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Guide to Meditation

by Swami Sivananda

"Achintaiva param dhyanam-To be thoughtless is the highest form of meditation." (Sri Sankaracharya)

"Dhyanam nirvishayam manah-When the mind becomes Nirvishaya (free from thinking of sense-objects and their enjoyments), it is meditation." (Patanjali Yoga Sutras)

WHAT IS MEDITATION?

In Vedanta or the path of Jnana, the terms "Manana" (reflection) and "Nididhyasana" are very frequently used. Manana-Vritti-Tiraskara is driving away all the thoughts of worldly objects and Svajatiya-Vritti-Pravaha is increasing the thought-currents of God or Brahman like a steady stream. Nididhyasana is meditation of Atman. It is deep and intense contemplation. It is Anatma-Vritti-Vivadana-Rahita Atmakara-Vritti-Sthiti. The mind is perfectly established in the Absolute. No worldly thoughts will intrude now. The contemplation is like a steady flow of oil (Tailadharavat).

INDISPENSABILITY OF MEDITATION FOR GOD-REALISATION

Mind feels tired after hard and protracted work. It cannot therefore, be Atman. Atman is the store-house of all powers (Ananta-Sakti). Mind is only an instrument of Atman. It should be properly disciplined. Just as you develop the physical body through gymnastics and various kinds of physical exercises, you will have to train the mind through mental training, mental culture or mental drill. In meditation and concentration, you will have to train the mind in a variety of ways. Then only the gross mind will become subtle (Sukshma).

Put a piece of iron rod in the blazing furnace. It becomes red like fire. Remove it. It loses its red colour. If you want to keep it always red, you must always keep it 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 or touch with the Brahmic fire of knowledge through constant and intense meditation. You must keep up an unceasing flow of the Brahmic consciousness. Then you will have the Sahajavastha (natural state).

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.

God has hidden Himself in this world (immanent) and is seated in the cavity of the lotus of your heart. He is an absentee landlord. You will have to seek Him through concentration and meditation with a pure mind. This is a real play of hide and seek.

All the visible things are Maya. Maya will vanish through Jnana or meditation on Atman. One should exert himself to get rid of Maya. Maya havocs through the mind. Destruction of the mind means the annihilation of Maya. Nididhyasana is the only way for conquering Maya. Lord Buddha, Raja Bhartrihari, Dattatreya, Akhow of Gujarat-all had conquered Maya and mind through deep meditation only. Enter the silence. Meditate. Meditate. Solitude and intense meditation are two important requisites for Self-realisation.

Make the mind blank. It is the only medium for these severe strokes of grief. It is difficult to suppress thought and, after it is once suppressed, a new succession of thoughts arises which overpowers the mind. Fix the mind on some tranquil object. You will succeed in checking the mind. Collect your thoughts in the Spirit (Atman), as a person cools himself by going into a pool of water in the hot season. Meditate continually on Hari, who is of an azure hue and who wears an invaluable necklace and is adorned with ornaments on His arms, in His ears and on His head.

PREREQUISITES FOR MEDITATION

For meditation, you want a properly trained instrument (mind). You must have a calm, clear, pure, subtle, sharp, steady and one-pointed Buddhi to understand the Brahma-Tattva or Brahma-Vastu. Then and then only is realisation possible. Brahman is pure and subtle and you need a pure and subtle mind to approach Brahman.

Only a trained mind which utterly controls the body can inquire and meditate endlessly so long as life remains, never for a moment losing sight of the object of its search and contemplation (the Brahman), never for a moment letting it to be obscured by any terrestrial temptation. All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practise Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped, as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.

For purposes of meditation, everything must be rendered Sattvic. The place of meditation must be Sattvic. The food must be Sattvic. The wearing apparel must be Sattvic. The company must be Sattvic. Talking must be Sattvic. The sound that you hear must be Sattvic. Thinking must be Sattvic. Study must be Sattvic. Everything must be Sattvic. Then only good progress in Sadhana is possible, particularly with the beginners (neophytes).

A solitary place with spiritual vibratory conditions, a cool, Sattvic place with temperate climate as at Uttarkashi, Rishikesh, Lakshmanjhula, Kankhal or Badrinarayan is indispensably requisite for concentration of mind and meditation, because the brain gets hot during meditation. The banks of the Ganga or Narmada, Himalayan scenery, lovely flower-gardens, sacred temples-these are the places which elevate the mind in concentration and mediation. Have recourse to them.

