Trataka or Gazing
Trataka is steady gazing. Write the word OM in black on the wall. Sit in front of the drawing. Concentrate on it with open eyes till tears come in the eyes. Then close the eyes. Visualise the picture of OM. Then open the eyes and again gaze till lachrymation manifests. Gradually increase the period. There are students who can gaze for one hour. Trataka is one of the Shat-Kriyas (six exercises) in Hatha Yoga. Get an OM picture, fix it on the wall and concentrate on this. Pictures are sold in the bazaar. Trataka steadies the wandering mind and removes Vikshepa (tossing of mind). Instead of gazing on OM you may gaze at a big black dot on the wall. The walls will present a golden colour during Trataka. Or draw a big black dot on a white paper and fix it on the wall. This will be a target for the Yogic student to concentrate his mind upon. Gaze at this black dot on the paper.
You can do Trataka on any picture of the Lord either of Krishna, Rama or Siva or on Saligram. You can sit in the chair and gaze at the picture on the wall in front of your eyes. Trataka is the alphabet of concentration. It is the first exercise for Yogic students in concentration.
Trataka with open eyes is followed by visualisation. Visualisation is calling up of a clear mental image of anything. Trataka and visualisation do help a lot in concentration.
The mind can also be rendered steady by doing Manasic Puja, by thinking the attributes of the Lord and by remembering His Lilas.
Practise Trataka for one minute on the first day. Then gradually increase the period every week. Do not strain the eyes. Do it gently with ease and comfort, as long as you can conveniently do. Repeat your Ishta Mantra, Hari Om, Sri Rama or Gayatri during Trataka. In some people who have weak capillaries, the eyes may become red. They need not be alarmed unnecessarily. The redness of the eyes will pass off quickly. Practise Trataka for six months. Then you can take up advanced lessons in concentration and meditation. Be regular and systematic in your Sadhana. If there is a break, take up the deficiency or loss on the next day. Trataka removes many eye-diseases and ultimately brings in Siddhis.