Extracts from B.P.Wadia Letters
© 2005 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
Meditation falls into two compartments: (a) self-examination – the lower self surveyed by the light of the Higher and (this is important) of the Divine Science. Calm judgment tells us what is wrong and evil, what right and good; but judgment in the light of the Divine Science reveals what we lack of spirituality, of the sage-light. A periodic review-survey is very necessary. Then, (b) a memorizing of a great heart-idea, a silent repetition of it, a reflection on it. This brings to us indirectly the influence of our Higher Triad. The remembrance of both these, hour by hour, as we are busy in the routine of duties and recreations, reveals the power of the meditation. Thus, your understanding and interpretation of the Gita verse about putting the mind upon the Spirit are correct. As you will agree, the process is easy to understand but very difficult to put into practice deliberately and actively, and yet it has to be done if we want to fulfil our purpose and mission as thinkers.
To make daily meditation more thorough you need to devote to it a longer period. The lengthening of period is right and genuine when we have not to watch – “Now is my period over”, or “Five minutes still to go”. When such thoughts obtrude we are still under the influence of the lower. That from the point of view of the thinker. What proper objects or subjects are there? A concrete image like that of the Guru HPB or of her colleague WQJ? Or an abstract subject-verse like “All is impermanent in man except the pure bright essence of Alaya”, etc? In either case the instructions: “Withhold thy mind from all external objects, all external sights” other than the image or the verse. Further, “Withhold internal images” (feelings mainly). Why? “Lest on thy Soul-light a dark shadow they should cast”. When the thinker (Antahkarana) can keep himself untarnished by desires of the selfish self, when he is not influenced by the lower “light”, the Light of the Higher begins to come to him and gradually, slowly, the Antahkaranic thinker begin to act as Higher Manas and impresses the image or the verse with Its Higher Light. So, persist in Self-centredness. Close sense activity and also fancy. Concentrate on the divinity of Higher Manas and aspire to Buddhi. Result – become devoted in altruism during all the waking hours. A steady watchfulness is necessary. Spontaneity is the test.
It is this process which is the positive pole, the review or self-examination being the negative pole.
Self-examination does often have a depressing effect. But, when we see ourselves as full of weaknesses, who is the seer? Now that every word “seer” is so casually used that its real connotation often escapes us. The Sanskrit term “Rishi” means, literally, “Seer” – He who sees, who has attained to the spiritual and Buddhi-sight. Now self-examination must be both conscious and cautious. Self is the Seer, i e, Buddhi-Manas, the Spiritual Soul, the Thinker with the light of the moral power. His object of sight is the lower self. After self-examination who gets fearful and depressed? Once again, freed from the benign influence of the Buddhi-Manas it is the expressions of Kama-Manas that, so to speak, talk among themselves – “What are we going to do with this attempt to separate us?” Now what is the remedy? No self-examination should end with the noting and noticing of the foibles and frailties of the lower. One last act in the ritual of self-examination should be performed: the higher, Buddhi-Manas, must be gentle to the lower, like a mother who has chided the son or the daughter after which she must be soothing and encouraging to the son or the daughter to do better. The lower Manas, likewise, can do better. That aspect of the lower must be emphasized, viz, the learner. Kama-Manas is the pupil and the learner; one aspect of it – Antahkarana – is to become the chela of the great Guru. So do not fear or be depressed after a good self-examination. We have to raise the self by the Self, says the Gita. And whose thoughts are 100 per cent pure? Does not the same Gita say that every act is charged with faultiness?
There are always dual forces at work: the personal and the Manasic. Detecting our error is one thing; seeking the remedy is the second. The lower mind’s brooding and speculating upon its foibles and frailties is easy to it in an hour of its separation from Kama. But for it true reflection is difficult – reflection implies the reflecting Mana’s impress and influence. This is exhilarating, not depressing. The link between depression and exhilaration is the study of that particular teaching which deals with the nature of our error and tells us how to get over it. Not only too much anxiety but any anxiety about self-progress is harmful.
As to self-examination in reference to the past and the present, it always is truly a gain to act rightly now, in the day-to-day duties, work and recreations. Application is in the present and gives us a touch of the Eternal Now. More, it cleanses the past and brightens up the future. Memory is always there, like food when waste matter is eliminated. Ordinary men and women suffer from indigestion and constipation of the psychic nature. Elimination is poor. Why? No self-examination, no recognition of what is wrong and how to eliminate it. So, “Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences” is a real psychological exercise. “From Me come memory and also the loss of memory,” says Krishna. Memory is a vital subject and there are mysterious aspects connected with it. In Isis some good hints are to be found.
Memory is dual. There is the Astral Light memory and there is the Akashic memory. Memory is our foe and our friend. It is the common weapon of the two selves in man. The higher memory must attack the lower, i e, our higher tendencies and knowledge must improve the skandhas till the higher impresses itself on the personal man who then regains the memory of the past lives, as Judge recommends.
Mental attention intensifies itself as our heart brings to our tasks our affection for them. Which disciple has not the difficulty of Arjuna? But it will not take lives for you to be centred in the Divine Discipline. In a few years you will find substantial improvement. Keep the company of the Inner Ruler, now and again. Lean on great ideas every time you finish one job and take up another. A couple of minutes of remembering and repeating a single verse of the Voice or the Gita strengthens and renovates the whole constitution.
On the subject of concentration something was said to you before and I do not think that much can be added till you have begun in right earnest to get your own lower mind steady enough to catch the light of your soul. The brain has to be made porous to the influences of the higher mind. Attentive working at everything that comes to us in the shape of duty is one kind of concentration. But to come together to a focal point the brain has to become quiet, the desires, either of the body or of the mind, have to subside and the mind has to be opened to receive the light of the inner nature. This has to be attempted if you want to get beyond the finite. The exoteric approach to which you refer will not give you satisfaction, I am afraid. People go to Church and try to approach “Our Father which art in heaven,” but they do not succeed because the psychology about the person who utters the prayer and the nature of the Father in heaven are not properly understood.
The Theosophical Movement,
February 1961, Vol 31, # 4, p 154
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