Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How to Meditate ?

What are the recommended times to meditate ? 

Recommended time is before dawn (between 3 and 6 AM, 'auspicious time is 4:30-5:15 AM'
Sathya Sai Speaks VI, 'Eyelids & The Pupil')

But regularity is most important. Swami also recommends a few minutes of meditation in the evening after dusk.


How to Meditate ? 

Baghwan Sathya Sai Baba.
 Swami told the students that you have to look at any object --flame, idol, or picture for 12 seconds with total concentration and without blinking eyelids. This is concentration (dharana). Twelve dharana concentrations make one meditation (dhyana). This means that meditation should last for 12x12 = 144 seconds. Thus, proper meditation need not last more than 2 minutes 24 secs. Twelve meditations equal one samadhi, which amounts to 12x144 seconds =  28 minutes 48 seconds.

Concentrating on flame,idol or picture for 12 seconds  - 1 Dharana
12 Dharanas                                                                       -  1 Meditation
12 Meditations                                                                    - 1 Samadhi

Meditation can be initiated by concentration on idol,picture or a flame

However, it is not something that one does by sitting for a couple of minutes or hours. Contemplation of the Lord should be always at all places. Sri Ramana Maharshi was once asked, "How long should one practice meditation? 15 or 30 or 45 minutes or an hour?' His reply was, 'You should continue doing it till you forget that you are meditating. As long as you are conscious (physically aware) that you are meditating, it is no meditation at all." The consciousness of body and mind and the thought of yourself should become totally extinct. The experience of only the object of your meditation should subsist, i.e. nothing else but the presence of divinity. The state of meditation is experiencing but without the consciousness that you are experiencing.

Posture for meditation

Sit on a special mat/piece of cloth/cushion that you use for prayers. This acts as an insulation for not earthing the body currents. Sit straight because, "when the body is straight and quiet, the mind is also straight and quiet. If you cannot control your body, how can you control your mind"
Relax the hands in two ways: (a) place hands in lap, with one palm on top of the other with thumbs touching at the tips or (b) rest your arms on your knees with the palms facing upward and the fingers in chin-mudra posture as shown. The symbolism of the fingers in this posture is explained in the section on soft repetition (japa).
To regulate the breath for Soham session, keep "the tip of the tongue gently on the rear of the teeth."
Sathya Sai Speaks XI, "Bhakti, Stage by Stage" ) 

Concentration, contemplation, and meditation  

There are the three stages: concentration, contemplation, and meditation. Gearing all the senses into action is concentration. Right from dawn to dusk, whatever activities we perform, they are done with concentration. There is a border between concentration, which is below senses, and meditation, which is beyond senses. This border is known as contemplation. When contemplation deepens, it moves naturally into meditation. Meditation is entirely above the senses; it transcends the senses.

A rose plant has leaves, thorns and flowers. Concentration helps you to identify as to where the thorns are and the flower is. To cut the love (rose flower) away from worldly desires (thorns) is contemplation. Concentration is identifying the various locations of the thorns and flowers by looking at the rose plant. To offer the flower, so cut, to the Lord is meditation.
In meditation, there are three aspects: the one who is doing the meditation (i.e. the subject), the object of meditation (i.e. God), and the act or process (i.e. the rapport that the subject is trying to establish with the object). 

Proper meditation or the culmination of meditation occurs when the three factors --meditator, object of meditation, and act of meditation-- coalesce and merge into one. In the state of meditation, the meditator, the object of his meditation and the process of meditation have fallen away and there is only One, and that One is God. All that may change has fallen away, and That Thou Art (Tat Twam Asi) is the state that exists. It is an experience of unity (without the meditator being conscious of himself). As one gradually returns to his customary and habitual state of consciousness, the lamp (jyothi) is again placed in the heart and kept lighted there throughout the day.
One should understand that what comes about in meditation as one moves deeply into it is not the thinking of the light but the forgetting of the body and thereby the direct experience that the body is not oneself. This is the stage of contemplation, when the body is totally forgotten. It cannot be forced. It comes about by itself and is the stage that naturally follows concentration. Vivekananda said that in meditation he was unable to find his body.
Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba, XLIX, by John Hislop )

