Dhyana or Meditation


By Sir R. Vasudeva Row - BA., B.L. Former President of Suddha Dharma, being a part of the series: Topics from Sanatana Dharma Deepika. Vol. III of sri Hamsa Yogi.

This article was originally published October 1936 in "The Suddha Dharma", A monthly magazine devoted to Suddha Philosophy and other topics of allied interest

* I've added italic to parts of the text I thought important, parenthesis with synonyms in some parts, in an attempt to clear some words or definitions and some minor corrections Domingos

Meditation or Dhyana is essentially a function of the mind (Manas or chinta); meditation, as used here, is exclusively with reference to Brahmic or transcendent Immanence; the force of mind (manas) utlized to secure merely material or spiritual results is by courtesy designated meditation. In the strict sense of the term, however, such usage does not obtain.

Life-Principle or Atma as the first principle of Brahmic manifestation may be said to have as its essential nature Gnana or Cognition; and in its relation with Prime Matter (Moola Prakritti) it is assisted by Shakthi or Energy in different forms. In the Brahmic state of transcendental unity, this Energy-Principle is known as Yoga Shakthi; in its process of Infinitisation ("diferentiation" and creation of infinit multiplicity), such energy is known as Maheshwari; as such, energy is a necessity whenever the Life-Principle contacts Matter.

Prime-Matter or Moola-Prakritti in its turn manifests itself into four main levels of varying subtlety in virtue of Atmic contact through the Shakthi; these grades are known as Tatwakootas; and comprise Avyakt-tatwakoota, Mahat-tatwakoota, Manas-tatwakoota and Indriyatatwakoota; such perpetual contact is termed World-Process or Samsara.

As pointed out, Shakthi is the main Agency facilitating the mutual contact between Life-Principle and Matter-Principle, leading to beatitudes, it is the practice of the aspirants to meditate on the Shakthi-Principle, in virtue of which, Atma or Life-Principle initiates the World-process in its Anu or Primal Matter.

Meditation as such is the result of the process of thinking known as 'Chinta'; it is said that this thinking admits five forms Viz. 1. Vibhooti Chinta, 2. Gnana Chinta, 3. Sanhalapa Chinta, 4. Karma Chinta and 5. Brahma Chinta; Vibhooti Chinta is thinking about the bliss aspects; Gnana Chinta, is the relation to the Science which facilitates the attainment of such bliss: Sankalpa Chinta refers to the choice of the mode or manner of performance for such achievement; Karma Chinta, is in terms of the actual performance of action, as such, for achievement or realisation; and the last Brahma Chinta is thinking which enlivens(revive) the above four modes of it; and it is to this that the term Dhyana or Meditation is properly applicable. And Mind or manas is the seat of such meditation or its vehicles.

Meditation secures the auspiciousness of infinite bliss; but the perception of bliss is in accordance with the degree of efficiency of meditation. Dhyana in other terms may be said as a means of recovering the primal memory of bliss, and such recovery of memory will be according to the viewpoint of the same.

We have thus seen that the Mind (manas) is the seat of meditation, that meditation may be various, according to different points of view and according to different objectives, and that these govern the nature of the performance of action initiated, for achievement. Thinking may be directed to material, spiritual or transcendent aims. Meditation, of which, Mind is the seat should also accordingly vary, such variations, being named Asuddha, Suddha and Brahma respectively; the objectives also vary and are named Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa, and Suddha; similarly differences of view-points may be Prakritic or qualitative, Atmeeya or spiritual, and Suddha or transcendent; performance of action for attainment should also vary in terms of pravritti or exteriorisation, nivritti or abstraction and Suddha or transcendent.

In effect Dhyana or meditation may be Saguna, Nirguna, and Suddha; Saguna may be in reference to any divine manifestations in Matter; Nirguna is in reference to the In dwelling Divinity in the heart; and Suddha the all-pervasive Immanence.

Saguna Dhyana

Every aspirant, engaged as he is in the world-process, intent upon happiness, directs the attention to one or other of the infinite sources of beauty or sublimity, (Vishayam); where by dwelling intently thereon, he develops increasingly a love towards such a source; this love being progressively impersonal sublimates into a holy devotion (Bhakthi) and thereafter kindles in him the light of knowledge (Gnana), which illumination eventually secures the needed bliss of Yoga. To this effect the aspirant should choose for himself as a source of inspiration or as an object of devotion any one of the beautiful manifestations of the Divinity in forms particularly suitable to his idealistic conception.

It is, however, necessary that meditation on such formful aspect must be one-pointed and continuous and must be such as could not be ruffled by any grasping emotion. Meditation on these lines indicates on the aspirant an objective attitude (Pravrittimarga) and involves an attributive ideation (Triguna). Such meditation is the characteristic of a mind-level in the aspirant who seeks formful manifestations of the Deity, The bliss resulting from such contact is known as SAGUNA DHYANA.


