1. PASHU

The first level of the Tantra aspirant is that of an animal. The Hitopadesha explains this state saying,

Áhára nidrá bhaya maethunaiṋca sámányametad pashubhiirnaránám;
Dharmo hi teśamadhiko visheśo dharmena hiináh pashubhih sámánáh.
(Hitopadesha 25)
[Food, sleep, fear and mating, these acts of humans are similar to animals. Of them (humans), Dharma (righteous conduct rooted in spirituality) is the only special thing, without Dharma humans are also animals.]

Shrii Sarkar explains the difference between animals and human beings saying,

Those guided by mere inborn instincts are called ‘pashu’ or animals. So those who have certain inborn instincts, but who are basically guided by intellect or mind, are known as ‘human beings’.

The Minimum Qualifications for a Sádhaka

Shrii Sarkar explains this further saying,

Those who are in pashu form have to elevate themselves to the standard of man-god, that is, God. Pashu form means always moving in order to eat, drink, or sleep – for these things. They will have to elevate their standard to become human both in mind and body. This style of practice is known as pashvácára, as taught by Lord Shiva about seven thousand years ago.

The Three Species of Human Being

However, this state is animality in a human body causes clash in the human mind. As a result the pashu starts to develop awareness. As Shrii Sarkar states,

Sarve ca pashavah santi”. In the first stage of creation, all beings are animal-like. In the age of material predominance, their features in the material sphere are more prominent and manifested. The rhythm of speed of progress maintains a balance with the objects of the material world. This stage is called “pashvácára”. In this stage people become capable of deciding how to proceed, where to go and what the final goal of life is. Because of their being animal-like spiritualists call them “pashu”. Shiva is called by the name of Pashupati at this stage.

Pashupati, Viireshvara, and Mahádeva, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 5

Shrii Sarkar explains the character of the pashu as follows:

Sarve ca pashavah santi talavad bhútale naráh;
Teśáḿ jiṋána prakásháya viirabhávah prakáshitah.

Viirabhávaḿ sadá prápya krameńa devatá bhavet.
– Rudrayámala Tantra
[In the beginning everyone is a pashu, an animal. But when spiritual thirst develops, these people become viira, heroic. And when they are firmly established in viirabháva (mental stance of a viira), they become devatás (gods).]…
Now the question is, have these pashus, these animals, these brutes, no future? Certainly they have. Because the Supreme Progenitor [Brahma] is with everybody, and He is with these animals-in-human-form also. And a pashu whose object of adoration, that is, whose goal of life, is that very Parama Puruśa, will address Him as – what? As ‘Pashupati’ [‘Lord of Animals’]. “O Lord, O Parama Puruśa, we are pashus, we are animals, and Thou art Lord of the animals, Thou art ‘Pashupati.’”
So one of the names of Parama Puruśa is Pashupati. For sleeping humanity, the Supreme Consciousness, Supreme Entity, is Pashupati…
Now, I have said that a person has three types of expression: One expression is thinking, the thinking faculty, and the second one is speaking… In the first the function is within the nerve cells, and in the second, the function is – where? With the lips. And the third action is action with the physical body, corporal action.
Now in the case of pashus, that is, animals in human structure, the thought-waves move like this… and the lips speak like this… and the actions are like that! There is no adjustment amongst these three expressions. The person is a pashu, the person is in the stage of pashu, in the stage of animality, although the structure is like that of a human. In the society these people are in the majority, and others are in a hopeless minority; and I want you boys and you girls to try your best to decrease the number of these pashus.

From Animality to Divinity, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 1

These pashus most often find it difficult to perform meditation due to their crude minds. Hence their primary relationship is through prayers. As Shrii Sarkar says,

Common men, ordinary created beings, feel that there is some controller, some controlling entity. They also feel that they are ordinary beings, but that controlling entity controls those ordinary beings; so that controlling entity is not at all a heavenly body, but something of the physical world, something very near, something having a close proximity to their existence. Ordinary created beings are just like animals, eating, drinking, sleeping, dying. They say, “O Creator, O Controller, we are just like animals, we are just like pashu; You are our Lord. You just liberate us from the bondage of crudity. You are Pashupati, we are pashu; You are Pashupati. You just elevate our standard and lead us to the stance of supreme humanity, supreme divinity.

Parama Puruśa the Great

The increase of animality in human society since WWII in particular has brought about chaos and a complete breakdown of laws and justice. Shrii Sarkar explains how humanity will emerge from this crisis saying,

That being which moves for the sake of movement, is called an animal (pashu). To say that an animal is a being which has an animal-like body is incorrect; it is more precise to say that an animal is a being which is guided by only a few inborn instinctive momenta, thus many human beings can be said to be animalistic. When the number of animal-like humans increases, human society and culture rapidly degenerate. This is the situation in the world today. But this social and cultural collapse will be overcome in the future,
In the long history of humanity periods of degeneration have come and gone. When the number of animals in human form increases, rational people become more active to save society. In response to their collective prayer, Parama Brahma, the Supreme Entity, applies a special power so that human civilization is saved from annihilation, and injected with new life to enable it to advance with fresh momentum.
Whenever the nadir point of degeneration is reached, the Supreme Entity applies His special power. This power takes the form of His Mahásambhúti [special manifestation]. He applies His special power in the world when rules and regulations no longer remain effective, when institutions and values crumble. The special advent of Mahásambhúti signifies that the human race will have a new awakening.

Cognitive Faculty and the Supreme Desideratum

Shrii Sarkar explains the struggle of the pashus as follows:

By birth all human beings are just like animals. They are bound by the fetters of so many páshas and ripus, bondages and enemies of mind. In this first phase, with the blessings of the Lord, they start their struggle.
And what is this struggle? It is the struggle against those fetters while moving towards the Goal. In this struggle they are emboldened by the support of the Máyá. This first phase of struggle in tantra Sadhana is called pashvácár in Saḿskrta, for here the spiritual aspirants are to some extent like animals; and so the fight against all those nooses of páshas and ripus is known as the fight of an animal – the pashvácára in Saḿskrta.
Now while struggling against those binding principles they badly need the grace of the lord, and in their inner voice they address the Lord as Pashupati, the Lord of the animals: “O Lord, I am a pashu, an animal, and Thou art my Lord, Thou art Pashupati.” So in the first phase of spiritual movement Sadáshiva or the Guru is known as Pashupati.

The Essence of Spiritual Progress

Ripus and Pashas

What are the ripus and pashas? The idea of the ripus emerged in the Yajurveda where the ripus are represented by animals of a similar nature. The idea of the pashas emerged from Tantra. These are not abstract concepts but rather fundamental propensities (vrttis) of our biopsychology related to specific cakras and glands of an individual.

Shrii Sarkar explains the ripus as follows:

The underlying weaknesses which cause immense harm to human beings are called ripus [enemies]. They are six in number: káma [longing for physicality], krodha [anger], lobha [avarice], mada [vanity], moha [blind attachment], and mátsarya [jealousy]. And when our various mental bondages exploit these ripus in order to tighten their grip on the mind, they become known as páshas [fetters].

-The Acoustic Roots of the Indo-Aryan Alphabet, Discourses on Tantra Volume One

The pashas are explained in the following words:

These pásha or fetters are eight in number:
Ghrńashaḿkábhayaḿlajjájugupsácetipaiṋcamii;
Kulaḿshiilaiṋca mánaiṋca aśt́ao pásháh prakiirtitáh.
[(1) hatred, (2) doubt, (3) fear, (4) shame, (5) censure, (6) attachment,
(7) vanity of one’s culture, (8) false sense of prestige.]
The one who consumes these fetters is known in the society as Pańdita, with the realization of Brahma or the attainment of Savikalpa Samádhi (determinate trance of absorption) the above fetters disappear from the human mind. During the time of determinate concentration the sentiment of “I am Brahma”, exists in the mind of the Sádhaka. In the Saḿskrta language the state of “I am Brahma” is called Pańdá. The one who has Pańdá is called Pańdita [scholar].

The Intuitional Science of the Vedas – 4

Shrii Sarkar explains hatred – one of the pashas – and how to overcome it saying,

There are activities that provoke, as a reaction, a filthy sensation in the body or mind of a person. This induces in them a desire to stay away from such activities, and creates in them a mentality of over-reaction against such activities. This reactionary mentality is called ghrńá or hatred. Hatred is an imposed psychic bondage. So it is a kind of pásha [eight types of external fetters]. What originates in the mind and expands to the external world is called ripu [six inherent bondages]. That which originates outside and influences the mind is called pásha, as told earlier. An intelligent person keeps his or her ripu in control and fights the páshas.
The sages and ascetics do not recommend any mechanism for opposing the ripus, because if a particular ripu is repressed, it tries to find an outlet through another ripu. The same is true about the remaining of ripus (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy). If the propensity of greed is strong in a person and they are compelled to control it under the pressure of poverty – for example, if a person who used to take bribes is compelled to refrain from taking bribes due to pressure from law enforcement authorities–their greed will find expression through anger or some other ripu; that is, they will burst into a rage.
So the recommended psychological stance is that a ripu must be kept under control, and under no circumstances should it be allowed to run counter to the society or to societal norms. Suppose someone has a strong weakness for eating. Overeating or eating prohibited food can naturally lead to sickness or premature death. So that person restrains their greed in such a manner that their greed is satisfied and at the same time potential disease is prevented. Suppose someone addicted to drink has become a slave of liquor under its strong influence. If they can sublimate their alcohol addiction into a passion for music or painting or any other finer art, then their passion will be satisfied without any injury to themselves.
Regarding the pashas, the wise people of ancient times expressed their strong conviction that the páshas [imposed bondages of the mind – fear shame, doubt etc.] must be opposed. To fight fear, for example, one must move quickly towards the very source of that fear, equipped with necessary physical and psychological weapons. If you remain confined in your cloister, fearfully barring the door, the fear will make its way into your mind and there take root. Then the bondage of fear can never be thrown off. So always remember that ripus [inborn enemies – lust, angers, greed attachment, vanity and jealousy] must be controlled and páshas [bondages] must be opposed. The endeavour to be liberated from the páshas is a step forward in human expansiveness – an ascent towards human glory and excellence. Páshobaddho bhavejjibo páshamukto bhavecchivah [Bound by pásha is the jiiva, liberated from bondage is Shiva].
Your psychological reaction to a person’s behaviour or action that creates pásha or provokes ripu is called hatred. Since hatred is also a type of pásha, and it must be opposed through reasoning and intellect. The word ku can be used for this hatred.

Discourse 27, Shabda Cayaniká Part 4

Shrii Sarkar explains how these pashas harm the collective mind and society as follows:

In the same way, contractive movement is dominated by Avidyá [extroversial force of ignorance], and at its extreme limit it is embedded in the ultimate static point.
The contractive movement at its extreme point or point of apparent pause is expressed by the aśt́a pásha [eight fetters]: ghrńá [hatred], shauṋká [doubt], bhaya [fear], lajjá [shyness], jugupśa [dissemblance], kula [vanity of lineage], shiila [cultural superiority complex] and mána [egotism]. These eight fetters are created by the static state of mind, and [subsequently] the mind depends on these fetters in the course of its expansion.
These eight fetters supply the vital energy to isms or superstition. Isms, such as nationalism, casteism, provincialism, communalism, etc., create hatred and destroy human integrity.
The eight fetters also generate dissonance [doubt] and suspicion in the subtle layers of the mind, although they are not generally expressed in external behaviour.
It is ‘isms’ which are responsible for creating distrust [fear] between social groups. Hindus generally do not trust Muslims and vice versa, as both believe in their respective isms.

