The Inward Journey Print
Written by Dr. Satish K. Kapoor   

 

Meditation is a step from the known into the unknown realms of existence. It is a journey from the periphery to the centre of one’s being. It is the broadening of one’s consciousness, the awakening of one’s dormant energies, and the rechristening of one’s propensities. Meditation is levitating upwards, not, of course, with the aid of some mechanical device, but through inner transformation. It is returning to the bosom of the One, from whom all existence emanates and finds sustenance, and into whom all existence melts, and gets reshaped again.
Meditation provides the alchemy which turns a Mahavira into a Jina (one who has conquered himself), and a Narendranatha into a Swami Vivekananda. It makes a person realise his virata rupa (extended self), his existence beyond existence, his oneness with the entire universe, and his mission on the terrestrial region.
 

Meditation takes one beyond the domain of the mind, the body and the senses. Mind is the centre of all activities, or as a psychologist would describe, the totality of conscious and unconscious cognitive processes. It has the faculty of reasoning, but it cannot go beyond it. It may be intelligent enough to interpret the external phenomena, but it cannot arrive at the source of intelligence. It has the power of willing but it cannot reach the source of the Supreme Will. Mind can shuttle between the good and the bad, the virtuous and the voluptuous, the minimum and the maximum, but it cannot be still, quiet, or in a state of beatitude. Meditation is controlling the fluctuations of the human mind so that its fissiparous tendencies are checked and regulated towards higher goals. The body is an instrument catering to the urges of the senses and the proclivities of the mind. It is the epicentre of all activities. But without prana or the moving power, it turns into a carcass. One who identifies oneself with the body remains busy in satisfying carnal desires. Sense-gratification leads to disharmony within, and makes one oblivious of the true goal of life. Meditation helps one to transcend from the plane of mushrooming desires to the plane of thorough contentment. The science of meditation finds a place in almost all religious traditions, though with varying emphases and objects of concentration. But the purpose appears to be the same i.e. to stem the tide of thought waves storming the ocean of mind, and to gain transcendental consciousness. In that supreme state of bliss, also called satori, one goes beyond ordinary sense perception, and finds the individual body in the cosmic body and individual mind in the cosmic mind. The ego sense melts away and the veil of ignorance is lifted, making the multiplicity of phenomena appear as one. The sluice gates of subtle energy open, and pervade the whole being of man.
Meditation is certainly not the expansion of one’s imagination. Imagination belongs to the domain of mind while meditative state takes one above it. Meditation is not even trance, a half-conscious state, or an unconscious cataleptic condition. It is rather the expansion of human consciousness. Meditation is not a state of somnolence or hypnosis but a state of awakening. It is the flowering of man beyond his cognitive ability.
Modern man is so absorbed in the world of the senses that he has forgotten his real self. While the “Outer man” is nourished with material comforts, the inner man is being starved of spiritual solace. Stressful life-style, mounting desires, growing competition and decline in moral values - these and other factors have lead to tension, fear, frustration or crime. The new social milieu born of materialist culture, has affected not only the behaviour of each person but also the collective consciousness of society.
Meditation is the way, the tao to peace and progress, both in this and the next world. It may be noted that any improvement in human society ought to be preceded by an improvement in each person, for he is the society in miniature. If the components are dull ignorant, disillusioned or dehumanised, society is bound to remain deprived of its full potential and creative ability. It has been rightly said that the solution to behavioural problems which create murky situations is “to raise individual and collective consciousness to such a high level of coherence that all actions by every other person simultaneously fulfil both his own needs and the needs of society.”
The one who following Lord Krishna sees himself in all beings and all beings in himself, makes no distinction between high and low, native and foreign, humble or exalted. He finds everything around him as an extension of his own self, and is thus dissuaded from greedy acts, crime and the like. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi observed: “In enlightenment, when everything is experienced as identical with one’s own consciousness, the possibility of doing harm becomes zero; there is no one else to do harm to”
Scientific studies have shown that meditation can be of great help in producing a state of no-tension, and in restoring health and harmony to the human organism. Since majority of the diseases from which modern man suffers, are psychosomatic in origin, meditation is the key remedy for treatment. The deep state of rest that one gets during ten minutes of meditation is far better than six hours of sleep. As one moves from the circumference to the centre of one’s consciousness, the mind gets activated in the process. This leads to a marked improvement in the psychomotor abilities of a person.
