Meditation Practice

Meditation in Daily Life

Swami Sivananda”Dhyanam nirvishayam manah”: – That state of the mind wherein there are no Vishayas or sensual thoughts is meditation.
”Tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam”: – A continuous flow of perception or thought is Dhyana (meditation). There is continuous current in the mind of one object like the flow of water in a river (Pravaha). There is only one Vritti in the mind.

Meditation destroys all causes of sorrow. Meditation gives vision of unity, induces sense of oneness, opens the avenues of intuition knowledge, makes the mind calm and steady, awakens an ecstatic feeling. Many of your doubts will be cleared by themselves during meditation.

Real rest can be had during meditation when the mind rests in Atman.

In dream also you will begin to exercise control gradually. You will check the mind when it does an evil act. The force of your Sadhana done in the wakeful state will come to your aid in the dream. This is a sign of your spiritual growth. Watch the dream carefully.

How to Meditate

Keep the head, neck and back in one straight line. Face East or North. A spiritual neophyte should observe this rule. When you are a neophyte in meditation, start repeating some sublime Slokas or Stotras (hymns) for ten minutes as soon as you sit for meditation. This will elevate the mind.

Whatever you meditate on in silence should be manifested in daily life. You should keep up poise and harmony in action. You will be ever peaceful. Then only you will enjoy the real fruit of meditation.

When the body is light and without diseases, the mind without desire, when the colour is shining, the voice sweet and the smell pleasant, when the excrements are few, they say, the first degree of concentration is gained.

Five things are indispensable if you want to practise vigorous meditation and attain Samadhi or Self-realisation quickly. They are Mouna, light diet, solitude with charming scenery, personal contact with a teacher and a cool place.

You will enter into deep meditation only if you lead a moral life.

You must have a mental image of God or Brahman (concrete or abstract) before you begin to meditate. When you see the concrete figure of Lord Krishna with open eyes and meditate, it is the concrete form of meditation. When you reflect over the image of Lord Krishna by closing your eyes, it is also concrete form of meditation but it is more abstract. When you meditate on the infinite abstract light it is still more abstract meditation. The former two types belong to Saguna form of meditation, the latter to Nirguna form.
Even in Nirguna there is an abstract form in the beginning for fixing the mind. Later on this form vanishes and the meditation and the meditated become one. Meditation proceeds from the mind.

When the mind becomes steady in meditation, the eye-balls also become steady. A Yogi whose mind is calm will have a steady eye. There will be no winking at all.

Concentrate and meditate on the expansive sky. This is also another kind of Nirguna meditation. By this method of meditation, the mind will stop thinking of finite forms.

You must be regular in your practice of meditation. Rapid progress and great success can be attained if regularity is observed by the practitioner. Even if you do not realise any tangible result in the practice, you must plod on in the practice with sincerity, earnestness, patience and perseverance. You will get success after some time. There is no doubt of this. Do not stop the practice even for a day, under any circumstance.

If you keep lemon-juice or tamarind-juice in a golden cup, it is not spoiled or tainted. If you keep it in a brass or copper vessel, it is at once spoiled and rendered poisonous. Even so, if there are some Vishaya-Vrittis (sensual thoughts) in the pure mind of a person who practises constant meditation, they will not pollute the man and induce Vikara (passionate excitement). If there are sensual thoughts in persons with impure minds, they cause excitement in them when they come across sensual objects.

At 4 a.m. do Sirshasana for 5 minutes. Then take rest for five minutes. Then sit and meditate. You will have wonderful meditation. All saints and Yogis practise meditation at this period and send their spiritual vibrations to the whole world. You will be highly benefited by their vibrations if you start your prayer, Japa and meditation at this period. You need not exert. The meditative state of mind will come of itself.
Before doing meditation, do 20 mild Kumbhakas. Then sit for meditation. Pranayama drives away Tandri and Alasya (drowsiness and laziness) and makes the mind steady.

An aspirant who meditates in a solitary upstair room in a town will have as much quiet there as in a forest. But he will not have the congenial spiritual vibrations there as in Rishikesh, Uttarakasi or Gangotri. Vibrations play a vital part in the elevation of mind and in producing Ekagrata of mind. In these holy places the vibrations of Rishis are lodged in the ethereal space and the aspirants are highly benefited by these vibrations. Vairagya, Sattvic Bhava and the meditative mood come by themselves without effort or struggle in these holy places. It is only sages and Yogis who can know at once the nature of vibrations of a place for meditation.