Of course, the ideal condition cannot always be obtained as this is a relative plane. All places combine advantages and some disadvantages also side by side. You must select a place which has the maximum of advantages and minimum of disadvantages. You must do the best you can. You must try to put up with some difficulties. You must overcome them. You should be alone with yourself. You should be able to abstract yourself from the distracting causes.

There must be good, Sattvic, substantial light, nutritious food. Meditation is possible only when the mind is full of Sattva-Guna. The stomach should not be loaded. There is an intimate connection between the mind and the food. A heavy meal is harmful. Take a full meal at 11 a.m. and half a seer of milk at night. The night meal should be light for those who meditate.

There must be capacity for Sadhana. Then only meditation will go on steadily with happiness. Asana (posture) steadies the body. Bandhas and Mudras make the body firm. Pranayama makes the body light. Nadi-Suddhi effects Samyavastha of the mind. Having acquired these qualifications, you will have to fix the mind on Brahman.

When Sushumna Nadi is working, i.e., when the breath flows through both the nostrils, meditation goes on with ease and joy. The mind then is calm. There is an increase of Sattva Guna when Sushumna is operating. Sit for meditation the moment Sushumna begins to flow.

You can meditate only when the mind is beyond all anxieties. Retire to a quiet room or place where you do not fear interruption so that your mind may feel secure and at rest. Sit in a comfortable posture and be, so far as possible, free from external disturbing influences. Drive off negative thoughts. Become positive always. Positive overpowers negative. You can do nice meditation when you are positive.

There must be firm Vairagya, burning Mumukshutva and strong Viveka in you. There must be a good, spiritual teacher (Anubhava Guru) to guide you.

You must have an intellectual grasp, intellectual conviction and comprehensive understanding of Brahman first through the purified mind.

Many do not get the above favourable conditions for spiritual Sadhana. That is the reason why they do not make any spiritual progress.

SAGUNA AND NIRGUNA FORMS OF MEDITATION

When you see the concrete figure of Lord Krishna with open eyes and meditate, it is the concrete form of meditation. When you reflect on the image of Lord Krishna by closing your eyes, it is also concrete form of meditation, but it is more abstract. When you meditate on the infinite abstract light, it is still more abstract meditation. The former two types belong to Saguna form of meditation, the latter to Nirguna form.

Even in Nirguna meditation, there is an abstract form in the beginning for fixing the mind. Later on, this form vanishes and the meditator and the meditated become one. Meditation proceeds from the mind only. The help of the mind is always needed either for perception of an object or for the understanding of Brahman. When you read a book with absorbing interest and attention, your mind gets fixed to the ideas. Even so, in Nirguna meditation of Brahman (formless Dhyana), the mind is fixed on one idea, viz., that of Atman.

EXERCISES IN SAGUNA MEDITATION

Sit on Padmasana in a solitary room. Close your eyes. Meditate on the effulgence in the sun, splendour in the moon, glory in the stars, beauty in the sky. This is one kind of meditation for beginners.

Meditate on the Himalayas. Imagine that the river Ganga takes its origin from the icy region of Gangotri, near Uttarkashi, flows through Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and enters the Gangasagar in the Bay of Bengal. Himalayas, Ganga and the sea-these three thoughts only should occupy your mind. First, take your mind to icy Gangotri, then along the Ganga and finally to the sea. Then, again take it to the icy Gangotri. Rotate the mind in this manner for 15 minutes. This is another kind of meditation.

Imagine that there is a fine garden with lovely flowers. In one corner, there are jasmine flowers. In another corner, there are beautiful cabbage roses. In the third corner there is the 'lady of the night.' In the fourth corner, there are Champaka flowers. Now, meditate on these four varieties of flowers. First meditate on jasmine. Then take the mind to rose, then to the 'lady of the night' and finally to the Champaka. Again rotate the mind as above. Do this again and again for fifteen minutes. Gross meditations like these will prepare the mind for finer abstract meditation on subtle ideas.

Meditate on the magnanimity of the ocean, its infinite nature. Compare the ocean with the Infinite Brahman, the waves, foams and blocks of ice to the various names and forms. Identify yourself with the ocean. Become silent. Expand. Expand.

EXERCISES IN NIRGUNA MEDITATION

There is a living, universal Power that underlies all these names and forms. Meditate on this Power which is formless. This will form an elementary Nirguna meditation without any form (formless Dhyana).

