In this excerpt, Swamiji explains sāttvic (divine) sukha (joy) and explains how this appears as poisonous in the beginning and how to turn that into joy (in meditation).
This is an excerpt from the Bhagavad Gita audio recordings from the unpublished archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy, Chapter 18, verse 37.
Sāttvic sukha – Divine way of Spiritual joy.
yattadātve viṣamiva pariṇāme’mṛitopamam /
tatsukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ vidyādātmabuddhiprasādajam // 37
Yattadātve, at the time of abhyāsa, that sukha at the time of abhyāsa you think is viṣamiva, just like a poison, it is poisonous, poisonous state. For instance, I am meditating. I meditate for half an hour, after half an hour’s time I want to lean. I want to lean and meditate. After half an hour’s time I will sit in easy chair and meditate. It means it is poisonous. It acts like poison in you. At the time it is poison, not leaning against the wall or not relaxing in easy chair is poisonous for you. You don’t want to sit like this.
If you just have courage to sit for some more period without leaning against the wall or this, you’ll see what kind of joy you’ll achieve. That is sāttvic sukha. Tadātve, at the beginning, at the period of, at the beginning state it seems to you as poisonous.
DENISE: Because you are leaning and sitting in easy chairs? Why does that seem poison?
SWAMIJI: Because . . .
JOHN: It is hard to do.
SWAMIJI: Because it is very hard for you to do without leaning, it is very hard so it is poison. It becomes just like poison to you.
JOHN: To have to sit straight, without leaning?
JOHN: So every . . . your mind says, “Oh, please move, sit back?”
SWAMIJI: “Nobody is seeing, why should I not lean?”
But this is not the way of meditation. You must with all your might do meditation without leaning. In the beginning, it will be just like poisonous state. You will feel it like that. But in the end, yattadātve viṣamiva, in the beginning, it appears to you just like poison, i.e. uneasy, uneasiness. Poisonous means uneasiness. You are not at ease.
You want to . . . if you won’t lean you will sit like this (Swamiji demonstrates) just to make yourself at ease. But you should not do that. That kind of behavior is in reality in the end it will be poisonous to you. This poison is nectar for you.
Yattadātve, at the moment of doing that joy which seems to you as poison, absolutely without any ease, pariṇāme amṛita upamam, but at the end, at the time of its result, it will result . . .
You know when I was meditating at Fatakadal for three and a half months in seclusion, I used to meditate, I committed this kind of mistake also sometimes, leaning and putting myself in at ease on chair but with all that I was meditating. When I meditated and sometime after two or three days I got some, I achieved some blissful state; at the time of achieving that blissful state all vigor and force came into my body and I contemplated like this, just like a rock for the whole night. There was no question did arise for leaning or resting. I was fully rested.
So in the end you’ll see the result it bears, filled with joy. And that sukha is tat sukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ vidyād, that sukha you must know as sāttvic sukha.
BRUCE P: But then is there is attachment or something for the result?
SWAMIJI: No, not attachment, it is not attachment.
BRUCE P: Then why, then?
BRUCE P: Why do you think then, you want to sit up and do . . .
SWAMIJI: No, you get courage, you get courage, it is . . . you get vigor at the time of achieving its fruit you get courageous and you’ll see how joyful your mood will be afterwards.
BRUCE P: Yes.
But then if the result does not come first, you feel that you would like to lie down.
SWAMIJI: You should not do that. If you feel . . .
BRUCE P: Because you should look for the result then?
SWAMIJI: No, not look.
As you have been told by your master to sit erectly and don’t mind for that uneasiness. You should not expect always that blissful state in the beginning. In the beginning it is not blissful. In the beginning you have to tolerate. If you don’t tolerate, that blissful state will never come.
So this kind of sukha is called sāttvic sukha.
tadātve – abhyāsakāle / (comm. verse 37)
At the time of abhyāsa it is just like viṣa [poison].
viṣamiva – janmaśatābhyastaviṣayasaṅgasya duṣpariharatvāt /
Why? Why it seems to you as poisonous, uneasy, absolutely you are not comfortable? You are not comfortable while meditating. You don’t feel comfortable. You want to lie down. But you should not do that. You should not commit that kind of mistake. If you once commit that kind of mistake–gone. Your meditation is ruined. You should tolerate, you [should] have courage. Just go on with your practice.
Then time will come that sukha will appear to you, that real sukha of one-pointedness will appear to you and will be . . . you’ll hate this leaning afterwards. You’ll see this is poisonous, leaning is poisonous, comfort is poisonous.
DENISE: At the time of meditation.
SWAMIJI: At the time of meditation, if meditation is successful.
Because janma śatābhyasta viṣaya saṅgasya duṣpariharatvāt, he has been outstanding attending the sexual and organic, sensual pleasures from the very beginning of his appearing in this world. He has been enjoying this sexual and these sensual joys. He has been experiencing. And he has ignored that real state of his being from the very beginning of this life.
