Someone asked Gurudev, Swami Chinmayanandaji, as to why one should cultivate withdrawal, do Japa or practise mauna ( silence) to quieten the mind for success in meditation. Gurudev taught by explicit examples. He said, “all these are required as aids for seekers in their early stages.” He further elaborated that when a baby has to sleep, the mother uses aids like shutting out noise, dimming the lights, singing a lullaby and rhythmically patting a child to sleep. Even a small sound jerks the child awake. “But when he is a teenager he can sleep anywhere, on a noisy railway platform, marketplace, roadside bench and even standing in a queue!” Then he told us that this was the difference between the beginners in the early stages of meditation and matured seekers on the spiritual path.
Ekantam ( withdrawal or aloneness) is prescribed for beginners. Aloneness is not loneliness. Ek +antam, means ( one end, one goal). That one goal is tuning oneself to Brahman, the one without a second. Ekantam is inner aloofness, with a firm understanding that no object in the world has the total unending joy we are seeking.
Worldly people constantly feel unfulfilled. They keep searching for new ways to tickle the senses and gratify the gross body which is for ever in a demand mode. “ Grow out of them like a teenager from a rattle” said Swami Chinmayanandaji.An extrovert mind is always in a state of agitation. A practice of keeping the mind in an ( ekanta sthiti) solitary bliss, is a single focussed attention that will enrich it with a wealth of peace and joy. Ekanta is not outward, it is an inner peace station that is ever unperturbed even in the midst of the noise and meaningless prattle of the outer world. “ It is not the joy of a chewing gum in the mouth”, said Gurudev
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi, can be contacted at prarthnasaran@ gmail.com