritual path or just crazy?", "Do I need a teacher?", "Is my teacher a fake?", and a long "etc". When someone comes across these doubts, he should keep meditating on his Self according to the methods I have given in the documents dealing with Meditation. Those doubts will go in due course. It is usual to hear those questions. Do not worry and keep meditating on the inner Witness who is the Self of all.
Q: True, but the work of a teacher is "to dissipate" the doubts in the mind of his pupils...
A: Yes. Some doubts may be dissipated, but not all of them. Many doubts and misunderstandings will go by themselves as your practice continues. Let us see, ask me a question about a doubt.
Q: Yes... You said that one should meditate on his Self without any expectations... OK, but you know, people always want to know why they should do something...
A: OK. Yes, most people want to know why they should do something. I can tell them the following: People want to be lastly happy. They generally do actions with that purpose. Well, the main by-product of meditating on the Self is Supreme Happiness. However, I do not like to use the word "happiness" but "bliss". You may feel happiness because you have just bought a new car, but this feeling is only a slight trace of the real "Bliss". I would say that happiness is a trace of "Bliss". If you meditate systematically for a long period of time, you will get that Bliss for sure. I think that this fruit is enough to make you meditate on your Self right now. The other fruits are mental quietness, self-confidence, mental strength, health, etc.
Q: Well, all those secondary benefits are really a very good ones!
A: Yes, of course. Still you should meditate without any desire in your mind. The desires, however high and uplifting they may be, are actually "thoughts" and you are trying to become free from "thoughts" when you are sitting for meditation. Granted, the desire for spiritual liberation is an extraordinary one, but later you will have to drop it anyway. The goal of meditation is to make the mind become completely quiet. Despite this statement I accept the fact that the desire for liberation is a very good and healthy desire. It is not an ordinary desire, no doubt. However, just as you take out a thorn by using another thorn, you will have finally to get rid of them both because the latter that you used to extract the former is also a "thorn". Thus, when you mind is absolutely quiet, you will experience your true Being. That which you will experience is the real You, the Self. The Self cannot be described on account of its being beyond the mind and its words.
Q: True, but you know that most people cannot guarantee that their minds will be free from desires when meditating.
A: I am very conscious of that problem, but if I had said "try not to harbor desires in your mind", the desires would increase. Maybe you are wondering why.
A: The mind is very clever. You must not be indulgent with it. You should firmly tell it what to do. It should be under your command and not vice versa. If you say "I will try to meditate", you will not meditate.
OK, the situation right now is exactly the opposite: you are the subservient and your mind is the master. But, at least during the period of your meditation, that situation should change.
Q: That is interesting! So, you must not be indulgent with the mind or it will overcome you.
A: That is right! You must forget all these phrases if you want to meditate regularly: "I will try to meditate", "I will attempt to calm down my mind" and so on. Therefore, banish all those "attempts" and just do it. Mind does not want to meditate on the Self, because that would mean its dissapearance. Since mind does not want to dissapear, it will try to make you desist from meditating. Nobody wants to die, and the mind is not an exception. No, you must keep meditating on the Self (the inner Witness) although the mind does not agree with you. If you discuss with it, you will lose.
Q: Understood. Could you talk about the process of meditating? How does it begin, how does it go on and how does it end?
A: As I said before, you meditate on your Self because it is something necessary to do. You do not have any expectations. This process begins generally when you sit for meditation for the first time. You close your eyes and simply pay attention to the inner Witness who is the real "You". If a person cannot do this by himself, he may use a meditation technique. Once a person did that, a process begins. From now on, all the problem is the mind. Nothing else is on your way, although you may think that this is not so. It takes generally several years of practice to attain to the inner peace. The Self is always perfect and joyful, that is, You are always perfect and joyful, but somehow the mind shows you a different reality. To overcome the mind you will have to strive to practice meditation systematically. No use to meditate for one hour one day, and not to meditate even an instant the next day. No, it is better a short but regular practice for the flow of consciousness induced by meditation not to be discontinued.
During the practice many things happen: "heat in one's own head", "lights appearing and dissapearing", "strange sounds", "various kinds of sensations", "all kinds of feelings", "enthusiasm and dissapointment", etc. All those things are due to the inner work of the Śakti or Power. This Śakti has to rearrange all within in order that a new and real experience may dawn in you. The experience of your Self is something really wonderfull, but before it can be understood and assimilated by you, some things will have to change within you.
Q: Just curious. Why does one feel heat in his head?
