by Swami Sivananda
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE: DHYANA YOGA EXPLAINED
|1. Meditation—Your Only Duty||3|
|2. Withdrawal from Multiplicity||8|
|4. Practice of Concentration||15|
|5. Exercises in Concentration||20|
|6. The Key Stone in Sadhana||22|
|8. Practice of Meditation||33|
|9. Fruits of Meditation||42|
|10. Meditation on OM||43|
|11. Instructions on Meditation||44|
|12. Obstacles in Meditation||45|
|13. Experiences in Meditation||47|
|14. Sleep and Samadhi||48|
|16. Dhyana Yoga according to Yogasara Upanishad||50|
|17. The Obstacles, according to Vedantasara Upanishad||58|
|18. A Synoptic Survey of Dhyana Yoga||61|
CHAPTER TWO: THE ELIXIR OF BLISS
|1. Ashtanga Yoga||74|
|2. The Steps and the Goal||75|
|4. The Power of Concentration||76|
|5. Aids to Concentration||77|
6. Patience in Concentration
|7. Objects for Concentration||78|
|8. Benefits of Concentration||79|
|10. Meditate Regularly||81|
|11. Four Kinds of Meditation||81|
|12. The Inverse Process||81|
|13. Vedantic Enquiry or Vichara||82|
|14. Meditation on Virtues||82|
|15. Dhyana Yoga (Saguna)||83|
|16. Dhyana Yoga (Nirguna)||84|
|17. Meditate on the Lord||85|
|18. Meditate on the Eternal||85|
|19. Objects of Meditation||86|
|20. Obstacles in Meditation||86|
|21. Be Vigilant||87|
|22. Discern and Discriminate||87|
|23. Meditation and Knowledge||88|
|25. Samskara Sesha||89|
|26. Mind Fuses in Samadhi||90|
|27. Nirvikalpa Samadhi||90|
|29. All Is Akhanda Ekarasa Svaroopa||92|
|30. Merging or Fusing||92|
|31. Spiritual Experiences||93|
|32. I Drink the Nectar||94|
|33. Speechless Zone||94|
|34. That Exalted State||95|
|35. I Live in Silence!||95|
|36. Blissful Am I Now||96|
37. My Heart is Brimful of Joy
|38. Welcome, Disease! Welcome!!||97|
|39. I Am Full Now||97|
|40. The Little “I” Fused!||98|
|42. I Have Become That||99|
|43. I Found Him Out||99|
|44. Mysterious Experience||100|
|45. The Great Bhuma Experience||100|
|46. Song of OM||101|
CHAPTER THREE: FORMULAS FOR MEDITATION
|1. I Am Life Eternal||102|
|2. Vedantic Meditation—I||102|
|3. I Am the Source||102|
|4. I Am the All||103|
|5. I Am Existence||103|
|6. Formulas for Meditation||103|
|7. Vedantic Meditation—II||104|
|8. Nirguna Meditation||109|
|9. Abstract Meditation||109|
|10. Nirguna Dhyana||110|
|11. Realise the Unity of all Selves||110|
|12. I Am||110|
|13. I Am One||111|
|14. I am That I Am||111|
|15. I am Nectar||111|
16. Formulae for Vedantic Meditation
|17. Vedantic Affirmation||112|
|18. Formulae for Nirguna Meditation||112|
|19. Who am I?||113|
|20. How Free Am I!||114|
|21. I Am the All||115|
|22. I Am Nirmala Brahman||116|
|23. I Am Vijnana Ghana Brahman||116|
|24. I Am Svatantra Brahman||116|
|25. I Am Omkara Svaroopa||117|
|26. I Am Niravarana Brahma Svaroopa||117|
|27. I Am Parabrahma Svaroopa||117|
|28. I Am Satya Svaroopa||118|
|29. I Am Chaitanya Svaroopa||118|
|30. I Am Chinmatra Svaroopa||119|
|31. I Am Sukha Ghana Svaroopa||119|
|32. I Am Ananda Ghana Svaroopa||119|
|33. I Am Maya-rahita Brahman||120|
|34. I Am Formless, Attributeless Brahman||120|
35. I Am Trigunatita Brahman
CHAPTER FOUR: DHYANA YOGA SUTRAS
|4. Enquiry and Meditation||125|
|5. Light on Meditation||129|
|6. The Process of Meditation||131|
|9. Samadhi and Divine Experiences||140|
CHAPTER FIVE: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
|1. Easy Path to Concentration||143|
2. Benefits of Meditation in Brahmamuhurta
|3. Worldly Thoughts and Meditation||143|
|4. Entry into Samadhi||144|
|5. Lord Hari and the Object of Concentration||144|
|9. Experiences in Mantra Sadhana||153|
|10. The Method of Intuition||153|
|11. Sahaja Samadhi and Nirvikalpa Samadhi||153|
|12. States of Spiritual Experiences—The Aroma of Sahaja Avastha||154|
|13. Experiences in Samadhi||155|
|14. Contemplation and Superconscious Experience||156|
|15. Experiences and Mystics||156|
16. Intuition as Eye of Wisdom
|100 Selected Aphorisms for Meditation||158|
Meditation is the key which unlocks the treasure-trove of the highest intelligence, of wisdom, of divinity, of genius. No man who wishes to make a success of his life can afford to neglect it.
