Internal transformation's alignment with external manifestation


S. Ainavolu

1/23/2022 10 min read

Internal transformation’s alignment with external manifestation – DASHAJI as a metric for the measurement


When one is on the “journey”, the long journey of evolution and upliftment, many changes happen. These changes happen internally for sure, but mostly unnoticed by the outside world. A few changes may happen in the external behaviour and some of these are noticed by the fraternity around. Then the question that arises is whether the internal transformation has to be necessarily accompanied by the external behaviourial changes, and whether the external manifestation is a “must” condition for the internal transformation to be followed up by, and most importantly whether the external behavioural change and manifestation is a mandatory for the internal transformation to be held at that “new normal” level. In other words, whether to be at the new level of internal superior state, should one be at the the expected or desired external state? What are the possibilities of this alignment and what are the potential manifestation in terms of managerial audience familiar with “2 X 2” matrix, can there be an effective measurement metric and framework that can be developed for assessing and aiding the seekers, to appreciate the new milestone achievements and also warn them of the possible downsides shall be dealt in this experienced recording of one’s own journey. Given the subjective parameters’ importance and influence in a very personal journey of internal transformation, the nuances can be little different and recalling of the fact that the very purpose of seeking is to realize that the “seeker is seeking the sought which is the seeker itself.” In other words, the journey is the destination and the purpose is transformation. The origin and the destination are the same. The journey wasn’t actually required if the knowledge existed initially that “you are that.” As we all know to unravel the gift, we all need to open layers of packing. As the wise say, the layers called samskaras blur our vision and the externalized analogy can be that the required process is akin to cleaning the mirror glass surface gently so that we see ourselves clearly in the mirror. What is hiding the gift from us are the layers, the layers of “brought in” and acquired qualities or samskaras that are binding us in the physical form but are also triggering the dvaita bhava or the dualistic feeling.

 Advaita, The ultimate milestone of internal transformation

When one embarks on the journey either with or without explicit end-goal defined, the ultimate milestone said of internal transformation is that of the experience of advaita, non-dualistic experience. Yoga vashishtam is written in long form and contains 32,000 shlokas. The shortest form that is given as stotra by Shri Adishankaracharya is Dakshinamurthy stotram, comprising of ten shlokas. The very question of defining the realization is often answered in three possible ways. People often confuse with the traditional saying of “Brahma Satyam, Jagat Midhya”. This is no denouncing the physical world, and this can be explained a little later. First of the above three ways of “visualizing” is seeing the world or the “jagat” embedded in the Brahma. Second means is seeing Brahma embedded in everything we see around us. First one is a little difficult from normative perspective, and the second results in artificially mesmerizing behaviour. The third method is seeing the Jagat as the Brahma. In other words, the world we experience around is the Brahma or the seeker, the reader and the facilitator who might have forwarded the link to you and the website hosting the content, everything is Brahma. The first two approaches promote the separate concept of vastu and Brahma, reinforcing the dualistic approach.

On the other hand, the third method described above, of seeing the world as the God/Brahma with name/shape attached makes real sense. Drop the name and shape, what remains is the pure Brahma. This is articulated beautifully as “ekam sat, vipra bahuda vadanti”, meaning that the truth (Brahma) is one, the learned call it many. Now comes the phrase used to confuse the eager seekers who are in the initial stages, “Brahma satyam, Jagat midhya”. The meaning of the midhya is not to be taken as non-existing. The ones who ridicule seeking and seekers of the pure non-dualistic mode, are often heard saying if Jagat is midhya, food which is in Jagat is also midhya, so can you survive without food? It is sheer ignorance at the worst level. Midhya is “non-permanence” and Jagat, the world is undergoing transformation. This can be felt easily when we understand the saying “you can never cross the same river again”, for a lot of water would have flown and the river is not the same. So, the world undergoing transformation is non-permanent. The very understanding of us of Brahma the GOD is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. So, Brahma is ever true and in exact form and shape and present in all.

