By Ved Kovid, Durgadas.
(c) 2014 www.nzayurveda.com. All rights reserved.
Many groups today such as the TM Movement try and promote so-called ‘meditations’, as do Yoga teachers. However, meditations must be given to people only after knowing their spiritual growth, their constitutions, health issues and also other factors at play.
First of all, one cannot and should not do any meditations until the mind is stilled. And this isn’t simply a 5-minute process!
Many advanced Yogis took several years of practices for stilling the mind, before attempting meditation – and this was in peaceful conditions. Trying to attempt such today in modern lifestyles and cities is foolishness, and is also why people cannot focus or concentrate properly on meditation or it becomes merely superficial or imagined at best. Then it creates other influences.
The greater path of meditation was also part of the greater Tantric Yoga of which the Vedic was part of. Tantric Yoga itself is merely the play of Vedic Yogic energies of Indragnisoma or Vayu, Agni-Surya and Soma.
Most meditation today also does not follow deities or the proper path of mantras and such. Becoming a Yogi is a long and tiresome path – even for those born with previous strong Yogic samskaras and brought up doing Yoga from early ages in a Hindu family – let alone those who become Yoga teachers and such and try and teach others!
Various mental impressions or vasanas also surface in meditation and people often don’t know how to deal with them. This is as they are lodged in the Chitta along with accumulating vasanas and there is no vivekagni to help release or burn them up. This is also why Homas and such were important on a psycho-physical level socially.
Deity practices or sadhanas were also done for this to help release them, as also fire practices and such. These also gave Yogis the power to use mantras for both meditation and otherwise, as without this, mantras have little effect on the mind alone, not at the deeper level (not even subtle, let alone causal!). As an example, before any mantras were used in any way, they were chanted by the individual at least 100,000 times in order to release their energies to the individual. Some are able to do less, due to previous Yogic samskaras or traits that they had from former lives and awakened, however.
The higher forms of Shiva and the Goddess were generally taken here as the inner guides or Gurus along these steps, as also protecting the individual from various harms along the way. As one advances, they also teach subtly the lessons that unfold in our lives and how to deal with it. Bhakti or devotion hence forms an important part along with Jnana or wisdom, even in non-dualistic or Advaita traditions, due to nature, which has the modes of sattvas (purity), rajas (agitation, desire and passion) and tamas (darkness, ignorance and inertia), which we can easily fall pray to, or even open up to astral negative influences in meditation, if we don’t do it properly with protection. Without such tools, meditation can be a bit like walking out into cool snowy weather without proper clothes and as dangerous!
These are actually examples of practices that sadhaks or aspirants traditionally did for years before taking up any meditations, otherwise they cause others to surface, without detaching from the present. After this, we can begin to work better with these tendencies or traits that come out in a more positive manner.
There are many challenges along the path that modern Yoga teachers and students alike are blissfully ignorant of, but are known in the greater Tantric tradition, if we examine the classical texts and such.
Yoga as Asana meaning postures is also false – Asana means “a seated position” and implies sthira (stillness). This is required for meditation. Hatha Yoga Pradeepika also states Siddhasana is the best Asana on this – of which many Yoga teachers have ignored! Yoga Sutras, the Gita, Swetasvara Upanishad and Vivekachudamani also state that the Asana is having the spine, neck etc. straight alone and calming the mind. The Vedic Rishis were Munis (silent seers), as taking up mauna-tapasya (vow of silence), it stills the physical speech, which in turn stills the manas or mind, which in turn, when manas or mind is stilled, stills the indriyas or senses. Indra is “one who is master of indriyas” or Yogeshwara (Shiva) – one accomplished in Yoga!
So, first before we begin meditation, we must calm the mind. Bhakti is useful, as are bhajans before we go into deeper mantras and such, which can be more difficult to harness and also require much inner effort to work with at a deeper level, as higher sadhanas also open us up astrally to several asuric influences – not only the Divine!
We must know how to protect ourselves and also the implications that come with such. Even when contemplating the Self, there are influences that will magnify around us, as our own previous residual karmas (prarabdha) start coming out, and even the Devas as demigod Indra are jealous of humans who attain great heights and try and send distractions as they did to mighty Rishis as Vishwamitra and others – let alone the current humanity!