H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Science of Meditation - Part V


Lecture by Matsya Avatara Dasa

Naples, Castello Angioino, 20th December 2008

Conference “The Science of Meditation”


Another important factor in meditation is social integration: not in a corporate sense, and not even in a sense of caste. In this case, social integration means the ability to interact harmonically in a constructive and evolutionary sense, with all creatures - the vision that values each creature, birds, reptiles, fish, what to speak of human beings, potential fellow travelers from whom we can learn to progress in our development. In one sense, what we have described could be a part of the most important abstentions mentioned by Patanjali, non-violence, or ahimsa

Finally, the fundamental factor for an effective practice of meditation is spiritual tension, that irrepressible need in each human being to turn and follow ideality. Meditation cannot exist without this need to realize this ideality within ourselves.

The principles of freedom, justice and love cannot be stopped and everyone of us tends to realize them, so as much as we dedicate to develop our idealities, we become ecologic in our environment, we favor not only the persons with whom we live, but the environment in general, and we integrate with mankind and with all creatures. This ideality, that can initially be experimented sporadically with an inconsistent practice of meditation, should become the model of our entire life, constantly and daily, if we want to attain perfection in meditation. Perfection does not exist on the human level - we can have a tendency, a movement towards something, we can walk towards something, but we do not need to be afraid of acting, thinking that because we are not perfect, our actions will be imperfect. Our actions will be imperfect anyway, but if we start walking into the proper direction and we move towards perfection, each step will bring joy, that essential, inner joy that is full satisfaction, samtosha, contentment, tushti, that makes a person extremely tolerant and humble. The level of realization we have attained is not shown by our social position, by the flags we carry or by the colors of a uniform: it is shown by our humility and tolerance.


For this reason knowledge and wisdom must be transformed into emotional detachment, a detachment from what is not useful but damaging, that obstructs our evolution. The first level of detachment to be applied is to withdraw the senses from their objects (pratyahara), so that they do not become wild horses - we should not restrain them with violence and repression, but rather we should channel them in an evolutionary project that is functional to our inner growth. This renunciation is not brutal deprivation dictated by dogmatism or prejudice, rather it is attractive and effective abstention that we naturally apply in the moment when we experiment something higher.

The embodied souls can abstain from the enjoyment of the senses, although the taste for the sense objects remains. But if he loses this taste by experiencing a higher taste, he will remain fixed in spiritual consciousness. (BG II.59)

In Sanskrit, param literally means "higher" and drishtva "having seen": when we have developed a higher vision we can renounce a lower vision. We should not be afraid of inhibitions: some areas of the brain and some organs of the body are inhibited when we do something that requires our attention. This inhibition will certainly not prevent us from a journey of evolution, on the contrary it is something that we directly dominate and therefore we can manage in a sensitive and expert way, renouncing something inferior for the benefit of something superior. This act can be described as asceticism, in Sanskrit tapas, the ability to renounce with an act of will, a deliberate choice, leaving something inferior in order to obtain something superior. It implies an extraordinary consistency with a planning aimed at liberation from conditionings, and thus to the dissolution of all the virulent samksaras that condition the individuals, moving them with irresistible force. This benefit extends to all the guilt feelings or complexes that thrive in our unconscious and were created at some time in the history of our existence: their negative effects are dissolved and the individual becomes free from the prison where he was languishing.

Asceticism in itself does not exhaust the meaning of meditation, but constitutes an important component; it must be accompanied by prayer and right action, in other words by actions that are beneficial for all creatures, creating the least possible damage (ahimsa), for example eating only foods that were obtained with the least possible violence: grains, vegetables, pulses.

Our objective should be the structuring of our life in a really planned way, aimed at attaining the highest level of evolution in this segment of existence, and consequently aspiring to a more evolved body in our next life. Vishnu Purana explains that there are 400,000 levels of evolution within the human species: there are humans, sub-humans, super-humans, saints and criminals, so many different types as there are different psychic structures and their chthonian pushes that come from the deep. These impulses can even control and dominate man inexorably, and when they are destructive and anti-social they can push him to commit horrendous crimes. Recognizing that some of these impulses are uncontrollable and irrepressible, the judicial system has decided that such individuals should not be sent to jail but rather treated in special structures called judiciary mental facilities. However, before coming to such extreme and compromised situations, it is possible to apply preventive measures, treatments, plans and methods of which meditation is a part and a concrete example.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Science of Meditation - Part IV


Lecture by Matsya Avatara Dasa

Naples, Castello Angioino, 20th December 2008

Conference “The Science of Meditation”


Actions have an extraordinary effect on us, creating a sort of photocopy in the substance of the mind that becomes impressed into our psychic structure; everything we do, everything we say, think or desire, leaves a trace. Thus, following the path of the great teachers, who know the human psyche and the soul of the human being, and especially his real divine nature and his prison, as Plato describes, and without despising the physical body, we can say that we are where we are because we have wished, thought, spoken and acted in a particular way. This vision is only apparently deterministic because it constantly evolves: in the very moment we are speaking and you are reading there is already a modification in your understanding and in your samskaras.

