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GOD > Pathway to GOD > PART III : SPIRITUAL SADHANA > Meditation ( Ramanama )
10. Meditation ( Ramanama )
(1) The Virtue of Silence
Experience has taught me that silence is part of Spiritual Discipline of a votary of Truth. . . . When one comes to think of it, one cannot help feeling that nearly half the misery of the world would disappear if we, fretting mortals, knew the virtue of silence. Before modern civilization came upon us, at least six to eight hours of silence out of twenty-four were vouchsafed to us. Modern civilization has taught us to convert night into day and golden silence into brazen din and noise. What a great thing it would be if we in our busy lives, could retire into ourselves each day, for at least a couple of hours and prepare our minds to listen to the voice of the great Silence. The Divine Radio is always singing if we could only make ourselves ready to listen to it, but it is impossible to listen without silence. St. Theresa has used a charming image to sum up the sweet result of silence:
"You will at once feel your senses gather themselves together, they seem like bees which return to the hive and they shut themselves up from work without effort or care on your part. God thus rewards the violence which your soul has been doing to itself; and gives to it such a domination over the senses that a sign is enough when it desires to recollect itself, for them to obey and so gather themselves together. At the first call of the will, they come back more and more quickly. At last after many and many exercises of this kind, God disposes them to a state of absolute repose and of perfect contemplation."
(2) Silence Facilitates Communion with God
Silence has now become both a physical and spiritual necessity for me. Originally it was taken to relieve the sense of pressure. Then I wanted time for writing. After, however, I had practised it for sometime, I saw the spiritual value of it. It suddenly flashed across my mind that that was the time when I could best hold communion with God. And now I feel as though I was naturally built for silence.
Silence is a great help to a seeker after Truth like myself. In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is long and arduous quest after Truth and the soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height.
(3) True Meditation
True meditation consists in closing the eyes and ears of the mind to all else except the object of one's devotion. Hence, the closing of the eyes during prayers is an aid to such concentration. Man's conception of God is naturally limited. Each one has, therefore, to think of Him as best appears to him, provided that the conception is pure and uplifting.
(4) Power of God's Name
Rama is the strength of the weak. This strength is not to be obtained by taking up arms or by similar means. It is to be had by throwing oneself on His name. Rama is but a synonym of God. You may say God or Allah or whatever other name you like, but the moment you trust naught but Him, you are strong. All disappointment disappears.
Ramanama is an alchemy such as can transform t he body. The conservation of vital energy has been likened to accumulated wealth but it is in the power of Ramanama alone to make it a running stream of ever-increasing spiritual strength, ultimately making a fall impossible.
Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith. This strength can renovate the weakness of all man's physical organs. That is why it is said that when Ramanama is enshrined in the heart, it means the rebirth of man. This law applies to the young, old, man and woman alike.
(5) Take the Name with Every Breath
Though my reason and heart long ago realized the highest attribute and name of God as Truth, I recognize Truth by the name of Rama. In the darkest hour of my trial, that one name has saved me and is still saving me.
When a child my nurse taught me to repeat Ramanama whenever I felt afraid or miserable, and it has been second nature with me, with growing knowledge and advancing years. I may even say that, the word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.
What is the mark of a man who has Rama enshrined in his heart? Such a man will take God's name with every breath. His Rama will be awake even whilst the body is asleep. Rama will be always with him in whatever he does. The real death for such a devoted man will be loss of this sacred companionship.
A devotee of Rama may be said to be the same as the steadfast one—Sthitaprajna — of the Gita. He will live in the consciousness of the soul and look to the care, first and last of the Indweller. Such a man will take God's name with every breath.
(6) Blessings of Ramanama
My Rama ... is not the historical Rama. . . . He is the eternal, the unborn, the one without a second. Him alone I worship.
A Christian may find the same solace from the repetition of the name of Jesus and a Muslim from the name of Allah. All these things have the same implications and they produce identical results. Only the repetition must not be a lip-expression, but part of your very being.
I have said that to take Ramanama from the heart means deriving help from an incomparable Power. The atom bomb is as nothing compared with it. This power is capable of removing all pain.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Ramanama contains all the power that is attributed to it. No one can by mere wishing enshrine Ramanama in his heart. Untiring effort is required as also patience. What an amount of labour and patience have been lavished by men to acquire non-existent philosopher's stone? Surely, God's name is of infinitely richer value.
With my hand on my breast, I can say that not a minute in my life am I forgetful of God.