Ism and Human Progress, Prout in a Nutshell Volume 1 Part 4

Shrii Sarkar shows how the very nature of India is to liberate all beings from the pashas saying,

You know the Sanskrit name of India is Bháratavarśa. The root verb bhar means “to feed” or “to nourish”, and the root verb tan means “to expand”, “to grow”. So the entity whose function is to feed, to nourish, and then help to grow, is called bhárata. And thus the land which feeds its population and thereby helps in the physical, psychic and spiritual growth of that population is called Bháratavarśa. (Varśa means “land” or “country”.) Bháratavarśa is a land which facilitates gradual growth and finally leads to emancipation; in other words, the mind and the soul gradually expand, and the soul becomes one with the Universal Soul. And in the state of highest expansion, all the eight fetters and six enemies of the human mind, that is, all the external [externally-imposed] and internal enemies of the human mind, will cease to exist; and thus when the microcosms are free from all bondages, they cease to remain as microcosms and become one with Shiva [Supreme Consciousness]. In Tantra it is said, Páshabaddha bhavet jiivah pásha muktah bhavet Shivah – “Those who are bound by the fetters are jiiva [unit consciousness] but one who is free from the fetters is Shiva.

Yoga, Tantra, and Kevalá Bhakti

How are we to fight hate and the other pashas – with more hate? In the passage below Shrii Sarkar explains this beautifully saying,

So one should wage war against these eight external bondages and six internal bondages. This fight is with the left hand, and with the right hand what is one to do? One is to serve the entire universe without any restriction of caste, creed or nationality, and with the sentiment of, with the feeling of, with the knowledge of, Neohumanism: “The universe is mine; all living beings are mine. I am to serve them, I am to help them. If I don’t serve them, if I don’t help them, who else is to help them?” If, in this way, you are fighting those inner and outer bondages with one hand, and serving the universe with the other hand, what will happen? Your existence will be blissful in each and every field of your movement. So one’s very existence will be joyful, one’s very existence will be blissful.

Existential Flow and Its Culminating Point

Finally, Shrii Sarkar explains how morality can liberate us from the pashas saying,

When one is established in Yama and Niyama, aśt́a pásha (the eight fetters) fall from the mind. One who is not fettered can never have superstitions.

Sadhana, Caryácarya Part 2

Yama and Niyama

Yama and Niyama are Yantras or spiritual dynamos or engine and each of the principles is an upayantra (partial engine). These are vast concepts to be realised by meditation and struggle in our daily lives. It is important to note that the realization of these principles in our daily is our personal moral struggle and the realization of these principles in the collective life of society is the essence of what is PROUT. Shrii Sarkar, explains them briefly saying,

Yama has five parts –(i) Ahiḿsá, (ii) Satya, (iii) Asteya, iv) Brahmacarya, v) Aparigraha.
(i) Ahiḿsá: Not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action, is Ahiḿsá.
(ii) Satya: The benevolent use of mind and words is Satya.
(iii) Asteya: To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is Asteya. Asteya means “non-stealing.”
(iv) Brahmacarya: To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma is Brahmacarya.
(v) Aparigraha: To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as Aparigraha.
Niyama has five parts – (i) Shaoca, (ii) Santośa, (iii) Tapah, (iv) Svádhyáya, (v) Iishvara prańidhána.
(i) Shaoca is of two kinds – purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful.
(ii) Santośa Contentment with things received unasked-for is santośa. It is essential to try to be cheerful always.
(iii) Tapah: To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as Tapah. Upavása (fasting), serving the guru (preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of yajiṋa, namely, pitr yajiṋa, nr yajiṋa, bhúta yajiṋa and adhyátma yajiṋa (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of tapah. For students, study is the main tapah.
(iv) Svádhyáya: The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is svádhyáya. The philosophical books and scriptures of Ananda Marga are Ánanda Sútram and Subháśita Saḿgraha (all parts), respectively. Svádhyáya is also done by attending Dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having satsauṋga (spiritual company)…
(v) Iishvara Prańidhána: This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life.

-Sádhaná (Intuitional Practice), Ananda Marga Caryácarya Part 2

It is important to note that Iishvara Prańidhána is the 1st Lesson of Ananda Marga meditation. As we can see it cannot develop unless the other principles of Niyama (Shaoca, Santośa, Tapah and Svádhyáya) are fully developed. Hence the unique nature of Tantra meditation is that without morality and sacrifice for the welfare of others, one will never be able to progress spiritually. Similarly Brahmacarya is the 2nd Lesson of Ananda Marga sadhana. Without meditation, Brahmacarya becomes impossible in daily life. Yet this form of sadhana cannot blossom unless the other principles of Yama (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya and Aparigraha) also blossom in daily life.

Yatamána

One of the fundamental parts of the famous 8-fold (Astáuṋga) Yoga is Pratyáhára. Shrii Sarkar briefly explains this saying,

Pratyáhára literally means “withdrawal” – withdrawing the unsteady mind from the allurement of particular objects. Varńárghyadána [Guru Pújá], offering the colours of the mind to Márga Guru, is the simplest means for withdrawal, but this process of pratyáhára can be practised even if Márga Guru is not present in His physical form. Ácárya/ás will give training in pratyáhára.

Sadhana, Ananda Marga Caryácarya Part 1

There are various stages of this spiritual process as Shrii Sarkar explains:

Thus the psycho-spiritual path is divided into four stages: yatamána, vyatireka, ekendriya and vashiikára. When the mind hovers between the crude and the subtle it is the yatamana stage. When, after vacillating between petty gains and losses one wishes to want to snap the bondage of gains and losses for good and plunge into the world of psychic bliss, it is the second stage, vyatireka. When bliss comes like a flood of light on a moonlit night, it is ekendriya. And when one strives hard to establish oneself in the absolute word by suspending all the mundane longings through psycho-spiritual endeavour it is vashiikára.

Vashiikára – 1, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6

The first stage that is associated with the spiritual practice of the pashu is Yatamána. Shrii Sarkar explains:

Yatamána’ is derived from the Saḿskrta root verb ‘yata’+ suffix ‘shánac’ and means ‘one who is endeavouring’ (the effort is still continuing)… It is when the human mind is dedicated to the welfare of the entire humanity without any discrimination, when the sole intention is to promote universal well-being. When the human mind, motivated by such sentiments, engages itself in action through the body, only that action can be treated as real yatamána. Other endeavours should not be defined as such…
What should be done to bring about progress in the yatamána stage? One should learn the proper philosophy from a competent person. In order to judge what is a proper philosophy and what is a pseudo-philosophy, one should see how far the philosophy goes in treating the entire humanity as a singular entity and promoting its unity. Only that philosophy which inculcates universal sentiments is acceptable to human beings, for it alone reflects the spirit of yatamána. Other philosophies will spoil the human treasures resulting in humans, even though they are endowed with eyes, feet, hands, etc., degenerating to the level of animality, or even below that. Animals quarrel among themselves or with others to procure food, but these crude people, even though they do not need to procure food for their survival, misuse their authority to destroy or subjugate innocent humans being.
The people of today must understand this basic fact and remain vigilant against the detrimental actions of the intellectual satans and blood-sucking exploiters. The people of today must move ahead while fighting against the two enemies – the bloodsuckers who exploit in the economic sphere, and the intellectual satans who not only exploit human beings but bring them down to the level of animality. I request the present human race to continue their endless fight on these two fronts. They should remember that on both these fronts they are fighting against enemies who, being guided by dogma, have no logic in their method of exploitation. Though they are exploiting people in the socio-economic, socio-intellectual and spiritual spheres, once their conscience is aroused against dogma, their exploitation will automatically cease. The gigantic demons of exploitation will vanish in a flash.

-Yatamána – 1, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6

This is a state where one experiences tremendous obstacles from family and society. However these obstacles are crucial in the forging of the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) into a Sadvipra. Shrii Sarkar notes,

Since yatamána is a state of transformation, the environment exerts its deep influence on it. While at home, one may remain in the state of yatamána. It may be that one’s family members are creating great obstacles, and forcefully saying, ‘Eat this’ [non-sentient food] or ‘Do this now,’ ‘Now we will not let you do this’ – in this manner they create all kinds of barriers. Now one has fallen amidst multiple obstacles and tests. Maybe, for some, such obstacles and tests are of a lesser degree. In case of a person who experiences such obstacles to a lesser degree, the kalá [mental curvatures] is not properly transformed into káśt́há [linear flow of a righteous person]. At that moment, obstacles are a great necessity. Obstacles should appear. One should invite obstacles. What is the benefit if obstacles come along the path? The transformation of kalá [sysltaltic flow] into káśt́há [linear flow] will be accelerated. Obstacles will appear in personal life, in the collective life, in social life, in all spheres of human life. Obstacles need to come and are desirable. If you struggle against obstacles, you will stand to gain and will never lose. That is why obstacles are to be considered as friends.
Let us suppose, someone throttles you and says, ‘I will not let your natural expression of language manifest itself.’ If you oppose such a person and you are determined to fight against them, then what happens? Your kalá will get transformed into káśt́há, because when your kalá is pitted against crude external obstacles, it is transformed. This is the state of yatamána.

-Yatamána – the Stage of Perseverance, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 10

The psychology of this first stage are defined by Shrii Sarkar as follows:

In yatamána, the first stage, the mental propensities are directed towards the citta [objective mind, mind-stuff]. It is a very difficult stage: difficulties arise from within as well as without. The internal difficulties are created by the untrained mental propensities, which misbehave like wild animals. After a moment of control, off they go again, dashing about like unbroken horses.

Yatamána, Vyatireka, Ekendriya and Vashiikára, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33

Bhavánii Shakti

In Tantric cosmology, the operative principle or creative principle (Shakti) of Shiva (the Cognitive Principle) evolves in various ways. It is important to state that both principles are one and comprise the nature of Consciousness. In the material universe which dominates the mind of the pashu, the particular manifestation of Shakti is Bhavánii Shakti. This Shakti evolves as part of Brahmacakra or the Cycle of Creation from Pure Consciousness to matter and from matter back unto Consciousness. Shrii Sarkar comments regarding the evolution of this form of Shakti saying

When Cosmic Idea (bháva) turns into action, where the oneness of the singular Supreme Entity is transformed into many, it is known as Bhavánii Shakti.

