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When one goes to Mother for Pranams, he feels rich, overflowing with joy. Quite often this is felt sometime before and long after the Pranams. This joy is the result of the aspiration of the soul that comes out to meet the Mother of souls. It is a common experience that one flattens out later. Can this joy not be permanent? The answer is yes. Not only that, for one who has taken to this yoga, if this aspiration withdraws, he begins to level off and the past habits begin to re-exercise their hold on him. In the measure one allows this aspiration to die, he reverts to the old life. For one to make constant progress in this yoga, there are scores of other soul-attributes like surrender, purity, adoration, self-giving, love, concentration, etc. that are to be alive all the time and be readily available for exercise when the need arises.
A question arises whether one should cultivate these soul-faculties at all. Should one not wait for these to flower? Let us take the example of meditation which comes to one by itself quite often. Does this mean one should not methodically practise it? No, rather, one should practise this as one should constantly practise concentration, endeavour towards purity, and encourage all positive yogic qualities. As all mental faculties are to be trained in man, so too, all soul-attributes can be systematically trained by the individual's effort. After all, the yoga itself is a conscious endeavour by man to hasten the labour of Nature, and the special distinction of man is that he is the conscious instrument of Nature.
While every soul-aspect is to be consciously kept keen and alive in man, we have now chosen consecration for a special discussion. In one sense, this is the easiest and most indispensable. We shall now consider the dynamics of consecration in different settings and discuss its various intensities.
Consecration literally means 'to make sacred'. In yoga this means doing an act for the glory of the Divine and with the Divine as the central reference. Looking at ourselves, we find that every act of ours is society-oriented or satisfaction-oriented or habit-managed. Taking a close look at the movements of an hour, one will be surprised to find not one isolated activity apart from such classifications. Especially, if we examine a parent handling a child, his instructions are very often, "Don't do it, nobody likes it", "Don't do it, you will lose your good name", or "learn this, it is important for your career". Some are fear-based, others are incentives; there is not one instruction unattached. Consecration is to recast the entire approach with one centre of reference, i.e. God.
Here it is useful to draw the distinction between prayer and consecration. Prayer is the request of the devotee to the Divine for the fulfilment of his wishes, for a desired end; whereas consecration is to offer the act, its constituents, the urge that brought about the thought of the act, its doing as well as the issue, to the Divine. No desired end is postulated. Whatever result comes will be happily accepted. Prayer is the human urge that links him with the Divine in the hour of trial. Consecration is a conscious offering of all that the individual is to the Divine intention.
Consecration is in many layers and has many dimensions. The uninitiated novice, before starting a work, consecrates it to the Divine. He sees his consecration has influenced the result and he is happy. He little knows that in his own being the act has been initiated much earlier than he thought of consecrating it. Each act seemingly has a beginning, a middle and an end. In Truth it begins much earlier and lasts longer that it appears. Normally to begin with, one consecrates an act as he knows. It does have an effect on the course of the act and its results; and what is far more important, the consecration has an effect on the individual. It is the latter part that we are interested in; but for the sake of convenience, we have to refer often to the act itself. A consecrated act brings freshness in its execution, while an ordinary act is routine and flat, because the decision to consecrate is a decision to let the Divine take hold of the act.
As the person who consecrates has a personality, so the act that is consecrated too has a personality of its own. The person is governed by habits, thoughts, feelings, impulses, mental rules, social norms and ethical ideas; consequently, all these are bound to colour his act, however small it is. One may start his consecration as he is, covered by hundreds of psychological sheaths. His consecration will help him to see his own psychological fabric and help him to free himself from them. As he has so many dimensions, the act itself has a personality with equally so many attributes, possibly all the attributes he has. Only that what is found in the act will be the counterpart of what he has. The deeper the man centres his consecration, the fuller it lends itself to be consecrated. When he goes beyond the artificial layers he meets with the Divine in himself and there he centres his consecration. Doing so, he meets the Divine in the act (in the doing of it). Then, instead of it being the consecrated act of a human being, it becomes a moment of communion between the inner Divine with the Divine in the act.
It is not easy in the beginning to go to the Divine depth of each moment or each act. One starts verbally and one can congratulate himself if he can remember the attempt for over a few hours. As mental work exhausts greater energy than non-mental work, consecration demands most of the energies of man. In the beginning, if one practises consecration (at whatever level) he feels exhausted after a time. A day later, he finds a greater quietude in depths not usually available to him. It is enough one consecrates an act before it is commenced and remembers the Divine at the end of it. (There has been the example of many enthusiasts who take to consecration zealously for a day or two and forget the whole thing later. It means their fund of energy is soon exhausted and they revert to their old round of unthinking activities. Later they joke about it as an impossibility or an irrationality. The truth of the matter is that they are not meant for it and not doing even that much they keep their respectable distance from serious yoga). When energy is exhausted, it is better to wait patiently for the rhythm to be built up again. During this period of waiting a gently remembrance of consecration is necessary to keep the link so as to renew the effort when energy is available.
