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some thoughts on meditation...

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  #1  
Old 24 February 2012, 01:47 PM
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some thoughts on meditation...

hari o
~~~~~~

namast


This post is in the uttara folder due to the advanced nature of the subject that will be offered. The purpose of the material is to allow one to ruminate a bit longer, to consider , ponder the various methods of setting-up and framing meditation to yield results . It is not instruction.

For those that may not wish to do this and find it un-easing, or outside of your comfort zone please save your mental peace or established way of doing, and not venture beyond this first paragraph.


There are multiple techniques to meditate, of this there is no doubt. The vijāna bhairava kārikā-s call out no less then 112 dhāraṇa-s .
Yet in all the years of my study and practice it comes down to setting up the conditions ( or as the wise say, making one fit) to experience viśvottirṇa avasthā:
  • viśvottirṇa = viśva +uttiraṇa = all-pervading or all-containing , omnipresent + landed , crossed , traversed
  • avasthā - to abide in a state or condition
Hence viśvottirṇa avasthā is that condition or 'state' which one resides or lands-in (uttiraṇa), which is all pervading, all containing. In brief many call it the transcendental state , the 4th, turīya.

Now this avasthā is within us already, no different then a tall oak tree that resides in a seed ; all that is needed is the proper conditions for that seed to manifest as the oak tree.

This is the purpose of various methods or as we have established dhāraṇa-s; to make one 'fit' to experience this avasthā that resides within us and without us.

So, with the next few posts I wish to offer a few ideas that help frame some of the fundamentals and some advanced ideas that are based upon these fundamentals. The knowledge will be from various śaivāgama-s, upaniṣads, tantric writings and relevent śāstra-s that may bring value to this conversation.


praṇām

words
  • dhāraṇa - for our use in this post lets define it as methods; yet this word ( for the purest)means the act of holding , bearing , wearing , supporting , maintaining ; concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath);
  • From this root √dhṛ it means to exercise concentration and we can say dhāraṇāṃ gataḥ , having composed one's self; hence that or those methods ( practiced) that composes oneself, makes one fit.
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_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 15 September 2012 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 24 February 2012, 05:28 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

When one wishes to meditate , it is the notion that we care to go inward. This is the ~subjective~ experience, as 'in' or 'out' is a relative idea here which we can develop later. Yet for now let's consider it inward.

The ocean
Let's say I am on the surface of the ocean. Call the top of the ocean our thinking mind with all the thoughts and ideas that just come-and-go. Much activity that goes on in this field of thinking and it is like the waves of the ocean always moving.

Yet if we go just below the surface there is less and less movement the deeper we go. There are still currents, but they are nothing like the surface of the ocean's activities. For this post we will call this going deeper the inward direction.

This inward direction gives more quietness, less activity, more sameness. This inward direction is where we can experience viśvottirṇa avasthā reviewed in post 1 above.

Pending one's fitness different approaches of diving into the ocean of our own selves are available. This is the genius of our heritage of ṛśi's, muni's, and guru's that have come before us that are part of the lineage of sanātana dharma.

Different ways or upāya
It is quite interesting and attractive to me that within kaśmir śaivism ( some like to call this a trika system) the approaches have been described in 3 or 4 ways, or means we call upāya-s. I have offered this in another folder, but instead of having the reader go to another part of HDF , I have reproduced this knowlege here for your ease of access.

Let's start at the entry level and go up to the most refined and sublime. We will use these terms later a reference points.

1. āṇavopāya
āṇu अणु = fine , minute , atomic is known as 'atom' - which is another name for the individual jiva. This upāya is the means whereby the āṇu or the individual jiva uses his own kāraṇa-s or instruments i.e. senses, prana and manas for self-realization. It includes disciplines concerning the regulation of prana, japa, concentration, meditation, etc.

2. śākopāya (shakti-upāya )
the means of approach to the Divine through śakti, the ever-recurring contemplation of the pure thought of oneself being essentially śiva or the supreme ahaṁ, yet there is much-much more to this we will need to unfold; let me not sell it short
with this brief definition, it is the śakti of awareness itself that supports this approach.


3. sāmbhavopāya (sāmbhava upāya)
This upāya is the rise of śiva consciousness ( pure awareness) when maintaining awareness ( or preserving) thoughtlessness. It is the notion of maintaining the continunity of thoughtlessness. The awareness is lively, yet what occurs ? One is deposited into viśvottirṇa avasthā. More can be said here, but this will suffice for now.
