More And More Of Less And Less

Off The Cuff Utterances

"While chanting AUM if sleep
comes then you better sleep "

pranava mantra
Part - 9

However hard you may try to stay awake during chanting or meditation, the sleep can shatter your efforts and sprawl you on the floor. Not only it defeats your efforts but also leaves you with some sense of guilt for not having done the thing called meditation. Sometimes it leaves you with a defeatist attitude too.

Disciple : When I want to sleep I never get sleep but
when I try to meditate, I get lots of sleep, why is that?
Master : When you 'want' to sleep, you are making effort
but when meditating you stop making efforts, then sleep
enters. Its only a thin line between sleep and meditation !

Sleep and meditation are apparently identical yet there is a distinct difference that can separate them miles apart. While sleep pushes you to ignorance about your surroundings, meditation causes awareness about your being as well as the surroundings.

Disciple : Meditation and sleep are identical?
Master : In fact meditation is the cause and sleep
is the effect although they appear to be identical !
Disciple : How do I understand this better ?
Master : Meditation is the common meeting ground
for both sleep and awareness. One may turn any direction !
Disciple : OK ! I understand that meditation leads to
either sleep or wakefulness. Am I right ?
Master : Yes that's what "awakening" is all about !

True meditation wakes you up to every small movement and sound around you. You can hear the sound more qualitatively than before, you become lot more sharper and subtler than before. You r awakening to the outer world and inner self can be explosive and mind blowing experience too.

Disciple : But why do I fall asleep when I sit for meditation?
Master : For many reasons.
1. Your understanding of meditation and its purpose is incomplete.
2. You don't sleep well usually and left with lots of sleep.
3. Your method of meditation makes your mind dull hence you sleep.
Disciple : Is it wrong to doze off during meditation ?
Master : Not really. Its a natural phenomenon and is ok !
Disciple : What should I do if sleep comes ?
Master : Sleep it off well !

"from lowest pitch to a very high pitch the
chanting of AUM drop again to NOTHING"

pranava mantra
Part- 8

There is some intelligence needed when you repeat the chants of AUM. A skillful deliberation to turn the mind from fleeting to stillness. Subtle variation in pitch is always welcome to keep the mind awake. Totally awake but filled with awareness of the present where the mind and body sync up to the soul within.

Disciple : Whats a pitch and how I can follow it ?
Master : Pitch here is just the tone. You tone down
and tone up while chanting for the variation !
Disciple : Why this variation is necessary ?
Master : If there is no change in tone then mind
can enter in to sleep and inertia !

The purpose of AUM chants is not find peace of mind but to bring a certain awareness and keep the mind awake. In order to make the mind more aware of things around, it is necessary the chants of AUM does not induce sleep. The change in pitch and pace and method of chanting of AUM must be applied constantly to keep the sleeping mind awake.

Disciple : I thought AUM chanting is
meant for peace of mind?
Master : Not exactly ! It is for a
much higher purpose !
Disciple : So peace of mind is not
possible with chanting AUM ?
Master : It may be is possible but
that's not the actual purpose!
Disciple : But If my mind become
peaceful, is it wrong then ?
Master : May be not but if mind is
peaceful then it may go to sleep !

Awareness is the key in exploring the hidden consciousness. But if the mind attains peace, it may lose its subtlety to probe and seek to find the Truth. Using AUM chant for just peace of mind is like using your computer to calculate how many times you ate in a day.

Disciple : The variation in pitch and pace
can help to stay awake and be aware of everything?
Master : It need not be everything but just the Self !
Disciple : That sounds simple ! I am always aware of my self?
Master : Not necessarily. You are only aware of
other things mostly and not so much of yourself !

"the AUM chanting begins from the
pelvis and end in the forehead "

pranava mantra
Part - 7

Chanting is not about just the sound of AUM mantra made loud, but it also involves quite a bit of participation from breath and physical body too. AUM is like a thread that weaves body, breath and mind together and integrate them. The body, breath and mind are always active but independent of each other. When AUM is recited, they all come together and that's the beginning of meditation.

Disciple : I think I understand now what you say !
Master : But this is only the beginning !
Disciple : But please explain more on this integrity?
Master : What has been always active is now introduced
with a synchronized activity like chanting AUM and as
a result the body, breath and mind connect to the self
more easily than before !

