The Blessings of the Unknown

Transcribed from a talk on October 23, 2011

If there is one such fact that constantly bothers us like nothing else does, it is the state of uncertainty where we do not know what is going to happen to us in the future. Whether it is regarding my business, my finances, my health, my relationship or even my spiritual states. I am constantly looking for a sense of security so that I don’t have to face the fear of an unknown future. I want to be in control of events and hence plan my life according to a desired outcome. All my life I am busy to push the unknown away from me and to ground myself in a position where I am so sure of everything. I chase a state of complete surety and knowingness.

But seldom does it turn out that way. I plan something and something else takes place and then the memory of past failures intensifies the fear and triggers a series of movements within my thoughts and emotions. This constant movement, chasing, searching results in a greed to know more and more because I believe the more I know, the better will be my prospect to survive in this world. I start to depend on knowing as much as I possibly can. My life then revolves around the greed for the known and the fear of the unknown and that is the reason I am unhappy. I am chasing a ‘friend’ who has the reputation of being a deceiver.

The known is a treacherous ‘friend’. You can never trust it. It comes without your asking as birth and leaves you without prior intimation as death. Everything that you have cherished through your knowingness is turned to dust when it leaves you. The unknown on the other hand stands the test of true friendship. You come from an unknown source and merge into it again on death. The unknown is there next to you right at the start of your journey and is there at the very end to receive you too. You fail to recognize who truly belongs to you, who is truly loyal to you and that is why life becomes a struggle.

But, what you don’t understand is that although knowingness is the foundation for all accomplishment and appears before any achievement, what precedes such knowingness is the unknown itself! The unknown is the origin, the foundation for every knowingness.

So, can we therefore reverse the process and proceed from knowing to unknowing rather than holding on and accumulating various knowings? Can you welcome the unknown in your lives? Which means not caring for opinions, neither your own, nor of others; which means letting go of the ‘controller’ in you; which means being comfortable knowing less and less of what this world offers to you in terms of wealth, health, money, job, business, security, love, relationships. You need not reject what consciousness brings you – success, security, relationships… you only need to be indifferent to them. You only need to pay less and less attention to them. It doesn’t matter if they are and it doesn’t matter if they aren’t. You neither rejoice in their appearance nor become sad when they disappear. If you can do that from the deepest core of your heart then you are automatically melting into the unknown. The blessing it will bestow on you cannot be described. So make friends with the unknown and it will reveal itself as the ever free and blissful SELF.

~ Rajiv Kapur

Steps in Hunting the “I”

Based on the text by Edward “Edji” Muzika Hunting the “I”

 Since the publication of the book “Autobiography of a Jnani” came out I have received various types of questions from many seekers all across the world. I have tried my best to answer them on the basis of what I have experienced on the spiritual journey. If anyone has received any benefit from this then it is purely the Grace of my teacher Ed Muzika and the Masters. Nothing is my doing.

Before I begin penning my thoughts on few aspects and some very key elements of Sadhana in question/answers form I would first want to thank my Master Ed Muzika (Edji) for guiding me to help me arrive where I am today. I am immensely fortunate and blessed to have Edji as my Guru. To be at his Lotus feet has been my only achievement.

His blog has been a wonderful representation of non-conceptual teachings ever to be found anywhere. However this blog is not of Ed Muzika or Robert Adams alone but of every sincere devotee and seeker who has gained and acquired any knowledge from this site. This blog is a true reflection of that devotee due to which Shri Robert Adams still lives in the hearts of many. My sincere Pranaams to all such devotees of this site.

I am no great knower of words and of language or of what others teachers are teachings but my knowledge stems from my own Self-Realization through which I answer queries put forth to me. Before awakening I hardly read anything and found it to my big advantage. After awakening I do read a few things here and there just to get a perspective. Most books by Self-Realized Masters try to show us a path of awakening through their own personal experience and use of words or concepts. They all try to show the Truth or Reality in their own way through words or pointers.

A fully awakened Master knows that the truth is the same even though the words/concepts used by different Master of various traditions are most often different. Truth is only ONE. However a seeker can easily make a mistake here. He understands only through these pointers and words and therefore ignorantly mistakes the knowledge gained from such books as an actual realization or understanding. After reading a lot of such books all a seeker gains is a mental satisfaction of accumulating vast knowledge of various concepts in form of techniques, affirmations, ideologies, scaffoldings, conditionings, terms etc etc. These concepts become the biggest hindrances towards awakening. That is why too much reading is not recommended. I feel one can do all the reading after he has awakened. He will never be puzzled then.

The best way for anyone to awaken would be to be in the physical company of a Self-realized Master. Regular meetings by way of Satsang are extremely helpful. This is where the teacher can check whether meditation is happening properly or not and many doubts of the seeker can be cleared. If that were not immediately possible then the next best way would be following the words and instructions of the Master and putting the entire faith on his words. The Masters words however must be followed and backed by thesadhaks own dedicated and one-pointed practice to reap full benefits.

The words of a Self-Realized Master puts one beyond all doubts while dedicated practice helps one to go beyond all words and concepts and reach the wordless. Concepts are not destroyed by words even those of the greatest of the Masters. Words are mere pointers or source of inspiration but they can’t show nor take you to the SELF. Most make a huge mistake of holding the words of the Masters as Truth and do nothing more than that. Hence that “Truth” becomes just another mental Concept.

For example the classic questions Shri Ramana “WHO AM I?” or the one by Shri Robert Adams which states “ TO WHOM DOES THIS HAPPEN?” have numerous problems when followed literally.
If one merely follows these statement literally and attempts to catc
h to the “ME” and the “I” mentally, what is actually taking place? You are merely following another projection of the mind- a background I, which is just another concept. The fact is that the mind just cannot take you to the real I. You will need to transcend the mind to reach it and for that you will need to go beyond the appearances of the waking state and beyond many layers of Consciousness.

Most seekers are happy simply “believing” that since “I don’t exist” nothing actually is important. Nothing will affect me. But this is not real or correct Realization. It is simply a mental state- a kind of affirmation. Maybe you will feel good, feel happy with even experience occasions of bliss taking place when “a gap between two thoughts happen” but that is far away from true enlightenment as taught by Nisargadatta, Ramana, Robert and Edji, as the I or Ego still carries on.

