The Banyan tree  Jyoti Meditation - Silent Sitting
Path of meditation  Role of Love in meditation

Article:Don't feed the monkeys-monkey mind & meditation

Sai Baba has planted a grove for religious austerities on the side of the hill behind the Nilayam; in that grove there grows a Banyan tree which is bound to become the holiest of such trees, at least so far as the seekers of spiritual uplift are concerned.
The Banyan tree, known as Nyagrodha, "down-grown," and Vatavriksha, "enclosure tree," is famous in Indian sacred literature and history. Lord Maha Vishnu, the great God of Preservation, or Siva, God in the Form of the Guru, is described as sitting under a Banyan tree, and expounding by His very silence all knowledge to His disciple. This tree may be said to symbolize Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Wisdom, for its branches reach out in all directions and draw sustenance from every type of faith and spiritual striving. It is also called Rahupada, "many-footed" in Sanskrit, for the series of roots that its branches send down toward the earth strike the ground and seek food therein and make the branches independent even of the parent trunk. The tree is therefore immortal. There are in India Banyan trees that have been worshipped for thousands of years, such as the one at Triveni at Prayag, Allahabad, or the one called Akshaya-vat, the "Indestructible," at Gaya.
The Banyan that is growing in the grove has a peculiar sanctity of its own. In April of 1959, while talking one evening on the sands of the Chitravathi River to a gathering of devotees, Baba spoke of Buddha and the Bodhi tree, the "Tree of Wisdom," and of the Sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) seeking some specially favorable spots for their austerities. Even as He was speaking thus, He "took" out from the sands a thick copper plate about fifteen inches by ten inches in size which contained mystic markings and letters of many known and unknown alphabets! He said that such mystic plates, cryptograms written on copper or stone, are planted under trees where aspirants engage in austerities so that they may be helped to develop concentration of mind and control of the senses. He announced that He would be placing the copper plate under a Banyan tree that He proposed to plant in the grove. This was actually done on the twenty-ninth of June, 1959, and Sai Baba declared that Yogis who have reached a certain stage of spiritual progress will automatically come to know of this tree and this mystic plate, and they will be drawn by the mysterious force of these toward the meditation grove which will then fully justify its name!
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Jyoti Meditation
- Sathya Sai Baba on Meditation

"As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get.

"Let it be in the hours before dawn.This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide. The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee therefrom. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.

"Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.

"Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence."

Sathya Sai Speaks, vol 10










"...today in the world many people are teaching in many different ways the meaning of the word Dhyana. What is the meaning of Dhyana? What is it that we are going to meditate about and who is going to do it? For what purpose are we going to meditate? Unless there is an object on which you could meditate, it is not possible to meditate. Such an object on which you meditate or do Dhyana is referred to as Dhyeya. Without the object of concentration, you can not concentrate. There is an object of meditation, but who is meditating? Therefore, there must be a third thing - Dhyatha, which is you. You, who would be called Dhyatha, through the path of meditation or Dhyana, have to reach and experience the object of meditation or Dhyeya. These three are being referred to as three factors, one who receives the obeisance; one who gives the obeisance and the process of giving obeisance. When the man who meditates takes to the object of meditation and goes through the process of meditation, then all these three, one who meditates, the one which is the object of meditation and the process of meditation - unite and coalesce into one and only then you achieve oneness. The one who loves, the one who is being loved and the process of love, are three factors. In Prema, one who gives Prema, one who receives Prema and the process of Prema, we should regard all these three as one, through which the Premathatwa or the aspect of love is flowing. Even if any one of these three is missing, it is not possible to realise the completeness. If two, the one who loves and the process of love are there and there is no one to love, then it becomes useless. If the other two, the one who loves and the one who can be loved are there, but if there is no love between the two, then that becomes useless. On the other hand there may be the process of love and there may be one who will be loved, but if there is nobody to love, then also it becomes useless. So it is the oneness of all these three which will be referred to as Dhyana or meditation. In all these three, Prema is present to the same extent. This is referred to by saying 'Love is God - Live in Love'.

There is a need for us to make a proper enquiry into this path of meditation. This is a very good path to reach the Infinite. Although all these days you have been listening to what is contained in many of our scriptures like the Upanishads, the Vedas, the Darsanas and Sastras and so on, if you have not understood what is meant by Dhyana, the path by which to reach the destination, then all these may remain as book-knowledge and may create an allergy in you. For Dhyana, the time is important. This time which is important is referred to as 'Brahma Muhurtha'. You will have to choose whatever form you like for the purpose of meditation, and during the time interval called the Brahma Muhurtha which is from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., you will have to meditate on that at the same time, every day. There are also some methods and disciplines for this. You should not neglect and feel that there is no need for such specific methods.


