In answer to a visitor, Bhagavan said : “Find out to whom is Viyoga. That is Yoga. Yoga is common to all paths. Yoga is really nothing but ceasing to think that you are different from the Self or Reality. All the yogas – karma, gnana, bhakti and raja – are just different paths to suit different natures with different modes of evolution and to get them out of the long cherished notion that they are different from the Self. There is no question of union or yoga in the sense of going and joining something that is somewhere away from us or different from us, because you never were or could be separate from the Self.”
In the afternoon I showed Bhagavan the passage in today’s Sunday Times where Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan, in his radio talk, quotes Sri Shankara’s reference to his own experience as proof of the existence of the Jivanmukta and about the controversies concerning various kinds of mukti. He read out passages from a Tamil book called (The Truth of Advaita) in which all doubts about the state of the jivan mukta are raised and answered. Then he said :-
“Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the gnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter’s wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. The prarabdha which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the gnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the gnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat, eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the gnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the gnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body.
“There are various controversies or schools of thought as to whether a Jnani can continue to live in his physical body after realization. Some hold that one who dies cannot be a Jnani, because his body must vanish into air, or some such thing. They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man must at once leave his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realisation can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realisation in books cannot be considered Jnanis because they went on living after realisation. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a
Jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great Sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining Jnana must not be considered Jnanis, but the Gods also, and Ishwara Himself, since He continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the Jnani without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer. Some power acts through his body and uses his body to get the work done.”
Bhagavan has said the same on previous occasions also. He continued to speak about mukti and said:
“Mukti is not anything to be attained. It is our real nature. We are always That. It is only so long as one feels that he is in bondage that he has to try to get released from bondage. When a man feels that he is in bondage he tries to find out for whom is the bondage and by that enquiry discovers that there is no bondage for him but only for the mind, and that the mind itself disappears or proves non-existent when turned inwards instead of outwards towards sense-objects; it merges into its source, the Self, and ceases to exist as a separate entity. In that state there is no feeling either of bondage or liberation. So long as one speaks of mukti he is not free from the sense of bondage.”
The visitor who had asked about Yoga in the morning now pursued his questions further.
Visitor: I did not quite grasp all that Bhagavan said this morning. What am I to do when the mind strays in various directions during dhyana?
Bhagavan: Simply draw the mind Backeach time it strays and fix it in dhyana. There is no other way. (Bhagavan also quoted Chapter VI, Verse 26 from the Bhagavad Gita which says the same thing).
Visitor: Then is there no use in pranayama (breath control)? Should I not practise it?
Bhagavan: Pranayama is also a help. It is one of the various methods that are intended to help us attain ekagratha or one-pointedness of mind. Pranayama can also help to control the wandering mind and attain this one-pointedness and therefore it can be used. But one should not stop there. After obtaining control of the mind through pranayama one should not rest content with any experiences which may accrue therefrom but should harness the controlled mind to the question ‘Who am I?’ till the mind merges in the Self.
The visitor further asked whether in his meditation he could use forms and images of God and mantras.
Bhagavan: Yes, of course. All these things can help, or why should they be recommended in the books? Various things are prescribed to suit various natures. Each person must choose what seems easiest and appeals to him most.