There are particular ways to bring this integrity of BBM (body, breath, mind)which eventually result in exploring the self within. This is the whole idea of any form of chanting. Following are the basic steps during such preparation..

1. keep the body still
2. breathe deep in to the lungs (as if it reached the abdomen)
3. release the breath with the sound AUM
4. Focus your mind as you do all of this.

Disciple : what the mind should actually focus on ?
Master : It has been always focused on something
externally, but now focus on the body and breath !
Disciple : Ok ! but if the mind goes out again ?
Master : Bring it back !

When the mind focus on the body, breath along with the sound, the remarkable thing happens. Your mind seem to suddenly let go all that it has been hanging on to. It suspends all its actions and become quiet.

Disciple : Perhaps it start exploring the inner self ?
Master : That sounds like some activity !
Disciple : Is it not an activity ?
Master : The more and more mind stops being active
the deeper it enters in to your own self !
Disciple : Is it not an activity again?
Master : Its an activity that happens in total
suspension of all activities by the mind !

"beginning of AUM you are full of action and
at the end of AUM you enter into inaction "

pranava mantra
Part - 6

The recitation of any mantra involves your body, breath and mind together. Even if one of them is missing in action while you chant, you cant claim your chanting to be complete. The sound of the mantras attain a very special quality when it is made with proper understanding and effort.

Disciple : But you told me meditation is
not about doing anything but just being ?
Master : Well ! the chanting is a BIG job.
A lot of doing is involved!
Disciple : What exactly is "done" during the chanting ?
Master : You breathe deep, vibrate your body
and focus your mind on the sound!
Disciple : That's a lot of action !
Master : Yes for sure. That's why people
get caught up with those actions and forget
to actually be in meditation eventually !

Meditation is a peculiar activity because you begin with some major activity and then suspend it totally to remain doing NOTHING. These are two contradicting stages and most seekers fail to distinguish them and get trapped in to either of them. Chanting AUM too has its own methodology but the advantage in AUM is that the sound is formed in such a way it also ends quite naturally by itself.

Disciple : I understand now that beginning of AUM is
the beginning of all activities and end of AUM is the end
of all activities. Did I say the right thing ?
Master : Yes indeed. You put yourself through some action
when you recite the AUM and when it ends you drop all the
action and stop trying anything but just be as you are !

The difference between activities during meditation and other times is that you are totally focused with what you do while you do meditation and other times you may not be that focused. The chanting of AUM needs a lot of focus and that kind of focus helps you to withdraw from other activities you were involved with till then.

Disciple : Its becoming more and more clearer to me now !
Master : Its important you know the methodology and the
purpose well before you resort to do anything !
Disciple : Your comprehensive explanations help that way !
Master : Sometimes the seeker gets into a hurry and wants
to do it right away and cant listen to the preparations
which leaves him with lot of doubts and confusions at the end!
Disciple : True, it has happened to me on several occasions !

Don't bother about when to stop your practice when you just started. Same time don't bother when to start again while you have just suspended the practice for a brief time. Both can be spontaneous and the focus should be only what you do at that time and nothing more or less. We will see the coordination of body, breath and mind while chanting the AUM in the next dialog.

" the AUM chanting is not meant for
forgetting or remembering anything "

pranava mantra
Part - 5

The Vedic chants have a charm not only to the listener, but to the one who recites it too. Though it appears to be a monotonous activity, the incantation of AUM is quite an exercise and unlike the popular belief, you have to apply a lot of your mind in it than just making it dull sleepy.

Disciple : How does meditation happen
if the mind is awake and active?
Master : True meditation is where
the mind is totally alert and awake !
Disciple : Is it not mind should rest
and feel bliss and empty all thoughts?
Master : Never ! That is only when the
mind has become very dull and inert !
Disciple : Does AUM make the mind quiet
or make it very active and alert ?
Master : Chanting AUM makes the mind
totally alert and awake to everything !

Its a unfortunate twist people brought in to the process of meditation where the end result is supposedly a blinding ignorance. Sleep like, empty minded, thoughtless, zombie like disposition, which seem to have caught the fancy of most seekers. The AUM chants do not make you dull and make your senses numb but it does something exactly opposite.