The genius among scientists, the successful businessman, the best among philosophers, the Yogi and the seeker after Truth, all of them meditate. Their achievements are the fruits of their meditation.
The secrets of meditation have remained the close preserve of Yogis, till the Sage of the Himalayas, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, in his supreme compassion and all-consuming love for all mankind, came forward to elucidate the philosophical foundation, the method, the experiences, the obstacles and the successful fulfilment of meditation.
His writings on this vital subject are presented by him in this inspiring book.
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
Dhyana or meditation is in the keeping up of the flow of one idea with a continuity as unbroken as the flow of oil. Meditation is of two kinds, viz., concrete and abstract. If you meditate on any picture or concrete object it is concrete meditation. If you meditate on an abstract idea, on any quality such as mercy, tolerance, it is abstract meditation. A beginner should practise concrete meditation. For some aspirants, abstract meditation is more easy than concrete meditation.
The practice of meditation must start only after one is well established in Pratyahara or abstraction of the senses and concentration. If the senses 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, step by step. The mind should be withdrawn again and again and fixed upon the object of meditation. Its tendency to run and roam must be checked. One should reduce one’s wants and renounce all sorts of wild, vain desires from the mind. A desireless man alone can sit quiet and practise meditation. Sattvic and 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 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 the 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.
Beginners on the spiritual path should remember again and again some important and inspiring Vedantic statements, every day. Only then can their doubts be removed and they would find themselves established on the path. Some of these statements are: “Being alone was in the beginning, one without a second” Chhandogya Upanishad VI-2-1; “In the beginning all this was the one Self alone” Aitareya Upanishad VI-2-1; “This is the Brahman, without cause and without effect; this Self is Brahman perceiving everything” Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II-5-19; “That immortal Brahman alone is” Mandukya Upanishad, II-2-7. This immortal Atman cannot be attained without constant practice of meditation. Therefore he who wishes to attain immortality and freedom should meditate on the Self or the Brahman, for a long time.
The Self or the Atman is the fountain-source of all energy. Thinking on Atman as the Source of all Energy, is a dynamic method for augmenting one’s own energy, strength and power. If you think even for a single second, of the all-pervading pure, immortal Satchidananda Atman or Brahman, it would be tantamount to taking thousand and eight dips in the sacred Triveni—the junction of holy rivers at Prayag. This is the real mental sacred bath. Physical bath is nothing when compared to this internal bath of wisdom or knowledge.
Worship the Self or the Atman with the flowers of Jnana or wisdom, contentment, peace, joy and equal vision. This will constitute real worship. Offerings of rose, jasmine, sandal paste, incense, sweetmeats and fruits are nothing when compared to the offerings of Jnana, contentment, peace, equal vision. These are the offerings given by the ignorant persons. Try to identify yourself with the eternal, immortal, ever-pure Atman or Soul that resides in the chambers of your heart. Think and feel always: “I am the very pure Atman. This one thought will remove all troubles and fanciful thoughts. The mind wants to delude you when it detracts you from the central purpose of your life, viz., meditation on the Atman. Therefore start an anti-current of thought against the tendencies of the mind. Then, mind will lurk like a thief and become submissive.
In the Yoga-Vasishtha you will find: “The right course to be adopted by one who is a novitiate is this: Two parts of the mind must be filled with the objects of enjoyments, one part with philosophy and the remaining part with devotion to the teacher. Having advanced a little, he should fill one part of the mind with the object of enjoyment, two parts with devotion to the teacher and the remaining one with getting an insight into the meaning of philosophy. When one has attained proficiency, he should every day fill two parts of his mind with philosophy and supreme Renunciation, and the remaining two parts with meditation and devoted service to the Guru.” This will eventually lead you on to meditation for twenty-four hours. Meditate ceaselessly upon that Satchidananda Brahman and attain the Supreme immaculate seat in this very life.
1. The Science of Meditation
Concentration is holding the mind on to some particular object. An unbroken flow of knowledge in that subject is meditation. Meditation is regular flow of thought with regard to the object of concentration. Meditation follows concentration. Concentration merges in meditation. Meditation opens the doors of the mind to intuitive knowledge and many powers. You can get whatever you want through meditation. During meditation all worldly thoughts are shut out from the mind. Meditation is called Dhyana in Sanskrit and is the seventh step in the Yogic Ladder.
