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Which method of meditation is correct? || On Vivekachudamani (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Questioner (Q): I have a question on these four commonly quoted methods: śama (restraint), dama (taming, subduing), daṇḍ (chastising, punishment), and bheda (division, difference). None of these methods seem to work. What to do? How to understand these methods correctly?

Acharya Prashant (AP): There are an infinite variety of methods, and all methods are available to you. Intelligence naturally knows the methods to apply. It’s just that conditioning prevents you from applying methods. You take some methods as right, wrong, moral, immoral, applicable, inapplicable, whereas the rightness of any method in the spiritual domain is decided only by its ability to deliver the goods. If something takes you to the Truth, it cannot be evil. But because we have no affinity for the Truth, no longing for the Truth, so we start thinking too much about the method.

You have to go to meet your beloved, and you missed the flight, and now you have to travel in the general compartment of a train. Would you mind it too much? It depends, actually; it depends on your relationship with your beloved. If you are really hungry to meet, then it won’t matter how you are traveling; the method, the vehicle, would be of very little importance. And if you are absolutely bonkers, totally crazy, you may even decide to travel on foot—or even crawl. It depends on the longing, doesn’t it?

The love itself suggests the method; from no other place can the method arise. Love will suggest you the method, love will show the way. If you are not able to find a way, it just means you don’t love enough. Śama is alright, dama is alright, daṇḍ is also alright, and so is bheda . And there is a world beyond these four methods. All these are alright, and none of these are sufficient. Try everything, because you love—or probably you do not. You have to answer.

Don’t be held back by notions. That which is worth attaining must be attained at any cost. No cost is big enough, no method is vile enough; no difficulty is too big, no sacrifice is too great; no tactic is too mean. If need be, deploy mean tactics and sacrifice your respectability. It is a form of sacrifice. It is a great sacrifice. One wants to remain respectable in his own eyes. Drop your respectability; sacrifice it. Be called a sinner. It is a great sacrifice.

A teacher went to a town where people were just too fond of entertainment, so he became a clown. That’s the kind of method you need; that’s the kind of sacrifice you need. The great teacher, flying high in his skies of venerability, has come down and become a clown. That’s what love can do to you. That’s what love must do to you. Otherwise, how will you live?

Sometimes the teacher, the lover has to act like a clown, because that is what you want; you won’t settle for anything less. “He must tell me jokes, he must appease me.” Fine! And sometimes the teacher has to employ daṇḍ also. You know what daṇḍ means? Daṇḍa (staff, stick,rod). Drom daṇḍ has come the word daṇḍa . Sometimes the daṇḍa has to be operated.

And sometimes you have to be bribed, dama , because you are so vulnerable to bribes. So, bribery is a good method. You are not prepared to come to the camp, so Anshu says, “Fine, your contribution can be reduced a little.” What do you think is being done? You are being bribed to come to meditation. You are so used to bribery, you know; you never want to pay the full price. So, that’s dama .

And what is bheda ? See where the cracks are and use them. See which routes you can use to smuggle yourself into the mind of the student or the beloved. The example is happening: he (referring to the questioner) wants to read my secret book of tricks! It is a book that is rewritten every moment. As I said, love shows you the way. Without love there can be no intelligence. The loving mind knows what to do, knows the way, knows the trick, knows the next tactic. ‘Tactic’ is a mean word, but in the company of love, tactics become lovely. Sweet tactics, sweet deceptions of love.

So, what prevents you? Go and employ all the tactics. Just make sure that the one employing and deploying is a lover, that’s all.

Q: Osho’s method of meditation was to take you to a peak through dancing, shouting, crying, laughing, etc. He called it rechana kriya . Was that method wrong? People are still following that method. He said that unless the things in the subconscious are not released, one cannot move ahead.

AP: We talked about it. We said all the dualistic methods have their utilities, and they are also limited. Useful, but limited. They can act as initiators, but they cannot take you to the end.

Osho gave you wonderful methods through which you can get a glimpse. Now, what you do with that glimpse depends on you. Osho sent you that invitation card along with sweets. He said, “Taste the sweets so that you are tempted further to come to the party.” But what you do with the sweets and how you decide now depends on you, not on Osho.

He did his best. Not only did he organize the party, he sent you an invitation. Not only did he send you an invitation, he also sent you something that you can taste. But if you are still so thick-skinned that you say, ”I will not leave my place, I will not join the party, and yes, I was quite hungry, but your sweets have satiated my hunger,” then what can Osho do? What could he do when his commune was destroyed? The great consciousness is within, but outside there are all the limitations related to the human form, the human body, the human birth. Everybody is helpless beyond a point. Osho could not reach the age of sixty. He should have lived long, but what to do with the human birth? One is helpless. Certain things happen. They just happen; one can’t have control over them.

Similarly, Osho has very little control over your decisions. He is giving you methods to introduce you. Now you take the control. Now you make the decision. Now you must announce that you have loved the sweets. Osho himself said a thousand times, “Use the boat to cross the river, do not make a house on the boat.” It is extremely foolish to forget that you have to reach the other side, that life is on the other side of the river. The river has to be crossed. One cannot get attached to the river itself. And the boat is useful, but one cannot get attached to the boat. But sometimes you start taking so much pleasure in boating, in rowing… You know there is great pleasure in boating, go to Nainital and see; there everybody is just boating. In fact, people pay to boat!

So, that’s what happens with the meditation practitioners also. They start taking pleasure in the rowing and the boating. Nice, nice! They forget that the real thing is to quickly cross and leave the boat. You start boating for pleasure, you start wandering in the lake. And the lake is still a very silent thing, a very still phenomenon. The river is turbulent, and the river is deep, dangerous. If you spend too much time in the river trying to enjoy yourself, you will not even realize when a sudden release of water or a whirlpool can mean your end.

Don’t spend too much time on the boat. Quickly cross over and leave the boat. Osho gave you a boat; he didn’t tell you to turn the boat into a plot. You are busy constructing palaces on the boat, and the poor boat is about to sink. Be grateful for what Osho gave you, but remember that enlightenment cannot be given to anybody. That comes to you of your own accord, of your own decision. He can give you a method, but only you can give yourself liberation. Osho can at most give you a method, but only you can give yourself liberation. If you don’t decide to give yourself liberation, what can Osho do? What can any teacher do?

No teacher can liberate you despite your wish. First of all, you must have a burning vision. Kabir puts it so beautifully. He says the first donor is the śiṣya (student):

Pehele dātā śiṣya bhaya śīśa dina utaar—

Pehele dātā śiṣya bhaya : your role is more important.

—pache dātā guru bhaya kinhi kripa aparampar.

You keep asking, “What is the Guru doing? Is this method right or wrong?” But the Guru is dependent on you . Unless you are prepared to sacrifice your head, what can the Guru do? Pehele dātā śiṣya bhaya śīśa dina utaar; pache dātā guru bhaya kinhi kripa aparampar. The first decision is made by the student, the central decision is made by the student. And only when the Guru sees that the student is extremely keen, totally prepared to pay the price, then he can offer help.

In the spiritual journey, you see, the Guru can hold your hand and take you only till a point. After that, the Guru has to take your leave. After that, you have to continue solo. After that, you have to take the last step all by yourself. The Guru can’t help.

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