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Paperback: xxiii+295 pages
ISBN: 81-7052-007-x
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.55 inches
Shipping Weight: 320 grams

Please download Sanskrit 2003 font if you can't view the devanagari text.

CONCENTRATION &
MEDITATION

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Dedication  
INTRODUCTION vii
STOTRAS xii
   

CHAPTER ONE
THEORY OF CONCENTRATION

 
1. What is Concentration? 3
2. Where to Concentrate? 4
3. Aids to Concentration 6
4. Antarmukha and Bahirmukha Vrittis 11
5. Know the Ways of Mind 12
6. Reduce Mind-Wandering 17
7. Tap All Powers 19
8. Story of Concentration 22

9. Yoga Prasnottari

37
   

CHAPTER TWO
PRACTICE OF CONCENTRATION

 
1. Attention 39
2. Practice of Concentration 44
3. Concentration in Every Walk of Life 46
4. Gist of Yoga of Concentration 48

5. Exercises in Concentration

53
6. Concentration on a Chair 55
7. Concentration on Anahata Sounds 57
8. Trataka or Gazing 59
   

CHAPTER THREE
PRELIMINARIES FOR MEDITATION

 
1. What Is Meditation? 61
2. Necessity for Meditation 62
3. Fruits of Meditation 63
4. Brahmamuhurta—Best Time for Meditation 70
5. Meditation Room 72
6. Places for Meditation 73
7. Cave-Life for Meditation 75
8. Preparation for Meditation 77
9. How to Meditate 78
10. When and Where to Meditate 84
11. Requisites for Meditation 85
12. Three Sittings for Meditation 89
13. Qualifications for Practising Meditation 90
14. How Many Hours to Meditate 93
15. Aids to Meditation 94
16. Asanas for Meditation 95

17. Regularity in Meditation

96
   

CHAPTER FOUR
PRACTICE OF MEDITATION

 
1. Practical Aspect of Meditation 98
2. Real Rest in Meditation 100
3. Visualisation 101
4. Yoga of Meditation 101
5. Seclusion and Meditation 105
6. Reach the Highest Peak 110
7. Errors in Meditation 112
8. Instructions on Meditation 114
9. Twenty Hints on Meditation 121
10. Exercises in Meditation 124
11. The State of Meditation 127
12. Practice of Samyama 132
13. Prasnottari on Meditation 133
   

CHAPTER FIVE
KINDS OF MEDITATION

 
1. Selection for Meditation 138
2. Meditation in Different Paths 141
3. Preliminary Meditation 145
     (A) Meditation on a Rose 145
     (B) Meditation on a Buffalo 146
     (C) Meditation on Mahatma Gandhiji 148
     (D) Meditation on 12 Virtues 148
     (E) Meditation on Divine Songs 149
     (F) Meditation on Gita Slokas 149
4. Saguna Meditation 150
     (A) Meditation on Ishta Devatas 150
     (B) Meditation on Virat Purusha 152
     (C) Meditation on Gayatri 152
5. Nirguna Meditation 153
     (A) Meditation on Ideas 153
     (B) Vedantic Meditation 156
     (C) Assertions for Vedantic Nididhyasana 157
     (D) Vedantic Contemplation 158
     (E) Meditation on Om 160
     (F) Meditation on "Soham" 162
     (G) Meditation on Mahavakyas 164
     (H) Positive Meditation 165
     (I) Negative Meditation 166
6. Saguna and Nirguna Meditation Compared 166
7. Meditation and Action 169
   

