Sadhana is done at several levels - physical, mental, intellectual and Spiritual. We do Sadhana at the physical level by Asanas, physical culture, etc., and gain purity at the physical level. The practice of Pranayama builds up stamina in us. The Sadhana at the mental level is by Japa, repeating Shlokas, etc. Japa generates a lot of energies and builds up harmony in the mind. When we are agitated, if we repeat the Mantra 'Om' silently, all the agitation reduces within a minute or two. Sadhana at the mental level is for controlling and sublimating our emotions.
Reciting a prayer, repeating a Mantra is a way to link up with God. There are also other ways, better ways. After sometime, the repetition of a Mantra may become mechanical. We may go on repeating a Mantra and yet remain mentally disturbed. Our attention will not be complete. Being in very positive moods and filling the intellect with positive thoughts is the first step in Yoga. We can tune up to God's vibrations better with these things. When we sit and meditate, it is a much more concerted effort.
There are three types of Meditation - Elementary, Higher and Advanced.
In the ELEMENTARY MEDITATION, we use a Mantra and Dharana. When we meditate, the Mantra makes our mind silent. The energies released fill up our entire system and purify it. As we advance in Meditation, we use the energies from the Chakras and the energies from the Divine planes when we reach the Samadhi stage. When we are getting cleansed, we are cleansed of all the impressions and negativities. The effect of Karmas is not only suffering, it can also be happy experiences. The purpose of Meditation is reaching the state of God. We should have no Karmas for that; not even good Karmas.
We have to follow all the instructions, during Meditation. When we get thoughts during Meditation, we have to ignore and not worry about them. To help this, let us put all our attention on the Mantra. We should not change the Mantra or Dharana, given to us.
As we advance in Meditation, we realise that we stop repeating the Mantra while meditating. We think that we forgot to repeat the Mantra. Actually we would not have forgotten. The repetition would be occurring at the deeper layers of consciousness.
The nature of the mind is to wander. Let us not try to control the mind and let us not worry. Let the mind wander. Let us give all attention to the repetition of the Mantra. The wandering may not stop completely but you will have a lot of quietude in the mind. During Meditation when you repeat Omkara or any mantra, the mind goes on repeating. Finally it gets tired and goes into stillness.
Intellect generates thoughts. We become more aware of these thoughts while meditating. We should ignore the thoughts, allow them to pass. Dharana helps silence the Intellect. Again, here, give more attention to the repetition of the Mantra. Imagine that the whole body is repeating the Mantra.
Most of us are used to repeating a Mantra mechanically. Every time you take the name you must mean it, when you say 'Rama', you must address Him literally. It is as if He is in front of you. When we repeat the Mantra let us add our love. When you say 'Om Ganeshaya Namaha' think of Lord Ganesha with utmost love. We can add emotion. With great devotion we can repeat a Mantra. This improves the quality of Meditations. And we should know the process thoroughly, then we will never get confused. We start Meditation with emotions, with repeating of Mantras. After some time definitely we go beyond these emotions. Emotion is not the important thing. It is only a starting point.
Many listen to Mantra on a music player and meditate. I suggest please do not do so. The reason is when you go on hearing the Mantra, your attention will be focused on the Mantra. But the purpose of Meditation is to become silent, reach the ocean of stillness, expand your Awareness, but when you are listening to a Mantra you will remain at this level. You will not go beyond the Mantra, beyond the mind. Understand clearly Mantras help in Meditation only up to a point. After the initial stages, we have to let go of the Mantras, we have to let go of the mind.
Also, you cannot just coin a Mantra by yourself. When we repeat a Mantra we connect to its energy field. Before using a Mantra, a field is created. You may be repeating a Mantra but there will be no corresponding field of Spiritual energy.
If you are experiencing Light in higher stages, it is not like the physical light, the Light is God Himself. Light is a personality. You must deal with the Light, treat the Light like a person and experience it.
In HIGHER MEDITATION, we go beyond Mantras and forms. We can experience Samadhi in Higher Meditation.
Samadhi is a state of not doing anything and total silence. In this state, we expand in consciousness. The Mantra and the Dharana are limitations to this act. There should be no boundaries. So there will be no Mantra or Dharana in this stage of Sadhana. When we allow a lot of silence to develop, we enter the unconscious level easily and experience Samadhi.
In ADVANCED MEDITATION, we go beyond techniques; we go beyond Samadhi. We require the help of the Rishis, the Light beings, to go beyond Samadhi.We have to be sincere in whatever we pursue. If we are sincere we will definitely understand Meditations, practice, and progress. If it is a half-hearted attempt naturally we do not progress. If you believe in pujas, rituals, be sincere there also. Try to understand the meaning of the Mantras. You will understand a lot. If you believe that God does not exist, be sincere to that belief.
Understand this very clearly - learning more techniques makes no difference. Practising Pranayama and Mantras help us deal with the energies at a grosser level. When we meditate we will be dealing with subtler energies. Learning more techniques does not increase the quality of our Meditations. I suggest you increase the duration of Meditation.
Reciting a prayer, repeating a Mantra is a way to link up with God. There are also other ways, better ways. After sometime, the repetition of a Mantra may become mechanical. We may go on repeating a Mantra and yet remain mentally disturbed. Our attention will not be complete. Being in very positive moods and filling the intellect with positive thoughts is the first step in Yoga. We can tune up to God's vibrations better with these things. When we sit and meditate, it is a much more concerted effort. You can try this.
Also, you cannot coin a Mantra by yourself. When we repeat a Mantra we connect to its energy field. Before using a Mantra, a field is created. You may be repeating a Mantra but there will be no corresponding field of Spiritual energy.
Meditation is widely practised all over the world. The original Sanskrit word for Meditation - Dhyana - was coined by the Rishis (Light Masters) thousands of years ago.Our Soul is ensconced within five Koshas (sheaths). They are the Spiritual body or Anandamaya Kosha, the Intellect body or Vignanamaya Kosha, the Mental/psychic body or Manomaya Kosha, the Vital body or Pranamaya Kosha, and Physical body or Annamaya Kosha. The Vignanamaya, Manomaya and Annamaya Koshas are called Adi, Madhya and Antya Koshas respectively. The Rishis split these words and picked up 'a' from Adi, 'dh' from Madhya, 'ya' from Antya and formed 'Dhya' which represents body, mind and intellect. They added 'Na' which means 'No'. And they coined the word, DHYANA.
