by Acarya Pranakrsnananda Avadhuta
In the science of Tantra Yoga there is always an emphasis on the three aspects of human existence – physical desire, psychic urge and longing for the Great.
Tantra explains in clear language the functions of the body and mind, as well as the methods for their individual development. However, compartmentalized analysis is contrary to the spirit and practice of Tantra. There must be an understanding of how these three components work together, their relationship.
The proper use of these triple resources and their collective effort to achieve the goal of unification with the Supreme must be experienced in daily practice. So the process of this dynamic movement should be explained now.
The sensory organs bring information from the outside world into the mind. The motor organs act out internal desires. They take the information from the inside and exspress it outside.
The eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin receive stimulation from the physical world which moves along the nerves to the brain and then to the mind. For example, by hearing the bell of the ice cream vendor, seeing the ice cream and smelling the flavors or by seeing and smelling the mango, the senses give information to the mind – the mental aspect of the human being.
The mind makes a picture of that information which we call thought. This mind recreates the external experiences as a thought form or picture. As a result of that thought, the motor organs, hands, legs, vocal cord, etc. are moved to action. When we hear the bell of the ice cream vendor, the mind activates the legs to move towards the ice cream to see the flavors, the hand to get the money from the pocket and the vocal cord to ask the vendor. If we see something which we don’t like such as a cobra, the mind activates the motor organs for the hand to kill or the feet to run. This experience is stored in the mind like a computer for future enjoyment which we call remembering.
There are thousands of interactions between the physical and mental aspects of human beings everyday. According to the sensory experience the mind forms a picture which stimulates desire causing the motor organs to be activated. There is a constant flow of information – sensory recievers, thought picture, desire, action through motor organs.
This process of the mind gives us certain positive or negative feelings, ideas or thoughts. It is the mind which experiences pleasure and pain, heaven or hell. After receiving the information from the sensory organs, the mind experiences the pleasure of the positive idea or pain of the negative feeling. The thought of ice cream creates a positive feeling or pleasure. The picture of a cobra in the mind creates a negative reaction or pain.
In today’s world of tremendous technological development, we are facing many psychic diseases. Stress, anxiety, tension, nervous breakdown, high blood presure and its accompanying physial defects like heart disease, ulcers, kidney failure, constipation, headaches, backaches, muscle pain, indigestion, etc. are reported daily on television, radio and in newspapers, as well as by doctor’s and psychiatrist’s clinical studies. We simply cannot cope with the huge numbers of mentally and physically sick people. Our efforts are only to make them comfortable with the disease or put them in hospitals or mental institutions.
We have not gone to the root of the problem. If mind is the cause of disease, then mind must be the cure. What is the common factor in positivity and negativity? Both are energy. It is energy that expresses itself. A fire hose contains a great amount of energy concentrated in water pressure channeled through the hose to the nozzle. It is because that concentrated water is directed at the fire that the fire is put out. The same fire hose could be directed at the crowd watching the fire or up into the air. Directed at the fire, it does positive work. Aimed at the crowd it harms. Pointed in the air, the energy is wasted.
In the same way our mental energy is sometimes directed at the positive thoughts and sometimes pointed at the negative. In whatever direction we point the energy, the positive or negative thought will absorb it. It will feed on our energy and become bigger. So if we aim our energy at compassion, confidence, cooperation and trust, the result will be a greater expression of these qualities. If we direct the energy towards anger, fear, hatred and doubt, the emotional imbalance will be more. In both cases neither positive nor negative thought adds to our resource of energy. Like a parasite our energy is sucked away and our ability to deal with everyday life is reduced.
Yoga gives us a practical technique, a practical method for increasing our reserve of energy and controlling it, directing it, channeling it and converting it. It is a physical, mental and spiritual science.
What are we going to do with energy? How are we going to control it? Where are we going to direct it? Yoga is concerned with the spiritual conversion of energy. That method or science of conversion is yoga. The scientific process of conversion is possible by the authority of the spiritual master which is transferred to a single word called “mantra”. The concept of mantra can be illusrated by the following story.
