Concentration by Swami Krishnananda

Baba Times Digest© | 25 March 2014 17:14 EST | New York Edition


Divine Life Society Publication: Yoga and Meditation by Swami Krishnananda

Concentration is of three forms.

A. Concentration on External Points:

The mind is accustomed to think of external objects only; so, it would be dangerous to suddenly cut off the mind from external objects. You should not try to concentrate on internal centers in the beginning of your practice.

You must pick an external object that you have an interest in; that you have a love for. Believers in God usually try to concentrate on an external picture or symbol of God. You may keep a portrait of Lord Krishna or Jesus Christ in front of you, and gaze at the picture with open eyes. Where the eyes are, there the mind also is. You are not looking merely at a painted picture, but at a symbol of a living personality. So, when you gaze at a picture of Christ or Krishna, you immediately feel in your mind the qualities that these personalities were endowed with.

After three or four minutes of gazing at the picture, close your eyes and mentally imagine the picture. Concentrate on the form you saw. Continue this internal concentration as long as your mind is not disturbed. If, after a few minutes of closed-eyes meditation, you feel that the mind is wandering, then again open the eyes and look at the picture. After, again, gazing the picture for a few minutes, close the eyes again to habituate the mind to internal meditation.

Practice this process for a few months until you can concentrate without a picture. When you can concentrate, merely by closing the eyes, on the form of the portrait, without the external support of a painted picture, you have achieved the first success in meditation.

Feel that this internal picture is not merely in one place, but is in every place. When you begin to feel a uniform presence in all places, the mind ceases from all distraction. The other method to bring about this harmony of mental perception is to think of the vast space. Inasmuch as space is everywhere, you try to concentrate on all directions at one time. You can also concentrate on the light of the sun pervading the whole space. Or you can concentrate on the vast ocean which is everywhere. You can gaze at the flame of a candle or a dot on the wall.

When you gain success in this, you can change your object of concentration; you will have such mastery of mind that you can concentrate on any object. The purpose of this concentration is to make the mind think only of one thing, and not think anything else. So, ultimately, it matters little what object you choose for concentration if the purpose is served, i.e. to think only of that thing and nothing else.

When you are accustomed to this external meditation, you can turn to internal meditation.

B. Concentration on Internal Points:

Internal meditation means concentration on certain centers (Chakras) of the body. The most important and most favorable Chakras (for beginners) in meditation are the Chakra between the eyebrows, and the Chakra in the heart.

In the waking state, the mind functions in the brain, in the dream state it works near the throat, and in deep sleep it goes to the heart. In deep, objectless meditation also the mind goes to the heart. So, the ultimate purpose of internal meditation is to bring the mind to the heart. This is done in three stages: the mind comes from the external object to the head (i.e. the center between the eyebrows), then the mind comes to the heart. Meditation on the point between the eyebrows is in two stages:

(1) external gaze at the center of eyebrows, and

(2) to close the eyes and think of the spot alone (as a spot of light). Slowly, you begin to feel that the mind descends from the head through the throat to the heart. When you do this, you will fall asleep if you are careless. You must do this with caution and alertness; otherwise you will sleep and mistake it for meditation.

The other method of internal meditation is to directly meditate on the heart. You can imagine a blossoming lotus in the heart, or the light of the rising sun in the heart. The best form of meditation on the heart is to feel consciousness as seated there. From this internal point of meditation on consciousness in the heart, you can slowly proceed to the universal.

C. Concentration on the Universal:

Just as Consciousness is in your heart, it is in the heart of everybody. Try to meditate on this Consciousness as present everywhere, in everything (outside and inside) uniformly. This is the absolute form of meditation, i.e., the Supreme State.

To help achieve this Universal State by Meditation, you can chant Om (Pranava) in a methodical manner. There are three types of OM chanting :

  1. short - about one second, i.e. 30 in 30 seconds;
  2. middle - each chant for five seconds, i.e. 6 chants in 30 seconds;
  3. long - each chant for fifteen seconds, i.e. 2 chants in 30 seconds.

The elongated process is the best form of chanting. It makes the cells of the body subside in their activities; the nervous system becomes calm. You need not take any tranquilizers. If you are disturbed, chant this elongated way for fifteen minutes. The whole system will become calm and quiet. When you chant like this, feel also that you are expanding slowly into the Cosmos.

OM is not merely a sound that we make, but a symbol of a Universal Vibration. This is really the Vibration that was made at the beginning of the creation of the world. This Universal Vibration (of creation) is the controlling force behind everything in the world. So, when you chant OM and create this Vibration in your system, you set yourself in tune with the Vibration of the Cosmos. The Forces of the Universe begin to enter into your body; you will feel strong and energetic; your hunger and thirst will decrease; you will feel absolute happiness even if you have nothing (i.e. no material possessions) and are absolutely alone, unknown and unseen by people. You will have no desire for anything in the world, because you have become one with all things.

When you become the friend of the Universal Forces, then the world will take care of you in times of difficulty, and you will have no fear from anywhere. Then it is that, you become a Saint or a Sage. In this state, if you have any desire, it will be immediately fulfilled, because you have become the friend of all Forces in the world. In this state of Ecstasy of Bliss, great Saints sing and dance (because they possess everything in the world). Here it is that you will realize that you are a Child of God. God Himself will perpetually take care of you and you will have no fear, just as the son of a King has no fear because the King protects him always and everywhere in the kingdom.

Excerpts from:

Concentration – Yoga and Meditation by Swami Krishnananda

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