Not only [this] life janma śata, hundreds of lives; hundreds of lives he has wasted like this. He has wasted hundreds of lives in enjoying this sexual and everything, and all this. So he has ignored the reality of his being.
BRUCE P: Which is what, sitting up straight?
SWAMIJI: Not sitting up!
That joy! That joy will come by this as is told by your master. Your master will tell you, sit upstairs and sit erect and go on meditating wholeheartedly, then you will acquire that joy. Otherwise not. Otherwise, there is no hope.
BRUCE P: So that’s the reason then, to sit up straight?
SWAMIJI: That is the reason.
BRUCE P: Simply because your master said?
uktaṁ ca śrutau –––
In Vedas, in Vedas he has said . . .
‘kṣurasya dhārā [niśitā] viṣamā duratyayā /’
This is treading, this is the journey over the sword’s edge. This is the journey you have to travel over the edge of sword. It will cut you into pieces if you are not aware. Kṣurasya dhārā [niśitā] viṣamā duratyayā, it is very difficult to travel on this edge.
durgaṁ pathas tat kavayo vadanti (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1:3.14)
Those elevated souls have calculated that, “This is the very tough path; very difficult path to cross, to cover.”
As soon as one meditates, bas!
DENISE: And that creates more unconsciousness, doesn’t it?
SWAMIJI: Yes, unconsciousness; there is no hope of gaining anything.
SWAMIJI: Why? Because.
BRUCE P: Because why?
SWAMIJI: Why is the answer. Because is the answer.
BRUCE P: But that doesn’t give satisfaction to the question?
SWAMIJI: It will give satisfaction only when it bears fruit. Not till then.
JOHN: I mean, is it a physical thing Sir? Is it something that if you sit up straight, because your back is straight then and that makes a difference . . .
SWAMIJI: No, no, no, no, when you lean, when you just lean you’ll become unconscious. Awareness will be weakened. There won’t be awareness. There is no hope of maintaining awareness then.
BRUCE P: I don’t understand, why can’t you be aware of your leaning?
SWAMIJI: No, you can’t, can you lean and be aware?
You can’t be aware. In the beginning it is impossible.
In the end it is possible, when you are fully centered, completely centered in God consciousness, then it is possible when you lie down also.
ityādi / ātmaprasādādbuddhiprasādo jāyate, –
anyasyāpekṣyamāṇasyābhāvāt // (end of comm. verse 37)
Ātmaprasādāt buddhi prasāda jāyate, there is nobody to help you only your own self will help you in this journey, on the path of journey. Your own self will help you because, ātma prasādāt buddhi prasāda, your intellect will get refined and peaceful only by your own effort.
Not even master can hold you there because there is not way for two. This is pathway only for one, that sword edge. He will nominate you, “go on like this, don’t tremble, don’t look here and there, go on with the sword edge.” Then there is hope.
You can’t imagine how much joy you will acquire afterwards.
What is sexual joy before this?–Nothing.
It is the highest joy one experiences.
BRUCE H: But Swamiji, when you have that impulse to lie down and you struggle against that, there is only that struggle going on, there is no awareness then, is there?
SWAMIJI: No, when you lie down your awareness, the strength of awareness is lessened by lying.
BRUCE H: Yes, but if you sit and you are struggling against that impulse to lie down then . . .
BRUCE H: If you struggle against that impulse to lie down, so then all your attention is centered on that struggle?
SWAMIJI: It doesn’t matter, let it remain, it will remain for sometime and then it will subside by its own nature. If you struggle don’t move, don’t move your body. Tell your body, “Just go on.”
GANJOO: The uneasiness takes the attention, that’s the trouble Sir they are having.
SWAMIJI: Uneasiness doesn’t matter, if you don’t move, if you don’t move. You should not move. You should sit just like a rock. You should not move. There will be uneasiness in your mind for some time and then that uneasiness will subside, it will vanish afterwards of its own accord if you don’t move. If you . . .
JOHN: . . . give way to that, then . . .
SWAMIJI: If you are do like this (Swamiji demonstrates), that is also wrong. There is one thing to be done when your limbs, you feel that your limbs are dead, in one posture they have become dead . . .
For instance you in this state [sitting straight] and your limbs become dead after half an hour or three-forth of an hour.
Do you know what you have to do?
You have to just straighten, more straighten your body.
DENISE: And that will help the circulation.
SWAMIJI: That will help the circulation. And that way also you should fix your posture for half an hour, struggle for that. And when your limbs will again be dead then you do like this (Swamiji demonstrates sitting up straight), then circulation will again appear in your limbs.
BRUCE P: This is rājas action?
SWAMIJI: No, this is sāttvic.
BRUCE P: But you said struggle for the end?
BRUCE P: You said struggle for the result?
SWAMIJI: You don’t understand what I mean.
It is abhyāsa [meditation], it is sukha [joy], it is for achieving real pleasure, real happiness. Real happiness you have to struggle. Real happiness does not come in the beginning. In the beginning, it appears to you just like a poison, poisonous state.
This is sāttvic sukha.
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