It is a great experience to meet an enlightened man, but it is even greater to experience the master within oneself. To a true disciple, no matter where the guru is, whether he is nearby or lives thousands of miles away, in the disciple's heart he remains without separation. No distance of miles, furlongs, kilometres, meters, feet or inches exists between the guru and disciple.
Through such practices as chidakasha dharana, we can experience the presence of the guru, the great master, within us. Everybody who tries to experience guru or God within himself is opening the tunnel to that cave where the infinite and supreme source is located. Where is that tunnel and cave? It is within the chidakasha, the space of consciousness, where you can experience infinity or the presence of the divine. When that centre is exploded, the divine faculties become known. You experience your inner self as the wise and supreme guru, who shows you that you are the infinite one.
Chidakasha is associated with ajna chakra, the guru chakra. The symbol of ajna is the two petalled lotus. On the left petal is written the mantra Ham and on the right is Ksham. The right petal represents pingala nadi which corresponds to the sympathetic nervous system, while the left represents ida nadi and corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system. In the centre of this symbol is Om, which represents sushumna and corresponds to the central nervous system. Sushumna is responsible for awakening the divine qualities in man. Above the Om is a straight line signifying that ida, pingala and sushumna merge at ajna and rise up to sahasrara as one force.
Ida, pingala and sushumna are represented here by these three qualities existing in nature: tamas, rajas and sattva; the animal, human and divine qualities. So, when sushumna merges with ida and pingala at ajna chakra, then all the higher qualities pertaining to this chakra explode. When you practise concentration and contemplation on the inner space at ajna, this explosion becomes possible. The opening of ajna chakra helps you to awaken inner knowledge. Through this opening yogis experience that which is beyond sensory perception.
As well as chidakasha, which is cantered at ajna chakra, there is another space within, which is concerned with emotion or devotion. This space is called hridayakasha because it is situated at the heart centre where, with the help of devotion, you can feel the presence of God or guru within you. Here lies the tunnel or the secret pathway to infinity. It is emotion which can lead you straight to the divine, within this very lifetime. However, if misdirected, this emotion can also retard your progress and bring out your lower characteristics as well.
Chidakasha dharana is a very sacred and secret technique of tantra. It leads to the state of meditation and tranquillity of mind. It also balances the emotions and creates equilibrium in the physical body. Chidakasha dharana is concentration and contemplation on the inner space which is neither physiological nor psychological.
Stage one: letting the visions come
Now, please get ready for the practice of chidakasha dharana.
Sit in any comfortable meditative posture with your eyes closed.
Try to visualize the space in front of the closed eyes. Observe this space without any analysis or judgement. Try to enter that infinite space which has neither dimension nor colour. During the practice, various colours, forms or illumination may appear. This may be due to physiological fluctuations in the body, emotional suppression, or the release of old samskaras or impressions stored in the subconscious mind as archetypes. When these samskaras are released, they emerge in the form of thoughts, visions, dreams and emotional expressions.
Remain with your eyes closed and be aware of the inner space.
This is the akasha of chitta, the space of the mind or consciousness.
Simply observe whatever appears there, whether darkness, light or colour; a tree, flower, human being, photo, painting or statue. Just keep the eyes closed and let the visions come. They may be static or changing. Keep on watching whatever arises in your mental space, whether pleasant or unpleasant. You don't have to judge or discriminate. Just observe.
Stage two: single vision
Remember to keep the eyes closed. Do not open them until I ask you to.
Keep the body steady and still, like a statue. As the body becomes immobile, the inner vision moves and changes less.
Sometimes one form will remain for some time and then take another shape, or it may keep changing continuously.
Go on watching your mental space until your eyes and eyelids become more relaxed, and the visions become fewer.
Now with the eyes still closed, try to steady your vision and focus on one object of your choice, whatever you can comfortably maintain.
Amongst all the thousands of visual objects, choose one which you can continue to focus on: an image of your gum, a picture, statue, person, plant, leaf, flower, painting, colour, darkness or light. Choose anything which you can pleasantly and comfortably maintain in your chidakasha, in front of your closed eyes.
Try to witness the vision you have chosen, whether it continues or disappears.
Keep the same vision continuously. It should not come in any other form. For instance, if you are trying to see your guru sitting in a meditative pose, then do not accept his standing form. If a vision comes of him talking to you or blessing you, still try to return to the same vision of him sitting in a meditative pose. Continue visualizing whatever you have chosen and reject all other forms.
Try to make the vision as real as the material object, just as real as if you were looking at it with your eyes open.
Stage three: infinite space
Now, when the vision becomes as steady, firm and clear as normal reality, you should then try to remove it. Become visionless. Do not visualize anything. Just become aware of the infinite, inner space.
Infinity is neither dark nor light. It has no colour, form or dimension. Try to find that infinite, expansive space by awakening ajna chakra, the guru chakra. Now, from this space, you must come back to your external awareness. Become aware of your physical body and anything you may be feeling, whether physical, mental or emotional, comfortable or uncomfortable, pleasant or unpleasant, calm or disturbed. Just become aware of whatever you are feeling. Then become aware of yourself practising chidakasha dharana, of the people and the room surrounding you. Become aware of your whole environment. Now, chant Om three times.
Inhale deeply and exhale, chanting Omm, Omm, Omm. Gradually move the physical body and open your eyes.
N.B. By the practice of chidakasha dharana, hundreds of divine powers can be derived, but the most important is the achievement of the state of meditation. Many other faculties of the mind open, even before the state of meditation is reached. They are called siddhis or powers, and you have to bypass them if you wish to achieve the final state of meditation. If you get lost in those siddhis, then the actual state of meditation will not be achieved. So the siddhis are not to be practised or taught. They are to be safeguarded and used only for the achievement of meditation.