For example in India every 8-year child is ingrained with the knowledge that he is not the body nor the mind but an “Atma”. Does that mean the child has realized that state of “Atma?” They grow up believing that they are an Atma but indulge in all kinds of vasanas and desires. The joy and Bliss eludes them completely and so suffering and ignorance remains. To them the ATMA remains only a mental concept with no realization.

Many good years of a sincere Sadhak are lost in needless concepts, and when nothing is achieved he becomes very frustrated. All that a student achieves after years of such practice are various concepts with no clue as to where and what the real I is.

However If you follow the teachings of a Self-Realized Master you too will see that concepts dropping on their own through a step by step process and you will reach the real I effortlessly. That will be real Liberation.

When we start a journey or initiate one it makes sense to travel very lightly. This is more so applicable if the journey happens to be a spiritual one. The baggages are all the concepts. So if we have minimum essential concepts then the journey becomes smooth and joyous. The only thing we will hold, will be our beingness or IAMness and be with it till the very end before we will see it actually disappearing “right before our eyes.” Then only we will be totally concept-free not before.

Below are few very important and repeated questions (11 in all) that are continuously asked me by various seekers. These questions deal with few genuine practical aspects of Sadhana and terms/concepts associated with them. I have tried to answer to the best of my abilities and experience as a teacher. I have tried to keep it as much short and brief.

Q1. Which is the best technique to realize the SELF?

There are so many different techniques and methods of meditation available today. The purpose of all these different techniques is to calm the mind enough so that the Sadhaka can penetrate deeper into the layers of consciousness, beyond thought/mind and Consciousness and reach the I.

Techniques may be effective but are an indirect method and are limiting. Few techniques if not done under direct supervision of the teacher can also cause great harm, especially kumbhaks.
Why not therefore use the most direct and safest method, which is to follow your own beingness?

After all the only truth you know of anything is that you exist. Because you exist, all rest is. Every technique, every Mantra, every God, every religion, the world and the universes, everything comes into existence only after you exist. Because you are, all other things are. Why not then hold this primary principle of beingness itself rather than running after secondary concepts whose existence depends upon the primary principal?

Beingness is the only deity; it is the only God to worship. Everything depends on beingness itself. Therefore the only spiritual task is to become acquainted with all aspects of this subjectivity that is you by becoming increasingly aware of your own subjectivity in it million manifestations.

Another problem with techniques are that most get lost in acquiring them (sometimes higher and advanced, whatever it means) so the mind is busy collecting higher techniques rather than abiding in the sense of beingness. If a sadhakas is told that there is only one thing to do which is to abide in, namely beingness, he will be focused only on that rather than worrying about other “higher techniques” which he feels it is necessary to learn.

Your beingness is the seed IAMness from which everything manifests. Therefore, hold on to it rather than run around accumulating techniques. Besides techniques need to be dropped after a certain stage of Sadhana but beingness remains with us till the very last stage (as pure beingness) so it is prudent to remain only with it.

All technique are concepts and methods invented by mind as pointers, while the single technique of knowing and being, beingness, is the safest and surest method to go beyond the mind.

I hope the points above explains very clearly why holding to the sense of beingness or IAM is the best and the ONLY technique that never has to be discarded or substituted. Although the experiences change as you deepen your practice, and your “understanding” changes, the seed of beingness is the same throughout and is the same in all sentient beings.

Q2. What am I to do with this “beingness?”

“Hunting the I” by Master Edji gives a complete and detailed description of what the beingness is, how to locate it and what needs to be done with it. It is complete manual on beingness in all senses and there isn’t much I can actually add to that.

However I have noticed that many skip important steps and experiences and are in a hurry to reach the looker. While one needs to step aside from the experiences happening by locating and becoming the looker, jumping too early is premature. Spiritual journey is not a sprint but a marathon. One must go slow and in a step-by-step manner and experience clearly and deeply every aspect of you, the subject, from the mind, down though levels of consciousness, dream and deep sleep and beyond. If some steps are missed and one moves to the next then there is a big possibility of back.

Hence my advice is that having located your beingness or sense of existence, do not be in a hurry to move towards the looker or the witnesser. Rather experience and enjoy whatever your beingness brings forth. Do not discard experiences immediately; they have their own importance. One needs to completely feel the full manifestation brought about by the beingness. The circle needs to be complete. Most. Once they discover the looker want to abandon abiding in the sense of beingness, which is the background, foreground and middle ground, and therefore many needed experiences of consciousness and understanding may slip away.

The most important thing in meditation is to fall in love with your beingness and not be in a hurry. Let the beingness flower on its own.

After enjoying the phenomenon associated with the beingness, only then is it important to take the next step, which is to look for the looker/the witnesser. The seeker will observe that what he felt as his beingness is not the real I but witnessed by I. One will now explore this I (the new beingness which has now become subtler) and observe all its manifestations, play with it, become it and fall in love with it thinking it is the real I, but again come to the understanding that there is still a looker looking at this.

This way the seeker continues exploring a new beingness (now even more subtler than before) thinking that now he has located the real I, but after much playing around and understanding again he will learn that the looker (real I) is still there. The I-ness or beingness (mistaken sense of I) will always be witnessed by another I. There will always be a witnesser. And as long as the witnesser remains the real I remains to be found. After much investigation and pondering by such abidance on ones beingness , layers and layers of Consciousness will be transcended (subtler and subtler) and finally the seeker will one day find that there is no I, no him, no anything. Absolutely nothing. With the disappearance of the I, all other things, concepts, understandings will all disappear too. He will be free. Awakening has finally happened.

Q3. Are there any steps or stages needed during abidance in beingness?

As the seeker keeps abides in his beingness and settles there in meditation and non-meditative hours, he will very naturally and on its own keep sinking into the deeper layers of Consciousness. He will know that his own beingness will keep changing its form and quality (even as the I Am sense and experience keeps changing). These changes are also referred to as bodies. It is of utmost importance to remain stabilized in each body, understand it completely and only then move to the next body as explained earlier. Most hurry and fall off balance. The desired result is therefore not achieved. It is at this stage that a personal Guru or teacher helps to guide his student against such pitfalls.

