Sravana or listening is the first step towards spirituality in the Vedic tradition. Sravana does not refer to just hearing the sounds to understand them. It is a state of high awareness or a space of being available to the sound or event with our whole being.
There is always an inner dialogue or chatter going on within each of us incessantly. We become aware of this chatter when we try to sit still. The experience is generally not pleasant and as the chatter never dies there is a constant effort to escape from it or deny it. This is the real reason why any product or activity that provides easy distraction sells well. Talking or outer chatter, media entertainment etc. provide an easy escape. Cell Phones and tablets enable us to escape the inner chatter at any time and we see that they are the most popular and used products.
The inner chatter is rooted in incorrect cognition of some conflicts in our life. They are always sustained by fear or greed coupled with a deep sense of powerlessness. These wrong cognition around some past incident or incidents, when left uncorrected, crystallize into reality defining rules for our lives. The self denying rules always keep us at disadvantage as we live out our life. Inner chatter is only the symptom of this self-imposed restricting framework that we unwittingly allow to shrink our experience of life. Using distraction through entertainment or other means is just running away from the real problem.
Listening and Completion
Listening to oneself with deep compassion is the first step to confronting this unpleasant inner chatter. Listening reveals the uncured root causes of the inner disturbance. The root causes can be understood and permanently cured through a powerful cleansing process called ‘Completion’ (see reference 2 for link to the actual process) that is based on listening. Listening to our inner chatter and completing with the causes leads to silence. This silence that is the fertile space devoid of all greed and fear is ready for intuition driven creation. Operating solely from this space is Living Enlightenment.
Only after we learn to listen to ourselves will we be able to truly listen to others. Most of the time when someone talks we are busy working on our response instead of listening. A person’s words are modulated by the projected ego and its motives. If we provide true listening to someone, we can see beyond the words of the person. We will be able to catch the space from which the words are being uttered and respond directly to that space. We can truly help or enrich anyone only if we are able to speak to their space of listening.
Listening to Life
Existence, as an entity, is always creatively expanding with new and higher expressions. The human body is built with the hardware for the possibility of the highest experience – Enlightenment. This is the realization of oneness of Existence as your identity. All humanity is moving towards this ultimate fulfillment. Existence has a compassionate auto correction mechanism that aligns us toward this fulfillment.. Life teaches us all, pushing us towards higher possibilities and maturity. Without proper listening, this mechanism will feel as if it is unjust, judging and imposing. Listening reveals the real reason or teaching behind each experience allowing us to mature with the understanding. Listening means embracing life as it happens without resistance. In that space we see that we are not only responsible for our experience of life but also can be in control of it with awareness.
Listening and Omniscience
Pure listening reveals all. In the space of pure listening there is no gap between the event and the observer. The truth of oneness experienced between them makes all the knowledge about the observed available as intuition. There are no blind spots. Enlightened masters are in this space of pure listening and hence able to provide the best solution to any problem or situation they are confronted with. This is the power of Sarvajna meaning omniscience.
Listening is also attention. Attention is energy. Many of our maladies are just because of the lack of attention or listening we provide to ourselves. Listening closely to our body’s pain signals and completing with them works miracles with healing them. Similarly people often find solutions to their problems just when provided the space of true Listening.
Significance in Vedic Tradition
Piercing the ear to wear earrings is an important religious ritual in the Vedic tradition. The child is taught to listen and in turn the child commits that from then on she will start listening. Sravana Deeksha – initiation of the disciple into listening, is one of the initial spiritual processes performed by spiritual masters, at the beginning of spiritual training.
Paramahamsa Nithyananda says beautifully “..When you listen, you understand, you become God. Only God can make you God. Listening makes you God. Listening is God.”
The individual ego is born from the ego-defining words we utter in our inner space. All further life experiences carry the hue of the definition as an underlying cause. With listening we become aware of these defining words and chose them carefully thus designing and deciding the life we want. Listening provides us with this power to create our reality. Listening truly is God.
- The Science of Living Enlightenment (ISBN:978-1-60607-173) by Paramahamsa Nithyananda (http://www.nithyananda.org).
- Science of Completion Discourses by Paramahamsa Nithyananda (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY2GZjHc0HLmO2cgduGXlfH-oMqV4xxNi).
- Talks by J. Krishnamurthi (http://www.jkrishnamurti.org)