Selection for Meditation
There are different kinds of meditation. A particular kind is best suited to a particular mind. The kind of meditation varies according to taste, temperament, capacity and type of mind of the individual. A devotee meditates on his tutelary deity or Ishta Devata. A Raja Yogi meditates on the special Purusha or Isvara who is not touched by the afflictions, desires and Karmas. A Hatha Yogi meditates on the Chakras and their presiding deities. A Jnani meditates on his Self or Atman. You will have to find out yourself the kind of meditation that is suitable for you. If you are not able to do this, you will have to consult a teacher or preceptor who has attained Self-realisation. He will be able to know the nature of your mind and the correct method of meditation for you.
The mind assumes the form of the object it cognises. Then only perception is possible. A Bhakta constantly meditates on the form of his tutelary deity or Ishta Devata. The mind is always takes the form of the Deity. When he is established in his meditation, when he attains the stage of Para Bhakti or supreme devotion, he sees his Ishta Devata only everywhere. Then names and forms vanish. A devotee of Lord Krishna sees Lord Krishna only everywhere and experiences the state described in the Gita "Vaasudevah Sarvam Iti-Everything is Vaasudeva (Krishna) only." A Jnani or a Vedanti sees his own Self or Atman everywhere. The world of names and forms vanishes from his view. He experiences the utterances of the seers of the Upanishads: "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma-all indeed is Brahman."
Meditation is of two main kinds, viz., Saguna (concrete) meditation and Nirguna (abstract) meditation. In concrete meditation the Yogic student concentrates on the form of the Lord Krishna, Rama, Siva, Hari, Gayatri or Sri Devi. In abstract meditation he concentrates the whole energy of the mind on one idea of God or Atman and avoids comparisons of memories and all other ideas. The one idea fills the whole mind.
When you see the concrete figure of Lord Krishna with open eyes and meditate, it is the concrete form of meditation. When you reflect over the image of Lord Krishna by closing your eyes, it is also concrete form of meditation but it is more abstract. When you meditate on the infinite, abstract light it is still more abstract meditation. The former two types belong to Saguna form of meditation, the latter to Nirguna form. Even in Nirguna meditation there is a concrete form in the beginning for fixing the mind. Later on, this form vanishes and the meditator and the meditated become one.
Saguna meditation is meditation on a Murty or form of the Lord. This is a concrete form of meditation for people of devotional temperament. This is meditation with Gunas or attributes of God. Repeat the name of the Lord or pure OM. Think of His attributes, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, etc. Your mind will be filled with purity. Enthrone the Lord in the lotus of your heart amidst a blazing light. Mentally think of His feet, legs, chest, head, hands and the ornaments and dress and again come to His feet. Again and again repeat this process.
Imagine that there is a fine garden with lovely flowers. In one corner there are beautiful cabbage-roses. In the second corner there is the "lady of the night." In the third corner there are Champaka flowers and in the fourth, jasmine. First meditate on jasmine. Then take the mind to the rose. Then to the "lady of the night" and finally to the Champaka. Again rotate the mind as above. Do this again and again for 15 minutes. Gross meditation like this will prepare the mind to finer abstract meditation on subtle ideas.
Have the figure 'OM' in front of you. Concentrate on this. Do Trataka also with open eyes (steady gazing without winking, till tears flow profusely). This is both Saguna and Nirguna meditation (with and without attributes). Keep a picture of OM in your meditation-room. You can do Puja for this symbol of Brahman. Burn incense, etc., and offer flowers. This suits the modern educated persons.
This is abstract meditation on Nirguna Brahman. Repeat OM mentally with Bhava (feeling). Associate the ideas of Sat-Chit-Ananda, Purity, Perfection, "All-Joy I am," "All Bliss I am."
There is no world. There is neither body nor mind. There is only one Chaitanya (pure consciousness). I am that pure Consciousness. This is Nirguna meditation (without attributes).
Meditation on Mahavakyas is tantamount to meditation on OM. You can take up either "Aham Brahma Asmi-I am Brahman" or "Tat Tvam Asi-That thou art." These are the Mahavakyas or the great sentences of the Upanishads. Meditate on their significance. Deny or negate or throw out the Koshas and identify with the one essence that lies behind them.
Meditate. Purify your mind. Practise concentration in a solitary room. Then squeeze out the Upanishads and the Gita from your heart. Do not depend upon imperfect commentaries. If you are sincere, you will understand the real Sankalpas (thoughts) of the Rishis of the Upanishads and Lord Krishna, what they really meant when they uttered those wise Slokas (verses) in scriptures.
