The first level of mind’s existence is when we are awake and active. At this stage we perceive the world through our experience and remembrance. In Sanskrit this stage is called, ‘Jagruta’. The second stage is called ‘Svapna’ or dream condition where vision and remembrance exists in a subtle form, and the mind remains active. Our myriad experiences during the waking stage combine at night to give us a subtle experience. For example if one sees a mountain and gold when he’s awake, then at night, when he’s asleep, he could see a golden mountain in his dream. This is how the mind is active even during sleep. However there is a third stage of the mind called ‘Susupti’ or deep sleep when the mind is inactive. That’s when one gives up the activities of thinking, feeling and willing. All mental speculation stops at this stage, and a person who achieves trance like state in his meditation practices is said to be in ‘Susupti’.
Realization of God in His formless, all pervading aspect or seeing Him in one’s own heart happens when one steadily evolves to a platform beyond the mind to the stage of Susupti, deep trance. Yet to fully realize God’s personal form and to have a loving reciprocation with Him we need to rise even beyond Susupti, to a stage called Vishuddha-sattva or Vasudeva-sattva, the stage of spiritual trance.
At this stage the senses and the mind have transcended matter completely, and have become spiritualized. This is when we connect to God. We reach this stage when we engage our senses in the service of the Lord and the senses and mind get purified by the contact with the Lord. This calls for being connected to God as well as putting our sincere efforts to connect to the Lord.
The best way to purify and spiritualize the senses is by chanting the holy names of God, Krishna.
Chanting the holy names of God
Daksha gives the example of extracting fire by chanting mantras. In the Vedic age, certain chants called the samidheni mantras when uttered by qualified priests, would invoke fire within wood. Similarly, he says if we chant the holy names of God, which are non-different from God, the love that lies dormant within our heart would awaken. The key element here is the attitude of service. In a proper mood when we chant the holy names we access God and receive His grace.
Therefore although the stage of spiritual trance seems a far distant away, the Lord has kindly made it easily accessible to us. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says that by practicing devotional service, where one engages his senses in the service of the Lord, he could attain full consciousness of God (18.65). Ordinarily whatever we think, act or do is material, but when we add the element of God’s holy names and remembrance of His activities, we enter a spiritual realm, and this purifies our material senses and helps us awaken to the platform of receiving God in our hearts.
Daksha further clarifies that God doesn’t have any material names but only spiritual. Material names cannot give us a spiritual experience but if some sounds do bring supra mundane experiences, then the spiritual veracity of these sounds is confirmed. For example Ajamila when faced with the agents of death chanted the name ‘Narayana’ and he attained spiritual vision and was liberated from his suffering condition. This means ‘Narayana’ is not an ordinary material name; rather it’s purely spiritual and has the potency to guarantee spiritual benefits to the chanter.
To be continued…