14th April, 1937
Dandapani, a resident devotee now on a North Indian tour, sent an
extract from the Modern Psychological Review which stated that the
dynamic centre of the Heart is on the right and not on the left whereas
the physical organ is on the left.
Conversation followed on that subject.
M.: The yoga marga speaks of the six centres each of which must be
reached by practice and transcended until one reaches sahasrara
where nectar is found and thus immortality. The yogis say that one
enters into the paranadi which starts from the sacral plexus whereas
the jnanis say that the same nadi starts from the heart. Reconciliation
between the seeming]y contradictory statements is effected in the
secret doctrine which distinctly states the yogic paranadi is from
muladhara and the jnana paranadi is from the Heart. The truth is
that the paranadi should be entered. By yogic practice one goes
down, then rises up, wanders all through until the goal is reached;
by jnana abhyas one settles down directly in the centre.
D.: Is not para followed by pasyanti, etc.?
M.: You are speaking of vak which is divided into (1) para, (2) pasyanti,
(3) madhyama and (4) vaikhari; Vak is prana sakti whereas the
mind is tejorupa or chit sakti. The sakti is the manifestation of the
The Yogis attach the highest importance to going up to sahasrara
i.e., the brain centre or the thousand-petalled-lotus. Some yogis say
that there are other centres higher up with greater involutions e.g.,
100,000 (100) petalled or 100,000,000 (108) petalled ones. Let us
omit them for the present. They point out the scriptural statement
that the life-current enters the body through the fontanelle and
argue that, viyoga (separation) having come about that way, yoga
(union) must also be effected in the reverse way. Therefore we must
by yoga practice, gather up the pranas and enter the fontanelle
for the consummation of yoga. The jnanis point out that the yogi
assumes the existence of the body, its separateness from the Self,
and therefore advises effort for reunion by the practice of yoga.
In fact, the body is in the mind which has the brain for its seat,
which again functions by light borrowed from another source
as admitted by the yogis themselves in their fontanelle theory.
The Jnani further argues: if the light is borrowed it must come
from its native source. Go to the source direct and do not depend
on borrowed resources. Just as an iron ball comes into being
separate from the mass of iron, gets fiery, in fire, later cools down
giving up the fire, but must again be made fiery to reunite with the
original mass, so also the cause of separation must also form the
factor of reunion.
Again if there is an image reflected there must be a source and also
accessories like the Sun and a pot of water for reflection. To do away
with the reflection either the surface is covered up corresponding to
reaching the fontanelle according to the yogis or the water is drained
away which is called tapas (Tapo Brahmeti - tapas is Brahman).
That is to say, the thoughts or the brain activities are made to cease.
This is jnana-marga.
All these are however on the assumption that the jiva is separate
from the Self or Brahman. But are we separate? “No”, says the
Jnani. The ego is simply wrong identity of the Self with the
non-self, as in the case of a colourless crystal and its coloured
background. The crystal though colourless appears red because of
its background. If the background is removed the crystal shines in
its original purity. So it is with the Self and the antahkaranas.
Still again the illustration is not quite appropriate. For the ego has
its source from the Self and is not separate like the background
from the crystal. Having its source from the Self, the ego must only
be retraced in order that it might merge in its source.
The centre of the ego and its core is called the Heart, the same as
A gentleman asked if the yogis also reach the anahata and thus realise
the Heart-centre as is done by the jnanis but in a different way.
M.: Anahata is not the same as the Heart-centre. If so, why should
they wander further on to Sahasrara? Moreover, the question arises
because of the sense of separateness persisting in us. We are never
away from the Heart-centre. Before reaching anahata or after
passing it, one is only in the centre. Whether one understands it or
not, one is not away from the centre. Practice of yoga or vichara
is done, always remaining in the centre only.
D.: What is to be our sadhana?
M.: Sadhana for the sadhaka is the sahaja of the siddha. Sahaja is
the original state, so that sadhana amounts to the removal of the
obstacles to the realisation of this abiding truth.
D.: Is concentration of mind one of the sadhanas?
M.: Concentration is not thinking one thing. It is, on the other hand,
putting off all other thoughts which obstruct the vision of our
true nature. All our efforts are only directed to lifting the veil of
ignorance. Now it appears difficult to quell the thoughts. In the
regenerate state it will be found more difficult to call in thoughts.
For are there things to think of? There is only the Self. Thoughts
can function only if there are objects. But there are no objects. How
can thoughts arise at all?
The habit makes us believe that it is difficult to cease thinking. If
the error is found out, one would not be fool enough to exert oneself
unnecessarily by way of thinking.
D.: Is not grace more effective than abhyasa?
M.: Guru simply helps you in the eradication of ignorance. Does he
hand over Realisation to you?
D.: We are ignorant.
M.: Inasmuch as you say you are ignorant, you are wise. Is he a
madman who says that he is mad? Guru’s Grace is like a hand
extended to help you out of water, or it makes your way easier for
the removal of ignorance.
D.: Is it not like a medicine to cure the disease of avidya?
