CHAPTER 4MEDITATION (YOGA) IN HINDUISM4.1 AIM OF MEDITATIONAs we know, people come to meditation with different aims in mind, but I would narrow themdown to several principalonesaspect. Each aim requires a particular virtue or habit of character inorder to achieve the aim. For example, to control, health, powers, knowledge, peace also to calmyour thoughts. When we do that ourthrough meditation, asconsciousness expands we becomeaware ofa greater reality inside us ourthesoul, which is the real source of all happiness, strengthand peace. So the goalaimof meditation is to reconnect with your one true inner self to achieveMoksha.Meditation brings physical and mental calmness and enhances the power of concentration power,the memory, intuition, inner strength and peace of mind. It might also lead to spiritualenlightenment.1This depends on how much enthusiastic you are, how much energy and time youdevote to it and on your inner ripeness. It helps to find a time of day when you usually have aquiet moment, perhaps the first thing in the morning or just before going to bed at night, and aspecial place, such as a corner of your room where no one will interrupt you.The other ultimate aim of meditation is to reach beyond the mind and live in the world of purespirit. This may not be the goal of the majority of those just starts to meditate. Meditation claimsto work by quieting the mind. The ultimate level of the transcendental state is "pure awareness."HeThe ultimate goal of meditation is to self realize your divinity, that you are God. Like itscounterpart Yoga it is Hinduistic to its core. The ultimate goal of meditation and yoga is torealize you are God.2Besides that, to be awake is one of the aim of meditation andis the most difficult to explain,which is to be aware of who you are and what life is about. You are awake when you are notcaught up in your mind‟s thoughts and fantasies, and instead have a direct apprehension of1Yoga.Kenneth Shouler, Ph.D. and Susai Anthony2Let Us Reason: Finding the God Within
reality unmediated by such mind phenomena. If you practice with consistency, curiosity, andcommitment, you will attain calmness and insight, and discover what it means to be awake.3There are two type of thought that leads to all the actions performed by humans, they are positivethoughts and negative thoughts. The positive thoughts should be channeled for the well fare ofone‟s self and surrounding. The negative thought should be checked and avoidedbecausenegative thoughts leads to negative action. Negative action leads to negative impact ordestruction. So, meditation plays a vital role in the growth of a human. This is the aim ofmeditation in Hinduism.4.2 TYPES OF MEDITATIONHinduism places stresses on meditation to elevate the mind from daily stress and strain and forfiner thought. Meditation can be stated as a state of relaxed introspection on the present. The goalis to dissolve the mind and be free of thought itself. Hindus practise meditation for various goalsranging from spiritual enlightenment to transforming attitudes.Hindu meditation is classified based on the type. Some forms focus on the perception andexperience that occur during meditation.44.2.1 DEFINITION MINDFULLNESSIn this type, one does not focus on a single object. The practitioner dispassionately observes themind with its whole scope of passing feelings, emotions, thoughts and images. The disadvantageis if they practice only mindfulness, the mind would stay only on the surface level. Their3The Three Aims of Meditation, Alan Zundel ,2006, http://www.heartawake.org4http://hinduism.ygoy.com/2010/03/24/meditation-in-hinduism/
attention would peter out at the mind level itself. Thus, they would not be able to experiencedeeper meditation levels.54.2.2 DEFINITION COCENTRATIONIn this type, one concentrates on just a single object which could be a visualized image, chakracentercentre, mantra or just the breath. If they practice only concentration, the mind would not betrained to dispassionately witness passing images, emotions, sensations and thoughts. Theirattention may become oblivious to these experiences.After know about the types of meditation, lets learn about the way of this practice. It will helpyou to do it perfectly.4.3THE WAYOF MEDITATION IN HINDUISMAs we know every religion has their own differentdistinctive way to practice their meditation.Now, I will focus in the Hinduism. Yoga is generally done to prepare one for meditation, andmeditation is done to realize union of ones self, ones atman, with the omnipresent and non-dual Brahman. This experience is referred to as moksha by Hindus.The earliest clear referencesto meditation in Hindu literature are in the middle Upanishads and the Mahabharata, whichincludes the Bhagavad Gita.The Sanskrit word "yoga" actually means "union with the divine". The stretching exercises thatwe in the west???associate with yoga were originally designed, thousands of years ago, to helpthe practitioner gain control of their own life force, a spiritual energy known as kundalini. Whenthis energy rises from the base of the spine up through the top of the head, an expanded state ofawareness, called self-realization, can be achieved.65http://hinduism.ygoy.com/2010/11/03/mindfulness-and-concentration/6http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Yoga-Meditation
