Letter from Swami Muktananda to Franklin Jones
April 23, 1968
Dear Franklin and Nina,
My loving remembrance and blessing to you.
All is well here, hope the same there. Through your letter I received all the news. It is a matter of joy that you consider me as your Guru. You are inclined to Self-realization, you are devoted to Truth, you have practiced penance to obtain the joy of Self — this is very good. Yours is a praiseworthy endeavor because the Soul is an inner-treasure, It is perfect, It is One. This Soul is the Knower of all thoughts, It is Omniscient, yet It is neither a subject of logic nor can It be known through the intellect, because who can reveal THAT which reveals all? Who can bring to light the Sun which itself lights up the entire Universe? The Soul is the Light, the Enlightener, and the Enlightened. It reveals Its own nature and reveals other things as well.
There is a Divine Light within you which is as shining as the flame of a fire, as bright as the light of the Sun, as radiant as the red-hot Gold. The Soul is not a thing to be strived after — It is ever present in us; but not visible to those who have not received the Guru’s grace. The Soul IS. Because of Its presence in the body men love each other, they get mutually attached and feel satisfied through cordial relationship.
The Soul, which gives inner joy, is in reality the Divine Light of God. The devout see Him in varied names, forms, and colors. However, He is not many — He is One. Though He has many names, He is “So’ham”. Although He belongs to the Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, and Parsis, He is different from them all, and similarly, though belonging to the Yogis, He is different from the Yoga, though grantor of the fruits of actions He is different from the doer, though bestower of the reward of the sacrifice He is different from the sacrificer, though understood through the Scriptures He is different from the Scriptures; in the field of Knowledge — though realized through knowledge — He is different from the Knower and the Known.
All the various creeds and faiths, all the religious organizations and societies the world over, worship Him, through their own set rules and disciplines. As a matter of fact He is the all-adorable, the ever perfect, the inner essence, the Atman of all. Some people search Him in the sky above, some in the Earth below, some in the monastery, temple, mosque, church; some others in the forest, in the seclusions, in the caves and mountains, in the rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, and even dry deserts; still others try to find Him in the sweetness of fruits, in the fragrance of flowers, in the song of the cuckoo, in the dance of the peacock, in the beauty of the butterfly, and so on. Thus, through various paths, in various things, everyone is searching Him only.
My dear Franklin and Nina! But He is within you. He, the Atman of all, is the Inner Being of yours and mine too. He is the darling pupil of the eye. That Atman is a clean place for our rest and respite, the strongest fortress for us to live fearlessly and peacefully, the liberator from bondage. That very essence is named by the Vedanta as Sat-chid-anand (Absolute Truth, Knowledge, and Bliss). That very Atman or Essence is Ram and Rahim, Krishna and Karim, Jesus and Moses as well. He is the sole support of all. This universe is a manifestation of His infinite play. Putting on the twine forms of man and woman, He — the Great Being — exists in both. Verily these are like the two facets of the self-same coin — named Purusha-Prakriti or Shiva-Shakti and this world is the expansion of these two.
He and He alone is in you and in your wife; and He again pervades the entire world. Usually an unfortunate one does not have the desire to know Him. But those who are greatly meritorious ardently wish to know Him (to know the Atman) and they do succeed also.
Just as there is fire (latent) in a dry stick of wood (which ignites by friction and burns up the stick completely); just as oil lies hidden in the sesamum seed; just as there is butter in the curd; in the same way the Divine Shakti is lying hidden in the human body. It is active in the ordinary sense — but to awaken the same through the Guru’s grace, to experience Its uncommon activities, and to realize It directly is the highest religion of men. That which helps to manifest the inner Divine Shakti is “TRUE RELIGION”; and he who perceives that Divine Shakti, in Its innate form, is “TRULY RELIGIOUS”.
This inner Shakti is known as Atman, and is worshipped by uttering “Om” or “So’ham”. So’ham is the means for Its meditation, So’ham again is the mantra for Its worship. Heart is Its church. The natural sound So’ham does not belong to the Indians and the Hindus alone, the same word-sound exists in all living beings and is active too. Really speaking with regard to mantra there is no consideration like community, creed, or country. If someone thinks that a mantra belongs to a particular faith or country, believe me he knows nothing.
A great Yogini of Kashmir has said: “A devotee who believes that the universe is the manifested form of God and that He resides in all beings as their own selves, for him which place will not be a temple? Which mantra will not bear fruit?” In other words, any mantra that a devotee would utter or recite will surely be fruitful — for mantra is the form of God. When even an abuse or a mean word affects a person (mentally), how can a mantra which is a holy word not achieve its sacred purpose?
Dear Franklin, sitting calm and steady repeat the mantra together with rhythmic breathing (i.e., the inhalation and exhalation of air — pran and apan). Harmonize the repetition of mantra with the breathing as follows: With “So” take it in and with “ham” bring it out. Throughout the mantra-repetition one should follow this practice. Simply sitting peacefully and applying the mind to the pran and apan one enters into deep state of meditation.