A: Since the mind is generally moving very fast you hardly may feel it. When you meditate on your Self, the speed of the mind begins gradually to slow down, and you begin feeling its weight in your head. Paradoxically, you think at the moment that your mind is moving faster than before, but this is not the case. You feel your mind more because its movement is slower. As in the waking state your mind is working predominantly in your head, the slowing down of its movement is generally felt there when you meditate.
Q: Oh, I did not know that!
A: Yes, the problem with most people is that they do know almost nothing about their inner Self. If they would know Him, they would not behave so. For example, if someone knows his Self, it would be impossible for him to get stuck in family problems. He would be free and really happy. As most people do not know their inner beauty, they are all the time looking for external beauty. When someone comes to realize his own Self, nothing else is left for him to do. He has attained to that which is to be attained in this lifetime. All of us are on earth to attain to the Self and not for merely living full of attachments and fears. This life is like a tasty meal but somehow we have forgotten to add the salt to it. The Self is the salt. If you do not have the salt, the meal is not so delicious. Therefore, you do not need to change your meal but to add the salt. Got it? Most people just want to change the meal. When they do that, they find that the new dish tastes like the previous one. No, the problem is not the meal but the absence of salt in their lives.
Of course, I am not talking about terrible circunstamces (a terrible meal) from which you have to run away for your life. In this case it is completely acceptable and necessary "to change the meal". I am talking about the common life with all its attachments, pleasures and fears. In the ordinary life, you surely keep trying to change the meal, but you generally fail to taste a new "flavor". No, add the salt (the meditation on the Self) to it and your problem will be resolved.
Q: To meditate on the inner Witness looks somewhat difficult to me.
A: No, it is not difficult. That is only apparently so. The inner Witness or Self is always "on". If you pay attention you will note that "something" constantly knows what your mind is thinking. That inner voice tells you: "The mind is thinking of this", "the mind is thinking of that", "the mind is angry", "the mind is happy", "the mind is dissapointed", etc. Even though I have used the term "inner voice", it is really a "feeling". To come to know how your mind is, "something" must be "separated" from it. That "something" is the Self or inner Witness. That Witness is You and is never touched by the mental fluctuations. Paradoxically, you think that you are actually being affected by your mind, but this is lastly an illusion which will be removed by the right knowledge.
Q: There are lots of experiences during meditation. Some people experience this, and other people experience that, and so on. However, I am wondering if there are fixed experiences which will be experienced sooner or later by every person who meditates. Do you understand me? N
A: Yes, I do. Well, it is true that there are a lot of experiences during meditation, but we should understand that only "four" are fixed. In other words, a person can have a "set" of experiences, while another person gets another one, which is different from the first one, but four experiences will be common in both sets. For example, a Christian person might have the vision of Christian saints during his meditation, while a Muslim might behold saints of his tradition when meditating. This is so because the Supreme Śakti or Power generally appears in a way that is understandable to the meditator. A Christian meditator easily recognizes a Christian saint in meditation, and the same thing is true to the Muslim meditator regarding Muslim saints. If Śakti were to appear in a Muslim way before a Christian meditator, and vice versa, that would make both meditators confused. Śakti is wise and exactly knows how to deal with those two guys, as you see.
That is why, there is no "exclusively Christian or Muslim or Hindu, etc." spiritual realm, as each of them is manifested by Śakti according to the belief, tradition and understanding of the meditator. Before some of you, guys, declare a crusade, jihad and the like against Gabriel Pradīpaka (the heretic), let me tell you that I am teaching a philosophical system called Trika, which is a science and not a religion. According to this system, Śakti or the Divine Power gives rise to the worlds, which are real like She Herself is, but lastly nothing has ever been manifested by Her. This apparent paradox cannot be understood with the ordinary mind. To understand it one must ponder deeply over his own nature through meditation, sevā (divine service) or any other spiritual practice. It is neither cheap nor instantaneous.
One is going to have many experiences along the way, but the final experience is "without any experience". Śiva is formless and lacks any kind of attributes. When you realize that you are Him, you experience that very formless state which is devoid of attributes. And that is an experience, but at the same time is not. It is the Supreme Experience, but not one which can be grasped by your mind. In fact, mind is completely stopped when the experience of Śiva ultimately dawns. When you experience Śiva, your mind stops working and no inner or outer object remains. We might state that there are two types of minds: ordinary mind and supermind. The ordinary mind is well-known to everybody, hehe, while the supermind is experienced in higher tattva-s (3 to 5). Nonetheless, when you merge your entire self into the Supreme Self or Śiva, you even go beyond supermind itself. Thus, no experience is possible there as an experience needs gross or subtle objects to be able to exist. Śakti or the Power of Śiva manifests the supermind and the ordinary mind, but when She reabsorbs them again into Herself, nothing is experienced then. Well, it is something like that. Words are unable to express that experience-less Experience.