Equipoise (samadhi) is the culmination of meditation; it transcends all states of physical consciousness: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. It is a state that transcends the mind; it is super consciousness --the intelligence is steady. Sama means balanced state, and dhee means the intellect. Samadhi means a balanced and steadied condition of the intellect --equal-minded in all circumstances, heat or cold, good or bad, joy or sorrow.
References: Some of the material in this section is paraphrased from two discourses (1978 and June 1989) as described in Sathya Sai Baba American Bal Vikas manual and Sathya Sai Newsletter, USA respectively.

Practicing concentration, contemplation

Assign the job of a watchman to the mind by following one of the practices described below in order to concentrate and contemplate more.

(1) Keep eyes half opened, and focused on the tip of the nose. Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right nostril with the right thumb. As the breath goes in, it utters So (meaning 'He'); then exhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril. As the breath goes out, it utters Ham (meaning 'I'). Inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately, conscious of the identity of He and I (yourself), which it asserts, until the breathing and the awareness grow into an unnoticed process. Keep the mind as a watchman to note the incoming and outgoing breaths, to listen with the inner ear to the Soham that the breath whispers and to witness the assertion of your being the Divine, which is the core of the Universe. 

Sathya Sai Speaks VII, "Questions Answered"

You could also chant Soham, inhaling So and exhaling Ham. Harmonize the breath and thought. ... If you have some flour on your palm, hold it near the nostrils, it should not get fluttered in the least; the breath has to be soft as that. The mood of relaxation produced by Sohamis a precondition for a profitable meditation session.
Sathya Sai Speaks V, "Japa, Sadhana"

(2) First, when you sit for meditation, recite a few verses on the glory of God, so that the agitated mind may be calmed. Then gradually, while repeating the Lord's name, draw before the mind's eye the form that that name represents. When your mind wanders away from the recital of the name, lead it onto the picture of the form. When it wanders from the form, lead it onto the name. Let it dwell either on one sweetness or the other. Treated thus, it can be easily tamed. The imaginary picture that you have drawn will get transmuted into the emotional picture, dear to the heart and fixed in the memory. Gradually, it will become the sakshathkarachitra (coming face to face with the Lord) when the Lord assumes that form in order to fulfill your desire. This spiritual discipline is called (Name-and-form meditation (japasahita dhyana). I advise you all to take it up, for it is the best form of meditation for beginners."
Sathya Sai Speaks X, 'Meditation'

(3) Alternatively, one should construe three types of pictures: imaginary, mental, and one based on feeling and actualization. When this Soham meditation has stabilized itself, you may start stabilizing in your mind the form of the Lord of your choice. Picture the form from head to foot, taking at least 15 to 20 minutes for it, dwelling on each part of the body and imprinting it clearly on the heart,and then proceed from foot to head in similar way. This will help to fix the form in the altar of the heart. Then, you will see in everyone that Form only; in all beings, you will find Him only. You will realize the One manifold as Many. I am He, Only He is (SivohamSoham)

Sathya Sai Speaks VII, "Questions Answered"

Hence, the meditation is that which would transform mind into the form and not vice-versa.

(4) Choose some base 'lamp' as the point of concentration. Seeing the light and moving the light here and there, in the meditator's body, is to give work to the mind, to keep the mind occupied in the right direction, so that the mind will not be thinking of this and that and thus interfering with the process of becoming more and more quiet. Spreading the light into its universal phase, sending the light into every other body, and when one is so concentrated in that that he is no longer conscious of his body, is the stage of contemplation. As contemplation deepens, the stage of meditation comes about of its own volition. It cannot be forced. If the meditator remains conscious of himself and that he is engaged in meditation, then he is not meditating but is still in the preliminary stage at the beginning of concentration.

Source : http://www.sathyasai.org/devotion/meditation.html


  1. I meditate once in a while to rest my mind and to become more focused on my work.