Requisites for Meditation

God has hidden Himself in this world (immanent) and is seated in the cavity of the lotus of your heart. He is an absentee landlord. You will have to seek Him through concentration and meditation with a pure mind. This is the real play of hide and seek.

A cool Sattvic place like Uttarakasi, Rishikesh, Lakshmanjhula, Kankhal or Badrinath is necessary for meditation, because the brain gets hot during meditation.

Meditation is possible when the mind is full of Sattva Guna. The stomach should not be loaded. There is an intimate connection between the mind and the food. A heavy meal is harmful. The night meal should be light for those who meditate.
Every human being has within himself various potentialities and capacities. He is a magazine of power and knowledge. As he evolves, he unfolds new powers, new faculties and new qualities. Now he can change his environments and influence others. He can subdue other minds. He can conquer internal and external nature. He can enter into superconscious state.

Mind is Brahman or God in manifestation. Mind is God in motion. As Brahman is approachable by means of the mind it is only proper to meditate upon the mind as Brahman.

You want for meditation a properly trained instrument (mind). It should be calm, clear, pure, subtle, sharp, steady and one-pointed. Brahman is pure and subtle and you need a pure and subtle mind to approach Brahman.

Mind feels tired after hard and protracted work. It cannot therefore be Atman. Atman is the storehouse of all powers (Ananta Sakti). Mind is only  an instrument of Atman. It should be properly disciplined. Just as you develop the physical body through gymnastics and various kinds of physical exercises, so also you have to train the mind through mental training, mental culture or mental drill.

Before saturating the mind with thoughts of Brahman you will have to assimilate the divine ideas first. Assimilation first and then saturation. Then comes realisation at once without a moment’s delay. Remember this triplet always: ASSIMILATION- SATURATION-REALISATION.

Leading a virtuous life is not by itself sufficient for God-realisation. Constant meditation is absolutely necessary. A good virtuous life only prepares the mind as a fit instrument for concentration and meditation. It is concentration and meditation that eventually lead to Self-realisation. Haste makes waste.
It behoves well that advanced Grihastha Yogic students (householders) will have to stop all the worldly activities when they advance in meditation, if they are really sincere. Work is a hindrance in meditation for advanced students. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says in the Gita ”For a sage who is seeking Yoga, action is called the means; for the same sage who is enthroned in Yoga (state of Yogarudha), serenity (Sama) is called the means.” Then work and meditation become incompatible like acid and alkali or fire and water or light and darkness.

Why do you close your eyes during meditation? Open your eyes, and meditate. You must keep your balance of mind even when you are in the bustle of a city. Then only you are perfect. In the beginning when you are a neophyte you can close your eyes to remove the distraction of mind, as you are very weak. But later on you must meditate with eyes open even during walking. You can meditate only when the mind is beyond all anxieties.

Resist the fatal downward pull by the dark, antagonistic forces through regular meditation. Check the aimless wanderings of the mind through clear and orderly thinking. Hear not the false whispers of the lower mind. Turn your inner gaze to the divine centre. Do not be afraid of the severe setbacks that you will encounter in your journey. Be brave. March on boldly till you finally rest in your centre of eternal bliss.

When you meditate, disregard the substratum awakenings in the mind that arise out of the senses. Avoid carefully the comparisons with all other cross references and memories of ideas. Concentrate the whole energy of the mind on the one idea of God or Atman itself without any comparison with any other idea. The student of Yoga should not possess much wealth as it will drag him to the worldly temptations. He can keep a little sum to meet the wants of the body. Economical independence will relieve the mind from anxieties and will enable him to continue the Sadhana uninterruptedly.

In summer, it is rather irksome and difficult owing to perspiration to have long sittings for meditation. So, have only two sittings during summer. Winter is very favourable for meditation. In winter the mind is not tired at all. You can meditate even for 24 hours without the least exhaustion.

Just as cannabis indica, opium or alcohol gives you intoxication, even if you take a small quantity, and lasts for some hours, so also the God-intoxication that you get from regular meditation, lasts for some hours if you meditate for half an hour daily. Therefore be regular.

Excerpts from “Concentration and Meditation” by Sri Swami Sivananda

Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka

Yoga Retreat Sri LankaYoga Retreat Sri Lanka

Planning to attend a yoga retreat Sri Lanka? This post might provide a few fresh ideas on yoga in Sri Lanka.