Nirguna Dhyana

While Saguna dhyana is resorted to, generally, by those of philanthropic and devotional attitude (Karma and Bhakthi), Nirguna Dhyana is resorted to by men of philosophic inclination (Gnana), in whom the insight, while combining the two attitudes, is predominantly abstractive. The meaning of the term Nirguna Dhyana is in reference to that mode of meditation, which dwells on that aspect of Divinity that transcends trigunic manifestations. Here the Divinity is in the nature of a light indwelling in the ether of the heart, a miniature archetype as it were, of Purusha, the first or primal manifestation of Brahm in the cosmic plane; the illumination presents itself in the dimension of a thumb, but partaking of the glory that is visible only on the highest mind-level. Here the attitude of the aspirant is abstractive (beyond trigunic) and is marked by an utter absence of ideation. One peculiar characteristic of this mode of meditation is that its centre is the heart of the aspirant, the sky or the ether, as it is generally known. This mode of meditation is NIRGUNA DHYANA and leads to Suddha mode of meditation.

Suddha Dhyana

This mode of meditation is par excellence and is capable of being resorted to by the ones who has attained the heights of yoga. The attitude of the aspirant hereof is synthetic or consummative of all forces and laws of cosmic existence and he is filled with the idea, if it may be so called, that "All this is verily Brahm", that this is the Great Cause of all creation, Infinite, Unitary, Eternal, Transcendent capable of all manifestation Atmic or Prakritic and immanent therein. The continuity of Saguna meditation has been compared to the fluidal down flow of a viscous oil; the even mode of Nirguna dhyana is instanced as similar to the equableness of Mother Earth; and the one-pointed watchfulness of the crane is the analogy in reference to the divine awareness of Suddha meditation. This meditation is also known as BRAHMA DHYANA.

It is said that the aspirant, by means of Saguna Dhyana, attains to energies that manifest themselves on the Prakritic plane, Nirguna Dhyana has reference to the energies of Atmic or spiritual plane, while Suddha Dhyana leads to the realisation of primal cosmic energies.

Thus meditation is essential for all aspirants according to their status, which enables them to procure the auspiciousness of the five purusharthas Viz. Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha, and Prapti.

General results of Meditation

Among the many benefits that accumulate through proper meditation may be mentioned at first, the purification of vehicles of our body so that the matter thereof becoming finer is increasingly responsive to higher forces; such responsiveness generates bliss; as such he obtains longevity, and is loved by all; his physical energies get on the increase, his mental and intellectual powers are sharpened; the handsomeness of youth and breadth of insight and outlook as also all those excellences of existence attend on one given to the practice of meditation; in short, all legitimate aspirations receive their fulfilment and memories of past lives come to him without doubt.

The great and revered Hierarchs, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and others have attained their respective status of Adeptship through meditation; and they are able to initiate effective measures for the welfare of the worlds; and its is through meditation that their creative functioning sustains indefinitely. Men of eminence attain to Brahmic energy through meditation only. Thus meditation which is of Saguna, Nirguna, and Suddha types is the means of securing auspiciousness to Yogis, Devotees and Sages; to Devotees, meditation secures God realisation, while to the philosophers and philanthropists, the great peace becomes available. To one and all engaged in the vast world process meditation supplies the means for liberation there from. To the Gnanis, the bliss of Para; to the Yogis, the beatitude of entrancement; to the Vedantins, the recognition of Brahmic nature, result as the fruit of meditation. Meditation is the supreme Agency for the realisation of the five purusharthas.

Therefore, Dasas and other aspirants are enabled to taste the divine bliss through proper study, effectual ideation, and action accordingly; these being necessary for successful meditation,

Certain important features of Dhyana

It may thus be seen that meditation is a characteristic exclusively of mind-faculty. Whether the aim of the aspirant be objective or purely subjective or immersed with transcendent incentive, the agency for its fulfilment is through the mind only and meditation is the means. Hence the importance of the mind-faculty is stressed at length in all the works performed by men in the evolutionary process.

Hamsa Yogi lays much emphasis on the mind being Suddha (that is of transcendent aspiration) as the necessary means for meditation in its true sense. This nature of the Mind is sustained so long there is a due recognition of the need for performance of actions whether Sat or Asat, that is, subjective or objective and such cognition is what enables the mind to function with detachment. Such detachment is possible only when the motive for action is universal in its nature; action through any other motive than this will be the result of a mind that is Asuddha; a discrimination of this kind forms a sure support for this effective mental attitude in all acts. A mere cessation of all desire resulting in detachment does not conduce to proper meditation, but an attitude covered with transcendent aspiration makes for true realisation.

An initiation into the mode of such Suddha Dhyana has to be made by one of the Adept-Hierarchs of Suddha Dharma Mandalam only.

Meditation with the idea that "All is Brahm" and action in accordance with such idea constitute the three-fold essentials of RAJA YOGA viz. Dhyana, Bhavana, and Karma; and the practice of Raja Yoga has to be entered upon by aspirants duly instructed in its mode by Suddhacharysas. Such practice is conducive to high attainment or realisation.