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


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

NB - regarding fonts, please read this post.

Word Contemplations; N

Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

These articles first appeared on Yamini-amma's personal blog. They were designed to promote deeper thinking on values, personal growth, Vedantic understanding - and to prompt conversation. Use them for contemplation either before or after your regular meditative practice. 

Nididdhyaasana - profound and repeated meditation

Root verb is 'dhyaan' - to think, to contemplate. Dhyaanam is the simple act of sitting and doing the thinking and more correctly translated as 'contemplation'. Nididdhyaasanam is doing this in a single-pointed and sustained way. It is almost exclusively used in conjunction with the intellectual steps which precede it and prepare the meditator.
  • Shravanam, which is to listen attentively, not merely hearing but receiving, acknowledging and processing.  One whose skill of shravanam is firm will be able to inculcate as the knowledge enters them and to begin already the second process.
  • Mananam is what follows. Having received a chunk of information, it is necessary to ponder upon it. Hold it up to the light of existing knowledge, assess it for what is new, and seek to integrate it. This may result in doubts and questions arising. These must be aired with the teacher and discussion is to be had so that the knowledge can adequately settle. (Vedanta doesn't want blind belief, or sheep wishing all the time to be herded - no, it demands robust assessment and debate so that each student can 'own' the knowledge.)

Having resolved the learning, nididdhyaasanam will start to become a habit. There will be plenty sitting and attempting to focus the mind, but only once all doubts are quashed, once commitment becomes firm, once the desire to move beyond gross knowledge into the realm of direct experience is his or hers, can the contemplator genuinely become the meditator.

Where two or more thoughts rub together, thinking is taking place. This is contemplation. Only when the flow of thoughts is suspended can one be said to be meditating. This is the 'transcendence' of which much is spoken.

It is not 'airy-fairy'.

It is not psychedelic.

It is not an altered perception.

It is not achieved by any means other than to work through one's thoughts to the point where they can be left alone… the thinking will not be about the ironing in the other room, the meal that is to be cooked, the problem at work, this that or the other desire which arises. The thinking will be about the teachings of the Upanishads and about four key statements.

  • Consciousness Alone Is (प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म / prajnaanam Brahma)
  • That (Consciousness) You Are (tÅv< Ais tattvam asi)
  • Consciousness and (my)Self Are One and the Same (अयं आत्मा ब्रह्म / ayam aatmaa Brahma)
  • I Am Brahman (अहं  ब्रह्मास्मि / aham Brahmaasmi)

High-falutin stuff, you're thinking? Yes, it has to be admitted that it is. However, no series of articles on Vedanta and its application in life would be complete without pointing to its higher levels.

When you are at school you are made aware, are you not, of the possibilities of where studies can take you? The chance of going to university might have seemed remote at one point, but then you might find that there is a real passion for one subject or other and you begin to pay more attention, more dedication. Gaining entry to the course of your choice, you discover that as much as you thought you knew, you actually know very little. Learning takes a different turn and more than ever you have to stay focused. What keeps you going is the knowledge that others have achieved the thing you are trying for and that you can too. Sometimes though, you need reminding when the going gets tough. You need to be shown the goal again so you can refocus.

Of course, not everyone wants a specialised, high-level standing. They just want to get on with life. That's fine, but there is still a need to understand life to get the most out of it. There is a need to obtain a skill-set to support yourself.

We are talking about meditation in this post so, if you find the idea of transcending your mind just too far beyond, do at least consider contemplative activity which keeps you relaxed and focused. Not to escape the turmoil of life, but to help you deal with it better.

That's a whole other counselling session peeps... 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

Please note that only members of this blog can leave comments. You are respectfully requested to refrain from entering hyperlinks to other sites. You may otherwise find your comment deleted. Thank you for your courtesy.