-Discourse 22, Shabda Cayaniká Part 4

In the evolution of the Cosmic Mind, after the evolution of the pure feeling of Cosmic existence (mahat) there evolves the Cosmic ego (aham). The evolution of mahat is in the form of a straight line. However, the evolution of aham is in the form of a curved flow. Thereafter the evolution of the Cosmic Citta (mind-stuff, ectoplasm) unfolds in numerous curvilinear flows in the 7 realms of Citta. In the last realm there evolves the rudimental factors of matter and later the endless lifeforms of the universe. This entire series of curvilinear flows is called kalá. Shrii Sarkar explains how these curvilinear evolutes of Consciousness are transcended saying,

The vibrational phase [kalá] is called bhava – also bhava ságara or bhava párávára [ocean of creation]. The word bhava thus denotes the entire realm of the vibrational principle. This is the world of mundane involvements. The Caetanya, or Cognitive Principle of this faculty is called Bhava, and the Shakti, or Operative Principle of this faculty is called Bhavánii Shakti. This is the worldly bondage. Only through the medium of Hari kathá [stories of the Lord’s divine drama] can one cross this ocean of bhava, the entire range of the vibrational faculty.

-Mantra Caetanya, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 10

The first stage is for this Shakti to be sublimated into a higher form of Shakti. As Shrii Sarkar explains,

If one’s movement is towards the crude, one’s psycho-physical waves will become cruder and cruder. But if one’s movement is towards the Supreme, if Bhavánii Shakti is transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti, then one’s waves will gradually straighten. The subtle waves of effulgence will also become straight. Thus a devotee’s movement towards the Supreme One is an endeavour to transform crude energy into subtle energy. To transform Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti both shraddhá [implicit veneration for one’s goal] and viirya [heroic stamina] are important. Without regular spiritual practice this transformation is impossible.
For a devotee, action is indispensable. Sádhaná itself is a type of action. If one sits idle like a piece of inert matter, sádhaná is impossible; the conversion of crude into subtle will never occur. The relationship between devotees and their Lord is strengthened through action. At this point a question may arise: on the path of sádhaná who is greater – a bhakta [devotee] or a karmii [person of action]? The answer is simple and straightforward. For bhaktas all actions are a part of their psycho-spiritual practice, whereas for karmiis actions are merely seen as actions. Those people whose actions are indistinguishable from devotion are true devotees. Thus in the process of conversion of Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti, devotion plays a greater role than so-called action…
Devotees will have to straighten the waves of Bhavánii Shakti. The more the waves are straightened, the more Bhavánii will be transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti. This straightening of the waves is the first stage of sádhaná. As long as sádhakas remain within the scope of Bhavánii Shakti they observe that all finite entities of the universe are separate from one another…
When major changes occur in Bhavánii Shakti, ether, air, fire, water and other crude objects can be perceived. These entities acquire different forms due to the differences in the waves created by the three principles. Thus we observe the same Puruśa manifested in different ways.
It is due to a particular vibration of Bhavánii Shakti that we perceive Puruśa as a piece of iron, and due to another vibration that we perceive Puruśa as a piece of gold. Had there been no differences among the wavelengths of Bhavánii Shakti, there would have been no differences among the manifested objects. When spiritual aspirants remain within the periphery of Bhavánii Shakti and observe the differences among objects, they realize the Supreme Singularity behind the diversity of expression.
All objects are the varying forms of Puruśa. When one realizes that all these diverse objects finally merge into His supreme singularity, social service becomes more important than anything else, because service to individuals or the collectivity means service to Brahma.
So in the first stage of sádhaná, as a result of the constant superimposition of Cosmic ideation, Bhavánii Shakti is changed into Bhaeravii Shakti. Then all the objects of the world are seen as expressions of Brahma. This realization is not brought about by the study of books. Book knowledge is only perceptional knowledge; it cannot take one beyond the boundary of perception. If people study constantly without practising sádhaná, psycho-physical parallelism will make them vain and egotistical.

-The Devotee and the Lord, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 8

1st Lesson

Now let us briefly examine the nature of the First Lesson of basic Ananda Marga meditation (Sahaja Yoga). In truth since meditation is a practice, it is only to be understood in the laboratory of one’s inner self. Below is the explanation of this lesson by a senior meditator.

Understanding the First Lesson of Ánanda Márga Sahaja Yoga
(IISHVARA PRAŃIDHÁNA)

By Acarya Cidghanananda Avadhuta

The first lesson of the Tantra Yoga is known as Iishvara Prańidhána. In Iishvara Prańidhána, during the first phase, three factors are very, very important: mantra diipanii (withdrawal), mantra ághát (repetition of the mantra), and mantra caetanya (ideation on the meaning of the mantra). In this process the principle of one’s conversion of subjectivity into objectivity is applied. Oneness with objectivity results in oneness with subjectivity. Mind is a most restless thinking entity. The very existence of the mind is due to the expression of “I”-ness. This “I”-ness remains scattered all over a person’s body and mind. So, first of all the withdrawal of mind from objective physicality, then the expansion of the mind, are taken into account.

It is a must to withdraw the mind from objective physicalities, because a scattered mind has neither the strength nor the capacity to achieve anything. When the mind is withdrawn from the objective physicality, it remains within the limits of the body, but even then it has not been withdrawn totally. It is still scattered throughout all parts of the body. Hence, it first has to be withdrawn from the body by concentrating it in a point.

This giving of a point is a most essential factor, because when the mind gets concentrated in a point it gains in strength and power. Secondly, the point must be in that part of the body which is dominated by the sentient force. This is simply because the static and mutative forces are the causes of restlessness, sleep and drowsiness, and the sentient force is the cause of stillness and peace. Hence the mind is given a point in the sentient part of the body on which to focus. This “I”-ness, once it has been seated at this point, is now to ideate on the Infinite Entity to convert itself into that. Therefore this most sublime idea is given to it.

The withdrawal of mind from matter – from objective physicality – is known as bhúta shúddhi (bhúta means “five factors” and shúddhi means “purity”). Bhúta shúddhi means the withdrawal of the mind from the external vibrations of the five fundamental factors.
Next, the “I”-ness is systematically withdrawn from each portion of the body, then it is given a suitable point. This giving of the suitable point is known as ásana shúddhi. Ásana shúddhi means that the mind is situated at a pure seat. Just as a person makes a temple or mosque neat and clean and pure for worship, so the mind, in a natural way, is focused at the purest place wherefrom it can ideate on the Lord. Here it must be born in mind that the point which is given must touch the controlling nucleus of all three parts of the mind, viz. the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious, otherwise complete control of the mind will not be possible. This is simply because this point is the nucleus of the mind, and thus controls the mind just as the sun, as the nucleus of solar system, controls the solar system. So this controlling point must be taken into consideration.

The more people are able to withdraw, the more they will be able to link themselves into the domain of divine bliss. People often fail to withdraw or to take time to withdraw, and this is one of the vital reasons that they are not able to feel bliss in sádhaná. So this withdrawal from objective physicality is known as mantra diipanii. A mantra is a holy word – one charged by a realized soul. Diipanii means “light” or “torch”. So the withdrawal enlightens one’s mind and thereby aids in both mantra ághát (repetition of the mantra) and mantra caetanya (ideation on the meaning of the mantra). The awareness of the mantra and the repeated forcing of the mantra uncoils the serpentine. A sádhaka must, therefore, devote considerable time to withdrawal in order to master the successive steps of repetition and ideation. By doing more of the shúddhis, the other techniques are greatly facilitated. Suppose a spiritualist practices meditation for half an hour. S/he ought to ideally spend at least fifteen minutes in withdrawal (the practical technique of withdrawal is taught personally by an ácárya of Ánanda Márga). This withdrawal, however, is not complete by fixing the mind in a suitable point alone; after this, one must also withdraw from the ideas and varieties of thoughts that are passing through the mind. To achieve this end the same technique is sufficient. Thus, withdrawal has three steps: withdrawal from the external world, the body, and the thoughts. Then comes mantraághát and mantra caetanya.

Mantraághát is of three kinds: Speaking loudly (which is known as vácanika in Sanskrit) is the first. Secondly, there is whispering where the words are not clearly audible. This is known as upáḿshu in Sanskrit. The last and best kind of repetition is psychic repetition. This psychic repetition, however, does not come solely under the category of japakriya (repetitive incantation of mantra); rather it is in the category of Dhárańá (concentration) and dhyána (ideational absorption in the Guru). This is because by repeating psychically one tries to establish parallelism between the word itself and its meaning. One wants to get into ideation of the mantra.

This kind of repetition at the suitable point (cakra) creates mantraághát and is then followed by mantra caetanya, which is full awareness of the meaning of the mantra. If one does not include mantra caetanya, the mantra cannot be effective, and one is instead just like a parrot repeating words it cannot understand. This mantra caetanya of an Iïía Siddha Mantra is of vital importance. Hence it is rightly said in the Kularnava Tantra that a mantra without caetanya is nothing but a general word which cannot yield positive results. It is just like an ordinary word.

This mantra caetanya has two aspects: First the Sadguru has charged it with power. Secondly, it is taken with the awareness of its meaning. Therefore, mantra caetanya are collectively able to arouse kula kuńd́alini (spiritual energy), the spiritual potential which normally resides in the lowest cakra or psychic centre. This spiritual potential, also known as the jiivabháva (unit existence) or the force of fundamental negativity, is seated at the lowest part of the spine of every person and varies from individual to individual, depending on how much it has been awakened. This jiivabháva, in some individuals, has come into close contact with the Infinite Cosmic Entity through spiritual practices and service; it has, therefore, taken on subtler and more subtler qualities. In other individuals their jiivabhávas have different qualities because their kuńd́alinis are unawakened. The kuńd́alinis of all people are not one and the same. Now, the kuńd́alini remains seated at the base of the spine. This base is known as the kula and the person who raises this kuńd́alini from kula is known as Kulaguru. Kula generally means family, but here it does not mean family in the common sense. It is the base of the spine and the Sadguru can arouse it. Hence the Sadguru is also known as the Kulaguru: the preceptor who is able to arouse all kuńd́alinis.

Iishvara Prańidhána, however, is not finished here. It also includes within itself the moral principles (Yama and Niyama) and psycho-physical yoga exercises known as ásanas. Following the moral guidelines helps one in the withdrawal of the mind; otherwise one may suffer from guilty conscience and his/her withdrawal will be disturbed by the subsequently imbalanced state of the mind. Yama and Niyama or the cardinal moral principles are the base for spiritual practices, and spiritual progress in turn helps to raise the kuòìalinii which thereby strengthens the moral code. So morality and spiritual practice are interdependent. Morality, however, is just the base and not the end.

Ásanas are also included in the first lesson. These yogic ásanas are not just ordinary exercises; rather they are subtler in their effects, and they influence the mental state as well as the physical state due to their effects on the glands. Analyzing the different psychic tendencies of human beings, different ásanas are then prescribed. Seeing the particular posture and benefit, the particular name of the ásana has been given.

Mayurásana (peacock pose) is done, for example, like a peacock. By doing this posture one can be able to digest even a snake like the peacock does, but this is not the reason for doing the pose. This ásana helps a great deal in digestion, and any heaviness of the body or in the stomach can be removed by the practice of this ásana.

Gomukhásana is a posture where one assumes a shape similar to that of a cow’s head, so it is known as the “cow’s head” posture. It brings about the kind of gentleness we generally find in a cow, and so like this with many of the ásanas.

