- Meditation bestows on us the Godly and divine qualities like knowledge, wisdom, strength, happiness, bliss, sympathy, love, patience, tolerance, freedom, fearlessness, vitality and brightness etc. With the destruction of bad samskaras (impressions), good samskaras are formed; there is control over mind and senses, and concentration, memory and wisdom increases. Ultimately one realises Isvara and thereafter obtains success in all physical-worldly tasks.
- If we do not practice dhyana then we can not remove bad samskaras of the past. We get afflicted by physical and mental diseases and are unable to obtain the ultimate goal of our life, that is, separation from all sorrows. We can not imbibe the divine qualities like sympathy, love, patience, sacriice, zestfulness, independence and fearlessness. We are unable to accept and follow the conducts of righteousness, ideals and justice. We are unable to get peace and relaxation, or concentrate and control the mind. It is mentioned in ‘Manusmrti’ that the person who does not meditate daily in the early morning and dusk, should be separated from the category of cultured to and transferred to uncultured. That is why those who do not meditate are accumulating sin and are punished by Isvara. It is not true that the dhyana should only be done by aged people. Dhyana should be practised from childhood onwards.
- By receiving the true knowledge about Isvara, through guidance of teachers that impart true knowledge, by following rules and restrictions, and keeping the body healthy in general, by practising daily dhyana and vairagya (non-attachment) towards world, one obtains success in dhyana.
- Those who do not accept the existence of Isvara, do not receive the benefit of dhyana. Devotion and a keen interest and faith towards Isvara are necessary for a meditative person. In dhyana, the practitioner’s faith should be innocent, like that of a child, who cheers when thrown into the air, and does not fear, knowing that we would not let any harm befall it.
- For dhyana, the mind should be happy and devoid of any form of grievances, disturbances, attachments or hatred. One can also meditate at home. However, forests, mountains, rivers, farms and fields etc., that is, calm and clean places away from home and close to nature are the hotspots where the state of concentration is entered naturally, leading the mind into a state of dhyana.
- In those places, one should remain seated with eyes closed in a stable and comfortable posture. The state of dhyana is facilitated by sitting on the floor (or ground). However, one can even meditate sitting in a chair or lying in the bed, if necessary. Sitting in a posture, one should begin with pranayama (breathing practices) in order to control the fickleness of mind and bring it in a calm state. After seggregation of the senses from their subjects, one should concentrate on regions like the forehead, the heart (or the chest cavity), neck etc. and begin the dhyana (meditation) with vaidika mantras like Aum. In this state of dhyana, the mind is not completely devoid of thoughts. It is happily filled with thoughts of the Isvara and his pervasion into this Universe. During dhyana or meditation itself, it is not necessary to make a ‘point’, or the sun or moon or any illuminating substance (such as a candle’s flame) as the centre of dhyana. But for the beginners, these abstractions can be used as a medium for achieving requisite training for achieving the concentration required for dhyana.
- By chanting Gayatri like vedic hymns and mantras, the mind and buddhi (intellect) is cleansed of impurities, and sraddha (faith) and competence to accept, understand and follow dharma (principle of righteousness) increases. Continuous practice of dhyana leads to samadhi. The sadhaka or practicioner gains the ability to perform all the activities related to worldly conduct determinedly and effortlessly.
- The practicioner who meditates on the blissful, brilliant and peaceful Isvara dissolves the memory of the self and gets absorbed into the Aunkara. At that time, the practicioner can only feel the divine blissful form of Isvara. This is the sadhana (practice) towards realising the formless Brahma. As it is said- Atmano vismrti reva samadhiriti kathyate.
- Many different dhyana techniques are acceptable in today’s global spiritual and health sector. Amongst them, only the technique that is traditionally prescribed and is compatible with the Vedas is considered authentic.: Pramanyamavir odhansetadabhave,pramanyata. This means that all the hundreds of techniques that do not confirm with the Vedas will not lead to Isvara realisation. Only the authentic method of dhyana leads to Isvara. Isvara is formless. Therefore, anyone who believes that He has form and meditates on His hands, legs, eyes, ears and mouth, is liable to fail in the practise of Isvara realization. One can only realise Isvara through His instructions in the form of pristine Vedic knowledge, and performance of desireless action and faithful worship prescribed therein.
- We should be determined that dhyana is possible for formless objects. Physical things not visible in our perceptions can also be cognised, like the air, or the radio waves of mobile and televison communication etc. We can not see the electron, proton etc. but visualise their qualities and cognise them. The trick lies in cognising the formless object and dhyana of its formless form through the medium of its attributes. Isvara does not have physical attributes like appearance, colour etc but is an omnipresent manifestation of Consciousness. Isvara is the Creator, of the form of bliss itself, possesses infinite knowledge and strength, is fearless and dispenses justice. These are some of His attributes whose thoughtful consideration may be considered as dhyana of Isvara Himself.
- Any object should be meditated upon as it is, i.e. considered accurately with whatever qualities, actions or behaviours it possesses or demonstrates. Just as water can not be drunk imagining it as milk, likewise the formless Isvara cannot be meditated by bounding Him in a shape. The Isvara dhyana that considers Him in a form cannot give us the true happiness and peace we receive in accurately considering Him in formlessness. To consume salt as a sweet dish is ignorant. Likewise meditating on the formless Isvara in a shape is considered ignorant.
- Objects whose physical form is unknown cannot be meditated upon. That which is manifest directly in physical form is also considered unworthy of dhyana. Illusions about the attributes of the meditative object, or deceptive or false knowledge regarding it, are also considered hinderances in the path of dhyana.
(Excerpted from the book Divine Transformation: Building Blocks for Englightened Life, Ideal Nation & Peaceful World by Acharya Balakrishna)