"There is no world. There is neither body nor the mind. There is only one Chaitanya (pure consciousness). I am that pure consciousness." -This is Nirguna meditation (without attributes).

Sit on Padmasana. Open the eyes. Gaze steadily on the formless air only. This is also another method of formless meditation. Concentrate on the air. This will lead to the realisation of the nameless and formless Brahman, the One Living Truth.

Imagine that there is a Parama, Ananta, Akhanda Jyotis (supreme, infinite effulgence) hidden behind all the phenomena with an effulgence that amounts to the blaze of crores of suns together. Meditate on That. That is also another form of Nirguna meditation.

Concentrate and meditate on the expansive sky. This is also another kind of Nirguna, Nirakara meditation. By the previous methods in concentration, the mind will stop thinking of finite forms. It will slowly begin to melt in the ocean of Peace, as it is deprived of its contents, viz., forms of various sorts. It will become subtler and subtler also.

MEDITATION ON 'OM'

Have the figure OM in front of you. Concentrate on this. Do Trataka also with open eyes (steady gazing without winking till tears flow profusely). This is both Saguna and Nirguna meditation (with and without attributes). Keep a picture of OM in your meditation room. You can do Puja for the symbol of Brahman. Burn incense, etc. Offer flowers. This suits the modern educated persons.

MEDITATION ON MIND

Mind is Brahman or God in manifestation. Mind is God in motion. As Brahman is approachable by means of the mind, it is only proper to meditate upon the Mind as Brahman. "The mind should be adored as Brahman; this is intellectual worship." (Chhandogya Upanishad, III-18). This is Upasana Vakya.

THE MEDITATION ROOM

The meditation room should be regarded as a temple of God. Talks of profane nature should never be indulged in the room. No vicious thoughts of rancorous jealousy, avarice are to be entertained there. Admittance should ever be sought in it with a pious and reverent mind. For, what we do, what we think and what we speak of leave their impressions on the ether of the room and, if no care is taken to avoid them, they will exert their influence on the aspirant's mind and, rendering his mind perverse and restive, make him incapable of attending to the devotion. The words uttered, the thoughts cherished, the deeds done are not lost; they are always reflected on the subtle layers of ether encircling the room where they are done and affect the mind invariably. As much as possible effort should be made to overcome them. This is to be done for a few months only; when the habit is changed, everything will be all right.

HOW TO MEDITATE

Sit in a lonely place on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana. Free yourself from all passions, emotions and impulses. Subjugate the senses. Withdraw the mind from objects. Now the mind will be calm, one-pointed, pure and subtle. With the help of this trained instrument, disciplined mind, contemplate on that one Infinite Self. Do not think of anything else. Do not allow any worldly thought to enter the mind. Do not allow the mind to think of any physical or mental enjoyment. When it indulges in these thoughts, give it a good hammering. Then it will move towards God. Just as the Ganga flows continuously towards the sea, thoughts of God should flow continuously towards the Lord. Just as oil, when poured from one vessel to another, flows in an unbroken, continuous stream, just as the harmonious sound produced from the ringing of bells falls upon the ear in a continuous stream, so also the mind should 'flow' towards God in one continuous stream. There must be a continuous divine Vritti-Pravaha, Svajatiya-Vritti-Pravaha, from the Sattvic mind towards God through continuous Sadhana.

You must have a mental image of God or Brahman (concrete or abstract) before you begin to meditate. When you are a neophyte in meditation, start repeating some sublime Slokas or Stotras (hymns) for ten minutes as soon as you sit for meditation. This will elevate the mind. The mind can be easily withdrawn from the worldly objects. Then stop this kind of thinking also and fix the mind on one idea only by repeated and strenuous efforts. Then Nishtha will ensue.

In Nididhyasana (meditation), you will have to develop the Svajatiya-Vritti-Pravaha. Make the thoughts of Brahman or Divine Presence flow like inundation or flood. Do Vijatiya-Vritti-Tiraskara. Renounce the thoughts of objects. Drive them away with the whip of Viveka and Vichara. There is struggle in the beginning. It is trying indeed. But, later on, as you will grow stronger and stronger and as you grow in purity, Brahma-Chintana becomes easy. You rejoice in the life of unity. You get strength from Atman. Inner strength grows when all the Vishaya Vrittis are thinned out and the mind becomes one-pointed (Ekagra).