According to the Rishis, Dhyana is defined as a state of no body, no mind and no intellect. Which means Dhyana is a process of silencing the body, mind and intellect.
When we lift a book, the idea is conceived by the Intellect, the decision is taken by the Mind and the decision is carried out by the body. This unified action of the Body, the Mind and the Intellect is Concentration. So, we can say, 'Dhya' represents Concentration. And so, 'Dhya-na' is non-concentration.
The three Koshas - Vignanamaya (Intellect), Manomaya (Mind) and Annamaya (Body) - form a powerful group (Guruji had revised this defining Ego as the attitude of the Soul).
In Dhyana, the Body, the Mind and the Intellect are given three different tasks. The Body is given a sitting posture (Asana), the Mind is given a Mantra to repeat (Japa) and the Intellect is given a form to visualize (Dharana). This weakens the combined grip of the Body-Mind-Intellect over the Soul's Awareness.
The purpose of Meditation is to go beyond Mantras and Meditational techniques to release our Awareness that is imprisoned in our body-mind-intellect complex and shift it to higher levels. In Meditation we let go of everything - our thoughts, emotions, even the technique of Meditation.
When we meditate, in silence, the Soul's Awareness gradually rises beyond the limits of the Body, Mind and Intellect into the deeper layers of Consciousness where it expands. The experience of the expanded Awareness is the beginning of Samadhi. Meditation triggers Spiritual processes. These processes release energies. With the help of these energies, we will be able to enter into subtler layers of consciousness.
WHAT IS NOT MEDITATION?
In English, the word for Dhyana is 'Meditation'. However, the word 'Meditation' also means deep contemplation, introspection, concentration, etc. Being meditative is a state of the Mind.
This has led to many wrong notions about Dhyana, like dancing Meditation, walking Meditation, etc. All of these employ Body, Mind and Intellect, and therefore are not Dhyana.
Spiritual practices like Japa or chanting, involves the body and mind so it is not Dhyana. Meditation is not concentration, as concentration involves the active focussed Mind attention.
MEDITATION ENDS IN SAMADHI
Meditation is a process of silencing and Samadhi is a state of Stillness.
The Sanskrit word Samadhi is a combination of 'Sam' (Same) and Adi (God) which means a state where we are like God.
Samadhi is a state of super-awareness at all levels. There are many levels of Samadhi like Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa, Turiya, Turiyateeta, Purna, Paripurna, etc.
Samadhi is misunderstood as a state where we could lose all interest in life. Under the guidance of the Rishis imbalance will never be allowed.
MEDITATION - A Science
Meditation is a systematised knowledge; a science. It has its own laws as in Physics or Nature. If we can understand the laws and operate them, we too will get the same results or benefits as proclaimed by the Rishis. And because Meditation is a scientific process, every step and every detail can be explained and wherever explanation is not possible, we have to concede our ignorance. Can anyone claim all-knowing vastness!
We must remember, always, that behind the simple method of Meditation given here, lies thousands of years of study, research and experimentation by the Rishis. Every step carries measured wisdom.
MEDITATION - Time & Place
Meditations carry their influence for 24 hours, protecting us and guiding the flow of life. After 24 hours, we have to renew the influence again and so, we have to meditate at the same time. Meditations produce strong vibrations of Peace and Harmony which are received and reciprocated by our surroundings. An individual Spiritual atmosphere is built up which in turn helps our Meditations. So, ideally we should meditate at the same place, daily.
If we maintain regular time and space for daily Meditation, a beautiful energy field gets generated around the place and ourselves as well. With the energy generated by Meditations those close to us also benefit.
We have to remember that there could be practical difficulties in maintaining regularity. But we should try as far as possible. If the benefits thus received are not full, we will still have some.
MEDITATION - Direction
We sit facing North. We align ourselves with the magnetic current that flows from North to South. From a secret source in the Himalayas, Spiritual Energy is being transmitted. To receive this we face North during Meditation.
MEDITATION - Asana
Padmasana and Siddhasana are good for Meditation. If we can sit comfortably erect, without being stiff, it is enough. So we need not know Asanas. We should sit perpendicular to the forces under the ground and allow the forces in our body to rise from the base. With this we will also be allowing the Spiritual Energy coming from above, to enter us through the head.
We should always sit relaxed without stiffening, to allow the energies to flow smoothly, without constrictions.
We should always sit on a mat or any other seating material and not on the bare ground, because the earth absorbs all energies from our body.
MEDITATION - Mudra
The energies gathered in the body go out through the hands and feet mainly. The hands should be held in contact with each other, interlocking fingers, resting on crossed legs, thus closing the circuit and avoiding loss.
We should not walk barefooted, again, to avoid the loss of energy.
MEDITATION - Trataka
Fixing our gaze at a point is called Trataka. Trataka is a very important step in Meditation. It stabilises the wandering mind, reduces thoughts and brings in calmness. Mere practice of Trataka increases the powers of concentration and memory.
It is recommended that we should look straight and close our eyes. This balances the energies generated during Meditation.
The Rishis recommend that if during Meditation our head bends down then we can open our eyes, sit upright, practice Trataka by fixing our gaze straight, then we can close our eyes and continue with Meditation.
MEDITATION - Camphor
Lighting camphor before Meditation helps in creating a Spiritual atmosphere. A small piece of camphor can be burnt in front of us for around a minute. We can look at the flame; blink as much as we want but without shifting our gaze.
After the flame extinguishes, we can simply look up straight and close our eyes. This aids Trataka.
MEDITATION - Dharana
Dharana is the process of elimination of thoughts, mainly. When we imagine a form, the Intellect holds on to it; other ideas gradually decrease and vanish. Finally, even this form dissolves. This will take a long time. We have to go deep into advanced Meditation to achieve thoughtlessness.