Q: And what are those four fixed experiences? N
A: The experiences of the four lights.
Q: Four lights? N
A: Yes, the four lights belonging to the four bodies. As you surely know, all of us have four bodies, but not in the sense that they are four "things" different from one another, but in the sense of Śakti becoming grosser and grosser as She goes down into the lower tattva-s or categories of Creation. According to this viewpoint, it is just Śakti who becomes the fourth body (supracausal body), third body (causal body), etc. And each of these bodies, from the third one on, is a gross manifestation of the body placed immediately above. For example, the third body is a gross manifestation of the fourth body, the second one is a gross manifestation of the third one and so on. If you do not understand this, you will not understand the purport of what I am about to teach you.
The most basic and grossest body is the physical one called Sthūladeha or Sthūlaśarīra (gross body) in Sanskrit. This gross body is generally identified with the Self, that is, you think that the real person is his physical body. This is ignorance in its highest degree, but most people in the world are happy thinking like that. Well, they are not happy really, but pretend to be so. When someone is convinced that he is his physical body, he is "missing the target", and as a result, he will have to undergo terrible sufferings throughout his life because the body is so weak and prone to old age and death. It is continuously affected by weather, gravity, disease, etc. In sum, a wretched creature, hehe. Nobody who is identified with his own physical body CAN BE completely happy. And, since the vast majority of people think that they are their physical bodies, I can conclude that the vast majority of people IS NOT thoroughly happy. Pure logic.
At the same time, the physical body is something "sacred" in that it may be a useful tool to realize one's identity with Śiva. However, if you do not use it in a spiritual way, the same body can be a source of pain and suffering for you. Of course, you have to work to earn your living... but, you should not waste your entire day only in those mundane activities. You should practice some serious spiritual discipline, so that you can be able to attain to Self-realization in due time. If you do not practice, you are very likely not to attain anything and you life will be then wasted. Look how the vast majority of people around you waste their precious lives in foolish matters and you will understand what I meant.
The gross body is composed of the Mahābhūta-s or Gross Elements (tattva-s 32 to 36) (See the Tattvic Chart for more information). There will be a chart later on summarizing all, do not worry.
The second body is the subtle or astral one. It is known as Sūkṣmadeha or Sūkṣmaśarīra (subtle body), Liṅgadeha or Liṅgaśarīra (body of the liṅga-s) in Sanskrit. The liṅga-s are subtle marks of Śiva within certain Cakra-s... but, do not worry about this for now. Subtle body is the same physical body but appearing in a subtle manner, or vice versa, the physical body is the subtle body but appearing in a gross manner. In Trika, it is called Puryaṣṭaka (city of the eight), because it consists of five Tanmātra-s or Subtle Elements (See "Trika - overview" in Trika section for more information), Manas (mind), Ahaṅkāra (ego) and Buddhi (intellect). Indriya-s (Jñāna and Karma), although not specifically designated, are also included as they arise from Manas and Ahaṅkāra respectively. In turn, in Vedānta, the subtle body is divided into three sheaths or kośa-s: Prāṇamayakośa (sheath composed of vital energy), Manomayakośa (sheath composed of mind) and Vijñānamayakośa (sheath composed of intellect). The celebrated Cakra-s are in Prāṇamayakośa.
Prāṇamayakośa is full of Prāṇa or vital energy, which is a kind of bridge between the physical body and the mind. How does this work? For example, you want to take that fragrant apple placed right in front of you. You think, "Oh, I am hungry and I think that apple is exactly what I need to please my stomach". Granted, your thought might not be so sophisticated because of hunger, "I am hungry and will eat that apple right now". Your mind cannot directly get in touch with the physical arm which will take the apple, as they are living in different realms of "subtlety". Mind needs a messenger and that is Prāṇa or vital energy. In the example, Prāṇa will firstly act as Pāṇīndriya (the power of handling, tattva 23) and then as the rest of powers which will let you happily "eat" the apple so that you will not die by starvation. Simple to understand, isn't it?