Note I mention śiva consciousness as śiva ( other then the Auspiciousness One) means 'in whom all things lie' or rest. It is that consciousness that is fullness itself.

4. anupāya or 'without means or no upāya' - the way is without a way, as one person has said it. It does not really involve any process. Due to śaktipata or descent of grace in a very intense degree, everything needed for the realization, beginning from the liquidation of individual impurity down to the recognition of the state of parameśvara may be achieved by the sādhu immediately and without going through any sādhana or discipline.

It is these 3 or 4 ways that work within the field of the ocean aforementioned in the 1st paragraph. We will use this ~ocean~ a few more times as it is a perfect way of depicting how things may occur within us ( and my teacher always used it for example purposes).

This then sets us up to discuss these ideas a bit more and what one may find useful approaches to be considered.

praṇām
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__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 24 February 2012 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 25 February 2012, 06:27 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

Let me offer one idea...
When one meditates it is very common to use a mantra. Many mantras are constructed of bīja sounds (phonemes, some call kāra¹); some people use chanting also as mantra. This is all well and good, yet we are looking for the desired result, to go inward.


dropping the meaning...
It is suggested that saṃketa (or common/conventional meaning) is dropped or put aside and one puts their attention on śabda , the sound vibration, tone quality, and drop any meaning. This is why seed sounds ( bīja ) are so powerful. In general the meanings are not apparent in the phoneme itself. It is very innocent in and of itself.

But why so ? Let's return to the ocean. When meaning is used, we are engaged in it, in its content. It is like swimming on top of the ocean, where thoughts are engaged and the intellect is engaged with the meaning. With this engagement the mind stays on the surface and does not go to the depths of the ocean where it is more silent.

Yet if we use a prescribed sound that is unattached to meaning, then the mind cannot engage in its definition; it is just sound. With the right vibration one can collect their attention around this sound; The sound can be a vehicle that allows one to sink into the depths of the ocean - this then we can call dhyāna¹ ( meditation). We have attention, a vehicle and a direction. And we have the śakti of the mantra ( aforementioned as the vehicle).


śakti
This energy śakti can be said to be bhairavī and it has the agency (and tendency ) of līna svayaṁ
  • līna = being dissolved or absorbed in
  • svayaṁ= by one's self spontaneously , voluntarily , of one's own accord
That is, to bring or deliver the aspirant ( sādhu, yogi, practitioner) to finer levels of Being, more refined levels of thought consciousness, depositing the person into viśvottirṇa avasthā¹. So this vehicle is of great import.
We called this vibration (spanda) śakti, and gave it the name bhairavī as per the vijñāna bhairava kārikā-s. This book¹ says śakti is the entrance ( muktam or mouth) to śiva.

And who then is śiva ? He is that state that is beyond (what is inferred is beyond space, time, cause, direction). It is that state that cannot be named, it is fullness itself ( bharitākāra¹).

This śakti then is tightly coupled to bringing one to viśvottirṇa avasthā.


praṇām


words
  • viśvottirṇa avasthā -
    • viśvottirṇa = viśva +uttiraṇa = all-pervading or all-containing , omnipresent + landed , crossed , traversed
    • avasthā - to abide in a state or condition
  • vijñāna bhairava kārikā-s - 20th and 21st kārikā.
  • dhyāna - more can be found at this HDF post : http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=8070
  • bharitākāra = bharita+akāra
    • bharita = nourished , full
    • akāra = a+kāra - this says the phoneme (kāra) ~letter~ 'a'. Who is 'a' ? it is śiva.
      This letter/sound 'a' is quite revered in the śaivāgama's. It too is the first sound found in the veda-s (ṛg ved 1.1.1).
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शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 26 February 2012 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 06 March 2012, 06:46 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

I have been waiting to add an additional post on this subject. I wished to extend the subject but found myself concerned for the reader. That is, the potential that the reader has experience in this area and hence a chance to mis-understand the offer. So what then can I add that will be simple and yet considered advanced for the uttra folder ?

It is this:

What ever makes the mind rejoice, that state of the sense-organs becomes the instrument of worship which unites one with the true abode of brahman. This is from abhinavagupa-ji's tantrāloka .

It is simple, brillant and profound. When we say ' that state of the sense-organs' , it suggests how the mind, intellect , emotions or senses are positioned or ~groomed~ that allows for the natural expansion of consciousness to claim its rightful level of Being. This is what makes one fit (bhājana ¹).


