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Exercises in Meditation

I. Place a picture of Lord Jesus in front of you. Sit in your favourite meditative pose. Concentrate gently with open eyes on the picture till tears trickle down your cheeks. Rotate the mind on the cross on the chest, long hair, beautiful beard, round eyes, and the various other limbs of His body, and fine spiritual aura emanating from His head, and so on. Think of His interesting life and the miracles He performed and the various extraordinary powers He possessed. Then close the eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.

II. Place a picture of Lord Hari in front of you. Sit again in your meditative posture. Concentrate gently on the picture till you shed tears. Rotate the mind on His feet, legs, yellow silk robes, golden garland set with diamonds, Kaustubha gem, etc., on the chest, earrings, then the face, the crown of the head, the disc on the right upper hand, the conch on left upper hand, the mace on the right lower hand, and the lotus flower on the left lower hand. Then close the eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.

III. Keep a picture of Lord Krishna with flute in hands. Sit in your meditative pose and gently concentrate on the picture till you shed tears. Think of His feet adorned with anklets, yellow garment, various ornaments round His neck, the necklace set with the Kaustubha gem, the long garland of beautiful flowers of various colours, earrings, crown set with precious jewels of priceless value, dark and long hair, sparkling eyes, the Tilaka on the forehead, the magnetic aura round His head, long hands adorned with bracelets and armlets, and the flute in the hands ready to be played upon. Then close your eyes and visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.

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

V. Meditate on the magnanimity of the ocean and its infinite nature. Then compare the ocean to the infinite Brahman, and the waves, foams and ice-bergs to the various names and forms. Identify yourself with the ocean. Become silent. Expand. Expand.

VI. This is another kind of meditation. Meditate on the Himalayas. Imagine that the Ganga takes its origin in the icy regions of Gangotri near Uttarakasi, flows through Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, and then enters into the Bay of Bengal near Gangasagar. Himalayas, Ganga and the sea-these three thoughts only should occupy your mind. First take your mind to the icy regions of Gangotri, then along the Ganga and finally to the sea. Rotate the mind in this manner for 10 minutes.

VII. There is a living universal Power that underlies all these names and forms. Meditate on this Power which is formless. This will terminate in the realisation of the Absolute, Nirguna, Nirakara (formless) Consciousness eventually.

VIII. Sit in Padmasana. Close your eyes. Gaze steadily on the formless air only. Concentrate on the air. Meditate on the all-pervading nature of the air. This leads to the realisation of the nameless and formless Brahman, the One living Truth.

IX. Sit in your meditative pose. Close your eyes. Imagine that there is a Supreme, Infinite Effulgence hidden behind all these names and forms, which is tantamount to the effulgence of crores of suns put together. This is another form of Nirguna meditation.

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

XI. Have the picture of OM in front of you. Concentrate gently on this picture with open eyes till tears flow profusely. Associate the ideas of eternity, infinity, immortality, etc., when you think of OM. The humming of bees, the sweet notes of the nightingale, the seven tunes in music, and all sounds are emanations from OM only. OM is the essence of the Vedas. Imagine that OM is the bow, the mind is the arrow and Brahman (God) is the target. Aim at the target with great care and just as the arrow becomes one with the target, you will become one with Brahman. The short accent of OM burns all sins, the long accent gives Moksha, and the elongated accent bestows all psychic powers (Siddhis). He who chants and meditates upon this monosyllable OM, chants and meditates upon all the Scriptures of the world.

XII. Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana in your meditation room. Watch the flow of breath. You will hear the sound "SOHAM", 'So' during inhalation and 'Ham' during exhalation. SOHAM means 'I AM HE.' The breath is reminding you of your identity with the Supreme Soul. You are unconsciously repeating Soham 21,600 times daily at the rate of 15 Soham per minute. Associate the idea of Purity, Peace, Perfection, Love, etc., along with Soham. Negate the body while repeating the Mantra and identify yourself with the Mantra, the Atman or the Supreme Soul.

XIII. Uddhava asked Lord Krishna, "O Lotus-eyed! How to meditate on Thee? Tell me what is the nature of that meditation and what it is?" To which Lord Krishna replied, "Be seated on the Asana that is neither high nor low, with your body erect and in an easy posture. Place your hands on the lap. Fix your gaze on the tip of the nose (in order to fix the mind). Purify the tracks of Prana by Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka, and then again in the reverse way (i.e., first breathe in by the left nostril, with the right nostril closed by the tip of the thumb, then close the left nostril by the tips of the ring finger and the little finger and retain the breath in both the nostrils. Then remove the tip of the thumb and breathe out through the right nostril. Reverse the process by breathing in through the right nostril, then retaining the breath in both the nostrils and letting out the breath through the left nostril.) Practise this Pranayama gradually with your senses controlled.

" 'Aum' with the sound of a bell extends all over from Muladhara upwards. Raise the 'Aum' in the heart by means of Prana (twelve fingers high) as if it were the thread of a lotus-stalk. There let Bindu, the fifteenth vowel sound, be added to it. Thus practise Pranayama accompanied by the Pranava reciting the letter ten times. Continue the practice three times a day, and within a month you shall be able to control the vital air. The lotus of the heart has its stalk upwards and the flower downwards (and it is also closed, like the inflorescence with bracts of the banana flower). Meditate on it, however, as facing upwards and full-blown with eight petals and with pericap. On the pericap, think of the sun, the moon, and fire one after another. First meditate on all the limbs. Then let the mind withdraw the senses from their objects. Then draw the concentrated mind completely towards Me, by means of Buddhi (intellect). Then give up all other limbs and concentrate on one thing only, My smiling face. Do not meditate on anything else. Then withdraw the concentrated mind from that and fix it on the Akasa (ether). Give up that also and being fixed on Me (as Brahman) think of nothing at all. You shall see Me in Atman, as identical with all Atmans, even as light is identical with another light. The delusions about objects, knowledge and action shall then completely disappear."

This is a beautiful exercise for meditation prescribed by Lord Krishna Himself in the Bhagavata Purana.

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