|Non-violence through Meditation||| Print ||
Most people want to go through the day in peace without getting injured in any way. We want our children to be safe. We want our parents to be safe. We want our brothers and sisters to be safe. We want our friends to be safe. We want ourselves to be safe.
Unfortunately, life offers many challenges. We worry about our family getting hurt. We worry about violence to our families, friends, and community. We hear about violence when countries go to war. We pray for an era of nonviolence when people everywhere, including our own families and selves, are free of violence.
This physical world is filled with violence, challenges, and dangers. From the moment we are born until our ultimate end, we face illness, accidents, mishaps, losses, and disasters both man-made and natural. The news contains one event after another filled with violence that can bring fear and panic into our lives. People worry about crime, illness, financial loss and disasters such as floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, and other threats to our lives. Is there anyway to lead our lives so that we are not engulfed by fear or violence? Can we navigate through the roadblocks on our way to happiness so that we can lead a life of calm, peace, and joy? Although people have prayed for an era of nonviolence for centuries, history shows there has not yet been a single period without war. Is there any way then to end violence and have a period of nonviolence on this planet?
People engage in violence because they do not think about the effects it brings. In this connection, there is a story about a farmer who kept many animals. Most of the animals got along peacefully, except for two goats that were always fighting. It disturbed the peace of the whole farm. The other animals complained to the farmer about the two fighting goats and asked him to resolve their problems.
The farmer called together the two goats and told them that they were disturbing everyone else on the farm. The farmer said to the goats, "You have to stop fighting. People do not want to come to the farm for goods because of the disturbance. The sale of farm products has dropped because of your fighting. I am going on a trip and want you to resolve your problems, so that when I return, you are peaceful."
The farmer then went out of town and hoped that when he returned the goats would get along. As soon as the farmer left, the goats began to fight again. They rammed each other hard with their horns, and ended up breaking off their horns. By the time the farmer returned from the trip, both goats had broken horns. He called them together and said, "I have asked you to get along with each other. Instead, I return and you have been fighting and now you both have injured yourselves. I request you both to stop fighting. I am going on another trip. Please be peaceful. When I return I want you to have worked things out so that you both get along well."
As soon as the farmer went away, the goats began fighting again. They were knocking each other over by pushing each other hard with their strong bodies and biting. Soon, their bodies were bruised beyond repair. When the farmer returned he said, "You are both hurting yourselves in the attempt to hurt each other. Please stop this." The farmer had another trip, and begged them to resolve their problems and be peaceful since they were now both hurt badly by their fighting.
When the farmer left, they fought so hard that they hurt each other’s legs and both of them could not use their legs anymore. When the farmer returned he saw them lying on the ground still looking angrily at each other. The farmer said, "You have now destroyed almost everything about each other except for your tails. I suggest you resolve your problem or there will be nothing left of either of you." When the farmer left, they fought so hard that they finally destroyed each other. There was nothing left of the two goats except their bones. When the farmer returned he did not see the goats, so he asked the other animals where they were. The other animals on the farm explained that the two goats had fought each other to death. They took the farmer to the place where only the bones remained. The farmer said to the other animals, "As you can see, each of the goats was so intent on destroying the other goat that they ended up destroying themselves. This is the fruit of violence. Each goat thought it would hurt the other goat, but both of them were destroyed in the end. Violence hurts ourselves more than the other person."
This lesson is a powerful one that we can take to heart. Whenever we set out to hurt someone, we think we are hurting another person. But there are ramifications that extend far beyond our own violence. It spoils the atmosphere for everyone else, and it ends up coming back to hurt us. We cannot avoid the reactions of our actions.
There is a law in the universe that tells us that whatever we think, say, or do will come back to us. This is known in the East as the law of karma. This law of karma states that whatever we think, say, and do comes back to us. If we are violent to someone in action it will come back to hurt us. Either the other person will respond to hurt us, or the law of karma will have some repercussion that will come back to us.
Thus, in our attempts to hurt someone else with words or deeds, or even the power of our thoughts, we can expect that they will boomerang back to us. So, it causes us to think twice and thrice before we utter any harsh words to anyone. That is why the Golden Rule is so powerful. It says, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It means that whatever we do to others will come back to us.
