Understanding the Mind

One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925-1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living With the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.

4 states of consciousness"The journey on which we are now treading and being led is an internal journey, a journey within.  On an external journey, you move faster and faster until it is complete – but on this journey you do not move, and yet you go ahead.  The laws of this internal journey are entirely different.  They comprise the science of yoga.  You want to be an interior researcher; you want to know something is valuable.  To do that, the first thing you need to do is to understand the four states of consciousness:  the waking state, the dreaming state, the state of deep sleep and the state beyond.

Once you understand the first three states, then you definitely understand that there is something beyond.  The state beyond is not known by ordinary people.  But how fortunate is he who touches Infinity while he is here.  Even the greatest of people cannot do that.  Even devas, or celestial beings, cannot do that.  Great is he who lives here, yet remains above.  This finite vessel of the body has something great in it: it carries the Infinite all the time.  It is a glass box or a glass house in which Infinity lives.  All the expressions of your face, all your smiles, have been created by that Great One who peeps through these windows and through the corridor of your life.

Understand one thing first: you should always think that it is easy to meet Him.  To speak to others you have to move your lips, but to converse with Him you do not have to do that.  You just have to be quiet and silent.  You do not have to do any work or take any action to receive great joy.  If any such action is performed, it is performed in the inner world in a subtle matter.

We will begin to discuss the waking state, following the teachings of the Upanishads.  They are considered to be the finest literature on the best of the philosophies in the world.  The Upanishads are the finest part of the Vedas, which are the most ancient scriptures in the library of humanity today.  It is not easy to understand them, however.  They are composed of sutras, or “threads”, which are small compact aphorisms, not easily understood without a teacher.

According to the Upanishads, you first need to understand the waking state and to learn to work with your mind.  During the waking state, you remain awake and conscious.  The entire educational system, all over the world, has only one thing to teach you: that which applies to the waking state.  While awake in the external world, if you learn to coordinate your senses and to establish a coordinated function with that external world, then you are considered to be great.

But in the external world where you live, “wisdom” often means stealing, drinking, being harsh to others, being injurious, being hurtful and harming.  This is because you make your own ego the center of your life.  The ego is only meant to be a representative – but that representative, forgetting its true master, starts to function and control things in the external world.

Let us see how the ego is used – wisely and foolishly – in the waking state.  The purpose of the ego is to hold and retain your body, to retain your individuality.  But there is nothing beyond that!  As long as the ego is functioning to retain your individuality, it is doing its work well.  But unfortunately the ego gets involved with other things, and tried to get involved with others´ individuality as well.  So if you believe that your partner is superior to you in some regard, you cannot accept that; a struggle goes on, and then the marriage or friendship falls apart.

When this happens, it means the partners have not accepted each other as they are.  Then how can they really love?  They have accepted each other merely for their own convenience – and to accept someone for one´s own convenience is not love, it is selfishness, it is food for the ego.

In the external world, only the ego is strengthened.  Whatever we do, we do it for the sake of the ego, and the ego´s function is merely to retain this body successfully in the external world.  The ego does not know anything important, but if you give all your energy to the ego and go on increasing your ego with all your mind, action and speech, then you will find that you have become a great ego.  With such an ego you build walls around yourself.  You share the same bed and the same roof with someone, you love somebody, and you accept them as a partner – and then you build a boundary around yourself and do not allow that person to know how you are feeling inside and what you are thinking.  You cannot share your innermost ideas and feelings, even with yourself.

Therefore the vast portion of your personality remains submerged because of the walls between your ego and you, and between you and the Reality.  The vastness of the mind is not known to you and remains forever submerged.  What is submerged in the unconscious or subconscious, which is then not understood.  Psychologists used this word “subconscious” earlier; in modern times everything is considered to be “unconscious”.  The unconscious means that you own it and you have it within, but you are not aware of it.  To bring forward the unconscious wealth that is the infinite library in the mind, you simply have to allow it to come forward.  Even meditation will not totally help.

There is another way – the intuitive way of receiving information from the mind.  Intuition dawns when you learn to calm your mind.  When you calm your mind and when you meditate deeply, your mind becomes one-pointed, free from all other thought patterns.  During that time one has the power to penetrate and pierce through those folds of mind that are not ordinarily penetrated by any human being."

 - Swami Rama in Path of Fire and Light: Volume 2 pages 55-58


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