There should be a separate room for meditation and other spiritual exercises and practices. The room should be regarded as a temple of God. You should not allow anybody into the room. You should enter the room with a pious and reverent mind. Thoughts of jealousy, lust, greed and anger should not be entertained within the four walls of the room. All worldly talks also should not be indulged in there. For every word that is uttered, every thought that is cherished and every deed that is done is not lost; they are reflected on the subtle layers of ether encircling the room where they are done and hence affect the mind, invariably.
Decorate the room with inspiring pictures of great Saints, Sages, Prophets and World Teachers. In a prominent place in the room keep a beautiful photo of your tutelary Deity (Ishta-Devata), either Lord Jesus, Lord Krishna, Lord Siva or Devi. Let the Deity face the East or North. Spread your Asana (seat) in front of the Deity. Keep some religious and philosophical books such as the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads, the Vedanta-Sutras, the Ramayana, the Yogavasishtha, the Bible, etc., by your side. Wash your face, hands and legs before you enter the room. Burn a piece of camphor and light some scented sticks immediately after entering the room. Sit on the Asana in front of the Deity and repeat the Name of the Lord or sing some devotional hymns. Then take to the practice of concentration and meditation.
We cannot seek for ideal places. Even if we wander from pole to pole, we cannot get an ideal place that will satisfy us from every standpoint. Every place has some advantages and some disadvantages as well. So you should select a place that is more advantageous than the others. Having once selected a place, you must stick to it till the last. You must not think of changing the place, when some difficulty stares you in the face. You must put up with the difficulty by all means. Rishikesh (Himalayas), Hardwar, Uttarkashi, Badrinarayan, Gangotri, Mount Kailas, Brindawan, Banaras, Nasik and Ayodhya are all excellent places for meditation in India.
The best and the most congenial time for the practice of meditation is unquestionably the Brahmamuhurta, i.e., from 4 to 6 a.m. That is the time when the mind is quite refreshed after an agreeable slumber, when the mind is calm and comparatively pure. It is like a clean blank sheet of paper. Only such a mind can be moulded into whatever shape you like. Moreover, the atmosphere also is charged with purity and goodness at this time.
In the beginning you can meditate twice daily, from 4 to 5 in the morning and 7 to 8 at night. As you advance in your practices you can increase the duration of each sitting little by little using your commonsense and discretion, and also have a third sitting either in the morning between 10 and 11 or in the evening between 4 and 5.
Sitting on your favourite meditative pose and keeping the head, neck and trunk erect, close your eyes and gently concentrate on either the tip of the nose, space between the eyebrows, the heart-lotus or the crown of the head. When once you have selected one centre of concentration, stick to it till the last with leechlike tenacity. Never change it. Thus, if you have chosen to concentrate on the heart-lotus after having tried the other centres, stick to the heart-lotus alone. Then only can you expect rapid advancement.
Meditation is of two kinds, viz., Saguna (with Gunas or qualities) meditation and Nirguna (without Gunas or qualities) meditation. Meditation on Lord Krishna, Lord Siva, Lord Rama or Lord Jesus is Saguna meditation. It is meditation with form and attributes. The Name of the Lord is also simultaneously repeated. This is the method of the Bhaktas. Meditation on the reality of the Self is Nirguna meditation. This is the method of the Vedantins. Meditation on Om, Soham, Sivoham, Aham Brahma Asmi and Tat Twam Asi is Nirguna meditation.
Put an iron rod in the blazing furnace. It becomes red like fire. Remove it from the fire. It loses its red colour. If you want to keep it always red, you must keep it always in fire. Even so, if you want to keep the mind charged with the fire of Brahmic Wisdom, you must keep it always in contact with the Brahmic Fire of Knowledge through constant and intense meditation. You must, in other words, keep up an unceasing flow of Brahmic consciousness.
Meditation is the most powerful mental and nervine tonic. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells of the body and cure the various diseases that human flesh is heir to. Those who regularly meditate save the doctor’s bills. The powerful soothing waves that arise during meditation exercise a benign influence on the mind, nerves, organs and cells of the body. The divine energy freely flows like the flow of oil from one vessel to another, from the Feet of the Lord to the different systems of the practitioner.
If you meditate for half an hour, you will be able to face the daily battle of life with peace and spiritual strength for one week through the force of meditation. Such is the beneficial effect of meditation. As you have to move with different minds of peculiar nature, get the requisite strength and peace from meditation and be free from worry and trouble.