There is a small example for this. We have planted a small fruit tree. When it is a small plant, we want to protect it by giving it fences. When it is a young plant, why do we put a fence around it and why do we try to protect it? It is because we feel that goat, sheep and such other animals will come and probably eat it up and destroy the plant. We want it to grow well and we keep a fence around it. But when that plant has grown and become a big tree, then we remove all that fencing. Why are we removing all the fence and protection at that time? The meaning of removing this fence is that the very same animals like goat, sheep and cattle, which would have eaten up and destroyed the plant when it was tender, will then come and will seek shelter and shade which the big tree now provides. The practice which ultimately gives you Moksha or liberation should in the initial stages be regarded as a plant. For this practice, the fence, which we shall call discipline, is absolutely necessary. The reason for this is that bad company, bad ideas, bad association and such other things may come and may destroy this young plant of practice. In order that they may not come and may not destroy, we will have to accept and observe discipline as the fence which will protect us. When this young plant which is seeking Moksha by Dhyana, when it grows and becomes a big tree, then even though such bad ideas, bad company and bad thoughts come close to the person, the big tree is such that all these visitors will only get pleasure and happiness out of that tree. They cannot do any harm to that tree.

That is why when we commence Dhyana and when we want to be in meditation, we should try and put ourselves in what is called a 'Padmasana'. For today's Padmasana, although there are not bad qualities and bad thoughts in you, the type of trousers, the drainpipe pants which you are wearing are coming as an obstacle for your sitting in Padmasana. You should not sit on bare ground. You should sit on either a wooden plank or on a mat or something like that. Not only that, you should not sit on a bare wooden plank. You should spread a piece of cloth over it. In the beginning, you should attempt to make a start with a wooden plank which is above the ground at least by half an inch. There are some reasons for taking a wooden plank. The reasons are that the earth has got the power of conduction and diffusion. When you sit in meditation, because through you is passing the current of divine strength on account of your Dhyana, on account of the attraction which the earth has, you should not get disturbed. Therefore, you have got to have a plank. When we lay on electric wire inside a house, we also have a specially constructed wire which is called the earth wire and which is put into the earth. Likewise we should regard our body as our house. While thus in the house of our body we are in the process of giving rise to and establishing the divine current, we should take all precautions that are necessary by insulating ourselves from the earth and by preventing the power or the strength in you from flowing away or dissipating into the earth. That is why our ancients have taught us that we should sit on a plank.

The practice of getting up at 4.30 a.m. at the Brahma Muhurtha, is also a very good habit. You are young and if while you are young, while your mind and body are still very sound and sturdy, if you do not start such good practices and get used to them at this age, when you grow a little older, when your body becomes a little more infirm and stiff, it will not be possible for you then to do so. It will be very difficult for you to acquire this practice at a late age. Truly, this age of yours is such that it is quite possible to understand many sacred things. If you grow older and start practices late, you may not be able to get the happiness and benefit out of the practices. There are many people who think that they will do all this after they retire. Before they retire, they always say "Duty is God; work is worship" and they go on doing all kinds of work, taking all kinds of jobs either under the Government or under some private agency. But this is not right. It is much better that you should do these things then and there and not go on postponing. This has been told to us in the Bhagavata.

When the servants or the attendants of Yama come and pull you with a rope and ask you to move on, when they drag you with their rope and ask you to be quick and go along as your time is over, your own relations will say "Now there is no hope, put this body outside the house" and your wife and children will simply cry and say "now it is all finished, there is no more hope". Under such conditions, is it possible for you to utter the name of the Lord and offer your devotion to God? So at this young age, I am very hopeful that you will understand the significance of Dhyana and start Dhyana and become an ideal example for the rest of the country.

Before you take your Padmasana and before you sit on the wooden plank, have a small Jyoti, candlelight, in front of you. You look at that Jyoti, the light, well with open eyes. After one minute, close your eyes; after you have closed the eyes, feel that the light that you had seen before closing your eyes is in your heart. You get the feeling that inside the lotus of your heart, right at the centre is this particular Jyoti. If you are not able to picture the Jyoti in the lotus of your heart and get that feeling, then open your eyes, look at the light again, close your eyes and try to picture it inside your heart once again.

After that, you think of it and you picture to yourself, fix it in your mind and feel that particular Jyoti is put in the centre of this lotus. After that, you take this Jyoti from the centre of the heart and move it to each part of your body; bring it to your neck; from the neck bring it to your mouth; from the mouth bring it to your hand; from the hand take it to your leg; from the leg take it to your ear; take it to your eyes; take it to your head; from the head bring it out all around you; when you have brought it out of your head, you imagine that you have taken this Jyoti and given it to those who are related to you; those who are affectionate to you and your friends. Not only that, spread the light even amongst your enemies. After that, you picture to yourself that you have taken this Jyoti and given it to all the birds, the beasts and everything around you.

