H.G. Matsyavatar Das

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.

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