Each desire, thought or word, creates corresponding physical manifestations; in the Vedas the word, called vac, is described as the source of creation. It creates the worlds - and this is really a fact, because through words we express our state of mind, and therefore words must be as truthful as possible, because even before cheating others we are cheating ourselves. However just like action the word remains an external manifestation of an inner process, the process of reflection, vicara, of thought and, even before that, of desire. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad explains that "man is nothing but desire": thus it is essential to select desires because the unconscious contains a great quantity of them, "an entire herd of restless horses", to use Plato's metaphor. We have the duty to direct and guide these impulses that surge from the unconscious, as soon as they pass the threshold of conscious thought or consciousness where we can become aware of them. Ultimately our temperament is the result of a chain of desires, thoughts, reflections, words, actions, patterns of behavior that interact with emotional components of various strength to become tendencies, characteristics of our personality that dictate our actions if we do not channel them in the correct way. In order to act on these almost unconscious stages we need to access that dimension that is beyond the threshold of awareness, and for this we may use various paths: meditation, prayer and dreams, considered by Fraud as the "royal access to the unconscious". All these paths can help us to investigate our inner dimension and to expand the radiance of our consciousness more and more, shrinking the darkness of the unconscious, of the unknown, to know ourselves in a deeper way. The practical application of such techniques requires a theoretical and practical knowledge that we can experience in everyday's life. The experience of meditation can continue while we talk, walk, eat, or sleep: we do not simply meditate when we sit cross-legged. However, to attain a continuous state of meditation and therefore to be always aware of our deep nature and of the interaction we have with the external phenomena, it is important to consider a few aspects and especially the fact that our psyche is like an arena where titanic forces of opposite tendencies constantly fight one another. These tendencies are sometimes entropic, sometimes syntropic, evolutionary and involutionary, bringing health or disease. We could express this struggle with the powerful mythological language, describing it as the endless fight between Good and Evil.

There are obstacles to meditation. According to Patanjali, such obstacles are distraction (vikshipta), and the fogging of consciousness, the dullness, the fall of the level of attention (mudha), while selective and constant attention is essential for a good result in the practice of meditation.


Another central aspect we need to consider about meditation is about individuality: each individual is only equal to himself, each one is an individual, each person has his own journey. There is no real equality in this sense, because each person has lived a different life and had different personal experiences.

I have created the four divisions of human society'

on the basis of the three influences of material nature

and of the activities connected with them; however,

know that although I am the creator of this system

I do not act within it, because I am unchangeable

At the time when the individual, the spiritual being, leaves a particular physical body, he travels in a psychic bubble constituted by samskaras and vasanas, where he is enclosed, and the stronger tendencies will be the ones that will specifically determine the nature of his subsequent qualities and therefore the place, the species, and other factors connected to another material body destined to be inhabited by that particular jiva. The psychic structure is thus different from the experiences we carry on from previous lifetimes and, lifetime after lifetime, determines different births even for twins born from the same ovum - what to speak for "mere" brothers, fellow villagers, or people from the same country or culture.

The influence of the three archetypal forces, or gunas, that constitute material nature, prakriti, and the luggage of the fruits of actions performed in recent or distant times, or karma, are different for each individual and therefore, when a person wants to approach the practice of meditation, we need to know him at a personal level because each person must be helped and guided in a special way, peculiar to him on the basis of his guna and karma.


If individuality, the specific character of that particular model of personality, is unique, we need to reflect on the concept of freedom as natural implication. No practice should deny freedom to the individual, and no Master should deprive his disciples from freedom. There should be no pressure, but a free choice of obedience to an offer, a proposal by a model we consider more elevated than others. The relationship with the person who meditates must always be based on freedom, because a person can meditate as much as he is able to be free. There will certainly be mistakes, he will probably not be able to escape some automated mental patterns that might have been influencing him for so many lifetimes, he will not be immediately able to renounce something - an obstacle, a conditioning, a habit, a food, a drink, a relationship - but if we understand freedom and recognize the specific nature of that model of transient personality, the individual will be free to express himself according to his own level of consciousness without destructive impositions, but rather with offerings inspired by the pure spirit of bhakti, loving relationship, of prema, with an investment in affection, because by definition love does not need anything in return: it is sufficient in itself.