Reconciling the external-internal debate

The internal transformation as an antecedent of external manifestation is one question. External manifestation of desired behaviour as a necessary feedback condition for the internal transformed state to continue is another, can be another question. The concurrent relation between these two is strong or not, is another question, which can be explored through a simple correlation. The underlying factors are many for internal transformation, the “brought in” sadhana, suppurating zeal, supporting context are a few obvious looking factors, assuming the “candle to light the candle” is encountered for the journey to move forward. However, the internal transformation and external manifestation existence possibilities can be summarized beautifully as a simple 2x2 matrix as given with this:

The bottom-left box and the top-right boxes are the easiest to explain. The same condition exists between external and internal. Either both don’t exist or both do exist. There is authenticity which often is a rare quality and is present here. No defences are required while explaining these two boxes. Top-left is the most dangerous and shall be explained later. Bottom-right is one condition which often is maintained by the seekers who have reached their goal viz. completed their of realization that there is nothing to be realized. Often the avadhutas are said to be with subtle misleading mannerism that helps them discern the genuine seekers from fashionable. Their energies won’t get frittered away in trying to work on the ones who may not be actually seeking the spiritual aspects but would like a physical benefit to be amassed. Some of the Zen masters and Sufi saints adopt this mechanism, and true seekers know them inspite of the cover. The last one is the box of no internal transformation but external manifestation. Whether this is a conscious or unknown projection of “that” without being “that”, seekers may stand a probability of slipping the path by travelling with these. Simple urge to be called and addressed as “Guruji” or “Swamiji” can be least harmful of their desire. But the worst will happen when the seeker aligns with such feigning and lose time and money in assumed “pursuit of permanence”. Such charlatans are dangerous in the seekers’ world and these may acquire name and fame as modern false gurus but are acquiring lots of negative karma. The trigger for such conduct by examples of “empty vessel making more noise” may be egoism at the minima level and greed at the maxima level. Easy to be convinced can be top-right box of both yes zone. Sincerely wish the readers of finding their own such master.

Why does the dichotomy exist? – Possible explanation

The probability of entering higher echelons of sadhana is more in the recent five decades or so compared to the earlier times. Before the upadesha of any mantra or giving of any diksha, the Guru would have observed the seeker for years, and this was the condition earlier. In Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga, the first and second steps of Yama and Niyama define don’ts and do’s. Once the seeker is free of bad and undesirable, acquired the positive characteristics, the asana, the pursuit of the physical process of internal realization through assuming different positions through body would begin. Breath knowledge and pursuit through Pranayama shall begin then and is the fourth in the eight-step process. Next two steps of Pratyahara and Dhaarana define withdrawing from the “external” world and focusing deeply on the desired “internal”. Then comes the seventh step of Dhyaana, the effortless meditation. Sublime level attained is the eighth and the last, called Samadhi.

This seeker’s hypothesis is in the smooth, evolutionary progressing path of 8-step the seekers could evolve and prove. In the current (popular now, might have existed earlier too!) practices of taking direct admission in UG/PG directly, one by-passes the steps while saving time. Analogy from the academic world is ones’ who are not even 8th pass are admitted into Teacher’s training course to teach the nextgen. Not withstanding the struggles of the teachers of these “future teachers,” the nextgen shall be flooded with half-baked, full-empty “brand new teachers,” who hardly know anything to teach. The evolved masters of these schools probably have figured out a way of dealing with the spiritual situation akin to above pessimistic portrayal of “prepared unprepared teacher preparing to prepare the nextgen.” This teaching world example is from real life and was faced with this seeker’s father when he started such an institute in the mid-eighties, as the first of such government’s ventures. The motivation behind the government of those days may be democratizing the education, merit no-bar! Like many situations, this also has a downside, so also in the spiritual journey cases.