Where this Jyoti or light has moved, there will be no darkness. It is in this context that all our Upanishads have said "Thamaso maa Jyotirgamaya". Since this Jyoti has reached your eyes, you will no longer have any bad vision or bad sight. Because this Jyoti has gone to your ears, you will not hear evil. Because this Jyoti has reached your tongue, out of your tongue will no longer come any bad words. Since this Jyoti has reached your head, evil thoughts should no longer go into your head nor will they arise in you. Since the same Jyoti has gone into your heart, bad ideas should no longer enter your heart. Since the same Jyoti has also touched your feet, your feet should no longer walk into bad places. Because to your hands, the same Jyoti has reached, your hands will no longer engage themselves in bad acts. The word bad is synonymous with darkness. In truth if you have allowed this Jyoti to spread everywhere, there is no room anywhere for this darkness or bad to persist. If, while engaged in such Dhyana or meditation, you are still doing something bad, it simply means that this Jyoti has not reached that particular organ which is doing bad.

By this meditation, not only bad traits which are in you will have been removed, but in their place noble and sacred ideas and sacred actions would have entered; not only that, you would be able to get the glorious Darshan of Eswara or you would experience Advaita, the experience of oneness, because the light that is in you is present in all human beings, because the light that is present in you is present in all the birds and animals, the light is everywhere. By realising this, you will also have established the truth of the saying "Geetavakyam Idam Dharmam".
Some of you may get a doubt and say to yourselves "Well, we like Rama, He is our God; we like Krishna, He is our God; we like Swami, He is our God. Why should we not take and meditate on one of these forms? Why should we have a light in front of us for meditation?" But a shape or a particular form is not a permanent thing. That is a changing thing; that is also a fleeting thing. It is not right that you should put your concentration on something which will change, which is not permanent. You must have something which does not change. That is why you have to take the Jyoti. Having the Jyoti which does not change, in your meditation you can certainly put into it, the Roopa or form which you want and which you want to pray to. There is nothing wrong in doing that. In this form or Roopa, there is always a growth and decline. On the contrary, if we have a Jyoti, or a light in one place, it does not matter how many people may come and light up their lamps from this one Jyoti, this Jyoti is not going to diminish or lose anything.
This first Jyoti, the source, is called the Akhanda Jyoti. Those who come and light up their lamps are called Jeevan Jyoties. So many Jeevan Jyoties, all of them have started from one single Akhanda Jyoti only. By putting this Jyoti in our heart, in each individual Jeeva's heart, the result of the meditation will be that this single Jeevan Jyoti will go and merge itself in the Akhanda Jyoti and will teach you the nature of Advaita or the oneness of this world and the entire creation.

For this, a time, a process and a place are very essential. The place may change. Today you may be in Brindavan, tomorrow you may be in Bangalore, the day after that, you may be in another place like Madras. For this body which is travelling from place to place, it is not possible always to have a fixed place for the purpose of meditation.

Even if there is a change with regard to the place where you meditate, you must take great care to see that the time at which you meditate does not change. At the time that has been fixed for your Dhyana, if you, out of your heart, are willing to offer Prema through your meditation, then surely at the appropriate time, God will come and will receive your Prema, and will give you all happiness.

What you have to give to God is Prema. It must be Prema coming from within your heart. It must be at the appropriate time. So, if you give heartfelt Prema at the appropriate time, then God will certainly receive it and God will shower on you all happiness.

You must also have heard that God is "Sat Chit Ananda" (Satchidananda). I have now to tell you the meaning of 'Baba'. Baba is B.A.B.A. The first 'B' stands for being; 'A' stands for awareness; the third letter 'B' stands for bliss; the fourth letter 'A' is for Atman. The first 'B' - being is Sat; the next letter 'A' - awareness is Chit; the third letter 'B' is bliss or Ananda. The last letter, the fourth letter is Atma, that means Satchidananda, is Atma. You also know the meaning of Sathya; Sathya is truth. It is something which is unchanging during all times. The word 'Sai' has three sounds in it; 'SA', 'AA', 'YE'. 'SA' stands for the sacred and divine; 'AAYE' means mother. In different languages, we have for the mother, Aayee, Mayee and Thayee. Aayee means mother; Baba means father. Sai Baba is the divine mother and father. 'Sa Aayee Baba' - divine mother and father. In the same way we use the letter 'SA' for divine, for mother we can use the word 'Amba', for father we can use the word 'Siva'; 'Sa Amba Siva' (Sambasiva). Sambasiva or Sai Baba are exactly the same, there is no difference between the two. Therefore it becomes evident that this is 'Siva Sakti Atmaka Swaroopa'. So if you want to taste and experience this divinity, if you want to taste the nectar of bliss, then from tomorrow you start on meditation. I am blessing you and I am hoping that you will be able to get the happiness and bliss of divinity by such practices.

Excerpts from Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course in Spirituality and Indian Culture
held for College Students at Brindavan, Whitefield, Bangalore District in May 1972
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Feb 17, 2002





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