Meditation - Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teaches Techniques
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Speaks on concentration and contemplation
Hear and Download MP3 of Excerpt from Bhagawan's Divine Discourse on May 25, 1979 in Brindavan
Do not follow the vagaries of the mind
Let the mind run wherever it likes; just be careful not to follow it, seeking to discover where it is going! It will then wander about for some time as the fancy takes it; soon, getting tired and exhausted, it will come back to you in the end! It is like a little child that knows nothing. Since the mother is following it and calling it back, it gets courage and confidence to run forward in any direction, but if the mother does not run behind the child and instead retraces her steps quietly, the child too, of its own accord, will run back to the mother!
Do not care for the vagaries of the mind. Carry on remembrance and meditation of the name and form that you like best, in the manner you are accustomed to. In this way, you will acquire one-pointedness (ekāgrata); you will realise your heart’s desire. [Dhyana Vahini: Chapter 8]
Watch the breathing process with “So” and “Ham”
- When we give work to mind that keeps it ever busy, then, the mind doesn’t trouble us. Sometimes people catch a monkey which has a tendency of going up and down, up and down and so on, a tree. If we keep the monkey in one place, it keeps performing such monkey tricks. Therefore the monkey trainer who goes to beg in front of every house and commands the monkey to go up and down the pole. In the same manner, the mind is like a monkey. Therefore this “monkey” must be entrusted with some absorbing work. If we sit in meditation as a first step, this monkey mind will not be in our control. So, we must sit in meditation and give the duty of a watchman, who watches who is going in and who is going out, to this monkey mind. If we entrust the duty of a watchman to the mind, and this “monkey” sits there at the tip of the nose, and goes on watching the breath, “So” as we inhale, and “Ham” as we exhale, this process goes on and the monkey is kept busy watching the breath going in and coming out. [Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Excerpts from discourse on: 05-25-1979]
- Keep eyes half-opened and focused on the tip of the nose. Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right nostril with the right thumb. As the breath goes in, it utters “So” (meaning 'He'); then exhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril. As the breath goes out, it utters “Ham” (meaning 'I'). Inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately, conscious of the identity of He and I (yourself), which it asserts, until the breathing and the awareness grow into an unnoticed process. Keep the mind as a watchman to note the incoming and outgoing breaths, to listen with the inner ear to the “Soham” that the breath whispers and to witness the assertion of your being the Divine, which is the core of the Universe. [SSS 10.34: 22-11-1970]
Jyoti (Light) Meditation
Flame that kindles and flames kindled are identical
- During the Festival of lights (Deepawali), we keep a row of candles and with one candle, we light all others. With one flame, we are able to kindle myriad others. The flame that kindles is called Para-brahma jyoti (The eternal, universal flame) and the flames that are kindled are called Jivan jyoti (individual, particular flame). In the end, the flame that kindles and the flames kindled are identical. Ultimately, these two flames are recognized to be identical; it is said that the one who knows Brahman will ultimately become Brahman Himself (“Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati”). Therefore, Jyoti Meditation (Meditation using the flame) is the highest type of meditation. [Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Excerpts from discourse on: 05-25-1979]
- This body goes on changing, but the flame does not undergo any changes. A small example to show this – You have a tub full of water. If one keeps taking a tumbler full of water from this tub, there will be a time when there will not be any water in the tub. At one place we have dumped a truck-load full of sand. If each person carries away a basket full of sand, eventually, there will not be any sand. But, out of one single flame, one can light a million flame and still the original flame will remain. So this supreme Jyoti (flame) does not go through dilution or destruction. There will not be “kshine punye martya-lokam visanti” (after one's enjoyment due to pious activities is finished, one must return to this planet). So concentrating on such flame, if you have any form you like, any form you have taken to heart, you keep that form in the flame and meditate. It is the best form of meditation to think that, the form that I adore is in Jyoti (flame) and that flame is in all. [Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Excerpts from discourse on: 05-25-1979]
Jyoti (Light) meditation Technique
The following is a guided How-To video based on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words.
As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get.
Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows.
Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide. The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter.
Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love.
As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it.
Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation.
Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee therefrom. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever-widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith, and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.
Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere.
If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.
Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence. [SSS 14.41: 21-11-1979]
Universality of Jyoti (Light) Meditation
The light is first moved into the heart which is conceived as a lotus, the petals of which will open. The light is then moved to other body parts. There is no particular sequence. But important is the final body station, which is the head. There the light becomes a crown enshrining and covering the head. The light is then moved outside, from the particular to the universal. Move the light into relatives, friends, enemies, trees, animals, birds until the entire world and all its forms are seen to have the same light at their centre as has been found to be within oneself.
The idea of moving the light into the universal phase, the idea of universality is that the same divine light is present in everyone and everywhere. To impress this universality on the mind, we do the spreading of the light outside one's own body. One should understand that what comes about in meditation as one moves deeply into it, is not the thinking of the light, but the forgetting of the body and thereby the direct experience that the body is not oneself.
This is the stage of contemplation when the body is totally forgotten. It cannot be forced. It comes about by itself and is the stage that naturally follows correct concentration. Vivekananda said that in meditation he was unable to find his body; where was this body? He could not find it.
Seeing the light and moving the light here and there is to give work to the mind, to keep the mind occupied in the right direction so that the mind will not be thinking of this and that and thus interfering with the process of becoming quieter and quieter. Spreading the light into its universal phase, sending the light into every other body, and when one is so concentrated in it that he is no longer conscious of his body, is the stage of contemplation. As contemplation deepens, the stage of meditation comes about of its own volition. It cannot be forced. If the meditator remains conscious of himself that he is engaged in meditation, then he is not meditating but is still in the preliminary stage, at the beginning of concentration. [Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba – by John Hislop]