Learning how to meditate is the most important part of being a human being. In fact, to uncoverand embrace all that you are, meditation is athe key. Meditation reveals to you the Truth of yourinfinite, divine nature, and there are absolutely no material equivalents to these discoveries.Whilst you are creating your peaceful atmosphere, there may be certain “props” to help youmeditate. It isn‟t required that you have any, but yoga is great seating for meditation or you maysimply sit on an easy chair.Yoga is planned to be a meditative, relaxing form of exercise. But dressing for yoga can beintimidating for beginning students. Generally, it is important to wear clothing that is bothcomfortable and made from breathable fabric like cotton, bamboo or jersey. It will also help toknow what type of yoga class you are attending in order to determine the best outfit. 7Besidesthat, body relaxation technique is performed each time before meditation to calm the bodyenough to make meditation more effective. The body is typically very restless in its normal state.The body is designed to move on a normal basis and it usually remains in a state of constantstimulation to make this possible. What it wants to do is bring the body into a more restful state.This has a significant impact on the mind, especially when attempting to meditate. It reducesyour brains need to be responsive of your body.Mind will have less information to tune out. Your nervous system is constantly sendinginformation to your brain updating the location and status of each muscle. The body relaxationtechnique releases your mind from being pestered by the body.Many have experiencedmeditation as very difficult without using this technique early. The body relaxation techniquewill help not only relax your body but your mind as well, the two are interconnected.So given how important meditation is, here I would like to teach step by step how to learn andpractice this great art. These area few preliminary steps for learning how to meditate:1. First and foremost, you must find some time out of your daily schedule.7http://www.wikihow.com/Know-What-to-Wear-for-Yoga
2. For the location, find a suitable quiet place for meditation.8If it is very hard to findsomewhere quiet, use some meditative music to drown out background sounds. Ifpossible keep a corner of your room reserved just for meditation and this will help buildup a meditative vibration in that particular part. Also, things that help you relax are alsogood to have in your environment during your meditation. For example, many people liketo have the sound of running water because it‟s very calming also lighting the room witha few candles is also an effective way of setting the mood for your meditation time.3. Sit down. It is important that you sit with a straight back during meditation, any posturethat will allow you to sit with a straight back for a prolonged period will do. Having astraight spine is important because it aids with the flow of energy that is moves up anddown the spine during meditation.4. Be comfortable and relax. To meditate it is important to relax and switch off. You don‟thave to think about the past or future, just concentrate on the present moment and yourmeditation. This stage of relaxation is a preliminary stage to meditation.5. Keep the face peaceful. Chin up and close your eyes slowly to experience a voiddarkness. Become aware of your surroundings, and then slowly pull your attention upthrough the center of your body along the spinal column, until it comes to rest of yourhead and slightly forward to the place.6. Keep your mind empty of people, place, things, color or any form. It is only when youcan have a mind free of thoughts that you will be able to experience real meditation.What happens is that you can calm the mind and expand your consciousness and bringthe soul to the fore.8http://hinduism.about.com/cs/meditationyoga/ht/meditate.htm
