Chanting is also a thought process. Repeating a mantra or a name of God – Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, it doesn’t matter. You can simply count from one to a hundred and back again, from a hundred to ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven, then go back. Go up, go down. Just climb the whole ladder up to a hundred and again come down. Four or five times you will be able to do it and then you will fall asleep. But the whole night you will have to do that, climbing up, coming down, climbing up, coming down. It may even be tiring, so that in the morning you may feel your back is hurting, something has gone wrong, you feel giddy. The first thing that you will find in the morning is that you are coming down or going up. The whole night it has continued. Don’t choose such a thing.
It is perfectly good for Tennyson; he did it his whole life. In his autobiography he says, “I don’t know what the secret of it is. I simply stumbled on it out of fear. But I found it so peaceful, so relaxing, leading me into such deep sleep, that I have used it my whole life. Whenever I have time, I repeat my own name, just sitting in the bus or in the railway train. There is nothing to do. I just close my eyes and go on repeating my name. And it is so peaceful and so silent.” But it is a silence which is of sleep, it is a peace which is of sleep.
You will not become aware at the very moment it is happening; you will become aware when you awake. You will see you have passed through a peaceful land. Only the remnants like a memory hang around you – some fragrance. But you have passed through the garden completely asleep. When you wake up, you find you must have passed through a garden because you can still smell the roses.
I entirely support what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is doing. But I absolutely disagree with his using a name which simply exploits people who do not know what meditation is. He is giving something very cheap in the name of meditation. Meditation is always the essential awakening, witnessing, watchfulness, consciousness. It is never unconscious. It is never a deep sleep. It is a deep awakening. The moment you are alert, you can see the body, you can see your mind, and you can experience yourself. And beyond this yourself you cannot go. You cannot go behind it or beyond it. It is your very being. You cannot jump out of it. It is not a dress that you can jump out of.
It is you yourself.
It is your very essence.
This essence is transcendental.
But all religions have created their own ideas about meditation. Except Gautam Buddha, no other religion has been able exactly to find the right meaning of meditation. Hence he remains a pillar of light to all those who are seeking, searching. All other religions have fallen into the trap of chanting, prayer, mantras, rituals. A single man in the whole of history stands alone like an Everest denying everything except witnessing. That’s what he means by vipassana. It is the art of witnessing all your actions, physical or mental.
And as you watch them, they slow down. Your body becomes more at ease, tensionless; your mind becomes slowly, slowly thoughtless. And when the body is completely silent, and the mind is without any thought, your whole being is filled with a light that you have never known before. It is not the ordinary light that needs any fuel. It is your very being radiating. From this moment onwards your journey will take a new turn. On each step a new mystery will open its doors. You will be becoming more and more part of the miracles of existence.