H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 5). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

In the VedaVac” is the root-word that creates the Worlds. It is so, as we reveal our mood with the use of words and they must be as true as possible, since before deceiving others we deceive ourselves. The word, as the action, is however just an exterior manifestation of an inside process, the process of reflection, vicara, of thought and before it of desire. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is explained that “Man is nothing else but desire”. Thus, it is essential to select one’s desires, since quite a few reside in the unconscious: “an entire herd of pawing horses” quoting Plato. We are supposed to orientate and direct these unconscious drives, as soon as they are crossing the threshold to consciousness or conscious thought, becoming thus aware. Our temperament is the result of a concatenation of desires, thoughts, reflections, words, actions, repeated actions that involve an interaction of more or less emotional factors, becoming tendencies, salient features of our character that incites the actions to take, if we do not funnel it in the right way. In order to act upon these quasi-unconscious phases, it is necessary to accede the dimension that resides beyond the threshold of awareness; there are different ways to do it as meditation, prayer and dreams that Freud indicates as “the royal road to the unconscious”. All these ways can help us in exploring our internal dimension and expanding the lightness of our consciousness, thus restricting the darkness of the unconscious, as well as of the unknown, leading us to a deeper acquaintance with ourselves. The application of these techniques requires different theoretical and practical areas of knowledge, that can be experienced in daily life. Meditation experience can endure while talking, walking, eating, sleeping: we do not meditate just when we sit in a crossed-leg posture. But to reach a constant meditative state and to be always aware about our deep nature and its interaction with the phenomenal exterior, we need to consider some aspects: first that our psyche is like an arena, where titanic oposing forces are continually raging and struggling. 
Sometimes these are entropic tendencies, sometimes they are syntropic, evolutive or devolutive ones, good or bad for health. Through the potency of the mythical language, it can be defined as the ceaseless fight between Good and Evil. There are several obstacles to meditation; Patanjali outlines these obstacles, like distraction, vikshipta, obfuscation and blunting of consciousness, the lowering of attention, mudha, whereas a selective attention is fundamental to succeed in meditative practice.
Another central aspect we have to consider about meditation concerns the individuality. Every individual is peculiar to himself, everybody is an individual with his own path, there is no sameness within these terms, since everyone has a human story and personal experiences.
According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.
When the subject, the spiritual being, leaves his physical body he travels incorporated in a psychic bubble constituted by samskara and vasana; the strongest tendencies will particularly determine the nature of next birth, consequently the place, the belonging to a certain species and other factors related to a new material body designed to be inhabited by that particular jiva.
The psychic structure differs by the experiences we carry forward from our previous lives and, life after life, it determines different births also for monozygotic twins, what about “simple” brothers, fellow countrymen, compatriots or people who shares the same culture. The influence of the three archetypal forces, guna, that compose the material nature, prakriti, and the background of recent or less recent past actions, karma, are individually different, therefore, when a person wishes to start a meditation practice it is suggestible to get acquainted with him/her personally, since they should be assisted and introduced in a special manner, peculiar to them and according to their guna and karma. If the individuality, the specificity of that particular model of personality, is unique, then liberty should be conceived as its natural corollary. No practice can deprive individuals of their liberty and no Master shall deny liberty to his disciples. There shall not be any induced suggestion, but obedience related to free will to accept an offer from a model considered pre-eminent by the individual. In this relationship the liberty of the meditator must always be respected, because the person will be able to meditate to the extent that he or she will be free. Certainly, he will make mistakes, he will not avoid to be subject to mental automatism typical of who knows how many past lives, he will not immediately succeed to renounce and get beyond all obstacles, like mind conditioning, a certain habit, food or beverage, a relationship etc… but if we know the positive sense of liberty and recognize the specificity of that pattern of transitory personality, then the individual will be free to express himself accordingly to his or her consciousness level, without any destructive imposition, but rather by offers infused with the pure spirit of bhakti, loving relationship, prema, with an affective investment, as Love by definition does not need any counterpart, it is self-sufficient. Another important factor in meditation is the social integration, not with a corporatist meaning, much less of caste. Social integration means the capability of harmonic interaction, constructive, evolutive and with all creatures, the attitude to valorize any creature, whether they are birds, reptiles, fishes and what about men, potential travel companions from whom we may learn, in order to grow and develop spiritually. In a certain sense, all that can fall within one of the most important abstentions Patanjali indicates: Nonviolence, ahimsa. Finally, one fundamental element for an effective meditation practice is the spiritual tension, that irrepressible need every human being has to apply and orientate towards ideality. Meditation cannot prescind from the necessity we have to realize our Inner Identity.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 4). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Collective Unconscious represents the World of Archetypes, of Symbols where an American, an Indios, a citizen of Cape of Good Hope, an Eskimo or a Chinese have same essential systems of reference: actually, this is the universal nature of symbols.