If we want to hurt someone, then we have to think if we want to be hurt in the same way that we have hurt someone else. If we do not want to receive back the pain we give to those whom we do not like, then we should not proceed with our harmful words or deeds. If we are not prepared to suffer the effect that we dish out to others, then we should think twice before dishing it out to them.
We should also consider that even if we do not like someone, if we hurt them, it will only hurt us. It will come back in the same measure that we give out. We will be hurt in the same measure as we hurt them. We should instead be calm and cool. We can iron out our differences in a peaceful and loving way. We can try to settle any disputes. We can do so lovingly and peacefully.
We should not fall into the trap into which the two goats fell. We should not be so intent on destroying our enemies or those whom we do not like, for in the process we will only destroy ourselves.
Let us not be like the two goats. Let us remember their plight of how they each tried to destroy the other and they themselves were destroyed in the process. If we can remember their example, we would think twice before hurting anyone else, because when we are violent to others, we only hurt ourselves.
Let us learn how to be peaceful. There will always be people who differ from us. There may be reasons that certain people just do not like someone else. We may feel someone did something to us and then instead of finding out the real reason or the true story, we jump to conclusions and want to hurt them back. For whatever reason there are people we do not see eye to eye with; we should at least recognize our differences in a peaceful way. We should be resolved not to hurt them or be violent to them. We should be loving, cordial, and respectful in our interactions with them.
If we live in a world used to violence, how can we learn to be nonviolent? There is a beautiful tale from Latin America that gives us clues on how to attain peace, nonviolence, and happiness. Thousands of years ago, there was a Mayan king who had a daughter. His daughter was a princess who had everything in life. She was beautiful and had all the wealth of her father’s kingdom. Having everything that any person would dream of, she was still not happy. As she looked around her, she saw that although she had everything in life, all the other people in the kingdom were suffering. Whenever she made friends with anyone they would tell her about this person who was sick in the family and that person who had died. She would see people and even animals suffering and dying and it made her sad. She, too, became haunted by the fear that she, too, could also become sick and could die.
The king did not understand why his daughter was so sad. He tried many ways to cheer her up. He bought her the most beautiful diamond, gold, and silver jewelry to cheer her up. He had expensive clothes made for her. He had entertainers come to try to make her laugh. But nothing could make her smile. He thought maybe she was unhappy because she had not yet found a husband. Being of marriageable age, he ordered all the available young men of the kingdom to try for her hand in marriage.
The king announced, "The one who can make my daughter happy can marry her." The king wanted to see which one would make his daughter happy enough to be a fit husband for her. One by one, each young man came to show his strength, his intelligence, his good looks, or his wealth. None of them could make her smile.
Finally, one young man came from a humble family. When he came before her, she liked his kind face, his humility, and his simple clothes. He asked her if he could sing for her and she agreed. He then sang a song with the most beautiful voice she had ever heard. The voice was enchanting and lifted her spirits. She smiled for the first time. The princess asked her father, the king, if she could have the young man stay for dinner. During the feast, the young man asked her to marry him. The princess said, "You have a beautiful voice, but the sweetest sound I ever heard was the singing birds. If you can sing like the birds, I will marry you."
So the young man set off to stay among the birds and learn the secrets of their song. He tried and tried for four months, but could not quite sing like them. He became discouraged and was about to give up. Tears fell from his eyes as he thought his chances of marrying the princess were fading. The tears attracted the heart of the spirit of the forest. The spirit asked him why he was crying. He told him that he wanted to learn to sing like the birds so he could keep the princess happy. The spirit of the forest said, "Here is the secret to singing like the birds and making not only the princess happy, but everyone happy."
He then instructed him to take a branch from a tree, cut out the inside to make it hollow, and make holes on one of the sides. He told him to blow into one end and place his fingers over the different holes in different combinations of movements so that different sweet sounds would come out. The young man did, and beautiful sounds came out of this piece of wood. He had made the first wind instrument, like a flute or oboe. When the young man played the instrument, all the birds and animals were attracted to him. They were enchanted by its sound.
