All spiritual aspirants must keep two things in mind. First, they must practise asana regularly for at least fifteen minutes every day. The aged, too, should practise asana without fail. I am over eighty years of age, but I practise asana for fifteen minutes every day. Second, never forget to do at least five minutes japa of your guru mantra every morning and evening with a one-pointed mind. I have not said fifteen minutes, just five minutes. The practice of japa should not be done as and when you wish. The mantra has come from the guru, not from your own mind. A guru is necessary for attainment of any knowledge, and a guru is necessary also to attain knowledge of yoga.
Before practising japa, you should resolve that during the practice you will not think of the world, but remain one-pointed. It is important to realize that mantra is not only necessary, it is the foundation, the basis for making the mind one-pointed. To be able to make the mind one-pointed means acquiring the master key of life in your hands. If you want to control the destiny of your life, the only way is to learn the art of concentration. It does not matter whether one is a thief or a crook, a saint or a sage, young or old, pious, celibate or immoral. One whose mind enters the state of void acquires the key.
Entering the void, shoonya, means a state where there is no worldly awareness. This state of void has to be attained three times, not just once. What I am telling you about is the state of the first void. Om namah Shivaya, nothing else in the mind this is the state of the first void.
Kabir says that the supreme state that you want to attain is beyond the three states of void shoonya, shoonya, shoonya ke par. He said, Jagrat, swapna, sushupti jani, turiya tar milaya. It was when I realized the conscious, the dream and the deep sleep states that I tuned into the super-conscious state. Jagrat, wakeful or conscious, is the first state of void. Attain the first state of void in the awakened state, the second state of void, swapna, in the dream state, and the third state of void, sushupti, in the deep sleep state. Thereafter, the fourth state, turiya, will arrive.
I will try to explain this in a different way. The state which you are in at present, where the eyes are open, the mind is functioning, there is a relationship between the mind and the sense organs, is known as the conscious or wakeful state. From the five sense organs eyes, ears, skin, tongue and nose develop five perceptions sound, touch, form, taste and smell. As long as you are aware of these five perceptions, that state is known as the jagrat state. In this state, it is necessary to completely cut off the relationship with the sense perceptions for a few moments, five minutes are enough. If the bullet hits the target, then just one bullet is enough. If for one moment you enter the state of void, miracles will happen. For within rests the supreme soul. Kabir has said:
In this pitcher seven oceans exist,
Some are sweet, some are salty.
In this pitcher a million jewels exist,
Some are emeralds, some are diamonds.
In this pitcher the creator exists.
The creator cannot be seen. A doctor may cut you up, but he will not be able to see the creator or the seven seas. The marrow, bones and blood are visible. But the poet says that within this vessel, the body, exist nine million gems. There are seven seas within this vessel, some sweet and some salty. Within this vessel exists the creator. But you see nothing within. You only see blinding darkness. Now the question is, why cant you see anything?
You cannot see because you do not have the eyes. Without eyes, you cannot see an object, without the intellect you cannot see thoughts, without a microscope you cannot see bacteria. You cannot see nuclear radiation with your eyes or even with a microscope. Its sensor is different. To know any object, you need the right sensor. The sensor catches radio waves, laser rays and nuclear radiation, the things that cannot be seen. So, if an object cannot be seen, it does not mean that it does not exist. If an object cannot be seen, but all the saints and sages have said that it exists, and you say it does not, it is because you do not have the eyes to see it. To open those eyes, one-pointedness is the key, the path. It is through the path of concentration that you can go in. There is no other way. The temple, mosque, church, Bible, Bhagavad Gita or Ramayana are not the path. There is only one way: for just one moment try to become one-pointed.
Do not try to concentrate the mind for too long. I am giving you a warning, a danger signal. Those who try to concentrate their minds for too long, for an hour or an hour and a half, begin to get depressed. You might have noticed that the students who score the highest always appear to be self-absorbed, for the level of concentration of the student who is very bright is very high. Therefore, to become one-pointed, do your guru mantra for only five minutes. Do not try to meditate or concentrate at any time of the day. Do not assume the posture of padmasana at whim!
If you have a guru mantra, then the first thing to do is to start japa regularly and one-pointedly. Enjoy yourself the whole day long, do whatever you wish to, but resolve in your head that from today you will find five minutes at night for japa, no matter how much work you have or the troubles you are in. After all, you go to the toilet no matter what, so do this as well.
The day my guru gave me the mantra, he said, Five malas in the morning and five malas in the evening. I said to him, Only five malas? He said, Yes. I said, Shouldnt this be increased? He replied, Do you go on increasing the amount you eat every day? There is a rule for meals. If you do three malas today, and the next month ten, then twenty-five and then forty, you will get indigestion. Believe in this. I said, Swamiji, how then will I evolve? He said, If one who knows how to hit the target shoots just one bullet, it is enough. One who does not know how to hit the target may shoot a hundred bullets, but no one will die. What will you do by repeating ten malas?
