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Four Gatekeepers at the Palace

                                        of Liberation





                 oga Vasistha mentions four gatekeepers at     joy caused by contentment, you are able to transcend
            Ythe palace of Liberation in the form of four      the lake of the mind and contact the Self through in-
         great  qualities  for  attaining  Self-realization.  They   tuitional realization. From the highest point of view,
         are shama (serenity), vichara (reflection or enquiry),   this is termed satsanga (contacting the truth).
         santosh (contentment), and satsanga (association with     An aspirant must practice these qualities—serenity,
         the wise, or contacting the Truth).                   reflection or enquiry, contentment and good associa-
             If you befriend them, you are allowed to enter into   tion—in day-to-day life. At first they are practiced
         Liberation. If you are unable to befriend all four, you   with effort, but with increasing success, they become
         should befriend three, or even two, or even one. When   effortless. They are practiced with limitation in the
         just one of these qualities is developed, the other three   early stages of spiritual development, but as you ad-
         will develop automatically.                           vance on the spiritual path, they become the limitless
             These four qualities represent the qualifications of   expressions of Self-realization.
         an aspirant. In the state of Liberation, they are at the    n all conditions your mind must maintain serenity.
         highest stage of their development.                      IYou must value mental peace above all earthly
             To  understand  these  gatekeepers  better,  reflect   attainment and not allow your mental composure to be
         upon the example of a turbulent lake. When the lake   disturbed by petty developments in the world. To sus-
         is agitated, it is unable to reveal its depths or reflect   tain serenity, develop reflection or enquiry into “Who
         the trees, the clouds, the sky, the sun or the moon. But,   am I?” Allow your intellect to seek the knowledge of
         when the agitation caused by the wind subsides, the   truth through meditation and reflection, and develop
         lake regains its reflective quality. With the increasing   contentment as a result of that enquiry. Do not hanker
         capacity of reflection, the lake begins to reveal the   for the unattained, nor become involved with the at-
         infinite expansion of the blue sky. In that perception of   tained.  Rather,  rising  above  all  external  conditions,
         the vast blue sky reflected in it, the lake is transcended.  strive to experience the bliss of the Self at all times.
             Thus, in this example, you see four stages unfold:   With increasing experience of bliss, you will contact
         removal  of  agitation,  increasing  reflective  quality,   the  Self  by  lifting  the  veil  of  ignorance.  Finally,  in
         reflection of the blue, and the transcendence of the   day-to  day-life,  practice  good  association—associa-
         lake. Think of the lake as your mind. In your move-   tion of Sages and Saints, study of scriptures, repetition
         ment towards Self-realization, the lake of mind must   of mantra, prayer and meditation. All that elevates the
         become serene. With increasing serenity, your mind    mind from a lesser plane of thought to a higher plane of
         is able to reflect upon the nature of the Self (vichara).   thought is an aspect of satsanga. As you befriend these
         As vichara grows, the Bliss of Self begins to reflect   four gatekeepers more and more, you will experience
         in your serene mind. Thus, vichara leads to content-  increasing  fulfillment  and  joy—and  you  will  surely
         ment or santosh. With the increasing experience of    attain Self-realization in this very life.

                                       By Swami Jyotirmayananda



         INTERNATIONAL YOGA GUIDE  33
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