In the beginning, everyone struggles with hoards of descending thoughts that appear to be waiting for us. The flow of thoughts is natural and it cannot be controlled. Controlling the mind is a wrong approach. The more we try to control the more is the resistance and then we will not be meditating. Instead, we will be concentrating on the struggle and obstructing the process of Dhyana. This point is to be very clearly understood by all the Meditators.
The only way to overcome this difficulty is to ignore the thoughts. We should not resist the flow of thoughts; should not even recognise them. We should let them pass. For example, sitting at a window we witness the vehicles moving on the road, we do not go after them. It is not easy to not be a participant and to be a mere witness. But that is the only way; the only choice.
Prolonged Sadhana alone will take us ahead. If this can be achieved then it will be the biggest stride in Spiritual Sadhana. Only the adepts can say that until we reach the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, diversion, if not assault, by the battalion of thoughts cannot but be encountered. It is only then that Dhyana is complete.
Most give up Meditation because they notice the continuous disturbance due to thoughts. Patience is as important as persistence in Meditation.
MEDITATION - Relaxation
Relaxation, before and after Meditation, is essential. It is also a period of tuning into a different kind of activity - first, from the worldly activity to the meditational and then from the meditational, back to the normal. It also helps in not spoiling the serenity and the majesty of the pace that has set in.
MEDITATION - Restrictions
Let there be no restrictions to begin with; on food, drinks or sex. Nothing should be forced out, not even bad habits. If we pick up Meditation and advance, all habits drop out like dry leaves, naturally. There is no doubt.
A forced virtue is temporary. Its ugly heads are hidden. Nothing should be imposed. The best discipline is the one that grows from within.
Meditation is a gift from the Rishis. Meditation takes one from the human to the Divine. In worship, there is separation between the worshipper & the worshipped. When we experience God in Meditation there is no separation. The purpose of Meditation is to go beyond Mantras and meditational techniques to release our Awareness that is imprisoned in our body-mind-intellect complex and shift it to higher levels. Meditation is the highest form of worship; is an act of surrender to the Divine. There are many benefits from Meditation. Some are mentioned here.
The first process that sets in is cleansing of the Body, Mind and Intellect. The energies gathered by Meditation cleanse our entire system thoroughly of all impurities and negative qualities. It may take a long time for the completion of the process. But the effect will be distinctly noticeable even in the beginning. For example, people notice the dilution of anger, moving away from falsehood and artificiality and decreasing selfishness.
Meditating during the Eclipse period clears our Karmas, heals us & brings us enormous strength. The subtle Spiritual Energies released during an eclipse cover the entire earth. When we meditate during the Eclipse period, we receive special Spiritual energies which strengthen & hasten certain Spiritual processes that are already going on in our system.
Maharshi Amara has said - "Meditating during the eclipse period is as good as meditating for six months!"
With Meditation, the efficiency of the Body, Mind and Intellect will increase gradually and any activity that we are engaged in will fetch better results, be it studies, office work, output at the factory, research work, social service, etc. As we advance in Meditation, efficiency also increases because with Meditation our health, memory and concentration improves. A meditator ultimately will become incapable of committing a mistake!
If we think of your dreams & goals before Meditation, the Spiritual Energies received during Meditation strengthen your aspirations.
We are not utilising our brain completely because the special energy required for the working of the brain is available in a very limited quantity. Meditations will bring in more of this energy and gradually more brain cells will open up and more areas of the brain will function. We will then be able to accommodate and assimilate more knowledge. It is not merely the quantity, we will be able to assimilate Higher Knowledge and understand the deeper mysteries of Creation and the Origin of all these.
In Stillness our intuition works; to establish Stillness, we have to meditate. Meditation does not directly bring us powers. It links us to the reservoir of all Powers. Let the powers be with God and let God be with us.
Awareness, now limited to the Realities of the wakeful plane of Existence, will gradually expand to other levels and planes, taking us to newer dimensions and bringing in the Beings of those planes and dimensions into our contact.
These statements may appear far-fetched. But we have to try and experience. I met my Guru - Maharshi Amara, who had achieved much more. He taught me Higher Techniques. I too have experienced Higher Life. And now, I can state confidently that anyone can achieve, experience and expand his Awareness. One has to make an effort. Effort first and faith comes later, naturally.
Meditation triggers Spiritual processes. These processes release energies. With the help of these energies, we will be able to enter into subtler layers of Consciousness.
Self-enquiry ultimately leads us to self-experience in deep Meditation.
Meditation is the process of preparing ourselves to experience God at all levels. We can experience God, not only in the Samadhi state, but even when we are engaged in the worldly matters.
We have several hidden faculties in us and we are not even aware of them. For example - the Third Eye, through this, we can see the Astral world. We can even travel in time backwards or forward. All such faculties can be awakened.
Spiritual Practices are required for cleansing & tuning our system of Body, Mind & Intellect. They are required to experience Samadhi, to experience Light, to establish contact with Light, to access the Knowledge in the higher planes, to expand our Awareness, and to grow Spiritually.
Regular Meditation sharpens our Intuition. By employing Intuition in every situation, it can be further sharpened.
Meditation works as a bridge between us & the Rishis (Light Masters), as well as between us & others. It works as a bridge between the inner & the outer worlds.
This is one thing that is most sought after. It is not merely the human beings but every living creature is after Peace. And this is the most difficult thing to get. Meditations bring Peace.
Peace in the individual is not limited to him alone. It vibrates and spreads around. It touches the living and the non-living.
A meditator brings Peace to his family, the area of his work and life and he is the best, although unaware, contributor to World Peace. That a larger number is more effective, needs no elaboration. When we meditate we generate vibrations of Love and Peace. We clear our Karmas and also Karmas of the place, our parents, soul mates and society. With Meditation we can positivise our emotions and manage them better.
With regular Meditation we can positivise our thoughts. Which means we overcome selfishness, we become Universal and follow Oneness. As a result of Meditation, we start accommodating other's imperfections including our own, we begin forgiving others with comparative ease, we slowly overcome the need to judge others, steadily we begin manifesting more love and start maintaining calmness even in difficult situations.
A good meditator allows the Divine Energies to pass and flow through him. Without consciously practising anything, he will be working as a channel of God's Love and Energies.
Even while not meditating, just expand or shift our awareness to the Presence of God. This will help enormously.