The wise cut asunder the knot of egoism by the sharp sword of constant meditation. Then draw supreme Knowledge of the Self or full illumination or Self-realisation. All bonds of Karma (action) are rent asunder. Therefore be ever engaged in meditation. This is the master-key to open the realms of eternal Bliss. It may be disgusting and tiring in the beginning, because the mind will be running away from the point (Lakshya) every now and then. But after sometime it will be focussed in the centre. You will be immersed in Divine Bliss.
Regular meditation opens up the avenues of intuitional knowledge, makes the mind calm and steady, awakens an ecstatic feeling, and brings the Yogic student in contact with the Supreme Purusha. If there are doubts, they are all cleared by themselves, when you march on the path of Dhyana-Yoga (meditation) steadily. You will yourself feel the way to place your footstep in the next higher rung of the Yogic ladder. A mysterious inner voice will guide you. Hear thou this attentively, O Aspirant!
When you get a flash of illumination, do not be frightened. It will be a new experience of immense joy. Do not turn back. Do not give up meditation. Do not stop there. You will have to advance still further. This is only a glimpse of truth. This is not the highest realisation. This is only a new platform. Try to ascend further. Reach the Bhuma or the Infinite. Now alone you are proof against all temptations. You will drink deep the nectar of Immortality. This is the acme or final stage. You will take eternal rest now. You need not meditate any further. This is the final goal.
You have within yourself tremendous powers and latent faculties of which you have really never had any conception. You must awaken these dormant powers and faculties by the practice of meditation and Yoga. You must develop your will and control your senses and mind. You must purify yourself and practise regular meditation. Then only can you become a Superman or God-man.
There is no such thing as miracle or Siddhi. Ordinary man is quite ignorant of higher spiritual things. He is sunk in oblivion. He is shut up from higher transcendental knowledge. So he calls some extraordinary event a miracle. But for a Yogi who understands things in the light of Yoga, there is no such thing as miracle. Just as a villager is astonished at the sight of an aeroplane or a talkie for the first time, so also a man of the world is stunned when he sees an extraordinary spectacle for the first time.
Every human being has within himself various potentialities and capacities. He is a magazine of power and knowledge. As he evolves, he unfolds new powers, new faculties, new qualities. Now he can change his environments and influence others. He can subdue other minds. He can conquer internal and external nature. He can enter into superconscious state.
In a dark room if a pot containing a lamp inside it is broken, the darkness of the room is dispelled and you see light everywhere in the room. Even so, if the body-pot is broken through constant meditation on the Self, i.e., if you destroy ignorance (Avidya) and its effects such as identification with the body, and rise above body-consciousness you will cognise the supreme light of the Atman everywhere.
Just as the water in the pot that is placed in the ocean becomes one with the waters of the ocean, when the pot is broken, so also when the body-pot is broken by meditation on the Atman, the individual soul becomes one with the Supreme Soul.
Just as the light is burning within the hurricane lamp, so also the Divine Flame is burning from the time immemorial in the lamp of your heart. Close your eyes. Merge yourself within the Divine Flame. Plunge deep into the chambers of your heart. Meditate on this Divine Flame and become one with the Flame of God.
If the wick within the lamp is small, the light will also be small. If the wick is big, the light also will be powerful. Similarly if the Jiva (individual soul) is pure, if he practises meditation, the manifestation or expression of the Self will be powerful. He will radiate a big light. If he is unregenerate and impure, he will be like a burnt-up charcoal. The bigger the wick, the greater the light. Likewise, the purer the soul, the greater the expression.
If the magnet is powerful, it will influence the iron filings even when they are placed at a distance. Even so, if the Yogi is an advanced person, he will have greater influence over the persons with whom he comes in contact. He can exert his influence on persons even when they live in distant places.
The fire of meditation annihilates all foulness due to vice. Then suddenly there comes Knowledge of the Self or Divine Wisdom which directly leads to Mukti or final emancipation.
During the meditation note how long you can shut out all worldly thoughts. Watch your mind. If it is for twenty minutes, try to increase the period to thirty minutes and so on. Fill the mind with thoughts of God again and again.
In meditation do not strain your eyes. Do not struggle or wrestle with the mind. Relax. Gently allow the divine thoughts to flow. Steadily think of the Lakshya (point of meditation). Do not voluntarily and violently drive away the intruding thoughts. Have sublime Sattvic thoughts. The vicious thoughts will by themselves vanish.
If there is much strain in your meditation, reduce the duration of each sitting for a few days. Do light meditation only. When you have regained the normal tone, again increase the period. Use your commonsense throughout your Sadhana. I always reiterate on this point.
“Though men perform Tapas standing on one leg, for a period of 1,000 years, it will not, in the least, be equal to one-sixteenth part of Dhyana-Yoga (meditation).” Paingala Upanishad.
