Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What really evolves? Sahaj Marg says…

During his recent stay at Manapakkam Ashram for about 3 weeks or so, the President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission, Shri. Kamlesh D. Patel gave a few talks, a couple of which were directed towards the process of evolution. I was lucky to listen to two of his talks and based on what I heard from Shri. Kamlesh, the Master of Sahaj Marg and Spiritual Successor of Chariji Maharaj, and based on further introspection, I present the following points on this topic.

Spiritual science talks a lot about evolution, progress, growth, transformation, change, becoming, etc., all very confusing and rightly so. Shri. Kamlesh D. Patel, in his talks covered this topic and at least for me, he de-mystified this topic to a great extent and I take this opportunity to expand on this topic.

So, in the context of the spiritual journey of a practitioner, what really evolves? Is it the body, any aspect of the mind or the soul? Let us take the body first. Right from the instant of conception, as cells begin to divide, the body goes through its evolutionary process right in the womb itself and it continues as the body grows. But this growth / evolution is purely morphological, a change in form. It is said that the body goes through the shapes of various forms within the womb itself and then from a baby to a child and then to an adult. This growth is limited in scope and we all know about it and it is a topic for biology and enough research has been done from that perspective in science.

Now, let us talk about the evolution of the soul. Does the soul really evolve? Shri. Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, affectionately known as Chariji Maharaj has given extensive talks in this topic in his series of books, “The Principles of Sahaj Marg”, and clarified that the soul being pure and an “amsha” (element) of the divine, is already completely pure and nothing to evolve into. The Yogic literature talks about this fact at length as well, emphasizing the fact that the soul that is encompassed within this body is pure and has no characteristics to either evolve or devolve.

So, we are left only with the mind. Now, what really evolves in the mind? The mind, according to Indian philosophy and various Eastern traditions and spiritual sciences, has 4 components to it. These components are, the mind (manas), the consciousness (chit), the intellect (buddhi), and the ego (ahamkar). Of these 4 components, the consciousness is the playing ground for the other 3 components and based on the refinement of these 3 components, the level of consciousness is “adjusted” if such a word can be used for consciousness.

Looking into the 3 components and their roles, let us start with the first one, the mind. This is the mental aspect, the thinking aspect of the overall mind and its interfacing with the 5 senses. The Sahaj Marg way of Heartfulness meditation helps in regulating this component, bringing it under control. Considering the Heart as the seat of the soul, through Heartfulness meditation, the mental tendencies gets regulated and refined and one can say the mind begins to listen to the heart.

Next, we come to the intellect component of the mind. Here, we talk about knowledge versus wisdom. As one slowly progresses along the spiritual path of Sahaj Marg, through the work of the great Masters and the transmission that the practitioner receives, the Intellect gets refined to a great extent in a slow and subtle way. Whereas one initially tend to depend on the mind and on knowledge, the progression of the practitioner in the spiritual journey makes him more and more depend on his heart and a unique sense of wisdom and intuition develops in him. This happens in a very natural way in the practitioner’s journey, which is one reason why this system of Sahaj Marg is also called as the Natural Path meditation.

When we address the ego, Babuji Maharaj has talked about it and said that the ego cannot be killed or dissolved because if one does not have ego, he becomes a vegetable without the capacity to do anything. In fact, it is the ego that gives the drive force for one to say ‘I can’ or do anything. But, to attain higher levels of consciousness, the ego has to sublimated to a great extent. In Sahaj Marg, through the practice of Constant Remembrance and by gradually and naturally developing love and devotion for the Master, the practitioner can greatly reduce the effects of ego on his system. The practitioner now begins to understand that it is only the Master who is the real doer and that he is just an instrument in the hands of his maker and must tune himself to become a pure and un-obstructive instrument to get the work done.

So, by sublimating the ego, refining the intellect and regulating the mind, a person’s consciousness levels can be raised to great heights and it can reach the levels of divine consciousness. But as Babuji explains, most of these concepts have to be only experienced and cannot be talked about beyond a certain level. However, from all this explanation, one thing that comes out it is that, it is only the consciousness that evolves, from its current level of consciousness, progressively to higher levels of consciousness, super consciousness, and divine level of consciousness. This progressive growth or evolution or transformation of the conscious being is in-fact the sum and substance of a spiritual journey.
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