We are placed in situations, many times, where we do not speak the truth although we are aware of it. Gandhiji always spoke the truth and Nelson Mandela endured years of hardship. What is it that they had within them that we do not have? It is the courage; the Inner Strength. The strength that roared in Vivekananda, the Spiritual Strength.
Meditations bring us this strength.
With Meditation we can burn our Karmas, which are the root cause of our problems. Other practices like Homa/Vrata/Yagnas only postpone the problem or bring them in a different form; but with Meditation we can remove them from the very root.
Meditation gives us the strength, courage & wisdom to face any problem. A permanent solution to a problem would be either to go through it or burn it out through Meditation.
When we regularise Meditations our Energy shield gets strengthened. So that negative forces cannot touch us.
We can turn every problem into an opportunity when we see the situation from a different angle & from a higher perspective. A problem is an opportunity to gear up our entire personality, to use all of our intelligence & intuition, to find solutions. Meditation helps.
Let us not get carried away by our accomplishments, or feel disheartened by our failures. We should pause, introspect and reorganize our life in tune with our goal. Meditation helps in this process.
All answers, solutions, possibilities and opportunities are within us. To access them, we should meditate and enter the state of Stillness.
Regular Meditation can clear our Karmas. All our problems can be resolved by regular Meditation. Meditations are life-assertive, not life-negating. Meditation removes all our limitations and ignorance. It brings benefits to the meditator as well as others. Meditation creates distances from the habits that come in the way of our Spiritual growth. It helps distancing ourselves from all that that comes in the way of our Spiritual progress.
People usually talk of Liberation - Mukti, as liberation from the chain of Births and Deaths only. But I am not talking about it now. I am talking of the liberation from bondages and attachments, from our own weaknesses and negativities and liberation from our own ignorance, half - knowledge and confusion.
Every action has its reaction. We are active every moment of our life and we cannot escape the reactions. We cannot escape our Karmas. And we have to get liberated from these and all other things before we think of the final Liberation - the Mukti. Meditations liberate us from every bondage.
Meditation purifies us at all levels even in our daily lives and elevates us from the human level to the Divine level, so that we can attain freedom from the bondages of life-times and gain Mukti or Final Liberation.
Once my Guru said, "What is it that Meditation does not bring us? It alters destinies, creates worlds and more than anything, it helps us to live today better, here on this earth."
Practising techniques of Meditation mechanically is not Sadhana. We have to consciously cultivate Humility & Surrender to the Divine. Meditating is not enough. We must consciously make genuine efforts to manifest Love in our interactions with people & positivize in every detail of our living.
When we become aware of impurities & untruth within us or in the World, we must mentally reject them. Then we should channel Light & meditate. The Spiritual energies from the Light cleanse us & the world. This brings about positive transformation.
There are many obstacles, naturally, because both motion and non-motion are the active forces in Nature. If a movement is made, another force tries to prevent it. If progress is made, another force obstructs it. If we are determined to move ahead, we have to exert more. Before that, we have to identify the obstacles; we have to locate the thorns.
Although we take up many pursuits, we will not push through many because of our lethargy. Regular, continuous effort is always essential to accomplish anything. Effort and more effort is the way.
For Meditation, we can be cautious in certain details like avoiding heavy food, drinks and over-sleep, bringing freshness with a bath, wearing clean clothes and keeping surroundings clean as well as allowing pure thoughts to linger on in the mind.
In every pursuit like studies, art, music etc., we wait for years to reap the benefits. We rightly use our common sense to have patience and wait. But somehow, we do not approach Meditation with the same attitude. We expect nothing less than miracles the very next moment and feel disappointed without them. And then, we give up the practice or change the path, not once but often, which again leads nowhere. Haste, anywhere, does not bring good.
If we are impatient and cannot wait for any process to work out, we miss many things in life. It could be a sunrise, a lover or a song. Or God.
LACK OF FAITH
A true Rationalist, or a Scientist will not stop enquiry. He may not accept but will not reject also. He will study, understand and probe into the mysteries of Life and Creation. And then will accept the Truth.
We have to begin Meditations with a little faith. We have to have faith in the path and the Guide, like a school child, to begin with, keeping an open mind to the possible and experience directly the Freedom and Bliss, Peace and Tranquillity and other benefits of Meditations.
If we begin with outright rejection, it is like closing the eyes and denying the world outside. This is not scientific.
Doubts are natural to the thinking man. They are no obstacles. Every doubt has an explanation. But we may not get the answers readily or easily. Sometimes, we may find them difficult to assimilate. But we have to proceed and grow. Can a child understand Shakespeare?
We have to keep all our doubts alive and grow. We will then see that all the doubts vanish as the sun of knowledge rises; the Knowledge of the direct experience of the Reality.
Intellect is a tool. We receive all knowledge through the Intellect. If the receiving instrument is defective or is partly operative, the knowledge received cannot be right and complete. So, this knowledge cannot be the end and we cannot totally depend on it. My Guru compared the Intellect to a spoon and Knowledge to an ocean. Intellect is limited. It cannot, at any time, receive the whole. We have to go beyond the Intellect, to know.
Intellectual knowledge will be helpful to the extent that it guides. It is only a pointer. If we do not realise this, we may end as Intellectuals; talk, argue and feel great. But we will not have touched the Real Knowledge.
Meditations activate certain Energy Centres in us. The energy released cleanses the system and also brings us some Powers like, for example, levitation to begin with. The human tendency is to play with the powers, to demonstrate. Once we start enjoying this, we like to prolong the play and will get stuck up in that stage of Spiritual progress. There will be no more progress.
We have to ignore the powers; surrender them. Every such surrender takes us a step higher.
This is the biggest obstacle to our Inner Growth. A person with his bloated ego sits in his dark compartment of ignorance, shutting off all the light of Knowledge and Truth. One may spend life-times like this, feeling secure in the dark and blowing one's own trumpet to one's own ears.
We have to open up. There is so much to gather; so much to learn! We have to cultivate humility, learn to love and to surrender. It is only when we surrender that we gain Freedom, Mukti.
All these may appear naive. But once we start the Journey, every word and every hint becomes a glowing roadside lamp. Only those who march on, get the Light. Those who sit and speculate may exhaust the words and burn out their lamps but they remain where they were all those lives without movement; without progress.
