Meditation on a Rose
Dharana or concentration is fixing of the mind on a concrete object or on an abstract idea. Meditation follows concentration. Meditation is an unbroken, uninterrupted or incessant flow of ideas of the object that is being concentrated upon. Concrete meditation on an object is necessary for an untrained mind in the beginning. Sit in Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana in a room set apart only for meditation and meditate on the colour, form, the various parts of rose such as petals, stalk, pollen, etc., on the various kinds of roses, as white rose, yellow rose, red rose, cabbage rose, on the various preparations as rose water, rose syrup, scents as Otto de Rose, essence of rose, confections as Gulkand, etc., of the diverse uses of rose as rose water for cleaning the eyes in ophthalmia, Gulkand as a laxative in constipation, the flowers and garlands for worship of God and for wearing, etc., on the various virtuous properties such as its cooling effect on the system, its carminative properties, the price of rose and garlands of roses, the places where they are found in abundance and various other items connected with rose. You must exclude any other foreign thought associated with other objects. By this concrete method the mind becomes fit for abstract meditation. Practise for half an hour daily in the morning at 5 a.m. for a month.
Meditation on a Buffalo
Krishna Chaitanya, a Brahmachari in Omkar Ashram on the banks of the holy Narmada, went to Rama Acharya and prayed to him to teach him the method of meditation. Rama Acharya said to Krishna, "O Krishna, meditate on Lord Krishna having crossed legs and flute in hand, located in the midst of a big sun in the lotus of your heart and repeat mentally the famous Krishna Mantra: 'Om Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaya'." Krishna Chaitanya said, "Guruji, I am quite dull-headed. I cannot do this. This is too difficult for me. The Mantra is very, very long. Kindly suggest an easy method."
Rama Acharya said, "O Krishna Chaitanya! Do not be afraid. I will tell you an easy way. Hearken. Place a beautiful, small brass idol of Sri Krishna in front of you. Sit in Padmasana. Look at this idol, hands, legs, etc., with attention. Do not look at any other object." Krishna replied, "O Guruji, this is still more difficult. Sitting with crossed legs will give severe pain in the hips and the knees. If I think of the pain I cannot look at the idol. I have to sit steadily, look with attention and mark carefully the various parts. I cannot do more than one action at a time and I cannot remember more than two things at a time. O Guruji Maharaj, kindly show me a very, very easy way."
Rama Acharya said, "O Chaitanya, place the photo of your father in front of you. Sit in front of the photo in any way you like. Simply look at the figure for a short time." Krishna Chaitanya replied, "O Guru, my protector, this is also difficult, because I am very much afraid of my father. He is a terrible man. He used to beat me severely. I tremble the very moment I think of his form. My legs quiver. This will never suit me. I should say, this method is more difficult than the previous ones. I pray, Guruji, kindly suggest a very, very simple method this time. I will surely follow."
Rama Acharya said, "O Krishna, tell me now, which thing do you like best?" Krishna replied, "O Guruji, I have tended a buffalo in my house. I have taken plenty of milk, curd and ghee from that buffalo. I like it best of all. I constantly remember this." Rama Acharya said, "Krishna, now go to this room, lock the door. Sit in a corner on a mat and constantly think and meditate on this buffalo only to the exclusion of all other objects. Do not think of anything else. Do this presently."
Now Krishna Chaitanya was very much pleased. With a gay, cheerful mind he went inside the room, followed the instructions of the Guru implicitly and began to meditate on the buffalo with one-pointed mind intensely. He did not get up from the seat for three days continuously.
He forgot all about his food. He was unconscious of his body and surroundings. He was deeply absorbed in the form of the buffalo. Rama Acharya came on the third day to the room of Krishna to see his condition and found Krishna absorbed in meditation. With a loud voice the Guru called out, "O Krishna, how do you feel? Come outside and take your food." Krishna replied, "O Guruji, I am very grateful to you. I am in deep meditation now. I cannot come out now. I am very big. Horns have grown out of my head. I cannot get out of the small door. I like the buffalo very much. I have become buffalo myself."
Rama Acharya found out that Krishna's mind had attained Ekagrata and was quite fit for attaining Samadhi. Rama Acharya said, "O Krishna, you are not a buffalo. Now change your meditation. Forget the form of the buffalo (Nama and Rupa) and meditate on the underlying essence of the buffalo, Sat-Chit-Ananda, which is your real nature." Krishna Chaitanya changed his method, adhered to Guru's instructions and attained Kaivalya Mukti, the goal of life.
The above story goes to illustrate that meditation on any object which the mind likes best, is very easy.
