On Meditation


Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is from the book God-Realisation.

Some time ago, there lived in Karur, a big mercantile town, in Trichinopoly District, a fully developed Raja Yogi, by name Sadasiva Brahman. He was as famous as Trilinga Swami of Benares. He used to sit in Samadhi for six months. He was a great Titikshu and a Vairagi. He used to have a Kowpeen only and sleep on bare ground. Once, there was a huge flood on the Cauveri River, and Sadasiva Brahman, who was in Samadhi, was carried away by the floods and deposited in some other place. One day, he was lying on the bare ground and had two pieces of bricks as his pillow. Some boys who were tending the cows mocked at him saying: “Look at this Mahatma; he has nothing except a Kowpeen and yet, he wants comforts. He wants a pillow. Can he not lie down without pillow?” This little word produced a sudden vibration in his mind and affected him a bit. He immediately threw away the bricks.

This goes to show that even great saints who can remain in Samadhi even for months together are liable to be affected by praise or censure. Such is the force of Samskaras. From time immemorial, praise and censure have produced their impressions of exhilaration and depression on the mind. Yajnavalkya also once cursed a man to death. It is said he had also minute traces of anger, subtle desire for money and cattle as was shown in the court of Janaka despite of his Brahma Jnana. There is a popular view that Jnanins also will have a slight trace of Raga, Dwesha, anger, etc. But this is Abhasamatra, for namesake only. Not real. The difference between a Jnani and a wordly man is that in the case of the former, it will be momentary as in the case of children, while in the latter it will be continuous. A Jnani will forget it immediately, but the worldly man will keep it in the heart for a very long time. The impression of anger that is produced in the mind of a Jnani may be compared to the impression produced in water by a stroke of a walking stick. It is not lasting. The wave dies instantaneously.

Most of the difficulties in our daily lives come from being unable to hold our minds in proper check. For instance, if a man does evil to us, instantly we want to react evil, to revenge, to pay him in the same coin, to extract tooth for tooth, tit for tat policy–to return anger for anger. Every reaction of evil shows that we are not able to hold the Chitta down. It comes out in waves towards the object and we lose our power. Every reaction in the form of hatred or evil is so much loss to the mind and every evil thought or deed of hatred, if it is controlled, will be laid in our favour. It is not that we lose by thus restraining ourselves but we gain infinitely. Each time we suppress hatred, or feelings of anger, it is so much good energy stored up in our favour and that energy will be converted into higher power. Anger, when controlled properly, becomes transmuted into an energy so powerful as to move the world.

The sum total of impressions always remains in the mind. Impressions, though they become latent for a time, remain in the mind all the same and as soon as they get the right kind of stimulus, manifest themselves. The vibrations of the Chitta subside externally, after each direct perception, but continue to go on in it like atomic vibrations, and when they get the right kind of impulse, come out again.

Only a word is uttered and we do not wait to consider its meaning, but jump to a conclusion immediately. It is a sign of weakness. The weaker the man is, the less he has the power of restraint. Measure yourself always with the standard of restraint.

When you are going to be angry or miserable on hearing some news, reason it out, for yourself and see how it has thrown your mind into such Vrittis. Restraint does not come in a day, but by long continued practice. Suppose, when you are passing through the bazar, a man comes and takes away forcibly your nice walking stick. That throws your Chitta immediately into the form of a wave, termed anger. Do not allow that wave to develop. If you can prevent the formation of that wave, you have strong will-power, renunciation and Vairagya.

Watch your mind always very carefully. Be ever vigilant. Be on the alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred, lust to arise from the mind. These dark waves are enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom. Suppress them immediately by entertaining sublime divine thoughts. Evil thoughts that have arisen may be destroyed by originating good thoughts and maintaining them by repeating any Mantra or Name of the Lord, by thinking on any form of the Lord, by practice of Pranayam, by singing the Names of the Lord, by doing good action, by dwelling on the misery that arises from evil thoughts, by abstracting the mind, by analysing the origin of the thoughts, by enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ or by the force of the will resolving to suppress evil thought. When you attain the state of purity, no evil thoughts will arise in your mind just as it is easy to check the intruder or enemy at the gate, so also it is easy to overcome an evil thought as soon as it arises. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to strike deep root.

Do not cause pain or suffering to any living being from greed, selfishness, irritability or annoyance. Give up anger or ill-will. Give up the spirit of fighting, and heated debates. Do not argue. If you quarrel with some body or if you have a heated debate with anybody, you cannot meditate for three or four days. Your balance of mind will be upset. Much energy will be wasted in useless channels. The blood will become hot. The nerves will be shattered. You must try your level best to keep a serene mind always. Meditation can proceed from a serene mind only. A serene mind is a valuable spiritual asset for you.

You must practise austerity of speech if you really want to attain quick progress in meditation. You must always speak sweet and loving words. You must speak the truth at any cost. You must not speak any harsh word or any indecent word that is calculated to hurt the feelings of others. You should weigh well your words before they are spoken. You must speak a few words only. This is austerity of speech or Vak Tapas that will conserve energy and give you peace of mind and inner strength.

There are different kinds of meditation. A particular kind is best suited to a particular mind. The mind 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 Ishwara who is not touched by afflictions, desires and Karmas. A Hatha Yogi meditates on the Chakras and their presiding deities. A Jnani meditates on his own Self or Atma. 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.

When you enter into deep meditation, you will have no consciousness of your body or surroundings. You will have equanimity of mind. You will not hear any sounds. There will be stoppage of up-going and down-coming sensations. The consciousness of egoism also gradually will vanish. You will experience inexplicable joy and indescribable happiness. Gradually reasoning and reflection also will cease.

There are many valuable trainings of the mind which are essential to mental culture, for instance, the training of the memory, the cultivation of reflection, discrimination, Vichara or enquiry of “Who am I?” The practice of meditation itself is a potent clarifier of the memory. The practice of memory-culture powerfully helps the attainment, by meditation.

A Yogi who meditates regularly has a magnetic and charming personality. Those who come in contact with him are much influenced by his sweet voice, powerful speech, lustrous eyes, brilliant complexion, strong healthy body, good behaviour, virtuous qualities and divine nature. Just as a grain of salt dropped in basin of water dissolves and becomes distributed throughout the whole water, just as sweet fragrance of jasmine pervades the air, so also his spiritual aura becomes infiltrated into the minds of others. People draw joy, peace and strength from him. They are inspired by his speech and get elevation of mind by mere contact with him.

You will have to pass through six stages of meditation and finally you will enter into perfect Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the 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 the eternal supreme peace. This is the goal of life. This is the aim of existence. This is the final beatitude of life. You are an enlightened sage or the illumined Jivanmukta now. You are liberated even 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.”

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