But some day, we have to move on and begin the Journey, even if we stay here for another million lives. The question is - why wait?
MEDITATION - THE MISCONCEPTIONS
There are several misconceptions about Meditation that keep people away and distant. Understanding these is much more important than knowing the benefits.
Many people believe that Meditations lead to a life of escapism. People fear that Meditators run away from life and responsibilities, become Sanyasis and join Ashramas. It is the misguided who believe all these.
We have understood clearly that Meditations lead us to Efficiency and Perfection and that Meditators become incapable of committing mistakes. How can they desert their families and run away!
Sanatana Dharma never advocated running away. The Rishis were house-holders. Krishna did not allow Arjuna to run away. My Guru was a house-holder. He lived like anybody else and talked to Gods.
A Sanyasi is one who is above hatred and desire. He keeps himself above all bondages but does not run away from Life. We should not judge those meditating in the Himalayas away from all these, as escapists. They are toiling for us at a Higher Level. It is because of their Tapas that wars and diseases are prevented; suffering minimised. We do not know such things. How much do we really know?
Most of us take up Meditations because of our problems, expecting instant and miraculous solutions, as we do in Temples - putting money in Hundi-boxes and expecting God to solve all our problems created by ourselves, the next moment. We have to face our problems. We cannot escape them. There are laws governing these. God will give us the strength to face. Meditations will bring us strength, God's strength.
Unaware of many realities, we want to problems solved instantaneously and in our own way. When these do not occur, we feel disappointed and condemn Meditations as of no use.
Every problem has a solution. Meditations will show us the way and bring us strength. We have to realise this, do our work and wait. Such solutions will bring lasting Peace. Spiritual solutions are permanent. In fact, they are the only solutions and the others are mere palliatives.
Most of us fear that sexual indulgence should not be continued once we take up Meditations. We read books and force 'Brahmacharya' on us. Rishis coined this word and they meant "moving in Brahma; moving in God; recognising God around us and living in His presence." They did not mean forced celibacy.
Sex is a hunger for physical pleasure. It is natural and need not be suppressed. Only over-indulgence harms and excess anywhere is harmful.
The advice from the Spiritual Leaders should be studied carefully. They may be addressing a group in a particular stage of Spiritual Evolution and for them, no Sex may be the best. It should not be generalised. Let us remember that Rishis were married men.
It is not known to many that Sexual energy gets sublimated into Spiritual energy only up to 24 years. So celibacy up to 24 years helps; not afterwards.
A proper understanding of Sex and healthy discussions on it are seldom found in our society where many live a double life - one for the self and the other for the showroom of the synthetic social world. Even in the Spiritual world, there are postures, extremes prescribed for others and not practised by the prescribers. Wild distortions and confusion are common.
In the Spiritual journey towards Higher Life, normal Sex can be sanely indulged in, while growth through Meditations can avidly be pursued.
Many times, when we take up Meditations, we perfectly follow the Technique, meditate long and expect the transformation to take place by itself. And when anger seizes us, or any other weakness eats us, we blame Meditation for not helping us or say that the Meditational technique is not good. We look for the cause of failure, always, outside. We never look within ourselves! Do we ever blame ourselves for any failure, at any time?
The Truth is that mere Meditations are not enough. Meditations open up the Door and we have to walk in. We have to make conscious efforts to change, to grow, to transform. We have to live all that we know as good. Meditations bring us the strength, the Energy.
A Nadi is a vessel which carries Prana. Our Vital Body or Pranamaya Kosha contains a network of vessels, or a kind of channel like nerves in a grid. This network carries subtle energy from the Sun. There is a complex network of Nadis.
THE THREE MAIN NADIS
Yoga Shastras mention that there are 72,000 Nadis. The three major Nadis are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Whenever a lot of energy flows in a particular Nadi, that Nadi will be active.
Ida or Chandra Nadi is on the left side and Pingala (Surya Nadi) on the right side of our spinal chord. And Sushumna Nadi is in the middle.
These three Nadis start from the base of our spine. The Ida and Pingala pass through the Chakras and end at the Agna Chakra. The Sushumna Nadi does not pass through any of the Chakras, but it reaches the Agna Chakra. All three join at the Agna Chakra, but the Sushumna continues and reaches the Sahasrara Chakra. The Sushumna is the most important Nadi because it is the only Nadi which connects the Mooladhara to the Sahasrara.
Surya Nadi carries the Prana which comes directly from the Sun. Chandra Nadi carries the Prana which comes indirectly, that is the Prana reflected by the moon. Planets also reflect Prana, which we receive. Many networks in our own Nadi network that carry the Prana are directed back to us by different planets.
The Nadis will not be active all the time. From the sunrise, the three Nadis - Chandra, Surya and Sushumna Nadis will be active one by one for 24 minutes each. The cycle repeats.
Like everything else in Creation, the Pranas flowing in them have their own intelligence. So, whenever a Nadi is active, it brings a certain influence.
The activation of the Chandra Nadi helps one to be very efficient in Material activity. That of Surya Nadi helps to be efficient in Spiritual activity.
When Sushumna Nadi is active, it helps us to experience Samadhi, to transcend many petty things in this life. It takes us to a higher consciousness. Whenever this Nadi is active, we can never think in a small way. We will be in a kind of expanded awareness. All noble thoughts will be with us at that time. If we meditate, when the Sushumna is active, we can experience Samadhi easily.
When we meditate and advance in Meditations, all the other Nadis will not be that active and only the Sushumna will be very active. The same Nadis will not be active in everyone at the same time. It varies from an individual to another individual. By practice, we can know which Nadi is active in our system. We can also know it by intuition.
Planets influence our thinking, emoting and our actual living. A combination of a set of planets will have a particular influence on us and we act accordingly. This is how we acquire Karmas. We can go beyond all these influences, make all these influences nil by meditating.
Spiritual energy, the undiluted and unconverted, is stored in the Kundalini. This energy is circulated in the Nadis. Pure Kundalini rises through the Sushumna Nadi without touching any Chakra. The not-so-pure energies pass through the Ida and Pingala Nadis.