7. Try and concentrate on the center of your forehead. Concentration is an important partwhen learning how to meditate. It is essential for effective meditation. If you find itdifficult, it is important that you persevere, for only with effort shall you develop thisquality. 98. Try and keep your eyes open. Open eyes allow you to be more present. It‟s important todo what is comfortable for you. Some people find closing their eyes much more effective.It‟s good to experiment and see what the best feels for you.9. To keep you alert in meditation, take slow deep breaths. Keep breathing steady. Letthoughts come and go. Youre on a journey going beyond the body and form. The mosthelpful aid to meditation is proper breathing. Our breathing has a big impact on our mind.Focusing on your breath and nothing else will have a beneficial effect on our meditation.The beauty of meditation is its simplicity. Just be fully conscious of your breathing, feelyou are breathing in peace and if you can do this without getting distracted you will beable to meditate most effectively.10. After you feel totally calm and relaxed, slowly open your eyes and then you will get moreenergy. 104.4 BENEFITS OF MEDITATIONThe benefits of meditation are endless and certainly deserve your contemplation andconsideration. Many successful business people, celebrities and sports professionals practice andenjoy the benefits of meditation. Numerous businesses promote and provide help and assistance9http://www.historyofmeditation.net/howtomeditate.html10http://goodlifezen.com/2008/04/18/how-to-start-meditating-ten-important-tips/
to their staff with the benefits of meditation courses and because of this they gain an advantageover their competitors and create more profit.Research has scientifically proven that meditation is a safe and simple way to balance yourphysical, emotional, and mental state and its countless values have been known and practiced forthousands of years. Here I will list some of the benefits of meditation in Hinduism which alwayspracticed by people everywhere. First : Inner PeaceMeditation gives many benefits, but the most significant benefit is that of inner peace. „If yourmeditation is truly high and deep, then you are bound to have a silent dialogue with peace.‟ 11Meditation can give us inner peace, because we learn to stop the worries and anxieties thatusually fill our mind. Inner peace is not just about silence. In meditation we feel the dynamic andfulfilling presence of peace; it is a peace that cannot be comprehended by the mind, it is a peacewe wish to share with others. This peace is not something passive and fragile. This kind of innerpeace will lift you above success, failure, the positives and negatives of life. Second: Inner Happiness.The happiness which gain from meditation is different to the fleeting pleasure experience fromthe fulfillment of desires. The inner happiness of meditation is not dependent on outercircumstances; it is an inner joy that comes from within. „True inner joy is self- created; it doesnot depend on outer circumstances or outer achievements.‟ 1211Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 109 by Sri Chinmoy.12Excerpt from Two Devouring Brothers: Doubt And Ego by Sri Chinmoy.
Meditation has been a central part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands ofyears. It helps the practitioner to be mindful of the present moment, Brewer told the press, andstudies have shown it is also linked to increased levels of happiness.13Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self. Through meditation wecan gain a better understanding of our life‟s purposepurpose of life. Third: Power of HeartMeditation has been found to be particularly helpful for the heart. Mediators have been found tohave improved blood circulation, as well as a lowered heart rate, which places less demands onthe heart.A 1998 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that people who practicedtranscendental meditation had lower levels of lipid peroxide than those who didn‟t. Lipidperoxide can contribute to atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases associated with aging. A1999 study published in the same journal showed that people who practiced meditation hadlower blood pressure immediately after meditating than did the control group. Fourth:Health benefits.Our health is founded upon a relationship between body, mind, spirit and the wellness of eachpart and the physical body itself is only one component in the overall equation of well-being.Meditation has been shown to give various health benefits. For example, stress can lead to raisedblood pressure and heart problems.14Through meditation we can let go of our stress andanxieties, this has shown by various studies to improve health. The practice of meditationreleases a new and positive life force. It also borne of inspiration, happiness, peace into every13Written by Catharine Paddock PhD. Medical News Today 23 Nov 201114Benefits Meditation at Psychology Today