When you start a fire, you heap up some straw, pieces of paper, thin pieces of wood. The fire gets extinguished quickly. You blow it again several times through the mouth of the blow-pipe. After some time it becomes a small conflagration. You can hardly extinguish it now even with great efforts. Even so, in the beginning of meditation in neophytes, they fall down from meditation in their old grooves. They will have to lift up their minds again and again and fix on the Lakshya. When the meditation becomes deep and steady, they get established in God eventually. Then the meditation becomes Sahaja (natural). It becomes habitual. Use the blow-pipe of Tivra Vairagya and intense meditation to kindle the fire of meditation.

During meditation, note how long you can shut out all worldly thoughts. Watch the mind very carefully. If it is for twenty minutes, try to increase the period to thirty or forty minutes and so on. Fill the mind with the thoughts of God again and again.

Allow the one Brahmic idea to flow gently and continuously. Constantly think of God. The mind should always move towards God. Fasten the mind with a fine silk thread to the lotus feet of Lord Siva or Hari. Drive out foreign or extraneous (worldly) ideas gently. Try to keep up the Brahmakara Vritti by repeating OM or "Aham Brahmasmi" mentally very often. The idea of infinity, the idea of an ocean of light, the idea of all-knowledge and all-Ananda should accompany the mental repetition of OM. If the mind wanders, repeat verbally six times the long (Dhirga) Pranava with 3 Matras. This process will remove the Vikshepa and all other obstacles.

When you begin to sweep a room that was kept closed for six months, various kinds of dirt come out from the corners of the room. Similarly, during meditation, under pressure of Yoga, through the Grace of God, various kinds of impurities float about on the surface of the mind. Bravely remove them one by one by suitable methods and counter-virtues with patience and strenuous efforts. The old vicious Samskaras revenge when you try to suppress them. Do not be afraid. They lose their strength after some time. You have to tame the mind just as you tame a wild elephant or a tiger. Do not indulge in vicious thoughts which serve as food for the mind. Make the mind Antarmukha (self-introspective). Substitute good, virtuous, sublime thoughts. Feed the mind with ennobling aspirations and ideals. Old vicious Samskaras will be gradually thinned out and eventually obliterated. Now the Brahmakara Vritti will dawn. Coupled with Brahma-Jnana, this is the destroyer of Avidya. Allow the Brahmakara Vritti to flow steadily like Tailadhara (continuous flow of oil). Now Niratisayananda (infinite bliss) will flow. At this state, the whole universe will appear as Sat-Chit-Ananda only. This thought also will die. You will then enter Sahajananda state (Advaita-Avastharupa Samadhi).

SOME USEFUL HINTS

In meditation, do not strain the eyes. Do not strain the brain. Do not struggle or wrestle with the mind. It is a serious mistake. Many neophytes commit this grave error. That is the reason why they get easily tired soon. They get headache and they have to get up very often to pass urine during the course of meditation owing to the irritation set up in the micturition centre in the spinal cord.

Make no violent effort to control the mind. Do not wrestle with it with force. It is a mistake to do so. But, rather allow it for a while and let it run and exhaust its efforts. The mind will jump now like an untrained monkey first. Gradually, it will slow down. Then you can fix the mind on your Lakshya either on a concrete form or on an abstract idea.

Get up at 4 a.m. (Brahma Muhurta). Sit comfortably in the Padma, Siddha, Sukha or Svastika Asana. Keep the head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Relax the muscles, nerves and brain. Calm the objective mind. Close the eyes. Do not struggle with the mind. Do not voluntarily and violently drive away intruding thoughts. Gently allow the divine thoughts to flow. Steadily think of the Lakshya (point of meditation). Have sublime, Sattvic thoughts. Vicious thoughts will, by themselves, vanish.

Even if the mind runs outside during your practice in meditation, do not bother. Allow it to run. Slowly try to bring it to your Lakshya (centre). By repeated practice, the mind will be finally focussed in your heart, in the Atman, the Indweller of your hearts, the final goal of life. In the beginning, the mind may run out 80 times. Within six months, it may run 70 times; within a year, it may run 50 times; within 2 years, it may run 30 times; within 5 years, it will be completely fixed in the Divine Consciousness. Then, it will not run out at all even if you try your level best to bring it out, like the wandering bull, which was in the habit of running to gardens of different landlords for eating grass, but which now eats fresh gram and extract of cotton seeds in its own resting place.

