Talks with Babaji

Previously I had meditation practice that would create more lights and visualizations and different meditative symbols. Now it's more just an awareness of a vastness like an openness or a cave.

Visualizations, lights, animals, appearance of a saint are not so important as the peace that pervades the mind.

Do they use these words just to scare people into doing good actions or do they have a symbolic meaning also?

The hell is given different categories. In the Puranas, they are mentioned that if a person does this or that thing, they will go to this or that hell. Hell and heaven in Yoga are not after death, but while we are living. A person in miseries often cries out "I am living in hell." Hell is a notion that our mind has created. Pain and miseries is hell; peace and happiness are heaven.

If one is meditating in order to bring some benefit to the Self, of the rajasic type with self-interest involved, doesn't meditation help us overcome selfishness?

Meditation always starts from rajasic state of mind called vikshipta, the restless state of mind. The aim is to bring peace. The mind gets purified by meditation. The samadhi state comes gradually. Otherwise everyone would start by samadhi right away.

If the goal is to give up attachments, both material and ideological, doesn't peace itself become a desire? How does it differ from other attachments and desires?

Peace is the result of nonattachment.

It's said that "If you want peace, my child, see no one's faults. Make the world your own."

Right, but how? As long as the mind is not sattvic, the mind will see everything as colored by negativities. Only one's own idea feels right.

I understand a little bit about service and self-interest, but how can you plan a building without interest in the outcome?

Without using the mind, nothing is done. The mind's nature is to plan whether you are attached or not attached. The wise work with the same intensity as one who is attached but they are not attached.

How do you know whether or not you are attached?

If we are unattached, our mind will be at peace in profit and loss.