What is the purpose of all spiritual practices? – Summary of Divine Discourse on 21 July 2016
The one and the same Atma is present in all beings. Those bound by the physical, material world find it impossible to understand. It is through eyes that we see the world around us. But can we see our own eyes? In the same way, it is Atma that pervades all that is material, physical and perceived by the senses. But we are unable to see the Atma Tatva in all that we see.
Truth-Awareness-Bliss: this is the quality of Atma. Only all that which gives these three on a permanent basis must be considered as an aspect of this principle of the Atman.
Through body and through the senses if you try to experience this happiness, it does not last. As long as the senses are in touch with pleasures, it gives you joy. The moment they are separated, the joy ends. Can we experience it with the mind? Mind has also its parts. Mind holds Buddhi, the intellect, which differentiates one thing from the other. Chitta remembers what we have experienced earlier. Every time mind comes across a person, a place or a situation, Buddhi, its advisor, looks into this library to understand what it is. And the doership of it all is defined by the Ahamkara. Only if you have experienced something before would Chitta remember or know it. But if we haven’t experienced it before, it won’t understand. Therefore these faculties of body and the mind are incapable of understanding something that is beyond them.
The easiest way to experience Atman is to be still. First, body and the senses must distance themselves from all the distractions that make them unstill or wavering. And as we don’t need the body to experience the Atman, it must be kept in its limits. To still this mind is the next step. This means all the thoughts have to converge and not diverge. This is concentration. What do you do next? One single thought has to be inculcated: I want to experience the truth of Atman. And focus on that thought alone. And continuously if you do that, you reach the stage of meditation where your mind is no more. This is the realm of Atman.
By making everybody keep quiet, what you experience is silence; the absence of sounds that create silence. As long as a cinema is running, you cannot see the screen by itself. But the moment you switch off the cinema, immediately the screen becomes visible to you. Just as silence was not brought from somewhere, it already was; just like the screen was not created from somewhere, it already was; likewise Atman is – it is the activity of the body, the senses, the mind, which are not allowing us to experience what already is. The purpose of all spiritual practices is to train our body and the senses to be still. It is to train our mind to calm down and stay focused. This is the secret of understanding the principle of Atman.