What is Real Meditation?

Let us say that a person when asked, “What are you about to do?” says “I am going to meditate on Krishna.” This is, indeed, something delightful. However, if he merely focuses his gaze on a beautiful form of Krishna in front of him and does nothing else would it not amount to a state of just staring? He knows not why he is looking at Krishna’s form; or he knows not to move beyond it. It becomes plain and clear if one observes this well.

When one visits a temple with no particular purpose, his mind begins to take note of things around him – the moving lizard; the clutter around; people walking around; the noise, etc. The mind does not concentrate on the Lord even when he looks at the Deity. That is, he does not establish any mental link with the Deity there.

But if he visits the temple for relief from some suffering, his mind is immersed in prayer; he then strikes a link with the Lord.

Similarly, a Yogi may pray for supernatural powers; a devotee may pray for divine visions; a seeker of liberation may pray for a birthless state. Observing the miseries of the world he comes to despise the world and becomes dispassionate. With advancing age, health problems crop up; there are accidents, trafficking, dacoity, etc. All these lead to hardships. When he keeps observing all these happenings over and over again he develops deep dispassion and, therefore, prays to the Lord to free him from the chain of birth. Freedom alone would be his goal. He will not question the Lord as to why such things occur in the world while it is He who has created this world. He is unable to raise such questions. He can only pray for freedom from births and that is what he would do. There is a link to the Lord in all these.

Is it not enough to just keep looking at the divine form of Krishna? Of course, it is enough. But then one should possess the heart of the Gopis for this! Oh, how joyful they become as they keep thinking of Krishna! Deeming Him to be their lover they take delight in mentally embracing Him tightly and desiring to marry Him. There is absolutely no occasion to feel weary or stupor for even a moment. Like the ceaseless flow of waterfalls, love keeps running in their mind. This is real meditation. That which has the link of love, a personal connection with the Lord.

It is in this manner that the link of love is established in the case of Yashoda’s maternal attitude, Arjuna’s friendly attitude and Hanuman’s attitude of a servant. That is why Hanuman is able to keep looking at Rama. It is not simply staring. Not an iota of weariness would he feel. Otherwise staring at someone would weaken the mind of the one who is staring.

In the wholly realized Jnani, too, there is ‘shanta rasa’. The state of devotees and jnanis who nurture no desire is in total contrast to the state of the man of the world. One cannot advise those in the world not to pray for anything. Without greed, one can pray to God for the basic needs of life. And certainly, God would bless. It is fine to pray for the timely marriage of one’s daughter, for good employment, for removal of hardships, etc. But when one who already enjoys good things in life prays for more and more, it is verily greed.

Most of the people who visit the temple casually without any want have no prayer in their hearts. It is akin to a dry heart. When such a person looks at the Deity for a long time would it not amount to staring at a black dot! Is not a love-filled heart the basis for bhakti?

HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji

Republished from E-MadhuraMurali magazine, May 2016 issue

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