And how is that ? we talked above about the various approaches (upāya-s); we can consider them in this manner:
  • cittaviśrānti (citta + viśrānti) : citta = thought, thinking, intellect ~mind~ + viśrānti= rest, repose
  • cittasambodha (citta + sambodha) : citta = thought, thinking, intellect ~mind~ + sambodha = perfect knowledge or understanding
  • cittapralaya (citta + pralaya) : citta = thought, thinking, intellect ~mind~ + pralaya = disolution of the mind, or 'unminding'
There are many approaches that may fit into these 3 ways ; the practitioner may find one that resonates with him or her in the best possible way - the mind rejoices. And this way , this 'instrument' becomes that of worship. How so? It puts one closer to that pulse that guides all of creation.


praṇām


words

bhājana - any fit object or deserving person ; 'partaker of' , a recipient
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शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 25 March 2012 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 09 March 2012, 01:30 AM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

Namaste yajvan,

Thank you so much for your inspirational postings, they speak volumes as I have recently taken a new job which has stopped my musical practis.
How does one maintain the vital energy or ojas, for practise, when the daily routine of work is so very draining.
It seems to me to reminiscent of the catch 22 situation. In many respects, the routine takes energy from the pursuit of the path, and the path when pursued gives energy to the routine.

So the art might be in finding a path which leads to practis in ones daily routine; but from where does one find the energy, the ojas? Maybe from the practis?

Inspiration, to move towards the divine.

Quite an art! Thank you, I shall look to acquire and read abhinavagupa-ji's tantrāloka, when I am ready.

Thank you kindly,

praNAma

mana



Last edited by Mana : 09 March 2012 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09 March 2012, 08:05 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mana View Post
Thank you so much for your inspirational postings, they speak volumes as I have recently taken a new job which has stopped my musical practis.
How does one maintain the vital energy or ojas, for practise, when the daily routine of work is so very draining.
Consider this following post... if you are musically inclined, then during your rest at home and listening to the music you most enjoy can not only bring refreshment , but can uplift.
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...5&postcount=10


re: abhinavagupa-ji's tantrāloka - just a note . This is not entry level knowledge and takes a baseline of study and practice to come to know.

praṇām
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__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
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Old 10 March 2012, 01:44 AM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

Namaste yajvan,

Thank you kindly for the link towards, and wisdom of your further reading.
Music for me is about playing rather than listening, however rewarding listening is, to play amplifies the feeling of connection.
Improvisation is a fantastic way to relax; contrary to that which we may imagine this happens fluently, only when we have detach the mind from the process and become connected.
I have once or twice experienced a complete displacement of self within the self. Most beneficial for the listening as an observer of the sound that we make, thus for the complete sound. I should like to learn to do this with greater aptitude.

This moment of connection is very energising, one can feel the instrument singing, The vibration sounds better when it is no longer, I, that is playing.

It is fascinating to read Swami Svāmī Lakṣman-jū's translation of Vijῆāna Bhairava, in your thread highlighting Vijnana Bhairava.

Thank you once again for your postings; I am filled with greater desire to further my study and practis.


praNAma

mana

Last edited by Mana : 10 March 2012 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 12 March 2012, 03:34 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté



This string has been about ~meditation~ yet we can say that this word is used in a general sense. There are various methods ( upāya-s) that suggest dhyāyet, bhāvayet, cintayet.
  • dhyāyet (ध्या dhyā) - meditation
  • bhāvayet ( भाव bhāva ) - way of thinking or feeling , sentiment , opinion , disposition , intention ( feel or imagine)
  • cintayet (चिन्त् cint) - reflect upon , direct the thoughts towards (contemplation)
We find these approaches in many śāstra-s, most notably ( for me) in the mālinīvijayottaratantra and the vijñāna bhairava kārikā-s but are also found in the upaniṣads e.g. haṁsopaniṣad, yogacūḍāmaṇi upaniṣad, etc.

So why bring this up ? It is the sense that these methods are considered dhāraṇā-s or nistaraṇga upadeśa ( undestracted practice). They are simular to what we find in patañjali’s yogadarśana ( yoga sūtra-s).

In patañjali’s work this nistaraṇga upadeśa when practiced in its most refined form would be called saṁyama (संयम) . There is a general definition that this saṁyama = restraint , control. Yet if one looks at the word a bit more deeply it too means holding together. It has been my view and instruction ( from my teacher) that a more appropriate definition of saṁyama is more towards the notion of holding together, gently, then 'restraining or controlling' . It's a very delicate thing that happens when practiced.