The life force or Prana operates at three levels-the physical, the mental and the intellectual. Whenever Prana is blocked in some Nadi, some physical disturbance is felt. Negative emotions may also dominate us at this time.
Spiritual healing helps us to remove this Pranic debility. It helps us to get the required amount of Prana. Pranayama helps cleansing of the Nadis.
ACTIVATING THE NADIS
We can activate the Nadis when we practise certain Pranayamic exercises. Standing in the sun without practising any technique, will not purify our Nadis. We have to absorb the subtler energies to get the Nadis purified. We can absorb these energies only when we meditate or practise Pranayama. We cannot meditate on the Nadis technically. By practising Pranayama, we can bring more energy to the Nadis and that is not Meditation. Meditation is silencing the body, mind and intellect.
Spreading Ananda purifies all the Nadis and the Nadi Systems.
Long ago, specialist Rishis collected a lot of information about the life patterns of people. They studied all the laws, the life patterns of individuals and gathered all the information. They compiled all that and wrote the 'Nadi Grantha'.
The Nadi Grantha says that our entire flow of life is fixed. Each one's life is already written in it. All future is indicated in the Nadi Shastra. Many details tally with the reading. Depending on the planetary position at birth, these Shastras speak of our life.
What is not known to others is that if we take up sadhana and spiritualise, the tracks which we may have to go through may shift.
Our destiny changes because many Karmas get cleared depending on our sadhana. In such cases, all Shastras become false, not because the Shastras are wrong but because our destiny changes.
WHAT IS THIRD EYE?
The third eye is the capacity or a Divine faculty of the soul to perceive directly from any reality.
When the soul was in its origin with the Supreme Creator, it had almost unlimited capacity to perceive directly. When it decided to visit the Material Cosmos and stepped out in its vehicle, the causal body, its capacity to perceive directly was reduced to some extent. When it took on the intellectual and the mental sheaths, which were required to occupy the body, its capacity to perceive directly was reduced further.
When the soul finally took on the physical body, its capacity to perceive directly was reduced to a great extent, since it had to perceive through all these bodies. The physical body can only perceive through its organs of sense perception and severely restricts the soul's perception.
But, in spite of the limitations imposed by these bodies, the soul could retain some of its original capacity to perceive all levels of reality. This leftover capacity is the third eye.
In this background, the name 'third eye' is a misnomer. Contrary to the name, its capacity is not limited to visual perception. It can perceive directly in any form and also the formless. It can also perceive beyond the veil of Maya.
When we perceive something higher, it is first perceived by the third eye. Then our Awareness, which is another faculty of perception of the soul, grasps and reads the perceived matter and passes it on to the brain through the intellect and mind.
WHAT IS NOT THIRD EYE?
The most common belief is that the third eye is a faculty of the mind located between the two eyebrows and can be used to see beyond the physical reality - hence the name 'third eye'. The third eye is not located in the mind, it has no co-relation to the mid-brow region and it is not a faculty of the mind.
Some believe that the third eye is located in the Agna Chakra. It is not so. The Agna Chakra has nothing to do with the third eye.
This myth has led to the belief that the third eye can be 'opened' by surgically making a hole in the mid-brow region. Even if the third eye were to be a faculty of the mind, it cannot obviously be opened by making a hole in the physical body!
The mind has an eye, which is its visual faculty with which people see visions. This is not the third eye.
The practice of Hindus using vermilion on their forehead is believed to signify the third eye. This is done to prevent loss of energy and not to represent the third eye. The third eye is not a gadget or a tool. It is not an eye.
The third eye is not linked to Kundalini energy.
MORE ABOUT THIRD EYE
The third eye in Sanskrit is known as 'Jnana Chakshu', literally meaning 'Knowledge Eye', which does not fully describe it. The term 'Divya Drishti' in Sanskrit, which means 'Divine Vision' comes close but it limits its capacity to just seeing, as in the case of 'third eye'.
Within this Material Cosmos the third eye can see, hear, sense and know directly from any dimension or plane of existence. Its perception has almost no limitations within this Material Cosmos. It can perceive the Astral world, the past, the future and things beyond the mind. During soul travel, we see through the third eye.
The capacity of Light Masters is much more than the third eye's capacity. The third eye's capacity can be increased by increasing our Awareness. It is possible to develop its capacity to its original level, which is the level it was at when the soul was with the Supreme Creator. This is possible even when the soul is incarnated in the body.
The third eye can even perceive the Supreme Creator. In fact, this is the only faculty of the individual that can perceive God to the maximum extent possible.
The mind is also capable of seeing things beyond the physical such as orbs, specks of light, auras and semi-matter. Through the mind's visual perception (inner eye) we can see visions.
Though the expression 'mind's eye' is used, there is no eye in the mind; the entire mind perceives. Similarly, the mind can also hear. An example of this is the sounds emanating from the Anahata Chakra that are heard by the mind's faculty of hearing.
Sometimes, a vision is seen with the help of both the third eye and the mind. The third eye perceives beyond the mind. But some parts of what it perceives may descend into the mind where it may be perceived as a vision. What the mind captures is an interpretation of what it perceives whereas, what the third eye perceives is not subject to any interpretations or prejudices. It perceives directly in an undistorted form. We can say that the soul sees through the third eye; the third eye is the soul's eye. So, whenever the third eye perceives, usually all parts of the system, the intellect, mind and body receive the knowledge.
Similar to intuition, what the third eye perceives may or may not reach the conscious mind. When it does not reach, we say that the third eye is not working. But in reality, the third eye always works in everyone. As with all knowledge coming from the soul, what the third eye perceives directly must pass through the intellect and mind and reach the brain.
For the knowledge to reach the conscious layer of the mind and the brain in an undistorted form, there should be no impurities and negativities in the mind. Heavy Karmas in the mind also restrict the free flow of knowledge from the soul. And a hyperactive intellect clouds the knowledge with its own thoughts.
So, to prevent such distortion, one must purify oneself by regular Meditations and positivisation and establish stillness in the system. Some meditators sometimes see through this faculty but they may not be aware of it.
Due to the possibility of distortion of knowledge thus received, we must employ our intuition to establish its accuracy. Intuition and third eye are different. While the third eye perceives, intuition can also judge and recommend.