When the beingness passes through the bodies one by one it means that the life force, the acting principle is automatically getting purified. Once it reaches the last body (super causal state of Turiya), then the beingness is said to be in completely purified state- the seed IAMness from where manifests all.

Your beingness will pass through these 4 bodies :

a) Gross body: This is where you will realize that you are not the physical body. You will witness the body and conclude that the you are watching the body and are different from the body. With a little more effort in meditation you will realize that the body awareness will no longer be there but YOU (the witnesser) will always remain. Every one is aware of the fact that the gross body doesn’t belong to us but to the 5 elements. On the decided date the 5 elements will take what belong to them and the body will turn to dust. If we truly owned the body it would have remained forever with us. Yet most identify with their bodies and engage in various vasanas and pleasure to make the body and senses happy and no attention is paid to the real I.

b) Subtle body: This is where you will realize that you are not the mind/ mind stuff, intellect, dreams, desires, hopes and aspirations. You will watch your emotions and desires changing and transforming with time. You will realize how easily one identifies with the mind. This is where you will get the knowledge that the mind is a thief. This body is also the body of various phenomena and experiences, images, memories, and dreams. Those who can control this body and remain aware here have various experiences, which appear mind boggling at the time it takes place. Those who are very devoted to the Guru or his deity of worship will have various visions and visits of them. Sometimes Consciousness manifests through dreams through this astral body to provide important and relevant messages too. Most who meditate religiously and deeply reach this state and remain there because they love to be here. This is the body of extraordinary magic. It makes spirituality real and worth every effort. However no matter how wonderful this state or body one must continue to inquire to whom are these experiences happening?

c) Causal body: This is a difficult state to attain. It is complete opposite to the subtle body. This is the state of nothingness, darkness or void. There is no experience of any kind. However lack of experience doesn’t mean that there is no knowing or awareness. The knowledge is of “no– experience” and of silence. Many who reach here become fearful. It is difficult to stabilize here, as it will mean the death of the individual I-ness. This is where the mind dies but it will not die without a fight. Hence Gurus Grace becomes important. The seeker on his own will not be able to transcend this state. He will need the help of his Guru here. Only fearlessness and complete surrender to ones Guru can help stabilize him in this state. This is where true Guru Kripa takes place. Once a seeker stabilizes here he will see there is a witnesser here too. He will now need to move backwards towards that silent witnesser.

d) Supra- Causal state: This is Turiya (Pure beingness). It also referred to as Sat, chit, anand. This is a state of tremendous joy unconceivable or ever imagined. All the joy and pleasures of the world fail to quantify the joy experienced in this state. All become pale in comparison. One gets knowledge of the true origin of IAMness from here. The seeker learns that it originates from the heart and from there waves of bliss rise and fall. You explode with such intensity that there is a feeling that I am the creator of this whole Universe. The universe is within me. This beingness has now transformed into God. It is true that one cannot see the SELF; one can only be it, just like how the eyes cannot see itself. Yet one can always see the reflection of ones eyes in the mirror. That reflection is “Turiya.” Turiya is the highest state of Jnana or knowledge. All doubts disappear. The seeker (GOD) is now watching its own reflection in the mirror of Turiya.

It is also the highest state of Devotion. This is where the IAMness is continuously aware of itself. There are no distractions, no visions and no form. This is formless devotion- the highest kind. Hence Turiya is both Jnana and Bhakti.

Turiya is listed as the 4th state but as understanding matures it is observed that Turiya is not the fourth state but the ONLY state as long as the I AMness remains. The 3 states of waking, dream and sleep fall and rise within Turiya itself. The seeker now understands that whatever he perceives in any state is due to Turiya, the underlying blissful current. After my own Turiya experience the bliss has forever remained with me. It has never left me.

The state beyond Turiya is not a state. After remaining in Turiya for long, it is yet again known that there is a witnesser- the Real I who is witnessing that too. How the Turiya itself dissolves or merges into it and how you become the unknown, the timeless is never known. Nothing is known about it. Various names are given to it like the SELF, the Real I, the stateless state, Reality/Truth, the Avyakta state etc etc. But any description of it is false. It just is. The moment you try and start to describe it, the reality doesn’t remain a reality anymore. The nearest we can try and put this through words would be to call it as “the Unknown.”

The complete disappearance of both the witnesser and the witnessing is the real meaning of the statement “I don’t exist.” It is now truly “seen” that I don’t exist and because I don’t exist, nothing exists too. This is final Liberation.

Q4. I have being trying to locate my sense of beingness for a long time but I can’t find it.

Don’t give up. The proof of your existence is already there. It is LOVE. The feeling which exists in your heart and which makes all things move is Love. Connect deeply with it. One way is to close your eyes and think deeply about that one person or being who brings a smile on your face. He/She could be anybody- son, father, mother, or a deity or Guru or any other being. That motherly love you have for that person/being will instantly connect you to your sense of beingness. LOVE IS BEINGNESS. Later this Love will itself transform into something more beautiful. It will spread from close family members to neighbors and then to the whole world especially those who will need you. You will never be able to separate your self from others whether a human being or animal or even inert objects (oneness). LOVE brings the real purification, not these flashy techniques. The ultimate state of love or samadhi is SILENCE itself (beyond Consciousness).

Q5. My sense of beingness is not felt in the heart

Many seekers feel beingness differently. Few who do yogic kriyas feel at between the eyebrows, few as totality of the body and few in the heart. It’s all fine. Just be with whatever it manifests us. Let your beingness be natural. Many times it all depends on habit acquired due to past practices. So don’t change anything drastically. However as you will progress you will automatically be directed towards the heart. You will start to sink there. Remember LOVE is beingness.

Q6. While meditating so many thoughts disturb me

Many times the mind wont let you settle down and will keep disturbing you. This is its nature. Bring the mind back into the sense of beingness. The most important factor is to keep up with your Sadhana. Even during non-meditating hours bring the mind to the sense of beingness (LOVE) and feel it in regular intervals. Sometimes there are going to times when your mind will not co- operate no matter what you do. If you don’t feel like meditating for a day or two, Skip it. Enjoy your sense of beingness and don’t make meditation and self-inquiry look like a job. Always remember this journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Needless hurry is needless delay.