Those who meditate for four or five hours at a stretch can have two meditative poses. Sometimes the blood accumulates in one part of the legs or thighs and so gives a little trouble. After two hours change the pose. Or stretch the legs at full length and lean against a wall or pillow. Keep the spine erect. This is the most comfortable Asana. Or join two chairs. Sit in one chair and stretch the legs on another chair. This is another contrivance.
You must daily increase your Vairagya, meditation and Sattvic virtues such as patience, perseverance, mercy, love, forgiveness, etc. Vairagya and good qualities help meditation. Meditation increases the Sattvic qualities.
Considerable changes take place in the mind, brain and nervous system by the practice of meditation. New nerve-currents, new vibrations, new avenues, new grooves, new cells, new channels are formed. The whole mind and the nervous system are remodelled. You will have a new heart, a new mind, new sensations; new feelings, new mode of thinking and acting and a new view of the universe (as God in manifestation).
During meditation you will get into rapture or ecstasy. It is of five kinds, viz., the lesser thrill, momentary rapture, flooding rapture, transporting rapture and all-pervading rapture. The lesser thrill will raise the hairs of the body (like the goose skin). The momentary rapture is like the productions of lightning moment by moment. Like waves breaking on the sea-shore, the flooding rapture descends rapidly on the body and breaks. Transporting rapture is strong and lifts the body up to the extent of launching it into the air. When the all-pervading rapture arises, the whole body is completely surcharged and blown like a full bladder.
“Whatever he (the Yogic practitioner) sees with his eyes, let him consider as Atman. Whatever he hears with his ears, let him consider as Atman. Whatever he smells with his nose, let him consider as Atman. Whatever he tastes with his tongue, let him consider as Atman. Whatever the Yogi touches with his skin, let him consider as Atman. The Yogi should thus unweariedly gratify his organs of sense for a period of one Yama (3 hours) every day with great effort. The various wonderful powers are attained by the Yogi, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, ability to transport himself to great distances within a moment, great powers of speech, ability to take any form, ability to become invisible and the transmutation of iron into gold, when the former is smeared over with his excretion.” Yogatattva Upanishad.
Just as a very skilful archer in shooting at a bird is aware of the way in which he takes his steps, holds the bow-string, and the arrow at the time when he pierces the bird, thus “standing in this position, holding thus the bow, thus the bow-string, and thus the arrow, I pierce the bird,” and ever afterwards would not fail to fulfil these conditions that he might pierce the bird, even so the aspirant should note the conditions such as suitable food, thus “eating this kind of food, following such a person, in such a dwelling, in this mode, at this time, I attained, to this meditation and Samadhi.”
As a clever cook in serving his master notes the kind of food that his master relishes and thenceforward serves it and gets gain, so the aspirant too notes the conditions such as nourishment, etc., at the moment of attaining meditation and Samadhi and in fulfilling them gets ecstasy again and again.
Leading a virtuous life is not by itself sufficient for God-realisation. Concentration of mind is absolutely necessary. A good virtuous life only prepares the mind as a fit instrument for concentration and meditation. It is concentration and meditation that eventually lead to Self-realisation or God-realisation.
“A Yogi should always avoid fear, anger, laziness, too much sleep or waking and too much food and fasting. If the above rules be well strictly practised each day, spiritual wisdom will arise of itself in three months without doubt. In four months, he sees the Devas; in five months, he knows (or becomes) Brahmanishtha; and truly in six months, he attains Kaivalya at will. There is no doubt.” Amritananda-Upanishad.
During meditation some of the visions that you see are your own materialised thoughts, while some others are real objective visions. In meditation new grooves are formed in the brain and the mind moves upwards in the new spiritual grooves. In meditation and concentration you will have to train the mind in a variety of ways. Then only the gross mind will become subtle.
When you first practise meditation, lights of various colours such as red, white, blue, green, and a mixture of red and green, etc., will appear in the forehead. These are Tanmatric (elemental) lights. Every element has got its own colour. Water has white colour. Fire has red colour. Air has green colour. Ether has blue colour. So the coloured lights are due to these Tattvas (elements) only.
Sometimes you may see a big blazing sun or moon or lightning in front of the forehead. Do not mind these. Shun them. Try to dive deep into the source of these lights.
Sometimes Devatas, Nitya Siddhas (eternally perfected Yogis) and Amarapurushas (immortal beings) will appear in meditation. Receive them all with due honour. Bow down before them. Get advice from them. Do not be frightened. They appear before you to give you all spiritual help and encouragement.
“Having made Atman as the lower Arani (sacrificial wood) and the Pranava as the upper Arani, one should see God in secret through the practice of churning which is Dhyana (meditation).” Dhyanabindu Upanishad.