In modern times known as an era of information Yoga is everywhere – it is popularized in social media, propagated among the young and old, the weak and strong, the poor and rich. Almost every town and city will have a yoga studio or school where you can get yoga guidance for money. You do not need to search far and wide to attend a yoga class -google search will quickly provide directions of the nearest yoga center to your location. Don’t get confused by a variety of Yoga styles, trends and brands. Yoga became a part of the market that inevitably leads to versatility with the essential goal of selling. And yoga (union, oneness) turns into multiplicity, competition and opposition. Yoga in Sri Lanka

One of such products in the market that is growing in demand and popularity is yoga holidays when you travel to another place, country or continent to experience different environment,  surroundings, culture, food, climate, people and all of the above seasoned with the yoga gravy. Let us look at what yoga travel has to offer to customers and what has made it such an attractive product in the market. Yoga in Sri Lanka

And to be more precise let us take yoga journeys to the island of Sri Lanka and enumerate names with discriptions as well as reasons for a great variety of Yoga Retreats and Centers that have sprung up in recent times.

  1. Nature of Sri Lanka promotes quietude of the mind and links you towards your own nature.
  2. Water element manifested in the Indian Ocean, innumerable lakes and life-sustaining rivers purifies both thoughts and bodies. Yoga in Sri Lanka
  3. Earth element manifested in magnificent mountains and eye-catching scenery and landscapes.
  4. Fire element expressed in 365 days of summer with a climate that keeps your body warm and open for transformation.
  5. Air element boosts your creativity and adaptability giving new insight and point of view to contemplate over your life perspectives.
  6. Either element promotes meditative state of the mind. Many people arrive to Sri Lanka to learn more about spiritually and meditation as a means to establish connection between human world and spiritual world.
  7. Inhabitants of the island are more than friendly and open, eager to help and chat. English is quite well understood by locals and smiling is a never ending way of communication here.
  8. The island is of medium size though astonishes with diversity of wilf-life, vegetation, terrain and even climate.
  9. Buddhism with all its virtues and ideals is still in the air and that can be the reason why the island bears the name Sri Lanka – Sacred Land.
  10. Ayurveda is an intrinsic part of Sri Lankan nature that naturally sprung up from itself. Ayurvedic education on the island is the most comprehensive and offers theory and all conditions to put it into practice. The climate of Sri Lanka gives life to a great variety of herbs and plants with ayurvedic properties and healing powers.
  11. All the year round fresh fruits and vegetables are available on the island. Coconuts are in abundance here and there is almost no meal without scraped coconuts or coconut milk.

Let us look at some yoga Retreats and Centers in Sri Lanka which are constantly growing in numbers and diversity.

List of Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka

VILLA MY WAY

Villa My Way – quite a new Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka is located in Ahangama. The property overlooks the rain forest, just 10 min to the white beach of Indian ocean and 30min from Historical Galle Fort, organizes free yoga classes twice a day.

Yoga Retreat Villa My Way also includes a spa centre and offers massage treatments. It provides Ayurveda Doctor’s Consultation. Guests can enjoy an outdoor pool and a restaurant on site. You can play darts at the property, and free use of bicycles is available.

This Yoga Retreat serves breakfasts and dinners.

DOOWA YOGA

DOOWA YOGA is a yoga retreat Sri Lanka, located in Kandy, which provides resources and facilities to learn and practice the yoga of the great Eastern traditions. Accommodation is not available. You will need to find a closeby place to stay. The yoga retreat offers Drop-in classes as well as 7-14 days courses. 100 hours yoga teacher training is also conducted from time to time at the yoga center.

NIAGAMA HOUSE

The yoga retreat Niyagama House was completed in 2012 by the German architect and yoga teacher Elke de Silva and her Sri Lankan husband Chaminda. It is situated on the highest point of an active tea plantation, nine kilometers inland from the coastal city of Galle. 7 generous rooms and 2 double suites are equipped with high quality furniture and luxurious bathrooms. There is 18 meter chlorin free pool. Niyagama House and pool area is non-smoking – with a “secret” smoking spot just behind the pool. They do not serve alcohol – but you can bring your own and enjoy it where ever you want to. All of the above adds up to the relaxing purpose of this yoga retreat Sri Lanka.

