Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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VIP... Very Important Post!

Hari OM

Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.

Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications. Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.

Japa Yoga.

The preparatory tool of mental training given by the Rsis is that of japa yoga; continuous chanting of a mantra or Lord's names. Japa, performed well, brings about a sustained focus. Indeed, in terms of single-pointedness, japa may be considered rather more effective than going straight into the transcendental form of meditation. A japa-conditioned mind, highly controlled thoughts, is free to fly to unimaginable heights in the meditation which follows it. Japa trains the mind to fix on a single line of thinking. We cannot utter a word without a corresponding image/form rising up to accompany it - neither can we see form, without its accompanying descriptive word or words. Repeat the word 'pen' - automatically, it can seem instantaneous, the object associated with the word came to mind, is it not? There is no avoidance of this for the mind. It is in having observed this fact that the Great Seers devised a technique to give the mind a form and associated words to which it must anchor itself in order to change direction.

Love cannot be generated without an association; the level of love depends on our connection with the object/trigger for that love. Our love for our parents or children is present due to our prolonged exposure to same; whilst for a distant relative is likely to be less ardent.  Japa performed with intensity of purpose and repetition of the name of the 'object' (Self/God) builds the required devotion and desire for more of its company. Meditation is keeping the mind hitched to one line of thinking to the complete exclusion of all other thought-currents for a prolonged period of time. One must fall in Love with it. To build that attachment, japa is invaluable. "Japa yoga is a very effective mental discipline for spiritual progress. In recent history there is the instance of the esteemed teacher, Sri Samartha Ramdas, who perfected himself through the japa yoga of Sri Rama mantra. Lord Krishna Himself says in the Gita, 'I am, among the yogas, japa yoga.'"

Designate a special room or area in your home/garden for your spiritual practice. Place an image or statue of the Lord of your heart (or an OM symbol - or for those who are without this type of focus, perhaps write and decorate the word 'love' of 'peace' to use as the focal point). This image ought to be at a comfortable height compared to your seated position, such that the base/Lord's feet) are level with your eyes, without any flexure of the neck. Spread a rug or stable cushion if you are using the traditional aasana, or the chair you have chosen for this task which permits a posture suitable for the task (see last week's AUM-day post), then by all means, if you wish, light a lamp or candle if this assists in creating the environment which assists you. Have your mala (rosary) of 108 beads by your right hand. [AV-blog; regular readers will recall the post on malas last year - please review.]

Image result for swami chinmayananda japaTaking up aasana, settling and working some breaths [again, please review last year's post on praana], raise your eyes to the Lord's face, body, legs, feet; mentally prostrate there (surrender the ego), then raise your gaze slowly back up the form(if using non-deity focus tool, still work from top to bottom, acknowledging the form and what it represents).

Close your eyes. Feel the presence of the Higher and now have the image etched on your mental plane. This visualisation of the Lord/Higher ought to occur within your "Love Heart… said to be the right side of your physical heart (behind sternum). This is the spiritual centre from which you must meditate.

Repeat your chosen mantra (more on this soon) a few times, slowly, steadily and with Love. Invoke your devotion. Take up the mala now and search for Meru - the 'off' bead. Remember, right hand only please. Holding the mala, bring the ring or middle finger together, with the first bead of the mala held firmly. The ring finger is the preferred method, as it reduces the chance of the forefinger falling onto the beads. That finger is considered to represent the little ego-self… think on this, it is used for pointing, either to desired objects or in reprimand or to accuse; it is like a sword on our hands, having the wordless ability to dice or splice! This finger must never touch the mala, but ought, if you can manage it, to be pointed always to the sky/heaven showing the direction of the thoughts. [AV-blog; this is why many japists use a bag with a hole specially made to push the forefinger through, the mala inside.] You may have seem some who perform japa with the mala hand resting on their knee. Provided the mala never touches the floor (i.e. stays on the legs or prayer mat), this is acceptable; however it is not as disciplined or as correct as the traditional method of holding the mala level with the 'love heart'. If you bend your elbow so that the hand is level with it, this effectively achieved and places no undue strain on the arm.

Now, from the first bead onwards, as you work each bead through with the thumb, (and here it is made easier, if the middle finger has been left free to assist rotation), repeat your mantra. Do not proceed to the next bead until the mantra is completed for the bead you are on. This is not a hundred yard sprint. Continue for the 108. You will feel Meru arrive. Do not cross - to do so is said to be putting yourself over the head of the Higher! Instead, you must turn the mala round and proceed 'back' around the 108 beads. To turn the mala takes a little practice and the other hand must not be used. Holding that last bead with the middle finger (if you have used this for the count, then at this point slip the mala onto ring finger anyway), move the thumb under to grab that bead with the middle finger, bring all fingers clear of the mala and twist the bead - Meru will now be pointing safely into the palm and you can proceed with chanting…. Note that this must be done fluidly - there is no actual break in chanting. The chanting, you will have found, takes on a rhythm whereby there is a breath break between beads and this permits the reverse rotation to occur seamlessly.

Yes it takes practice if you have never used a mala/rosary before… but it will not be long before you come to appreciate the powerful tool that it is.

(thought this had been forgotten?..!) Ensure you review the previous japa posts with the label button and look at where you might set up your 'sacred space'. Never delay the start of such practice with explanations/ xcuses/justifications as to why you can't do the thing - rather find the reasons that you must do it.


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