Meditation - Gateway to Bliss Print E-mail

Meditation is more than just shutting one’s eyes and repeating a mantra or word symbol. It is the highest spiritual technique that needs to be practised diligently and devotedly by qualified practitioners. The essential prerequisite for meditation is a calm mind. A mind burdened with desires and attachments is unable to take off into subtler realms of concentration and meditation. Just as an overloaded aircraft cannot take to flight. Entitled “The Yoga of Meditation”, chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Gita elucidates meditation as the final gateway to Self Realisation.

 

Krsna begins with the definition of a sannyasi, a renounced person. Renunciation is not giving up enjoyments, abandoning one’s duties and escaping to a safe sanctuary. It is this misunderstanding that has turned away genuine seekers and prevented them from accessing the benefits of renunciation. Krsna describes a sannyasi as one who does what one ought to do, fulfils one’s duties and responsibilities fully, without depending on the fruit of action. A sannyasi is not one without a higher ideal, nor is he an inactive person. Krsna then gives a masterful description of the three stages of spiritual evolution. From an active yogi to a meditative sannyasi and, finally, to the exalted state of a jnani, the enlightened One. Most humans belong to the bhogi category. A bhogi chases after worldly objects in the pursuit of happiness but never finds it. A yogi is one who understands that happiness is not a commodity one can buy off the shelf in a supermarket. He turns within and begins the spiritual journey. However he is still under the burden of countless desires and needs to wade through selfless, dedicated actions to evolve. A sannyasi has offloaded the bulk of his desires and is in contemplation of the higher. He is fit for meditation and embarks on the path of deep reflection and focus on Reality. A jnani has reached the exalted state of Enlightenment. Krsna describes the three stages in terms of mental states rather than external appearances. Thus, one does not have to don ochre robes or perform rituals or deny oneself worldly enjoyments to be spiritual. All that is needed is a change in mindset.

 

Step by step, Krsna takes us through the preparatory disciplines as well as disqualifications for meditation. One must have a balanced contact with the world – neither too much nor too little. Every activity must be carefully supervised by the intellect so that no desire interrupts the subtle practise of meditation. If the contact with the world is excessive the mind is rushing out to the world and is unable to concentrate. Meditation is a far cry. If one shies away from worldly enjoyment one only succeeds in getting frustrated. Such people are also unfit for meditation.

 

Krsna then gives the test of Enlightenment. A realised Soul is one who feels one with everyone. He sees his Self as the Self in all beings. In the end he worships God not in a temple, church or mosque, but in every living being. Thereafter he lives in Atman, whatever his lifestyle. It is pointless to declare love for God when you cannot connect with His images everywhere.

 

Arjuna, like us, is afraid of leaving the safe confines of his present existence to discover the unknown realm of the Infinite. He asks Krsna what the fate is of those who commit themselves to a spiritual life but die before Realisation. Krsna gives a fitting reply to reveal one of the most insightful laws of life. He says, “One who is righteous will never come to grief. Either now or in the future”. Your efforts will not go in vain. You will carry forward the credits to your future life. A spiritually evolved person who falls short of Realisation will either be born in the home of the happy and wealthy or in a family of wise yogis. There, endowed with the wisdom acquired in previous lives, he will strive even more to attain Enlightenment. Thus the diligent seeker effortlessly reaches Brahman. The key words are vairagya dispassion and abhyasa practise. One must be convinced of the futility of worldly passions and pursue the necessary spiritual practices consistently.

 

Thus the Lord assures Arjuna, and all of us, that the way to lasting happiness is a life of Truth.