During meditation, there is a decrease in oxygen consumption, cardiac output and breath-rate, resulting in a revitalised organism. Increase in the electrical activity of the brain stimulates the cranial nerves and sharpens one’s ratiocinative ability. This also helps in bringing about an attitudinal change in the adept, who becomes emotionally more stable and mentally more orderly.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali enumerate seven steps to Samadhi. These are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana.
Yama and Niyama are ethical commandments to be observed by the aspirant. The former include such principles as ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (continence) and aparigraha (non-covetousness). The latter incorporate shaucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (modification), svadhyaya (study of the self), and ishvarapranidhana (resignation to the supreme will).
After the vicious tendencies of the body and the mind are controlled, the aspirant is required to make his body thoroughly fit with the help of asanas or bodily postures and pranayama or breathing exercises.
Next, the mind is turned inwards, as in Shanmukhi mudra, by withdrawing it from sensory objects. This is Pratyahara, the fifth stage in Yoga.
It is followed by Dharana, or concentration on an object whether formless or with form; and then by Dhyana or concentration. When all mental distractions disappear and the mind becomes one-pointed, it attains the state called Samadhi, observes Patanjali. In this state, one finds the unity between finite and the infinite, discerning and the non-discerning, phenomenan and the noumenon. In the Savikalpa form of Samadhi, the devotee and deity remain separate. But in the Nirvikalpa form, they become one.
At a time when humanity is endangered by thermonuclear war, when families are breaking-up, and majority of people suffer from stress and strain, the practice of meditation can bring about harmony and peace. Meditation helps a person to come out of the vortex of ego-centric consciousness, to sublimate his passions, channelise his mental faculties and integrate his personality. Awakening, summum bonum of meditation, turns a Siddhartha into a Buddha, who then becomes the instrument of change in society. In the inimitable words of Osho: “The word ‘meditation’ and the word ‘medicine’ come from the same root. Medicine cures your body, meditation cures your being; it is the inner medicine.”
From Swami Vivekananda and Swami Yogananda, the earliest exponents of yoga in the west who taught non-physical types of yoga such as Bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion), janma yoga (yoga of knowledge), Karma yoga (yoga of action), Raja yoga (yoga of control of mind), Mantra yoga (yoga of sound), Laya yoga (yoga of rhythm), or Kriya yoga (combined practice of austerity, scriptural study and devotion to god) to B.K.S. Iyenger disciple of the celebrated yogi, Turmalai Krishnamachrya, who focussed on Haaha yoga (yoga of physical discipline), to Bikrama Choudhary who patented a new form of yoga in America called Bikram yoga (Hot yoga, in common parlance) performed at 1050F (45.50 C), to Baba Rama Deva whose Prana yoga camps (shiviras) and T.V. shows have gained immense popularity in India and aboad, yoga has come a long way from its chaste, pristine and orthodox form and adopted new styles ranging from the aesthetic (as that of Bharat Thakur), to the cantankerous (Rock yoga), the giggling (Hasya yoga), the shapely (as in Shilpa Shetty’s DVD) the macho (characterised by fast exercises), and many more. The patented Sudarshan Kriya of Shri Shri Ravi Shankara, a rejuvenating and cleansing technique marked by scientific-breathing and physical exercises, for the well being of mind, body and soul, has been tried by nearly 15 lakh people in 140 countries of the world. The Raja yoga of Brahma kumaris (different from Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga) has gained worldwide popularity for it focuses on the achievement of peace and bliss in a society riddled with tensions and conflicts. Yoga, today, is being used more for beauty and fitness, cure of diseases, removing toxins or fat from the human body, increasing libido, eliminating stress or sharpening memory than for self realisation which is its ultimate goal. Of the eight limbs of yoga, described by the sage Patanjali, as yama (‘restraint’), niyama (‘observances’), asana (‘postures’), pranayama (‘breath-regulation’), pratyahara (‘withdrawal’), dharana (‘concentration’), dhyana (‘meditation’) and samadhi (union with supreme Being), only two limbs, asana and pranayama, involving physical postures and breathing techniques, are being emphasised. Yoga has become a marketable commodity and the number of corporate yogis is fast on the increase. Yet, the presence of yoga, even in its unorthodox forms, is an indirect recognition of the wisdom of the Hindu sages of the past.
 

Ex-British Council Scholar,
Secretary, Dayanand Institutions,
Raviwar Peth,
Solapur (Maharashtra).

 
< Prev   Next >

Ezine Login


You can register to DAV Ayurveda Ezine for absolutely Free..

DAV's Ayurveda for Holistic Health
ISSN 2348-6910 Volume - 1 , Issue: 28 , September 2015

Home arrow Sep 2010 arrow The Inward Journey

Editorial Board

Chief Patron
Shri Punam Suri
President, DAV College Managing Committee,
New Delhi.

Patron
Dr. S. K. Sama
Vice President, DAV College Managing Committee,
New Delhi.

Chief Editor
Dr. Raj Kumar Sharma
Principal, Dayanand Ayurvedic College,
Jalandhar.
Ph: +91-9814204443

Editor
Dr. Sanjeev Sood
Ph. : +91-9814004142

Executive Editor
Dr. Anup K. Gakkhar

Executive Manager (circulation)
Dr. Anil Gakkhar

Design: Reflex Infosystems