All the ásanas have been researched by the seers and are a very vital part of Hatha Yoga. Generally the psychic exercises such as meditation cannot alone bring purity of both mind and body quickly of and by themselves. So ásanas are given so that the glands and nerves are regulated and made balanced by their practice.

Ásanas by themselves cannot give realization, because they remain confined to physicality and to some extent the psychic sphere: that is, ásanas primarily purify the Annamaya Kośa. This Annamaya Kośa or physical body is susceptible to impurity, i.e. dominance by mutative and static principles. Ásanas regulate the secretions of the glands, and because of the balanced secretions of the glands the mind is not overpowered by the propensities (vrttis). Hence, for controlling the vrttis, ásanas play a vital role. All physical postures are variations of one ásana or another. There are innumerable ásanas but in our system there are 40-50 main exercises that have been selected. As these ásanas are not just crude exercises but subtle movements, there are certain rules prescribed so that one can derive the maximum benefit from them. In the absence of following these rules, however, one may invite harm or disease because they are so powerful in their effects. Moreover, to insure that they are practiced correctly, it is preferable for one to get personal instruction. The ácáryas of Ánanda Márga teach these ásanas in the proper way free of cost. Body and mind may both be purified by meditation alone, but in that case it will takemuch longer and the aspirant may lose patience and leave the path.

Along with practicing ásanas there is also a need for a sentient diet, i.e. vegetarian food, as it has a definite effect on the formation of both the physical and mental bodies. Therefore, without being vegetarian it is not good to practice ásanas except for just a few specific ones taught by the ácárya.

The first lesson, if done precisely, can lead a person to Savikalpa Samádhi. Here one feels oneness with the Cosmic Mind and experiences divine bliss. All the fetters (hatred, doubt, fear, shame, censure, sense of family prestige, vanity of culture, and false sense of prestige) and the six enemies (desire/passion, anger, greed, attachment, vanity/pride, and backbiting/envy) of one’s mind are controlled. The culmination of the first lesson is the pinnacle of sentient force and under this sentient force all of the static and mutative forces remain controlled. As such they are not able to disturb the mind. It is difficult to describe in writing the state of mind of this attainment. In short, it can only be said that the mind is completely steeled, it remains internally unaffected, though externally it may seem to be affected. The first lesson can lead a person to Savikalpa Samádhi but the Sadguru then, for the sake of the disciple, keeps the door of occult powers closed. This is because if one exhibits those powers the exalted state of Nirvikalpa may get disturbed. In the first lesson of this Sahaja Yoga of Tantra which we have now discussed, the Iśt́a mantras have been given by Lord Krśńa, Bhaerava (the son of Shiva) and by Lord Shiva Himself. Different mantras are given to different people according to their reactive momenta (Saḿskáras; reactions to past actions stored in the mind). However, these matters are known specifically only to the ácáryas and it is thus prohibited to reveal them here.

2nd Lesson

We are supposed to do 1st Lessons at all times during the day. Women are even instructed to repeat the mantra as per the rhythm of their contractions when in labour. The reality is however, that when we move in society, we are affected by so many distractions and our mind falls and is trapped in crude levels of Consciousness. It is with this human frailty in mind that the 2nd Lesson was given in the form of a special mantra whereby one directly surrenders to the Sadguru. One then experiences the blessing of an elevated mind with which one can practice 1st Lesson throughout the rest of the day. Since our mind repeatedly falls, this mantra is to be recited before all events of the day such as leaving home, boarding a train, etc.. This sweetness that we find when we take this mantra and the sweet state of mind it engenders is known in the Upanishads as Madhuvidya.

Let us briefly explore this lesson in the article below.

Understanding the Second Lesson of Ánanda Márga Sahaja Yoga
(BRAHMACARYA, GURU MANTRA, MADHUVIDYA)

By Acarya Cidghanananda Avadhuta

In this sphere of spiritual progress – Átmamokśarthaḿ [“For Self-realization”] – the mere thought of one’s mission will not suffice. Your work in pursuance of your mission will be considered your service, and when your service will be sanctified by Guru Mantra [Second Lesson], you will spiritually advance. But when it is a question of spiritual salvation, spiritual beatitude, there what you need is Iśt́a Mantra [First Lesson]. (“Incantation and Human Progress,” Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 24)

The first lesson of our Tantra Yoga teaches a person to realize what we really are. We do not realize how through the process of this Iishvara Pranidhana or First Lesson we are transcending lower states of Consciousness and merging in the bliss of the Ishta or Beloved Goal.

The second lesson teaches the person what the universe is. Now, we learn that at all times we should be doing First Lesson or repeating our Ista Mantra while merging in our Ista, not just when we are meditating. As Baba (affectionate name of Shrii Sarkar) says,

The main purpose of human beings coming here to this earth is to do spiritual practice. One is to render social service, one is to learn, one is to go through books, one is to help others, one is to do anything and everything just to encourage and accelerate the process of sádhaná. Sádhaná is the main theme of life. Whatever you do in the world, you should do it with a view to promote your sádhaná and help the sádhaná of others. Human beings come to earth to practise sádhaná, to move closer to Iishvara, the Supreme Goal – to come closer to Parama Puruśa [Supreme Consciousness]. Thus, the deeds of human beings will not be like the deeds of animals. Whatever human beings will do, they will do in such a manner that the progress in their sádhaná will go on accelerating. (“The Human Body Is a Biological Machine”)

Baba specifically told Acarya Naginaji how even while riding a bicycle one is to adjust the flow of the Ista Mantra with the movement of one’s feet. Similarly, Baba explained to pregnant women how to merge their labour contractions with their mantra.
However, while sadhana is easy when our eyes are closed and we are alone, it seems impossible with eyes wide open and amidst society. We try at different times such as while on the bus to concentrate on our Ista Mantra of First Lesson but that concentration ends after someone’s noise on the bus distracts us.

Then if we try to follow the Karma Yoga of Lord Krsna and meditate while fighting against injustice, sadhana becomes impossible even when we are not fighting. This is because fighting crude forces awakens crude forces within us and we become emotionally involved with the crude level of Consciousness of the exploiters. Seeking to escape the crude waves of a corrupt society, some try to escape to the Himalayas but find no escape there because they are not blessed by the Lord with union with Him so long as they reject His creation.

So what is the way out? This is the Second Lesson where one learns a new mantra called Guru Mantra. The Guru Mantra is a powerful mantra that reminds us of what this universe really is – what is the ultimate reality, the only REALITY. Furthermore the Guru Mantra is a direct link and surrender to Baba, the Paramestin Guru [Supreme Beloved Preceptor]. In First Lesson, Baba graces our sadhana and when we want to go deeper than merger in Cosmic Consciousness. This means going deeper into the realm of pure love then we come in direct contact with Him and begin to merge with Him by the Guru Mantra.

However in Second Lesson we are coming in direct contact with Him by our surrender through the Guru Mantra. The meaning of the mantra is the way in which we surrender our mind (agitated by social life) unto Him. As Baba explains,

So Tattvabhávát – that is, “one is to establish one’s mind in the idea of Thatness.” Whatever I see,(15) everything is That; everything is Parama Puruśa. By constant meditation, by constant repetition of your Guru Mantra – [what you learned in your] Second Lesson– [you perform] Tattvabhávát. [Ascribing] Brahma-hood to each and every entity is Tattvabhávát.

-The Causal Matrix,” Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 24

Really speaking, all meditation (of any lesson begins with the essential spirit and ambience of second lesson and all meditation ends in second lesson. This is why senior meditators like Didi Ananda Bharati used to teach people Second Lesson by giving them a bowl of seeds and ask them to place each seed in another bowl. This way people learned to take Guru Mantra with each seed and the spiritual effects on one’s moment-to-moment Consciousness are tremendous. In the Guru Giita, it is said,

Gurumantro mukhe yasya tasya siddhayanti nányathá (131)
[The one who always has Guru Mantra in their mouth
They alone attain success (in all actions);
They alone attain perfection (siddha)
None other than they.]

There are two paths of repeating the Guru Mantra. Firstly there is the yogic path where one is ideating on the meaning of the mantra and is blessed by the Guru with the realization of one Consciousness pervading all beings. Secondly there is the devotional path where one uses the mantra to call out of the Beloved (Baba) out of yearning to experience Him in all beings, at all times. This takes the form of first the realization of Baba in everything (jinana yoga or union through wisdom). Second, there is the experience of Baba in every stage of one’s service work to liberate humanity from divisive sentiments and capitalist exploitation (karma yoga or union through service and revolutionary fight). Third, there is the raptures of divine love and intimacy or prema. So a devotee wants to love Him, unite with Him in everything and with this spirit repeats their Guru Mantra before every action.

There are three basic realities we experience that are discussed in the tradition of Shiva that is the foundation upon which Baba erected His mission. The first reality is what is called Kśara (pronounced “kshara”) Brahma. This is worldly consciousness characterized by Kśara which means “decaying, ever-changing, metamorphosed.” This is because we perceive many objects and none of them lasts. Some keep running after newer and newer objects being created and some mourn the loss of objects and beings that eternally become lost. Both are a kind of materialism. One is a positive materialism and the other is a negative materialism or nihilism that denies the existence or reality or meaning of one or more of these objects and beings.

In our daily lives we are constantly going through such stages of materialism and nihilism in our reactions to people, places and things. All of these are what Baba calls psycho-physical parallelism which simply means that our mind waves are merging with those of matter. Even the so-called nihilists are merging their mind with the psychological idea of nothingness. To escape this path, meditation is the only answer. The simplest way to get cured of all psychic ailments is to use Guru Mantra while performing every action, every mundane duty. Baba explains how Guru Mantra can liberate us from the negativity of nihilism as follows,

Sarvanásha causes people to think, “I have nothing of my own. Everything is gone. I am undone.” Such a negative outlook can only be cured with the constant auto-suggestion, “Parama Puruśa is mine,” which in the language of Tantra is called Guru Mantra. The feeling that one is defeated in life is ra-biijátmak [symbolized by the letter ra], and its cure is the auto-suggestion that “I have come to win. I am destined to win.” People of developed mentality try to keep the minds of people of such negative outlook free from the unhealthy effect of that mentality by outer-suggestion. To do this is the duty of each and every good person. We should see that our fellow human beings are never allowed to throw themselves into the abyss of frustration and disappointment; they should be rescued before they jump.

-The Acoustic Roots of the Indo-Aryan Alphabet

The second reality of the meditator is Akśara Brahma. This is the eternal Consciousness we experience as underlying the changing realities of the universe. In actual fact the Macrocosm or Cosmic Mind transforms a part of itself into the Kśara Brahma or worldly consciousness of infinite objects. That portion of the Macrocosm that is not transformed into worldly consciousness is known as Akśara Brahma. Akśara means “immortal, undecaying, undergoing no metamorphosis.” This immutable Consciousness is known as Cosmic Consciousness. It is a feeling of infinite vastness or Mahat in Sanskrit. This is the realization of the yogi in First Lesson and Second Lesson. This Akśara Brahma is the Cosmic Knower or Cosmic “I” (feeling that “I exist”). This is the experience that yogis attain in First Lesson and are blessed with in Second Lesson. When one becomes lost in this state it is called Savikalpa Samadhi or the Determinate Trance of Absorption in Consciousness. Baba has described this bliss as follows,

When a sádhaka realizes: My hands, feet, in fact all my Indriyas [sensory and motor organs] are not actually mine. I am an Infinite Entity. Of what good are they to me? My characteristic Self, my Citishakti (the force of consciousness) is incomprehensible beyond the scope of imagination. All the sensible and perceptible objects, the sense of sight, the sense of hearing are all ensconced in my mental sphere. Of what use are those eyes and ears to me? I see without my eyes. I hear without my ears. I am aware of the variegated rise and fall of every wave, every movement of this creation. I am the knower of each and every object, crude, subtle, causal. I am concerned with all. But no one knows me and no one is my subject, nor am I the object of anyone. I am the pure Consciousness. No other mind can hold me in its thought.

