The Hong-Sau and Aum Techniques
by Brother Pravabananda (Excerpts from a talk at 2007 Convocation)
The Essence of Religion
When a soul first gets interested in learning, the first thing it wants is to stop doing harm. When that’s not enough the soul wants to do good things. This corresponds to yama and niyama: do no harm and do good.
Then the soul gets serious and wants to study, pray, and have quiet time: this is asana. When that is not enough, the soul wants to be closer to God. That is pranayama or control of consciousness and energy. This is a big step as it shifts focus from the outer to the inner world.
In the Second Coming, Paramahansa Yogananda discusses the essence of religion:
"Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, strength and soul and your neighbor as yourself."
These two laws are essential to any true religion. It cannot be reduced any further and this is what meditation is all about. To control our heart, mind, strength, and soul.
The outside world is filled with noise, activity, confusion, and conflict. Inside is the Universal Temple of Silence. This is what we ache for. This is the true temple. All other temples are less. It is the holy of the holy.
Picture a candle flame protected from all winds. It is alive but does not flicker. This is the yogi’s mind.
Picture a body of water without a ripple. This is the state of mind we are looking for.
Through the voice of silence, God speaks to His child. But His voice is drowned out by rowdy sensations and restless thoughts. God sadly turns away when He finds His Universal Temple of Silence invaded by the money changers of restless thoughts, sensations, and desires. God says, “can you see me, can you hear me?” but we are lost in restlessness.
We say, “God, give me a sign that You are listening.” But wouldn’t he like a sign that we are listening. Meditation drives out the money changers of desires and restlessness.
It is not so easy to get into the Temple of Silence. We work hard to not get in there. As soon as we sit, we become aware of aches, itch, sounds, our tasks, problems, all who said things to make us angry, and so forth. All of this has to do with memories, sensations, and plans. It takes discipline to push these aside. First, we need to be willing and then able.
Paramahansa Yogananda defines meditation as concentration on God. We do concentrate on all kinds of things but meditation involves placing all of our concentration on one thing. This is hard. We can do some of this but the goal is complete concentration. Everything is focused. The light of consciousness is not put out. It burns without a flicker. There is no ripple in the water.
This involves four elements:
2. life energy
4. sexual energy.
Master one of these and you master all four. Let one out of control and the others go too. Best is to train all four.
Training the life force is the true discipline of the body. For if you train the life force, you won’t have to discipline the flesh.
Fasting is a discipline of the body but it’s really a discipline of mind and energy. You make the mind calm by not thinking of your next meal. Tell it to calm down, relax, its ok. So fasting is for the mind, energy, and body.
In meditation, we need to be still. Don’t move a muscle. This too feels like you are disciplining the body but here too you discipline mind and energy. When you want to move, scratch, etc, tell your mind to calm down, relax, it’s ok. For if you move even a little bit, the peace is less and you have to start over.
Put your troubles aside. We all have them. Keep your mind upright like your spine, aware, calm, focused on one thing.
Bring your mind to one continuous stream of consciousness through intensity. Intensity means focused, not tension. To get this, you must relax the mind. There are two ways to do this.
2. scientific techniques
These notes are not an official publication of SRF. They were taken by the devotees during talks given by the monks and nuns. Please be aware that there is a degree of human error involved in taking and transcribing notes.