Inner Quest by Pandit Rajmani Tugnait

  • By Pandit Rajmani Tugnait
  • May 2003
The Journey’s End

The longing of the soul sets us on the path and keeps us there until we realize our true identity. We may occasionally get sidetracked, our pace may slow to a crawl, but even so we remain curious about who we are, where we have come from, and where we will go after we die. It doesn’t matter whether we are atheists or theists. All of us are under the influence of an invisible inner force that will not let us rest until we have unveiled the mysteries of life and attained a state of spiritual revelation, which frees us forever from fear, anguish, and loneliness. It is the longing for this freedom that impels us to undertake the spiritual journey and will not let us rest until we know ourselves on every level.

We can reach the goal only if we broaden our understanding of life and stubbornly refuse to settle for anything less than spiritual revelation. We must understand the difference between developing psychic powers and attaining spiritual wisdom, and strive for the latter even at the cost of the former. As we have seen in the preceding pages, we must not ignore our bodies and minds, but it is a folly to focus on these to the exclusion of the more subtle aspects of our beings. Gaining access to our true Self requires penetrating the outer layers of our beings, one after the other, but while doing this, we must take care not to become ensnared by the charms and temptations of the external world or by our own multi-level personalities.

Finding a Focus

Success in spiritual endeavors requires a one-pointed mind. But before cultivating the skill of one-pointedness, we must be sure we have our sights set on the highest Truth. Spiritual revelation comes only from spiritual absorption or samadhi. Samadhi requires a spiritual object into which the mind can be absorbed. Selection of this object is all-important. A mind absorbed in a nonspiritual object may gain great powers of concentration and may even exhibit miraculous powers, but it cannot open our hearts and connect them with Divine. Such practice and the experiences they induce have nothing to do with spirituality.

Traveling in Stages

As part of the systematic journey, we must discover the hidden wealth in our bodies. The body is the vehicle in which we undertake the spiritual journey. Even when it is bogged down in experiences of pleasure and pain, the body is a key to finding our lost treasure. We must learn how to enjoy the gift of the body while using it to serve the purpose of the soul. To discover our hidden wealth, we have to learn to stop crippling the extraordinary abilities of the body and recapture and restore what we have lost. Understanding the principles of a healthy diet, how to keep the body strong and flexible, and how to breathe properly are all indispensable to our spiritual unfoldment. Making sure that we do not turn the living of the body into a landfill is an integral part of our spiritual practice.

The next stage

of the journey requires us to pay attention to the pranic sheath, the subtle body that is made of pure vital energy. This vital energy, known in yogic literature as the pranic force, stands between the body and mind and regulates the activities of both. Other traditions call this force chi or hata. It not only sustains the body and mind, but also maintains a harmonious balance between them. If this energy is deranged, the health and well being of both the body and mind are jeopardized. According to the masters, therefore, a system of spiritual practice will be incomplete and ineffective if it does not include techniques for working with this force.

Having gained some proficiency with the body and breath, the spiritual aspirant next seeks to free the forces of the mind. The mind can be the cause of bondage or liberation. As we come to understand the working of the mind, we begin to notice how an unstable mind disturbs the harmony of both the physical and pranic bodies, as well as the environment around us. We acquire first - hand experience of how useless thoughts and emotions prevent us from plumbing the depths of our inner selves. At this stage, the spiritual journey consists of practicing disciplines that help us discover and overcome problems embedded in our totally personal world - the world of our mind. A well-designed meditation practice is the vehicle for understanding the dynamics of the mind, as well as the causes of mental tranquility and mental turmoil. Such a practice gradually trains the mind to turn inward, and as it does the practitioner begins to notice how the concentrated force of the mind penetrates its own sheath and unveils its own mystery.

Eventually, we discover something even more subtle than the ordinary mind-our own personal realm of intelligence. As we journey inward, we notice that the powers of discrimination, self-trust, self-confidence, and determination flow from the center of our own intelligence. Because we have not gained access to this realm, we are dependent on the shallow aspects of the mind, which know only how to argue, doubt, and be confused. A sincere seeker goes beyond the mysteries of the body, pranic sheath, and mind, reaching the domain of pure intelligence. Here we lift the veil and experience the brilliance of higher intelligence in its full glory.

The key to completing this stage of the journey successfully lies in refusing to be distracted by the bogus advice of the lower mind. We must turn away from the charms and temptations of the conscious mind, and refuse to be frightened by the contents of the unconscious mind. We must heed our inner voice. Firmness of conviction is a sure sign that we have reached the realm of our intelligence. Here our experiences become so clear and so satisfying that we have no need to verify their validity. Glimpses of pure bliss, known as intuitive flashes, begin to occur spontaneously. They are so intoxicating that we no longer care about the previous rules governing out journey. We rush headlong toward the center of bliss.

When this happens, worldly people may call us insane; others may call us mystics. Driven by this spiritual insanity, we cannot rest until we pierce the thin wall of duality veiling the boundless bliss. Having penetrated this mystery, we understand how those who have not done so cling helplessly to moral life, while those who are fully enlightened go beyond and attain immortal, infinite bliss. Thus the journey ends.

Here at the summit, differences between Universal Consciousness and individual consciousness vanish. The aspirant becomes an adept. Secular and sacred, human and divine become one. The mystery of birth and death, the law of karma, and the dynamics of reincarnation stand revealed. Inebriated with the Love Divine, the child of infinity lives in the world and yet remains above it. For such a blessed one, success and failure, loss and gain, honor and insult, pleasure and pain, birth and death have no meaning. Far above such distinctions, the realized being builds a dwelling and disperses the light of love and knowledge to all those still trapped by the narrow confines of caste, creed, nationality, and cultish religious values. Such beings are the true light in the world, for darkness cannot stand against their brilliance. These realized souls enter and leave this world at will.

Although this is where the journey ends, those who have reached the goal may continue on the path as a means of helping and guiding others. They are the true givers, for they have found everything and need nothing.

Three Cheers to Pandit Rajmani Tugnait for sharing these pearls of wisdom.

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