part of our existence, creating the optimum conditions for vitality and health. When practicedproperly meditation reduces stress and makes participants feel better.A 1998 study in Alternative Therapies showed that meditation helped decrease symptoms suchas pain and sleeplessness in patients with fibromyalgia, a disease characterized by muscle pain,fatigue, and mild-to-moderate depression.15In a 1998 study at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, psoriasis patients wholistened to a mindfulness meditation audiotape during their ultraviolet light therapy experiencedfaster healing than those who had the light therapy alone.Meditation has also been associated with a longer life span, better quality of life, fewerhospitalizations, and reduced health-care costs. It has also shown promise as an adjunct therapyin relieving mild depression, insomnia, tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, andpremenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as in controlling substance abuse.16 Fifth: It lowers depression risk among pregnant women.As many as one in five pregnant women will experience depression, but those who areat especially high risk for depression may benefit from some mindfulness yoga."Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,"study researcher Dr. Maria Muzik, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University ofMichigan, said in a statement. "This study builds the foundation for further research on how yogamay lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy."This practice also shown that very important not only to people which work , but also its givemore benefitsit also gives benefits toa pregnant woman.15Astin, John A., et al. "Meditation" in Clinicians Complete Reference to Complementary and AlternativeMedicine, edited by Donald Novey. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 2000.16Mary and Richard Maddux.Meditation Oasis. Benefit of Meditation 2006-2012
Sixth: It changes the brain in a protective way.University of Oregon researchers found that integrative body and mind training which is ameditation technique can actually result in brain changes that may be protective against mentalillness. The meditation practice was linked with increased signaling connections in the brain;something called axonal density, as well as increased protective tissue (myelin) around the axonsin the anterior cingulated brain region.They found that the experienced meditators, regardless of the type of meditation they practiced,seemed able to switch off the default mode network, which has been linked to lapses of attention,and disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety.17Thispart of the brain, comprising the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortex, has also beenlinked to the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques in Alzheimers disease. Seventh: Make people more productive.If you feel like youre just not as sharp as you used to be, give mindfulness meditation a shot. Astudy in the journal Emotion found that mindfulness, a meditative practice that requires you to sitquietly for a few minutes focusing on your breathing and other specific physical sensationswithout letting your mind wander, was highly effective in improving peoples working memory;working memory is the short-term memory system we tap into for managing information,controlling emotions, problem solving, and complex thought.18The study found that you canreap all these benefits with just 12 minutes of meditation per day.Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that college students whowere trained in meditation, performed better on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, andalso experienced improvements in their working memory. "Our results suggest that cultivating17Judson A. Brewer. Yale University.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.18Baime, Michael J. "Meditation and Mindfulness" in Essentials of Complementary and AlternativeMedicine, edited Wayne B. Jonas and Jeffrey S. Levin. New York: Lippencott, Williams and Wilkins, 1999.
mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with widereaching consequences," the researchers wrote in the Psychological Science study. Eight: Consciousness evolves:With the assimilation of meditation into daily life, your consciousness evolves and in time, isable to experience the higher and refined states of consciousness.When your consciousness evolves and expands, the disturbances in your life become negligible.Anger and disappointments become fleeting emotions that occur momentarily and then vanish.You start living in the moment and let go of the past.ConclusionTo experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. It takes only a fewminutes every day. Once imbibed into the daily routine, meditation becomes the best part of yourday.Meditation is like a seed. When you cultivate a seed with love, the more it blossoms. Similarly,the sapling of consciousness is within you. It needs to be nurtured with simple meditationtechniques.Busy people from all backgrounds are grateful to pause and enjoy a refreshing few minutes ofmeditation each day. Dive deep into yourself and enrich your life.If you practice regularly, the benefits of meditation will promote a sense of calm and control,you‟ll feel far more relaxed and happy. Your ability to concentrate will be greater. You won‟tbecome stressed about things and you will feel more peaceful and relaxed about everything. One
of the greatest benefits of meditation is learning to go with the flow and things that used toirritate you before simply become insignificant.