|Meditation is not for
a few but is necessary for all human beings. The inner self of a person touches the Higher
Self (the Param-Tattwa) during deep sleep daily. This unknown touch recharges the battery
of man. So, when he gets up from his sleep, he feels that he is refreshed, full of
strength and relaxed. This is a natural process for all persons alike. If one could not
sleep properly, he feels disturbed and is in a sort of weariness. It is the experience of
every man, whether he is rich or a beggar, a literate or an illiterate, an executive or a
labourer, a farmer or a business man, a housewife or a huckster. So, every man needs
peace, strength, ability to discharge his/her duties and for tranquillity of mind. So, a
wonderful discovery of man is to keep his inner self in touch with the SOURCE in a wakeful
state for longer periods continuously through specific type of systematic practices. This
is called the art of meditation. And such a person is said to be a YOGI without any
discretion/distinction of caste, creed, colour and country.
Dhyanam nirvishayam manah That state of the mind, wherein there are no Vishayas
or sensory thoughts, is meditation.
Whether oriental or occidental, Hinduism or Mohammedanism, Buddhism or Jainism,
Christianity or Judaism, Shinto-ism or any other ism, the spiritual purpose
and meaning is to lead an individual soul to the ecstatic communion with the Universal
Divinity or ONE TRUTH, the SOURCE. A continuous flow of perception of thought is Dhyana
Tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam. It is the flow of continuous thought of one object or God
or Atman or Supreme Source Tailadharavat. According to Raja Yoga, meditation is the
seventh rung or step in the ladder of Yoga. One cannot attain this state unless he knows
the art of Concentration . What is concentration? Desa bandhas-chittasya
dharana. Concentration is fixing the mind on an external object or an internal point
continuously, without interruption or break for twelve seconds. So, an aspirant has to
develop himself in concentration, which itself is changed into meditation, if his state of
keeping the mind focused at one object/point/subject continuously and spontaneously for
12x12=144 seconds. It is termed as Dhyana in Sanskrit scriptures, which comes
from the root Dhi. In English we generally call it intellect which
is the basic root with different derivations in different practices. However,
Buddhi (reasoning faculty) is said to be directly based on this root term; yet
this term is used liberally by all systems of Yoga, which is central theme of all mystic
techniques leading one to higher levels of spiritual consciousness with profound depths of
spiritual expansion and takes one to God-realisation or Self-realisation.
Meditation may be objective, or on qualities or purely subjective or ones own
breath. In objective meditation the Sadhaka meditates upon an idol or picture of his Ishta
devata may be Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Christ, Buddha or any other god or
goddess. For him, the idol is something alive, vibrating with supreme reality,
omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. He may meditate upon the beautitude, the qualities,
the activities of his Ishta-devata. Or he may meditate upon the all-pervading pulsating
Supreme Energy which is within him and without, permeating everywhere. This is subjective
meditation. Similarly on his breath while inhaling and exhaling with MINIMAL SILENCE. All
meditations are good; what counts is the intensity and unbroken continuity of meditation.
An aspirant has to rest his soul on the bosom of the Lord, to bathe in the bliss of Divine
ecstasy, to drown his ego in the ocean of eternity, to draw sustenance and strength from
the SOURCE to attain whatever he is capable of achieving. A Sadhaka should meditate
regularly, chew and digest what he has learnt, to transform what he has learnt into
wisdom, to apply that wisdom to solve the problems that cross his path daily. Says F.W.
Robertson: It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear,
nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and
earnestness with which you meditate on these things till the truth in them becomes your
own and part of your being, that ensures your growth.
A sincere spiritual seeker meditates to realise the Ultimate Reality to unravel the
mystery of life and death, to understand in the bottom of his heart, what is Truth. Once
he knows Truth, he knows the Ultimate Reality, he becomes That, and there is nothing more
to know. A person who has realised Brahman, becomes Brahman, and lives in Brahman. Knowing
is being. That is the highest state.
India has been fortunate to have produced many saints and seers who had realised the Truth
and for more or less time lived in a state of Divine Ecstasy. Even during the past hundred
years people have witnessed such saints like Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda,
Swami Ramatirtha, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Ramdas, Swami Sivananda and
several others of world fame. Ramakrishna would while talking relapse into Samadhi and
often prayed to his Divine Mother not to draw him frequently into Her Bosom so that he can
converse with his disciple, particularly his darling Naren later known to the world as
Swami Vivekananda so that he could prepare a band of workers to spread his message, the
holy message of India. Swami Ramatirtha was often seen in a state of ecstasy during last
seven years of life in India and United States. Swami Sivananda was another who would
often sing and dance or be just be quiet in divine ecstasy. There have been more in India
and quite a few messengers of God in other parts of the world.