Mind, ego and intellect, all of them live in the subtle body as I said to you before. As they are subtle entities, they cannot be affected by the gross world. For example, nobody gets his intellect "wet" by a heavy rain, and his ego is not scorched by the sun (but it can be scorched to ashes by the words of a true guru, hehe). Have you ever seen a person complaining that his Jñānendriya-s crashed into a car, or that his Karmendriya-s are exhausted? Not at all, it is just the physical body which undergoes all those experiences. Mind, ego, intellect and Prāṇa are never affected by the physical world. This is a secret teaching that I am revealing to you right now. Mind, ego, intellect and Prāṇa cannot be affected by the outer objects, conditions and the like. If you think in that manner, it is just your erroneous concept and viewpoint that makes you think so.
For instance, most people are convinced that their minds are suffering due to what other people do or stop doing. This is an common illusion, but a very powerful one indeed. Nothing can affect the mind, except its wrong concepts in form of seeds which come from tattva-s above the mind itself. The outer world cannot affect the mind at all. Stop thinking so, if you can, and you will be immediately relieved of a heavy burden, no doubt. Nobody is making you happy or unhappy, except the erroneous seeds planted in your mind by the inherent limitations (Kañcuka-s and Mala-s) manifested by Śakti. Happiness or unhappiness are not dependent upon something out there. Stop thinking like that and you will discover a giant source of bliss within yourself.
So, the subtle body consists of the tattva-s 14 to 31 (intellect, ego, mind, Jñānendriya-s, Karmendriya-s and Tanmātra-s) and is only affected by the limitations dwelling in the third body or causal body.
Q: Would you like to explain now what the causal body is? N
A: The third body is called Kāraṇadeha or Kāraṇaśarīra (causal body) in Sanskrit. It is the body in which all of us experience the deep sleep. It is composed of the tattva-s 6 to 13 (Māyā and her five Kañcuka-s, along with Puruṣa and Prakṛti; see "Trika - overview" in Trika section and Tattvic Chart for more information). There are innumerable seeds in it. Some of these seeds or "impressions" were formed by your previous actions, that is, every action (good or bad) you performed produced an "imprint or trace" in the causal body. That trace is generally known as Saṁskāra or impression. Saṁskāra consists of Vāsanā alone or of the conjunction of Karmāśaya and Vāsanā.
Q: Oh, I thought that Vāsanā and Karmāśaya were synonymous with Saṁskāra. N
A: In a general way, all is a kind of Saṁskāra or trace, but technically speaking, this is not so. Vāsanā is the recipient while Karmāśaya is the content. For example, you see a vulture and experience a feeling of revulsion which forces you to throw stones at the poor animal. Then, you will note that you can remember that vulture and this proves that the image of the vulture left an "imprint or trace" in your causal body. However, together with the image of the vulture, you experience again that feeling of disgust (OK, many people might like the vultures very much... this is only an example). Pay attention now: if you had only looked at the creature and thrown no stones, you would only experience that feeling of revulsion. In other words, you would only experience Vāsanā (the recipient) in the form of recollection, but this recipient would be empty of latencies brought about by actions, that is, it would be devoid of Karmāśaya. But, you had to throw stones at the vulture and that was a "bad" action, which poured Karmāśaya into the recipient of Vāsanā. Got it?
If you would not have thrown stones at the big bird, only an empty Vāsanā would have been formed. This kind of Vāsanā, by acting as a empty recipient, "might" in the future be filled with some kind of fresh Karmāśaya, but for the time being it is completely devoid of that "karmic content". Vāsanā would only appear as that feeling of revulsion, but nothing else would happen. However, you had to punish that vulture, and Karmāśaya (karmic latency) filled the recipient. The consequences of that inauspicious action might be that you will be reborn as a vulture and attacked by stoning. Anything may result from that time bomb in the form of Vāsanā + Karmāśaya. So, the final advise is "do not throw stones at any winged creature".
In turn, good actions produce good Karmāśaya, which will bring about good consequences and so on. Vāsanā alone is mere recollection, but when united with Karmāśaya it has real power to improve or ruin your wretched life. Therefore, watch your actions because "everything" you do is being "filmed", and you will reap the fruit later. We are all in a kind of cosmic Big Brother.
Whether Karmāśaya and Vāsanā be good or bad, the point is that they produce more Vāsanā-s and Karmāśaya-s, which is lastly bondage to a human being. That is why, Yogī-s try to free themselves from the eternal wheel of Vāsanā-s and Karmāśaya. They perform good actions (meditation, chanting, service, etc.) to generate good Vāsanā-s and Karmāśaya-s, which will help them to become free from bad Vāsanā-s and Karmāśaya-s, but in the end they look to get rid of all that (good and bad). When they do so, they are liberated beings, they have attained to Final Emancipation. What else might one say about it?