Q7. What is Nada? What am I to do with it?

Much is written on this subject on various web sites so I will be brief. The inner sound currents make samadhi experience or laya happen easier. There are varying sounds, which can be heard. Initially a beginner attempts to hear these current by using his fingers and closing both the ears but later once the mind is interiorized such external use is not needed. The sadhaka penetrates deeper sound currents on his own. Many times they would also appear while you are at work or at other things. It is good to become one with the sound current, play around with them, understand their full manifestations but one must never forget that it is still an experience happening to the I. The abidance to the I at the background who is witnessing the Nada should never be forgotten. Many get attached to the Sounds and want to keep experiencing them thinking that the Laya from sound is final realization as it brings a sense of great progress in them.

Q8. What are the different kinds of samadhis?

Samadhis are of various kinds. Some samadhis happen by virtue of oneness with the inner sound current (Nada) while some happen with the inner light of varying intensity. These are all manifestations of the seed IAMness. The highest form of Samadhi is Turiya itself where the IAMness remains continuously aware of its own self. What Turiya is and how it manifests itself in waking state is already explained above. This is the only state of Samadhi worth paying any attention to. A seeker must not fall into a trap of searching for endless different Samadhis, but must bring his focus of attention back to the source (looker) to whom the samadhi experience is taking place fully aware that it is the looker or witnesser who is more important than the actual experience.

Q9. What is Kundalini? How does it arise?

IAMness itself is called kundalini. When the IAMness becomes purified enough through constant meditation and self-inquiry it automatically arises. By arising it means that the beingness passes through the four bodies and reaches the heart. When turiya takes place it means that the life force or prana is purified enough to become stabilized at the heart. It is from the heart itself that the IAMness finally disappears.

Such disappearance is called the Union of Shiv and Shakti often talked about in Tantra. Certain pranyanams and breath control kumbhaks do make the kundalini rise but if the student is not prepared (meaning if the life force is not purified enough) then such forceful methods can be potentially very dangerous. The sure and the safest method to make the kundalini reach the source is through abidance to ones beingness through a step by step method as given above (which purifies the Prana) and then by diving deep into the heart. The sure sign that it is arising safely and surely is by virtue of the joy and peace it brings the Sadhak in everyday life.

For a Jnani practitioner Kundalini is not given too much importance as many start to imagine many things associated with it. It is best left alone while the Sadhak pays his entire attention only in abiding to ones beingness and then locating the source (Real I).

Q10. What is foreground and what is background? Is it experienced during ordinary waking state and carried into our lives too?

Your beingness or IAMness is your foreground. When it is purified enough through the 4 stages mentioned above it becomes pure beingness (Turiya).

After realization of turiya in mediation, the blissful remembrance or knowledge of turiya is carried well into the waking state too. This becomes a part of ones active life and deepens there giving tremendous bliss and joy. The body swims in an ocean of bliss with every body cell making a celebration and no matter how the situation seems at the outside, there is no losing this bliss. For me the experience of foreground bliss is permanent and has stayed with me in all situations of waking state.

The quality of background SELF is very different when carried into the waking state. I remember it as a “powerful presence.” There is very little memory and knowledge of what is actually happening around you. There is an absolute non-concern for anything around, total inattention. In front of this presence no bhavas, no feelings, no emotions and no joy that exist are of great importance. There is only a strong powerful stillness. Every talk, walk, job, work becomes laborious and even a smile sometimes feels like a task. It is almost as if it is time for the body to leave and one is very keen and ready to make the required transition from Consciousness to no-Consciousness (sinking into post-death state). You are almost dead to everything except that strong immense feel of presence, which holds you. The senses completely lose their power over you and so you may appear to be dull, lazy and without much energy.

You are most happy being alone and knowing nothing and doing nothing. The deepening of this “presence” can unstable your active and personal life. This is MOST desired state to be as the quality of silence and strong stillness far outweighs all the pleasures of worldly life yet those who still have much to accomplish in personal and worldly pursuits must be mindful of its consequences and effects in daily life. I sometimes remain in the background but not for long unless it catches up on me suddenly. As of now I prefer the foreground, as I am still active with various things. 

 (Please note I have attempted to present my own experiences as regards few aspects like the foreground and background. They may or may not manifest exactly in the same way to others)

Q11. Are there various kinds or degrees of silence?

SILENCE is ONE. It is the Truth/Reality itself. However in varying degrees it manifests into waking and sleep states. During waking state it appears as a gap between two thoughts, often referred as the “NOW” or “Present”. Many think this is liberation but this is only the first step. This is just a glimpse of no-mind. As one progresses deeper into the layers of Consciousness, silence is perceived as the state of nothingness. This is where the mind comes to a complete halt yet even this is not the real Silence.

The real silence takes place with the disappearance of Consciousness (IAMness) itself. This is beyond all happiness, joy, and peace THE REALITY.

Thank you for your time.

~Rajiv Kapur

Sinking and Falling Backward – The Most Effective Self-Inquiry Techniques

Taken from online satsang on January 26, 2011

Welcome everybody, from my heart, all my love to everybody. Pranams.

Today I’m going to talk about the practical aspect of Self-inquiry. After all, Self- inquiry is all about practice. That’s what I am going to talk about – practice. What are the techniques, the method which is used? After all, what good is Self- inquiry if it is just about reading other peoples’ experiences, if you don’t have your own things to work around with Self-inquiry? So, practice is most important. Theory has its place, but practice should come number one in Self- inquiry. So, I’m going to talk something about practice.

First of all, let me just give you a little example. Let us presume that you find that there is a possible oil well in your backyard. There’s a piece of land that you have, and in that piece of land, you get information that there is a possible oil well, or oil field. So, what are you going to do? You’re going to take the shovel and start digging, right? To get that oil out of it – isn’t it?

That’s what Self-inquiry is. You start digging – into yourself. Start drilling inside yourself, and you take a shovel and start digging inside the oil field. What happens is after a few weeks or months of drilling and digging, you find that there is some oil which is coming out of that land.

