Antar Mouna -Stage 5 Thoughtlessness

The aim of this stage is to induce a state of thoughtlessness. In Sanskrit it is called nirvichara awastha. The mind must be emptied of all thoughts. Every thought that arises on the screen of consciousness should be immediately rejected. They should be eliminated. You have to refuse to think of anything. The mind has to become perfectly blank, but while you watch with alertness and without sleep.

This stage leads to the state of antar mouna -inner silence, where all thoughts stop. There is a mental vacuum.

Preparation

This stage requires little effort; it should arise almost spontaneously as a result of perfecting the previous four stages. Therefore, we do not suggest that you start this stage until you have fully practised stages 1 to 41.

Technique

Sit comfortably with eyes closed. For a few minutes practise stage 4. Then become aware only of chidakasha – the inner space of consciousness in front of the closed eyes. This is the screen of your psyche. Watch carefully. If any thought arises, immediately dispose of it. .. reject it. Be alert. Do not brood over any thought; as soon as a thought, any thought, arises get rid of it. More than likely you will see thoughts in the form of visions; weird and wonderful shapes will arise in the chidakasha. These visions must also be wiped out. You should try to merge these forms and visions with the formless background of chidakasha; make them fade away. Your whole aim should be directed towards attaining and maintaining a state of no thoughts and no visions. No thought or vision should be allowed to manifest itself.

If you wish you can make a resolve: ‘I will not think’ . . . this can be your only thought. Go on repeating this resolve until only the strong resolve ‘I will not think’ remains. Then eventually this resolve must also disappear so that you are aware only of the chidakasha. This is the state of thoughtlessness. You may feel as though you are soaring through different levels of your mind. Be alert and aware. Do not sleep. When you can attain a state of thoughtlessness then you are ready to begin dharana concentration on a psychic symbol.

Suppression of thoughts

In this stage, thoughts should be completely suppressed. This may seem to contradict what we have said in previous stages, such as stage 2, where we urged you not to suppress thoughts under any circumstances. However, in the earlier stages, thoughts were likely to be quite compelling, in which case suppression would cause more harm than good. They had to be exhausted by allowing them to arise without hindrance or suppression. On reaching stage 5, however, the thoughts in the mind should be greatly attenuated and almost insignificant. Therefore, they can be suppressed in order to extinguish minor thought agitation in the mind and to bring about the state of inner silence. Here suppression is justified. But of course, this assumes that you have perfected the previous four stages. Therefore, we again emphasize that you should not start this stage 5 until you have practised and mastered the previous stages.

Readiness for stage 6

When you can easily remain in a state of thoughtlessness, then you should proceed to stage 6. Do not continue with stage 5 for you will merely lapse into a state of laya (unconsciousness or sleep). You will have a nice deep sleep, but it will not take you anywhere on the yogic path. Therefore, proceed to stage 6 as soon as your mind is in a thought-free state.

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