All latencies are stored in the causal body, and for that reason you cannot defeat your own mind by merely "wanting to do so". Not at all. Mind cannot be overcome by just fighting against it in an ignorant way. An example now: your mind is prone to too much distraction. You are warned of that by everybody around, and after pondering over it for a long time, you conclude that they are right: "mental distraction is one of your worst problems". Well, you try then to overcome it by simply paying more and more attention to all. If you strongly strive to overcome that problem, you are likely to be successful. However, you do not note that your mind has "developed" a new problem: it is too plaintive and complaining. Again, people around say that you are becoming a pestering guy, and once again you will strive hard to overcome that new problem, etc. etc. etc. Well, the wheel of ignorance is without any beginning and end, as you can see. The mental problem cannot be resolved in that manner.
Q: I can guess the medicine that will stop that wheel: to destroy the Saṁskāra-s or latencies themselves. N
A: Yes, you have guessed well. But the solution is not all simple to implement. Know that Ahaṅkāra (ego) is formed from all Saṁskāra-s that are "active" in your present life.
Q: I thought that "all" my Saṁskāra-s were active in this life. N
A: No, just those which has a fertile ground to fructify. But, for example, there are specially plenty of "empty" Vāsanā-s looking for a fresh Karmāśaya in order to take root and bear fruit. If they do not find any appropriate ground, they remain "asleep", as it were, in your causal body. An example now that will explain many situations in this world: John is a sweet decent guy, unable to perform bad actions, let alone extreme violence. Everybody talks about the good qualities of John. But, one day, John joins the army, goes to the front and ends up unnecessarily killing innocent people and raping some girls. You wonder, what happened to John, and where did the old John that you knew go? The answer is simple: while the conditions are good (e.g. food in the stomach, absence of danger, police around, etc.), the best Saṁskāra-s of John fructified. Nevertheless, when the conditions were changed for the worse, other "hidden" Saṁskāra-s were activated. The worst Saṁskāra-s may be now in oneself, but momentarily "deactivated" by the current conditions. Likewise, the good conditions produce in most people the fructification of the best Saṁskāra-s in them. That is why the good company (i.e. the company of spiritually-oriented people) is recommended in the scriptures.
Q: Understood. N
A: Good. As I was saying to you, Ahaṅkāra or ego is composed of the "activated" Saṁskāra-s, and to destroy Saṁskāra-s means to destroy Ahaṅkāra itself, or at least a part of it. In other words, you would have to destroy your own personality to get rid of all "activated" Saṁskāra-s in this life, and afterward, you will have to scorch the remaining stored latencies so that they may not be activated in the future. If they are kept, your ego will be "reborn", and you do not want that, obviously.
Q: How can I accomplish the mission of getting rid of all Saṁskāra-s, then? N
A: You cannot by yourself, as Ahaṅkāra or ego is stronger than you at present. You need the assistance of a true good guru who is willing to help you. The presence of a qualified guru is indispensable to accomplish the dangerous mission of destroying latencies. It is not enough to merely know about that, but you must be able to do it. As you surely know, you may theoretically understand how to drive a supertanker, but "to do it" in the real world is something different. Likewise, although all this "theoretical" knowledge is important, you will have to get the help of a guru. The company and teachings that this guru will give you are the key to final Liberation from all Saṁskāra-s (ego included). Without his help, you are adrift in this immense ocean of ignorance. One of the goals of this website is to give knowledge to people who want to attain Self-realization, but at the same time I warn them that they should get a good guru for actually achieving that state of Enlightenment. The teachings that I am giving on this website are always a useful tool to understand many important things on the spiritual path, but it is your own guru who will always have the "last" word about your spiritual development and practice. Do not forget that.
Q: What about the fourth body? N
A: Oh, yes. The fourth body is known as "supracausal body", Mahākāraṇadeha or Mahākāraṇaśarīra in Sanskrit. It is the spiritual body, beyond which only Supreme Consciousness remains. Even though this body is the highest body, it involves some kind of limitation. Granted, this limitation is by far almost insignificant if compared to that of the physical body, but still a limitation. The goal of the Yogī-s is go beyond all limitations, even the fourth body. Understood? Well done.