PLANTATION VILLA

Another ayurveda and yoga retreat Sri Lanka, Plantation Villa situated in a rural village called Nehinna, in Kalutara, 120km away from the International Airport and 80 km from the capital city of Colombo.

The yoga retreat centre has 8 rooms overlooking the lush gardens which are decorated in colonial style. The property itself is a 30 acre plantation of Rubber, Coconut, Cinnamon and Black Pepper located at quite a distance from Kalutara town as well as the beach. Plantation Villa is more an ayurvedic retreat than a truly yoga center that offers an authentic ayurveda treatments, food and care.

The Role of Diet in Sex Control

Swami SivanandaDiet plays a prominent part in keeping up Brahmacharya. Purity of food brings in purity of mind. There are certain kinds of food that make the mind and the body very strong and steady. If proper attention is given to the purity of the food that we take, Brahmacharya becomes quite easy.

The influence of foodstuffs on the brain cells, emotion and passion is remarkable. A confection of sparrow produces an aphrodisiac effect. It directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish and eggs stimulate passion. Mark how elephants and cows that live on grass are quiet and peaceful and how tigers and other carnivorous animals that live on meat are turbulent and ferocious. Instinct or the voice from within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet that are conducive to the keeping up of Brahmacharya.

Sattvic food

Cheru, Havis Annam, milk, wheat, barley, bread, ghee, butter, dried ginger, green gram, potatoes, dates, plantains, curd, almonds and fruits are all Sattvic articles of food. Cheru is a mixture of boiled white rice, ghee, white sugar and milk. Havis Annam is also a similar preparation. This is very useful for spiritual aspirants. Milk is a perfect food by itself, containing as it does, the different nutritive constituents in a well balanced proportion. This is an ideal food for Yogins and Brahmacharins. Fruits are great energy producers. Bananas, grapes, sweet oranges, apples, pomegranates and mangoes are wholesome and nutritious. Dry fruits such as grapes, raisins, dates and figs, sweet fresh fruits such as bananas, mangoes, Sapotas, melons, limes, pineapples, apples, wood apples and sweet pomegranates, sugar and sugar-candy, honey, sago, arrowroot, milk, butter and ghee of cows, tender coconut water, coconut, almonds, pistachio nuts, Toor Dhal, Ragi, barley, maize, wheat, rice of red paddy whose bran is only partly removed and rice of good smell or sweet taste, and all preparations from any of these grains, and white pumpkin are Sattvic articles for keeping up Brahmacharya.

Forbidden food

Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, Chutnies, chillies, meat, fish, eggs, tobacco, liquor, sour articles, oil of all kinds, garlic, onions, bitter things, sour curd, stale food, acids, astringents, pungent stuffs, roasted things, over-ripe and unripe fruits, heavy vegetables and salt are not at all beneficial. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Salt is the worst enemy. Too much salt excites passion. Even if you do not take salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other foodstuffs. All foodstuffs contain salt. Giving up of salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and all the other Indriyas.

All kinds of peas and beans, both fresh and fried, horse gram, sprouted grains, mustard, all sorts of chillies, asafoetida, lentils, brinjals, lady’s finger, cucumbers, bamboo shoots, papaw fruit, drumsticks, all varieties of gourd such as white gourd, snake gourd and squash gourd, radish, leeks, mushrooms of all kinds, things fried in oil or ghee, pickles of all sorts, fried rice, sesame seeds, tea, coffee, cocoa, all kinds of vegetables, leaves, roots, fruits and foodstuffs that create wind or indigestion, grief, pain or costiveness or other sickness, pastry preparations, foods that are dry and burning, foods that are bitter, sour, saline, over-hot and pungent, tobacco and its preparations, foods and drinks containing liquor or narcotic drugs such as opium and bhang, food preparations which are stale or have become cold subsequent to their removal from the hearth or which have lost their natural taste, smell, colour or form, and milk of buffalo, goat or sheep should be avoided as they are either Rajasic or Tamasic by nature. Lemon juice, rock salt, ginger and white pepper can be used in moderation.

Mitahara

Mitahara is moderation in food. Take wholesome Sattvic food half-stomachful. Fill a quarter with pure water. Allow the remaining part free. This is Mitahara. Brahmacharins should always take Mitahara only. They should be very careful about their night diet. They should never overload the stomach at night. Overloading is the direct cause for nocturnal emissions.

