When your meditative experiences are profound and blissful, you get fed up of them and you renounce bliss, DAAJI KAMLESH PATEL tells SONAL SRIVASTAVA
You say one should ‘experience with experiment.’ Can you elaborate on this?
■ Religion and spirituality demand faith in the beginning. But a scientific mind doesn’t permit faith and belief; it needs solid proof.When we are about to launch a new molecule that has the specific quality to reduce blood pressure or reduce anxiety, it is studied against a control group of a placebo and when it is proven that it is better than the placebo by more than 80 per cent, then we introduce it with confidence.So, what’s the active medicine in meditation and what is a placebo? The active part of heartfulness meditation is pranahuti or transmission; meditating without that means it is a placebo.We have been hungry for knowledge; now we should be hungry for experience.That’s why we have coined the slogan, ‘experience with experiment!’
How do you separate an authentic meditative experience from illusions and hallucinations?
■You write your experience and see for yourself whether it satisfies your heart.Your heart must say ‘yes.’Your heart is a very smart organ.Anytime, if anything goes wrong, it will be the first to tell you,‘Don’t do it’. I like to experience so that I become a true believer. If you have experienced something today, let’s see if you experience the same thing tomorrow. If you become angry and you sit down to meditate after that, will you feel meditative? But if you are in surrender, your experience will be beyond words.
What if there is a conflict between the heart and the mind?
■ Listen to the heart! You have to decide whether a decision is really emotional or is it true to the heart.There is a deeper level of the heart; it’s all a spectrum of consciousness. It depends on which level of this spectrum you are speaking from.When you speak the truth, you don’t have to make an effort. But when you say a lie, your heart will tell you that you are lying. Our heart helps us make decisions.
Are you referring to manas, chitta, buddhi, ahamkara?
■These are subtle bodies between the sthoola sharira, gross body and karan sharira, soul.When you talk of evolution, how will the sthoola sharira evolve? It will take millions of years.The causal body is the Atman; it is pure. It is as eternal as it can be.The body can only age; the atman doesn’t need to evolve. What are evolving are the manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara.The function of the manas is to think; when the mind moves from thinking to feeling, we say it has evolved.For instance,you are tense about making a business decision and your mom asks you,‘What is the problem?’And just like that, she comes up with the solution.Women are superior; they rely more on intuition. Buddhi is intellect; it evolves through intelligence to intuition — to wisdom.
Some people say that you cannot always trust your gut feeling….
■ Often people misuse the word ‘gut feeling’ and use it to manoeuver someone’s emotions. If you were right a few times, and you want to prevail with your decision, you may say,‘Oh, it’s my gut feeling.’The other person will think that because this person was right on a previous occasion, he may be right again. Here, you might have to use data.
What could be the scientific basis of intuition?
■When a fight-or-flight situation arises, adrenal glands release adrenalin that rushes into the bloodstream.This response passes through the autonomous nervous system. If a person meditates and follows compassion, he will pause for a moment and allow the cognitive mind to prevail. In the US, they studied pregnant women.They found that when the mother was in stress, the foetus became a receptive organ and received stress hormones of the mother. When stress hormones release, one gets into fight-or-flight mode. Blood rushes to the limbs.The same thing happens in the foetus. As a result of long-term stress, babies have compromised digestive systems. In c o m p a r i s o n , mothers living in a peaceful environment will have babies with a well-developed frontal cortex.The meditative mind takes over your system and makes you calm.We are always worried about environmental pollution, but there is a far greater pollution that’s plaguing humanity today — thought pollution. Each individual has to change and that’s a tough task.
At what stage does meditation become effortless?
■ If you think that today you are going to have a deep meditation and you start with expectations, your expectation- driven effort will come in the way of your experience.When you are learning to ride a bicycle, you fall and bruise your knees, but there comes a time, when you master it. From the state of effort, we come to a state of automatism. Once meditation becomes effortless, you are able to recall meditative states at will.You are craving to become god-like — something from inside pushes you. On the other hand, when your experiences are so profound and so blissful, then you stop wishing; you get fed up of experiences. When this continuity is there, you will say, ‘I will renounce bliss.’ Patanjali calls it prayatna shithliaikarna — relax all your efforts. Meditation can promote sleep; it’s a good medicine.While lying down, turn to your right; it becomes easy to go into meditation.
■ Follow Kamlesh Patel at speakingtree.in