-The Intuitional Science of the Vedas – 4

However this state of Consciousness is not the ultimate state. This is because this state of Knowership is intimately involved with the perishable world of infinite objects that is experienced by people in a crude state of Consciousness. The third form of Consciousness is Nirakśara Brahma. This is the Saviour Consciousness or Taraka Brahma. That ultimate entity who completely transcends or is beyond the worldly consciousness and the Knower Consciousness and at the same is utterly pervading and controlling these two levels of Consciousness is called Nirakśara Brahma. This is the Transcendent Consciousness that is beyond all speech and beyond the cosmos and the Cosmic Mind. It is realized only by love – not by yoga or by philosophy.

Pure devotees attain this Transcendent Consciousness in First Lesson but that is difficult for yogi what to mention ordinary people. Here is the unique specialty of Second Lesson. By reciting this Guru Mantra we are making a direct appeal to Him before each of our actions. Those who do this will feel His presence before every action after reciting the Guru Mantra. Then this Transcendent Consciousness will become a practical reality.

There are some sadhakas who spend much less time with First Lesson and instead concentrate on loving Baba in Dhyana or Sixth Lesson. So what is the relevance of Second Lesson for them? Firstly it should be clear that Dhyana involves firstly running after Baba no matter how He hides. Second it involves ideating that one is performing physical service to Him as part of the process of meditation. Thirdly it involves the ideological process of absorbing everything (all the radiance, love, tenderness, orders, visions, etc) that He reveals during Dhyana and then after meditation reflecting on all this, learning from it and then bringing all of this into one’s actions in the society. Fourthly it involves dedicating one’s existence to giving Him love.

Now in daily life, many times our mind is partly running after Baba but most of the time it is not, even when He is blessing us with the bliss of seeing Him while we are walking, talking etc. Here Guru Mantra is crucial as it reminds us that He is everywhere waiting for us to play with Him. This entire universe is His play and we are bound to chase after Him to embrace Him. Second even when in daily life we are seeing Baba, we are being blessed but we are not even trying to serve Baba in any way. This is why taking Guru Mantra before every action reminds us that we live to give Him service. When we ideate that we are Baba’s PA or His Mother/Father and take full physical care of Him then alone do we understand what is the reality of Dhyana. Only then in such a state do we have a chance to do real, meaningful service of Him in countless people, places and things. Many times after getting bháva or devotional ecstasy, that bliss automatically fills our thoughts, feelings and actions afterwards.

But this does not last long and more importantly much of this ecstasy is wasted because we are not really grateful for it and are not using it to serve others as part of establishing His ideology. This is another key aspect of Guru Mantra – that we say it before every action so as to remind ourselves to bring His bliss into our actions and so that we can realize Him in the people we exist only to serve.

Finally, many people enjoy Dhyana like devotional parasites and never really try to give Baba bliss. Baba says a gopa/gopi is someone who has the power to give real bliss. We know what it is like when we are blissed out – tears fill our eyes, our throats are choked, our hairs stand on end, our hearts throb with rapture. We are not here to enjoy His love like this. We are here to use the blissful love He gives us to give Him love. Saying Guru Mantra before every action reminds us that He is everywhere, within everything – waiting for our Union.

Baba explains how this liberates us from the cycle of karma. When we act with ego consciousness it generates a reaction which is stored in the mind. These reactions cause us to remain bound to move from life to life in order to exhaust or fully express these reactions. However in every new life we act with ego consciousness which leads us to have more reactions stored in our minds. Hence we seem to be trapped for eternity in the cycle of births and deaths. Guru Mantra is the way out.

If people become more and more regular in the application of their guru mantra, then on one hand they will be able to perform more and more physical activities, and at the same time they will be able to avoid creating new saḿskáras (reactive momenta).

-Parama Puruśa and His Creation, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 10

However, mere recitation of the Guru Mantra is not enough. One must fully charge one’s mind with the ideation of the meaning and the state of Consciousness of the mantra. The process of working, serving and fighting in the external world while ideating that everything is that Taraka Brahma or Beloved is known as madhuvidya or honey-knowledge. Vidya means not just knowledge in the sense of information or principles of some subject. Vidya here means a means of establishing oneself in absolute Knowledge beyond all limited knowledge of worldly consciousness. Baba said that Guru Mantra is the key to realizing madhuvidya in the practical world. Baba explains this yoga saying,

Suppose, there is a drop of water in an ocean. When the drop feels its unity with the ocean, the drop no longer remains as a drop, it becomes the ocean. But when it feels its separation from the ocean, it is nothing but a drop of water. So, when a human being feels his/her unity with the Supreme Lord and feels that he/she is not an ordinary person, but the blessed child of the Supreme Father and when becomes one with him, then he/she is no longer an ordinary person. He/she acquires immense power, immense vitality, infinite vitality and this is your Yoga in the physical sphere. You should always remember that a man or a woman is an ordinary person when separated from the Supreme Father, but he/she becomes Supreme when one with the Supreme. This we do with the help of our Guru Mantra. This is Yoga in the physical sphere.

-What Is Yoga?, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 14

So such a practice of Guru Mantra alone gives us the power to defeat global capitalist exploitation, to elevate the collective mind and to flood the world with devotional love. Baba explains how this madhuvidya drenches our life with His sweetness, saying,

When we fondle a little child, we think that the child is not merely a child, but rather Parama Puruśa Himself has come to me in the form of a child just to enjoy my fondling, love, and care. He has willingly come to me for that purpose. This is called madhuvidyá, and one should always remember to do it. And one who remembers to do it all the time is considered a great person in society.

The Omnipotent and Omnipresent Consciousness

So many times service workers become corrupted by the hardships they face. Baba explains how this mantra blesses our service saying,

In this sphere of spiritual progress – Átmamokśarthaḿ [“For Self-realization”] – the mere thought of one’s mission will not suffice. Your work in pursuance of your mission will be considered your service, and when your service will be sanctified by Guru Mantra, you will spiritually advance.

-Incantation and Human Progress, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 24

However, we are bound to wonder how does such a sweet devotional practice of Guru Mantra give us the power to establish sublime righteousness (Dharma) in the society? In reality, when we follow a materialistic lifestyle we are following the path of worldly consciousness that leads us ultimately to the path of unrighteousness, corruption, vice and exploitation (Adharma). Guru Mantra saves us from this fate as Baba explains,

All dharmas [animal, plant, human] have upadharmas [secondary characteristics]. Human life is no exception. For example, to provide for your family you require some sort of employment – be it agriculture, trading or business – you have to keep the house clean, feed everyone, and so on. These are the secondary characteristics included within the Fundamental Human Dharma. What normally happens in human life? People get caught up in the secondary characteristics. For instance, when eating delicious food people often say “How good it tastes! But if it only had a bit more spice in it, then it would taste even better.” Being engrossed in the secondary dharma, people all too easily deviate from their main dharma.
In Ananda Marga there is a system of applying Guru Mantra before commencing any action. The psycho-philosophy behind Guru Mantra is to transform the secondary dharma into the primary dharma at the psychic level. If this were not done then one’s secondary dharma would predominate. Much precious time is wasted by those who follow their secondary dharmas.
Párthasárathi Krśńa exhorted the people unambiguously: “Give up secondary dharmas and accept Me as your supreme goal. Do not let your mind be diverted to those countless secondary dharmas, but concentrate it on the fundamental primary dharma. Only then will every moment of your life be properly utilized.” Now, what is this primary dharma? Párthasárathi declared, Mámekaḿ sharańaḿ vraja [“take shelter in Me alone”]. Earlier I said that vraja means to move with Cosmic ideation in a state of bliss.

-Namámi Krśńasundaram Discourse 18

And this primal Dharma of taking shelter in the Beloved (Baba) is the essence of Second Lesson. What is the result of pursuing this path of Dharma?

When one no longer makes such a mistake, that is, when one always remembers to use Guru Mantra before starting any activity, one is said to have attained “dhruva smrti” or “fixed memory”. Dhruva means “fixed”, “stationary”. When, by dint of sádhaná, one establishes oneself in Dhruva Smrti, one experiences an unbroken flow of bliss in one’s mind. In the scriptures, this intense spiritual bliss is termed “dharma meghánanda”. Whenever you develop that sort of fixed memory, you will experience dharma meghánandá. (“An Exemplary Life,” Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 7)

We can understand in theory this blissful trance but the question arises exactly how Guru Mantra is related to the practical aspect of Dharma or morality. We can remember that morality has 10 principles of which 5 are psycho-physical emanations or endeavours to direct our mind to control our physical actions and to infuse them with blissful ideation. These principles are called Yama. Baba explains how Guru Mantra is related to the key principle of Yama or Brahmacarya saying,

“Brahmacaryam” – that is “moving in Brahma while eating”. What sort of eating? The person is getting all sorts of physical, psychic and supra-psychic pabula from the Cosmic Body of Brahma. Thus he or she who is moving in Brahma with the help of her/his second lesson, Guru Mantra, is brahmacárii. He always remembers the fact that all his movements are within the Cosmic Body of Brahma.

-The Glory of Prańava, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 1

As we all know this moral principle is very difficult if not impossible. This is because as Baba says,

It is only when one is free from all the extroversial tendencies, the śad́ripu and aśt́apásha, collectively known as Avidyámáyá, that one’s mind can become Brahmacárii. The dominance of avidyá (extroversial tendencies) is so strong that it is not possible to overcome it except through intuitional practice. Those who try to attain Brahmacarya without performing intuitional practice are wasting their time. Intuitional practice will by itself gradually divert the mind from crude to subtle, and a person will slowly become Brahmacárii. The domination of the śad́ripu and the aśt́apásha, the extroversial tendencies, will diminish by itself. With the disappearance of their influence the mind will no longer remain absorbed in crudeness.

– Why Are People Afraid of Intuitional Practice?

The śad́ripu or six enemies are the dominant internal propensities of the mind firstly káma (physical desires), krodha (anger), lobha (greed). From these emerge the other three ripus of mada (vanity), moha (blind attachment), and mátsarya (jealousy).

The aśt́apásha or eight bondages are what we learn from the society and which are associated with one or more of the internal enemies or ripus. They are lajjá (shame), bhaya (fear), ghrńá (hatred), shauṋká (doubt), kula (pride in family status), shiila (cultural superiority complex), mána (vanity) and jugupsá (hypocrisy and backbiting).