Control of tongue is a sine qua non if you want to control lust. The tongue must be controlled first. Then it will be easy to control the passion. There is intimate connection between the tongue and the organ of generation. Tongue is an organ of knowledge. It is born of the Sattvic portion of the water-Tanmatra. The organ of generation is an organ of action. It is born of the Rajasic portion of the water-Tanmatra. They are sister organs as the source is the same. If the tongue is stimulated with Rajasic food, at once the reproductive organ also gets excited. There should be selection and restriction in diet. You should take food only when you are really hungry.

Fasting

Fasting controls passion. Fasting destroys sexual excitement. It calms the emotions. It controls the Indriyas also. Passionate young men and ladies should take recourse to occasional fasting. It will prove highly beneficial. Fasting is a great Tapas. It purifies the mind. It destroys a great multitude of sins. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric acid deposits. Young, robust Brahmacharins should observe fasting whenever passion troubles them. You will have very good meditation during fasting, as the mind is calm. The chief object in fasting is to practice Dhyana rigorously during that period as all the Indriyas are calm.

Avoid excessive fasting. It will produce weakness. Use your commonsense. Those who are not able to observe a full fast can fast for nine or twelve hours and can take milk and fruits in the evening or at night.
During fasting, the internal digestive organs such as the stomach, the liver and the pancreas take rest. Ninety per cent of the people in this world take more food than what is absolutely necessary for the body. Overeating has become their habit. All diseases take their origin in overeating. An occasional complete fast is a great desideratum for all to keep up good health, relieve the internal organs and maintain Brahmacharya. Diseases that are pronounced incurable by allopaths and homoeopaths are cured by fasting. Fasting develops will-power. It increases the power of endurance. Manu, the Hindu law-giver, prescribes in his code the remedy of fasting for removal of the five capital sins also.

It is better to drink a large quantity of water, either tepid or cold, according to temperament and inclination, during fasting. It will flush out the kidneys and remove the poison and all sorts of impurities in the body. In Yoga it is termed as Gata-Suddhi or purification of the flesh-pot, the physical body. You can add half a teaspoonful of soda bicarbonate to the water. Those who fast for two or three days should not break their fast with any solid food. They should take some kind of fruit juice, either sweet orange juice or pomegranate juice. They should sip the juice slowly. You can take an enema daily during fasting.

Fasting is more a spiritual Kriya than a physical Kriya from the viewpoint of health. You will have to utilise the fasting days for higher spiritual purposes and in the contemplation of God.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

From ancient times the man was investigating ways and techniques to transform, change, uplift his perception of himself and the outside. Tantra is an ageless and highly practical discipline that can rocket your consciousness into the skies. All religions in one way or another employed methods of Tantra.

Shamanistic rituals are known to have been applied in all cultures of the world. There are different methods that can transform your awareness and the consequences of their use differ. 20th century folk preferred more quick and passive methods that in most cases brought you up and then threw you down even lower than before to the methods which are active, gradual and spiritual. Passive methods are generally chemical in substance which speeds up the process but causes physical changes and destruction inevitably followed by far more disastrous consequences on the spiritual level. Drugs of different substances can help you in releasing your subconscious blocks and emotions within the time they are in effect. This is the shift of perception and the way how you perceive yourself that brings so desirable relief. Once the effect comes to an end, the awareness returns to normal state to realize consecutive physical and psychological discomfort or pain. On your conscious and subconscious levels an imprint of the aftermath pain will be created. The feeling of lost paradise that you’ve experienced being intoxicated by drugs will firmly fix in the long-term memory and urge you to want it, long for it and once again have it. A breach of Will occurs that will cause destruction to your spiritual self. Without will mind is not able to control drugs, the drugs become masters of your body and mind. Good health will guarantee you will stay longer to withstand gradual physical destruction. However, in most cases psychological destruction happens more quickly with the mind being trapped in between pain and pleasure without support from strong will. There are cases when drugs can help you on the way to spiritual self. The guru will play crucial role in cases of using drugs to open your dark sides and self-liberate them. Then guru will be a guide and your will as well which can’t last long. It is absolutely true that drugs can’t guide you.

The basic trend of modern awareness flows away from wishy-washy way of searching Truth. 21st century society chooses ancient methods of Yoga to unfold consciousness of our True Self without jeopardizing and diluting young and immature souls of the Western World.

Yoga Light-House Sri Lanka