CHAPTER SIX
PHYSICAL OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION

 
Introduction  
1. Aimless Wandering 171
2. Cessation of Sadhana 172
3. Doha-Adhyasa 173
4. Diseases 173
5. Discussing Too Much 174
6. Environments 175
7. Evil Company 175
8. Fault-Finding 176
9. Habit of Self-Justification 177
10. Impulses 177
11. Impure and Immoderate Food 177
12. Irregularity in Sadhana 178
13. Jerks 179
14. Lack of Brahmacharya 179
15. Ojas 180
16. Lack of Yama and Niyama 181
17. Lingual Diarrhoea 181
18. Need for a Preceptor 182
19. Overeating, etc. 184
20. Poor Health 184
21. So-called Friends 185
22. Social Nature 186
23. Tandri-Alasya-Nidra 186
24. Vulgar Pleasures 188
25. Wealth 188
   

CHAPTER SEVEN
MENTAL OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION

 
l. Anger 190
2. Backbiting 192
3. Depression 193
4. Doubt (Samsaya) 194
5. Dreams 195
6. Evil Thought 196
7. False Tushti 199
8. Fear 200
9. Fickleness 201
10. Five Hindrances to Meditation 201
11. Force of Old Samskaras 201
12. Gloom and Despair 202
13. Greed 202
14. Hatred 203
15. Impatience 205
16. Independent Nature 205
17. Jealousy 206
18. Lower Nature 207
19. Manorajya 211
20. Memory 212
21. Mental Talking 214
22. Moha 214
23. Obstacles in Yoga 215
24. Other Obstacles 217
25. Prejudice, Intolerance and Bigotry 217
26. Rajas and Tamas 218
27. Sankalpas 218
28. Tamas or Inertia 219
29. Three Obstacles 220
30. Trishna and Vasana 220
31. Vikshepa 220

32. Vishayasakti

222
   

CHAPTER EIGHT
HIGHER OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION

 
1. Ambition and Desire 223
2. Moral and Spiritual Pride 224
3. Religious Hypocrisy (Dambha) 224
4. Name and Fame (Kirti and Pratishtha) 225
5. Elementals (Bhuta-Ganas) 228
6. Visions 228
7. Siddhis 228
8. Kashaya 230
9. Laya 230
10. Rasasvada 231
11. Tushnimbhuta Avastha 231
12. Stabdha Avastha 232
13. Avyaktam 232
Valediction 233
   

CHAPTER NINE
EXPERIENCES IN MEDITATION

 
1. Various Experiences in Meditation 235
2. Anahata Sounds 239
3. Lights in Meditation 240
4. Mystic Experiences of Sadhakas 244
5. In the Hours of Meditation 247
6. Vision of God 251
7. Feeling of Separation 252
8. Cosmic Consciousness 254
9. Blissful Experience 258
10. Mind Moves 261
11. Bhuta-Ganas 262
12. Glimpses of the Self 263
13. Jyotirmaya Darshan 265
   
APPENDIX 267
GLOSSARY 272

About This Book

"Concentration and Meditation" form the inner core of the practice of Yoga. It is the key to the door of Inner Illumination and constitutes the central pivot round which all Sadhana in the spiritual field revolves. Dharana and Dhyana are the Yoga proper, leading to the consummation, Samadhi and Sakshatkara or Realisation.

Revered Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj gives in this compact and exhaustive treatise on the great subject a thorough-going exposition of the intricacies of "Concentration and Meditation," in a manner only a Master on the path would be able to do. Intensely practical, the work is an imperative to seekers and students on the Sadhana-Marga. Literature on this subject being very rare, we have endeavoured to bring out the present edition. We cannot see any better book on the subject to be placed in the hands of students of this phase of Yoga.


Dedication

OM
Dedicated to
Yogins and Bhaktas
Who Strive to Attain
The Summum Bonum of Life
Through
Concentration
and Meditation
OM


Introduction

Concentration and meditation are the royal roads to perfection. Concentration leads to meditation. Fix the mind on one object either within the body or without. Keep it there steadily for some time. This is concentration. You will have to practise this daily. Purify the mind first through the practice of right conduct and then take to the practice of concentration. Concentration without purity of mind is of no avail. There are some occultists who have concentration. But they have no good character. That is the reason why they do not make any progress in the spiritual line.