Unfold the Divinity that is lurking in your heart by concentration and meditation. Do not waste your time. Do not waste your life. Meditate. Meditate. Do not lose even a single minute. Meditation will remove all the miseries of life. That is the only way. Meditation is the enemy of the mind. It brings about Manonasa or the annihilation of the mind.
Meditation is of two kinds, viz., concrete and abstract. If you meditate on any picture of a concrete object, it is concrete meditation. If you meditate on an abstract idea, or any quality (such as mercy, tolerance), it is abstract meditation. A beginner should practise concrete meditation. For some, abstract meditation is more easy than concrete meditation.
The aspirant can take up the practice of meditation after he is well up in Pratyahara (abstraction of Indriyas) and concentration. If the Indriyas are turbulent, if the mind cannot be fixed on one point, no meditation is possible even within hundreds of years. One should go stage by stage and step by step. The mind should be withdrawn again and again to the point when it runs. One should reduce his wants and renounce all sorts of wild, vain desires of the mind. A desireless man only can sit quiet and practise meditation. Sattvic, light diet and Brahmacharya are the prerequisites for the practice of meditation.
Consciousness is of two kinds, viz., focussing consciousness and marginal consciousness. When you concentrate on Trikuti, the space midway between the two eyebrows, your focussing consciousness is on the Trikuti. When some flies sit on your left hand during meditation, you drive them with your right hand. When you become conscious of the flies, it is called marginal consciousness.
A seed which has remained in fire for a second will not undoubtedly sprout into leaves even though sown in a fertile soil. Even so, a mind that does meditation for some time but runs towards sensual objects on account of unsteadiness will not bring in the full fruits of Yoga.
Meditation is of two kinds, viz., concrete meditation and abstract meditation. Meditation follows concentration.
The Samadhi becomes Sahaja or natural through long practice of Nididhyasana and not through Pranayama or any Hatha Yogic practice.
A Raja Yogi enters into the meditative mood deliberately by practising Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana. A Bhakta enters into the meditative mood by cultivating pure love for God. A Vedantin or a Jnana Yogi enters into the meditative mood by acquiring the four means, hearing the Srutis and reflecting on what he has heard. A Hatha Yogi enters into the meditative mood by practising deep and constant Pranayama.
Meditate on the form of Lord Hari with four hands, or Lord Krishna with flute in hand or Lord Rama with bow and arrow in hands. This is concrete or gross meditation (Sthula Dhyana). Meditate on silence or peace or Santi. This is abstract or subtle meditation (Sukshma Dhyana). Meditate: "I am an embodiment of silence or peace." This is Vedantic Nirguna Meditation or Ahamgraha Upasana. Meditate on bliss or Ananda. This is also abstract meditation. Choose any type of meditation according to your temperament, taste, capacity or disposition and reach the goal of life in this birth.
Dhyana (meditation) is of two kinds viz., Japa-Sahita Dhyana, i.e., meditation attended or associated with Japa, and Japa-Rahita Dhyana, i.e., meditation without any Japa or pure meditation only. When you repeat: "Om Namo Narayanaya" mentally or verbally, it is mere Japa. When you repeat the Mantra and at the same time you meditate on the form of Hari with conch, discus, mace, lotus, yellow cloth (Pitambara), armlets, bracelets, etc., it is Japa-Sahita Dhyana. When you progress in meditation the Japa will drop by itself. You will have meditation only. This will constitute Japa-Rahita Dhyana.
Just as the light is burning within the hurricane lamp so also the divine flame is burning from time immemorial in the lamp of your heart. Close your eyes, merge yourself within the divine flame. Plunge deep in the chambers of your heart. Meditate on this divine flame and become a flame of God.
Withdraw the Indriyas from the objects. Propitiate the Lord by your Supreme Tapas. Meditate on Lord Hari, get into the dazzling divine car and reach the supreme abode of Vishnu.
O friends, wake up, sleep no more. Meditate. It is Brahma-Muhurta now. Open the gate of the temple of the Lord in your heart with the key of love. Hear the music of the soul. Sing the song of Prema to your Beloved. Play the melody of the Infinite. Melt your mind in His contemplation. Unite with Him. Immerse yourself in the ocean of Love and Bliss.
These are the signs that indicate that you are growing in meditation and approaching God. You will have no attraction for the world. The sensual objects will no longer tempt you. You will become desireless, fearless, I-less, and mine-less. Deha- Adhyasa or attachment to the body will gradually dwindle. You will not entertain the ideas, "She is my wife," "He is my son," "This is my house." You will feel that all are the manifestations of the Lord. You will behold God in every object.
