An example of spiritual inspiration
(… continued from ‘Spiritual force’)
The last form of force is ‘inspired force’. Our teacher gave the example of the Manchu emperor, K’ang Hsi, who was confronted (as had his predecessors) with the Mongols. They were still furiously aggressive – although they couldn’t easily get together, as they were constantly quarrelling among themselves. He introduced Buddhism there by building monasteries for really learned and pious monks. They converted the Mongols to Buddhism, and the Buddhist tradition in Mongolia was very strong. It ended with the last – the living Buddha – whom our teacher, in fact, made a pilgrimage to go to see.
We say, “Well, what would be an example of spiritual inspiration, spiritual force in our own day?” In one of the not very advanced states in India, near the beginning of the century, they wanted to introduce cholera injections, but the conservatives vigorously opposed this. “We have never done this before, we have never done this before”, that was the nature of the conservative opposition. To force this would have meant to impose it, by law, against the opposition of most of the people and against the opposition of the intellectual and Brahmin class. It would have run on against this opposition for a long, long time and would have created great trouble.
But the prime minister, Panikkar, was himself a scholar of Vedanta and a religious man who practised meditation. So he meditated and he came up with a solution. He collected a team of young pundits and he said to them, “Now, I want you to go through the very ancient medical texts, Charaka Sushruta and others, and find out whether there is anything at all like this idea of a cholera.” So they busily scoured the texts, and they found that, in fact, in very early times Hindu medicine had practised smallpox inoculation, breaking the surface of the skin.
Then he organised a great debate with the orthodox pundits and his team of young pundits, and they produced these texts. As he said, “Fortunately, the Indian intellectuals, Brahmins, are logical people. When I showed them that, far from never having done this before, we had done this long before the West thought of it, and that now we would be reviving something we had done before, they withdrew all their opposition and they joined vigorously in the campaign to have everybody inoculated.”
Well, this is a parallel to the example which our teacher gives of spiritual force. Through the meditation practices, the spiritual inspiration, we begin to see clearly. When we begin to see clearly, most of the difficulties in our life begin to disappear. For instance, one teacher used to say, “There is no need to practise humility. Just look at the facts”, and the facts are that the triumph with which people can become so conceited are, in fact, minute things when we look round and see what others have done.
This is a little bit of an introduction on force – it is to spiritualise physical force and make mental force independent of the boxing gloves, to be able to think clearly and simply and purely and then to forget. Then there is spiritual inspiration, searching the ancient texts in order to checkmate and, in fact, to bring into cooperation the conservative opposition.
In this talk on meditation, as we are working through the Meditation Handbook (Meditation – Its Theory and Practice), I have given these examples of force because our teacher discusses it in connection with meditation. Now we are moving on to section two of the meditation. It is assumed that the meditations in section one have been done for at least a fortnight – the text says, ‘… when you have some facility in the meditations in part one’, that is that we are assuming it. Now we are moving to the second part: the breathing practice which purifies and steadies the mind – both, it purifies and steadies the mind – for twenty-one breaths.
Our teacher, in introducing this breathing practice at the beginning of the passage in the Handbook, has this to say, ‘Man is a replica of the Universe. As there are solar systems and galactic and other systems in the Universe, so are they represented in man. Not only that, but there is a direct correspondence between man and all the centres of the Universe. When you have taken the twenty-one breaths in relaxation and have opened up your physiological and mental structures to the whole Universe, with which they are connected, you will feel a kind of peace, a kind of delight, which is not created by contact of the senses with any object’.
The practice which he gives is first of all to focus the mind on the navel. We can bunch the fingers to help the focus – press in about half an inch below the navel, and push the fingers against the muscles. There is a little after-sensation there. So, if we just do that and bring the mind to this point – bunch the fingers, press in just below the navel, and then keep the attention on this point for about a minute. Om.
© Trevor Leggett
(Continued in ‘Prajapati’)
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Spiritual force
Part 3: King Ashwapati