So, what do you do after that? Do you sit, thinking that the oil is going to come out on its own? Or do you start digging more? Of course, you start digging more. Isn’t it? A normal, sensible person would do that. If he’s commercially intelligent, he would do this, isn’t it? That’s what you have to do.

You have to start diving deeper. That’s what I’m trying to say. Dive deeper. Don’t just remain in that sense of beingness – dive.

Close your eyes, look deeply within and bring the Void here into the heart and start diving downwards. That’s what sinking is. Sinking means you’re diving. Deliberate sinking has to take place. You have to deliberately bring your mind to the heart area or to the navel, whichever it is, and you start to sink downwards.

See, remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” is also a method where you bring the mind back again to the sense of “I am-ness,” again and again, but it’s a slightly slower process. But when you’re sinking deliberately, then you will see your progress. You will see how fast you’re going to make the progress. It is a rapid force of going into your sense of beingness. It’s a rapid process.

So the method is that you bring the Void here, which is the Void ahead of you (closing your eyes), and you bring it to your heart, or to your navel, and you start sinking from there. You don’t just remain.

Just remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” has a few other problems also in practical meditation. When you actually sit for meditation, you will realize that the mind is going into various kinds of thoughts. You know, it is not going to just remain in one place, which is your beingness, for long. It will want to do something – run here and there. You will of course keep bringing the mind again and again to that sense.

So what happens is after some time, you’ll find it very boring. You’ll say, “All I’m doing is just bringing the mind back again to the sense of beingness, again and again, again and again.” It’s going to get very boring. And then what happens is, the mind needs to do something. All it can think about is going into various kinds of thoughts.

 

But when you do deliberate sinking, you give the mind some work to do. You tell it, “Okay, this is the direction. You have to go and do this.” Thereby you don’t let it indulge into thoughts. You actually force the mind to do something which you want to do, rather than allow it to do whatever it wants.

That is why you must practice this deliberate sinking which I’m talking about. Most meditators would prefer to remain in the sense of “I am-ness,” because it gives them a sense of comfort. They’re very comfortable being there. But that comfort is too soon. You are not here to be comfortable – at least not with me and Edji around! We can’t make you comfortable so soon (chuckling). We are supposed to make you uncomfortable, for your own good. A teacher who tries to make you comfortable too soon is not a good teacher.

See, you have to bring the mind downwards and deliberately sink. You give it work to do. I know it is mental effort. I know it is deliberate mental effort. It is not so natural. I know all that. I’ve been through all this, also. It just doesn’t seem too right, I know. But then you have to work hard for it.

You will realize its importance one day. So, don’t just remain there. Even advanced students should not just remain in their attained sense of beingness, but they should dive deeper. Go more; sink more downwards from this area of the heart into the navel and downwards.

How do you do this sinking business? How do you do this technique, which I say is one of the most important, one of the most effective methods in the process of Self-inquiry?

First, you must try and make it more natural, so that you don’t keep fighting with your mind all the time. To achieve that you can do some visualization, which will keep the mind interested. Try and visualize that from the area of the heart or from the navel, you’re actually descending down, either by a staircase or by elevator. You’re coming down. You’re going downwards – slowly and slowly. You have to visualize that. You will see that it will not be such a difficult task.

You can also visualize that you are like that kind of feather, which is going downwards – slowly, slowly – floating in the air and going downwards. When you close your eyes, you can visualize that. See? It’s not going to be very difficult if you do that, either. Or visualize floating downwards like a helium balloon, returning back from the sky to the earth.

 

This visualization will keep the mind centered on the object and it can facilitate sinking much better, rather than fighting and using too much effort. So try these visualizing exercises which I have told you. Any of them you can choose. You can modify the visualizations or experiment with various visualizations according to what suits you. You can visualize anything that you want. But the only idea is try and sink, that’s all. It is best not to synchronize breath along with these visualizations. Breath will slow down on its own. No need to pay any attention to breath at all. It only hinders further progress.

There are some people, or some seekers, who are more centered here on the ajna chakra (“third eye” energy center.) They still cannot bring the mind to the heart or to the navel – downwards, and for them, sinking is a huge effort because all these years they have practiced remaining centered on this particular point. For them also, there’s another technique which is as good and as effective, as potent as the sinking, which is called the “falling backwards” method.

One can visualize that there is a Void behind of you, and you’re falling into it. You can imagine layers of Voids – layers and layers of Voids behind you. And you keep falling backwards.

Do not center it only to this point (the medulla oblongata, where the ajna chakra is situated.) Imagine or visualize the whole body going backwards. Remember this. Slowly you have to visualize that – that the entire body is going backwards, and you are falling backwards. The body is remaining there, what I mean to say is, you are going or falling backwards. The entirety.

You can start falling backwards from the medulla (point opposite the third eye at the base of the neck,) but slowly you bring the entire body to go backwards. Experiment with what seems best for you. Your best companion is your own intuition – use it and be a scientist of your own inner world.

So these two techniques can be used as a very potent force in the process of Self- inquiry. Some key pointers I have to tell you to use these as a technique – First thing is before you do the sinking, or the falling backwards method, the first important thing is, you have to relax first.

I’m trying to make any of these techniques to be more natural, easy for you. Right? So relax. What you can do is before you sit for your formal meditation, you can tense your entire body a few times. Take a deep breath, tense the entire body, and let loose.

 

Then, tense… relax. Tense… relax. Tense… relax.

That way, you center yourself. The body, the energies, the cells, just TENSE IT, completely tense all, and then let go. RELAX. And then, you do the sinking and the falling backwards method – either of them.

You have to understand the second point I am trying to make in these pointers is one-pointedness. If you choose one technique over the other, you stick to one only. Don’t try and mix the two, “Okay, today I’ll do a sinking down, then tomorrow I’m going to go backwards.” Don’t do that. One-pointedness is the key to dive deeper. Use only one method – only one.

Give it a try for say two months, three months. See how it goes. But it’s important to be just one-pointed.

Do you remember that as small children we used to play a game of bringing the sun’s rays into one magnifying glass, do you remember? Bringing the sun rays into one magnifying glass and burning the paper beneath? By holding a piece of paper below the magnifying glass and by centering the sun rays through the glass, you would see the paper below has burned. How did that happen?

