By Prof. Dr. Anil Kumar Rai
Meditation is a process of:
Clearing the Mind.
Watching the Mind
Controlling the Mind.
Meditation is an attribute of the witness, the witness can be God, Self, Awareness, Consciousness, etc.
Mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thought processes are influenced by our desires. The desire factors decides the quality of mind.
The simple meaning of Meditation is doing nothing.
Meditation is a process in which there is no need to do anything, you only have to be.
By the help of mind itself, we can – minimize the thought process – control the thought process and eventually we can – nullify thought process.
At that stage of nil thought process, we will be completely “aware”, “concentrated” and “full of energy”.
We can find out which organs of our body is producing what secretions. But we cannot identify from where the thought process
arises and how our mind gets engaged in our thoughts. This process can only be understood, experienced by meditation.
The process of meditation cannot be caged into few steps. It is a process of freeing mind. There is no standard technique for meditation as such. It cannot be forced.
Here, there is no measurements, no quantification, no strict rules.
“Freedom” “peace” “complete awareness” are the keywords here.
Read related: Importance Of Soul In Perception Of Knowledge: Atma Jnana
Common meditation technique
Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back.
Observe Ajna charka ( in-between eye brows) or Anahata charka (region of heart).
You can concentrate on any other area. But the text books say that the above two areas are the easiest ones.
When thoughts arise, you don’t judge them, do not analyze them but just observe them .
Continue to do so as often as you need to.
When we just observe the thoughts, without judging them and analyze them, the intensity of thoughts decreases. Mind starts becoming light. Mind starts relaxing more, without thinking much.
When we are conscious, in our daily routine, we are always taught to analyze and judge people, incidence etc. This is right, that person is wrong, that should not have happened, this must happen etc.
But when you sit for meditation, it is not the time to judge or analyze. It is time for your mind to relax and let go of those thought processes.
Read related: How Knowledge Is Gained Through Sense Organs?
Basic components of Meditation
Again, these are not rules. These are just general guidelines. Sit in Padmasana, with crossed legs, arms stretched, resting on the knees, with Jnana Mudra (see the picture). Spine erect. Eyes closed and concentrating on – between-the-eye-brows or at the heart.
You can also sit on a chair, if you are not comfortable in Padmasana.
Any time of the day is fine. But early in the morning or at night is preferred time.
Place Any place is fine. But if there is good light, good air circulation, it will be better, devoid of noise.
Mudra (Symbolic hand gestures) – Jnana Mudra.
Dhyana and Jnana Mudras are commonly used during meditation.
Please remember Mudra, time, place etc are not as important as – lessening the thoughts when you have closed the eyes.
Stages of Meditation
Pure mind in the first phase, the thoughts weaken and become less. Mind becomes pure
Quiet mind In the second phase, the mind becomes quiet and less active. It becomes more concentrated and you will start experiencing inner peace.
No mind At this stage, your mind does not judge anything, it does not analyze anything. Your inner-self (excluding all the thought bundles) gets expressed. You will experience absolute truth, you will experience absolute peace. You will experience everlasting happiness and contentment.
Read related: Jnana and Karma Indriyas: Organs Of Sense And Function
Benefits of Meditation
– Increases Self Awareness
– Keeps stress-free mind
– Increases your attention space
– Increases immunity and helps fight diseases
– Makes you & those around you happier
– Improves functioning of brain
– Helps to get good sleep
– Reduce ageing
– Helps to appreciate life more
– Increases metabolism and helps lose weight
– Helps you feel more connected
– Happiness increases
– Gain clarity and peace of mind.
Questions on Meditation
How many times in a day should we meditate?
Once or twice a day.
How long meditate?
In the beginning, you may have to drag yourself to sit for meditation forcefully. You may feel difficulties. But if you persevere diligently, at least for 15 minutes in a day, the hard work of sitting still without thoughts will start yielding results. And you will start enjoying it more and can sit for even longer hours. What food can be taken before and after meditation? Food is not directly related to mind. You can take veg or non veg. But in the initial stages, when you are trying to concentrate hard, vegetarian diet is preferred.