Measuring using some metric – Development of DASHAJI

We now appreciate the need for a strong positive alignment of external-internal and the means required to identify and discern the nuances. Ignoring the first box of bottom-left where both internal-external are “no-no,” one must get saved from top-left. It is difficult for many an ordinary seeker not to miss out on the bottom-right boxed. Desired and to be identified for alignment are those in the top-right box, the ones who are internally arrived and externally manifesting the achieved state through superior conduct. What are the dimensions on which this exemplary conduct gets displayed, can there be any metric on which the desired qualities for external manifestation can be measured are of interest to the seeker as there can be “application” of this knowledge. A few of the important qualities possibly displayed by the internally transformed are generated and listed here for further refinement, which is the current project on which this seeker is investing life. For the benefit of fellow travellers from whom the only expectation is “not to hold the grudge/enmity”, as said by the upanishadic prayer of “sahanavavatu sahanoubhunaktu, sahaveeryam karavavahai tejaswinamadheetamastu maavidvishavahai” which gets followed by “om shanti shanti shanti”, signifiying adibhoutika, adidaivika and adhyatmika Shanti, the state of subtle bliss, serenity and peace. Now we have the tenets for measurement and solid codification of these.

1.      Staying cool. Hyper behaviour is indicative of internal imbalance. Balanced gunatraya-combination is the resultant which is balance.

2.      Doing karma and staying active. No withdrawal from the world. Active and engaged almost till the end.

3.      Moderation in consumption. As the Bhagavatgita tells us, one who is mitahara can be close to the truth. Nirahara leads to annihilation and ati-ahara leads to inaction due to heaviness.

4.      Friendly and approachable. There is no point one is high in terms of possession but unwilling to share with others. True in spiritual domain too. This is similar to highly knowledgeable and arrived thesis guide who knows only to discourage the student. Student gains nothing and often loses confidence.

5.      Good Arogya. This is the physical manifestation of superior internal condition. One may argue that the present unhealthy state is undergoing the karmas of the person and these are of previously done. The explanation may not be very convincing. Shareera madhyam khalu dharma sadhanam, body is the instrument of spiritual and physical worlds’ pursuits. Hence, is the importance of body and being in good condition.

6.      Smiling and pleasant. This is an extension of the previous point and reflects internal mental health.

7.      Sustainability. The world can meet everyone’s needs but not the greed of a few has to be brought into aacharan, the practice. One who advocates conservation of resources goes on consuming resources to the point of wastage, is not displaying alignment of manasa vaacha karmana, the alignment of thought, word and action. Close to the nature, sustainable in demand on the resources to the point of frugality are value-adding qualities, feels this seeker.

8.      Gratitude. The one who is internally mature and arrived always appreciates the favourable conditions that helped one achieve. The odds against such achievement were neutralized by many external factors and forces. This has to make one humble and help gain gratitude. Else, it shall be the embodiment of egoism. Not subtle, but out-right. This self-pride is a dangerous condition.

9.      Be present. As is the saying “present is the present”. The one who spends time on the past’s happenings or on future possibilities is essentially wasting the “present”. Time is called kaala, the finisher. It finishes the moment and that moment can’t be gained back by any means. Time-machine is only a concept and often used for entertainment.

10.   Living with a purpose. One who is “that” internally has “in” and displays that purpose in trikarana shuddhi manner. This purpose is larger than one’s life. It is divine mission of transforming to the better orbits. The least one can do is to work on self and transform self. Next comes taking care of the upliftment of the world at large.

 The closing note

The dichotomy or the possibility of the dichotomy between internal transformation and external manifestation is explored. Truly there is a probability of the dichotomy existing. So also there could be misleading possibilities. The reasons or the possible reasons for this are explored. The true state or the desired state of non-dualism is explained. All right-thinking shall appreciate where the non-dualism ends or should end. In physical worldly matters, there are limits to non-dualistic dealing. To put in sharply a teacher can’t award “A” grade to the best student and also to the worst committed student of the class, misquoting the premise of advaita. It is injustice to the best student. Similarly, the way one deals with one’s mother and wife has to be different, advaita or no-advaita. In terms of being aware of the nuances and gaining the ability to gauge the difference DASHAJI framework, which like a true seeker, is evolving, is shared here. The end of this article which may be a new beginning in your pursuit, may make the journey more illuminated and focused. The prayer at the end is for the new beginning.