He who has a steady posture and has purified his nerves and the vital sheath by constant practice of control of breath will be able to concentrate easily. Concentration will be intense if you remove all distractions. A true celibate who has preserved his energy will have wonderful concentration.

Some foolish, impatient students take to concentration at once without in any manner undergoing any preliminary training in ethics. This is a serious blunder. Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance.

You can concentrate internally on any of the seven centres of spiritual energy. Attention plays a very prominent part in concentration. He who has developed his powers of attention will have good concentration. A man who is filled with passion and all sorts of fantastic desires can hardly concentrate on any subject or object even for a second. His mind will be jumping like an old monkey.

A scientist concentrates his mind and invents many new things. Through concentration he opens the layers of the gross mind and penetrates deeply into the higher regions of the mind and gets deeper knowledge. He concentrates all the energies of his mind into one focus and throws them out upon the materials he is analysing and finds out their secrets.

He who has gained abstraction (withdrawing the senses from the objects) will have good concentration. You will have to march on in the spiritual path step by step, stage by stage. Lay the foundation of right conduct, postures, regulation of breath and abstraction to start with. The superstructure of concentration and meditation will be successful then only.

You should be able to visualise the object of concentration very clearly even in its absence. You will have to call up the mental picture at a moment’s notice. If you have good concentration you can do this without much difficulty.

In the beginning stage of practice, you can concentrate on the ‘tik-tik’ sound of a watch or on the flame of a candle or any other object that is pleasing to the mind. This is concrete concentration. There is no concentration without something to rest the mind upon. The mind can be fixed on any object in the beginning which is pleasant. It is very difficult to fix the mind in the beginning on an object which the mind dislikes.

Those who practise concentration evolve quickly. They can do any work with scientific accuracy and great efficiency. What others do in six hours can be done by one who has concentration within half an hour. What others can read in six hours, can be read by one who does concentration within half an hour. Concentration purifies and calms the surging emotions, strengthens the current of thought and clarifies the ideas. Concentration helps a man in his material progress also. He will have a very good outturn of work in his office or business house. What was cloudy and hazy before becomes clear and definite. What was difficult before becomes easy now and what was complex, bewildering and confusing before becomes easy within the mental grasp. You can achieve anything through concentration. Nothing is impossible to a man who practises regular concentration. It is very difficult to practise concentration when one is hungry and when one is suffering from an acute disease. He who practises concentration will possess very clear mental vision.

Meditation is the only royal road to the attainment of salvation or Moksha. Meditation kills all pains, sufferings and three kinds of Taapas (fevers) and five Kleshas or sorrows. Meditation gives the vision of unity. Meditation produces sense of oneness. Meditation is an aeroplane that helps the aspirant to soar high in the realms of eternal bliss and everlasting peace. It is a mysterious ladder that connects earth and heaven and takes the aspirant to the immortal abode of Brahman.

Meditation is the continuous flow of one thought of God or Atman, like the continuous flow of oil from one vessel to another (Tailadharavat). Meditation follows concentration.

Practise meditation in the early morning from 4 to 6 (Brahma-Muhurta). This is the best time for the practice of meditation.

Sit in Padma or Siddha or Sukha Asana. Keep the head, neck and the trunk in a straight line, and concentrate either on the Trikuti, the space between the two eyebrows, or on the heart with closed eyes.

Meditation is of two kinds viz., Saguna Dhyana (concrete meditation) and Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation). In concrete meditation the Yogic student meditates on the form of Lord Krishna, Rama, Sita, Vishnu, Siva, Gayatri or Devi. In abstract meditation he meditates on his own Self or Atman.