The concept of memory or remembrance, in Sanskrit smritaya, becomes crucial as what can be remembered on conscious or unconscious level. Memories are all the more conditioning when deeply situated in the unconscious mind; if a conscious memory or thought can be temporarily and voluntarily put aside by the person who is trying to concentrate and focus on something else, an unconscious memory, just because of its nature, cannot be directly and consciously dealt and it will affect and act upon the person. Such experiences, registered in the deep unconscious (karmashaya), are known as samskara, where sam means “together” and kara derives from the Sanskrit root kr and means “to do”; these experiences are neither positive nor negative per se, but their importance is due to the powerful influence on the individual, who, generally speaking, wrongly thinks to be the sole author of all his actions. Similar experiences attract themselves and produce deep grooves in the unconscious psyche, authentic paths along which the individual retrace same steps. These psychic grooves represent the individual inclinations, vasana, that also are neither positive nor negative. Hence, unconscious often acts upon us without knowing, driven by our inclinations that can be for Art, Science, Harmonization or Abuse, Peacefulness or Bellicosity; obviously, in order to really master ourselves, we have to clean up our minds thoroughly and to sweep away especially the negative inclinations. There are very precise and effective techniques, that enable a voluntary transformation of the unconscious elements; this willing action is fundamental to start the meditative process. Just so, we can free our intuitive capacity, “the way of the heart”, that will be cleared only if the heart will be adequately purified. Actually, in order to bring to light the reality of ourselves, we cannot base our knowledge on sensory perception that represent just 0,1% of the external and internal reality, and it cannot even be based on the information circulating within the society, especially in this society where we live, highly technological, completely extroverted, aimed at exterior projects and where opinions are often prejudices. The critical capacity is properly represented by the practice of Socratic dictum “I know that I do not know” that invites questioning, to not accept something as a priori just because observable through the senses or logical reasoning, to doubt in a constructive manner one’s own deepest convictions. So it is possible to transcend the concept of reality anchored in the material and psychic world, to overcome the mere rational function and the intellect that has “short wings” as Dante says, rediscovering our pure intuitive faculties that are typical of childish psyche, that underlie modern scientific research processes. From this perspective, we do not refuse the intellect in general - “the good of intellect” still paraphrasing Dante - since it is a precious means of investigation if not abused at the expense of other cognitive channels , but it must be properly used to get as free as a pole vaulter who, after having made the swing faster, puts off and releases the pole to fly away. All great discoveries are made by brilliant intuition, just later Positive Sciences as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry will verify them experimentally, in order to make them clear to everybody, besides who conceived them. To explain, to share with others one’s own discoveries or realizations are feelings relevant to compassion, karuna, and to transmit them in a persuasive manner and with typical respect in the spirit of offering  is fundamental for collective and individual growth, since what is offered to others will be given back to us. The best way to do ourselves good is to be doing good to others by offering what is most precious to us.
The actions we have taken affect us in an extraordinary way , releasing a photocopy in our minds that is embedded  in our psychic structure; whatever we do, whatever we say, think, desire leaves a trace. Hence, in reference to  Great Teachers and Connoisseurs of the Psyche, of Human Soul and Human Being, but above all of Man’s Divine Nature and Prison (quoting Plato and not despising  the physical body), we can affirm that we are where we are since we desired, thought, said and acted in a certain way. This vision is apparently deterministic, whilst in constant evolution: in the very moment we are talking or that you are reading, the change of our comprehension and samskara has already begun. Every desire, thought and word give birth to relevant and corresponding material manifestations.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 3). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Science of Health or Ayurveda (the Sanskrit term “ayur” means life, force, health) studies in a detailed manner the Nature of Human Being and his relationship with a full range of energies. Ayurveda extends the interaction overview of body, psyche and consciousness from an intra-individual level into an inter-individual one. Hence, behavior and single actions are considered not only as a result of one’s own apparatus, but as an interaction with other bodies, psyches and consciousness. This point is very important, making us able to reconduct to this phenomenon many of present conflicts, both on an individual and collective level. As a matter of fact, conflicts that cannot  be solved inwardly are extrojected onto people around us, no matter if close or distant. The connection between different elements of the Created cannot be reduced exclusively to relationships, but permeates the entire Universe: just think about Bell’s Theorem, that enunciates the correlation between two particles entering into contact, sharing same experience, synchronizing and endure in resonant state also when separated or one of them is modified; this variation is instantly extended to the other particle in no time.
