It was the summer of 1992 that Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda asked me to take up the work of Acarya. Sandipani Sadhanalaya. Mumbai for the ninth Vedanta course. On seeking His blessings and guidance for the completion of this work and also to get guidance for conducting the morning meditation classes, Pujya Gurudeva said in few words that, "You relax and let the Lord take over you." This became the guiding instructions for the students of Sandipani Sadhanalaya every morning in their meditation class for over two years.
Ms. Kamala Deshpande of Canada used to write down the entire talk and instructions given each day after the class. Similarly Mrs. Saraswati Doraisvami of Delhi also had been compiling such meditation sessions while I was in Delhi and various Spiritual Camps on a tape-recorder. The bulk of the present book is the tireless effort of theirs who with great devotion and sincerety helped me in giving final shape to this book. It is expected that the seeker of Truth has some fundamental knowledge of Vedanta Sastra so that he is able to grasp thoughts presented in each guideline.
The composition of the whole book was done by Sameer, Shalaka and Sumati as their devotion and offering to Pujya Gurudeva.
The proof-reading, formatting and editorial help was rendered by Sri. V. M. Puri, a great devotee of Pujya Gurudeva and a qualified proof-reader with devotion and dedication.
The readers are expected to study this book again and again slowly and steadily assimilating each facet presented in it. Do not try to finish it in one reading to know everything about meditation so that we can guide others. Let it be a life-long regular study and keep the divine thoughts alive to attain thought-free knowledge.
I offer this as my Meditation unto Pujya Gurudeva.
Swami Anubhavanandaji during the period from 1990-93 while at Chinmaya Mission, Delhi, had been holding meditation sessions in the mornings as also imparting instructions on meditation in various spiritual camps conducted by him. All the talks were tape- recorded by me initially for my own use, benefit and reference. There was a constant pressure to bring out these instructions in a book form from those devotees who could not attend the meditations sessions and the spiritual camps regularly. I was, therefore, prompted to transcribe these recorded talks which were later updated on the basis of notes meticulously recorded after each talk in the class by Mrs. Kamal Deshpande of Canada, who attended the two-year vedanta course at Sandipani Sadhanalaya, Mumbai conducted by Swamiji.
The instructions on meditation by Swamiji are now being brought out in a book form to meet the long outstanding demand by the devotees. We do hope that true seekers of truth will immensely benefit from its regular and repeated study and practise as advised by Swamiji in His Foreword.
In this edition, diacritical marks are used for transliteration of sanskrta words in the commentary. Non-english words have been italicised. This will help readers to identify and pronounce the words correctly.
The English plural's' has been added to the untranslated sanskrta words after a hyphen (-) to show that it is not elemental to the words e.g. manta-s, veda-s rsi-s etc. Macrons are used on the last letter namely a, i of such words to lengthen the quantity of sound in consonance with the pronunciation.
A key to the transliteration and pronunciation is added in the beginning of the book.
Meditation is an inward movement within the consciousness by the consciousness itself. It is a journey by the one to the one all alone without any landmarks, directions, or a fellow traveller unto infinite. Hence, meditation cannot be described as either a verb where action is predominant or a noun where the actor is important. We may say that it is an action without an actor or an actor without an action. At the same time, meditation is both a verb as well as noun. It becomes a verb when control of matter is the part the seeker is struggling and a noun when the seeker is trying to recognise his essential nature. Both are equally important wings for the Dawn of Realisation.
If we want to know the different types and methods of meditation, it can end up in a peculiar equation as given below:
Number of meditators x Number of types of meditations done by each one of them = The total possible methods of meditations.
In short, no meditation is ever repeated. For that purpose, no experience has any repeatability because everything in this world is unique and it holds good for meditation also. This may sound as if the teacher is trying to avoid any questions regarding meditation. - But this is not so. On the contrary, the teacher is telling the truth. For e.g. even if we take our car for a drive between same two destinations for years together, every driving is a unique experience and we cannot generalise this by any particular parameter.
One of the most difficult task every spiritual seeker faces is that he becomes extremely objective in his pursuit on the seat of meditation. By the objectiveness of the pursuit, what is meant is:
a) Trying to objectify the experience and thereby wanting to repeat it.
b) Thinking in terms of gains in the material life as a result of meditation.
c) Importance of self effort and struggle on the seat of meditation is considered as a sincerety.
d) Meditation exercises are kept independent of the other total life that is lived throughout the day and night as it is possible in the material pursuits.
e) If there is excessive dependence on one's efforts as one extreme case, there is another excessive dependence on the grace of the Lord or the Teacher thereby leading to lethargy and indolence as a spiritual practice.
f) Trying to quantify the progress in meditation on the standards of material parameters.
Therefore, the seeker of truth should understand the wholistic approach in spirituality which will definitely help every seeker to reach the goal. The components of the wholistic spiritual life are:
The yama sadhana indicated in the Patanjala Yoga Darsana which is basically a guideline for our relationship with the world and the people around us. This relationship and interactions should be such that we do not create any load of relationship with the people and dependence on various objects in this world for our day-to-day living. The yama sadhana is meant for conquering the annamaya kosa i.e. gross body while functioning through the gross body in this world.
The niyama sadhana aims at controlling our relationship with ourselves in such a manner that we do not remain or become a problem for ourselves. This is the most important practice where we can protect us from ourselves. This practise helps us conquering pranamaya kosa and its expression as various activities which helps us in keeping ourselves creatively occupied and no more become victimised by excess of time at our disposal.
The stability of posture at the body level and quietening the mind through loma-viloma pranamaya helps the seeker to focus his attention away from the world and is now focussed on the quality of the mind. These practices help us in controlling the manomaya kosa and the qualitative, dynamic, silent mind is created [as if] which is very essential for further enquiry into the self. This practice also helps in withdrawal from external stimuli and habitual thinking which most of the seekers are unable to handle with ease. One of the most difficult thing to manage our mind is to stoop projects, formulations and projections thereon. The mind also has the tendency to bring something of the past in the most unexpected manner and take possession of the seeker. Hence, these practices help on both the fronts of past memorised and future projections.
The mind runs in three parameters viz. Place, time and objects. These three avenues of the mind are required to be nailed into one common parameter which is beyond the influence of these three. And it could be none other than the self. Hence, the practice of dharana for holding the mind in the same place such as the heart etc., is advised in Yoga sastra. The mind is nailed to the divine theme either a name or a form or the essence of the self so that it doesn't run away in different objects. And finally, the mind is held in the same place on the same thing for a longer period of time called practise of samadhi, helps in winning over the third parameter. In this manner, the practise of dharana, dhyana and samadhi helps in controlling the mind. Such a controlled mind is called a sanyamit manah. Without achieving this sayyam, recognition of the self which is as thought free process is not possible.
The present book on guided meditations is an attempt to help the seeker get appropriate pointers in dealing with different areas of self control and self recognition that has to be achieved by every seeker while on the seat of meditation.
This book is divided into four parts and the former repairs the seeker and qualifies him to enter the subsequent stages in meditation.
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