The supracausal body consists of the tattva-s 3 to 5. It is sometimes called "bindu", and thus it is also known as "bindu body". The word "bindu" literally means "dot", but it has a deeper meaning in philosophy. It may also be written "vindu", as "v" and "b" are often exchangeable in Sanskrit language. The term "vindu" is derived from the root "vid" (to know), and in this sense "vindu" or "bindu" is a "knower". Bindu is not something strange, it is you yourself right now. Watch your mind, how do you know the kind of thoughts you are experiencing? You know that because there is a "knower" or bindu behind them all. The thoughts cannot see each other, of course. Bindu or the fourth body is a knower to the rest of bodies (causal, subtle and gross). For example, you know how your skin looks and what thought is now your mind occupied in and even you can come to know what kind of Saṁskāra-s dwell in your causal body... well, know that you know all that because of Bindu or the fourth body. It is something "natural" and "spontaneous" and at the same time "mysterious" and "supernatural". All people are Bindu essentially, but not everybody are conscious of that.
This Bindu has the power of always remaining as a knower. It never becomes something to be known (e.g. an outer object, thought, latency, etc.). Bindu is always a Witness. There is a stanza in Trikahṛdaya (a venerable scripture) which states the following:
स्वपदा स्वशिरश्छायां यद्वल्लङ्घितुमीहते।
पादोद्देशे शिरो न स्यात्तथेयं वैन्दवी कला॥
Svapadā svaśiraśchāyāṁ yadvallaṅghitumīhate|
Pādoddeśe śiro na syāttatheyaṁ vaindavī kalā||
Just as (yadvat) (when) one attempts (īhate) to jump (laṅghitum) with his (sva) foot (padā) over the shadow (chāyām) of his own (sva) head (śiras), (the shadow of) the head (śiras) is not (na syāt) at the place (uddeśe) (where) the foot (steps on) (pāda), so also (tathā) (is it with) this (iyam) Vaindavī Kalā (vaindavī kalā).
The term "Vaindavī kalā" means "Power inherent in Bindu or Vindu". This Power allows Bindu to always remain as a knower at every moment. Just as you cannot step on the shadow of your own head, so nothing can force Bindu to become a knowable. Whether you are experiencing a great pleasure or a tremendous pain, you will note that Bindu is always in the same state, that is, it remains constantly a knower despite the changes in the conditions. Just as the subtle body cannot be affected by the activities and conditions of the gross body, and the third body cannot be touched by anything pertaining to subtle and gross bodies, so nothing coming from the causal, subtle and physical bodies can affect the fourth body or Bindu. When someone realizes that he is Bindu, he goes beyond all limitations inherent in the first three lower bodies. That person still retains a tiny limitation, as the fourth body is "a body" yet. However, this limitation is practically nonexistent when compared to the heavy conditionings of the other three bodies, specially the gross body.
As I said to you before, this body is composed of tattva-s 3 to 5. But, what does this mean? Listen: when someone gets to tattva 5, he is known as a "Mantra". A Mantra is, in this sense, a knower of the fifth tattva or category of Creation (read the pages of "Trika - overview" in Trika section for more information). A person who attains to this divine level of manifestation, is conscious of Aham (I) and Idam (this) in a balanced manner. He perceives and understand his natural unity with Aham and Idam simultaneously. Aham or I is the Self. If you are conscious of Aham, you are conscious of who you are really. This is also called to become conscious of the Self. In fact, the experient of the fifth tattva is known as Mantra as he is conscious to a certain extent of Aham or Mantra. In turn, Idam (this) is the universe, which can be "known". Mantra experient is able to be conscious of Aham and Idam in a balanced way, that is, none of them is predominant. As tattva 5 is full of Kriyāśakti (Power of action), a Mantra is omnipotent.
When a Mantra experient gets to the fourth tattva, he is called "Mantreśvara" (Lord of the Mantra or Aham). He is an "Īśvara" or Lord of Aham. In other words, he is conscious of who he is really. At this level, Idam (this) is predominant. What does this mean? It means that a Mantreśvara, even though conscious of Aham (I), is overwhelmed by the divine vision of the universe as an idea. It is difficult to express through words such a great state of consciousness, of course. In tattva 5, the universe is given a form by Kriyāśakti (Power of action), but in tattva 4 (the level at which a Mantreśvara lives), the universe is still an "idea" in the Cosmic Mind. Tattva 4 is full of Jñānaśakti (Power of knowledge), and thus a Mantreśvara is omniscient. As he is conscious of the universe as an idea or project, he knows all about Idam (this) or the universe. His omniscience cannot be understood by an ordinary mind that only thinks in a limited manner. Just as Mantra, Mantreśvara is also conscious of his inherent unity with Aham (I) and Idam (this), although Idam is predominant.