At this point one can expand vertically or horizontally; vertically means to deepen the character of consecration; horizontally means to extend consecration to other similar acts. The former is useful but arduous. The progress here is by fits and starts but will be elevating each time. The latter is an easy method and has an advantage. Suppose one consecrates an act verbally, it is on the mere surface. He can extend this to all acts in his life at this depth. If no act is left out from this endeavour, however feeble the consecration is, a certain wide fullness is felt. Life, so far as that layer of activity is concerned seems to be in control. Not only that, in the life outside there is a corresponding layer, equally thin. The moment consecration reaches its comprehensive limits, events at this layer of life seem to cooperate unasked. It is at this stage that one can move the external world by pressing the corresponding inner keys.
While taking the consecration to deeper layers (say to the consecration of inner movements) if there is a psychological block, consecration will refuse to progress till the block is removed. The block should either be removed or fall off itself so as to make further advance possible. If one persists in consecration while the block persists, one can see the future needed circumstances for the work presenting and keeping themselves in readiness so as to complete the central work as soon as the block falls off.
In teamwork, if consecration is followed by all the members, the following aspects can be evidenced.
- Thoughts get communicated as soon as they are conceived, sometimes a little before they are mentalised.
- Physical movements fall into a rhythm that cannot be merely ordered or trained.
- Things happen in the society in such a way that serve our future work.
- Elements in ourselves that clash with others seem to be unwanted for work on hand; only those qualities in each that bring out harmonious counterparts in others are called into play.
- Material things are not lost, generally not a nut is lost.
- Even when the nature of work calls for noise, there is a pervading silence felt.
To deepen the character of consecration, one may move from verbal expression to non-verbal consecration. Suddenly one finds ten times more energy and greater poise is required to keep it going. All the effort and energy required in a whole day at the previous level will be exhausted by a single act of consecration. It is advisable to follow the rhythms one's being admits, instead of forcing the pace. But remembrance (in the period of rest) is necessary. Sometimes consecration (it has a personality of its own) reminds the person! The measure of one's remembering consecration can be tested when a) one begins an act, b) when one turns in bed during sleep and c) when one looks at the first waking thought. At such moments if one has not forgotten consecration, his entire consciousness can be said to be covered by it. Without its being so, it is likely to desert him anytime.
To deepen the consecration, one tries to remove layer after layer of thought from his own reaction. In doing so, when the last thought or opinion of his falls off, he sees a flicker of light. That is of course one strand of his reaction which is otherwise made up of emotions, impulses, habits self-acquired, inherited, etc. If a similar successful attempt is made to remove the over-laid emotions from a reaction, there is a powerful joy, though for a split second only. Power is felt when impulses are shed from a reaction. If by a stroke of good fortune in consecrating an act or a reaction one succeeds in bringing freshness from more than one angle, it can be seen that the last reaction and the act are lifted out of time, however brief it is. Once these openings are revealed, it is for the sadhak to organise it at whatever level he can. During the incessant workings in these lines, one comes to certain moments when a great weight is shed.
Worthwhile experiments on oneself can be attempted if one has reactions of fear or nervousness or timid withdrawings from situations. After all that is consciously perceived is shed, the layers that hide the subconscious fear, etc. will loosen themselves periodically. One can watch with interest things leaving him. Greater will be the reward if one studies through careful observation the one to one correspondence between the aspects of inner life and the external circumstances.
Each work has different levels of existence and has many branches, levels of functions, and sub-units. One engaged in doing a sub-unit of this work finds his consecration at many levels. The work can be consecrated as such and completed. It can also be consecrated as a unit of a small whole centring one's consecration at the level of that small whole. If so done, this particular unit's completion helps the smooth fulfilment of that small whole itself. So also it can be related to the entire whole. It depends upon the person and the team spirit.
Consecration completes what aspiration initiates and leads to surrender that is communion. Many faculties of the soul can be found to be parts of a consecrated act. This is so because each of these attributes, when in full steam, contains others in them in some way.
In a consecrated act, if an inanimate object is constantly involved, it becomes somewhat alive. One can see instances when inanimate objects act as if they have life.