There is nothing in the Universe that is separate from everything else. Everything is connected and as we can identify micro-networks and neural circuits, it is possible to identify much larger macro-networks beyond any one single individual. In the Veda, in the Gita, in the Upanishad, in the Yogasutra and other scripts of the Indo-Vedic Tradition, it is possible to find these principles clearly described with an incredible specificity of language and in general the vision of man as a creature composed of different subtle bodies or layers, going from the more gross to the more subtle and that are not limited just to the material and psychic elements. From the above scheme it is possible to notice that the material body is just the most external layer of the human being; this grossly visible layer is called “annamaya kosha”. Annamaya means food energy, since the physical body is nourished by food. At more subtle level it is possible to identify the energy called prana, that each human being has and that is individualized and specific for every living being: this level is defined “pranayama kosha”. The physical body does not have an own energy, it would not even stand without the vital energy that provides force for it, that makes it able to move and makes it so precious: all this is possible thanks to the energetic layer composed of “prana”. For example, Acupuncture practice is based on this energetic support. Actually, if the energy provided to the body is not fluidly distributed some energy blocks may occur. 
At a deeper and more subtle level after “pranayama kosha”, there is the mental layer, “manomaya kosha”, hence the energy layer depends upon the mind. Pranayama kosha is directly dependent upon mind, upon our mental state, thus it is not possible to develop ecologic energies to sustain our body without having first reeducated our mind. 
This message is given by the Rishi, the Spiritual Masters belonging to the Indo-Vedic Tradition, and it is a fundamental teaching to be immediately considered, as Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita: the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy, it could be the way of healing or cause of death, disease, paralysis. The mind has priority in health research, even before the physical body, since the body depends on it. In this scenario we can write out Juvenal’s statement: “mens sana in corpore sano”. In general, body and mind are so interdependent and interactive that any failure would be transmitted immediately each other, therefore they have to be treated simultaneously.
For this reason Patanjali indicates as basic step in the path of Spiritual Self- Realization, codified in the Yoga Sutras, some ethics fundamentals (yama and niyama) for the harmonization of the psycho-physical health. The support of the mental layer is the intellective layer “vijnanamaya kosha”. On a level of psychic dimension the intellect is constituted by deep convictions, which represent conscious or unconscious conditioning for people who base their lives on them. These deep convictions, stored by the intellect, sustain the mental structure. 
Ananda” means inexhaustible happiness, bliss. It cannot be compared to the pleasure of the senses, that does not even represent the shade of such happiness. Euphoria, excitement, orgasm, they all have a beginning and an ending, therefore sages consider them illusory result of the human life. When the creature is completely satisfied in himself, he does not have any other aspiration. The one who experiences “ananda” feels a sense of community with all creatures, he wishes to be a friend to everyone and actually he becomes benevolent to all living beings. In fact, conflicts are signs of dissatisfaction and suffering. Ananda is essential to stay in healthy, a popular Neapolitan proverb says: “To a cheerful heart, God will provide”. Hence, the intellective layer is sustained by a layer of bliss or constitutive happiness, “anandamaya kosha”, essential for the physical well-being. Actually, interior gratification assures harmonization and balance of all physical, energetic and psychic structures, whilst a depressed mood or negative emotions, as explained by Prof. Genovesi previously, affect badly the immune system and suppress it throug hormonal desynchronization. 
Ananda pertains to atman: the real source of energy has a spiritual nature, it is neither physical nor psychic energy, but a spiritual enery; besides ananda, atman is characterized by eternity, sat, and consciousness, cit
We are spiritual entities, we are atman and it is impossible for us to lose features like sat, cit, ananada, whatever happens, since they are intrinsic and inseparable from what we objectively and intimately are, although they may be more or less clouded by ignorance, neglected or atrophied. Through an introspective path, one undergoes a reservoir of unconscious experiences, almost unknown, but he or she has to interact daily with. These unconscious experiences can be individual or in common with other creatures and represent an integrant part of the universe as a whole. This last case was coined as “Collective Unconscious” by Carl Gustav Jung.