Disciple : But whats the purpose of staying
alert and awake during or after meditation?
Master : Only when you are awake you can
capture the essence of consciousness in you !
Disciple : All along I was taught that the
actual purpose of meditation is to forget
the life for sometime and feel happy !
Master : Forgetting stress and sorrows can
bring happiness but what you forget will
soon be remembered too, then what would you do?

Meditation is not about forgetting sorrows. The chanting of AUM is neither to forget anything nor to remember anything. Only the dead past can be remembered or forgotten. But AUM should bring freedom from forgetting or remembering by lifting you far away from the tormenting time and space factors.

Disciple : In other words AUM brings one's attention
from past (and future) to the present moment totally?
Master : Well said ! Having brought to the present
moment it makes you aware of everything that happens there !
Disciple : Does god or consciousness reside only in the present?
Master : Even to call it present is wrong but its a "no time"
space or a "no space time". That's the greatest experience you
can think of in all your lifetime.
Disciple : Now I am truly inspired to chant AUM.
Kindly tell me the ways to chant this sacred mantra !
Master : Now that you are genuinely interested yourself
nothing can stop you from reaching the space in you where
time has no any relevance at all. Let me tell you the
simpler ways to recite AUM for the start in the next session !

"God does not wake up from sleep
if you recited some mantra on earth"

pranava mantra
Part - 4

No god is ever interested in listening to your mantras. Only because the creator has no plans to operate this world based on your mantras and prayers. The most absurd human thought is to believe that God will listen to the prayers and mantras and work things out accordingly.

Disciple : This is a very shocking and rude statement !
Master : But a plain truth and certainly God does not
get hurt by such statements !
Disciple : Then why the whole world prays for everything ?
Master : I am not against prayers or mantra chanting but
Iam vehemently against the idea of waking up some sleeping
god through prayers and mantra chanting !
Disciple : Then whats the real purpose of prayers or mantra
chanting if God does not really hear them out ?
Master : The prayers are meant for finding inner strength
to go through whatever is worked out by god for you !
Mantra chanting is meant for finding clarity of mind
which will get you attuned to the ways of god without
trying to change or alter the "God's plan" !

As a human being you have only two options, either you plan and when your plan does not work, be prepared to change it, or don't plan at all and take life as it comes. Prayers are such selfish attempts if they are meant to make God behave according to your fancy. Similarly mantra chanting does not make gods move even their little fingers.

Disciple : Prayer and mantra chanting are different?
Master : Prayer helps you find inner strength
and mantras help you find inner clarity !
Disciple : Strength and clarity for what purpose ?
Master : To face life and to swim through the high
and low tides of life without much fear and excitement !

The pranava mantra AUM is not a secret formula of a prayer which can entice God to perform miracles in your life. It only can transform your mind from being trapped in petty fears and frivolous temptations and meaningless agitations to a calm and silent and complete instrument. The calmness of the mind brings balance to it and balanced state of mind is equipped well to go through everything dished out in life to you.

Disciple : That seem to take the fizz out of my life ?
Master : That's not fizz but just plain fuss !
Disciple : So chanting the AUM brings calmness and clarity
to my mind which can be used for higher purposes ?
Master : Exactly ! When the mind attains clarity it can
comprehend the hidden Truth of existence more easily !
Disciple : Whats the Truth of this existence ?
Master : You should find out yourself !
Disciple : How do I find out ?
Master : One best way is to recite AUM !
Disciple : How do I do it ?
Master : There you are ! Let me explain to you !

"mantra chanting is more effective when
you understood its purpose and limitation"

pranava mantra
Part - 3

Different mantras carry different context and meaning, but they all have similar purpose and a similar limitation. Mantras do not play a role beyond certain stage and when stretched can become an obstacle in itself. But as long as they are used well within their limits, they are bound to to serve a great benefit.

Disciple : What are the different purposes of mantras ?
Master : Apparently mantras are recited for various purposes.
Some for seeking god, some seeking wealth, long life, goodness,
freedom, enlightenment, even some mantras are recited for rains !
Disciple : But you said they all have similar limitations ?
Master : They all have to end at some point in order to put
the mind of the seeker in a particular state where they attain
a sense of silence from within !
Disciple : Does that silence make them achieve the purpose
for which they began their chanting?
Master : Need not be ! In fact they become so quiet
that they may not even remember the purpose of their
chanting those mantras after some time !