So what do these vices have to do with Guru Mantra and with Dharma? Firstly various narrow sentiments such as religious sentiment, caste sentiment, economic class sentiment, national sentiment are all based on these debased states of mind. And it is these narrow sentiments which are used by exploiters to keep the poor people divided so they can be easily exploited. Hence to establish the rule of righteousness (Dharma-rajya) demands the transcendence of these states of mind. It is Guru Mantra that gives us the Grace of Baba that alone enables us to transcend these debased states of mind and gives us the capacity to become the medium by which He liberates the collective mind from these narrow sentiments and the crude forms of Consciousness underlying them.

Baba explains how the negativity that cripples our mind is removed by this practice saying,

Sarvanásha [a mental propensity or vrtti] causes people to think, “I have nothing of my own. Everything is gone. I am undone.” Such a negative outlook can only be cured with the constant auto-suggestion, “Parama Puruśa is mine,” which in the language of Tantra is called Guru Mantra.

-The Acoustic Roots of the Indo-Aryan Alphabet, Discourses on Tantra Volume One

Only then can one move and live while absorbed in Pure Consciousness or be established in Brahmacarya. However, Brahmacarya is impossible unless the other four principles of Yama are emanating from one’s mind. For morality is not forcing the mind to follow a rule. Rather morality is a state where the mind is balanced and in a dynamic flow towards merger in Consciousness. The other four emanations and forms of moral meditation are Ahimsa (not harming anyone by thought, word or deed), Satya (the use of mind and speech to bring about the welfare of everyone), Asteya (not depriving others of what is their due by thought, word or deed) and Aparigraha (not possessing and enjoying any physical object more than is necessary to preserve one’s life). To put this very briefly we can see that the roots of exploitation, injustice and immorality lie in the failure to observe these principles.
Ultimately we realize that without a transcendence of our material consciousness, we cannot be internally established in these principles. This transcendence of Consciousness is Brahamcarya where we experience Consciousness in all our actions. And this Brahmacarya is attained by our Guru Mantra.

Hence without morality or the principles of Yama we cannot practice Second Lesson or Guru Mantra. And it is due to this that so many yogis have fallen from the path so many times.

Even First Lesson is dependent on morality. How is this so? Because Iishvara Pranidhana or First Lesson is itself a principle of morality. It is one of the 5 Niyamas which are physico-psychic movements or introversive moral practices by which we move from the physical world to the spiritual world. However this principle of Iishvara Pranidhana cannot be practiced unless one is established in the other 4 Niyamas, namely, Shaoca (social, bodily and internal purity), Santośa (mental equanimity or contentment with what physical or psychic objects one possession and with worldly failures and sorrows), Tapah (sacrifices, suffering willingly, blissfully undergone in order to help others, remove their suffering or exploitation and establish Sadvipra Samaja or rule of spiritual revolutionaries) and Svádhyáya (study of one’s true Self or Atman or Unit Consciousness through studying the teachings of enlightened saints and of Taraka Brahma). All of these principles involve moral struggle and Tapah by its very nature involves social struggle.

We see clearly that Iishvara Pranidhana is dependent on moral principles of Niyama. Furthermore it is impossible to practice these principles of Niyama if one is not established in Pure Consciousness or Brahmacarya or Yama. And this is not possible without the practice of Second Lesson. Hence Yama and Niyama are interlinked eternally and so are the First Lesson and Second Lesson of Ananda Marga Sadhana. The practice of Second Lesson establishes one in the struggle for righteousness or Dharma – that is both internal and external. Hence it is crystal clear that unless one is engaged in the struggle to establish a Dharmic society, one cannot become truly established in First Lesson or Second Lesson.

Hence we can now understand why Baba says in His Supreme Command,

Without Yama and Niyama, Sadhana [spiritual practice] is an impossibility. Hence the Lord’s Command is also to follow Yama and Niyama. Disobedience to this command is nothing but to throw oneself into the tortures of animal life for crores of years.

Baba explains the blissful state that results saying,

You should remember to use Guru Mantra regularly before every action. One attains success in the field of action by the right application of Guru Mantra. Some of you, I do not say all, often forget to use guru mantra before starting an activity. If you do forget, repeat it after completing the action. When one no longer makes such a mistake, that is, when one always remembers to use guru mantra before starting any activity, one is said to have attained “dhruva smrti” or “fixed memory”. Dhruva means “fixed”, “stationary”. When, by dint of sádhaná, one establishes oneself in dhruva smrti, one experiences an unbroken flow of bliss in one’s mind. In the scriptures, this intense spiritual bliss is termed “dharma meghánanda”. Whenever you develop that sort of fixed memory, you will experience dharma meghánandá.

-An Exemplary Life, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 7

However we are not merely to practice Yama and Niyama on the individual level. We are bound to practice it on the collective level as well. A society where people are moving together, sharing together and fighting together to become collectively established in Yama and Niyama is a genuine society. All other society are by very definition immoral or Adharmic. This is because where there is not moral struggle immorality is sure to blossom from the roots of selfishness sprouting from the seeds of crude Consciousness. And we can now realize what it is a part and parcel of our Sadhana to lead others along the path of Dharma or righteousness. This leading by serving, this purifying our collective family, this fighting for peace based on justice and this dedication to a love revolution in all hearts is the real spiritual practice. For this one requires the constant blessing of the Supreme Beloved at all times. And this is why Second Lesson was given unto us. And this process of moving towards Dharma is the essence of our Second Lesson. By this Second Lesson we will not just given the bliss of Dharma to others we will surrender to Him and love Him in everyone and everything by our Guru Mantra and lead others along this path of utter love.
For the blessing of learning this lesson with this mission may our minds fall at His Feet again and again for so long as we may live.

Shákta

What is the spirit of the mind of a pashu who is empowered by Tantra meditation. Such a sadhaka always seeks to rouse courage and determination in their minds. When empowered by divine energy (Shakti) they become powerful personalities or shaktas. As Shrii Sarkar explains,

Who is a Shákta? A Shákta is one who is determined to awaken his or her cognitive faculty and fight against the negative influence of the static principle. Such a person struggles ceaselessly against psychic impurities and physical ailments in individual life, and against social evils and economic disparity in collective life. A Shákta is not afraid of the crushing load of unhappiness in life, and never surrenders to pessimism, but fights against the miseries of life with revolutionary zeal. This is the criterion of a Shákta. Such dauntless fighting spirit wins the laurels of victory for a Shákta one day, a victory which is never possible through coaxing and cajoling. Of course, as a war strategy, there can be a temporary truce, but nothing more than that…
The requital of reactive momenta is felt most acutely in the Shákta stage, because this stage involves a tremendous fight against Prakrti.
The Shákta stage is dominated by jiṋána and karma, not by bhakti.(5) Wherever there is struggle, action is bound to become predominant; likewise one will have to acquire knowledge – the knowledge of how to struggle. Through knowledge, Shákta sádhakas become fully aware that all their sorrows and afflictions are the results of their past original actions. In order to be relieved of their affliction they do not cry pitifully to Parama Puruśa, but, displaying the spirit of valour, say, “O Parama Puruśa, give me strength to continue the struggle. I do not want to escape from affliction and suffering, I want to attain You in a joyful struggle against the affliction and suffering.” The great poet Rabindranath Tagore said in this regard,
Vipade more rakśá kara e nahe mor prárthaná,
Vipade yena ná kari kabhu bhay;
Duhkha tápe vyathita cite nái bá dile sántvaná
Duhkhe yena karite pári jay.

[My prayer to You is not “Save me from danger,” but “Bless me so that I can overcome danger.” You need not console me in my suffering, but bless me so that I can overcome suffering.]
This is the underlying spirit of a Shákta.

-Sádhaná, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 7

Acquiring Knowledge

Knowledge for the pashus is primarily mundane knowledge attained by general research. Even this knowledge of pure research striving to find the truth is not taught anywhere. Why? Shrii Sarkar bluntly says,

The system of education prevailing today was formulated or evolved long ago, mainly with a view to suit the needs of the capitalist class. For the last three to four thousand years, the same type of education is being imparted. The main purpose behind this sort of educational system is to create persons with slavish mentality: this sort of education is fundamentally defective.
A new educational system must evolve to produce sadvipras: we have to thoroughly revamp the entire educational system. But it must be remembered that unless and until a new system is developed, we cannot demolish the old one, in spite of our aversion to it. Until you catch hold of a new branch, you cannot let go of the previous one. But it is certain that this type of education which serves the capitalists’ interests is not at all suitable. This sort of education creates obstacles in the evolution of humanity.

-Taking the Opposite Stance in Battle, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 10

Shrii Sarkar explains the first stage of knowledge thus:

The process of acquiring knowledge, a process divided into three stages: ava-átmasthiiksárańa, upa-átmasthiikarańa, and samyak-átmasthiikárańa.
In the first stage (ava-átmasthiikarań) you form a rough idea about an object in the external world, but do not try to enter its psychic sphere. This is the normal process regarding most objects. You may say, “This species of palmyra grows in abundance in northern India. It has such and such characteristics. But this species of palmyra is common to southern India. It looks quite different from its northern cousin.” So in the process of ava-átmasthiikarańa (superficial assimilation of projection) we study the external characteristics of an object.
If someone asks you, you can easily give a description of different species of palmyra, but you will not be able to go any deeper because you have not entered its psychic sphere. From external observation you can determine the nature of a person, but without penetrating his psychic sphere you will be unable to tell whether he is truly good, or merely a wicked person in the guise of a good man.
Penetrating the psychic sphere can be done in two ways: through applied psychology and through Cosmic Grace. When you attain the quality of macrocosmic omniscience, by His grace, your mind can easily enter the minds of others.
Most people can reach the stage of superficial psychic assimilation. With this superficial knowledge the pandits debate amongst themselves, scholars write theses, and groups of intellectuals repudiate each others arguments. Strangely, many so called intellectuals have grossly inflated egos even though they have only attained this superficial knowledge. Actually they know so little.
Átmajiṋánaḿ vidurjiṋánaḿ jiṋánányanyáni yánitu;
Táni jiṋánávabhásáni sárasyanaeva bodhanát.
“Internal knowledge, that is self knowledge, and not the knowledge of the intellect, is the real knowledge. Other knowledge is merely the shadow of knowledge. Through intellectual knowledge one cannot attain anything.” No matter how learned people might be in this world, they are all throwing mud in the realm of superficial psychic assimilation. They remain ignorant of the reality behind each object. This sort of superficial psychic assimilation takes place due to study, intellection cultivation, direct perception, inference, testimony and authority.
Perception takes place when the sensory organs assimilate external objects. It’s accuracy depends on the degree of assimilation. If our eyes are defective, for example, perception through them also becomes defective. If one glances hastily at tomato seeds, brinjal seeds and chilli seeds, one may mistake one for the other. So perception is not always a reliable source of information.
The second source of knowledge is inference, which is even more unreliable in conveying information from the external world. In winter smoke rises from many sources. Suppose water is suddenly converted into vapour, it appears as if smoke is rising. If you take that vapour to be smoke you are wrong. Thus inference is not a reliable source of knowledge. Suppose you see smoke coming out of a thatched hut. You may conclude that the hut is on fire, but on further investigation will realize that the family is lighting the oven. So through inference one cannot arrive at a safe conclusion.
The next source of knowledge is authority (ágama). People normally accept the words of a teacher or the printed words as being factually correct. When someone points out that some of the informations printed in a particular book are wrong common people will refuse to believe it, because for them the printed word is sacred. I read in one page of Namámi Krśńasundaraḿ, “Suniilakomalacchaviḿ”. According to Saḿskrta spelling it should “lakśabim”, but has been wrongly printed as “lacchaviḿ”. Ordinary people will say that they have seen it spelled that way in a book so how can it be wrong? Thus authority is not a reliable source of knowledge. So superficial psychic assimilation of external objects through direct perception, inference or authority is very unreliable.

