Meditation and its Methods

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Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts on this subject are spread throughout his Complete Works, and these have been brought together in this book. In reading these selections the reader comes in touch with a teacher who taught with authority and not merely as a scholar. The book has been divided into two sections: Meditation according to Yoga and Meditation according to Vedanta. For all the seekers of Truth and practitioners of meditation this book is sure to provide flashes of deep insight helping them to reach their goal through meditation.People living outside India can purchase this book from our center at St. Louis, USA.
Vivekananda left a body of philosophical works (see Vivekananda’s complete works). His books (compiled from lectures given around the world) on the four Yoga’s (Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga) are very influential and still seen as fundamental texts for anyone interested in the Hindu practice of Yoga. His letters are of great literary and spiritual value. He was also considered a very good singer and a poet.By the time of his death, He had composed many songs including his favorite Kali the Mother. He used humor for his teachings and was also an excellent cook. His language is very free flowing. His own Bengali writings stand testimony to the fact that he believed that words – spoken or written – should be for making things easier to understand rather than show off the speaker or writer’s knowledge.

Meditation played a very important role in the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. He was interested in meditation from his childhood. His master Ramakrishna found him a dhyana-siddha (expert in meditation). In December 1892, Vivekananda went to Kanyakumari and meditated for three days on a large rock and took the resolution to dedicate his life to serve humanity. The event is known as the Kanyakumari resolve of 1892. He reportedly also meditated for a long time on the day of his death (4 July 1902).

Vivekananda is considered as the introduces of meditation to the Western countries. In his book Raja Yoga and lectures, he widely discussed meditation, its purpose and procedure. He described “meditation” as a bridge that connects human soul to the God. He defined “meditation” as a state “when the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point.

Meditate in Silence

It is impossible to find God outside of ourselves. Our own souls contribute all the divinity that is outside of us. We are the greatest temple. The objectification is only a faint imitation of what we see within ourselves.

Concentration of the powers of the mind is our only instrument to help us see God. If you know one soul (your own), you know all souls, past, present, and to come. The concentrated mind is a lamp that shows us every corner of the soul.

The Mind-Lake

The bottom of a lake we cannot see, because its surface is covered with ripples. It is only possible for us to catch a glimpse of the bottom, when the ripples have subsided, and the water is calm. If the water is muddy or is agitated all the time, the bottom will not be seen. If it is clear, and there are no waves, we shall see the bottom. The bottom of the lake is our own true Self; the lake is the Chitta [mind-stuff] and the waves the Vrittis [thought-waves].

Again, the mind is in three states, one of which is darkness, called Tamas, found in brutes and idiots; it only acts to injure. No other idea comes into that state of mind. Then there is the active state of mind, Rajas, whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. “I will be powerful and rule others.” Then there is the state called Sativa, serenity, calmness, in which the waves cease, and the water of the mind-lake becomes clear.

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