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Twenty Hints on Meditation

1. Have a separate meditation room under lock and key. Never allow anybody to enter the room. Burn incense there. Wash your feet and then enter the room.

2. Retire to a quiet place or room where you do not fear interruption so that your mind may feel secure and at rest. Of course, the ideal condition cannot always be obtained, in which case you should do the best you can. You should be alone yourself in communion with God or Brahman.

3. Get up at 4.00 a.m. (Brahmamuhurta) and meditate from 4 to 6 a.m. Have another sitting at night from 7 to 8 p.m.

4. Keep a picture of your Ishta Devata in the room and some religious books, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Yoga Vasishtha, the Bhagavata, etc. Spread your Asana in front of the picture.

5. Sit in Padma, Siddha, Sukha or Svastika Asana. Keep the head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Do not bend either forwards or backwards.

6. Close your eyes and concentrate gently on Trikuti, the space between the two eyebrows. Lock the fingers.

7. Never wrestle with the mind. Do not use any violent efforts in concentration. Relax all the muscles and the nerves. Relax the brain. Gently think of your Ishta Devata. Slowly repeat your Guru Mantra with Bhava and meaning. Still the bubbling mind. Silence the thoughts.

8. Make no violent effort to control the mind, but rather allow it to run along for a while and exhaust its efforts. It will take advantage of the opportunity and will jump around like an unchained monkey at first, until it gradually slows down and looks to you for orders. It may take some time to tame the mind, but each time you try, it will come round to you in shorter time.

9. Have a background of thought, either a concrete background of your Ishta Murty along with the Mantra or an abstract background of the idea of Infinity with OM if you are a student of Jnana Yoga. This will destroy all other worldly thoughts and take you to the goal. Through force of habit the mind will at once take shelter in this background the moment you release it from worldly activities.

10. Again and again withdraw the mind from worldly objects when it runs away from the Lakshya and fix it there. This sort of combat will go on for some months.

11. When you meditate on Lord Krishna in the beginning, keep His picture in front of you. Look at it with steady gaze without winking the eyelids. See His feet first, then the yellow silk robe, then the ornaments around His neck, then His face, earrings, crown set with diamonds on head, then His armlets, bracelets, then His conch, disc, mace and lotus. Then come again to the feet. Now start again the same process. Do this again and again for half an hour. When you feel tired, look steadily on the face only. Do this practice for three months.

12. Then close your eyes and mentally visualise the picture and rotate the mind in the different parts as you did before.

13. You can associate the attributes of God as omnipotence, omniscience, purity, perfection, etc., during the course of your meditation.

14. If evil thoughts enter your mind, do not use your will-force in driving them. You will lose your energy only. You will tax your will only. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. They will return more quickly also. The thoughts will become more powerful. Be indifferent. Keep quiet. They will pass off soon. Or substitute good counter-thoughts (Pratipaksha-Bhavana method). Or think of the picture of God and Mantra again and again forcibly. Or pray.

15. Never miss a day in meditation. Be regular and systematic. Take Sattvic food. Fruits and milk will help mental focussing. Give up meat, fish, eggs, smoking, liquors, etc.

16. Dash cold water in the face to drive off drowsiness. Stand up for 15 minutes. Tie the tuft of hair on the head with a piece of string to a nail above. As soon as you begin to doze, the string will pull you and wake you up. It will serve the part of a mother. Or lean upon an improvised swing for 10 minutes and move yourself to and fro. Do 10 or 20 mild Kumbhakas (Pranayama). Do Sirshasana and Mayurasana. Take only milk and fruits at night. By these methods you can combat against sleep.

17. Be careful in the selection of your companions. Give up going to talkies. Talk little. Observe Mouna for two hours daily. Do not mix with undesirable persons. Read good inspiring, religious books. (This is negative good company if you do not get positive good company). Have Satsanga. These are all auxiliaries in meditation.

18. Do not shake the body. Keep it as firm as a rock. Breathe slowly. Do not scratch the body every now and then. Have the right mental attitude as taught by your Guru.

19. When the mind is tired, do not concentrate. Give a little rest.

20. When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state. Therefore if you keep the mind fully occupied with the thought of God and God alone, you will get into Nirvikalpa Samadhi very quickly. Therefore exert. Exert in right earnest.

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