A guide to Bhagawan's teachings on Meditation


True Meditation

Offering the flower of love to the Lord

Meditation is a process that takes place beyond the senses. Between the concentration at the sensory level and meditation that is above the senses, there is a borderline where chintana (contemplation) takes place. Contemplation is the second half of chit (intellect), whose other function is discrimination between right and wrong.

An illustration will make this clear. There is a rose plant, with branches, leaves, flowers, and thorns. Locating the place where there is a flower calls for concentration. At this stage, we are concerned only with locating the flower. But the flower has to be plucked without touching the thorns. Love is the flower. Lust is the thorn. There is no rose without a thorn. How to get at the flower of Love without touching the thorn of lust is the problem. This is where contemplation is needed. Having plucked the flower, how shall we use it? By offering it to the Divine.

Meditation means offering the flower of love to the Divine. In the rose plant of our body, there is the rose of pure and sacred Love emitting the fragrance of good qualities. Below the rose, however, there are thorns in the form of sensual desires. The purpose of meditation is to separate the rose of selfless love from the senses and offer it to the Lord. [SSS 17.6: 11-03-1984]

Concentration, contemplation, and meditation

Concentration is below senses; meditation is beyond senses. We must travel from below senses to beyond senses. So, when we set out from what is below senses through concentration, we reach the stage of contemplation. And when we cross the boundaries of contemplation, we reach the area of meditation. So there are three stages, concentration, contemplation, and meditation. Concentration can be compared to the state of “One you think you are”. “One others think you are” is contemplation. Meditation enables us to recognize the state of “One you really are”. [Sathya Sai Baba excerpts from discourse: 05-25-1979]

Forgetting the feeling of body identification

Supposing you sit for meditation, closing your eyes. However, the mind goes on wandering everywhere. You try to bring it back to the starting point. It is all a practice. It is only when the wavering mind is stilled that meditation is possible. This process of making the mind steady is called concentration. Meditation is possible only after concentration. The proper order is concentration, contemplation and meditation. If someone claims that he is meditating the moment he sits, it should not be believed. That is an artificial exercise, not meditation. Real meditation is forgetting oneself totally. It is forgetting dehātma bhāva (the feeling of identification with the body) completely. One has to totally give up attachment to the senses. Then only the mind will be steady.  [SSS 42.9: 6-7-2009]

Experience of Oneness with God

In meditation, there are three aspects: the one who is doing the meditation (i.e. the subject), the object of meditation (i.e. God), and the act or process (i.e. the rapport that the subject is trying to establish with the object). Proper meditation or the culmination of meditation occurs when the three factors --meditator, object of meditation, and act of meditation-- coalesce and merge into one. In the state of meditation, the meditator, the object of his meditation and the process of meditation have fallen away and there is only One, and that One is God. All that may change has fallen away, and That Thou Art (“Tat Twa Asi”) is the state that exists. It is an experience of unity (without the meditator being conscious of himself). [Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba: by Dr.John Hislop]

Sathya Sai Baba's Words on the Importance of Meditation


Teaching Meditation

Can anyone teach meditation?

Can anyone train another in meditation? Or claim to train? It may be possible to teach a person the posture, the pose, the position of the legs, feet, or hands, neck, head or back, the style of breathing, or its speed. But meditation is a function of the inner man; it involves deep subjective quiet, the emptying of the mind and filling oneself with the Light that emerges from the divine Spark within. This is a discipline that no textbook can teach and no class can communicate. [SSS 10.34: 22-11-1970]

Pray for guidance from within

You need not rely on another for success in mediation and soft repetition of the name (dhyāna and japa) and await contact with some sage in order to get from him a mantra for recitation. Pray to the God within, and you will receive guidance.[SSS 10.30: 11-10-1970]

Schedule for Meditation

Regular, sincere and steady practice

Train yourself to waken when Brāhma-muhūrta begins---that is to say, at 3.00 a.m. You may require an alarm clock at first for the job; but soon, the urge for meditation (dhyāna) will rouse you. Do not take a bath before you sit for meditation, for the ritual of the bath will arouse the senses and you will be too full of pulls in different directions for the process of meditation to succeed. Regularity, sincerity, steadiness--these will reward you with success. [SSS 7.4: 22-1-1967]

Half an hour in the morning, and half an hour in the evening

Brāhma-muhūrta means early morning, between 3 - 6 a.m. It means that the senses are quiet, not yet agitated by the day and the mind is quiet from sleep. But the hour should not be taken and changed around, taking one time today and another time tomorrow. A half-hour in the morning and a half-hour in the evening is enough for sitting meditation. [Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba –by Dr.John Hislop]

[Editor: However, it is not something that one does by sitting for a couple of minutes or hours. Contemplation of the Lord should be always at all places. Sri Ramana Maharshi was once asked, "How long should one practice meditation? 15 or 30 or 45 minutes or an hour?' His reply was, 'You should continue doing it till you forget that you are meditating. As long as you are conscious (physically aware) that you are meditating, it is no meditation at all." The consciousness of body and mind and the thought of yourself should become totally extinct. The experience of only the object of your meditation should subsist, i.e. nothing else but the presence of divinity. The state of meditation is experiencing but without the consciousness that you are experiencing.]

Posture for Meditation

Sitting straight is important

Sitting straight is important. Between the 9th and 12th vertebrae is the life-force. If the spine is injured at this point, paralysis occurs. If the body is in a straight position, as if it were wound around a straight pole, the life force may rise up through the straight body and give the quality of intense concentration to the mind. Moreover, just as a lightning rod attached to the roof of a building attracts lightning, in like fashion, a perfectly straight body provides a conductor, so to speak, for divine power to enter the temple of your body and give you the strength to accomplish your task and reach your goal. As another example, the divine power is always here, just as radio signals are here. But to hear the radio music there must be an antenna. Further, if the tuning device is not properly adjusted, there will just be some sound but no music. In like fashion, the divine power, which is always present, may flow into you if the meditation is correct and the body straight. [Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba –by Dr.John Hislop]

One should not sit on a bare floor

You should not sit on bare ground. You should sit on either a wooden plank or on a mat or something like that. Not only that, but you also should not sit on a bare wooden plank. You should spread a piece of cloth over it. In the beginning, you should attempt to make a start with a wooden plank that is above the ground at least by half an inch. There are some reasons for taking a wooden plank. The reasons are that the earth has got the power of conduction and diffusion. When you sit in meditation, because through you is passing the current of divine strength on account of your Dhyana, on account of the attraction which the earth has, you should not get disturbed. Therefore you have got to have a plank. When we lay an electric wire inside a house, we also have a specially constructed wire which is called the earth wire and which is put into the earth. Likewise, we should regard our bodies as our house. While thus in the house of our body we are in the process of giving rise to and establishing the divine current, we should take all precautions that are necessary by insulating ourselves from the earth and by preventing the power or the strength in you from flowing away or dissipating into the earth. That is why our ancients have taught us that we should sit on a plank. [Summer Showers 1972. 10 – “Meditation”]