At the moment a Mantreśvara arrives in the third tattva, he is known as a "Mantramaheśvara" (Great Lord of the Mantra or Aham). He is now a "Great Lord" of Aham, which is predominant. Idam (this) or the universe is not even an idea at this level of consciousness but just an indistinct reality. As the universe or Idam is in such condition, a Mantramaheśvara takes refuge in his own Self or Aham. He is full of Supreme Peace and indescribable Bliss. Tattva 3 or Sadāśivatattva is the abode of Icchāśakti (Power of will). The term "will" must be understood here as the Divine Creative Power and not as mere stubbornness. A Mantramaheśvara is able to manifest a new universe from his own Self at any time... what else might I say about him?
You must understand all those states of experience as different roles you may play. You may play the part of Mantramaheśvara, Mantreśvara or Mantra... or the part of someone all the time occupied in familiar affairs, worried about the job and the like. The choice is yours. Obviously, those divine states are neither cheap nor instantaneous, but they can be attained in a lifetime. Granted, you will need "help" to do that and a "serious" renunciation of all stupidity and frivolity living in your mind. Nevertheless, when you at last arrive in those states, you can do whatever you want... even to have a stupid and frivolous mind once more, hehe, because you are now free and no limited role can "catch" you again. Oh yes, your mind is neither frivolous nor stupid, it is wise and full of good thoughts... well, if this is your opinion, either you are a real sage or you do not know anything about your own mind. Innate mental stupidity and frivolity may turn out to be a tremendous obstacle on everybody's way. One should renounce that (although he cannot actually overcome it). By constant renunciation of that, one can gradually reach higher and higher states.
Q: As Bindu is composed of tattva-s 3 to 5, I conclude that Mantramaheśvara, Mantreśvara and Mantra have Bindu body. N
A: That is right. All of them are "baindavadeha" or Bindu-bodied. Just as Bindu or the fourth body is free from any limitation pertaining to causal, subtle and gross bodies, so they are completely free from all that too. Their state is really a special one, isn't it? Do not waste your life in stupidity and frivolity, which only will lead you to death and oblivion, and try to attain to those divine states... and go even beyond them, toward the Core of all in this universe, that is, Śiva. Most people in this world are not bad, but ignorant. Ignorance turns them into childish creatures from a spiritual viewpoint, all the time looking for money, material comfort, fame, etc. They should be able to reach the sacred knowledge and awake to their divinity. If they do not do so, they will be cast into oblivion just as million people were cast in the past. Who cares that "celebrated" person who lived during the Roman Empire, who cares how much money that medieval king had, who cares that ant which was stepped on by a mammoth one million years ago, etc. etc.? It is pitiful that most people, forgetting that they are Śiva, devote their entire lives to such childish activities as those.
Q: And the four lights? N
A: Each of the fourth bodies has an associated light. These lights, which stand for each of the four bodies, generally appear when that specific body has undergone a complete purification. By "purification", I do not mean to say that something was "dirty" and was lastly cleaned, but a thorough "harmonization" in that body. In Trika, nothing is inherently impure, but it might be unharmonious though. Let us see one by one:
The first light is the red one, which pertains to the gross body. It is also known as Rakteśvarī or Red Mistress. It has the form of the gross body and generally appears, as I said before, when the gross body has been completely "harmonized".
The second light is the white one, which pertains to the subtle body. It is also known as Śveteśvarī or White Mistress. It is a thumb size and generally appears, as I said before, when the subtle body has been completely "harmonized".
The third light is the black one, which pertains to the causal body. It is also known as Kṛṣṇeśvarī or Black Mistress. It is a thumb tip (or nail) size and generally appears, as I said before, when the causal body has been completely "harmonized".
The fourth light is the blue one, which pertains to the supracausal body. It is also known as Nīleśvarī or Blue Mistress. It is a sesame seed size and generally appears, as I said before, when the supracausal body has been completely "harmonized".
Each of those four lights is a goddess or śakti, of course. Śiva is formless and bodiless... He has never become nothing. It is just Śakti who has become all bodies and the entire universe indeed.
