Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights The Inward Journey

The Inward Journey

Pujya Gurudevshri elucidates two essential practices Pratikraman and Samayik that help embark on the journey within and experience the true Self

Dharma means transformation. Like love, dharma is an experience, a feeling, and not restricted to some activity of the body or the mind. Therefore, one who remains engrossed only in physical activity or thinking is far from dharma.

Dharma – An Experience

Thinking is only a small part of human being. It is a part at the periphery and not the centre. There are machines like computer that work with greater efficiency than man

Therefore, man’s greatness lies in experiencing, not in just thinking. Just as when you taste mango pickle, its taste is not merely a thought, it is an experience. The effect of liquor does not remain confined to thought; it shows up in the drinker’s trembling hands and feet, eyes, speech, and everything he does. In the same way, dharma is such an experience that it completely takes over you and fills your entire being. But this phenomenon cannot occur by mere wishful thinking. Without the practice of turning within; mere listening, reading, singing, worshiping, austerities, renunciation or memorising the words of the Enlightened Ones and changing one’s language will not bear the desired fruits of dharma. Through repeated application and experimentation when you turn within, you will get the fruits of dharma.

Study of the Scriptures

Practice of turning within is the path of liberation. Abidance in the Self is liberation. Unless liberation is understood in this way, how will you tread the path of the Enlightened Ones? Scriptures undoubtedly speak the truth, but when they are studied out of one’s whim, they become a hindrance and alienate you from the path of liberation. Scriptures are not wrong but their wrong interpretation is harmful.

The Enlightened Ones begin describing the path from outside because you are an extrovert, and familiar only with the outside. Their only objective is that you turn within and not remain in the outside. If you are under the guidance of an Enlightened One, He will correct you whenever you go wrong in interpreting the teachings and guide you in a way that you begin your inward journey. But if you independently study scriptures with your dull and crooked intellect, you may wrongly interpret them and invite your own doom.

Deeper is Higher

Move from the outer world to the body, from the body to the mind, from the mind to the feelings, from feelings to the knower. Waking up to the nature of the knower, one attains Self-realisation. Go deeper. Going deeper is the same as going higher in spirituality. The deeper you delve, the higher you rise. The more you wander outside, the more you will fall low.

In the outward journey, your wandering is limited to the world and the body. But as you go deeper within, you will come across many halting places. The first halt in the inward journey is the mind, the thoughts. Next is the changing emotional states, and behind them is the knower. Do not stop anywhere in between. From the body to the mind is called the state of contemplation. From the mind to the knower is called the state of meditation. The one who abides in the knower attains Self-realisation.

In Jainism there are many good spiritual practices and techniques to turn within, but due to lack of interest in the inward journey, spiritual practices like pratikraman, samayik have become mere mechanical rituals.


Like the sun extends its rays at dawn, ‘aakraman’ is to invade, to extend outside, to spread one’s awareness towards things and beings. And just as the sun withdraws its rays at dusk, ‘pratikraman’ is to withdraw from all invasions, to retreat from external world and journey within, to pull back one’s focus from the sense objects to the Self.

A mother takes her children to the beach to play. They make sandcastles and if by chance anybody touches their sandcastles, due to the strong feeling of ‘my castle’, they become angry, quarrel and even fight. When night falls, listening to the mother call out, “Let’s go home”, they are reminded of their real home. Now, their sandcastles appear insignificant to them. They joyfully break them with their own feet and soon turn towards their home.

Similarly, when the consciousness returns happily to its real abode, realising its outward extension to be meaningless, it is pratikraman. If the consciousness does not return to the Self, and keeps wandering outside, it will forget that it has gone astray. That is why, the practice of pratikaman is essential, and instructed to do it twice every day, so that you can cultivate detachment, and focus within towards the Self.

Upon returning home, if the children do not play inside the house, or have no interest in staying at home, they will desire to again go out. In the same way, through pratikraman, the wandering consciousness returns; but if that consciousness does not revel in the Self, it will again run outside. Therefore, the second essential step is the practice of samayik.


Samay means the Self because it is eternal, always existing, without a beginning or an end, and everlasting. And samayik is to identify with the Self, to abide in the Self, to revel in the Self. So pratikraman severs the identification with the non-Self, and samayik helps abide in the Self.

The other meaning of samay is time. The key to remain steadfast in the Self lies in here. Generally, time is divided into three; past, present and future. But past is just a memory, an impression of what had happened. Like the footsteps imprinted on sand. The future is only an imagination. The reality is the present. Therefore, samay means the present, and samayik means to be in the present. But the present lasts only for a moment. By the time you can know about it, it is gone. Say your watch shows 8 now. By the time you convey it to someone its already past 8. So to be in the present demands heightened awareness.

True samayik is when you can catch the present moment. But you remain so occupied with the memories of the past and imaginations of the future that you miss the present, the samay, the Self, and remain a stranger to the Self. Only if your awareness can drop the past and the future and come in the present, it can enter the Self and become steadfast in samayik.

The past and the future can be dropped only if one has right faith regarding the world; without this, you cannot stay in the present and become self-focused. So the first step on the inward journey is to have the right vision of the world so that thoughts don’t drag you into past or future, and the mind remains silent to let you be in the present.

Gateway to the Self

Between the past and the future is a thin line of demarcation called the present. To be in the present, your awareness must remain subtle and silent. A slightest disturbance and you will miss the present. A silent and pure consciousness can stay in the present and easily enter into the Self. The present is the gateway to the Self. By remaining occupied with the past and the future, you miss this gate. So samayik is to be in the present, unoccupied with the memories of the past and fancies of the future. Only then you can experience a state of acceptance, witnessing, effortlessness and bliss./p>

You may travel distances to attend satsang and feel elevated, but that is not enough. It is still a part of outward journey. Until you turn within, your inner journey towards the Self will not begin. Even to benefit from a satsang, you will have to bring your mind from the past and the future into the moment of satsang. The more you become silent, the more you will realise the greatness of satsang and the Self.

With the help of the teachings of the Enlightened Ones, when you practice to turn within, and revel therein, sorrows will vanish and you will experience the bliss of the Self.


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