Place the picture of Lord Hari with four hands in front of you. Gaze at this picture steadily for five minutes and then close the eyes and visualise the picture. During visualisation move the mind on the various parts of Vishnu. See with the mind His feet first, then in the following order, legs, His yellow silk cloth, His golden necklace set with Kaustubha gem on the breast, the earring, Makarakundala, then the face, then the crown on the head, then the discus in the right upper hand, then the conch in the upper left hand, then the mace in the lower right hand, then the lotus in the left lower hand. Then come down to the feet and repeat the process again and again. Finally fix the mind either on the feet or on the face. Repeat the Mantra, Hari Om or Om Namo Narayanaya, mentally. Think of the attributes of the Lord such as Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Purity, etc.

Meditate on Om and its meaning with feeling. This is Nirguna Dhyana. Repeat Om mentally. Identify yourself with Atman. Feel "I am the all-pervading immortal Self or Atman. I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. I am Sakshi or silent witness of three states and all modifications of the mind. I am pure consciousness, I am distinct from the body, mind and Prana and senses, I am the self-luminous Light of lights. I am the eternal supreme Soul."

If you have contentment, cheerfulness, patience, unruffled state of mind, sweet voice, one-pointedness of mind, light body, fearlessness, desirelessness, disgust for worldly things, think that you are advancing in the spiritual path and that you are nearing God.

O Prem! There is a place where you will neither hear any sound nor see any colour. That place is Param Dham or Padam Anamayam (painless seat). This is the realm of peace and bliss. There is no body-consciousness here. Here mind finds rest. All desires and cravings melt away. The Indriyas remain quiet here. The intellect ceases functioning. There is neither fight nor quarrel here. Will you seek this silent abode through silent meditation? Solemn stillness reigns supreme here. Rishis of yore attained this place only by melting the mind in the silence. Brahman shines in native effulgence.

Forget the body. Forget the surroundings. Forgetting is the highest Sadhana. It helps meditation a great deal. It makes the approach to God easier. By remembering God, you can forget all these things.

Taste the spiritual consciousness by withdrawing the mind from the sensual objects and fixing it on the lotus-feet of the Lord, who is ever shining in the chambers of your heart. Merge within by practising deep silent meditation. Plunge deep. Swim freely in the ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda. Float in the Divine river of Joy. Tap the source. March direct towards the fountain-head of Divine Consciousness and drink the Nectar. Feel the thrill of Divine Embrace and enjoy Divine Ecstasy. I shall leave you here. You have attained the state of immortality and fearlessness. O Prem! Fear not. Shine now. Thy light has come.

Practise regular systematic meditation during the same hours daily. You will get the meditative mood easily.

The more you meditate, the more you will have inner spiritual life, wherein mind and Indriyas do not play. You will be very close to the source, Atman. You will enjoy the waves of bliss and peace.

All sensual objects will have no attraction for you now. The world will appear to you as a long dream. Jnana will dawn in you by constant, deep meditation.

You will be fully illumined. The curtain of ignorance will drop now. The sheaths will be torn. The body-idea will vanish. You will realise the significance of the Mahavakya, "Tat Tvam Asi." All differences, distinctions, qualities will disappear. You will see everywhere one infinite, illimitable Atman, full of Bliss, Light and Knowledge. This will be a rare experience, indeed. Do not tremble with fear like Arjuna. Be bold. You will be left alone now. There is nothing to see or hear now. There are no senses. It is all pure consciousness only.

Thou art Atman, O Prem. Thou art not this perishable body. Destroy the Moha for this filthy body. Do not utter in future "My body." Say, "this instrument." The sun is setting now. It is drawing within all the rays. Now sit for meditation. Again have a dive in the sacred Atmic Triveni within. Collect all the rays of the mind and plunge within quite deep into the innermost recesses of the heart. Give up all sorts of fears, cares, worries and anxieties. Rest in the ocean of silence. Enjoy the eternal peace. Your old Jivahood is gone now. All limitations have disappeared. If the desires and old cravings try to hiss, destroy them by the rod of Viveka and the sword of Vairagya.

Keep these two with you always for some time till you get Brahmi-Sthiti (fully established in Atman).