The young man returned to play the wind instrument for the princess. The sound was so enchanting that it lifted her spirits high. Her soul was lifted high into an inner realm from where she could see that all the people who had been suffering and dying in this world were alive and joyous in the land beyond. The sound had made her soul soar within to see that this life was temporary. Even though people have a physical end in this life, she saw that their soul lived on in beautiful realms beyond this world. This knowledge that the suffering of this world is temporary and that we live beyond this life made her smile and filled her with joy.
This tale holds the secret to overcoming violence and suffering. The princess represents the soul that is living in ignorance and fear. It believes that this world is its true home. It thinks that its true existence is the body and fears the end of the physical body. The young man is the saint or Master who comes to make the soul happy. The Master knows the secrets of life and the enchanting Sound that can lift the soul above the violence, pain, and sorrow of this world to experience immortality and eternal happiness in the Beyond. The wind instrument represents the current of Light and Sound that comes from beyond to lift us from this world of pain and violence to experience nonviolence, peace, and love in the spiritual realms beyond. There we find regions of love, joy, and happiness, free from all pain.
One of the greatest threats to our peace and happiness is fear. We may fear financial problems, relationship problems, and emotional problems. Yet, the greatest fears people face are fear of illness, fear of death, and fear of the unknown, such as what happens to us after this life ends. We are afraid of the deterioration of our body and the emotional and physical struggles that come with serious or terminal illness and our ultimate end of life. We wonder how we can find calm and joy when faced with these great challenges of life.
Personal challenges face us at the level of our body, our mind, and our soul. Saints and Masters have been coming to this world to show us a way of living in which we can find calm and joy—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
No matter how comfortable we can make the physical body and how comfortable we can make our mind, we cannot find peace until we attain comfort of the soul. Within each of us there is a deep-seated fear that cannot be soothed by physical and mental comfort. In the back of our mind, there is always the lingering fear that one day we will die. Each time this thought surfaces, we feel fear within our soul. As long as we experience that fear we cannot find peace of the soul.
We worry about when we are going to die, what happens to us at the time of death, and where we will go after death? Scriptures tell us that we have a soul that does not die, but we wonder whether it is actually true. In this scientific age, we have doubt unless we can see for ourselves the truths we read in the various scriptures.
Greater than comfort of the body and mind is the comfort we gain from having peace within the soul. This can only come when we get some experience that proves to us that there is something beyond this world, and that there is no death. Masters and saints come with a technique that provides a way to experience that proof for ourselves. When we have proof that there is something beyond this world, our fear subsides. Since death causes us the greatest fear, saints give us a way to conquer fear of death by proving to us that this life is not the end of our existence.
Masters of Sant Mat or Science of Spirituality feel compassion for the suffering humanity. They see people living in fear due to ignorance of the immortality of the soul that awaits each in the Beyond. In this connection, there is a verse by the great saint and mystic poet, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj, which says:
In this world, each is consumed with his own afflictions,
Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj is expressing the heart of a spiritual Master. Most people are in turmoil due to their own sorrows. A Master is one who shares these sorrows of all humanity, but they do more than just share in everyone’s pain. Masters want to solve that pain. They do so by putting people in touch with a heavenly current of Light and Sound within so each soul can enter inner spiritual realms and find God. Masters teach a method of meditation on inner Light and Sound that brings peace to the soul by putting us in touch with the enchanting Music of God and the divine Light of God to help us soar into spiritual realms beyond and reunite our soul with God.
The main purpose of meditation on the inner Light and Sound is to help people go within themselves to find inner spiritual regions. Its purpose is to give each person firsthand proof that there is a Beyond, that we are soul, and we will live beyond the demise of our body. Its goal is to give a firsthand experience of the Beyond to each person. It is a nondenominational technique that has been practiced by people of all religions and faiths, cultures, and backgrounds, as a science. One need not convert to any special religion to learn and practice it. It is open to one and all, and has been offered as a free gift by the spiritual Masters who have come throughout the ages. It is up to us whether we wish to merely read about the realms Beyond, or experience them.