When one’s mind is fixed on “So” with the incoming breath and on “ham” with the outgoing breath it is mantra-japa. The regularity with which the breath comes in and goes out is pranayama. And if a person is skillful, intelligent, and alert — the (1) repetition of mantra (japa), the process of (2) pranayama, and the (3) meditation — all the three can be achieved simultaneously without difficulty. This is like the kingfisher bird whose sole attention is the fish in water. The bird is known for its all-exclusive concentration, a kind of meditation. And when it suddenly dives to catch the fish, two more things are achieved simultaneously — he has a good bath and enjoys a hearty meal.
This is a great Yoga, the best among all: known as Siddha Yoga. It means “the path of the Perfect Ones” or “the Yoga which begets perfection”. A dextrous and highly intelligent person can practice it easily. As explained above, the regular practice of meditation with a concentrated mind will awaken the dormant Kundalini Shakti in a very short time. As a result, some inner activities also begin to operate. Day-by-day as the Shakti develops more and more it takes the aspirant to the ultimate perfection. Just as a child grows daily, with due nourishment, and becomes a youth in course of time; just as a seed sown in the soil gradually develops into a tree; in the same manner the daily practice of sadhana (spiritual discipline) leads one to Perfection by the Guru’s grace.
In the “So’ham” mantra — “So” signifies God or Guru, and “ham” denotes ‘I” or “me”. Thus So’ham means “I am He”. Let your practice of meditation be accompanied by the ceaseless reflection on the above meaning of So’ham. in every human being there lies a hidden store of unlimited contentment, inexhaustible love, and infinite joy — these can be realized through the regular practice of meditation. As one thinks so one becomes. If a man thinks all the time about his faults and sins he would become sinful. Similarly the constant thought about woman, man, meditation or Guru would make him womanish, manly, meditative or the Guru — respectively. This is quite natural because a person gets transformed into the likeness of the object on which he constantly ponders, by absorbing its qualities.
Man is indeed great. But he has lost his greatness and has fallen due to his constant dealings with the external world and attachment to sense-objects. Internally he is not lacking anything, he is full and perfect with the Divine Light and yet in vain he is searching for the “Fulfillment” outside. The factory, workshop, business office, and shop; the varied professions like engineering, medicine, legal practice, and many other trades — all these are merely means to livelihood, they cannot procure things of lasting value to men. As I said above, man is perfect within, and this can be directly experienced through meditation, whereupon one feels fully contented. just as you become entirely free of the outside thoughts and anxieties in deep sleep and feel happy; similarly in the introspective tendency or in the meditation on Atman lie peace, respite, and undisturbed equanimity.
The real beauty, the essence of savory taste, the celestial music, the most soothing touch, and the sweetest fragrance — all lie inside. The Yogis who have experienced them within consider the outer things just ordinary. When through meditation the Kundalini is awakened then, by Guru’s love and his grace all the latent faculties are automatically activated and one attains perfection in due time. Besides, he also obtains the power of omniscience which lies hidden in the heart.
In what words can I express the beauty of inner Light! It is unparalleled; all lights of the outer world are too dim and unpleasant before It. Similarly, in front of the inner celestial music our worldly music is crude and jarring. The relish of a drop of inner juice is so wonderful that all the worldly savors put together are really nothing in comparison. This inner nectar is a Divine ambrosia, the inner touch is too subtle and great to be described, for it is a Divine touch. You attain through meditation this supreme ambrosia-of-love on which the inner Shakti is nourished and which is a gift from the Guru obtained by the disciple through penance.
Dear Franklin there is not anything in world which cannot be achieved through meditation. In the practice of meditation, there is a highly miraculous and splendid Shakti which is beyond human comprehension. It is best to practice a natural meditation or dhyan. I will explain to you what it is or how it is to be practiced: Sit quietly, calm and composed, if you like in padmasana, or any other comfortable posture. You may look and fix the eyes on a photo or may keep your eyes closed. The mode and posture in which you can be restful, mentally free from the objective world, and introspective, that is the best asan for you.
What I mean to convey by “Don’t do anything” is this — remove the mind from its activities, arrest all kinds of desires and surrender to whatever is happening of its own accord, observe everything as a witness. That is why I say practice the meditation in a natural way. The meditation done by the inner Shakti is the meditation of Guru’s grace, it is the real meditation of “So’ham”, indeed it is the meditation of God — these are not different kinds of meditations but they are synonymous expressions.
Tell me, if the man is not aware of this Shakti or is not awakened to It, what is the purpose of this body of flesh? If this Shakti were not there one would not have liked or been attracted to the body made of flesh, bones, blood, muscles, skin, etc. Activator of the breathing process, Inspirer of the intellect, Contemplator of the mind is the same as inner Shakti, inner Consciousness. The only worthy purpose of this otherwise impure physical body is to dedicate it wholeheartedly to seek the Inner Being.
Your beauty, your energy, your duty, your religion, your Guru and guide; your study, worship and prayer — all lie in engaging yourself to the remembrance and repetition of “So’ham”, “So’ham”. This is my instruction, this is my precept. This is to followed or practiced, and reflected upon devoutly. The deeper and deeper you go in meditation the more and more of the Divine experiences you will attain. Therefore, seek your inner Self, therefrom you will have the fulfillment you cherish.
April 23, 1968
(To know more about Swami Muktananda visit this website )
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