When the third eye begins to work, it brings us true knowledge about who we are, our existence, our role in the Universe, Higher Truths, Creation and God.The third eye does not bring any powers. It plays no direct role in attaining enlightenment, though, an enlightened person will be able to use the third eye easily.
Another important feature of the third eye is its ability to establish contact with the Light Masters and communicate with them. This is also very important during the shift in consciousness.
After death occurs, the Astral body gets detached from the physical body. Due to this separation, the individual finds that he is able to access vast amounts of knowledge. This is because of the third eye. This highlights the fact that the body is the main hindrance.
TECHNIQUE for 'OPENING' the THIRD EYE
There are those who believe that the third eye is closed in them and that they need to get it opened through some practices. The third eye need not be 'opened' because it is a faculty of the soul and it never gets 'closed'. To say that it is open or closed are incorrect expressions.
As explained, the third eye is a faculty of the soul and it works in all souls. It does not seem to work in some because the channels of communication between the soul and the brain are blocked with impurities and negativities and also because it has not been used for a very long time.So, the methods for improving the third eye mainly involve purifying ourselves, which can be done through Meditation and positivisation. Other practices like Trataka* may help indirectly by purifying the system.
Even those who are actually using it may not be aware of it. For example, when we meet a person, we somehow come to know that he is good or not. This is through the third eye. Also, when we come to know about something that is going to happen in the future, a premonition, it is through the third eye.Humility, surrender and unconditional love help activate it. Similarly, Sapta Rishi Pranayama with Kumbhaka (holding the breath) purifies us and helps indirectly.
Increasing our Awareness increases the third eye's capacity to perceive.
The pineal gland has often been thought of (wrongly) as the seat of the third eye. This section explains the actual role of the pineal gland. The pineal gland is an endocrine gland located in the brain of vertebrates. It is about the size of a rice grain in humans, located between the two hemispheres of the brain. It is the first gland to develop in the foetus and has a very rich blood supply. Apart from controlling the sleeping and waking cycles, its functions are largely unknown to modern science.
When the thoughts generated by the intellect pass through the mind and reach the brain, the point of entry is the pineal gland. It plays the important role of converting thought energy to a form the brain can capture and convert into words.
Since it deals with thought energy which is not a physical energy, its role has not been discovered or understood by mainstream science, which does not acknowledge thought as anything other than brainwaves.
The size of the pineal gland is directly related to its capacity. Some Egyptian Pharaohs were known to have had large pineal glands. This is because they were given vast amounts of knowledge, which was required at that time. In order to receive, comprehend, compute and transfer all that knowledge to the brain, they required large pineal glands.
But as time passed, the knowledge was misused by some of the Pharaohs. Because of the misuse, the flow of knowledge gradually reduced, which resulted in the reduction of the size of the pineal gland.
The pineal gland is considered by some as the seat of the soul. It is not so. The soul is located in the mid-chest region.
It is widely believed by the New Agers that the endocrine glands and the Chakras are interrelated. This is probably because some of the Chakras are positioned near some glands. For example, the pineal gland is near the Sahasrara Chakra and the pituitary gland is located near the Agna Chakra. However, there is no correlation between the Chakras and the glands.
So, the pineal gland has the clear function of converting thoughts in the mind to words in the brain and it is not the third eye.
Just as our physical body has the faculties of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, our Mind and Intellect also have their own faculties. For e.g. when we communicate with another directly with thoughts instead of sound, we are engaging our natural higher faculty of telepathy. Similarly, intuition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychic visions, third eye visions, etc. are our natural higher faculties. Astral Travel is an inherent ability. The ability to communicate with God, Light Masters, other life forms, even inanimate objects, is our innate capability.
The obvious question is - if these are our natural abilities then why cannot everyone exercise them? Why is it that only a few can?
When our Soul descended into Creation it took on subtle bodies or Koshas in order to experience life in different forms. To experience life on our earth, to feel the breeze, smell the flowers, to taste the fruits, we needed this physical body. The Soul accepted the limitations that came with each of the subtle bodies - Intellect body, Mental body and the Physical body.
The Soul was with God and had God-like qualities; it had unimaginable and unlimited powers. Yet the Soul exercised its Freewill to explore and experience God's Creation even when it meant becoming limited and accepting temporary amnesia from its own Divinity.
Before the Soul left God's abode or Parabrahma Loka, God explained the Laws of Karma and Freewill. God cautioned us from over-experiencing and over-indulging. He forewarned us from getting deeply attached. We broke the Laws, we over-experienced and the Spiritual effects of our choices became our Karmas. The Karmas started forming layers in our Mental body. To clear our Karmas, both good and bad, we had to keep incarnating. In the process some Souls acquired more Karmas.
When we allowed a lot of negative thoughts and extreme emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy, aggression, greed, etc. to thrive in us, the non-positive vibrations started blocking our Nadis, and our Chakras became increasingly dormant. This along with the Karmas stored in our Mental bodies as vibrations further reduced the purity levels of our Mental body. Impure and excessive thoughts polluted our pristine Intellect body. The impure vibrations percolated into the cells in our physical body. This led to our natural higher faculties to go into a dormant state. The channels of communication from the Soul to our brain were blocked, much like a water pipe clogged with a lot of dirt obstructing the full force of the flow.Another factor is the impact of the Timeframe in which we live. Time moves in cycles from long periods of Light and Darkness. The extent to which the Astral body can manifest its Will in the physical body varies in different Timeframes. The density of the body and the dormancy of the faculties are also linked. In the Light Age, our higher faculties will be automatically active, without any effort due to the subtlety of the physical body.
Let us understand better some of our natural faculties and abilities.
Intuition: Intuition is a faculty of the soul with which an individual can know directly at the conscious level without the help of sense perceptions.
Clairvoyance: Clairvoyance is visual perception without using the physical eyes. It can come through the intuition. It is also possible to visually perceive by projecting our mind or extending our awareness to a particular location. Similarly Clairaudience is hearing without the aid of our ears. Clairvoyance and Clairaudience are experiences of the Mind.
Conscience: Conscience is the voice of the Divine in us, which guides us throughout our lives based on Divine Values.
