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.

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