If there is much strain in meditation, reduce the number of hours for a few days. Do light meditation only. When you have regained the normal tone, again increase the period. Use your common-sense all throughout Sadhana. I always reiterate on this point.

Those who meditate for four or five hours at one stretch can have two Asanas, either Padma and Vajra or Siddha and Vajra, in the beginning. Sometimes, the blood accumulates in one part of the legs or thighs and gives a little trouble. After two hours, change the Asana from Padma or Siddha Asana to Vajrasana or stretch the legs at full length. Lean against a wall or a pillow. Keep the spine erect. This is the most comfortable Asana. Join two chairs. Sit on one chair and stretch the legs on another chair. This is another contrivance.

Pose or Asana is really mental. Try to have a mental Padma or mental Siddha Asana. If the mind is wandering, you cannot have a steady body or a steady physical pose. When the mind is steady or fixed in Brahman, steadiness of the body automatically follows.

Have the one all-pervading Bhavana (feeling). Deny the finite body as a mere appearance. Try to keep up the feelings always. Whatever elevates you, you can take it up for your advantage just to elevate the mind and then continue your prolonged meditation.

You must daily increase your Vairagya, meditation and Sattvic virtues such as patience, perseverance, mercy, love, forgiveness, purity, etc. Vairagya and good qualities help meditation. Meditation increases the Sattvic qualities.

Just as you conserve the energy by observing Mouna (vow of silence), so also you will have to conserve the mental energy by stopping useless thinking. Then you will save abundant reserve energy for meditation.

Remember these three word-images: PURIFICATION, CONCENTRATION, ABSORPTION. Repeat them mentally during meditation. This is a triplet. Remember this triplet. Purify the mind. Get rid of Mala (impurities such as Kama, Krodha, etc.). Perform selfless, desireless actions. This will purify the mind. Practise Upasana, Pranayama, Trataka and Rajayogic "Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha." This will help Ekagrata. Then practise constant and deep meditation. The mind will be absorbed eventually.

"Pranavo dhanuh saro hyatma brahma tallakshyam uchyate;
Apramattena veddhavyam saravan tanmayo bhavet."

"Om is the bow, mind is the arrow and Brahman is the mark to be aimed at. Brahman is to be hit or pierced by him whose thoughts are concentrated. Then he will be of the same nature (Tanmaya) as Brahman, as the arrow becomes one with the aim when it has pierced it." (Mundakopanishad, II-ii-4)

Sit on Padma or Siddha Asana. Close the eyes. Concentrate the gaze on the Trikuti (space between the two eyebrows). Now, chant Dhirga Pranava (long OM) forcibly for five minutes. This will remove Vikshepa or tossing of the mind. Concentration will ensue. Now repeat OM mentally with Brahma-Bhavana. Whenever the mind begins to wander, again chant OM verbally. As soon as the mind gets calm, mentally repeat OM again. The same process can be adopted for Saguna meditation also.

Those who have knowledge of the flow of the five Tattvas in the nostrils can very rapidly advance in meditation. There is an intimate connection between the mind and the five Tattvas. When Agni-Tattva flows through the nostrils, mind is much agitated and meditation is interrupted. During the flow of the Akasa-Tattva, meditation is very favourable. A knowledge of "Svara-Sadhana" or "Svarodaya" as it is popularly termed is an indispensable necessity for those who take up to meditation.

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, the bow-string and the arrow at the time when he pierces the bird-"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 should the aspirant 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 he relishes and hence forward 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.

MEDITATION WITH EYES OPEN

In the beginning, when you are a neophyte, you can close your eyes to remove the distraction of mind, as you are very weak. But, later on, you must meditate with eyes open, even during walking. You must keep your balance of mind even when you are in the bustle of a city. Then only you are perfect. Why do you close your eyes during meditation? Open your eyes and meditate. Think strongly that the world is unreal, that there is no world, that there is Atman only. If you can meditate on Atman even when the eyes are open, you will be a strong man. You will not be easily disturbed.

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

Agni (fire) is of two kinds, viz., Samanya Agni (ordinary fire) and Visesha Agni (special fire). Samanya Agni is hidden in all trees and woods. It is of no use for burning purposes. Visesha Agni that is formed by rubbing a match or rubbing two pieces of wood is useful for cooking and other purposes. Similarly, there is Samanya Chaitanya (ordinary intelligence or consciousness) that is pervading everywhere. There is also Visesha Chaitanya (special intelligence). Samanya Chaitanya cannot destroy the ignorance or Avidya of men. It is only the special intelligence-Atmakara Vritti or Avichhinna Visesha Chaitanya that can destroy the Mula Ajnana, the primitive ignorance that envelops the Svarupa (Brahman or Existence). This special intelligence is developed when a man meditates on the Infinite with a pure heart.