-Ekendriya – 2, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6

Sámányá Bhakti

The word “bhakti” means to “worship” and “to praise with love”. It also refers to the longing of mystical love. When our love and longing is focused upon our innermost Beloved and none else this is known as bhakti. There are various levels of bhakti from the more selfish to the utterly self-effacing. These levels of bhakti are related to different samadhis (trances of absorption in Consciousness) that are experienced when one purifies and surrenders oneself at different cakras [spiritual centres along the spine related to various glands and sub-glands.]. The process by which one realises these different levels of bhakti is known as bhakti yoga. This bhakti yoga is not solely an internal affair. Rather one’s entire external and social life become drenched in the nectar of bhakti. Bhakti gives tremendous power to move and elevate the hearts of the common people. This is why bhakti is crucial for a Sadvipra or spiritual leader.

The primeval form of bhakti is associated with reverence and is the basis of spirituality in animistic communities.

When an individual’s psychic feelings get suspended at the sight of the greatness of an entity, then the individual attitude towards that great entity is devotion. Initially it is known as sámányá bhakti [natural devotion]. This sámánya bhakti is present even in many undeveloped creatures. Suppose you look upon the vast Himalayan range. When you gaze at the sky-kissing peaks, your mind becomes overwhelmed and you exclaim, “Oh, how vast are these mountains!” You develop a feeling of reverence for the Himalayas.
In ancient times, whenever people looked upon anything very great, whether crude, subtle or causal, they began to worship it out of a feeling of reverence. If people worship many things then the mind will naturally flow in many directions; rather the mind should be made to flow towards the greatest of the great entities. That Entity alone should be the object of bhakti.

-Discourse 23, Namámi Krśńasundaram

This reverential bhakti can be of three categories – Támasika (crude, static), Rájasika (mutative, crudely passionate, incessantly moving) and Sáttvika. Támasika bhakti involves prayers to the Lord to punish or kill one’s enemies. Rájasika bhakti involves prayers for material objects or for fame, power, etc.. Sáttvika bhakti involves prayers to be liberated from life’s sorrows and to gain mukti (liberation) or moksa (salvation). All these are selfish forms of devotion.

Dashá

As the kundalinii or spiritual energy at the base of the spine advance up the spinal column it transcends the bondages of the binding fetter of the Creative Principle (Shakti). The first such stage is known as Dashá.

When the bondage of the static principle disappears, the aspirant enjoys a particular nature of bliss. There, that is, in that stage, there remains no static bondage, but the bondages of the mutative and sentient principle are there. Then the bondage of the mutative principle disappears. And finally, when the bondage of the sentient principle disappears, man becomes one with his object of ideation.
Now when, in the primordial phase, after starting in the physical sphere, the aspirant is just about to cross the cordon of the static principle, he enjoys a special nature of pleasure. We may say “pleasure”, because it is not the supreme beatitude, but is a modified form of beatitude. Not purely pleasure, something higher, something subtler, something more charming, more beautiful – more than pleasure. That enjoyment, that psycho-spiritual enjoyment, is known as dashá in Sanskrit.
In the dashá phase, the aspirant enjoys a sort of inner pleasure, but his sensory and motor organs fail to express it. Even language is too weak to convey the experience. That stage of the human mind is called dashá. The mind tries to express something but the vocal cord cannot produce the appropriate sound. In that stage the aspirant may create a sound like oṋ . . . oṋ . . . oṋ, like this, but no definite language is produced.
Just when the aspirant crosses the cordon of the supreme static point, just on the other side, he feels another type of pleasure, and in that case (it is a subtler phase) he feels that he is with his Goal, he is with the Supreme Entity. The Universe is also there, but he feels that he has become a strong person – physically, mentally, spiritually – and under such circumstances, he does not care a fig for what the world says. This phase is called bháva. When a man is in bháva, it will be very easy for you to know it, because there will be a certain expression, not in the vocal cord, but from here [taps the anáhata cakra]. Perhaps you have seen someone saying “Bábá! Bábá!” – saying like this. Have you seen it? Because the expression comes from this point [indicates anáhata cakra again].

-You Should Do Accordingly, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12

When the sádhaka clearly feels the thrill of divine existence around him at the time of sádhaná, the state of bliss as experienced by the sádhaka is described as dashá…At the time of dashá, the sádhaka feels bliss within and falls down.

Rágánuga Bhakti

When the kundalinii rises above the lowest cakra (múládhára) at the based of the spine, thereafter their unfolds various forms of pure, unqualified (nirguna) bhakti. The first type of bhakti that evolves in the next 3 cakras is Rágánuga Bhakti. As Shrii Sarkar explains,

In the cult of devotion, a higher [form of sádhaná is] rágánuga bhakti. The word rágá is derived from the word rańj + ghaiṋ suffix. The verb rańj means “to colour”. Rágánuga bhakti means that type of devotion which gives expression to one’s inner devotion. The psychology behind this type of bhakti is, “Because of my rágánuga bhakti, because I have dyed my mind with His colour, He will be pleased. And when He is pleased, I will also get pleasure.” Some people may think, “Parama Puruśa likes to eat malpoa [sweet], so let me prepare a few pieces of malpoa for Him. When He will eat malpoa He will feel pleasure, and when He feels pleasure, I will derive joy from His joy.

-Spring Festival, A Few Problems Solved Part 5

Sálokya Devotional Samádhi

The first form of Rágánuga Bhakti is a blissful trance known as Sálokya Samádhi. Briefly, Shrii Sarkar explains its essence saying,

Now when the sádhaka by dint of his or her sádhaná, intuitional practice, exalts that kulakuńd́alinii, and when the kulakuńd́alinii crosses the svádhiśt́hána cakra [pancreas along the spine], the next higher cakra, the sádhaka’s feeling, his or her expression, his or her status, is known as sálokya. It is the first stage of samádhi. A sádhaka [spiritual aspirant by constant practice is sure to attain that status. But you know, the yogis say that a sádhaka cannot attain that status without the special favour of the spiritual guru. This is what they say. That stage is called sálokya.
Sálokya means that the sádhaka feels that in the stratum, or sphere, where he or she is, where that person’s exalted mind is, he or she is not alone; the Supreme Father is also there. This samádhi, where the feeling is that in the stratum, or status, where the person is, that person’s Supreme Father is also there, gives the person very much pleasure. This first pleasure is called sálokya samádhi.

Stages of Samadhi, Discourses on Tantra 1

Vraja Bháva

The different forms of blissful bhakti experienced at different cakras are named in various ways. Historically these blissful forms of devotion were experienced by the devotees of Krsna in the land of Vraja (in present day Uttar Pradesh state). This is why it is said,

When the kuńd́alinii reaches the navel cakra, or mańipura cakra, that is called vraja bháva in Vaeśńava Tantra.

-Krśńa Unparalleled, Discourses on Krśńa and the Giita

Bháva Samádhi

This involves once again the transcendence of another fetter of the Creative Principle (Shakti). As Shrii Sarkar states,

“Then when the aspirant crosses the cordon of the mutative principle, that stage is known as bháva samádhi. At that stage the aspirant feels that he is with his Cosmic Goal. There is no Universe. At that stage, he ignores the entitative existence of the Universe. But he feels that he is with his Lord. He enjoys divine bliss, but it becomes very difficult for him to express, that is, he cannot express it.”

You Should Do Accordingly, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12

The power of this state is explained as follows:

When the sádhaka feels the existence of the divine world around him, as also the source from which the divine existence comes, the state of bliss the sádhaka experiences at the time of sádhaná is bháva… during bháva, the sádhaka feels proximity to God, feels great bliss and falls down.

-Dasha, Bháva and Mahábháva, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33

Sámiipya Devotional Samádhi

The second form of Rágánuga Bhakti is a blissful trance known as Sámiipya Samádhi. Briefly, Shrii Sarkar explains its essence saying,

Then when this coiled serpentine, sleeping divinity, crosses the mańipura cakra, just near the hub, the controlling point, of the pancreas, the person enjoys another sort of pleasure, and that pleasure is called sámiipya samádhi. Sámiipya is a Sanskrit word. It means “proximity”. That is, the sádhaka feels his or her proximity to the Supreme Father.
In the first stage, the sádhaka felt that the Supreme Father was there in the same status. He is not in the sky, he is everywhere, He is with you. If you are here and He is in the sky, then you are alone here, and He is also alone there. No, no, no, no. In the first phase the feeling was that “Where I am, He is also with me.” And in the second phase, “I have come very close, very near, that Supreme Father; I am in close proximity to the Supreme Progenitor. By dint of my sádhaná, the gap between my Father and myself is being bridged.” It is the second phase, known as sámiipya. Sámiipya means ‘proximity’.

-Stages of Samadhi, Discourses on Tantra 1

NeoHumanism

Now the reader may wonder, what is the point of these rare mystical states – how will they benefit society? In reality these spiritual states, these states of bhakti enable one to become a true universalist. For one cannot become a universalist unless one transcends the weaknesses and self-centredness of ou minds. This universal love for all being based on bhakti that serves to protect bhakti in society from narrow, violent sentiments is known as NeoHumanism. The first stage of NeoHumanism associated with the pashu is described below.

Human existence is not merely physical, psychic or spiritual; it comprises all three. In this case, what should be the proper approach? The first step is spiritual cult [yoga]. What is it? The entire Cosmological order includes the quinquelemental material world, which is controlled by the Macropsychic Entity. Again, behind this Macropsychic Entity is a Macro-Spirit.
In fact, this universe of ours is a Macropsychic conation (a thought of the Cosmic Mind), so in no case can human beings deny this physical world. One will have to deeply analyse all the inconsistencies of this physical world, and this process of analysis will be conducted by the micropsychic existence (individual mind).
There are many people with tremendous mental potentiality, but they do not have a clear line of thought. Thus they think incorrectly, and the outcome of their defective thought is defective action. Those people are not properly guided on how to move in the mental world; they are not being properly guided unto the path of the Macropsychic Entity.
When someone commits a wrong, we have a tendency to condemn him or her at every step. We should realize that such a person suffers from a sort of micropsychic ailment, and to cure such an ailment we will have to introduce him or her to Neohumanistic philosophy. We have not done so, and that was our crime…
What is spiritual cult? It is physico-psycho-spiritual cult. This physico-psycho-spiritual process will show you how to remove the defects of the psychic world and also the external world, and enable you to move towards the spiritual world without any delay. This movement towards the spiritual goal will also help you to establish yourself in the psychic and physical worlds, so you will be able to render greater service to the people. This is what I call “spiritual cult”. Progress in this spiritual cult starts with the elevation of protoplasmic cells, and finally ends in the attainment of the Supreme Goal. This physico-psycho-spiritual cult will help the physical world and the psyches of the psychic world directly and indirectly, and also the spiritual world, directly.”

