We used to write with a pen, dipping it into the ink. Now we have these biros; you just write and the ink comes flowing. Well, if you’re old enough to remember when the fountain pen first came in, oh, it was wonderful. There was this constant dipping. And if you dipped, got too much ink on the nib, it would blot, you see, on the paper, so you had to put it in, and then you did that, and then you wrote. The fountain pen, wonderful. People could hardly believe it.
Some of the old scholars, even with a fountain pen, they’d be constantly going, “Oh.” They couldn’t really grasp it. And then gradually… Some of the pupils of an old scholar; he couldn’t rid himself of this old idea, so he was dipping his fountain pen into the ink, you see? So what they did was they put an empty inkwell there. So he could put it in, his fountain pen, and then gradually he got used to the idea.
Now, this wonder has disappeared. This has gone. We don’t see this. In the same way, our perceptions are dulled. Small children still see colours, still get the pleasure from movement. But not the older people. It’s all depressed and dull. We no longer see. And we no longer become aware of ourselves in this pattern. There’s a divine pattern, which is seeking to actualise itself. And if by meditation we can begin to discard our selfishness and our prejudices, and our fixed habits, then we can begin to become open to something which isn’t streamed through. Then what we do, and what we say, and what we don’t say, will become spiritually effective.
This is the search on the outer scale. First, he saw in his meditation, and he actually experienced the world as consisting of matter. Clashing, mindless, purposeless. And many people in depression still feel this. Illogically, sometimes. People like Russell will say, “Oh, I can easily imagine a time before there was any consciousness at all, when the Earth was just a blazing mass of rock.” But if you think what he’s saying – ‘rock’? That’s a human word. ‘Rock’ depends on human perceptions. There was no rock if there was no consciousness at all. There will only have been the fundamental particles. So although Russell has dismissed consciousness, he has this picture of the blazing Earth, blazing mass of rock, molten rock, he’s put consciousness back again in order to make his description.
But still, in spite of the illogicality, he held to this view, and it is a view that we can become overwhelmed with. Meaningless, purposeless universe. And the second one is energy. Begins to become aware, not of the chemical energy, not of the electrical energy, but of pranic energy, which is coming up through life into greater and greater complexity. And which even in the universe outside, it shows itself in forms; can change the universe.
Then, mind. That there are mental energies. That the controls, the laws of nature are controls, and our basic physics theory tells us this. There’s chaos, at the lowest level. But there’s regularity higher up. Well, that means that regularity must be imposed. Chaos by itself can’t produce regularity. So there is a regularity being imposed. Then there is a purpose, and to try to come into touch with that purpose, and to try to see, become aware of that purpose, and to know that we ourselves are part of that purpose, and that we’ve been given some discretion and some free will, and rather than blaming the cosmic purpose, to examine my own role. Why does God allow evil? Why do I commit evil? “You are God. Why do you do these things?”
Then lastly, there is this experience of light, which Pasteur had at certain moments, but not at others. And this is the Yoga experience. There is an experience – well, it can only be called light – in which the different elements are seen to be on a common basis, and to have purpose and beauty.
We go to King Lear; we see a man with his eyes being put out. “Oh.” But the whole drama is a masterpiece. This is one of the examples that Shankara gives. Terror, and yet the whole thing is a masterpiece. And this again touches near, touches on one of the riddles.
This is the external search described in the Upanishad. These five layers of experience, which can be entered into by meditation, momentarily. Intellectually, we can understand a bit about them, but that’s not experiencing. No, when this outline has been grasped, then the time comes when we now confront this as a riddle. The riddle of the universe.
These are theoretical, theoretical answers, when we read about them. How are they going to be actually brought into practice, and not just disappear like dreams? Pasteur; “Oh yes, he was a great scientist, yes, an inspiration. Where’s the inspiration in the individual, the ordinary individual? What form’s that going to take? We’re not scientists. We haven’t got the money for laboratory.”
Well, Pasteur didn’t have much money either. They’d just lost the Franco-Prussian war, 1870. But anyway, he was a trained scientist. Basically, he was an artist, when he was young. He failed – no, not failed – he did very badly in his first exams, in Paris; took them again. He wasn’t, he didn’t have this tremendous natural brilliance, equipment. Not like the typical scientist, who makes one tremendous discovery when he’s very young, and then lives on that for the rest of his life. Pasteur made five separate and vitally important new revolutionary discoveries in his life. He had this modesty and this vision of light, which made him continuously productive.
How is this going to apply to ourselves, as individuals?
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1 : Progressive Meditation The 5 Sheaths
Part 3 : Yogic meditation is to go deeper
Part 5 : The universe is bliss and light