Why should one Meditate?
पूर्वजन्म कृतं पापं व्याधि रूपेण पीड़ति|
This human incarnation that we have embarked upon is very precious and invaluable. It is by the virtue of positive Karmas accumulated over numerous incarnations/past lives, we are born as human beings.
However, driven by our sensory desires, we succumb to Maya(Illusion) and enter into the seemingly unending cycle of births and deaths. During these cycles of life, all most all the humans in this world are suffering from various forms of – physical, financial and psychological problems. The predominant belief of humans is that these sufferings are given to them by God. However, these are not God-given. Our sufferings, and this repeating cycle, is of our own making – through the accumulated negative Karma from our past lives. So says the Sanskrit verse:
पूर्वजन्म कृतं पापं व्याधि रूपेण पीड़ति| Purva janma kritham paapam, Vyadhi roopaena peedathi
Meaning: “It is the negative Karma that we accumulated over our past lives/incarnations, that is making us to undergo sufferings in the forms of various diseases”.
The cornerstone of nature is the “Karma Siddhantha” (Philosophy of Karma). According to the Karma Sidhantha, the incentives or sufferings that befalls every human is, in essence driven by one’s own thoughts and deeds. Every entity in this Universe ends its journey at the place of its origin. Hence, we shall have to be very careful about our thoughts and deeds whatever the idea(Love, Hate, Good or Bad) manifests or originates in one’s self/mind, will comeback definitely to oneself with passage of time with multifold force. So, our thoughts, words and deeds should be of utmost purity, kindness, love and always be beneficial to those around us.
Now arises the question – what should one do to attain such a state?
All that one has to do is to use God-given wisdom and listen to one’s Inner Conscience. This is essential to get rid of ourselves from vicious cycles of Karma. In the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna reveals a powerful insight:
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं| Jnanagni dhagdha karmanaam
Meaning: “Our entire Karma will get decimated in the Inner Fire of Supreme Knowledge that one awakens to“.
One can experience this Supreme Knowledge through Meditation to attain the Ultimate Goal of Enlightenment.
Common misconceptions about meditation & enlightenment:
- Some think they should leave their families
- Some think they should go to the forests, caves or the Himalayas
- Some think that these are pursuits of the elderly
- Some think that these were practices meant for sages of yore.
However, it is important to know that in order to meditate one need not go anywhere and gender and age is not a bar and there is no need to spend any money. Meditation is as relevant today to everyone of us as it was to the sages of yore.
Even at present, we are going through a transformation period on Earth. This transformation is taking place at a rapid pace, in effect speeding the elapse of Time. That we are here on Earth at precisely at this juncture is surely a great opportunity to each one of us. That which took the sages of yore hundreds of years of meditation to achieve could now be achieved by us through few years of meditation. If we, through meditation, put one step forward then God and the Holy Masters will certainly take ten steps towards us and bestowing us Supreme Knowledge and boundless joy. Meditation is simply the highest and the most elevated spiritual path.
The preeminence of meditation as a spiritual path
The preeminence of meditation as a spiritual path has been cited in the following Vedic verse:
प्रधानम विग्रह पूजा, जप स्तोत्रनिधि मध्यमं, तृतीया मनसा पूजा, सोहं पूजा उथमोथमम्| Pradhamam vigraha pooja, Japa sthothradhi madhyamam, Thrithiyam maanasa pooja, Soham pooja uthamothamam
Meaning: “Idol worship is the most basic method of worship, followed by chanting sthothras/mantras outwardly, followed by the inward incantation of God from one’s heart. Highest of all worship, is meditation.”
Lord Krishna says in the Uthara Gita:
कोटि पूजा समं स्थोथ्रं, कोटि स्थोथ्रा समं जप, जप कोटि समं ध्यानं, ध्यानं कोटि समं लयम् | Koti pooja samam sthothram, Koti sthothra samam japa, Japa koti samam dhyanam, Dhyanam koti samam layam
“The recital of one crore poojas is equivalent to the invocation of a sthothra;
The invocation of one crore sthothras is equivalent to the performance of a japa;
The performance of one crore japas is equivalent to one sitting of meditation;
One crore sittings of meditation is equivalent to being one with God.”
