The first week of Maharaj Ji’s visit to Canada was spent in Brampton. Here, various important and practical themes got captured in Maharaj Ji’s discourses, which were more in the spirit of conversations, rather than sermons. Maharaj Ji spoke on the utility of Charity (Daan) and Service (Sewa) as the first steps to truly turning the mind inwards; on the science of breath as an indispensible tool for living a healthy life and going within; on a deeper perspective on the much said topic of managing anger in response to a query. The content has been summarized below:
There are some short term measure and some long term measures. (The questioner advances that perhaps the roots of anger lie in one’s ego. Maharaj Ji concurs but explains further…) Let’s try to understand what this ego really is. In fact, it is this ‘I’-ness which distinguishes us from rocks and stones. But for this ‘I’ we cannot even practice any spiritual discipline (bhajan). Even to perform any good action we need this ‘I’. And when we do something bad that is also due to ‘I’-ness only. But there is a difference in both the senses of ‘I’. If one says, that the ‘I’ should totally be annihilated, then that is not totally correct. We are not to destroy the ‘I’ but have to destroy all vices in the form of ‘I’, all imperfections and impurities in the name of ‘I’. What is ‘I’ after all?
I am the part of the Lord Himself. Such an ‘I’ is needed. Now I have to devote myself to meditation. Now I have to participate in a satsanga – this is the right attitude. In fact, to say that I will do only when He will make me do – that will not help. Therefore, such a sense of ‘I’ that propels one to positive actions is essential. However, we take the contrary attitude. When it comes to positive actions we believe that He will make me do it, and otherwise we give full wings to our ‘I’ in the affairs of the world; affairs, that please our minds’ inert tendencies. The right attitude is the following then: I am to reign in my anger. I am to practice meditation. So O’ Lord give me the power to do these. I am your part. I act but you are the one who gives me the power to act. The inspiration and power, you shall give me, but it is me who will act and leave no effort unmade when carrying out my action.
Thus, we see that in a particular sense ‘I’ is indispensable. In daily mundane affairs also, for the sake of self defense, that no one may cheat me us in our businesses and innumerable other instances, a sense of ‘I’ becomes essential. The ‘I’ that is “bad” is that one that aims to harm others; that aims to loot the other for one’s selfish gains.
Now, we will try to understand why do we feel angry? Let us understand the roots of anger for that alone will help us to gain victory over it. The Gita describes it clearly, but let’s not speak of that here. In simple terms, man has a desire to do something; say, “I wish to expand my business”. We make elaborate plans for the same. And then, an obstacle comes our way – say that 3-4 people are into the same kind of business and sometimes, their interests may clash. Anger is our response to any such obstacle in our works and desires. We blame our competitors for thwarting our plans and hence feel angry.
Let’s consider a familial atmosphere. We parents have expectations of our children. And our expectations are not fulfilled. Again anger arises. Now a pertinent question to think about is: In what situations is it right to be angry and when is it injurious to act in anger? Sometimes, it is right to be angry and show it: Suppose, a thief, a robber breaks into your house: It is important then, to show anger and act in self-defense. If even there we will pose humility and mild calm, then that could be injurious to us. For one’s self-defense, to clear one’s path, one has to/should take help of anger. But where we want to improve someone, to bring someone onto the right path; there anger is wrong and dangerous to our purpose. By becoming and showing anger we can never make the other understand our point of view. Through anger we can never sow the seeds of improvement in anyone. There only love would work; never anger.
Suppose there a “malicious” little child in our homes. He listens to none, does his own will. To protect him from injuring himself thus, it might be necessary to feign anger for some time. But later, he should be showered with a double amount of love too. The child should gain the realization that my parents love me tremendously and even if they are angry sometimes, that is only for my own good. The first measure is always, love!
If we can understand this, then slowly we shall cover the leagues to win over our anger. After all, what is the meaning of winning over our anger? It surely does not mean, to annihilate anger, it means to transform it to love. There is however an intermediate stage in this transformation of anger into love: the rise of brilliance and power (tejas).
First the energy of anger will be transformed into brilliance and power and then that power will be transformed into love. Right now, if we give wings to our anger we are left tired and fatigued. The fire that is in the form of anger today, is to be slowly turned into a fire that brings energy and power to us. Instead of cribbing about difficulties, we are to transform our resentment into the energy required for action to rise above them. Let us not lose heart if our children are not doing as per our expectations, if our businesses are not running as they should. Still we ought to fight it out, by transforming our anger into pure energy and love.
A measure of tejas is that our speech becomes permeated with brilliance. The path to winning over anger is that our brains are active, that we can present our point across with dexterity. First, listen and understand the other, and only then show him the right path further.