Place a picture of Lord Jesus in front of you. Sit in your favourite meditative pose. Concentrate gently with open eyes on the picture till tears trickle down your cheeks. Rotate the mind on the cross, on the chest, long hairs, beautiful beard, round eyes, and the various other limbs of his body; and the fine spiritual aura emanating from his head, and so on. Think of the divine attributes such as love, magnanimity, mercy and forbearance. Think of the various phases of his interesting life and the ‘miracles’ he performed and the various ‘extraordinary’ powers he possessed. Then close your eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.
Place a picture of Lord Hari in front of you. Sit again in your meditative posture. Concentrate gently on the picture till you shed tears. Rotate the mind on His feet, legs, yellow silken robes, golden garland set with diamonds, Koustubha gem, etc., on the chest, the earrings, then the face, the crown of the head, the discus on the right upper hand, the conch on the left upper hand, the mace on the right lower hand, and the lotus flower on the left lower hand. Then close the eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.
Keep a picture of Lord Krishna with flute in hands in front of you. Sit in your meditative pose and gently concentrate on the picture till you shed tears. Think of his feet adorned with anklets, yellow garment, various ornaments round His neck, the necklace set with the Koustubha gem, the long garland of beautiful flowers of various colours, earrings, crown set with precious jewels of priceless value, dark and long hairs, sparkling eyes, the tilaka in the forehead, the magnetic aura round His head, long hands adorned with bracelets and armlets, and the flute in the hands ready to be played upon. Then close your eyes and visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.
This is one kind of meditation for beginners. Sit on Padmasana in your meditation room. Close your eyes. Meditate on the effulgence in the sun, or the splendour in the moon or the glory in the stars.
Meditate on the magnanimity of the ocean and its infinite nature. Then compare the ocean to the infinite Brahman, and the waves, foams and icebergs to the various names and forms. Identify yourself with the ocean. Become silent. Expand. Expand.
This is another kind of meditation. Meditate on the Himalayas. Imagine that the Ganges takes its origin in the icy regions of Gangotri near Uttarakasi flows through Rishikesh, Hardwar, Benaras, and then enters into the Bay of Bengal near Gangasagar. Himalayas, Ganges and the Sea—these three thoughts only should occupy your mind. First take your mind to the icy regions of Gangotri, then along the Ganges and finally to the Sea. Rotate the mind in this manner for ten minutes.
There is a living Universal Power that underlies all these names and forms. Meditate on this Power which is formless. This will terminate in the realisation of the Absolute, Nirguna, Nirakara (formless) Consciousness eventually.
Sit on Padmasana. Close your eyes. Gaze steadily on the formless air only. Concentrate on the air. Meditate on the all-pervading nature of the air. This will lead to the realisation of the nameless and formless Brahman, the One Living Truth.
Sit on your meditative pose. Close your eyes. Imagine that there is a supreme, infinite effulgence hidden behind all these names and forms which is tantamount to the effulgence of crores of suns put together. This is another form of Nirguna meditation.
Concentrate and meditate on the expansive blue sky. This is another kind of Nirguna meditation. By the previous methods of concentration the mind will cease thinking of finite forms. It will slowly begin to melt in the ocean of Peace, as it is deprived of its contents. The mind will become subtler and subtler.
Have the picture of OM in front of you. Concentrate gently on this picture with open eyes till tears flow profusely. Associate the ideas of eternity, infinity, immortality, etc., when you think of OM. The humming of bees, the sweet notes of the nightingale, the seven tunes in music and all sounds are emanations from OM only. OM is the essence of the Vedas. Imagine that OM is the bow, the mind is the arrow and Brahman (God) is the target. Aim at the target with great care and then, like arrow becomes one with the target, you will become one with Brahman. The short accent of OM burns all sins, the long accent bestows all psychic powers (Siddhis). He who chants and meditates upon this monosyllable OM chants and meditates upon all the Scriptures of the world.
Sit on Padmasana or Siddhasana in your meditation room. Watch the flow of breath. You will hear the sound. “SOHAM”, SO during inhalation and HAM during exhalation. SOHAM means I AM HE. The breath is reminding you of your identity with the Supreme Soul. You are unconsciously repeating Soham 21,600 times daily at the rate of 15 Sohams per minute. Associate the ideas of Existence, Knowledge, Bliss, Absolute, Purity, Peace, Perfection, Love, etc., along with Soham. Negate the body while repeating the Mantra and identify yourself with the Atman or the Supreme Soul.
Uddhava asked Lord Krishna: “O Lotus-eyed! How to meditate on Thee! Tell me what is the nature of that meditation and what it is?” To which Lord Krishna replied: “Be seated on the Asana that is neither high nor low, with your hands on the lap. Fix your gaze on the tip of the nose (in order to fix the mind). Purify the tracks of Prana by Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka, and then again in the reverse way (i.e. first breathe in by the left nostril with the right nostril closed by the tip of the thumb, then close the nostril by the tips of the ring finger and the little finger and retain the breath in both the nostrils. Then remove the tip of the thumb and breathe out through the right nostril. Reverse the process by breathing in through the right nostril, then retaining the breath through the left nostril. Practise this Pranayama gradually with your senses controlled.”