The body and mind will become light. You will always be cheerful and happy. The name of the Lord will always be on your lips. The mind will be ever fixed on the lotus-feet of the Lord. The mind will be ever producing the image of the Lord. It will be ever seeing the picture of the Lord. You will actually feel that Sattva or purity, light, bliss and knowledge are ever flowing from the Lord to you and filling up your heart.
The ultimate goal of human aspiration, according to Patanjali Maharshi, the founder of Raja Yoga Philosophy, is not union with or absorption in God, but the absolute isolation (Kaivalya) of the Soul from matter.
Make the mind calm. Steady the intellect. Still the senses. Now you will enter into deep meditation. Be vigilant. The Rajas may try to rush in. Whip the invader ruthlessly and again attain serenity.
In Yoga the vision is directed inside. The outgoing senses and the mind are restrained by the Yogi by ceaseless practice. The Yogi controls the Vrittis or the waves of the mind and eventually rests in Asamprajnata Samadhi or seedless Samadhi. He encounters great difficulties in controlling the Vrittis. The waves of the ocean are nothing when compared with the waves of the mind-ocean. The very vigilant undaunted Yogi is in the seaman or the captain of this body-steamer that is tossed about in the terrible ocean of Samsara. He stops the mental waves through ceaseless concentration of mind (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana) and eventually reaches the other shore of fearlessness and immortality.
When you reach the spiritual summit or thoughtlessness, you will reach the abode of Immortality and eternal peace and supreme bliss. Rama! Start your homeward journey. March boldly in the spiritual path. Be not afraid of difficulties. Be bold. Ascend peak after peak. Cross the deep ravines of subtle Moha and pride that comes in your way. Take a long jump and cross the mystic frontier of war. Enter now into the infinite domain of pure bliss and highest knowledge. Regain your old pristine, divine glory. Rest in your Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa.
Understand and realise the nature and power of thoughts. Curb the base thoughts by entertaining sublime thoughts. Transcend the sublime thoughts also and enter into a thoughtless state. Identify yourself with pure consciousness.
Even an exceedingly sinful man, when he meditates on the immutable Atman even for a moment, becomes an ascetic of great purity.
Fire is generated in sacrifice by rubbing two pieces of wood (Arani). Even so the fire of wisdom is generated by meditation on the Supreme Self.
The mind is disciplined in the beginning by fixing it on a concrete object or symbol. When it is rendered steady and subtle, it can be fixed later, on an abstract idea such as "Aham Brahma Asmi."
Meditate always: 'I am pure consciousness. I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. I am the immutable self-effulgent, immortal Self. I am the silent witness of the three states, viz., waking state, dream state, deep sleep state. I am distinct from the body, mind, Prana and the senses. I am distinct from the five sheaths.' You will attain Self-realisation. You will have knowledge of the Self (Brahma-Jnana).
A Yati (anchorite) should always meditate on the Bhava which is experienced just before sleep and at the termination of the waking state by which only he is freed and by none else. This is the only prop (Alambana) to get at the real Nissankalpa or Nirdvandva state.
A desire arises in the mind. It is gratified. Another desire arises. In the interval between two desires, there is perfect stillness of mind. The mind is free from Sankalpas and love and hate during this interval. There is perfect peace during the interval or Sandhi between two Vrittis of the mind.
When the mind is concentrated on Brahman (Supreme Self), it becomes one with Brahman like camphor with the flame or salt with water or water with milk. Mind melts in Brahman. Mind becomes of the nature of Brahman. Then there is no duality. The meditator becomes Brahman. This is the state of Kaivalya.
This microcosm and macrocosm-the three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva-are contained in OM. All the Vedas and the six Darshanas are contained in OM. OM is everything. OM is Brahman. Meditate on OM with meaning and Bhava. Know the Brahman and be free.
You will have to pass through six stages of meditation and finally you will enter into perfect Nirvikalpa Samadhi or superconscious state. Form-perception will totally vanish. There is neither meditation nor the meditated now. The meditator and the meditated have become one. You will now attain the highest knowledge and eternal supreme peace. This is the final beatitude of life. You are an enlightened sage or the illumined Jivanmukta now. You are liberated while living. Hence you are called a Jivanmukta. You are absolutely free from pain, sorrow, fear, doubt and delusion. You have become identical with Brahman. The bubble has become the ocean. The river has joined the ocean and has become the ocean. All differences and distinctions will totally vanish. You will now experience: "I am the Immortal Self. All indeed is Brahman. There is nothing but Brahman."
Try to continue the Akhanda Brahmic feeling. Soar high. Keep that state as long as you can. Get established in That. Have Sahaja Avastha (natural Brahmic feeling) always. This must be your aim and endeavour now.