Psychic or Mind's Eye: The mind has a visual faculty with which we see visions. This is not the third eye. This gives us the Psychic visions. Seeing auras, semi-matter, orbs and specks of Light, etc. are Psychic visions. When our inner sensitivity is heightened even momentarily we may have a vision. A genuine visual experience is usually given by the Higher Beings guiding us. A vision may carry messages.
Third Eye: The third eye is the capacity or a Divine faculty of the soul to perceive directly from any reality.
Telepathy: Telepathy is the communication between two beings through the transmission of thoughts.
Higher Communication: When the Soul communicates with God, Divine Personalities and Light Masters it is known as Higher Communication. Channelling messages is different; in this case another Entity takes over and speaks through the one who channels. During Higher Communication, the receiver captures the information consciously and then conveys.
Much more remains to be understood about our higher faculties. Our existing knowledge can be refined.
Activating our higher faculties
Purifying our Intellect body, Mental body and Physical body will take us back to our original state wherein all our natural higher faculties were active. Regular Meditation is the best solution. Positivising our thoughts, emotions and actions is equally important. Practices like Pranayama, Yogasanas, help in the process. There are specialized Meditational practices with which one can activate a dormant higher faculty. But if this is not backed by Spiritual growth then ego builds up, leading to problems. Sincere Meditation and positivisation are the best and safest approaches.
Meditation or Dhyana is the process of silencing the body, mind and intellect. Dhyana is an abbreviation of Sanskrit syllables Dh + ya + a + na = Dhyana. 'Na' means no, the other syllables are from the Sanskrit words for Body, Mind and Intellect. So, Dhyana means a state of no body, no mind and no intellect.
Silence is the first step. After silence, we enter a state of thoughtless Stillness, wherein our Awareness rises and expands in the higher levels of Consciousness. The first-hand experience of expansion brings us Wisdom, and also capacities like direct communication with Rishis, an active Third Eye, etc.
To learn more about techniques to activate the higher faculties, please read the book - 'Higher Communication and Other Realities' - from Manasa Foundation authored by Mr. Raghavendra Somayaji.
WHAT IS A MANTRA?
That which churns the mind is Mantra. Any Mantra will always involve the name of God.
Patanjali Maharshi defines Mantra as "Mananaat traayate iti Mantraha". Which means - That which churns the mind is Mantra.
We can say, that which creates vibrations in the mind is Mantra. Mantra is a combination of sounds or words, which when repeated creates vibrations. These vibrations help us in linking up to the source of a particular type of energy.
Mantras are given to us by the Rishis, by the Spiritual Masters. These Rishis are called as Mantra-drashtas, those who have seen. They did not coin the Mantra, they saw these Mantras. Drashta is the one who has seen or discovered the Mantras. They perceived Mantras in their deep Meditations. The Rishis saw many things. They received all the knowledge directly by perception. They saw huge fields of different energies. They began studying them and could understand the vibrations. With their intuition they perceived a key to this field - Mantras. They saw Mantras as keys or codes, as the connecting links to these fields of energies. Later, they passed on this knowledge to us.
These fields of energies have central points. Each field has a core, like a soul. This core has intelligence. It has a personality. It has a form, latent and unmanifested, Rishis could understand all these things. Think of the great Vishwamitra Maharshi - he saw Devi Gayatri like this. The Rishis understood how to invoke these forms. When we repeat a Mantra, we get connected to its source. We receive energy from the field. But again we can do much more. If we can activate, if we can invoke the deity of the Mantra, the core of that field of energy, we can get more benefits. You can interact, communicate. Rishis devised wonderful techniques for this. There are techniques to invoke deities of these fields of energy.
Before galaxies took birth, there were vibrations in those places, caused by OM, the primordial sound. The entire Creation came out from this primordial sound. It is the most powerful Mantra 'OM'. It contains all energies. We draw a particular energy from Om, by using the related Mantra. The Rishis realised this. They also coined other Mantras when they came across new sources of energies to establish links with them.
The Rishis combine different types of energies, create a new energy and store it. They coin a new Mantra to link up to the new energy. After we came to this plane of existence, the Rishis created several new energies and coined several Mantras.
There is another word 'Namaha' common in all the Mantras. Namaha means I do not exist. We have to become silent. Only then we become receptive. We receive the energies only when we are silent. When we repeat the Mantra 'Om Ganeshaaya Namaha', first we become silent, Namaha, then from 'Om', Ganesha part of energy emanates and works on us.
Repeating any Mantra makes all thoughts vanish and God's name alone occupies the mind. This occurs at the conscious level, after sometime. God is beyond all forms and all adjectives. It is not possible to capture God with mind or intellect. We have to go beyond all these, beyond all techniques and Mantras.
Every Divine personality has an unmanifested aspect. When we repeat the Mantra, we do not link up to the form of a particular Deity but to the deeper part of that Deity; to His field of energy.
Repetition of a Mantra creates waves, builds up vibrations in our mind and we link up to the source. Whenever the source is beyond the earth (usually in other galaxies and other Lokas) the mind extends to that source. When we think of a person in America the mind literally extends and touches him. At that time, he comes in link with us. When we repeat the Mantra 'Om Namaha Shivaya', the mind extends to the Divine plane of Lord Shiva and touches Him. A link is built up and the energies flow from Him to us. Any person with a lot of effort can gather the energies. We should use the energies for a higher purpose.
INITIATION & MANTRA
Initiation is accepting a person into a Spiritual Path and giving him a technique to begin his Sadhana. A Mantra is like a code using which we will be able to establish links with the higher energies. Along with a Mantra, a Spiritual energy is also transmitted to the person.
Initiation is not merely passing on a meditational technique. It is mainly charging the individual with Spiritual energy and giving a Mantra, chosen for him, to keep the energy operative.
There are several stages in Meditation. Whenever a Meditator completes the practice in one stage, the Spiritual Guide will study the progress and if the Meditator can enter the next phase, he will be Initiated again. A higher meditational technique and a new Mantra is given. The Guide charges the pupil with a fresh dose of Spiritual energy. There will be several Initiations in Dhyana Yoga, the journey to Liberation, Perfection and Peace.