Meditation and concentration are often treated as synonymous. However, I have drawn
earlier a distinct line between concentration and meditation. In further explanation when
one brings to bear all his thought waves on a single point or spot like a laser beam where
the scattered rays of light are concentrated, it is concentration. Every body needs
concentration to understand, assimilate and apply any information, any knowledge. When the
concentration is prolonged for 144 seconds, it is called meditation and when extended to
144 multiplied by 144 i.e. 20736 seconds = 345.6 minutes, it is said to reach the state of
Samadhi. According to Ashtanga Yoga comprising two main parts of Hatha Yoga Yama, Niyama,
Asana and Pranayama covers the first one, whereas Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi,
is the second part. There is no equivalent word in English language for Samadhi.
Concentration is the sixth, Meditation the seventh and Samadhi the eighth and last stage
of Yoga when the Sadhaka is united with the Supreme Being. It shows that concentration
leads to Meditation, similarly prolonged constant meditation leads to Samadhi. In other
Yogas Manana, Nididhyasana, Upasana, Chintana, Dhyana these terms are used in
different Yogas with subtle differences in their techniques. Manana is a sort of
reflection. It is just to chew the cud slowly and nicely. It is done through into intense
practice of Manana. Chintana is also a sort of reflection and meditation to
assimilate the thoughts in consciousness for proper and significant impression with
profound understanding. Intense meditation on the Self or Brahman or ANY SPIRITUAL
ILLUMINED PERSONALITY is termed as Nididhyasana. As Saint Francis of Assisi
did. Upasana stands for devout meditation which is being used in both i.e., Jnana
Yoga Sadhana and Bhakti Yoga. Upasana means sitting near by. In Jnana
Yoga Sadhana the seeker has to sit near the Self or Brahman; whereas in Bhakti Yoga
a devotee has to sit by the side of God.
A keen and true regular practitioner (Sadhaka) will attain quick and sure results,
when he proceeds properly stage by stage under the guidance of his GURU or master. The
first four parts are meant to purify the mind and keep the body strong and fit to receive
and retain the power of the DIVINE. Many moderns, however, equate Yoga with the practice
of few asanas and pranayamas. This is not sufficient for spiritual uplift.
Yet, it is better to practise asanas and pranayamas for healths sake
than not to do anything at all. But Yoga is really first to withdraw ones mind from
the objects of senses (pratyahara), practice concentration, prolong the
period of concentration under proper guidance to reach the stage of meditation and finally
become one, unite (Yoga to join to unite) with the Supreme Reality, the TRUTH.
Thus meditation is not meant merely for the recluse, the ascetic, the renouncer. It is of
utmost important in mans day-to-day life. It is of immense help to a student, a
youth, an old man. A man who can meditate will become a better manager, a better
businessman, a better executive and, above all, a better man. Conversely, if a person
cannot meditate, he will lack composition, courage and confidence to achieve his goal.
Nowadays, several medical doctors and psychologists advise to their patients suffering
from nervousness, unusual irritation, disordered mind, fear and inferiority complex and
lack of self-confidence to meditate in a specific manner along with the medical treatment.
So, the meditation is very necessary these days when man leads a life of tension and
Every morning and evening, preferably at dawn and dusk, sit down in a comfortable posture
with your backbone straight, relax each and every limb of your body, and then your mind,
and sit unmoved, in the same pose, as long as you can. It is always better to invoke your Guru
(master) and Ishta Devata first, when you sit for meditation for their
blessings and guidance and gratefully thank them again when you finish the meditation.
Gradually, increase the time of your meditation. It is easier to relax your limbs of the
body but not so easy to relax your mind. This process of relaxation, stillness and body
awareness will automatically reduce the speed of your breathing, which, in turn, will help
in meditation. So many thoughts will cross your mind now and then. They may even disturb
you. Do not be afraid. Try to remain calm and watch them with equanimity. Let them come,
let them go. Do not fight to free your mind from thought waves. Try to be indifferent to
them. But do not observe these thoughts with equanimous mind. Gradually, automatically the
flitting of thoughts across the canvas of your mind will diminish. After
sometimesooner than later you will be absorbed in your Ishta-Devata if
your meditation is objective, or in your Being, if your meditation is subjective. Once,
you get the taste of it, believe me, you will like to taste it more and more and more.
May God Almighty and All-merciful and the Most Revered Gurudev, help you, THEY WILL.