Where is Now?

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.

past future NOW"The mind is conditioned by past, present, and future. The mind functions on the experiences of the past, or, on the basis of those experiences, on the imaginations of the future. Either you brood on the past, or you think of the future, but where is now? Now is missing. You do not know how to live here and now. What is the best period of a person’s life? It is not that which you have spent already or the aspect of time you are going to utilize in the future. It is now. Utilize the best period of your life today and now. Can you really explain where that now is? You can spell the word, but you can never taste it. The moment you talk of now, it slips to the valley of the past. When you say now, then there is no now. It is not there. How many of you enjoy now? You plan for your vacation next year, you plan for going out for dinner and dancing, but what happens now? You know the word, you know the meaning, but you do not know how to enjoy it. Your mind either goes into the grooves of past experiences or future imagination. It has never realized now.

But if there is no now, then where is the link between past and future? In your daily life you postpone your happiness because you do not know how to be in the present. Now is missing in your life. If you can get freedom from past experiences and you can stop your mind from imagining the future, you will enjoy now. If you learn how to make your mind free from time, you will be beyond all this. Fortunate are those who meditate and live in the now. Through meditation you can enjoy now. It is in now that there is enjoyment, or part of eternity. The moment you come to know now you will know past, present, and future; you will be free.

The other conditions of mind are space and causation. If I hold up my hand and show you two separate fingers, what is the “cause” of these two fingers? The hand is the cause that creates the awareness of fingers. When I hold my fingers apart, they seem separate. If the hand were not there, then it would not create the space between the two fingers. This is called causation—that which creates effect. If I hold the two fingers together, there is no space between them and there will be no sense of time. Then it is one with causation. My fingers are still part of one whole. Mind can be freed from these three conditionings. So many thoughts come and you call it the thinking process. There is a space between two thoughts. But if there is no space between two thoughts, then what will happen to time? Time will not exist. If there is only one thought, what will be the condition of space? There will be no space at all. Time and space are variations of the same thing. If there is only one thought in the mind, then time cannot affect the mind.

One cannot attain the highest state of samadhi without gaining freedom from the conditionings of the mind. When mind can fathom the boundaries of time, then mind can realize the subtler levels of consciousness and transform itself. Then, it can lead you to a state of peace, happiness, and joy. If mind is free from imagination—I am not talking about creative imagination—and from the memories of the past, then mind can be brought to a state of now. If you learn to train your mind to be here and now, you will know everything. There is nothing to be known beyond that. Now is part of eternity. When a teacher teaches you, first learn how to be here and now, for you have completed the preliminaries. Now, learn to understand the word now.

Patanjali leads you to an inward journey. His first lesson is, You have to discipline yourself. Now, then, therefore, go aspire. Before you study yoga science, you should be fully prepared, because it requires discipline."

- Swami Rama in Samadhi the Highest State of Wisdom pages 12-14


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