OM is Sat-Chit-Ananda. Om is Infinity, Eternity. Sing OM. Feel OM. Chant OM. Live in Om. Meditate on OM. Roar OM OM OM. Hear OM. Taste Om. See OM. Eat OM. Drink OM. OM is Thy Name! May that OM guide you! OM! OM! OM! OM SANTIH.

Sivananda


॥ शिवध्यानम्‌॥

शान्तं पद्मासनस्थं शशधरमुकुटं पञ्चवक्त्रं त्रिनेत्रं
शूलं वज्रं च खड्‌गं परशुमभयदं दक्षिणांगे वहन्तम्‌।
नागं पाशं च घण्टां डमरुकसहितां चांकुशं वामभागे
नानालंकारदीप्तं स्फटिकमणिनिभं पार्वतीशं नमामि॥

I prostrate myself before the five-faced Lord of Parvati, who is adorned with various ornaments, who shines like Sphatika jewel, who is seated peacefully in lotus pose, with moon-crested crown, with three eyes, wearing trident, Vajra, sword and axe on the right side, serpent, noose, bell, Damaru and spear on the left side and who gives protection from all fears to His devotees.

 


॥ शङ्कराचार्य ध्यानम्॥

पद्मासीनं प्रशान्तं यमनिरतमनंगारितुल्यप्रभावं
फाले भस्माङ्किताभं स्मितरुचिरमुखांभोजमिन्दीवराक्षम्म्।
कम्बुग्रीवं कराभ्यामविहतविलसत्पुस्तकं ज्ञानमुद्रां
वन्द्‌यै गीर्वाणमुख्यैर्नतजनवरदं भावये शङ्करार्यम्॥

I meditate on Sri Sankaracharya who is seated in Padmasana with Jnanamudra, who is calm, endowed with virtues like Yama, Niyama, etc., whose glory is as great as that of Lord Siva, who wears the sacred ashes on the forehead, whose face resembles the blossomed lotus, with lotus-like eyes, possessing sacred books in hand, who is ever adored by people of high learning and wisdom, and who fulfils the desires of his devotees (who prostrate themselves before him).

 


॥ ओङ्कारध्यानम्॥

ओङ्कारं निगमैकवेद्यमनिशं वेदान्ततत्त्वास्पदं
चोत्पत्तिस्थितिनाशहेतुममलं विश्वस्य विश्वात्मकम्‌।
विश्वत्राणपरायणं श्रुतिशतैः संप्रोच्यमानं विभुं
सत्यज्ञानमनन्तमूर्तिममलं शुद्धात्मकं तं भजे॥

I always meditate on the ever-pure, all-pervading Pranava, Omkara, which is known by the various Srutis as the source and support of Vedanta, as the cause of creation, existence and dissolution of this universe, which is the Soul of this universe and which is Truth, Knowledge and Infinity.

 


॥ दत्तत्रेयध्यानम्॥

मालाकमण्डलुधरः करपद्मयुग्मे
मध्यस्थपाणियुगले डमरुत्रेशूलम्।
अध्यस्थ ऊर्ध्वकरयोः शुभशङ्कचक्रे
वन्दे तमत्रितनयं भुजषट्‌कयुक्तम्॥

I meditate on Dattatreya, the son of Atri, who has six hands, who is with garland and Kamandalu in two hands, with Damaru and Trisula (trident) in the other two hands and with conch and discus in the upper two hands.

 


॥ गणेशध्यनम्॥

गजाननं भूतगणादिसेवितं
कपित्थजम्बूफलसारभक्षणम्।
उमासुतं शोकविनाशकारणं
नमामि विघ्नेश्वरपादपङ्कजम्॥

I worship the lotus-feet of Ganesa, the son of Uma, the destroyer of all sorrows, who is served by the host of Devas and Bhutas (elementals) and others and who takes the essence of Kapittha (a fruit resembling Bilva or stone-apple) and Jambu fruits.