‘Aum’ with the sound of bell, extends all over, from Muladhara upwards. Raise the ‘Aum’ in the heart by means of Prana (twelve fingers upwards) as if it were the thread of a lotus-stalk. There let Bindu (the fifteenth vowel sound) be added to it. Thus practise Pranayama accompanied by the Pranava reciting the latter ten times. Continue the practice, three times a day, and within a month you shall be able to control the vital air. The lotus of the heart has its stalk upwards and the flower downwards facing below (and it is also closed, like the inflorescence with bracts of the banana). Meditate on it, however, as facing upwards and full-blown, with eight petals and with the pericarp. On the pericarp, think of the sun, the moon, and fire one after another. First meditate on all the limbs. Then let the mind withdraw the senses from their objects. Then draw the concentrated mind completely towards Me, by means of Buddhi (intellect). Then give up all other limbs and concentrate on one thing only, My smiling face. Do not meditate on any thing else. Then withdraw the concentrated mind from that and fix it on the Akasa (ether). Give up that also and being fixed in Me (as Brahman) think of nothing at all. You shall see Me in Atman, as identical with all Atmas.”
100 SELECTED APHORISMS FOR MEDITATION
1. Wisdom can dawn only in a pure and steady mind. Therefore purify your mind and be still.
2. The main obstacles to meditation are sleepiness, lust, fickleness and day-dreaming.
3. God is beyond the realm of gross thought but a pure, subtle and concentrated mind can realise Him in meditation.
4. The lives of saints are compasses on the way to liberation.
5. Bitter pills have blessed effect.
6. The practice, which consists of meditation on the Omnipresent God, remains the easiest, shortest and surest way to get God-Realisation.
7. The salt of life is selfless service. The bread of life is all embracing love. The water of life is purity.
8. The sweetness of life lies in devoted surrender. The perfume of life is generosity, its support is meditation and Self-realisation its goal.
9. The fruits of meditation are inner spiritual strength, perfect peace, realisation and bliss.
10. The man who becomes a victim to lust and anger is inferior to animals.
11. Wrath is the daughter of ignorance, the sister of jealousy and the mother of hard-heartedness.
12. Without surrender to the Lord, our life is empty. Without surrender you live in vain.
13. Surrender is important. It is a great force. It is the stream of life.
14. Self-surrender liberates. It destroys pain and gives peace.
15. Spiritual growth is gradual. It is a step by step development. Therefore do not try in great haste to do all sorts of Yogic, heroic deeds, or strive for perfection within 2 of 3 months.
16. Step by step, you must climb the ladder of Yoga. Step by step you will have to advance on the spiritual path.
17. There is a mysterious power in prayer. Prayer can work wonders.
18. Prayer can move mountains. But it must be intense and it must come from the heart.
19. You are not the perishable body. Your being is of the substance of Atman. Identify yourself with Atman.
20. The way which leads to saintliness is regular meditation. The foundation of saintliness is self-control (Yama) and Niyama.
21. All-embracing love is the light of saintliness. Its robe is virtue, and to esteem all things alike is its sign.
22. No light of this world can be compared with Self-realisation or the vision of God (Brahman).
23. There is no greater treasure than contentment.
24. There is no greater virtue than truthfulness.
25. There is no greater bliss than that of the Soul.
26. There is no better friend than the Atman.
27. Eat a little. Breathe deeply. Speak with kindness. Work with energy.
28. Think useful thoughts. Remain faithful to your resolutions. Be earnest, steadfast and quick at your job. Be courteous. Pray whole-heartedly.
29. Be courageous in endurance. Bear patiently. Concentrate with highest alertness. Meditate earnestly and realise fast.
30. Sensuous pleasures are nothing compared with the bliss of meditation and highest consciousness.
31. Close the doors of the intellect, shut the windows of the senses, withdraw into the still chamber of your heart and enjoy the sleepless sleep of highest consciousness.
32. Without the control of the senses and the thoughts, spiritual growth is not possible.
33. Abuse and criticism is nothing but a play of words, mere vibrations in the air.
34. Rise above any praise and identify yourself with the highest existence.
35. Meditation induces a fullness of spiritual power, in most peace and life energy.
36. Through prayer and meditation, continence and non-violence, human nature is purified.
37. The fruits of meditation are inner power; unalloyed peace, realisation and bliss.
38. Every set-back increases your power to rise to a higher rung in the ladder of Yoga.
39. Ignorance begets unhappiness, moodiness and destruction. Become Self-realised and be in harmony with all.
40. Every obstacle is your opportunity to develop will-power.
41. Be patient in troubles, dangers and grief; be hard like a diamond and overcome the obstacles.
42. Lust destroys life, lustre, personality, the life-force, memory power and reputation, holiness, peace, knowledge and devotion. Therefore kill lust.
