Swarūpa- Your Inner Form


Swarūpa- Your Inner Form

Your inner form is called swarūpa. Nothingness is the true form of our nature as human beings. Because our nature is nothingness, it means that there is nothing there. Our true form is always in a very peaceful, or paramaśānt, state. Vices are all a result of thought. We need a tool that can help us manage and control our thoughts. That tool is meditation. If we did not need to learn how to control our thoughts, we wouldn’t need meditation. Meditation is a system that can help you rediscover your true form, your true swarūpa. How can this be done?
You unknowingly lost your swarūpa. This is because of ignorance. Let’s investigate these concepts more deeply.
Because of ignorance, you live in a state of “doing” rather than a state of “being”, and because of this, your ego comes into play. Because of ego comes attachment, because of attachment comes greed, and because of greed comes anger, and as a result, we wrap ourselves in negative layers like a cocoon. Your paramaswārūpa, your true form, gets covered by all of these layers, and this is the root of suffering.
Because of ego, there exists duality. You perceive Nature and Creator as different, while in actuality they are one. Nature is the body of the creator. Everything that you see, you see as nature, or as matter. But you need to see the pure existence behind the matter! But you don’t know how to see nature as a pure existence. Rather, you see things as separate, confined by names and forms. Because of this approach of looking at things, all forms of the same true existence appear differently. The question is: How does one go back and recognize their own True form? Somehow, we have become detached from our true form. How do you mentally shift from a “doer” state to a “viewer” state?
The connection we have to our minds is the main limitation. The mind by nature is limited because it is matter; because it is matter, it has no capacity to unite with a limitless state. Mind, in the sense used here, is the same as the “ego”. We understand our mind through thoughts, thoughts produced by our ego ‘I’. This is what creates confusion. You are considering your ego ‘I’ as your real ‘I’, your real Self, True Self, or ātman Self. But this is false. That eternally peaceful divine Self that you want to experience is there, but you have to make an effort to come out from the ‘I’ that is ego. One way to do this is through deductive reasoning. By removing everything that you are NOT, you can isolate the True you. I am not the body. I am not the mind. I am not ‘thoughts’. I am not ‘breath’. Whatever you can say is “mine” can not be the True Self.
Just like a tree, the True form may be obscured behind all of the branches and leaves. All of these little branches and leaves will shed and regrow and change, but they are not the Real tree. You have to look at what is behind everything.
It’s as if you are learning and playing tabla compositions in Teentāl / Tīntāl (16 beats). If you just learn the compositions, your focus will only be on the mechanics of the music and you will not understand what is behind them. If you want to have a deeper experience, you will understand that there is one continuous nāda behind it. [pure sound] That is the True beauty of teentaal. The composition is like a movie playing on the screen that is nāda. We have a habit of focusing on the moving pictures projected on the screen rather than the actual screen itself. The screen is what is real. This habit is due to ignorance. If you learn to see the screen, your mental confusion will lessen. The films may change––today’s Tīntāl is tomorrow’s rūpak taal (7 beat rhythm cycle)––but the screen always remains the same.
The screen that remains the same is akin to your True Self. However, we focus all of our attention on our thoughts which are always changing. Often, we are not even aware that there is a screen! The mind is like a factory of mass produced thoughts. These thoughts have you running here and there in search of worldly pleasures. And because of ignorance, you perceive your thoughts as part of a sequence. But thoughts are not actually moving in sequence. Rather, they are still frames played in sequence. In between all of these thoughts, or all of these still frames, are small spaces of nothingness. That gap is where you need to focus. If you focus on these gaps, you can see the screen. This is the place where your Self is sitting forever. As you learn to focus on the gaps rather than on the illusion of a continuous sequence, over time, you’ll no longer focus on the moving pictures. If there are no pictures, then you are in a paramaśānt state.
It is only because of habit that we look at the pictures and fail to see the gap or the screen. Once you can train yourself to have a habit of focusing on the gap, you will no longer see the pictures. This is the process for coming out from the grip of the mind and reconnecting with the True Self.
When you come out from the grip of your Ego I state, you will immediately connect with the True I state that is a viewer state, not a doer state. The viewer state is there by default, but the cloud of your Ego ‘I’ is covering it with a dark shadow. This prevents you from seeing your True ‘I’. As you remove that cloud, you will be showered in the light of your True Existence, your True Self. And the nature of that True Self is ānand . This is where you find pure bliss.
When we do the experiment of neti, which means the deductive reasoning of what you are not, what do we find? When we take away everything that is not I, it allows us to find the True I. But it can never take you farther than “I am not my breath”. Why will it never take it beyond your breath? Because our intellect cannot go further than the breath. The process of neti is dependent on your intellect which is what is saying “I am not this, I am that.”
So with your intellect, you can deny everything that is not “you” until you get to your breath. But when you state that you are not your breath, the ‘I’ that makes that statement is the Ego, and that Ego will remain. The thought of your Ego ‘I’ is the first thing that corrupted you when you began in your True Form. That must be the first thought of your Ego ‘I’. And from that Ego ‘I’ come all your other thoughts. When you reach the last level of your Ego ‘I’, what needs to be done? You have to understand where that ego came from.
So we know that only the Ego ‘I’ remains, so how do we get rid of that? In order to do that we need to understand where it came from and how it was created.
Was it created in the brain? No. It was born in your heart. The first thought always comes from the heart – not the physical heart, but the Mind Heart. Today’s science is beginning to speak a lot about the Mind Heart. So the first thought of your Ego ‘I’ was born in your Mind Heart. We get confused by words and semantics, and because of words, we don’t know how to see things properly. You may think that Existence is Truth and that the world is māyā . At the same time, you say that whatever exists has existence and is Truth. This means that the whole concept of your māyā came from nothing. If you just see each and every creature as a being with Existence, then it is no longer māyā. If you see each creature as matter, then it remains as māyā. This duality comes from ignorance. Otherwise there is no point to have two names for the same things. Everything is pure existence; Oneness. But because of ignorance, you have made everything into two; Duality.

Candlelight Practice (Jyoti riyāz)

Candlelight Practice (Jyoti riyāz)

In olden times, many ustads and pandits used to do candlelight practice, also known as jyoti riyāz

Two major concepts should be kept in mind when doing candlelight practice:

1) You must play one composition until the candle burns out
2) You must stare into the flame jyoti while practicing

Candlelight practice should not be done at a very fast speed. It is better to take a Tāl versus a particular composition (e.g. Tīntāl or jhaptāl ṭhekā versus a kāydā).

It is also very important to have the Tānpurā drone and perfectly tuned tabla during candlelight practice.

Fire has four basic elements: heat, sound, light and darkness. This is why fire is worshiped in traditions around the world.

Staring into the fire is called Trāṭak. When playing a ṭhekā and doing this, after some time (after weeks in fact), one feels that the taal and the flame elements begin to merge and drive one into unknown areas. It’s a kind of experience that cannot be described in words.

Sometimes one feels that the sound of the theka disappears and reappears. Sometimes one feels that the flame appears and disappears. Sometimes one feels that both disappear and reappear. That is the time when you meet total emptiness – the gap where all secrets reside.

I strongly recommend anyone who has the desire to explore deep experiences through music to try this practice. You will not be disappointed.