तपस्वी ब्योधिको योगी, ज्ञानी ब्योधि मथोधिका। कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिको योगी, तस्मै योगी भवर्जुन। | Tapasvi Byodhiko yogi, Jnani Byodhi Mathodhika. Karmibhyaschaadhiko yogi, tasmad yogi Bhavarjuna.
Meditation, Yoga or Penance are all the same.
“A Thapasi (one who does penance) is one who performs prayers, festivals, fasts and gives himself bodily/corporeal suffering;
A Jnani is one who studies all the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and epics and is fully conversant and immersed in them. That is, one who acknowledges the eternal truth through the sacred literature; A karma yogi is one who performs yagnas, yagas and other allied rituals and spiritual sacrifices.”
According to Lord Sri Krishna, Anubhava Jnana (the knowledge gained through the experience of meditation) is more profound than the mere performance of penance or knowledge of sacred literature or the rituals and allied sacrifices. It is only through meditation that one gains perspective of the Spiritual Truth.
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavada Geeta, 2-50 says:
योग: कर्मसु कौशलम्| Yogaha Karmasu Kausalam
Meaning: “It is only through meditation that we can achieve efficiency, accuracy & proficiency in our daily activities.“.
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavada Geeta, 6-17 also says:
योगो भवति दु:खहा| Yogo Bhavathi Dhukaha
Meaning: “It is only through the practice of meditation that our sorrows be completely eradicated“.
Why does the common man come into this world?
What is his real work here?
Has he taken birth only to eat, drink or amass wealth?
What are the reasons for our various pains, losses and sufferings throughout our life?
Where do we go after death?
What do we do after death?
Despite achieving multiple successes throughout our life, do such accomplishments give us eternal happiness beyond death? To start with, one should have an aspiration to attain enlightenment – the state of eternal bliss and happiness.
Why must our thoughts remain perennially centered around our bodily desires? Shouldn’t one be aware of his eternal Athman (the Soul) and dwell on it? Shall our life and knowledge be spent for fulfilling bodily desires only? Don’t we have a desire to learn about our Soul? It is along these lines that one should question himself and the same can be answered/revealed to oneself by regular practice of meditation.
Different steps towards meditation include:
- Bahya Mantra Japam (outward chant of mantras)
- Bhajans (group singing of devotional songs)
- Antharangika Mantra Japam (inward silent chant of mantras)
- Reading puranas/spiritual books
The above are all preparatory stages towards meditation, but we perform the above acts with the notion that we are distant and detached entities from God.
However, through meditation we experience the oneness with God. Through meditation we understand the fact that God is within us. It is through meditation that we begin our search for the Eternal Truth. It is through meditation that we gain infinite cosmic energy; beyond human comprehension and more precious than all worldly riches. Through meditation we can gain deep realization and insight.
One who meditates will perform his everyday activities and responsibilities with enthusiasm, joy and perfection. It is through meditation that one can gain the highest state of living. Meditation lifts our Mind and Soul towards the Eternal Truth. In meditation, we raise ourselves from corporeal/bodily manifestations of our worldly existence to the state of Divine existence. Meditation is the precious tool that enables us to stabilize and free us from our ever turbulent waves of disturbing thoughts and gives us lasting peace. Meditation can reform the wicked to the Holy, and transform the physically, mentally weak to realize their profound strengths.
One can gain the entire spectrum of virtuous and harmonious living through the regular practice of meditation – health, mental peace, mutual understanding, concentration, memory, tolerance, common sense, bravery, constant awareness, self-confidence, self-control, release from bad habits, purity, contentment, mental strength, steadfastness, stability, spiritual wisdom and Eternal Bliss. One who meditates fills this entire creation with kindness, empathy, generosity and love. Through meditation who can rid himself of unwanted desires and gains everlasting peace. In life one experiences the extremes of emotions – profound joy at the heights of success and suffers from bouts of depression at the depths of failure. Meditation enables one to treat these varied and volatile experiences with equanimity and empowers one to be joyous and confident even in the face of numerous adversities.
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