In contemplation, you are in spiritual contact with the unchanging Light. You are cleansed of all the impurities. This Light cleanses the soul which touches it. The sun-glass is exposed to the light of the sun and the straws that are underneath catch fire. So, within yourself, if you have an open heart devotedly lifted up to God, the Light of His purity and love, illumining this open soul, will consume all your shortcomings in the fire of Divine Love. The Light brings enhanced energy and great comfort.

This purifying process leads to a deeper insight into Truth. This is the action of Grace of the Lord upon the soul in meditation. In this inflowing Grace, there forthwith arises that Light of the mind into which God is sending a ray of His unclouded Splendour. This Light is vastly potent.

If you can meditate for half an hour, you will be able to engage yourself with peace and spiritual strength in the battle of life for one week through the force of this meditation. Such is the beneficial result of meditation. As you have to move with different minds of a peculiar nature in your daily life, get the strength and peace from the meditation and you will have no trouble and worry then.

All actions, whether internal or external, can be done only when the mind is united with the organs. Thought is the real action. If you have control over the mind by steady practice, if you can regulate your emotions and moods, you will not do foolish and wrong actions. Meditation will help a lot in checking various emotions and impulses.

Meditation acts as a powerful tonic. It is a mental and nervine tonic as well. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells of the body and cure the diseases of the body. Those who meditate save 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 Tailadhara (flow of oil from one vessel to another) from the feet of the Lord to the different systems of the Sadhakas.

Considerable changes take place in the mind, brain and the 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 develop 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).

The fire of meditation, annihilates all foulness due to vice. Then suddenly comes knowledge or Divine Wisdom which directly leads to Mukti or final emancipation.

Real peace and Ananda (bliss) manifest only when the Vasanas are thinned out and Sankalpas get extinguished. When you fix the mind either on Sri Krishna or Siva or Atman even for five minutes, Sattva Guna is infused into the mind. Vasanas are thinned out and Sphurana of Sankalpa becomes less and less. You will feel peace and bliss during the five minutes. You can compare this Ananda from meditation with the transitory sensual pleasures. You will find that this Ananda from meditation is a million times superior to sensual pleasure. Meditate and feel this Ananda. Then you will know its real value.

You will get the full Ananda of the divine glory only when you merge deep into silent meditation. When you are on the border-land of divinity of God, when you are at the threshold of God, when you are in the outer skirts, you will not get the maximum peace and bliss.

These are the benefits that are derived by the Yogic students who practise meditation systematically. They are Santi (peace), Santosha (contentment), Abhaya (fearlessness), peculiar spiritual Ananda (bliss), unruffled state of mind in worldly difficulties, Nischala Sthiti (steadiness), inspiration, intuitive perception, Sattvic qualities and absence of anger (Akrodha), egoism and Raga-Dvesha (like and dislike).

Develop the Prakamya, the divine vision (Divine Drishti), Jnana-Chakshus by concentration, purification and meditation.


How To Develop Virtues By Meditation

Examine your character. Pick some distinct defect in it. Find out its opposite. Let us say that you suffer from irritability. The opposite of irritability is patience. Try to develop this virtue by meditation on the abstract virtue of patience. Regularly, every morning, sit down at 4 a.m. in Padma or Siddha Asana in a solitary room for half an hour and begin to think on patience, its value, its practice under provocation, taking one point one day, another on another day and thinking as steadily as you can, recalling the mind when it wanders. Think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience and end with a vow: "This patience which is my true self, I will feel and show from today."

For a few days, probably, there will be no change perceptible. You will still feel and show irritability. Go on practising steadily every morning. Presently, as you say an irritable thing, the thought will flash into your mind, unbidden: "I should have been patient." Still go on in practice. Soon, the thought of patience will arise with the irritable impulse and the outer manifestation will be checked. Still go on practising. The irritable impulse will grow feebler and feebler until you find that irritability has disappeared and patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyances. In this manner, you can develop various virtues as sympathy, self-restraint, purity, humility, benevolence, nobility, generosity, etc.


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