Any sincere seeker begins with clear purpose but during the process of mantra repetition or recitation, the purpose drops out of his mind without even his knowledge. That's the indication of a very well followed mantra practice. Begin with a purpose but end in an all conquering silence without any particular purpose.

Disciple : That's very deceptive ! Does that
what a mantra supposed to do to a seeker ?
Master : Yes it transforms the mind from seeking
to just Being. That's why its called as "Mantra" !
Disciple : May I know what does "mantra" mean ?
Master : That which transforms the mind
(from agitations to silence) is Mantra !
"Mananat trayate iti mantraha"
The wealth and long life cannot stand a chance in front
of transformation the mantra brings to mind !
Disciple : So the wealth and long life can never be
achieved through mantras ? Are they meant only to
quieten the mind?
Master : You may still gain a lot of wealth and a long
life, but that is not necessarily because of the mantras !

The multi pointed, ambitious mind usually gets scattered due to its search for many things in the world. Set upon so many goals to reach, the mind gets trapped in its own search. The Vedas conjured up different ways to bring a seeker to accept the need to chant various mantras. Eventually Vedic mantras culminate at the same point where the seeker is devoid of all seeking and come to his own Being.

Disciple : Now you almost exposed the truth behind mantra chanting
and how does the reader trust a mantra and recite them in future ?
Master : At least it should bring clarity to the reader about the
real purpose of mantra chanting and once they realized it,
there is no need for them to get 'deceived' by the mantras.
Disciple : Let me ask one last time, are you sure mantras don't
make our lives better by bringing wealth and preventing sorrow ?
Master : The answers from me is the same even if you asked a
million times. They cant change your financial status, but definitely
they can drive you through the ups and downs of your financial
conditions with you remain unruffled. That's the greatest blessings
you can receive from these sacred mantras !

"AUM is not an object of worship
but only a pointer to the Truth"

pranava mantra
Part - 2

The pranava mantra or the AUM is not used for the worshipping of gods. In fact to think AUM to be the god is absurd. It is only a technique in the form of a mantra which can help you become more aware of the hidden consciousness. At the same time it should not be just reduced to some mindless gross tool which you can use like how you use your washing machine.
Disciple : I wish to get some things straight !
Master : I will appreciate that !
Disciple : Why AUM is considered auspicious when it
is just a technique and nothing more than a sound ?
Master : It is auspicious only because it takes you
to a very auspicious destination, quite effortlessly !
Disciple : May I ask which is that destination ?
Master : Your own hidden self unknown to you !

A part of you but you still not aware of it !
Disciple : Is it a body part like heart, liver and kidney?
Master : It is the very cause all these parts exists !

AUM positions itself much higher than most mantras for this simple reason that it can lead you to inner self without much fuss or delay. It is complete by itself and simple to use. The effects are instant when the AUM is recited with full heart and throat. This is for the same reasons that every composition in vedas began with AUM at the start.

Disciple : I always wanted to ask why the AUM
precedes every lesson in Vedic literature ?
Master : Starting with loud and clear reciting
of AUM prepares the student to understand the
subtle meanings of the other mantras which would
follow in the lessons taught by his teacher !
Disciple : How does AUM prepare a student
just by chanting it loud ?
Master : By bringing sufficient quietness !

Vedic compositions have very subtle and significant meaning to them. Unless the student is alert and extra ordinarily contemplative, the lessons may give a different grosser meaning. The same lessons can sound differently to different students sitting around the same teacher at the same time. When all students recite the AUM together then all their minds reach similar quietness and it brings certain collective awareness to face challenges thrown in by upcoming vedic teachings.
Disciple : You said AUM is enough to chant and all
mantras are contained in it. Then where is the need
to learn other mantras that follow AUM ?
Master : True ! AUM contains everything but other
lessons are meant to unfold the complex fabrication
of this unique sound called AUM(pranava mantra).
Disciple : Do you mean that AUM is not just a sound
but has lot of inner meaning to it?
Master : Exactly !

"The only true sound that can
take you to true silence is AUM"

pranava mantra
Part - 1

While most sounds have the quality of scaterring your mind, there are certain sounds which can integrate your mind. They are usually called as mantras. The mantras have certain intonations which when followed while chanting, it would quieten the mind. Of the mantras found in the Vedic literature, AUM or the pranava mantra occupies the primary spot as the most sacred of all.