Read related: For Good Health And A Calm Mind – Control Your Tongue
Is it better if we meditate after taking a bath in the morning?
Taking bath injects energy and freshness to mind, hence it is very useful to meditate after bath. But this is not a strict rule.
What is the role of Guru (Master) at meditation?
Guru is important to guide you in the right path. To take you through
the different stages of meditation life, to clear your doubts, to help you in your progress.
If you are not sure of how to find a Guru, do not force yourself to find one. Just start with meditation. Either your meditation, inner strength will bless you with a Guru, or you will reach the summit without a Guru. Your intuition itself will guide in the right path of light.
We feel bored with meditation?
In the initial stages, when you try to control mind, the mind may rebut your efforts leading to bodyache, boredom, lack of concentration etc. Perseverance, hard work always yields results. This is true, even in case of meditation.
How will I know how much progress I have made in meditation?
The clearance of thoughts, improvement of memory, concentration, inner peace, better mind power are a few indicators of success in meditation
Can we see God by practicing meditation?
Yes, it is possible.
After doing all this, how will I know that I have become focused? The clearance of thoughts, improvement of memory, concentration, inner peace, better mind power are a few indicators of success in meditation.
Read related: Foods That Increase Sattva, Rajas, Tamas: Srimad Bhagavat Geeta
What is yoga?
Charaka Samhita Shareera Sthana 1/138-139
Happiness and miseries are felt due the contact of the soul, the sense organs, mind and the objects of senses. Both these type of sensations disappear when the mind is concentrated and contained in the soul and the supernatural powers in the mind and body are attained. This state is known as yoga. According to sages well versed in this science.
SALVATION – Moksha
Charaka Samhita Shareera Sthana 1st Chapter
Moksha or salvation is nothing but an absolute detachment of all contacts by virtue of the absence of rajas and tamas in the mind and anihilation of effects of potent past actions. This is a state after which there is no more physical and mental contacts.
Yoga and Moksha
Charaka Samhita Shareera Sthana 1st Chapter
Recurrence of all sensation is checked through yoga and moksa. The absolute eradication of sensation is attained through moksa. The yoga is a means to attain moksa.
Desire to get away from the worldly trap;
Absence of egoistic disposition;
Being afraid of contacts of the soul ,the mind and the body ;
Anihilation of the effects of past actions;
Concentration of the mind and intellect in the soul ;
Review of spiritual facts.
All this can be attained by virtue of the constant remembering of the fact the soul is different from the body and the latter has nothing to do with the former.
Prof. Dr. Anil Kumar Rai
Professor and Head of Department of
Mansa Roga (Psychiatry)
Alva’s Ayurveda Medical College, Moodbidri, Karnataka
He is available for consultation in this place.
Email: [email protected]
Ghee for Meditation
Cow ghee is considered very Satvik. Cow ghee is used in Homa – fire ritual. Lighting the lamp with ghee is considered as holistic and auspicious. Ghee is explained as Medhya – improves memory, intelligence and concentration. It promotes positive mindset. It improves concentration, makes the mind to seek spiritual matters and keeps mind away from worldly distraction.
If you have trouble concentrating during meditation, try the below method:
a. Take a teaspoon of ghee and drink half a cup of lukewarm water, 20 minutes before your meditation session.
b. Apply a few drops of the ghee to the center part of your scalp. You can even apply a couple of drops of it over your forehead with gentle massage for 1 – 2 minutes.
As per Ayurveda, aggravated Vata is the cause for lack of concentration. Ghee in the stomach calms down Vata Dosha. It provides stability to mind and body and keeps distractions away.
You can notice the difference instantly. Some meditators find it hard to sit in a steady posture for a long period of time. For them, the above method will help immensely. In about 3- 5 days time of following the above remedy, you will be able to sit stable during meditation, with calm, cool and composed mind.
Give it a try.