Winning over anger is a big practice. One who has gained victory over anger, greed, lust etc. comes closer to the realization of God. At the root of this journey is the ‘I’ – ‘I’ am the part of the Divine; the others that I see are also the part of the Divine. With such eyes we can go around in the world and practice to win over anger. So it is not really about annihilating anger but transforming that into power. After all we are not dead to not have the energy in us that sometimes bubbles forth as anger!
Now what about greed? I want “more and more and more”…but change that to “more and more of God”. Then greed is transformed as well. These are the long term measures.
Then there are short term measures as well. We really liked this time how Majithiaji explained this: “When angry look at your face in the mirror (all laugh). How terrified I am to look at such an image of myself! How terrified would other be to see me in such a state!” Other measures are is that when angry, speak not. In those moments our brains are not ours, they are the captive of anger and if something is spoken in such a state then certainly that would turn out to be harmful. There are other ways also. If you are standing, sit down; if sitting, lie down; drink cool water; breathe consciously and stop it. And when angry separate yourself. Because, if we do end up saying something under the influence of anger to others, it might be that the other person might not be able to forget that in his whole lifetime. You may end up serving the other, help the other through their lives; they might forget all that, but some harsh others uttered to him/her are hardly ever forgotten. The seeds of the battle of Mahabharata were sown through such pinching “words” only.
There is also a matter of perspectives. Angers flare up when we think we are right, and are convinced of it. The other is equally convinced of his own stand too. But in the world, nothing is 100% right or wrong. A wonderful story from the mid-century England, when knights galloped the land is narrated to bring home the point. Two knights travelling in opposite directions came in front of each other. From their vantage point each saw a sword hanging from the branch of a tree. “What a beautiful sword of silver it is!” – exclaimed the one travelling due north. The one travelling south remarked, “Thou art, blind O warrior. It is but a sword of copper!” “Thou sayest me blind, but it is thy, whose eyes are fooled!” And so on the blood of the warriors boiled to a degree when they were fighting furiously to prove their point. Swords clashed and as it chanced that in the heat of battle both fell from their horses on the opposite sides, than where they had been initially standing. “Gracious Lord! Indeed this is a sword of silver!” – uttered forth the knight who had been travelling south but now was facing the north. And the other knight now saw that the blade was truly copper’s. They took down the sword and to their surprise, one side of it was silver and the other copper.
Such are the quarrels and fights in the world. We ought to be tolerant and enter into the heart of the one who opposes us. We will see that he is right, form his standpoint. Then we could talk. To gain the ability to hear tolerantly is also a step in winning over our anger.”
<Maharaj Ji spoke one day on the science of death and the way to die. The content of what was said has been captured below>:
Today we are talking about the science of death and dying. How is to one die? How should one die? It is said in the Gurbani, and we shall quote from it, but this spirit is present in the sayings of all saints and shastras: “जिस मरने ते जग डरे मेरे मन आनन्द, मरने ही पाईए पूरण परमानन्द” i.e. the death that is so feared by the world is blissful to my mind for it is only upon dying that one attains the supreme bliss. The greatest fear that we harbor is of dying. But the saint says, that the death which frightens the ordinary folks is to him a matter of great bliss. This is the principle. Our lives should be transformed in a way that we can embrace death cheerfully. Understand death as a valley, which if passed, leads to the realm of bliss and if one gets stuck there, then it is most dangerous and frightening.
So let’s begin by asking this question: What is death? How does the majority of the people define and understand death? Except for a small minority of atheists, who believe that with death everything ends, the majority, whether they are Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs etc., do accept, that even when the body dies, something remains. The Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs go further to say that this being that survives the death of the physical body also gets a new body. Despite these differences in details, they do concur that something remains after the physical body dies. So in this light, we see that death is simply the leaving behind of the body, the physical body to be precise, that till now had been the residing place of the being and which was one’s medium to carry out one’s actions, and establishing contact with the physical world through seeing, listening, speaking etc.
Now we must say that there is not only one body that a being has. The body that we can see through our eyes and feel through the sense of touch is only one amongst at least four other bodies. The number can vary in different systems and traditions, but we will settle here for five bodies in all for a complete description. Just like a multilayered building, these four layers or bodies capture the space, in inmost recesses of which is seated the atman, the being in his/her/it’s pure, pristine form.
The gross or the physical body is also called annamaya kosha (or the sheath of food). This layer is maintained primarily through the food a being consumes. In the eyes, it is as deep as the depth of the cornea, in the nose, its depth reaches till the throat and similarly is the case in the lower organs as well. But there is more to it. That which controls the functioning of this outer sheath is the pranamaya kosha (or the sheath of prana). This layer is active even now, but our consciousness is not active there. It includes the forces the move the hand, feet and other sense organs (karma-indriyan) work. These are not the sense organs (<pointing to the hands>), these are seat where the indriyan live. Then comes the manomaya kosha that comprises the mind and the sense organs like eyes, ears, nose (gyan-indriyan) through which we establish contact with the objects of the outer world. Further deep is the vigyanamaya kosha which comprises of the intellect and the discriminatory faculties in man. Then there is the ananadmaya kosha where one enters in deep sleep. And finally beyond this veil resides the atman – in its pure, pristine form. But this atman is present in the five koshas as well, and beyond them as well.
