Articles by Sri Rajen Vakil

Article 65 - Presence and Present


All spiritual seekers would find it very rewarding to read the works of the American teacher EJ Gold. One of his very profound statements is "Invoke the presence of your Presence in the present".

The present is a part of time and Presence is a part of eternity. We experience the world through the five senses. Each moment, the senses take a photograph of life which we register as a single frame in the mind. It is this photograph of the senses which we experience as the present moment. It is just a point. The mind joins several such points to make a series of pictures. In doing so it experiences a feeling of movement, the joining of dots to form a line. It is this moving feeling we call time. For his convenience, man has divided time into minutes and seconds, but this does not convey what is happening at the sensual and mental level.

Our minds are always in the past or future i.e. we are constantly brooding or daydreaming. Thus except when we are in a state of fascination, we are never in this small point called the present moment. Now if we can make an effort to hold our minds in the present moment, we get a feeling of ourselves in the present. Till now we were never in the present but we now feel our own Presence in the present.

Thus we have two separate feelings. One is of the point called the present moment which is continuously changing with every event and moment in life, and another of ourselves being present or our Presence which never changes. The longer we hold on to these separate feelings, the deeper and more powerful they become. We will then experience life in two separate dimensions simultaneously. In one everything is a flux and constantly changing, and in the other we are eternally Present.

Everything that happens in our lives moves along one line of time from birth to death. This line is made up of innumerable dots or present moments. The past is past and cannot change. But Presence is always here. It is neither part of birth or death, nor past or future. It sees the whole line as one dot. This is eternity.

Article 64 - Observing the Psyche


To observe the workings of our psyche is a very long endeavour and requires immense patience. Let us try to see some of these workings.

Can we see how everything keeps changing within us? How one moment we are happy but become irritated the next when someone we dislike calls to say he is coming to meet us? Can we see how we suddenly turn superstitious when a cat crosses our path or the milk boils over? Can we hear our inner conversations? There is always a crowd of people talking within us.

We are always caught up in what others think of us. Did he just insult me? Does she appreciate my efforts? Very often, we feel misunderstood by our partner. But do we see how we want to be better than the other? How we always find fault with the other? How we love to show off? Do we see how we project an exterior of being modest, generous and simple, while we are totally different inside?

How within our minds, we live in fear, conflict and anxiety, but show people that nothing upsets or scares us? Do we see how we get irritated and angry when a desire remains unfulfilled?

Can we see how we have psychological hungers? How we feel compelled to tell another person what we think of him? How we like to gossip and are attracted to scandal? How we love to complain about everything? How we have an opinion on everything?

Do we see how we live in the past and escape cold, hard facts by saying ‘If only...’. If only I had a better education. If only my parents had treated me better. If only he had come to my help.

Do we see our contradictions? When we fail at something, we peg it down to destiny or believe life is conspiring against us.

As we slowly begin to observe our psyche, we realise that all these thoughts and emotions are merely continuous leakages of energy. If we can observe and be free of them, we can lead a more happy and peaceful life.

Yes, it is possible to separate from what we are.

Article 63 - Inner Sunrise and Sunset


Every day, at the time of waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night, we experience two very important gaps which most of us do not use at all. Just before awakening, there is a brief period when we are no longer asleep but have not fully woken up. Similarly, just before falling asleep at night, we experience that gap where we are neither awake nor asleep.

Modern-day dream psychologists are conducting a lot of research just on these two spaces. They say that if we can remain in this space for longer periods of time, it changes the quality of our entire day and at night, the depth of our sleep changes and our dreams become more lucid. In these half-dream states, we experience meditative peace, the brain moves into an alpha rhythm and we become very intuitive. One is able to visualise all the actions required for the day in this highly intuitive state.

When we consider the symbolic meaning of Arjuna asking the lord Sri Krishna to ride his chariot in between the two armies, we realise the depth and possibilities in these two intervals which my teacher called our inner sunrise and sunset. In the shastras, the rishi Yagnavalkya explains to the king Janaka the deeper mysteries of sleep. He says that in deep sleep, the soul goes to meet the spirit, bathes in him and on awakening, comes back refreshed. Yes, the Geeta is not something that happened, but if we can take our consciousness deeper in these gaps, we may hear it NOW.

My teacher gave us a technique to work in these gaps. While lying in bed at night, wait till you start to feel sleepy. As soon as one feels reasonably sleepy, begin an inner recital of the mantra, 'Om Satyam Param Dhimahi' - ‘I meditate on the Absolute Truth.’ Say this for a few minutes and drift into sleep. Similarly, on awakening, do not just jump out of bed; wait and enjoy the half-sleep state. Feel all the energies of the body rising. Say the mantra for a few minutes.


Article 62 - Dhrishtadyumna


Last week, we looked at double-arrowed attention. Now we come to the warrior in the Mahabharata who represents this.

‘Dhris’ means bold and paired with ‘dyumna’, it means the boldness to look at the reactions in our mind. If your son should fall ill, it becomes very difficult to separate and observe the situation impartially. It is this boldness that Dhrishtadyumna represents. To give birth to this faculty within our psychic nature requires a certain kind of inner transformation.

Dhrishtadyumna’s father is Drupad. ‘Dru’ means fast and ‘pad’ is feet. Drupad is insulted by his friend Drona. But instead of complaining about his insult like we often do, he creates a yagna. That is, he transforms the pain or heat of the insult to create a fire inside. Dhrishtadyumna is the faculty of inner observation born of that fire. He rises out of the fire fully grown, a crown on his head, bow and sword in his hands. This power of inner observation starts immediately once we are able to look inside, we do not have to spend time creating it. The crown represents consciousness, the sword the power to will away negativity and the bow the power of holding attention.

The Pandavas, disguised as Brahmins, came to Drupad’s court where Arjuna won the hand of Draupadi. Drupad was worried as to their identity. So Dhrishtadyumna went secretly into the palace that the Pandavas were staying in and observed them from behind a pillar. This is the technique of self-observation - if our anger knew it was being observed, it would hide immediately.

At the time of the war, Dhirishtadyumna becomes the commander of the Pandava army and arranges the different formations on the battlefield. Once we have this capacity of inner observation, everything that is disorderly in our mind and psyche automatically starts arranging itself. This inner light puts our thoughts, emotions and sensitivities into order. At present, we have no control over our thoughts and feelings, and they control us completely.

Dhrishtadyumna kills Drona while he is sitting in meditation. Drona represents our whole structure of habits - intellectual, emotional and moving. All students of spirituality work for freedom from habits. When a habit is in operation, we are hypnotised by it and so it can only be killed when non-operational.