By Life Positive January 2003 A three-day international conference on ‘Science and Meditation’ was held in November 2002 at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences (founded by Swami Rama) located on the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. The conference was organised by the Sadhana Mandir Trust (Rishikesh). The conference saw a good gathering of spiritual leaders, social scientists and psychologists from India, America and Germany. The present spiritual guide of the trust, Swami Veda Bharati, described meditation as: ‘‘The unaltered state of consciousness or superconsciousness. Con-sciousness is constant. Our wakeful experiences, dreams and fears are the alterations.’’ Underlining the benefits of meditation he said: ‘‘With the awareness of who I truly am, I rediscover my own brightness. In this brightness, you can see more clearly.’’ The highlight of the conference was understanding the essence of meditation as practised by different religions—Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism—all pointing to the need to connect within for a truer understanding of God. Speaking at the conference, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan said: ‘‘Meditation is the science of spirituality, a unique kind of journey from darkness to light, chaos to conviction, seeking to finding, nothing to everything.’’ There were also many psychologists who came with their papers involving years of research work. What emerged was the scientific basis of meditation and a growing evidence of the benefits derived from meditation, especially for psychological disorders. Sherrie Wade, a mental health counsellor in Florida, stated: ‘‘Most of the psychological problems originate from a lack of knowledge of the self. Meditation tunes us to that which is beyond the mind. In that cessation you experience the purity that you are (asampragyat), a samadhi beyond the name, form and meaning—beyond the relative state of existence.’’ An international conference of this kind suggests the growing relevance of meditation in our lives. Correction! A dervish from an austerely pious school was walking one day along a river bank. He was absorbed in concentration on moralistic and scholastic problems. Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by a loud shout. Someone was repeating the dervish call. ‘‘There is no point in that,’’ he said to himself, ‘‘because the man is mispronouncing the syllable. Instead of intoning ‘YA HU’, he is saying ‘U YA HU’.’’ Then he realized that he had a duty as a teacher to correct this unfortunate person, who might have no opportunity to be rightly guided, and was therefore probably only doing his best to attune himself to the idea behind the sounds. So he hired a boat, and made his way to the island midstream from which the sound appeared to come. There he found a man sitting in a reed hut, dressed in a dervish robe, moving in time to his own repetition of the initiatory phrase. ‘‘My friend,’’ said the first dervish, ‘‘you are mispronouncing the phrase. This is how you speak it,’’ and he told him. ‘‘Thank you,’’ said the other dervish humbly. The first dervish went back to his boat, satisfied that he had done a good deed. For, without his help, the poor man may have wasted his entire lifetime practising the incorrect phrase, and thus never attain realisation. Now he could hear nothing from the reed hut, but he was sure that his lesson had been well taken. Then he heard a faltering ‘U YA’ as the second dervish started to repeat the phrase in his old faulty way. While the first dervish was thinking about this, reflecting on the perversity of humanity and its persisting errors, he chanced to look back and his eyes were riveted to the shore. Because there, from the island, the other dervish was coming towards him, walking on the surface of the water. The second dervish walked up to him, and said: ‘‘Brother, I am sorry to trouble you, but I have come to ask you again the correct pronunciation, since I don’t seem to get it right.’’
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