Each layer of life, if consecration is established therein, reveals to the individual the next deeper layer for his further work and progress. Also, each domain that yields to the individual simultaneously opens a more difficult domain where the person is almost helpless, indicating the line of progress for him. What is known as a dull hour cannot exist in the psychological area where consecration is established.
For consecration, the fields of work such as agriculture, education, or trade do not matter, because it is the individual's psychological strands that are offered to the Divine. The external work is only an occasion. The essence is the same. If one feels consecration in education is really different from consecration in the kitchen, it only means that the person is yet determined by the field of work and the very first exercise he has to take is to extricate himself from that. Ultimately work is to pour out energy and it is to be poured out from the inner Divine onto the outer Divine.
Consecration of another man or his acts that relate to us especially means consecration of our own reactions to him or his acts. After all, one can consecrate only oneself and one's life. In the measure your reactions are under your control, the related men are manageable.
A certain person comes to meet you. You wish to consecrate the meeting, the person, and the entire proceedings. The first thing to do is to look into yourself and detach your deeper personality from the act. The moment the detachment is effected you feel a freedom and when the act is referred to the Divine, it is fully consecrated. If in the absence of this detachment the act is consecrated, the consecration is partial; but later this attempt enables you to fully detach yourself from other events.
Consecration solves unsolved problems.
Consecration resolves conflicts.
Consecration reveals one's own inner self.
Consecration takes one to greater and deeper centres.
Consecration makes one move to external life from inner points.
Consecration dissolves layers of habits and character.
Consecration widens the personality and deepens the vision.
One who identifies himself with another whose life is entirely consecrated at a higher level, and executes his wishes even if not consecrated by himself, has all the force of consecration, as it is the higher will of another that moves him.
We are capable of making consecration a habit. This is worse than not initiating consecration. One must guard against its becoming routine and dull. One can occasionally subject oneself to any of the following tests in this regard.
If consecration is established at some level,
- a) One must feel fresh at that level.
- b) Preference for works cannot be there, since intense interests can be felt in acting, whatever the act. An act is lively and the act is immaterial.
- c) One must be able to move external events from inside; must feel a certain mastery over the situation;
- d) must be able to meet greater difficulties than his personality deserves;
- e) must see life at that level seem to move towards him instead of his seeking it;
- f) must often witness circumstances fulfilling themselves with the minimum requirements;
- g) must find his activities having a wider consequence than the area of his physical presence;
- h) must find consecration insisting on growth;
- i) must feel life urges at that level dead or dying;
- j) must secure the right colleagues. Physical perfection in work attracts the money it needs. Psychological perfection brings in human material needed for the work.
- k) One must see that the immediate future gets indicated;
- l) must feel "consecration" is an invisible secretary reminding one of things, completing a few others, etc.
- m) must see that aspiration at the immediate lower level is actively felt;
- n) must be able to pass consecration to another.
Consecration to be perfect must be complemented by every other soul faculty, actively practised and integrated with it in the appropriate measures.
Man is the Divine covered by human inheritance. Life and its individual events are mirrors that reflect man in terms of work, as he approaches. In truth, life is the Divine in motion even as man is the Divine in the process of becoming. The aim of yoga is to reach the Divine indwelling in man and make Him manifest in the million acts of life which is the rightful field of human evolution. Consecration is the initial step in this direction which initiates and grows with human effort keeping company until the effort is consummated in utter communion. The two directions in which consecration actively functions are 1) it makes man shed step by step his human accretions, and 2) in the measure he sheds the psychological encumbrances, consecration brings about a communion in the field of the act, simultaneously widening the area of Divine functioning.
During the constant practise of consecration, taking the centre to deeper and wider levels, it can be observed that vital deformations tend to become additional vital energies, mental defects re-adjust into mental faculties. That is, they lose the surface complexes and become natural energies or powers which later gradually convert into their original soul counterparts. Below a few examples are given.
1. Anger - intense energy to throw out unwanted aspects -- great energy contained in dynamic power - silent strong power.
2. Irritation - incessant activity.
3. Desire to dominate - dominant state of consciousness - quiet strength - capacity to surrender.
4. Vanity - desire to appreciate the manifestation of the Divine everywhere.
5. Complaining - awareness of one's defects - awareness of others' strengths - capacity to coordinate one's strength with others' strong points -- capacity to use one's own strength to remove one's own weaknesses.
Consecration, meditation, aspiration and many other faculties that are used in spiritual life and growth are neutral faculties that need not necessarily be spiritual. For example, a mathematician or a carpenter can use concentration for his purpose. All these faculties are by themselves neutral and are used in spirituality for its own purpose. But consecration, whatever its quality, can only be SPIRITUAL and it can never be anything other than spiritual.