Disciple : Firstly may I ask you the purpose chanting AUM ?
Master : Just like any mantra, AUM too serve the similar purpose
of making your mind more self integrated and bring quietness !
Disciple : Why this mantra more sacred than the rest ?
Master : Because whatever sound human beings could make is
already contained in AUM. It encompasses total sound realm !

Though it appears and sounds like a mono syllable, AUM is made up of three individual Sanskrit alphabets. Pronounced together it can sound like a single alphabet. Its very subtle beginning and the smooth fading at the end enables this mantra to be the most ideal one to transform a distorted mind to a peaceful mind.

Disciple : Then what does pranava mean ?
master : It has two prominent meaning.
When you split pranava as pra + nu,
it would mean "rise and expand" and
also "hum that glorious sound" in Sanskrit !
Disciple : Can I say If I hum this sound
my mind would rise and expand to glory ?
Master : Yes indeed, you can say that !

While in ancient days the mantra was purely used for the purpose of contemplation and meditation only, it slowly assumed a object of worship, prayer and eulogy. What was originally used as the means to quieten the mind, gradually became a deity itself among many seekers.

Disciple : But whats wrong worshipping something glorious and sacred?
Master : Nothing wrong, except that you will not reach your spiritual
destination, if you are busy worshipping the
vehicle which is meant to carry you !
Disciple : I always gave up my spiritual pursuit at this point !
Master : Why is it ?
Disciple : I just cant understand what to worship and why to worship?
Master : Worshipping is a certain ritual that happens as an important
stage in your spiritual pursuit ! But to get obsessed with it may not
serve any purpose to you in the long run !
Disciple : Then why I should worship the gods at all ?
Master : Worshipping is just to recognize the presence
of certain power that exists beyond your understanding.
Once recognized well you should stop worshipping !
Disciple : What, may I ask you, I should do after that ?
Master : Contemplate on it !

" Even a simple act of eating can
become a offering to the creator"

Part - 3

The essence of god is splashed in to everything in creation. Be it a silent rock sitting atop a hillock or tiny ant crawling under your feet, they all have a piece of god inherent in them. Man is little extra ordinary in the whole of creation because he has this unique ability to be conscious of his various experiences.

Disciple : I have heard this many times before but I still
don't understand what it is to be conscious or aware ?
Master : You understand that you don't always understand and
that's called awareness. Nothing else in creation can make
a statement "I don't understand" and that makes you different !
Disciple : Yes ! I got it now !
Master : Again, no animal or tree can say that !

The upanishads talk about the state of awareness as the only way to find freedom from binding forces. Usually when you perform a action, you are aware of the action only. But when you become aware of the person in you who is performing it, then your awareness level is heightened. Still better, if you can try to be aware of the invisible force which is driving the person in you to perform then you awareness is complete.

Disciple : This one boggles my mind pretty much !
Master : Sure ! Total awareness can even blow your mind !
Disciple : But I still don't figure exactly how to go about ?
Master : Ok ! Let me ask you some simple questions !
Disciple : But your simple questions are always difficult to answer !
Master : It happens, but I'm sure you will find the simple answers soon.
Tell me does the spoon eat the food when you have lunch ?
Disciple : No ! The spoon only helps me to get the food !
Master : Does your hand eat it then ?
Disciple : Not really, it only lifts the spoon !
Master : Then is it your mouth that really needs food ?
Disciple : I think it only likes to munch and grind something always !
Master : Is it the tongue or the throat that needs food?
Disciple : They are quite happy passing the food I guess !
Master : Which means who exactly needs the food ?
Disciple : Perhaps the stomach which grumbles often without food ?
Master : But what causes the stomach to grumble for food
and then digest the food once it is eaten ?
Disciple : The mechanism of the body to function that way ?
Master : Who designed the mechanism and make it function that way ?
Disciple : I told you these are mind boggling matters for me !
But is that what is called as Consciousness ?

Call it by any name, but there is something invisible which governs and directs the faculties of all living creatures to perform actions. The same unseen is both the propeller of actions and the recipient of the results of all actions. When you realized this, you would perform all your actions with an attitude of an offering to the unseen hidden in you.