Because the sun rays which were scattered into various directions, you gave them a center and brought them into one point. And from that point tremendous energy is developed, is generated, which burns that paper.

 

The same thing we have to do in our meditation. We bring the entire energy of the mind, entire energies inside of us – center it! – by diving deeper. Either going downwards by sinking, or falling backwards. You center it! And just see how much energy is generated through this one-pointedness.

For many years people are remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” only, and not much great progress is made. They say, “We are staying in the ‘I am-ness’, ‘I am- ness’… I am feeling so relaxed, so relaxed, so relaxed.” Very good, but that relaxation is leading you to sleep only after that. It’s no good. Sleep is a hindrance to deep meditation.

So preparation is very important first. You have to prepare. This one-pointedness of doing some work will prepare the mind, it will make your mind subtle, will make it powerful. Thereby you generate tremendous power to penetrate deeper. It gives you the dharana power, samadhi power. And then you try and focus with that entire power downwards, and you will see the results.

Do you remember I had given another example, of the block of ice? That ice turns into water, and the water becomes steam, and then it disappears? That’s how it happens. 

Due to the power of one-pointedness, power is generated and then the mind becomes subtle, subtler – and then it finally disappears! That’s what happens. It is scientific, what I am telling you. It is not belief. Try it, and you will see the results soon.

After you have done this process of sinking or falling backwards, then it is time to remain. Then it is the time to remain. You have worked really hard. Now it is time for you to rest. You then remain in the sense of “I am-ness.” At that moment, you are not willing anything. At that moment, you are not expecting anything. You are not centering to any point – nothing. You are just relaxing and just letting go of everything that is there.

You’re not even sinking. Everything is forgotten. You’re doing nothing at all here. You are simply being. Just being. This is where the real work of transcendence actually takes place. This is where real Dhyan (meditation) happens. Transcendence is never achieved by your effort (the use of the above technique,) as the egoic mind remains in any form of effort. Yet effort helps in the abidance of deep resting. It facilitates it. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. That is why after practicing the technique, one must remain still.

Hence, after you’ve done the sinking, you remain. So first sinking is going to tense you, and then you’re going to relax… tense, and relax. Unless you have tensed yourself completely, you cannot completely relax either. So first you tense, and then you relax.

One word of caution is this: you have to know the difference between tensing yourself and straining yourself. That, you have to find out yourself. Don’t overdo anything. If you feel that in 10 minutes sinking is achieved easily, then go for 15 minutes, and then 20 minutes. Slowly build it up to 30 minutes and more. Do not overdo it, with that excitement that “Oh, I’m going to get better results faster with this!” It’s not going to help that way.

You must find your own comfort zone of doing sinking. The techniques are completely harmless, though. There is no problem in these techniques. These techniques are not my techniques of course, you know that. 

It’s completely safe. I have just modified it slightly here according to the need of the seeker, giving the person a direction so that the pathway is laid out for the effort to be made, and my students have got fabulous results very soon.

In three months – if you practice this religiously – you will attain states. Good states you’ll attain, good levels of consciousness you’ll attain in a relatively short time.

One of my students has attained great stillness of the mind in just three days, just three days! So, if you are one-pointed, and if you are perseverant and dedicated, then I’m sure that within three to four months you’ll attain very good progress in this technique, using this method or technique – either of the two ones.

As I said, they are completely safe. The technique is not a problem at all. They do not have to deal with pranayamas and those khumbaks (which come in the Yoga system.) It transcends all those.

 

(P.S.: It is true that with the help of pranayamas [yogic regulation of inner energies through breath control] and kumbhaks [yogic breath retention exercises] the breath becomes very subtle, and indirectly the mind and life-force are brought into control through the use of these techniques, but prayanamas and kumbhaks are potentially dangerous and must be practiced under the direct supervision of a realized Master.

Many advanced meditators who practice pranayamas get so used to performing breath control techniques that it is difficult for them to drop them later, when stillness and poise are achieved. These Yoga techniques and the habit of remaining focused on the breath keep the body-mind alive, so to say.

Many Yoga practitioners keep performing higher techniques and intense khumbhaks but never really connect deeper to their sense of beingness, as the practice involves complete attention to the techniques, but not to the sense of beingness. In fact, many practitioners run after acquiring different forms of techniques, “advanced” or “super-advanced,” setting those as the goals and unfortunately completely forgetting to abide in the background sense of beingness which is prior to breath, prana, chakras, mind and intellect.

That is why, even though Sri Ramana acknowledged pranayama as a natural sedative to calm the mind, he never advocated this or any form of breath control. Rather he asked advanced seekers to dive deeper into the sense of “I” and control the mind directly.)

The sinking or falling backwards methods aim at achieving the desired results without the limitations of pranayama techniques. The goal is to dive straight into the deeper layers of Consciousness, and then to remain there. This is exactly what sinking and falling backwards achieve without the need to modify or tamper with one’s breath. As the mind gets more and more purified due to the deliberate sinking, breath automatically slows down. The mind settles inwards in deep intoxication.

When the deepest layer of Consciousness is exposed or penetrated, tremendous joy and bliss are experienced. This bliss which remains all the time, never to leave you, is the pure “I am-ness,” the true nature of the Self (Turiya.) The mind when turned outwards is the ego, while the mind turned within is the Self; and these two techniques are aimed at turning the mind within naturally, easily, and with faster results.

You have to only watch your own over-excitement. Don’t get too over-anxious and over-zealous about the practice. Remain equanimous.

 

Like one of my students, she achieved stillness of the breath; she realized that her breath has actually calmed down so much that it has actually stopped inbetween. That has happened because she practiced the sinking, and she just got tremendous joy, and then she got up and she said, “Wow! I achieved this, I achieved this!” And then she called me and said, “Rajivji, it was wonderful! My breath completely stopped. I didn’t feel any need to take breath in or throw breath out!” I said, “Yeah, that’s going to happen.” I said, “Very good. Keep it up.”

After a few days of practice, she called again and said, “Rajivji, I’m feeling miserable.” I said “Now what happened?” (chuckling). She said, “Because the breath doesn’t stop now.” (Laughing) That’s the problem.

