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Dhyana Yoga
How can he, who surrenders to the internal
enemies ever vanquish the external foes?
Man becomes blessed when he cognises the
Truth.
T
he mind derives its Sanskrit name manas
because it is continually engaged in the
process of manana or thinking. Impulses are generated
in the mind. Very often, however, the mind is led astray
by conflicting impulses that are generated in it. The fickle
nature of the mind acts as an impediment to man’s
spiritual progress; therefore, it is imperative that every
spiritual aspirant gains control over his mind if he is to
drench himself in the delight of his soul.
The mind travels faster than even the wind. Just
as we apply brakes to halt a fast-moving vehicle, we
have to curb the flow of our thoughts.
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Arjuna prayed to Krishna to teach him the art of
mind control, in answer to which Krishna elaborated
on the subject. The mind is strong and mighty. It carries
with it the accumulated tendencies of innumerable births
and therefore, tries to gain dominance over the soul.
But with such a mind, running amuck with desires, it is
impossible for man to attain Divinity.
The mind is like a bee. Though small in size, a
bee can bore its way through thick wood or even through
a human body as it did in the case of Karna. However,
such a bee, when it sits on the lotus to suck the sweet
honey contained therein, gets caught within the delicate
petals of the flower as they close around it and finds it
impossible to escape. Similarly, our attempt to conquer
the mind is bound to prove futile unless it is led to the
Lotus-like-form of the Lord, wherein it gets eternally
trapped.
The sixth chapter of the Gita is entitled
Atmasamyama Yoga or the yoga of controlling the Atma.
This is a misnomer in as much as it is neither necessary
nor possible to control the immaculate, eternal
embodiment of the Truth—the Atma. The word Atma in
this chapter of the Gita has been used to denote the mind.
In the Atmasamyama Yoga, the art of mind control is
dealt with in elaborate detail. Dhyana is mentioned here
as the principal means to achieve control over the mind.
In the Atmasamyama Yoga, Krishna emphasises
the need for maintaining absolute cleanliness at the place
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where meditation is practised. It is not your house or
the forest that is to be kept clean, but the immediate
surroundings of the place where you perform meditation
that should be kept clean. The jiva dwells in the body
whilst the Lord resides in the heart. Therefore, as
meditation is not so much performed in external environs
as it is within the heart—it being an internal process—
it is more vital to rid the heart of all impurities and render
it a fit abode for God. In our daily lives, when we have
to sit somewhere, we choose a clean place and cover
the ground with a handkerchief or a newspaper. Such
being the care we take in cleaning a place to sit in for
ourselves, the need for keeping the heart clean to seat
the Lord therein and to achieve the purpose of meditation,
is all the more important. The necessity for man to cleanse
his heart arises because of the taints of thamas and rajas
that have been associated with him over several births.
There are three states relating to the mind:
soonyathwa (emptiness), anekagrata (simultaneous
pulls of multiple thoughts), and ekagrata (onepointedness). These three states are referable to and arise
from the three gunas in man. While thamo guna
(indolence) brings about a blankness in the mind, rajo
guna (the quality inducing animated action) provokes
the mind into wandering hither and thither. Sathwa guna
(the quality that promotes the sacred aspects of human
life) stills the mind into one-pointed contemplation.
Thus, it is only those who cultivate sathwa guna that
can undertake meditation with ease.
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When we think of meditation, three things are
involved, First, there is the person who meditates, the
dhyata; secondly, there is the object of meditation
dhyeya; and thirdly, there is the process of meditation
itself, dhyana. In true meditation, all these three should
merge. The person who is meditating should identify
himself totally with the object of meditation and should
be unaware of even the fact that he is meditating. When
he is meditating, his attention should be so rivetted to
the dhyeya that he loses his own identity and forgets
his involvement in the action (dhyana), too.
Meditation is often misunderstood to be the same
as concentration. Concentration is essential for ordinary
sensory perceptions and it is something that we have
and utilise while performing the most ordinary and