The saints tell us that what dies is the physical body, which is made of matter. Being made of matter, the physical body deteriorates, decays, and is finally destroyed. But our true self, which is our spirit or soul, is eternal. It lives on and on. By connecting with our soul, we will have access to the answers of what awaits us beyond death’s door and how we can take a peep into the beyond while still alive.
Is there any evidence to prove the soul’s immortality? We have two pieces of evidence to examine. One is the statements and accounts given by saints, prophets, and mystics who claimed to pass through the gates of the Beyond in their mystic travels. The second is current statements made by doctors and scientists who, through modern medicine, have brought back to life people who had been declared clinically dead. Millions of people in the past three decades have had near-death experiences and their reports are all similar. A doctor discovered that those patients who had clinically died but were brought back to life through the wonders of modern medicine all had a similar experience. Many reported having separated from their body. They were able to watch from above their own body as the medical practitioners tried to revive them. Many were able to see relatives in other rooms or other cities and hear what they were saying while their body was on the operating table. Later, the accounts of what they saw and heard were borne out by the relatives. Many of them found themselves going through a tunnel and emerging in a world of Light. There they met a Being of Light who was radiant, but whose light was not scorching. They were embraced by the Being of Light who poured out more love than any of them had experienced on earth. They also underwent a life review in which they experienced all the good they had done to others and all the pain they had caused others. This was a life-changing experience, for those undergoing the NDE realized that what matters most in this world is the love we give others. They came back transformed and vowed to lead their lives giving love and doing good as their main focus. They also lost their fear of death. They gained newfound fearlessness because they realized their soul was immortal. They realized there is no death, but just a change of vesture. Thus, they could live the rest of their lives without fearing death, because they had already experienced what lies beyond this life.
Those who have a near-death experience are just visiting the borders between this physical realm and higher spiritual regions. Through meditation we can transcend to higher, more blissful realms. Saints have given detailed accounts of the various regions of existence to which a soul goes after death. There are three lower regions: a physical, an astral, and a causal region made of mixtures of matter and consciousness and which are subject to dissolution; and the higher spiritual regions which are eternal: the supracausal plane and a spiritual plane known as Sach Khand or True Realm from where God emanates. If we can rise above the three lower worlds, the soul enters the purely spiritual regions where it merges back in the Lord and lives eternally in bliss and love.
We can experience the soul’s immortal nature when we go within. We need not experience the trauma of a near-death experience, nor would we want to, in order to find out what lies Beyond. Rather, we can learn how the saints and mystics from all different religions had their inner experiences. We can learn the techniques they used and begin to practice them ourselves. This technique is meditation.
In this form of meditation, we sit in a comfortable position, one in which we can sit the longest without moving. We close our eyes, very gently as if we were going to sleep. With our attention, we focus into the middle of whatever lies in front of us. At first we may see darkness, or gray, or Lights of various colors. As we gaze into the middle of whatever we see, our soul will begin to concentrate at a point known as the third or single eye, located between and behind the two eyebrows. As it concentrates there, and we continue to gaze, we will begin to see inner vistas. We may see flashes of Light, Lights of any color, an inner sky, moon, or sun. We may see our inner guide who will take us on an inner journey.
At the time of initiation, the Masters impart some of their spiritual attention to us to give us a spiritual boost within so we can see and hear the inner Light and Sound of God. To keep our mind still, they give us five Charged Words to repeat. These have several benefits. They keep our mind occupied so that no thoughts can distract us. We have seen that even yogis who meditate for many years and do physical poses and breathing exercises, still have to grapple with distractions from their mind. Stillness of mind is needed to be able to see the inner Light and hear the beautiful inner Music. These are always shining and reverberating within us, but we do not see or hear them because our mind is occupied with external thoughts. The moment we can stop these thoughts and enter the stillness within, we can see and hear the inner Light and Sound. These words are also charged to help our attention withdraw from awareness of the body to become aware of the inner Light within us.