-Neohumanism Is the Ultimate Shelter, The Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism

PROUT

Upon the solid foundation of NeoHumanism alone can PROUT blossom. Now what is PROUT? What are the PROUT activities of the pashu? Let us briefly explore this.

Firstly one must study the sutras and the books on PROUT. This includes not just academic study but the practical research of how to apply them locally to solve the current and future problems. To gain an in-depth understanding however one needs to meditate on these principles. The realizations about these principles that one experiences via spiritual practice are the true Ideas and it is the assimilation and dissemination of these experiences in one’s mind and in the society that is the real Ideology.

In PROUT, everything is given in a nutshell or in encapsulated form. The reasons being firstly, that capitalists should not be able to manipulate the PROUT movement into a utopian dream. Secondly, so that PROUT can evolve in kaleidoscopic ways as per local socio-cultural ecoregions. The idea of a socio-cultural ecoregion is termed by Shrii Sarkar as a Samája. Shrii Sarkar defines this saying, Samánam ejati iti samájah [Society is the collective movement of a group of individuals who have made a unanimous decision to move together towards a common goal]. Shrii Sarkar explains this saying,

“That is, society is the collective movement of a group of individuals who have made a unanimous decision to move towards a common goal. If human beings move closely together in all aspects of life, except for those few aspects which are very personal, the better it will be for the welfare of society.”

-Cooperatives, Proutist Economics

In reality, such a genuine society has not yet been seen in the last 15,000 years of human civilization. Instead inequality, discrimination and exploitation have festered like tumours in societies throughout human history. It is only rarely that genuine unity has blossomed in a group of people. Shrii Sarkar gives the example of a pilgrimage. Here a religious pilgrimage to a so-called holy place is not the idea. Rather Shrii Sarkar refers to the pilgrimage of devotees singing and dancing in divine bliss. This has been seen in the medieval Bhakti Movement in Indian history. This kind of pilgrimage is society in nuclear form.

What is society like? It is like a group of people going on a pilgrimage. Try to imagine the scene! Suppose one of the pilgrims is struck down by cholera. Will the rest of them continue on their way, leaving the sick man behind? No, that would be inconceivable for them. Rather, they will break their journey for a day or two, and cure him of his disease. If he is still too weak to walk they will carry him on their shoulders. If some people run short of food, others share what they have with them. Together they share their possessions, and together they march ahead, singing in unison. In their eagerness to move ahead with others they forget their trifling differences which might have led to angry exchanges and court cases in their families, even down to three generations. It is because of the petitions of the complainant in a land dispute that some people go so far as to spend ten or twenty times more than the piece of land is worth. The essence of cooperation resulting from this collective movement aims at expanding a person’s mind by striking down the barriers of meanness. I repeat that a true society is like such a group of pilgrims who attain a deep psychic affinity while travelling together which helps them solve all the problems in their individual and social lives…
If going ahead in mutual adjustment only out of narrow self interest or momentary self-seeking is called society, then in such a society, no provision can be made for the disabled, the diseased or the helpless, because in most cases nobody can benefit from them in any way. Hence it will not suffice to say that all people marching ahead is only a collective form of segregated psychic phenomena; for in that case there always remains the possibility of some people getting isolated from the collective. All human beings must attach themselves to others by the common bond of love, and march forward hand in hand, then only will I proclaim it a society.

-The Spirit of Society, A Few Problems Solved Part 6

The question arises how does one define such a cultural region? PROUT mandates the following criteria:

  1. Same economic problems
  2. Uniform economic potentialities
  3. Ethnic similarities
  4. Sentimental legacy of the people
  5. Similar geographical features.

The foundation of the samaja movement is economic revolution to establish economic democracy. In capitalism, socialism and communism, the power to control the national and regional economies lies in the hands of a few people – be they state-capitalist bureaucrats or corrupt corporations. The end result is that we have firstly unscientific economic planning because the elites are far away from the regions they exploit and hence cannot fully utilise their economic potentialities without destroying the environment.

Secondly we find rampant economic exploitation of the local people. This is because the people are unable to control their own economic destiny. They are simply slaves in the hands of economic dictators. This is why economic freedom is the freedom struggle of the 21st Century. PROUT demands that every community have basic freedom to control the utilization of its natural resources (both in the form of extraction and industries) and for all members of the community to be provided the basic amenties such as food, medical care, housing, clothing and education as well as a fair share of any excess production or wealth.

So the PROUTists have to study the economic potentialities and biodiversity (variety of plant and animal species) of their area. Then they have to work with villages (panchayats) to help them plan their economic destiny. Finally representatives of villages will be aided in planning the economic development of their block (sub-district). They will then try to materialize these plans through the creation of network of local cooperatives.

However the movement for economic liberation is just a small part of PROUT. Hand in hand, there is the social movement of NeoHumanism which seeks to liberate one’s region from narrow sentiments. These include geographic sentiments (national, provincial, etc.) social sentiments (race, caste, religion, etc.) and pseudo-humanism (species-ism; false feeling of being superior and having right to exploit and destroy plants and animals.

Now the reader may ask, is not Samaja a geo-sentiment. The answer is no. Samaja is a love for a region based on universal love for the Divinity within all beings and all places. Geo-sentiments need to be transformed into samaja sentiment. Shrii Sarkar explains this process saying,

Any narrow ‘ism’ may be transformed into universalism and accepted by all only when all physical barriers, psychic hindrances and spiritual impediments have been removed from the periphery of that ‘ism’.

-Religious Dogma, Prout in a Nutshell Volume 4 Part 16

The most crucial aspect of samaja is cultural. Firstly every culture of every language needs to be developed spiritually. During the time of Lord Shiva this happened through the mass spread of Tantra meditation from the Himalayas to South India and to the Alps and southern China. Lord Shiva’s disciples spread it even further into such remote regions as Siberia and Mokheshvara (later known as Mokka and then Makka or Mecca). Today we need such a yoga revolution in every culture, using for example local gods to refer to various cakras and making meditation, devotional songs and kiirtana (singing the Lord’s Name) a part of various popular festivals.

The second form of spiritual revolution in every culture is seen in the Bhakti and Sufi movements of India, Greater Iran, Turkey and Albania. However there must be no tolerance of the dogmas, superstitions, discrimination and intolerance of various religious scriptures and priests. The Bhakti movement in nearly every Indian language transformed these languages into classical languages drenched in the ethos of divine love. The same thing happened in the Persian and Sindhi languages due to the Sufi movement.

Secondly we need a renaissance of new literature, new drama, new music, new dance, new fine arts in each language of one’s region. This includes not just the main language but also adivasi or indigenous languages.

In order to develop the culture we need an Education Revolution. Vast numbers of people remain illiteratre or barely literate without having even graduated high school. This is due to deliberate neglect by governments, exploitation which seeks to keep people uneducated and due to victimisation of people of certain social groups based on race, caste or religion. However, the problems do not end there. In areas with a large percentage of education we find higher rates of suicide and often greater immorality, exploitation and corruption. This is because of the failure of both Western materialistic education and dogmatic religious education.

In light of this, PROUT seeks to liberate the educational sector from both governmental propaganda and control of corrupt corporations. Education should be conducted by autonomous bodies at the local and regional levels. Furthermore education must teach children to be revolutionaries. They need to understand the glories and tragedies of the history of their samajas. They need to understand the various forms of exploitation they and their communities face. And they above need spiritual inspiration to persevere in morality despite all obstacles and persection. It is this perseverance that develops moral courage to fight against all odds.

Now the heart of such educational movements is a linguistic revolution. Shrii Sarkar wrote extensively developing the philology of the Bengali language. He revised and reformulated the grammar and revealed the dialects, sub-dialects and blended dialects (of Bengali with neighbouring languages) of the language. He added new letters, new meanings of words, revealed the spiritual roots (acoustic roots) of language in relation to biopsychology among so many other service to Bengali. In addition, the languages of Bihar repressed by Hindi imperialism such as Angika and Bhojpure, he developed the basic grammar where there was none before and started newspapers in these languages. He admonished all disciples that it was the duty of people from developed languages and cultures to develop the vocabulary, script and textbooks of all the repressed, undeveloped languages of the world. In particular the dialects of poor communities and the languages of tribes are to be developed.

Finally there if the political revolution of samaja movements. Politics refers to primarily the administration at various levels of the region – how well the laws are enforced, how well are persecuted segments of society protected, how well establish are the rights of local people to be free from the threat of corporate landgrabbing – this is the practical element of politics. This is the heart of PROUT along with economic democracy. As Shrii Sarkar says,

The duty of Renaissance Universal (movement) is to make intellectual appeals, and the work of the Proutists is to see whether law and order is strictly enforced or not. If it is not enforced strictly or if it goes against the principles of Yama and Niyama, enforcement is to be done by creating pressure of circumstances.

Discourses on PROUT, Prout in a Nutshell Volume 1 Part 5

This involves rousing the people to fight for their rights in the form of participatory budgeting so that the local government acts to fulfil the needs of the local people and their collective economic plans. Shrii Sarkar explains that this political revolution has two stages:

To make people conscious of their rights in every sphere of life – social, economic, psychic and spiritual – is called [jiṋána vistára (true expansion of one’s knowledge); and to (fight so they can) exercise these rights fully is called vijiṋána sádhaná (the true spiritual practice of wisdom and enlightenment).]

-Social Justice, Human Society Part 1

To materialize economic plans requires the full cooperation of the local and regional government. When the legislators, police, administrators are under the control of outside capitalist exploiters then social pressure must be brought to bear to force them to serve the people they are sworn to protect.
All of these 6 different dimensions of the samaja movements originate and culminate in spirituality. Why? It is because of the power of collective meditation to create social movements. As Shrii Sarkar states,

The indomitable mental force aroused as a result of collective Iishvara Prańidhána will help you solve any problem, great or small, on this earth.

-Iishvara Pranidhana, A Guide to Human Conduct

The many dimensions of the internal and external revolutions described briefly thus far serve to transform pashus (animals) into viiras or heroes. One starts being a hero by attempting to live, talk and behave like one. As Shrii Sarkar explains,

In collective life as well, when this stage comes, those who are well advanced, who understand better, who are more courageous, more firmly established in morality, who are truly righteous, they have to take the lead, to assume the mantle of leadership. In such times those who worry about what others will say or think, or worry about being criticized, and due to this fear hide behind closed doors thinking that if they take action their good name will be tarnished. Such people are not true human beings. They are beggars, begging for reputation. They have no manliness; they have lost the courage to move ahead. At that time those who come forward and say – “Let’s go. I’m with you. If trouble comes, let it come. I’ll take it on my shoulders” – such people I have given the name sadvipra.

The Significance of the Word “Yuga”, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 9
Next part: 2. Viira

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