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Hear, Concentrate, Meditate, Dissolve
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Acharya Prashant: Verse one, I am simplifying as I read these out, says ‘listening is to pursue by means of sentences their import’. Listening has been defined. Listening is to pursue by means of sentences their import.

Then thinking has been defined. ‘Thinking consists in perceiving the consistency of sentences with reason’. Then meditation has been talked of. ‘Meditation is indeed the exclusive attention of the mind fixed on (the import) rendered indubitable through listening and thinking’. So, listening has happened, thinking has happened. Now, that which has become indubitable, credible, certain through listening and thinking has to be attended to. So, meditation is the exclusive attention of the mind on that which has been proven through listening and thinking.

Then, concentration. It has been defined this way; 'concentration is said to be the mind which outgrowing the dualism between the meditator and meditation, gradually dwells exclusively on the object of meditation and is like a flame in the windless spot.' And, then he has quoted me. 'Intelligence is that which enables you to simply see, intelligence is that which reduces the whole clutter and wipes away the dirt, intelligence is your fundamental nature, intelligence is the settlements of the mind, live in intelligence'. And, then he says, 'Explain everything. How do these activities of mind lead to its settlement? How does intelligence take over?'

First of all, Abhilash (Questioner) the translation is not quite accurate. That, which is been talked of as concentration here is not really concentration. If the topic of the course is Advaita Vedānta , I don’t know how the readings have been decided and which particular books are been referred to. In fact, why only Adhyatma Upanishad is there? I don’t know how the readings have been selected. If the topic is Advaita Vedānta , go to the principal Upanishads - Katha, Kena, Isha, Chāndogya, Bṛhadāraṇyaka. I am not sure why these particular readings are being dealt with.

Now, what are you asking, ‘Please help me understand all these better. How do these activities lead to your own settlement, intelligence can take over?' In the verses from the Upanishads that you have quoted, so, these four things have been talked of- listening, thinking, meditation, concentration.

Concentration that has been talked of here is actually Samādhi . Listening is been talked of here is actually just hearing. So, hearing is to pursue by means of sentences their import. Hearing simply means; taking the sentence, taking the gross word. Let the sound wave strike your eardrums. Let your brain receive the signal i.e., hearing. Let the sound wave strike your eardrums. Let your consciousness receive the signal that something has been communicated to you. That much is hearing. Obviously, hearing has to be there, without that things can’t even begin.

Then there is thinking. So, hear then think about it. What does it mean to think? The Upanishad says, 'To think is to measure the consistency of the heard sentence, the heard input with the real reason.' See, whether what is being said is logical. See whether what is being said is factual. See, whether what is being said abides by the ‘law of cause and effect’. See, whether what is being said is ‘self-contradictory’. That is then - Thinking.

And, then meditation is been talked of. 'Exclusive attention of the mind fixed on the import rendered indubitable through listening and thinking’. So, now that the heard word has passed the test of reason. So, you believe in it. Right? It has obtained for itself a certain creditability. You heard it, you examined it, you find it reasonable. So, it has some weight. Therefore, you can give yourself to it even more. Meditation then; is to concentrate on, focus on what that sentence is saying. And because all of this is being referred to in a spiritual environment, therefore, the sentence you’re hearing obviously has Truth as its import. What else do you hear in a spiritual milieu? All sentences that deal with Truth. So, Truth is the import of the sentence. Meditation is the mind attending only to the Truth. So, a sentence about the Truth came to you. You, first of all, made yourself physically and sensually available to hear. If you’re not physically available, if your ears are not open, then the beginning itself won’t take place. First of all, you let the sentence be heard. Then, you critically examine the sentence. And, you said, "At the level of reason, the sentence appears important, worthy, good enough to be taken forward". And, then you meditate on it. You said, "Right, the sentence is talking of Truth, what is this Truth? I see its importance; I see its total importance. How do I be available to it?" And, the more you proceed on this line, the more you find that you’re insufficient. So, you give more of yourself to this process.

Seeking the Truth demands all your resources. And when all your resources are demanded then you withdraw your resources from elsewhere. Pursuing the Truth is a giant enterprise. You will need to pool in everything that you have. So, you will have to call back your forces from various fronts they are deployed at. You will say, "You too come in, you too come in, all of you are needed here, something very important is happening here. You know, we are pursuing the Truth. And, it requires everything that I have and much more." So, the attention is then exclusive. All your other affairs drop. You cannot be parallelly, simultaneously be engaged with Truth and something else. If you’re engaged with truth and something else, then you will not have the energy to do justice to the Truth. And, in the competition between Truth and something else, the something else will always prevail. There is a clear reason. That something else is little. So, it can survive with your little dedication. That something else is small, mediocre. So how much attention does it need? Small, little. How much does Truth need? Everything. Let’s say you have ten units of resources. And there is Truth and there is something else. Something else just needs one unit of resources, it is small, frugal. Truth requires all ten units that you have. And you say, "Oh I am greatly dedicated towards the Truth, I will give nine units to the Truth and one unit to something else." In your own calculations, you have greatly favored the truth. Have you not?

You’re giving nine units to the Truth and just one unit to something else. You’re saying, "See I love the Truth, nine is to one." But, what have you actually done? That something else will survive because one unit is sufficient for it. Truth will die down. Your pursuit of Truth will be aborted. Because Truth requires all ten. Even nine is highly insufficient. That little thing requires only a little. Give it one, it will keep prospering. Therefore, the Upanishad says ‘exclusive attention.' It cannot be truth and something else. Getting it?

Then Samādhi . The duality between the meditationer and meditation is gone, the duality between the Subject and Object is gone. the duality between the Ego and Truth is gone. The ego has become so enamored of the Truth, that it is prepared to lose its own identity.

"I want that, I am looking continuously at That. So, I have lost all track of myself. Do I exist? I exist now only in relation to That." So, first of all, the other relationships are cut off. You say, "I exist only in relation to That, That is my only identity. Who am I? Something related to That." Everything else drops off. And, slowly you even stop saying you are related to That. There comes a point when you say 'I am That’. To begin with, how are you and what do you say? You keep on saying, "I am related to this, I am related to that, I have a thousand relationships." Right? That’s the stage to begin with. What happens then after hearing, thinking, and meditation? You remain related only to That. The other relationships fall off. Because, if you are to pursue That, then That requires everything that you have. If you give everything you have to That, then the other things will obviously be disappointed and they will all just get switched off and walk away.

So, now you only have one relationship. From hundred relationships you are left with one. And, finally, even that one relationship remains no more a relationship, it becomes a union. So, "I am not related to That. I am That. I am related to the hundred, then I am related to just One. Then, I am the ‘one’." That’s the process. And, then Abhilash, you have quoted me. Forget it, it’s not worth commenting on. I speak so much. It’s already a bad situation. Don’t make me speak upon myself. It would be worse.

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