Meditation: Time You Started
4 min read
“O Krishna, the mind is agitation, a strong well rooted tyrant. I think of it is as impossible to control as the wind.” (Gita 6.34)
चञ्चलंहिमन: कृष्णप्रमाथिबलवद्दृढम् |
तस्याहंनिग्रहंमन्येवायोरिवसुदुष्करम् || 34||
chañchalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛiṣhṇa pramāthi balavad dṛiḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva su-duṣhkaram
When it comes to controlling the mind, even great souls like Arjuna have had trouble. We are indebted to the long line of our great Rishis and Gurus for the guidance they have given on such matters, and Swamiji’s Dayananda Saraswati’s short booklet on meditation is one such useful guide I picked up recently.
Everyone’s process of self-discovery is unique, and my own inclued the usual dive into the various facets of yoga. Over time, and with a strong recommendation from a respected elder relative, I went into a course on meditation. To this day, it remains perhaps the most transformative experience in my continual journey to connecting the inner and higher consciousness. It fundamentally transformed how I understood my duties and responsibilities to my family and elders, and, I daresay, made me a better adult son to my parents. A relatively more responsive and dutiful one, than my prior rebellious and dismissive childhood version, with a lot of room for improvement, as I have been reminded! My elders were also grateful; they noticed the change! Never too late, and such journeys help make a better society. But that was my experience; everyone’s is different. You the regular meditator might solve an important business problem, make amends for a past mistake, make the life of your community better, and so forth. All by learning to sit down quietly first.
From being a sceptic who questioned why anyone ever recommends a reasonable-duration meditation course, I now sit at the other end, keen to continue my own development to the calmer mind leading to a more responsive and responsible adult making contributions to a better community and society. It is fascinating that even the revered Bhagawad Gita dedicates an entire chapter to the topic of dhyana, meditation. In fact, several other ancient Hindu teachings now available in text form do.
Now, to summarize some of Swamiji’s words:
- Meditation cannot be understood without understanding the nature of Isvara, the Ultimate Consciousness.
- Isvara is the all pervasive “creator” or “manifestor” of the entire universe, the jagat.
- A forest pervades the tree; an ocean pervades the wave. A devotee has a similar relationship with Isvara, a relationship that is there all the time. It is an objective reality, which is why during meditation, you need to be relaxed, for relaxation cultivates objectivity.
- During meditation, we can invoke a form of the higher consciousness, as we understand it.
- Lord Krishna tells us that the nature of the mind is to move away, while the purpose of meditation is to bring it back.
- Knowledge is already there. You are merely removing ignorance of the self.
- A swami is one who has master of the mind. Everyone can become a swami.
- The padmasana, the cross-legged seated posture, will not guarantee a successful meditation; its only purpose is to make you comfortable.
- Pranaviksanam. Observing your breathing can be a very rewarding technique to quieten your mind.
- A mantra must be meaningful. You cannot chant some meaningless sound and call it a mantra.
Recently, Indic Academy organized a talk on Swamiji given that it is the fifth year since his passing.
This write-up is mainly to encourage those who have yet to start the journey of learning meditation basics, to go for it! It is a beautiful, serene, experience that gives the individual great comfort and strength to face challenges and obstacles in life with a clear calm mind. If you are of Indian descent, then you will also take comfort that these are very much the teachings passed on from your own ancestors who understood the connection to the higher consciousness. Regardless of your background, may you go forth on this beautiful journey of connectedness to Isvara.