Children, real knowledge is learning how to focus the mind. This is possible through meditation. It helps reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Through meditation, we can enjoy bliss and peace of mind. Meditation enhances our beauty, life span, strength, health, intelligence and energy.
We must first learn how to meditate properly in solitude. It is not necessary that one has to believe in God in order to meditate. There are many meditation techniques. During meditation, we can focus the mind on any part of the body or concentrate on a point, or we can imagine becoming one with the infinite. If we like gazing at the flame of a lamp, we can do so. We can light a candle or lamp in a dark room and gaze at the flame for a long time. The flame should not flicker. We can also visualise that flame in the heart or between the eyebrows. We can focus on the inner effulgence that arises as we look at the lamp.
Those who like meditating on a form can imagine their ishta-devata (preferred form of divinity) standing in the middle of the flame. But it is better to visualise the ishta-devata standing amid the flames of a sacrificial fire, for we can then imagine offering our jealousy, ego and other negativities into the blazing sacrificial fire.
For beginners, meditation on a form is easier than meditation on the formless. Meditating on the ishta-devata helps the mind become focused on Him or Her. The sattvic qualities of divinity will also grow in us. Place a small picture of your favourite deity in front of you. Sit and gaze at the picture for some time. Then, close your eyes and try to visualise that form clearly in your mind. When the clarity of the form fades, open your eyes and gaze at the picture again. Then, close your eyes once again and imagine that you are talking to your ishta-devata. Mentally embrace Him/Her, and plead, “O Lord, please do not leave me.”
If we constantly meditate like this with attentiveness, the ishta-devata’s form will dawn clearly in the heart. It is the nature of the mind to wander. Therefore, meditation is like trying to push hollow driftwood into the water; when we let go, it will drift up to the surface at once. Such is the mind. Hence, in the initial stages of meditation, we might need to apply some pressure on the mind to make it meditate. But once we acquire a taste for meditation, we need not force the mind anymore. Meditation will become joyful.
If we practise meditation regularly, the mind will gradually become calmer until it becomes crystal clear. The Supreme Self will shine in the calm mind, like the reflection of the sun in a still lake. Sattva is one of the three gunas (attributes or modes of existence), which includes rajas and tamas. Sattva is associated with harmony, goodness, truth and serenity.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian