Narsimha purana mentions meditation as dhyana (nidhidhyasana) : continuous flow of thought towards an object. Note the term flow of thought.
The popular conception is : meditation is onepointedness on a particular object(more often a scene ).The method usually prescribed is :
- Calm your mind
- Focus on your favorite object
- Try to hold on to it.
- Make use of props like symbol OM
- Or some serene music
- Or some preach think as to all negative energy flow out of your system like smoke
- Many more such concepts which are not in sync with Purana.
let us analyze these before arriving at correct meaning of meditation.
Can our minds be calmed through effort ?
According to upanishads :
Mind is everwandering ,it is chanchal by nature. It keeps switching between thoughts sometimes without link.
Consider a monkey , a restless creature. What if this monkey has drunk loads of wine.it becomes unstable , its actions are unpredictable.And if this monkey is bit by scorpion , it is going to jump from pillar to post without any control ,creating havoc in the neighborhood.
Mind is like this monkey which has drunk the wine of ego(ahankara /mada) upon that it is bit by the scorpion of jealousy(asuya).it jumps from pillar to post to acquire the objects of its desire.(moha). This monkey called mind is additionally caught in greed(lobha).
Is it really possible to bring such a monkey under control ?virtually impossible without the help of other agencies.If we say we can bring ourselves out of this mind delusion ,then this monkey should be able to calm himself without external help. This is unimaginable.
So the first point itself seems dizzy (calm your mind /de-stress ).
Focus, on what ? can u hold a static scene in my mind ? It is against the nature of mind.
Hold on to it , what purpose is it going to solve ,well holding on to object of desire gives control over object of desire. But is that the goal of meditation.
Make use of OM , does this calm the mind , definitely not. Music is a definite disturbance , moreover if I am restless over a issue in the office or my business , no props are going to calm my mind except solution to my issue.
Drive out negative energy : in a happy frame of mind , especially when I am riding a horse named success, temporarily I feel I can control my mind and feel as though driving away unwanted thoughts. This is not meditation.
So what is meditation.
Ashtanga Yoga starts with
Yama : discipline like getting up early ,cleanliness
- niyama : satya (speaking truth), asteya,(not stealing),tushti(being satisfied)
- asana :posture padmasana , veerasana,sukhasana.
- pratyahara : turning your mind away ,
- pranayama: breathing techniques. Rechaka ,puraka, kumbhaka,
- dharana :
- samadhi .
The first five are preparatory towards the meditation. It helps in bringing the person to a state of mind to practise anything that he wants to? Whether he can sustain with his markata mind.!
To sustain he should undertake Pranayama.
Two types of pranayama. :keval and sagarbha,
Kevala is without any mantra and sagarbha is with mantra like dasha pranava gayatri with bramhashirasa etc.
Remembering Hari and vayu in kumbhaka is what the secret behind sustaining the concentration.This ignites narsimha jwala in the hrudaya that burns away all the sins.
The hrudaya that we are talking about is one found in sushumna and not the heart organ.
When the mind is pure , sense organs satisfied , chitta is still ,the mind can contemplate on the known issues. Known through sense organs . Nothing new can be contemplated of which we do not have knowledge. Hence to contemplate , we need knowledge about GOD. This is obtained by shravana , ie. Listening to the Guru.
Guru teaches as various qualities of GOD. Student has to contemplate, manana
Manana gives rise to doubts. Doubts have to be cleared by Guru.
Once doubts are cleared ,the topic on which we have contemplated becomes steadfast,it cannot disappear from mind. When we repeatedly contemplate on this steadfast knowledge , we experience difficulty in holding on to this contemplation, this phase is known as Dharana.
When this contemplation is continuous without break it is called Dhyana.
When in dhyana if we are not able to hear external sounds then it is Samadhi.
However in the astanga , each one is superior to the previous eg niyama is superior to yama , pranayama is superior to asana pratyahara. Dhyana is superior to pranayama etc.
Dhyana can be done only on few qualities of God that we know of; but swadhyaya gives more knowledge of the God. Hence once should ever engage in the study of sashtras (swadhyaya) . It yields more punya than dhyana. Above all Adhyaapan , teaching the shastras , leads even more punya than swadhyaya, because it spreads the message of the GOD. Lord loves those more who speak about him.
Thus Sage Mudgal says, "with two hands raised above shoulders , I declare that there is nothing in this world greater than Narayana(earlier now or in the future), knowing which nothing in this three worlds is impossible to achieve."
" Alodya shastrani cha punah punaha ,nasti narayana samo devo ,
na bhuto na bhavishyati Yetena satyavakyena sarvarthan sadhyamyaham"