Friday, 8 May 2009

“When we dedicate ourselves to spirituality or science, we are not doing something extra. We should not think like “let priests or scientists deal with it”. Nowadays we should go beyond this kind of mentality and we hope that the new millennium will help in this sense. For his/her own complete self-realization, each one of us primarily needs to satisfy both the rational needs of the intellect and the deep aspirations of the soul”.
Matsya Avatar Das

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Science of Meditation - Part III


Lecture by Matsya Avatara Dasa

Naples, Castello Angioino, 20th December 2008

Conference “The Science of Meditation”


During our introspective journey we encounter a number of experiences that the individual lives unconsciously, almost unknowingly, but that keep interacting with him every day. These unconscious experiences can be individual or common to various creatures, and constitute an integral part of this universe in its entirety. This is the case of the collective unconscious described by Jung. The collective unconscious constitutes the world of archetypes, the world of symbols, where eventually an American, an Indio, a person who lives in Cape of Good Hope, an Eskimo or a Chinese, have the same essential reference systems: this is indeed the universal nature of symbols. Such is the crucial importance of the concept of memory or remembrance, in Sanskrit smritaya: what can be remembered both at conscious and unconscious level.

These memories are all the more conditioning when they are unconscious, because a memory or a conscious thought can be temporarily or voluntarily put aside by a person who may be trying to concentrating on something else, while an unconscious memory, precisely due to its nature, cannot be directly and consciously managed by the individual, who becomes agitated by such memories. Similar experiences stored in the deep unconscious or karmashaya are called samskara, where sam means "together" and kara comes from the Sanskrit root kr meaning "to do". In themselves these experiences have no positive or negative value, but their importance is in the powerful influence they have on the individual, who generally and incorrectly thinks that he is the author of his actions. Similar experiences attract one another and dig deep grooves into the unconscious psyche, veritable paths on which the individual always treads, reinforcing them more and more. Such psychic grooves are constituted by the individual tendencies, vasanas, that are also positive or negative. So we are often agitated by the unconscious without knowing it, pushed by our tendencies that may be artistic, scientific, harmonizing or oppressing, pacific or hostile, and obviously in order to really become the masters of ourselves, we must clean out such tendencies, especially the negative ones. There are very precise and effective techniques that enable us, through the use of will power, to transform the contents of the unconscious: a fundamental work in order to engage in the path of meditation. Only in this way we will be able to free our intuition power, the "path of the heart", that we can successfully walk only if the heart has been properly purified.


In order to attain knowledge we can not depend on sense perception, that as we have seen already, allows us to know maybe the 0.1% of the external and internal reality, and we cannot even depend on the information broadcast in society, especially in a society like the one we live in, highly technological, completely extroverted and finalized to the realization of external projects, where judgments are often prejudices. In this case discrimination constitutes the application of Socrates' motto, "knowing we do not know", and is an invitation to question oneself, to not accepting something blindly only because it appears to our senses or to our reason, to constructively question our deep beliefs. In this way it will be possible to overcome the concept of reality that is anchored to the physical and psychic world, overcoming the mere rational function, the "short-winged" intellect (in Dante's words) and by rediscovering the pure intuition faculties, typical of the child psyche, that are at the basis of modern scientific research. In this perspective we do not want to deny intellect in general, the "treasure of intellect" (again, in Dante's words), because it constitutes a valuable instrument of research when it is not misused to damage other channel of knowledge, that must be properly used but with detachment - just like in pole jumping, the athlete must use the pole to make the jump and then drop it in order to complete the leap. 

All the great discoveries come from brilliant intuitions and only later they are verified experimentally through positive sciences such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, so that they become evident for all and not only for those who have "given birth" to them in the first place. Explaining, or sharing our discoveries and realizations with others, constitutes the sentiment of compassion, karuna, and transmitting them in a convincing manner with the typical respect of the spirit of offering, is fundamental for the growth of the individual as well as for the good of others around us. Because whatever we give to others always comes back to us, and there is no better way of benefiting ourselves but doing good to others, offering them what is most precious for ourselves.