Shankara lived 700 A.D. and he was not a great lover of the cities. At that time well for a few centuries before that India was the richest country in the world. In the Roman Empire it was estimated that every year a million gold pieces went out of the Roman Empire to India for the finest lace and the wooden artefacts and the ivory and even today on the West coast of India they sometimes find hordes of golden coins which were buried. India was enormously rich enormously sophisticated. Some of the dramas of the time tell us just how well partially refined but also partly degraded the cities were so Shankara tended to believe in the life of scholars living in the country outside the cities. And the examples he gives are often from the country. He’ll give examples from farming examples from milk churning things like that. These are examples which we most of us are not too familiar with this today most very few of us have ever churned any butter and we might have considerable difficulty in getting any butter out of some milk. But in his day it was very familiar so his examples were given like that. Now my teacher used to give examples from modern life sometimes examples from science and he recommended his pupils to study science as an aid to clear thinking science and logic philosophy and to study the arts as an aid to clear feeling.
One of the things he said was this ‘Don’t think in long waves think in short waves’. Now this refers to the radio as you know. The long waves in the radio they travel near the surface of the earth and they don’t go far. Radio waves travel like light in straight lines and the long waves keep to the earth. When Marconi got going on the short waves he surprised the scientists at the time by saying that the short waves could travel long distances but that was obviously ridiculous it was known they went in straight lines so the curvature of the earth would mean that the short wave like a light beam would go there and then go up into space it couldn’t be heard there. But Marconi being a man of not much education he never went to a University he determined to do the experiments although it was absolutely ridiculous so he had the transmitters and the receivers in Cornwall and in Newfoundland and he tried sending these signals which as the mathematicians pointed out would simply go into space. But to everybody’s amazement except Marconi’s the signals were heard the short waves were reflected from the ionosphere as it was later called and came down. The short waves can trap it. Now my teacher used this as an example. He said ‘Think in short waves not in long waves’. *****************************************************************
The line represents the spiritual path. If we think in long waves we think of it there at the far end. Then something external happens Well, I’ve got to go to a meeting that morning and then I’ve got to do some shopping and buying things. So it’s quite a long time before I get back. When I get back for lunch I think ‘Oh yes now I was thinking about that yoga process now what were they saying about the Gunas ? Yes think about that for a bit just a little bit’. Then a tremendous lot of memories from the past come up some fuss we had or some fuss that’s blowing up like a storm cloud so I forget all about the yoga or the spiritual path in my memories, hopes, fears, anxieties and ambitions. Then some hours later I come back to it again and then the external things for some hours then I come back to this for some hours Now this is thinking in long waves. Perhaps three or four times a day the thought is revived in me. To make those waves shorter and to begin though deflected but to come back more rapidly after an hour deflected into the internal world but to come back after an hour then narrower still to come back every half hour to come back every ten minutes to come back every five minutes. More and more frequently so that the periods have also become a background to my ordinary thinking and finally it stops on this point. Now this was an example that he gave ‘Don’t think in long waves think in short waves’. He’s speaking about living in the world. But when it becomes very intense returning constantly again and again to the yoga the time will come in meditation when it’ll stop and there won’t be these distractions.
A light of mixed colours, they’re of different wavelengths. There are some relatively short ones and some longer ones though different. They never peak together you see these clash these are nearly peaking together these are clashing again these are clashing again and this one is clashing with that one they don’t beat together and they couldn’t because they’re of different wavelength. And our ordinary thinking is like this. I’ve got what I’m actually doing at the office or when I’m cooking not that I can cook but if I could cook what I would be doing when I was cooking here. Then there’s a sort of dream going on all the time about how I’m going do somebody down up the street or how we can form get a majority on some little local committee while I’m cooking and that’s going on at the same time. And then there’s a sort of nagging thought which goes on I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here or I’ve got a cold I’ve got a cold I’ve got a cold I’ve got a cold I’ve got a cold I’ve got a cold or Why does she say that? Why does she say that? Why does she say that? Why does she say that? Why does she say that? Why does she say that? I’m cooking at the same time I’m doing my little plotting at the same time but all the time I’ve got this Why? Why? Why? …Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? that’s going on.
This is the ordinary ordinary way of stream of thought. Now in the first stage of the meditation the thought is focused onto one place and the thoughts that come directed to one place. Now we have had in the yoga practice sessions bringing the mind back to a central line. To sit pass the finger down in front of the body. Then using that after-sensation down to the navel from between the brows using the after-sensation to bring the mind back to this point. It runs away to the new lawnmower we’re thinking of getting and back. It runs away into memories ‘I wonder what Auntie’s left me in her will if anything you never know with Auntie’ come back. Gradually the thoughts can be brought back into a line. Now it’s like this one It’s the same quality of thought but the beats are still different. You can see there’s a regular clash here a slight beat against it but they’re all of the same wavelength as you can see. This is all red light and it means this is the Dhyana the state of meditation when the new thought is similar to the previous thought this is the definition. Now in this one where they’re all clashing against each other each instant is different because they’re clashing so each instant is different. But in this one though there is a clash but each instant is the same as the previous cycle and this is a steady flow of ideas of the same general nature. And this produces begins to produce cool, calm stream of thought which can be directed. It doesn’t have this I’m here I’m here I’m here It’s me It’s me It’s me Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? and it doesn’t have these interruptions it’s just this one here. If I’m cooking I’m only cooking not making little plots not suspecting other people of making little plots but only cooking. If I’m meditating then only meditating the same thought. We can say ‘Well that’s fine yes very nice harmonious
But the fact is man’s in a prison This is light it’s very nice to have your prison lit up it’s a lot better it doesn’t get you out does it? No amount of light is going to get through the iron walls, is it?’ Well we now know that that’s not so. If these if the crests are all brought together here so that they beat together That’s the laser and that can burn through a thick iron plate in a minute. The samadhi state when the new thought is identical not like but identical all the time can affect our karma very powerfully and so affect the outer state as well as the inner state ‘This is what makes’ Shankara says ‘intense karma which fructifies very quickly’. ‘Normally’ he says in his Patanjali commentary ‘karma will fructify in the next life but intense karma which is done with devotion with mantra and with samadhi the samadhi state will fructify quickly in this life. Or by devotion to God if there is samadhi on God then too there will be a quick fructification of the karma.’
© Trevor Leggett