M.: What is medicine for? It is only to restore the patient to the original
state of health. What is this talk of Guru. Grace, God, etc.? Does
the Guru hold you by the hand and whisper something in your
ear? You imagine him to be like yourself. Because you are with
a body you think that he is also a body in order to do something
tangible to you. His work lies within. How is Guru gained? God,
who is immanent, in his Grace takes pity on the loving devotee and
manifests Himself as a being according to the devotee’s standard.
The devotee thinks that he is a man and expects relationship as
between bodies. But the Guru, who is God or Self incarnate, works
from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways, guides him
in the right path until he realises the Self within.
After such realisation the disciple feels, “I was so worried before. I
am after all the Self, the same as before but not affected by anything;
where is he who was miserable? He is nowhere to be seen.”
What should we do now? Only act up to the words of the master,
work within. The Guru is both within and without. So he creates
conditions to drive you inward and prepares the interior to drag
you to the centre. Thus he gives a push from without and exerts a
pull from within so that you may be fixed at the centre.
In sleep you are centred within. Simultaneously with waking
your mind rushes out, thinking this, that and all else. This must be
checked. It is possible only for the agent who can work both within
and without. Can he be identified with a body? We think that the
world can be conquered by our efforts. When frustrated externally
and driven internally, we feel “Oh! oh! There is a power higher
than man.” The existence of the higher power must be admitted
and recognised. The ego is a very powerful elephant and cannot
be brought under control by anyone less than a lion, who is no
other than the Guru in this instance; whose very look makes the
elephant tremble and die. We will know in due course that our
glory lies where we cease to exist. In order to gain that state, one
should surrender oneself saying “LORD! Thou art my Refuge!” The
master then sees “This man is in a fit state to receive guidance,” and
so guides him.
D.: What is Self-surrender?
M.: It is the same as self-control; control is effected by removal of
samskaras which imply the functioning of the ego. The ego submits
only when it recognises the Higher Power. Such recognition is
surrender or submission, or self-control. Otherwise the ego remains
stuck up like the image carved on a tower, making a pretence by
its strained look and posture that it is supporting the tower on its
shoulders. The ego cannot exist without the Power but thinks that
it acts of its own accord.
D.: How can the rebellious mind be brought under control?
M.: Either seek its source so that it may disappear or surrender that
it may be struck down.
D.: But the mind slips away from our control.
M.: Be it so. Do not think of it. When you recollect yourself bring it
back and turn it inward. That is enough.
No one succeeds without effort. Mind control is not one’s birthright.
The successful few owe their success to their perseverance.
A passenger in a train keeps his load on the head by his own folly.
Let him put it down: he will find the load reaches the destination
all the same. Similarly, let us not pose as the doers, but resign
ourselves to the guiding Power.
D.: Swami Vivekananda says that a spiritual Guru can transfer
spirituality substantially to the disciple.
M.: Is there a substance to be transferred? Transfer means eradication of
the sense of being the disciple. The master does it. Not that the man
was something at one time and metamorphosed later into another.
D.: Is not Grace the gift of the Guru?
M.: God, Grace and Guru are all synonymous and also eternal and
immanent. Is not the Self already within? Is it for the Guru to bestow
It by his look? If a Guru thinks so, he does not deserve the name.
The books say that there are so many kinds of diksha (initiations
- hasta diksha, sparsa diksha, chakshu diksha, mano diksha, etc.)
They also say that the Guru makes some rites with fire, water, japa,
mantras, etc., and call such fantastic performances dikshas, as if
the disciple (sishya) becomes ripe only after such processes are
gone through by the Guru.
If the individual is sought he is nowhere to be found. Such is the
Guru. Such is Dakshinamurti. What did he do? He was silent; the
disciples appeared before him. He maintained silence, the doubts
of the disciples were dispelled, which means that they lost their
individual identities. That is jnana and not all the verbiage usually
associated with it.
Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and
emphatic the sastras may be, they fail in their effect. The Guru
is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is more vast and
more emphatic than all the sastras put together. These questions
arise because of the feeling, that having been here so long, heard
so much, exerted so hard, one has not gained anything. The work
proceeding within is not apparent. In fact the Guru is always
Thayumanavar says: “Oh Lord! Coming with me all along the
births, never abandoning me and finally rescuing me!” Such is the
experience of Realisation.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita says the same in a different way, “We two
are not only now but have ever been so.”
D.: Does not the Guru take a concrete form?
M.: What is meant by concrete? Because you identify your being with
your body, you raise this question. Find out if you are the body.
The Gita says: param bhavam ajanantah (Bh. Gita IX - II) - that
those who cannot understand the transcendental nature (of Sri
Krishna) are fools, deluded by ignorance.
The master appears to dispel that ignorance. As Thayumanavar puts
it, he appears as a man to dispel the ignorance of a man, just as a deer
is used as a decoy to capture the wild deer. He has to appear with a
body in order to eradicate our ignorant “I-am-the-body” idea.
15th April, l937