Uninvited Guest

Sometimes things are lost in translation. This can happen among native speakers of the same language – perhaps if the speaker uses a word he didn’t mean. It can certainly also happen while literally translating words of one language into their equivalents in another. I think, too, that culture sometimes plays a major role is things getting lost in translation. Sometimes, even when someone is fully capable from a linguistic perspective there can be things lost due to cultural differences which might otherwise be significant. In the quote below, I wonder if this isn’t happening. Take a look…

“The method of meditation on the heart is to think of Godly light within it. When you begin meditating in this way, please think only that Godly light within is attracting you. Do not mind if extraneous ideas haunt you during meditation. Let them come, but go on with your own work. Treat your thoughts and ideas as uninvited guests. If even then they trouble you, think they are Master’s, not yours. This process of meditation is very effective and can never fail in bringing about the desired result.” –Ram Chandra, Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Vol. 1 (1st Indian edn., 1989), p. 342

The short sentence of, “Treat your thoughts and ideas as uninvited guests” carries with it room for misunderstanding, although this very sentence is something Heartfulness / Sahaj Marg abhyasis quote often. While I’m more familiar with Indian culture than the average Westerner, I can only to a small degree speak about it – let alone Indian culture from a century ago. From a Western point of view, and more specifically an American point of view, this wording gives pause. The rest of the quote shared here feels contradictory to us – if we’re paying attention. We’re told not to mind extraneous ideas and to let thoughts come and go as they will, and think of them as God’s thoughts (aka The Master’s) instead of our own. Almost none of this is how uninvited guests are treated!

Here in the West, uninvited guests are noticed – sometimes with responses like surprise or disgust or contempt. A lot of that will hinge on what you’re interrupting and the relationship you have to what is being interrupted. Birthday parties, weddings / receptions, and maybe even more public things like church services… I dare you to walk into a church you don’t regularly attend and just see if no one notices you.

Maybe your personality is like mine and your default is automatically and purposefully to take care of business when it presents (regardless of the kind of business being handled). Or maybe you’re someone with just enough self-awareness to realize you have little control over your own internal mental and emotional processes. Either way – total control freak or out of control – you are likely to pay a lot of attention to these “uninvited guests.”

And so, I think – though Babuji was speaking plain English – that something was miscommunicated here. Something has been lost? To many Western minds, I’d say, treating one’s thoughts as uninvited quests means the opposite of “ignore and move on.”

A great twist here, I’ll say, is that there is immense benefit and maybe even some necessity to treating our thoughts while meditating as uninvited guests. In order for something – a person or thought or whatever – to be treated as uninvited, it must necessarily first be identified as such. Regardless of how we tackle things uninvited, we have to be able to see them as uninvited first. When this happens, fantastic potential opens up for the meditator.

In every form of meditation which I’ve ever studied, the meditator can potentially, eventually enter a state that isn’t usual in one’s waking hours. Of course, those for whom this becomes usual even while moving about their day we call yogis. But for most people this isn’t usual and when it happens it’s really something. It presents the meditator with the experience of seeing their thoughts happening just as automatically as they normally would – but almost as if from a distance.

In the same way you can sit next to a stream or river and watch things float by in it, you can watch your own river of awareness and similarly see things passing by. When the meditator becomes familiar with this experience it becomes a real blessing and more than just rest or relaxation can be derived from it. When you are able to successfully recognize and experience the gap of infinity that sits between “you” and your thoughts, many doors are opened for you the benefits of which have mundane and mystical applications.

To go back to the idea of thoughts as uninvited guests, I’ll mention something relating to Indian / Hindu culture. In Hinduism we say, “Pitru devo bhavaha” meaning “The guest is God.” When you are expecting God as a guest or to treat your guests as God, then you will of course dedicate lots of attention (aka energy) to that end. Perhaps then, if you have an uninvited guest you are able to say, “I refuse to dedicate energy in that direction” and if that’s the case, then treating your thoughts as uninvited guests while meditating would indeed be helpful. Still, if the guest is God then – invited or uninvited – why not afford that God / guest your attention? Dear reader, maybe you can answer that for me? If you’re a more experienced abhyasi than I am, then I would certainly value your insight into what Babuji was intending to communicate.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

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Reality: Static & Dynamic

My contribution to this post will be minimal because I plan to share original content from another source. If you’re interested, you can look into the Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Volume One. Else, please continue reading below for excerpts I’ve pulled from a chapter titled, “Reality – Its Static and Dynamic Aspects” which deals with how God is defined.


There has been a great deal of controversy over the question of the existence of God, the Ultimate Reality. The real problem of my mind, is not that of proving or disproving the existence of an Eternal Absolute but that of defining it in an adequate and satisfactory way. The factor of blind and enthusiastic faith, created and strengthened by individual miseries and cravings in different cultural contexts, has added more and more confusions. Consequently, the man of reason and thought rightly feels disgusted at the very mention of the word “God.”

There are various conceptions of the Ultimate Reality. People look upon Him differently according to their capacity and understanding… But philosophic view includes the idea of Nirguna Brahman (Indeterminate Absolute) which is above all multiplicity and distinction. This Nirguna Brahman is regarded to be the ultimate cause and substratum of existence, the superactive center of the entire manifestation. It is also known as Para Brahman.

Next comes the idea of God as Supreme Existence. We see the universe with all its diversities and differentiations and we are led to believe in its creator and controller. We call him Ishwara, or Saguna Brahman (Determinate Absolute). We think of him as an Eternal Existence which is omipotent and omniscient, posessing all the finest attributes. He is the efficient cause of the world and also its preserver and destroyer.

It is only when viewed from the lower standpoint that God becomes an object of worship, which is the final approach of almost all the religions. This Saguna Brahman is also known as Apara Brahman. Much is said in religious books about the above-mentioned two conceptions. Some think that the concept of indeterminate or attributeless God is better than that of determinate God. Others hold just the opposite view. In fact, both of them are erring… There are no doubt the two ways, but the goal is one… Both the conceptions, as generally understood, are greatly misleading. Truly God is neither Nirguna nor Saguna, but is beyond both… It is we who conceive Him to be Nirguna; and it is we who make him Saguna. What we must do to avoid these quarrels is that we must fix our view on the original element (Adi Tattva) – be it Nirguna or Saguna. Whatever it is we must love it.

Religion is only a preliminary stage for preparing a man for his march on the path for freedom. The end of religion is the beginning of spirituality; the end of spirituality is the beginning of Reality; and the end of Reality is the real Bliss. When that too is gone, we have reached the destination. This is the highest mark which is almost inexpressible in words.

Thus God is not to be found within the folds of a particular religion or sect. He is neither to be confined within certain forms or rituals nor is He to be traced out within the scriptures. Him we have to seek in the innermost core of our heart.


After this post, I’ll add another to pick up where this left off. The next will begin by starting at the place of understanding held by an Atheist and will employ some basic mathematical concepts to illustrate.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti