What is Pratyahara (Interiorization) and What is Faith?


1. What is interiorization of mind? Is it deeper than concentration of mind? What is the position of mind in both the instances?

2. In many texts I come across the phrase DIVE DEEP INTO MEDITATION. Is it pratyahara? Can you pl. illustrate an example where pratyahara has been reached?

3. Jesus spoke of mustard seed amount of faith which can move mountains. But I also read in spiritual book that FAITH COMES AFTER REALISATION. Are these not contrary teachings?

—m.thangaraj, India


Dear Thangaraj,

1. Interiorization of the mind is very different from concentration of the mind. Your mind may be, for example, concentrated on food you eat, or work you do. But it is not interiorized.

If your question refers only to meditation: you may be concentrated on the breath, or a mantra, for example, while your mind is not yet interiorized at all. Interiorization is deeper and takes time. Interiorization of the mind is when your senses are withdrawn from the world and you perceive inner realities. It takes you to dharana, which means concentration on divine inner soul-qualities (e.g. joy, love, light, peace). That kind of concentration (dharana) is higher than interiorization.

2. Yes, “dive deep into meditation” means that you concentrate deeply, in order to gradually enter into pratyahara, where your senses are withdrawn and your mind is focused inwardly. You reach pratyahara when you hardly hear outer sounds anymore, and you don’t even feel the body very much anymore. Yogananda explains: “Pratyahara signifies the mind when it is disconnected from the five sense telephones.” It means your senses are withdrawn. Concentrated pranayama (energy control, usually done through the breath) should lead you to that state of pratyahara.

3. Yes, Jesus said, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto the mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Jesus here is saying that your faith must not be “little”, but very strong, unshakable. This kind of faith, Swami Kriyananda explains, comes with experience, after seeing many times that God indeed works. We have seen the “mustard seed” grow a million times: it works. Our faith in it is strong. Is this what you mean by “faith comes after realization”?

If you mean that true faith is possible only through high inner meditative realization, I think this is partly true and partly not. It is not true because a person, through his devotion, can develop deep, true, and unshakable faith in God, attracting thereby His miracles. Miracles (the moved mountain) occur because of intense devotion, not because of realization.

On the other hand, it is true: the stronger your inner God-realization, the deeper and more powerful your faith will naturally be. You actually gradually become one with Him, and in that union He, through you, can move mountains.

Banat, nanat, ban jai“: going on, going on, until victory is achieved.

All the best,