My guru asked me to do five malas, but later I realized how difficult that is. I would sit, and after one mala my mind would be lost. The mala would drop from my hands; I would not even know whether I had crossed the sumeru. If you have ever experienced this, if you ever experience it, then you will know what I am talking about. I do not remember if I ever completed five malas. It would fall off, I would pick it up again, and then wonder where to begin. So I would begin from the beginning. The mala would again fall. When the mind becomes one-pointed, the connection with the senses is cut off. The fingers uncurl by themselves and the mala falls down. This is true, try concentrating and see. In that moment, there is only you, nothing else.
Now I am old, but I still do only five malas. I do not want to exceed this number, because Guruji used to say that if you do five malas properly, then even five malas are not necessary. If you do only one mala properly, even one mala is not necessary. If you believe that it is right to remain occupied in the objects of the world, then for one minute believe that it is wrong. For one minute remove your mind from the world so that instead of shooting a hundred arrows, you shoot only one, but like a sharpshooter who pierces his target. One mala is enough. This is what happened in my life.
Once I sat in padmasana, and the mala fell. I did not even realize that it had fallen. I relate this experience often. It must have been eight or nine in the evening. When I came to, it was four in the morning. I felt very happy, I thought I had attained samadhi. For eight hours I was sitting in padmasana, the body did not move, the mind did not move, and the mala fell a matter of great joy. So I sent a note to Swamiji describing the incident. Swamiji said, Samadhi is not childs play. Bar bar muni jatan karanhi, anta Rama kahin avata nahin (Again and again the sage tries, but at the end of his life the Lord still does not come.) After working for many lifetimes, finally the soul finds the supreme path. You say you achieved this in a night! You had fallen asleep, my son. He said this and I believed him.
The one-pointedness that I am talking about affects one at three places. The first effect is on the entire functioning of the body. The effects of concentration have been observed on the enzymes, hormones, DNA, the heart, lungs, brain, and so on. Read our books; they clearly state what kind of changes come about in the body through the practice of concentration. Second, it influences the receptivity and response levels of a person. Your responses and receptivity become sharper. Third, your capability to perform is enhanced.
For five minutes, repeat the same mantra, thats all. When you achieve this one-pointedness, then you will find the way to go in. And when you find the way to go in, your capacity to work and your responses will improve, whether in studies or elsewhere. There have been many great musicians and artists in the world. Michelangelo, for example. What an incredible work he did at the Vatican! He would climb up in the morning with a bottle of water, lie flat on the scaffolding, and go on painting the ceiling till evening. This is not normal, it is exceptional. Not only the spiritual path, but every path requires dedication. But spirituality is such a path that if you walk it, you can become a very good musician, sportsperson, yogi, ruler, poet, writer, politician and a crook too.
Swami Vivekanandas achievements were remarkable. He lived for only thirty-two years. Until he was eighteen, he was studying. So he had only ten or twelve years to work, but he performed a miracle. He could do this because his actions were of a very high level, his thoughts were solid and his plans were accurate. Another person born eighteen or nineteen hundred years before Swami Vivekananda also displayed exceptional calibre. This was Adi Shankaracharya. At the age of eight, he took sannyasa. Similarly, Swami Niranjan came to me at the age of four to take sannyasa and went abroad at the age of ten. This is unusual.
After taking sannyasa, Adi Shankaracharya came to the banks of the Narmada. He took initiation from Govindapada and stayed with him for a while. Then he went to Vyas Chatti, where he wrote commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, the Brahma Sutras and Upanishads, which are considered high literature all over the world today. Shankaracharya was able to do this because he was filled to the brim with spiritual consciousness. At eight Shankaracharya left home, at twenty-two he awakened the vedic dharma across the length and breadth of the country, and at thirty he died.
To make the mind one-pointed, the guru mantra is the foundation. Religion, rituals, behaviour or thinking are of no consequence. Go on doing japa for a year, two years, ten years . . . after all, it takes fifteen years to become an MBBS, and a similar amount of time to accomplish other sciences. If the doors open for you in fifteen or twenty years, consider it a wonderful thing. The mantra is the key to open the door. Learn how to go within with the mantra.
It is very difficult to go in. When you go within at night in your dreams, can you control your dreams? When you cannot control your thoughts, how will you control your dreams? When you cannot control your gross mind, how will you control your subtle mind? When you do not have control over your gross body, sthoola sharira, how then will you control your subtle body, sukshma sharira? And if you do not have control over your subtle body, how will you control your causal body, karana sharira? The causal body wakes up in the deep sleep state, the state of nidra. In the dream state, you experience the subtle body. In the state of wakefulness, you experience the gross body.
There are three bodies gross, subtle and causal. The states of jagrat, swapna and sushupti are connected with the gross, subtle and causal bodies. In the state of deep sleep, the individual goes into the causal body. However, you do not have control over sleep, or dreaming, or anger. You should not get angry, but you do. There is no control, just as a lame person knows that stairs can be climbed, but he cannot climb them. He knows that it is possible to run, but he cannot do it. We know that anger can be controlled, but we cannot do it. We do not have control over any of the modifications of the mind. So I have placed all these things in front of you. Dont try too many different things, just hold on to a small thing and walk on.