 


॥ सुब्रह्मण्यध्यानम्॥

षडाननं कुंकुमरक्तवर्णं
महामतिं दिव्यमयूरवाहनम्।
रुद्रस्य सूनुं सुरसैन्यनाथं
गुहं सदाहं शरणं प्रपद्ये॥

I always take refuge in Lord Guha of six faces, who is of deep red colour and infinite knowledge, who has the divine peacock to ride on, the son of Lord Siva and the leader of the army of the Devas.

 


॥ सरस्वतीध्यानम्॥

या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृत
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना।
या ब्रह्माच्युतशङ्करप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्‌यापहा॥

May that Goddess Sarasvati who is of fair complexion, who wears a garland of snow-white Kunda flower, who wears pure white cloth, who holds the best and sacred Vina, who is seated on a white lotus, who is worshipped by Brahma, Achyuta, Sankara and others, who is the cause of removing all inertness and laziness, protect me.

 


॥ महालक्ष्मीध्यानम्॥

वन्दे पद्मकरां प्रसन्नवदनां सौभाग्यदां भाग्यदां
हस्ताभ्यामभयप्रदां मणिगणैर्नानाविधैर्भूषिताम्।
भक्ताभीष्टफलप्रदां हरिहरब्रह्मादिभिस्सेवितां
पार्श्वे पङ्कजशङ्खपद्मनिधिभिर्युक्तां सदा शक्तिभिः॥

I meditate on Goddess Lakshmi who has lotus in Her hands, who is of cheerful countenance, who bestows fearlessness with both Her hands, who is decked with precious jewels of various kinds, who bestows the desired fruits on Her devotees, who is worshipped by Hari, Siva and Brahma, who is at all times surrounded by Saktis, and has Nidhis (treasures) known as Sankha, Padma and Mahapadma.

 


॥ कृष्णध्यानम्॥

वंशीविभूषितकरान्नवनीरदाभात्
पीताम्बरादरुणबिम्बफलाधरोष्ठात्।
पूर्णेन्दुसुन्दरमुखादरविन्दनेत्रात्
कृष्णात्परं किमपि तत्त्वमहं न जाने॥

I know not anything higher than the lotus-eyed Krishna with hands adorned with flute, looking like a heavy-laden cloud, wearing yellow silk garment and with lips like ruddy Bimba fruit and face shining like the full moon.

 


॥ रामध्यानम्॥

ध्यायेदाजानुबाहुं धृतशरधनुषं बद्धपद्मासनस्थं
पीतं वासो वसानं नवकमलदलस्पर्धिनेत्रं प्रसन्नम्।
वामांकारूढसीतामुखकमलमिलल्लोचनं नीरदाभं
नानालंकारदीप्तं दक्षतमुरुजटामण्डलं रामचन्द्रम्॥

One should meditate on Sri Ramachandra, with hands reaching the knees, holding the bow and arrows, seated on the locked-up lotus posture, wearing a yellow garb, with eyes vying with the newly blossomed lotus petals, with a pleasant gait, who has Sita to his left side, who is blue like the clouds, who is adorned with all kinds of ornaments and having a big circle of Jata on the head.

 


॥ गायत्रीध्यानम्॥

मुक्ताविद्रुमहेमनीलधवलच्छायैर्मुखैस्तीक्षणै-
र्युक्तामिन्दुनिबद्धरलमुकुटां तत्त्वात्मवर्णात्मिकाम्।
गायत्रीं वरदाभयाङ्कुशकशां शुभ्रं कपालं गदां
शंखं चक्रमथारविन्दयुगलं हस्तैर्वहन्तीं भजे॥

I meditate on the lotus-feet of Goddess Gayatri, whose face glows with the pearls, coral, gold, blue and white jewels, whose crown is decorated with pearls and the moon, who is the embodiment of the sacred Truth that signifies the essence of the Vedas, who has Her two hands as the giver of boons and fearlessness and who holds Ankusa (trident), Kasa (whip), the skull, Gada (club), the conch, the disc and two white lotus flowers in Her hands.

