Practice of Meditation
by Swami Sivananda
Meditation is the only royal road to the attainment of salvation or Moksha. Meditation kills all pains, sufferings, the three kinds of Taapas (fevers) and the five Kleshas (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 on Padma or Siddha or Sukha Asana. Keep the head, neck and the trunk in a straight line. Concentrate either on the Trikuti-the space between the two eyebrows-or in the heart, with closed eyes.
Meditation is of two kinds, viz., Saguna Dhyana (concrete meditation) and Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation). In concrete meditation the Yogi student meditates on the form of Sri 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 Chaturbhuja in front of you. Gaze at this picture steadily for five minutes, 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: His legs, His yellow silk cloth, His golden necklace set with Kaustubha gem on the breast, the earring Makara Kundala, then the face, then the crown on the head, then the disc in the right upper hand, then the conch in the left upper hand, then the mace in the lower right hand, then the lotus in the lower left hand. Then come down to the feet and repeat the process again and again. Finally fix the mind either at the feet or the face. Repeat the Mantra mentally: "Hari Om" or "Om Namo Narayanaya". 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, 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, know that you are advancing in the spiritual path and that you are nearing God.
Be regular in your meditation. Regularity is the key to success. Regularity is of paramount importance. May you all be established in Samadhi (superconscious state of bliss) through regular meditation!