As we get to finer levels of awareness the notion of high restraint and control takes on a gentler meaning ( vs. a bull dog approach). Yet the beauty of this saṁyama is , it is made up of 3 parts and we should recognize some of these words:
  • dhyāna ध्यान - meditation
  • dhāraṇā धारणा - fixity, the act of holding, singleminded-ness
  • samādhi समाधि - one-pointed absorption; One can say the mind is absorbed or 'concentrated' - but it is not the act of concentrating
Samādhi = sam + ā + dhā : sam or sama = sameness, evenness, homogeneous + ā = although completely + dhā = take hold of , hold , bear , support. Hence samādhi = 'to hold sameness/evenneness completely'.
The even-ness is the concentrated one-pointedness. We will use this idea in a later post when we define the ~types~ of samādhi.

So it seems reasonable when dhāraṇā-s or nistaraṇga upadeśa is done with competence, it will yield samādhi.


praṇām

words
  • nistaraṇga upadeśa
    • nistaraṇga = ni+staraṇga - ni = negation ~without~ + staraṇga = the act of spreading or scattering ;
    • hence nistaraṇga means without scattering , or said another way without distraction or fractionalization ( scattered)
      • kṣipta - 'scattered' , distraction or absence of mind ; thrown , cast , sent , dispatched , dismissed
    • upadeśa = specification , instruction , teaching, information , advice , prescription
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शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 12 March 2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 25 March 2012, 12:24 PM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

Quote:
So it seems reasonable when dhāraṇā-s or nistaraṇga upadeśa is done with competence, it will yield samādhi.
A few posts above discussed the various upāya-s that can be explored for one's use:

1. sāmbhavopāya (sāmbhava upāya)
2. śākopāya (shakti-upāya )
3. āṇavopāya (āṇava upāya)


These approaches go from more support to least support. That is one takes support or aid/strength from various techniques to aid one's ~centering or balnace~ of one's awareness.
Let's say one wishes to go to New York city. There are mutiple paths. Some gravitate to a plane, others a train and still others perhaps a bus or a car. In each case, the destination is the same, yet the vehicle (upāya) may be different. Some like to look out the window and be entertained, others wish to stop and get out of the car and look around; others are most intent and only wish to get to the final destination as soon as possible.
Like that, there are varying degrees of interest and ability for one on the path¹ (adhvan). Add to this path, various blemishes ( mala-s) and we come to various approaches one may engage in for progress to unfold.

If one has a wandering mind, unsteady, unable to focus then a path is available for this type of person. In this scenerio āṇavopāya would be considered. Techniques that may involve the breath (uccāra, ~ rising, discharge of breath~) ; a particular sense (karaṇa ~ an organ of sense ~) ; dhāraṇā (~contemplation~), etc. may be put in place for one's use.

It is within these āṇavopāya-s we come to know the use of mantra-s or sounds to be used; of mūrti-s ( images, statues, ~idols~), of various chants , etc.
All these approaches add support¹ to one's spiritual endevors for advancement. It is all of these found in āṇavopāya approach that can lump into the energy of kriyā ; kriyā is doing, treatment or practice , applying a remedy. Now this is slightly different when it comes to sāmbhavopāya and śākopāya which we will take this up in the next post.

praṇām

words
  • on the path - adhikārī : adhi = concerning + kārī = effort , exertion or one expending effort, a seeker
  • āṇu अणु = fine , minute , atomic is known as 'atom' - which is another name for the individual jiva. This upāya is the means whereby the āṇu or the individual jiva uses his own kāraṇa-s or instruments i.e. senses, prana and manas for self-realization. It includes disciplines concerning the regulation of prana, japa, concentration, meditation, etc.
  • upāya - that by which one reaches their aim
  • nistaraṇga upadeśa
    • nistaraṇga = ni+staraṇga - ni = negation ~without~ + staraṇga = the act of spreading or scattering ; hence nistaraṇga means without scattering , or said another way without distraction or fractionalization ( scattered)
    • kṣipta - 'scattered' , distraction or absence of mind ; thrown , cast , sent , dispatched , dismissed
    • upadeśa = specification , instruction , teaching, information , advice , prescription
  • add support - to make one fit - bhājana - any fit object or deserving person ; 'partaker of' , a recipient
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शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
__śivatulyo jāyate
____yajvan___
_oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Last edited by yajvan : 25 March 2012 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 31 March 2012, 11:30 AM
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Re: some thoughts on meditation...

Pranam Yajvanji,

Kindly continue with the wonderful post.

Ekoham
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