Disciple : So nothing belong to me ?
Master : Nothing really belong to you !
You neither initiate an action or receive
the results of the actions !
Disciple : Its good news and bad news at the same time !
Master : Why so ?
Disciple : Good news because all bad results are not meant
for me and bad news because all good results go to someone else !
Master ; But when you offered them all to the unseen consciousness
then there is nothing good or bad news in your life anymore !
Disciple : Then what do I do if I offered everything ?
Master : Just relax and enjoy life doing what you are supposed to.
Disciple : Sounds exciting. Is this called enlightenment ?
Master : Yes! You can say that !
Disciple : What do I get as a result of this ?
Master : Bliss, total freedom from your hangups and fulfillment !

"Your whole life is nothing but
only an offering to the creator"


Part - 2

Vedic scriptures always have the knack of guiding the seekers from gross to the subtle. While the earlier portions of vedas describe in details about how to perform a yajna to attain something material, the later portions change the tone completely and announce that everything that happens in your life is nothing but yajna only.

Disciple : Why dont they teach the subtle portions right away ?
Master : Vedas comprehend that most seekers are gross in their
understanding about spiritual concepts. So they start exactly
where the seekers are trapped for long !
Disciple : Is it to make the student or the seeker feel familiar?
Master : Exactly !

The seekers at once feel comfortable with the vedic teachings when they begin from the very beginning. They are more like commandments. Like some step by step, user friendly manual, rich in rituals and orthodox in context. But as it proceeds, the teachings get subtler and more precise, devoid of conventional methodologies.

Disciple : Somehow I have never understood the vedas that easily and
I always felt that its teachings contradict themselves many times !
Master : For the beginner it always will appear so. Though begins
with physical act of performing yajna, at the end the vedas declare
that every action of yours is nothing but only an yajna !
Disciple : Wow ! you should have told me that in the start. Now
I need not waste my time. But I don't feel the yajna in my actions?
Master : Exactly ! Since you lack the yajna attitude in all your
actions, it is necessary to perform the grosser version first !

The end portions of the vedas unfold the secret as how the man of total awareness can live a life of yajna every moment. Every word spoken, every object seen, everything felt and tasted and heard is all nothing but just the performance of a subtle yajna happening in one's life all the time. Only a man of self awareness is in tune with such subtle yajna and the rest are still sitting around the smoked out fire pits, trying to attain something by hiring the holy men to chant those verses.

" when you offer anything with reverence
then you are performing a yajna "

Part - 1

Traditionally the yajna (spelt as yagnya) is performed after creating a small pit of fire where various things are thrown into fire as a offering to the lord. The yajnas are performed always in order to attain something. Usually people offer milk, cereals, vegetables, clarified butter and flowers in the fire with strict list of do's and dont's to follow, in the backdrop of vibrating mantras recited by the appointed priests.

Disciple : Most of the times I see only smoke in such
places so I never understood what exactly happens there !
Master : That's why the vedas give specific instructions
about the place where the fire pit should be located in
order to have cross ventilation of the passing air.

But in modern days these yajnas are held within the premises of homes where people live. The closed doors and windows makes the yajna procedures quite complicating for the priests too. In ancient days the yajnas were always performed in the open space. The yajaman or yajna karta (the beneficiary of the yajna) invites everyone in the neighborhood to witness the proceedings.

Disciple : I always missed the yajnas conducted at home
because by the time I woke up everything usually got over !
Master : Its good that way. If you were to be present there
you should have got readied early morning with fresh new clothes
and a quiet mind for sitting in meditation. Either you attend
with cleanliness or remain in bed sleeping. There is no in between !
Disciple : But my mom told me that god will never be happy with me?
Master : God will not be happy either, even if you attended !

The yajnas are conducted not to please god but remove the negative atmoshpere set in the house or to be precise, in one's own mind. The outward yajna is only a symbolic attempt at purifying one's own antakaran (mind). The fire in the pit is considered as the fire of knowledge and all the oblations or offerings represent the various impediments or negativities one wishes to remove.

Disciple : So all the offerings are only the negative things?
Master : Yes ! That's why its a not a very happy situation for God.
In fact God has nothing to lose or gain in this whole process !
Disciple : Whats is the gain for the performer of the yajna ?
Master : When the negativities offered in the fire, they get
burnt and restore all that is positive in your life. So if
you slept during a yajna it is you who is the loser and not God !