 


॥ सूर्यध्यानम्॥

भास्वद्रलाढ्‌यमौलिः स्फुरदधररुचा रंजितश्चारुकेशो
भास्वान्यो दिव्यतेजाः करकमलयुतः स्वर्णवर्णः प्रभाभिः।
विश्वाकाशावकाशग्रहपतिशिखरे भाति यश्चोदयाद्रौ
सर्वानन्दप्रदाता हरिहरनमितः पातु मां विश्वचक्षुः॥

May the Sun-God (Surya) the eye of the world, who is the bestower of all bliss, who is worshipped by Lord Hari, Siva and other gods, who shines in the rising mountains, who shines with jewel-decked crown, who is the lord of the planets, who pervades the whole universe, who shines with the glow of His lips and beautiful hair and who is endowed with divine splendour, protect me.


CHAPTER ONE
THEORY OF CONCENTRATION

1. What is Concentration?

"Desa-bandhas-chittasya dharana":--Concentration is fixing the mind on an external object or an internal point. Once a Sanskrit scholar approached Kabir and asked him, "O Kabir, what are you doing now?" Kabir replied, "O Pandit, I am detaching the mind from worldly objects and attaching it to the Lotus-Feet of the Lord." This is concentration. Right conduct, posture, Pranayama and abstraction from sensual objects will pave a long way in achieving rapid success in concentration. Concentration is the sixth step in the Yogic Ladder. There can be no concentration without something upon which the mind may rest. A definite purpose, interest, attention will bring success in concentration.

The senses draw you out and perturb your peace of mind. If your mind is restless, you cannot make any progress. When the rays of the mind are collected by practice, the mind becomes concentrated and you get Ananda from within. Silence the bubbling thoughts and calm the emotions.

You should have patience, adamantine will and untiring persistence. You must be very regular in your practices. Otherwise laziness and adverse forces will take you away from the Lakshya. A well-trained mind can be fixed at will upon any object either inside or outside to the exclusion of all other thoughts.

Everybody possesses some ability to concentrate on some lines. But for spiritual progress concentration should be developed to a very high degree. A man with an appreciable degree of concentration has more earning capacity and turns out more work in a shorter time. In concentration there should be no strain on the brain. You should not fight or wrestle with the mind.

A man whose mind is filled with passion and all sorts of fantastic desires can hardly concentrate on any object even for a second. Celibacy, Pranayama, reduction of wants and activities, renunciation of sensual objects, solitude, silence, discipline of the senses, annihilation of lust, greed, anger, non-mixing with undesirable persons, giving up of newspaper-reading and visiting cinemas, all increase the power of concentration.

Concentration is the only way to get rid of worldly miseries and tribulations. The practitioner will have very good health and a cheerful mental vision. He can get the penetrative insight. He can do any work with greater efficiency. Concentration purifies and calms the surging emotions, strengthens the current of thought and clarifies the ideas. Purify the mind through Yama and Niyama. Concentration without purity is of no use.

Japa of any Mantra and Pranayama will steady the mind, remove Vikshepa and increase the power of concentration. Concentration can be done only if you are free from all distractions. Concentrate on anything that appeals to you as good or anything which the mind likes best. The mind should be trained to concentrate on gross objects in the beginning, and later on you can successfully concentrate on subtle objects and abstract ideas. Regularity in the practice is of paramount importance.

Gross forms: Concentrate on a black dot on the wall, a candle-flame, a bright star, the moon, the picture of OM (AUM), Lord Siva, Rama, Krishna, Devi or your Ishta Devata in front of you with open eyes.

Subtle forms: Sit before the picture of your Ishta Devata and close your eyes. Keep a mental picture of your Ishta Devata at the space between the two eyebrows or in the heart. Concentrate on Muladhara, Anahata, Ajna or any other internal Chakra. Concentrate on the Divine qualities such as love, mercy, or any other abstract idea.