The meaning of death then is merely the severing of the contact of the being with the gross, annamaya kosha. The pranamaya, manomaya, vigyanamaya, anandamaya are there and the atman is necessary there. To say that atman leaves the body is not accurate. After all, atman is one with the para-atman, so it is omnipresent and cannot go and leave. But because we consider ourselves to be the body therefore we end up saying, though erringly, that the atman leaves the body.
What happens in death? There are nine sense organs: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, and two organs of elimination and reproduction. A time however comes that the body becomes so old that the senses fail to function properly: the eyes cannot remain open, the ears do not hear properly, the wastes are not eliminated and begins to accumulate within the body and ultimately we are unable to draw in any quantity of air.
The activity of our body is not merely at the mercy of food and water. There is a force called prana-shakti, within man, and hence man is also called praani. As long as this force is active in the body, we shall remain active. The time when we are unable to draw air signifies death: it is a different question as to why we are not able to inhale air. Let’s see what happens when we draw in the air. Whether through the mouth or the nose, the inhaled air reached the lungs. From there it is mixed into the blood. The impurities are filtered by the kidney. Through the spinal cord, a minute part of it reaches the brain, what the doctors call hypothalamus. We shall advance even further than this. This hypothalamus is the extension of dasham-dwara itself. Still beyond that resides the atma-tattva. As long as this contact remains established we are active in the body; the moment it is severed it is called death. But this contact is not severed all in a moment, it is a gradual process.
Let’s start this journey then, from the body of a baby. In the womb, the child is not breathing through the nose but the activity is happening through the belly. All his physiology is controlled by its link with the mother, through the belly. Now when the baby comes into the world, it is pertinent that he breathes through the nose; failing which his eyes would not open and in turn the other senses would not function and the baby wouldn’t be able to survive. All sense organs are linked to each other. This process of opening of his organs to the external world, which is also accompanied by a shrill voice from his throat, is termed as “crying”. That first breath that a baby breathes in the material world is the beginning of his life here.
Now let’s note the breath of a baby. It seems now that the baby is breathing through the nose, but in truth the attractive centre, drawing in his breath, continues to remain in the navel, as it was in the womb-stage. There is such depth to a baby’s breathing that its pulsations are clearly felt in his/her feet and head. There may not be power in a baby’s body, rather it is still incompletely formed. But there is immense power in the breath. A baby breathes upto 40 breaths per minute. The heart pumps in so tantalizing a rapidity that if it were to beat thus is grown-ups they would feel dizzy. The amount of energy that a baby can channelize, we would we unable to withstand. Why? Well, because we are already en route on our journey to death. The main point is that the baby is drawing in the air from the navel.
In samadhi this connexion with the navel is opened to an even higher degree. Let’s see what happens in samadhi. A yogi or a Mahayogi draws the air from mooladhara and when he exhales his breath enters straight into the Brahmarandra. A baby’s is comparatively a little peripheral, more active towards the senses. Yet it has tremendous force. And the result? Well, a baby drinks merely a few drops of milk, and yet how astoundingly he/she grows. This is because his/her breath is very deep? Why is a baby’s breath deep? Because his/her attention is wholly inside the body! You wave your hand in front of newborn eyes, they does not see it. Though the eyes may be opened, yet they cannot see far.
And now as the body grows, as the eyes begin to see, as the tongue and throat begin to produce sounds; alongside, the mind also begins to become extroverted. Now as the mind also begins to get outside (and there is nothing wrong in that, at least till the age of 5-7 years, this period of growth is extremely special. We shall discuss it some other time. If during this period he is stabbed with negative emotions, his growth at subtle levels is stunted and the repercussions last a lifetime), the problem arises when the child begins to play the clever game, when he feigns his needs and desires. He wants something and portrays something totally different –when such a game is played, the mind begins to get entangled outside. The oneness of inside and outside is cracked. He wants something but knows his mother would not allow that. So he steals. And now when he breathes, the layers that have begin to grow within, prevent it from establishing the earlier intimate contact with the Self within. As soon as the breath begins to get shallower, the journey to death also begins. For we have already stated: that death of a ‘praani’ is nothing but the moment when we fail to draw the prana within.
