The flow of the same kind of thoughts - all related to the Supreme Truth -
uninterrupted by contrary or different thoughts is Meditation.
dhyAnena Atmani pashyanti kechit AtmAnam AtmanA
anye sAnkhyena yogena karmayogena cha
"Some, by meditation, behold the Self in the Self by the Self; others
by the "YOGA-of-Knowledge" (by SANKHYA-YOGA); and others by KARMA-YOGA."
When the intellect is redeemed from its wasteful habits of wrong imaginations, then the
equipments are ready for Higher flights through the "Path-of-Meditation."
BY MEDITATION SOME BEHOLD THE SELF - Meditation (According to Sri Sankara Bhagawatpada)
consists in "WITHDRAWING, BY CONCENTRATION, ALL THE SENSE ORGANS AWAY FROM THEIR
RESPECTIVE SENSE OBJECTS INTO THE MIND, AND THEN WITHDRAWING THE MIND INTO THE INNER
INTELLIGENCE, AND THEN CONTEMPLATING UPON THE HIGHEST."It is a continuous and
unbroken thoughtflow, like a stream of flowing oil. In order to pursue this path,
naturally, the individual must have a dynamic head and heart--both least disturbed by
their own subjective defects. ||11.1||
The highest form of meditation consists of steady contemplation on the nature of the
SELF, the Atman. Other forms of meditation do exist in the vast variety of
spiritual practices where one meditate on a form, a sound etc.
shanaih shanaih uparamet buddhyA dhrtigrheetayA
Atmasamstham manah krtvA na kinchit api
"Little by little, let him attain quietude by his intellect,held
firm; having made the mind established in the Self, let him not think of anything."
"PATIENTLY, WITH THE INTELLECT THE MIND IS TO BE CONTROLLED, AND RESTED IN THE
CONTEMPLATION OF THE SELF." The seeker is advised to bring back the mind that has
rushed out into dissimilar channels of thinking. This withdrawal of the mind by sheer
will-power may be successful to a degree, but as soon as it is brought back, it will, and
it should, rush out again into another fanciful line of thinking. Very rarely do the Sadhakas
realise that the mind means "the flow-of-thought." A steady, motionless mind is
no mind at all! therefore, in the technique of meditation, when the mind is withdrawn from
the sense-objects, this very process of withdrawal is to be completed by a conscious
effort on the part of the meditator, in applying the same mind, at once, in the
contemplation of the Self. This idea has been remarkably well brought out when the Lord
complements his instruction by the term "BRINGING IT UNDER THE SWAY OF THE SELF
The Lord gives several instructions related to choice of place,right sitting posture,
the way to tackle the mind etc.
yogee yunjeeta satatam AtmAnam rahasi sthitah
ekAkee yatachittAtmA nirAsheeh
"Let the YOGI try constantly to keep the mind steady, remaining
in solitude, alone, with the mind and body controlled, free from hope and greed."
shuchau deshe pratishthApya sthiram Asanam Atmanah
na atyuchchritam na atineecham
"Having, in a clean spot, established a firm seat of
his own, neither too high nor too low, made of a cloth, a skin and KUSA-grass, one
over the other,..."
tatra ekAgram manah
upavishya Asane yunjyAt yogam Atmavishuddhaye ||6.12||
"There, having made the mind one-pointed, with the actions
of the mind and the senses controlled, let him, seated on the seat, practise YOGA, for the purification of the self."
kAyashirogreevam dhArayan achalam sthirah
samprekshya nAsikAgram svam dishah cha anavalokayan ||6.13||
"Let him firmly hold his body, head and neck erect and still,
gazing at the tip of his nose, without looking around."
Details of how the meditation is to be conducted are given here. "SITTING IN
SOLITUDE," one should practise meditation. This word has been, unnecessarily, so
overstretched in recent times in India that the term "meditation" brings a sense
of horror and fear into the minds of the early seekers. It does not mean that meditation
can be practised only in the jungles and in the solitude of caves. It only means that the
seeker should try to withdraw himself from his mental and physical preoccupations and
should retire to a corner in his house, for the purpose of early meditation.
Solitude can be gained only when there is a mental withdrawal from the world outside.
One who is full of desires and constantly meditating upon the sense-objects, cannot hope
to gain any solitude even in a virgin forest. Again, the word solitude (Rahasi)
suggests a meaning of secretiveness, indicating that religion should not be a broadcast of
self-advertisement, but must be a set of true values of life, secretly practised within
the heart, ordering our way of thinking and encouraging
our pursuit of the nobler values in life.
PHYSICALLY ALONE (Ekaki) - For the purpose of meditation, when one strives, his
success in inward quietude will be directly proportional to the amount of self-control he
is practising in his daily life. Selfcontrol is not possible unless we know how to free
ourselves from the "eagerness to possess" and the "anxiety to hoard."
To renounce our preoccupations with our endless plans for possessing more is indicated
here by the term "free from hope" (Nirasihi). And the term "free
from possessions" (Aparigraha) indicates all our anxieties in saving, hoarding
and protecting what we possess.
"IN A CLEAN PLACE" - This is important in as much as the external conditions
have a direct bearing upon the human mind. In a clean place there is more chance for the
seeker to maintain a cleaner mental condition. Apart from this, commentators explain that
the place should be rid of mosquitoes, house-flies, bugs, ants and such other creatures
that may disturb the beginner's mental concentration which he is trying to turn inward.