2. Where to Concentrate?

Concentrate gently either on the lotus of the heart (Anahata Chakra) or on the space between the two eyebrows (Ajna Chakra or Trikuti), or on the tip of the nose. Close your eyes.

The seat of the mind is Ajna Chakra. The mind can be controlled easily if you concentrate on the Trikuti.

Bhaktas should concentrate on the heart. Yogis and Vedantins should concentrate on Ajna Chakra.

Crown of the head (Sahasrara) is another seat for concentration. Some Vedantins concentrate here. Some Yogis concentrate on the tip of the nose (Nasikagra Drishti).

Stick to one centre of concentration. Cling to it tenaciously. If you concentrate on the heart stick to it. Never change it. Guru will select a centre for concentration, if you are a student of faith. If you are a man of self-reliance, you can select a centre for yourself.

Bhrumadhya-Drishti is fixing one’s eyes between the eyebrows. This region is Ajna Chakra. Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana in your meditation room and practise this gaze gently from half a minute to half an hour. There must not be the least violence in this practice. Gradually increase the period. This Yogic Kriya removes Vikshepa or the tossing of mind and develops concentration. Lord Krishna prescribes this practice in chapter V, Sloka 27: "Sparsan kritva bahir bahyan chakshus-chaivantare bhruvoh"—"Having the outward contacts excluded and with gaze fixed between the eyebrows." This is known as ‘frontal gaze,’ because the eyes are directed towards the frontal bone or the bone of the forehead. You can select yourself either this gaze or the ‘Nasal Gaze.’

‘Nasal Gaze’ is called Nasikagra-Drishti. The gaze is fixed at the tip of the nose. Even when you walk in the street, keep the nasal gaze. Lord Krishna prescribes this in chapter VI, Sloka 13: "Samprekshya Nasikagram"—"Looking fixedly at the point of the nose without looking around." This practice steadies the mind and develops the power of concentration.

A Raja Yogi concentrates on the Trikuti (Ajna Chakra, the space between the two eyebrows) which is the seat of the mind in the waking state. You can easily control the mind if you can concentrate on this region. Light is seen during concentration in this region very quickly even in a day’s practice, by some persons. He who wants to meditate on Virat and he who wants to help the world should select this region for his concentration. A Bhakta or a devotee should concentrate on the heart, the seat of emotion and feeling. He who concentrates on the heart gets great Ananda. He who wants to get Ananda should concentrate on the heart.

A Hatha Yogi fixes his mind on the Sushumna Nadi, the middle path in the spinal canal, and on a specific centre, viz., the Muladhara or Manipura or Ajna Chakra. Some Yogis ignore the lower Chakras and fix their mind on the Ajna Chakra only. Their theory is that by controlling the Ajna Chakra all the lower Chakras can be automatically controlled. When you concentrate on a Chakra, a thread-like connection is formed in the beginning between the mind and the Chakra (centre of spiritual energy). Then the Yogi ascends along the Sushumna from Chakra to Chakra. The ascent is made gradually by patient efforts. Even a mere shaking of the opening of the Sushumna causes a great deal of Ananda (bliss). You become intoxicated. You will entirely forget the world. When the opening of the Sushumna is shaken a bit, the Kula Kundalini Sakti tries to enter Sushumna. Great Vairagya comes in. You will become fearless. You will behold various visions. You will witness the splendid Antarjyotis. This is termed "Unmani Avastha." You will get different Siddhis, different types of Ananda and different kinds of knowledge by controlling and operating on different Chakras: If you have conquered the Muladhara Chakra, you have conquered the earthplane already. If you have conquered the Manipura Chakra, you have conquered fire. Fire will not burn you. Panchadharana (five kinds of Dharana) will help you to conquer the five elements. Learn them under a Guru who is an adept Yogi.

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Last Updated: Sunday, 22-Nov-2009 02:06:22 EST
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