What is meaning of a shallow, incomplete breath? To understand this let’s come to food that we eat. Our ingested food has three layers to it. The gross layer forms the wastes, the middle part of it forms blood, flesh etc. and the subtle part of it forms the mind. Now because no longer is the force of prana active in the lower regions, these regions begin to accumulate wastes (i.e. the flexibility of intestines begins to wane). As a result the body is unable to rid itself totally of waste products. To eliminate we have intake more. And gradually, the quantities of accumulated wastes goes on increasing.
To totally cleanse the body of waste is a big thing. H.R.M. experimented once living on water. Even on the 16th day of his experiment, his body kept eliminating solid waste. And we say, that even then the body might not have cleared itself totally of them. This is the state of things. The waste always remain within. And it is that which makes the waistlines explode with years and makes the muscles rigid. It is therefore said by Guru Gorakhnath:
मोटे मोटे कूल्हे, मोटे मोटे पेट
नहीं रे पूता गुरु स्यों भेंट।
Death should be seen as a natural extension of old-age. Yet we believe that rarely would someone die because of old-age. People die because of disease and diseases beget a premature old-age. The death we are talking about is that brought by a normal process of old-age. There is no disease but the power and capacity of the senses goes on decreasing. But this is quite rare. Usually, owing to accumulation of wastes, wrong diet, vices of anger, greed etc. the body becomes a playing field of decay and disease. The heart, the brain, the kidneys, liver cease to function properly. Ultimately this leads to a sudden severing of our contact with the Dasham-Dvara (the tenth door where the Divine dwells within the body) causing “sudden death”.
Thus, death is simply the severing of the contact between the senses and the external world and this is brought on because of an inner split caused between the senses and the dasham dwara. We believe that this much is straightforward to understand. Against this backdrop one would also understand that merely going on taking nourishing foods would not bring us a long, healthy life. To life long and healthy it is vital that whatever quantity we eat is digested completely. Eat less; yes, when the body is still growing externally, there may still be need for it, but once that phase is complete then if we do not become aware of this fact, then instead of growing upwards our body will grow sideways <all smile>. The moment our body begins to expand sideways, we should understand that we are eating more than our requirement. There is also a stage when one can go without food and even water and solely on air he can energize himself. But even if we do not reach so far, at least we should understand that man does not live by bread alone.
We have talked about the senses like nose and mouth in our discussion up to now, but in this discussion the eyes play an even more important role. There are many symptoms that forecast “natural” death. If on getting up in the morning one presses the corners of the eyes, and does not see a star in the field of vision, and this goes up to ten days, then the end is near. Even doctors check the reaction of eyes to light before passing their final verdict in this regard. The reason behind this symptom is that the moment the contact between our eyes and the world is severed, all other senses also begin to fold up.
If we have observed the dying, we would remember that during the process of death, a stage comes when the pace of breath increases and sounds are heard in the throat. Now this happens, because as the kundalini, which awakens in everybody at the time of death, rises from the muladhara and advances upwards, it encounters a total road-block at the throat. Usually the path above this remains blocked. It is at this point that sounds emanate from the throat. Now depending on how the much the path hereafter is opened, the prana leave the body from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears and in case the path is totally opened they leave the body from the center of the head. Such a being need not return to earth again. And one can also discern from where a being has left the body. Some deformations can be observed in the concerned sense-organ. <Here Maharaj Ji also described the process of his Master’s leaving the body…it typified the death of a yogi>. There can be other cases as well. In the Tibetan book of Living and Dying it is narrated the death of a Master, whose consciousness rose into the head and stayed there for some days, for the sadhana was still continuing. When somebody leaves the body in this way, he attains krama-mukti (liberation gained in phases as the being travels through higher and higher realms). However, we must add that merely on the basis of from which sense organ the being left the body one cannot draw hard and fast rules on his future; there are a huge no. of combinations possible, depending on the sense-organs, the tattvas, the samskaras.
The severing of the contact with the gross body is the first death. Then later, depending on one’s samskaras, the being leaves behind the pranamaya kosha also. That happens in the higher realms. And then the being leaves behind the manomaya kosha. Then when the being is left with only the vigyanmaya and aanandmaya, then he travels back again to the material plane. Depending on the most deep rooted samskaras, he gets his parents and the condition of birth. However, if while living one has reached beyond all these koshas, then for such a being, the process is totally different. Going through the sushumna his consciousness merges into the Divine right “here”.
Today we basically talked about what happens in death. Someday we will talk about how we should live so that whatever still remains to be done can be achieved even during the last time: and therefore it is also said:
जप तप में क्या रखा है भाई, मरना सीखो।
What is there is penance and meditative practice, dear, learn to die.
<The session rapped up with question and answer session and many smiles. It was further clarified that beings like Yamaraj (the god of death) are not beings but forces. Further, everyone save a Mahayogi leave their body in an unconscious state, and only after leaving the body does one realize that the body has been left behind.>