Don’t do this mistake!

The idea is not to stop your breath. You watch over this over-exuberance. What I mean to say is the technique itself is safe, but you don’t try to get results by trying too much or by forcing it yourself. It is going to happen on its own. All these things are going to happen. Whatever that stage, that attainment that I talk about and where everything disappears, is all going to happen. But you’re not going to make anything happen. You cannot drop that. It will automatically drop. You (I- ness) will go entirely missing in the dropping.

So, watch out for all this. Be cautious on this. And in case you feel that you’re having issues or problems, if some energies which are having some major pressure are coming here or on the chest, or anywhere, then in that case, you can contact me, and I will tell you what you have to do.

But the best is to avoid the tendency to want quicker results. SURRENDER! Remember this! Even though this is very fast, still watch over your own excitement. Right?

So, that’s all. I have spoken about the technique. Now, it’s upon you all to practice. So use this for your progress.

I wish you all the best! Pranams.

~ Rajiv Kapur

Self-Inquiry: The Now is Not Here Too!

Transcribed from a talk on November 20, 2011

You have to look deeper than this. Now this was a question raised by a very advanced sadhaka who was established in the Now, the present state and he said, “Why do I have to inquire what this awareness is? This is it. Why do I have to inquire about this? Why do I have to go deeper into what that awareness is? Because where I am (in the NOW) it is so comforting; it is so soothing for me.”

So let us suppose that you have been thrown out of your house; some thieves, some burglars or miscreants have thrown you out of your house. And one of your friends asks you to stay at his place for a few days. “Come and stay with me. I will give you food, I will give you shelter; I will give you everything that you want. Come, don’t be worried.”

Does that mean that the house belongs to you now? Obviously not. He has only given you temporary shelter in that house. At a given day he will politely ask you to leave, and if you are shameless then he will even throw you out of the house. So you have to leave his house.

He is a good friend this Now, this Present; he has asked you to stay at his place. But on a given day you still have to go.

You don’t have to search for your home. You know the home, it belongs there; so searching is not important. You have to reclaim your house, and the Present or the Now cannot help you with that. The Now can only give you shelter for some days, and then, out! And then what happens when you are out? When you are out of your house, there is no more happiness, there is no more joy; there is struggle, there is pain. The comfort is gone. You will again go to your friend’s house, he will again let you stay there for a few days and then he will say, “Look, please, it’s time that you move away now, go to some other place.” And this journey will continue.

What I mean to say is that you have to go deeper than the Present because you have to reclaim that home from those miscreants. You have to throw the miscreants out of that house and be in that house – your real house!

So who are those miscreants or robbers? These thieves, who are they?

They are your vasanas – the inherent tendencies that are there, which are kept in your home – they are living there. They don’t allow you to come in your home. And you have to throw them out!

How do you do that? The Present is not the solution. To be in the Now is a very temporary solution.

I have to do what I always do. I have to LOOK! That’s all. What did I do when I was in the present? I was looking. What did I see? I saw that a particular thought has come, arisen and it has fallen. I am there before the thought was there and I am there after the thought is there. So what have I done in Self Inquiry? What have I actually done?

I am there when the thought arose, means, I was there when the origin of thought began – the ORIGIN – I was at the very root of the thought when it started to take place; that awareness was there. Similarly when my emotion came out, any emotion, I could recognize an awareness prior to that emotion arising, which means I was there at the origin of that emotion – the starting point.

So Self Inquiry is just being at the Origin – that’s all, at the starting point! The moment you are there at the starting point, even if the movement has taken place, it has no power over you, remember. There is a saying in the English language, ‘Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.’ So, the thoughts, the emotions, vasana, the ego, all are your enemies. So watch the movement of your enemies and you can easily go for the kill. So you can easily sort thought out, and emotion too – in your present state – by watching the origin and the end of it. Just being at the origin has resolved it.

But the vasana’s origin is not in the present. The vasanas originate from a deeper level. So how can the present provide a solution for the vasanas? How? The seeds of the vasanas are lying in my deeper states which we call the causal body – which is beyond the gross, subtle bodies – there lies the causal body. I have to actually go there and see.

It is no use… you see the vasana’s seeds are laid there and it takes the form of a tree. There is no point cutting the tree if the seed is there. You can cut the tree in the present – the branches; but the seeds are there, the roots are there. I have to uproot it completely for the vasanas to end.

As I mentioned many times Self Inquiry is just going to the ORIGIN and looking there; not looking for – just looking! If you look at it – the entire movement – the problem is solved. I have to see the movement of my enemy. If I can predict the movement of my enemy, how easy it is for me to kill that enemy. If I know how the enemy walks, where he walks, where exactly he moves and where he retires, I can easily kill him. I have to only study his entire movements. But if I don’t know where he is, where he comes from and goes, how can I tackle him?

So, I have to see where it originates from – where the seeds are kept, how it is growing into a tree and manifesting itself. And then, at the right opportunity I have to take it out.

Now, there are so many vasanas. Does it mean I have to kill each of them individually? That solution also Self Inquiry provides. You don’t have to kill each and every one. Kill the leader! Automatically all others will go. So who is the leader of the vasanas? The ego. The I-thought. The moment the I-thought arises, the vasanas come with it.

So now, again applying the rule of Self Inquiry, what do I have to do? Go to the origin from where the I-thought has arisen. The moment I see that the I-thought has arisen from here and my awareness is before it, finish! End of story, end of that vasana. The entire clan of vasanas are gone. Kill the King and everything else is over! You’ve played chess? Everybody must have played chess. You kill the King, it’s over! Just kill the King!

So where does my I-thought arise from? Where does it arise from? It is not available in the present; it is not available in the astral, that is, the subtle body. I go to my causal body, see whether it arises there. I have to go beyond my causal body and see that it arises from there. This is how deep I have to go.

Now again I am saying you don’t have to search for it. You don’t have to search for home; you already know where your home is. You are not searching for your home. All you are doing is taking those robbers out and entering. And that will happen automatically as your looking matures and deepens. It requires a completely uninvolved, dispassionate and brilliant mind to do so. The Now prepares you for deeper looking. So intense looking is much needed but remember, it is not a search. A search is contaminated by mind; real ‘looking’ starts from the mind but transforms into manifesting from a state of Consciousness deeper than

mind can ever comprehend.