As we become more absorbed into the inner Light and Sound, we can transcend physical body-consciousness and cross into spiritual realms beyond. As we gaze into the inner Light we may find Lights of various colors, inner vistas, and ultimately we transcend physical consciousness and become conscious of the inner spiritual realms. Our soul soars into these inner states of consciousness, and experiences those places to which we will go when we leave this world for our final time. We find that we exist without our body as soul. Each inner region is alive with beautiful colors, celestial Music more enticing than any in this world, and divine love. All our suffering ends. We are embraced by the love of God that puts us into states of eternal bliss and happiness. We become fearless as we realize that our body is not our true self, but that our soul is our real essence and exists beyond this physical world.
This experience fills us with tremendous joy and peace. We are thrilled to know that we can be fully conscious in another realm of existence. We experience a state of all love, all joy, and all consciousness.
This inner journey takes us through different levels of inner realms; each higher one has more and more consciousness and less matter. There is an astral realm filled with more Light than this realm and beautiful Music. There we travel in a lighter body known as an astral body. There are beautiful sights and colors in this region unseen on earth. Even more ethereal is the causal region, which is more subtle, more blissful, and more loving. It contains equal parts matter and consciousness. From there, there is the supracausal plane, which is predominantly consciousness with a small amount of illusion. Finally, there is the region of all spirit, with no trace of matter. It is here that our soul merges into God, and becomes one with God. Here we realize that our soul is the same essence of God and is a part of God. This state is one in which we gain immortality, permanent peace, and divine love that knows no end. We can attain each of these states through meditation on the inner Light and Sound, or Shabd Meditation, as taught by Masters of Sant Mat.
To reach these heavenly realms, we need to meditate daily. By sitting still and keeping our mind still through mental repetition of the Charged Words given by a saint or Master, we can begin to witness the inner Light and Sound and learn to rise into spiritual consciousness of the Beyond.
The benefits of doing so are that we will lose our fear of death. We will be able to journey at any time of day or night, from the comfort of our own homes, into the spiritual realms that await us Beyond. We will not fear death because we will have seen in life what is awaiting us Beyond. People who have had spiritual experiences of the Beyond do not fear death any longer because they know that there is a house waiting for them within.
Another benefit is that we will not fear the death of our loved ones. It is true that we will grieve for them and miss them terribly, but we will be comforted in knowing for certain that they are safe, happy, free of pain, and in ecstasy in the realms Beyond. We will know that they have taken up residence in a far more beautiful and blissful place than where we live on earth. We will know that they are free of suffering and are in a peaceful place. While we still miss them, we are not fearful of what has happened to them.
Finally, another benefit of meditation and finding God within is that we see that we are all one. We see the same Light of God that is in us is in everyone else. Then, we love all and serve all. We are able to forgive others because we realize their mistakes were caused by ignorance of our oneness. When we forgive others, we can contribute to a nonviolent world.
In this connection, I would like to relate an anecdote about forgiveness. Once there was a warrior who went to a wise monk and asked him, "What is the difference between heaven and hell?" The monk looked at this warrior who was very large and muscular and had a savage look about him.
The monk then replied, "You ignorant brute. You are nothing but a savage. Why would I waste time with you teaching you about heaven and hell?" When the monk said that, the warrior’s blood began to boil and he was filled with anger and hatred. Suddenly, he could not control his temper and he started beating up the monk. After a few moments, the warrior realized what a heinous act he was committing and stopped.
The monk smiled, and said, "That fit of anger is hell." The warrior was so ashamed for his violent act and begged the monk to forgive him.
The monk again smiled and said, "Your asking for forgiveness is heaven."
This story describes in a nutshell the answer to the question about dealing with all the violence, injustice, and evil in the world. We can choose to respond in kind, which creates more of a hell, or we can respond with forgiveness, which creates heaven in our own lives on earth.
Meditation can uplift our soul to realms in which we can find the answers to all our spiritual questions. We can journey to the regions that await us when we leave our physical body at the time of death. The burning question of where we go after we die will be answered, because we will have already journeyed there through meditation. Death no longer fills us with fear for we see for ourselves that it holds more bliss, joy, and love than we can ever imagine.
Ultimately, we reach the stage of merger with God and become all-conscious. It is at that stage that our spiritual thirst is quenched. If we can spend some time daily in meditation we will gain the fearlessness to overcome all life’s challenges and lose our fear of death. We will contribute to a world of nonviolence and attain lasting happiness, bliss and joy.