43. Inexperienced students mistake their own imagination and impulses for the inner voice.
44. The secret of renunciation consists of renouncing egoism and lust.
45. Live in the world, but be not worldly-minded. He who lives in the world and reaches perfection in the midst of all temptations is the real hero.
46. God will never forget you, even if you forget Him through the power of ignorance.
47. Do not mix with evil company.
48. Within you is an immeasurable, inexhaustible spring of knowledge and power. Learn to draw from this well. Delve deep into yourself, and dive into the holy waters of immortality.
49. Learn to understand the laws of the universe and move in tune with the world.
50. Every obstacle gives you opportunity to develop strong will and to grow in strength.
51. Grow. Expand yourself. Develop all positive and good qualities, Daivi Sampat, like: large-heartedness, commonsense and courage. Step on the spiritual path and recognise: I am the immortal Self.
52. Do not go against the laws of nature.
53. Comfort and console the unhappy.
54. Shun diplomacy and hypocrisy.
55. Destroy your pleasure-centres.
56. Feel oneness with all.
57. Raise your mind by spiritual thoughts, expand it by intensive one-pointed thoughts of Brahman.
58. Every work is a sacrifice to the Lord. Feel that all beings are His images (creation).
59. See God everywhere, in every face.
60. God pervades the whole universe. He wears the robe of a beggar. He aches in pain under the mask of the sick. He wanders in rags through the forests. Open your eyes. See Him in everybody. Serve all. Love all.
61. Three things you should acquire: Trust in God, atonement and readiness to sacrifice.
62. Three things are admirable: Truthfulness, honesty and large-heartedness.
63. Three things are to be controlled: Tongue, anger and restless thoughts.
64. Three things are to be cultivated: Cosmic love, kindness and patience.
65. Three things are loveable: The wish for liberation, the company of saints and selfless service.
66. Three things are to be avoided: Covetousness, brutality and triviality.
67. Three things are to be renounced: Lust, evil company and fruits of actions.
68. Three things combine into one synthesis: The Yoga of service, of surrender, and of knowledge.
69. To be childlike, is good. But to be childish, is not good.
70. To be devotional, is good. To be emotional, is not good.
71. To have strong will-power, is good. To be stubborn, is not good.
72. To hold fast to one ideal, is good. To be intolerant, is not good.
73. To be courageous, is good. To expose oneself to danger is not good.
74. To be straightforward, is good. To expose other’s fault, is not good.
75. Be kind, but firm and decisive; be gentle, but bold; be simple, but dignified.
76. The best way to get rid of some fault is to think ten minutes of the opposite virtue, and to practise the latter during the day.
77. Service is religion. Serve, Love, Give, Purify.
78. Be good, do good, be kind, be pure.
79. Listen, reflect, meditate, realise.
80. Trust at every step in the grace of God. Speak to the Lord like a child. Open to Him your heart. His grace will immediately come to you.
81. Avoid unnecessary talk.
82. Gentle words break no bones, but they break the hard heart.
83. There is but one caste, the caste of mankind.
84. First of all find peace within yourself through discipline and meditation, then go and propagate peace to the world.
85. Adapt, adjust, accommodate. Bear insult and injury.
86. Pray for him who tries to harm you, and persecute you.
87. Serve him who speaks ill of you.
88. Love him who wants to do injustice.
89. What purifies the heart—that is virtue, what befouls the heart—that is sin.
90. That which brings you closer to God is virtue. That which thrusts you into the dark abyss of ignorance is sin.
91. Whatever gives you peace, joy, satisfaction and cheerfulness that widens the heart, that is virtue. What gives you restlessness, moodiness, depression, that is sin.
92. Insatiable is lust. It is the source of pain, grief, misery and unhappiness.
93. To be jealous is pitiable; to be selfish is shameful; to be compassionate is divine; to be patient and enduring is manly; to be without lust is profitable; and to be calm and relaxed is admirable.
94. Evil thoughts are just as evil as evil deeds.
95. Real Yoga is grasping of higher truth through conscious communion with God.
96. The more you run after sense-pleasures, the more restless and agitated you will be.
97. Be fully awake in all parts of your being. Be always alert and busy. Your presence should speak more than your words.
98. The spiritual practices should give you rich internal life, spiritual value of things, and the ability to remain calm under all circumstances.
99. Have a soft heart, a generous hand, a kind word, a balanced opinion, and an unprejudiced mind and lead a life of service.
100. You are never alone. God is always with you and in your heart. He is very close to you. He desires you more than you Him. Therefore drop all fright and fears.