And once you are home, you are at complete ease and comfort, like how you are when you are at home. The home doesn’t think who you are; it doesn’t give you any labels; you are comfortable, absolutely in peace only at home. It gives you shelter whether you are a saint or sinner, rich or poor. It entertains no concepts of the outside world. It only provides deep rest. Nowhere else can you get that peace and happiness. Even if you stay at a friends place you cannot say that you are happy there forever. It is only the home that provides me complete security.

And that security which I talk about, the Masters talk about is the SELF. But the entry into that home cannot happen unless there are underlying vasanas. Understand this. You have to reclaim it.

And you cannot do it alone. Because that would mean your ego is still there. So when you go very deep, your Guru in subtle form will meet you there too. That is why surrender is needed. He alone will dissolve your ego, he alone will dissolve your mind and throw the vasanas out from your kingdom. You have only one choice – Looking with a sense of deep love and surrender.

~ Rajiv Kapur

Self-Inquiry: Here and Now

Transcribed from a talk on November 20, 2011

Recognize that the thoughts are a hindrance – to that stillness, to that silence that you have perceived. Hold on to that silence; help it to arise. Fill your entire being with that happiness, that joy, of your beingness. Now slowly open your eyes. Very slowly, open your eyes. Maintain that stillness, that poise, that serenity, and just look. Just look around yourself; do not translate what the mind is perceiving; just look! Do not look at any object, nor look for any object. Just simple looking. Aren’t you perceiving that same stillness, when you close your eyes?

The simple act of looking, just simple looking – whether you look within, or you look without – it is the act of looking, which forms the foundation of Self Inquiry which I am going to talk about today. Do not deviate from that silence even now – stay there. Do not interpret my words; just listen. Let the silence itself speak to you. What do you see? What do you feel when you hear? In the various happenings of seeing and hearing you will perceive this centre – the centre of stillness and silence.

You see this entire thing (the room), the furniture (within the room), the beautiful pictures and between all those objects that you see, and between the words that you hear coming from me, there is this awareness, the space connecting to all these objects. Even if you close your eyes, there is this space within. And if you open your eyes, the same space is available to you, even now! All you have to do is recognize that this state of still awareness is there for you, right here, right now. So can you feel this silence? Can you feel the space? If you look outside the window, there are buildings, there are those cars; yet the space is still there. Everything is taking place within that space which we call as the present awareness. So how come I lost this beautiful thing which always is? That’s because the mind is always interested in something else. It’s out to entertain you. And it entertains you with so many stories – he did that, she did this, I have to do this or that. And because the mind entertains you, you have lost focus of what is available to you at this moment.

The beauty of present awareness, or what we call the Now or the Present, you have lost completely, because you are so interested in what the mind perceives in this space. It is so easy to get to the silence, because it is so easily available. And what great practice have you done? Nothing! All you have done is stop the mind that time and recognize that there is awareness which is present to me, here and now. That’s all. All you have done is connect with that stillness, with that silence which you are already. So in your initial practice, what you have to do is that every time the mind goes into some kind of stories, some kind of labeling, we just stop it from doing so. We make it stop and rather visit that awareness and then we keep visiting it at regular intervals.

Now as I said, you don’t have to look for it; nor do you have to look at it. You have to SIMPLY LOOK! The moment you look, that awareness is available to you; that stillness is available to you; that silence is available to you. Right? That is the difference between Self Inquiry and all other practices. Because in all other practices like Yoga, Mantra and everything, there is this nadi shuddhi, the chakra balancing, and there are various yama and niyama that you have to follow. But in Inquiry, the moment you practice, there is this result. You practice, and there is result! It is almost immediate. Almost immediate!

Stop the movement of the mind, look attentively, do not look at an object – just look in the totality, and it’s there! As you say, “Right here, right now.” Initially, you will have to stop it – stop the mind from moving into stories, into labeling, into judging. Later on, you don’t have to visit that silence, that awareness. You don’t have to visit; IT will visit you. The moment the mind goes into some story, that awareness will come first. It is an – “Ah! The mind is going into some story… wait! Ah, I’m judging someone… wait!” So, the awareness comes first, before the story.

Of course, you cannot stop the mind from making the movements forever, but the awareness will be there at hand. You will recognize that the stories are taking place. And that is a very interesting point; that awareness will be at the very origin of thought. The moment that thought arises, the awareness will be there first. You may still go with the thought, but now with complete awareness. So, the identification has been broken, because the identification with awareness is first, rather than the identification with the story. So your identification with the stillness will remain, while the story will continue the way it has to continue. Is it clear?

So beginning from today, the first step that you all have to do, is recognize that stillness; recognize that present state of awareness, which is independent of all the

stories, and all the labels that are taking place; very much independent and impersonal. Later on, you will see how that awareness takes charge of you – it just encompasses everything, it pervades everywhere, and you will feel that this is it. This Now, this Here, this present state of Awareness, is all that there is. Because it’s so comforting, it is so peaceful. The mind will be less interested in stories after that; it will be more interested in being in that silence. It will automatically come into that present state. The Presence will invite you, “Come…come and be with me.” You don’t have to go and look for it – the Presence itself will invite you.

For many people, this is the start of Self Inquiry. It means that this is the foundation to be in the present state. Such a recognition is very important to go deeper. I have always said about embracing the Now, the Present, like all the other Masters have also done. The teachers, they have always stressed the importance of the Now – and we must be in it as much as possible; try and bring this present awareness in you life – as much as you can. Then it will become very effortless; you will see, that the present is all that there is.

Many people, those who have practiced advanced Inquiry and Advaita, have told me the same thing, that they feel – this is the end too; that they don’t need to do anything more. They feel they are enlightened and awakened. Because it is so fulfilling, it’s so whole. “That’s it! What else can there be? “What else can there be apart from this oneness? Why do I need to look anymore deeper? Because this seems like my true home.” But it is not so. It only appears to be you home. You have to look deeper than this. The NOW is only the first step.

~Rajiv Kapur

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