Q: When the Yogī has the vision of one of those lights, does he experience some special state of consciousness? N
A: Yes. When he beholds Rakteśvarī, he is able to fully understand the bodily processes. He knows how the whole body works, and is even able to make changes in the gross body at will. In turn, when he beholds Śveteśvarī, he comes to thoroughly understand the subtle processes. He knows how the Cakra-s and mind work, and is even able to make some changes there too. And when he beholds Kṛṣṇeśvarī, he is capable to understand how all Saṁskāra-s, Vāsanā-s, etc. work in his causal body, and is even able to make changes there at will. He firstly becomes conscious of the causal latencies, but afterward, he can also "stir" them and produce various interesting karmic effects. The Yogī may also see the future, since the seeds of future events are also there, in the third body or causal one.
And when he beholds Nīleśvarī, he attains all that is attainable, as the fourth body or Mahākāraṇaśarīra (supracausal body) contains within it the entire universe manifested by Śakti. That which abides beyond the fourth body is not "attainable", because it is pure Consciousness or Śiva. Śiva is formless and bodiless, and he never becomes something to be attained or known. You are Him right now.
Q: Is Nīleśvarī the same thing as Bindu? N
A: No. Although most yogī-s and yoginī-s in this world use those terms as synonymous, there is a subtle difference. Nīleśvarī or Blue Mistress or Nīlabindu is the celebrated Blue Pearl, which is a sesame seed size, while Bindu is much smaller (a tiny dot). It might be stated that Bindu is a "compacted" version of the Blue Pearl. In short, the universe is more compacted in Bindu than in Nīleśvarī or Blue Pearl, and thus Bindu is closer to pure Consciousness or Śiva than the Blue Pearl. Yes, it is the same light though, but there is that subtle difference.
Beyond Blue Pearl is Bindu (which is not blue, but... hmmm, in fact, its color is indefinable; experience it by yourself). On the contrary, the Blue Pearl is clearly "blue". However, its blue "is not solid" but "sparkling". In a certain phase of your meditation, the Blue Pearl or Nīleśvarī will appear by itself before you. In due time, it will remain fixed in front of you, which indicates that your mind is totally calm and still. Afterward, it will begin to come close to you, and before entering it, you will realize that its surface is like an ocean. Its surface is full of blue waves of sparkling light. That is why, Blue Pearl is also known as Ocean of Consciousness. Many other things will occur too, obviously. Nevertheless, even though all experiences are important on your way, the "Experience without any experience" that you will experience after entering Blue Pearl is indescribable. In fact, the level of spiritual development among the Yogī-s is indicated by the level of "penetration" into the Blue Pearl. The more knowledge a Yogī has regarding that penetration, the more evolved he is. Suppose that you had gotten only to the surface of the Blue Pearl in your meditations... well, you will only be able to describe that. In turn, other Yogī might even have penetrated the Blue Pearl itself and thus he will give a more detailed description of what is within it, and so on. Got it?
And remember that nobody can control Nīleśvarī. She is Svātantrya (Freedom) in person and will appear before you when She wants to do so. Also, there is nothing that you can do to force Her to remain there in front of you. She is completely free. What else might I say about that? Experience by yourself.
Q: Might you summarize all your teachings about the four bodies and their associated lights? N
A: Yes. A chart now (see Tattvic Chart too):
|32 to 36
|Rakteśvarī or Red Mistress
(one's own gross body size)
|It is the physical body consisting of the seven
dhātu-s or bodily constituents (semen, bone, marrow, blood, chyle, fat and flesh)
|14 to 31
|Śveteśvarī or White Mistress
(a thumb size)
|It is the subtle body consisting of:
(according to Trika) eight main tattva-s --intellect, ego, mind and the five Tanmātra-s--; (while according to Vedānta, it is composed of) three kośa-s or sheaths --Prāṇamayakośa (pranic sheath), Manomayakośa (mental sheath) and Vijñānamayakośa (intellectual sheath)--
|6 to 13
|Kṛṣṇeśvarī or Black Mistress
(a thumb tip size)
|It is the causal body, which is also known as Ānandamayakośa (sheath of bliss) in Vedānta.
All latencies live in this body, which are a kind of seeds giving rise to all that occurs in the other two lower bodies (gross and subtle)
|3 to 5
|Nīleśvarī or Blue Mistress
(a sesame seed size)
|It is the supracausal body, which means that it is above all "causes" or latencies accumulated in the third body. Someone who has entered the fourth body, cannot be affected by any latency. He is free from all limitations in the form of Mala-s and Kañcuka-s
(See pages of the Trika section)
|Beyond all bodies dwells "bodiless" Śiva or pure Consciousness along with His Power (Śakti); and it was certainly Śakti who manifested all those bodies
to be continued
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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