In his seat, the meditator is asked to sit steady (Sthiram). Without moving the
physical body at short intervals and without swinging the body either forward and backward
or sideways, the seeker is asked to get firmly established on his seat, because physical
movement immensely contributes to the shattering of mental concentration and inner
equipoise. This is very well realised by all of us, if we only remember our attitude when
we are sincerely and seriously thinking over something. In order to get established in a
firm posture it would be advisable to sit in any "comfortable seat" (Asana),
with the vertebral column erect, fingers interlocked and hands thrown in front. SUBDUING
THE FACULTY OF IMAGINATION AND THE ACTIVITIES OF THE SENSE-ORGANS - This is the
instruction given by Krishna. Single- pointedness is the very potent nature of the mind
but the mind gets stunned by its own silence, confused and even mad when it gets dynamised
by either the inner forces
of its own surging imaginations or the outward pull exerted by the hallucinations of
the sense-organs. If these two venues of dissipation are blocked, instantaneously the mind
becomes, by its own nature, single-pointed.
The meditator should firmly hold his body in such a fashion that his vertebral column
is completely erect. The head and the neck should be erect in this posture, which is
geometrically perpendicular to the horizontal seat upon which the Yogi is firmly settling
himself; it is pointedly indicated that he should hold his body ""firmly."
This term should not be misunderstood as holding the body in tension.
"Firmly" here means that the body should not be held stiffly but relaxed, it
must be held in such a manner that there should not be any tendency to swing forward and
backward or sideways from right to left. The seeker, having thus made himself ready for
meditation, should "GAZE AT THE TIP OF THE NOSE." This does not mean that an
individual should, with half-opened eyes, deliberately turn his eye-balls towards the
""tip of his own nose." ||11.3||
Moderation in food,speech and sleep
na atyashnatah tu yogah asti na cha ekAntam anashnatah
na cha atisvapnasheelasya
jagratah na eva cha arjuna ||6.16||
"Verily, YOGA is
not possible for him who eats too much, nor for him who does not eat at all; nor for him
who sleeps too much, nor for him who is (always) awake, O Arjuna."
yuktAhAravihArasya yuktacheshtasya karmasu
yuktasvapnAwabodhasya yogah bhavati duhkhahA
"YOGA becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is moderate in eating and
recreation, who is moderate in his exertion during his actions, who is moderate in sleep
Moderation in indulgence and activities at all levels of one's personality is an
imperative requisite, which alone can assure true success in meditation. Intemperance
would bring discordant and riotous agitations in the various matter layers of the
personality, shattering the harmonious melody of integration. Therefore, strict moderation
in food, sleep and recreation is enjoined: everything should be wellmeasured and
Yoga IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR HIM WHO EATS TOO MUCH NOR FOR HIM WHO DOES NOT EAT AT ALL -
Here, the term 'eat' should be understood in its comprehensive meaning as including all
sense enjoyments, mental feelings, and intellectual perceptions. It is not only the
process of consuming things through the mouth; it includes the enjoyments gained through
all the avenues of sense perceptions and inward experiences.
Neither 'too much sleep' - which unnecessarily dulls our faculties and renders the
individual more and more gross-nor 'no sleep at all' is the right policy for a student in
spiritual life. Intelligent moderation is the law.
Not only must we be temperate - discriminately careful in choosing the right field of
activity-but we must also see that the EFFORTS that we put into that activity are moderate
(cheshtasya). Having selected a divine work, if we get bound and enslaved in its
programme of effort, the chances are that the work, instead of redeeming us from our
existing vasanas, will create in us more and more new tendencies, and in the
exhaustion created by the work, we will slowly sink into agitations and, perhaps, even
into animalism. ||11.4||
Steady abidance in Self-knowledge which implies liberation
yunjan evam sadA AtmAnam yogee
sukhena brahmasamsparsham atyantam
sukham ashnute ||6.28||
"The YOGI engaging the mind thus (in the practice of YOGA), freed from sins, easily
enjoys the Infinite Bliss of 'BRAHMAN-contact'."
Engaging himself thus in the battle for evolution and inward mastery, a meditator
steadily grows out of the shadowy regions of his own spiritual ignorance and
imperfections, to smile forth in luxurious extravagance into the sparkling sunshine of
Knowledge. When the Meditator keeps his mind undisturbed in the roaring silence within, in
the white-heat of meditation, his mind gets purified,
like a piece of iron in the smithy furnace. In short, as we said earlier, and elsewhere,
(Read Swamiji's "Meditation and Life.") the "halt-moment" is the
frontier-line up to which human-effort can raise the mind. There it ends itself just as a
balloon, as it goes higher and higher, blasts itself in the rarefied atmosphere of higher
altitudes, and drops down, merging the balloonspace with the space outside. Similarly, the
mind too, at the pinnacle of meditation, shatters itself, drops the ego down and merges
with the Supreme. Just as the space in the balloon automatically merges with the space
outside when it has exploded, so too, when the finite mind is ended,"WITH EASE IT
ATTAINS THE INFINITE BLISS ARISING OUT OF ITS CONTACT-WITH-BRAHMAN." ||11.5||