Patanjali Maharshi suggests various methods for meditation as: "Meditate on the Effulgent One in the Lotus of the heart who is beyond sorrow. Meditate on the heart that has given up all attachment to sense-objects. Meditate on the knowledge that comes in sleep." And lastly he has introduced the Sutra No. 39: "Yathabhimatadhyanadva-Meditate on anything that appeals to you as good." It will be easy to concentrate on a thing which the mind likes best.
Meditation on Mahatma Gandhiji
Retire to your meditation-room. Sit in Padmasana. Meditate on the form, stature, height, colour of Gandhiji, his education career in England, his legal practice in Africa, his political activities to raise the condition of Indians in Africa, his energetic activities in non-cooperative movement in India, his famous Charkha and Khaddar, his widespread preaching throughout India for popularising Khaddar, his strenuous efforts to unite Hindus and Muslims, his exertions to uplift the degraded position of Harijans, the untouchables, his noble ideals and laudable principles, his life of absolute renunciation, Tyaga and Sannyasa, his life of severe Tapascharya, his abstemious nature in diet, his incessant struggle in the achievement of mental Brahmacharya, his ideals of Ahimsa and Satyam in thought, word and deed, his facile pen in journalism, his various useful publications in English, Hindi and Gujarati, his establishment of a useful Ashram which trains good Karma Yogins, his strong will and various other noble qualities. Do not allow any other thought to enter. If the mind runs, draw it and fix on the above thoughts. Practise this for half an hour daily for two months. You will learn the right technique of meditation.
Meditation on 12 Virtues
Meditate on these 12 virtues for 10 minutes daily:-
Humility in January.
Frankness (Arjava) in February.
Courage in March.
Patience in April.
Mercy (Karuna) in May.
Magnanimity in June.
Sincerity in July.
Pure love in August.
Generosity in September.
Forgiveness in October.
Balanced state in November.
Contentment in December.
Meditate also on Purity, Perseverance, Diligence, Sahasa and Utsaha. Imagine that you are in the actual possession of these virtues. Say unto yourself: "I am patient. I will not get irritated from today. I will manifest this virtue in my daily life. I am improving." Think of the advantages in possessing this virtue "Patience" and the disadvantage of irritability.
This spiritual path is rugged, thorny and precipitous. It is too long. The feet may become tired and bruised. The heart may pant. But the reward is very great. You will become immortal. Persevere, plod on diligently. Be on the alert. Be agile and nimble like the squirrel. There are resting places on the path. Hear the inner small voice. It will guide you if you are pure and sincere.
Meditation on Divine Songs
If you are well-versed in music, go to a lonely place, sing beautifully to your heart's content. Develop the Raga and Ragini luxuriantly from the bottom of your heart. Forget yourself. Forget the past and environments. This is an easy method. Select some fine Stotras, prayers or philosophical portions. Tukaram's Abhangas, Akhow's songs in Gujarati, Tayumana Swami's songs and Tevaram in Tamil, Brahmanandamala in Hindi, are admirably suitable for this purpose. Ram Prasad, a reputed saint of Bengal, realised in this way. Ram Prasad's songs are very famous throughout Bengal. Ravana pleased Lord Siva through his Sama Gana played with nerve-strings removed out of his body. Hear what Shakespeare says on music: "The man that hath no music in him nor is moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treason, stratagem and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted."
You can quite easily withdraw the mind from the objects through singing. Singing immediately elevates and expands mind. To fix an expanded mind on the Saguna or Nirguna Brahman is very easy. What is wanted here is good taste and skill in music with purity of heart and steady practice of concentration.
Meditation on Gita Slokas
Learn by heart some important Slokas in Bhagavad-Gita. Repeat them mentally after sitting in the Asana.
1. There are some important Slokas which dwell on the "Immortality of the Soul" in the second chapter. You can concentrate and meditate on these series of ideas. You will find this practice very, very useful.
2. Meditate on the series of ideas from the Slokas which describe the Sthita Prajna state in the second chapter.
3. Meditate on the series of ideas from the Slokas which describe the effects of Yoga in the sixth chapter.
4. Meditate on the series of ideas from the Slokas which deal with the attributes of a Jnani in the thirteenth chapter.
5. Meditate on the series of ideas from the Slokas which describe the nature of Daivi Sampat in the sixteenth chapter.
6. Meditate on Visvarupa-Darsan idea in the eleventh chapter.
7. Meditate on the Slokas: "Devotee dear to me" in the twelfth chapter.
8. Meditate on "Gunatita" ideas in the fourteenth chapter.
I have given you 8 sets of ideas. Select any set that appeals to you most. You can allow the mind to move from one set to another.