A famous yogi was delivering a lecture to a large gathering at the University of Chicago in the United States. He was invited by the professors of that university and they advertised his lecture widely. During the lecture the yogi explained “mantra” in some detail. Later during the questioning period, one of the noted professors of the university asked a question. He said that he did not believe that a single word could change the mind or alter one’s view. The yogi bluntly answered, “Sit down, you are a fool.”
The word “fool” struck so hard and deep on the man’s pride that his face became red, his hands began to sweat and tremble and he started to shout in a rage. He pointed out that he was one of the professors instrumental in inviting the yogi to the university. He listed his qualifications which were many, having a long list of degrees. He made it dramatically clear that he was a man of great reputation and not to be so lightly called a “fool” in public.
After a few minutes of shouting from the professor, the yogi interrupted by saying, “You have just said that you do not believe that one word can change a man’s mind or alter his view, but with one word ‘fool’ I have changed your mind from tranquility to anger. This is the power of one word.”
Mantra is one word, but the power of that word is very special because it comes from the Guru, the one who has control over that spiritual realisation. Only the one who controls that unparalleled state can transfer or transfuse that power into a single word.
Just as the power of electricity is transfered to the car battery or blood energy is transfused to another person, so the power of the Guru is transfused or implanted in the mantra.
This mantra then has the power to convert positive and negative energy into inspiration and devotion. By constant repetition of that mantra the energy gets directed at the mantra, gets channeled to the mantra. The mantra by its power of conversion changes that energy to spiritual realization, an intense feeling of love arises from within.
The effort to channel or direct that energy to the mantra is our individual meditation. The result of our effort, the intense feeling of love for the Supreme, is the Guru’s gift. By our effort to channelize the energy, our component parts – physical, mental and spiritual – get revitalised, developed and we are capable of receiving the power of the Supreme realisation.
As we progressively experience that devotion, it inspires our thought and ideas. Those inspired thoughts and ideas express themselves through the motor organs as action and service. For example because of my meditation, I have experienced some devotion. This devotion inspires me to donate my un-used clothes to the poor.
The desire to donate the clothings to the poor is a thought inspired by my devotion. My motor organs of hands and feet collect the old clothes and carry them to distribute to the poor. The poor people may appreciate my donation and show their affection. I feel good. I did something good and they like me for it, so I feel good. Feeling good is a positive idea or thought.
However as a yogi I am not concerned with the positive or the negative. I direct the positive feeling toward the mantra and the energy gets converted into more devotion which inspires my thoughts to do greater service. The greater service gives me a greater positive feeling which I channel to the mantra to be converted into more and more devotion. So the more energy directed to the mantra, the greater the devotional experience. No matter what thought may arise in the mind, I will direct the energy of that positive or negative thought to the mantra.
In the same way I may get some negative feeling in the mind. I did something good, but it wasn’t appreciated. They didn’t like my action. I feel a negative thought in my mind. Nevertheless, I direct the energy of that thought to the mantra and the mantra will convert it into devotion which will inspire me to act again.
The same is true with problems also. The energy of my problem should be channeled to mantra. If I direct the energy of my problem to the mantra, the inspiration I derived from the devotion created will most likely give me the strength and courage to overcome the problem.
Problems are never greater than our capacity to solve them.
Therefore, if we increase our capacity through meditation, we will be able to solve the greatest problems. In this way we realise that problems are the helping force to conversion of energy into devotion and inspiration. This continuous process of thought energy directed at mantra, converted to devotion, inspiring thought acted out, resulting in thought energy again channeled to the mantra creates a dynamic effect.
This spiritual dynamo accelerates our physical, mental and spiritual progress and expands the mind leading to universal outlook and brotherhood. This process of acceleration and progressive expansion is symbolised by a unique formula expressed in the Pratika, the spiritual symbol of Tantra.
External or physical service acted out through the motor organs is symbolised by the triangle pointing upwards. Internal or spiritual service done through channelizing of mental energy to the mantra is symbolized by the triangle pointing downwards. By the interaction of these internal and external services, devotion is progressively realised.
This is symbolised by the rising sun. The culminating point or destination of the individual is universal brotherhood or universal outlook. Attaining that state of oneness with the Generator, Operator and Destroyer of this universe is symbolised by the swastika which means victory.
Therefore the formula is service + meditation = devotion, and devotion leads us to victory. This is the science of yoga; the process of progressive utilization. This is the way to infinite happiness.