What is Meditation According to Bhagvad Gita?
Meditation comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhyana.’ The word ‘Dhyana’ is called careful concentration,’ implying an effort on the part of the one attempting to meditate. The Bhagavad Gita which gives us the authentic and easy to understand description of not only how to obtain the capacity for Dhyana, but also how to practice it.
In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita which dedicates itself exclusively to answer all our queries regarding mediation. This chapter is befittingly titled ‘Dhyana Yoga.’ Here Shri Krishna classified into two levels of spiritual yogis - dhyana-yogis and Karma Yogis.
The karma-yogi is defined in the sixth chapter as follows:-
•The one who performs the karma without bothering about their fruits, such a person is a karma-yogi’ (6.1).
•Then, Lord Krishna described as how the karma-yogis evolves same as dhyana-yogi, becoming capable of meditation:-‘The one who has not yet developed to the stage of dhyana yoga, but wants to do so, such a person should perform his prescribed karma. However, the same person can give up karma when he has reached the stage of dhyana-yoga’ (6.3).
•In the stage of dhyana, it is necessary first to become karma- yogi by performing an action without attachment to its fruits.
How do we know to which stage of meditation we belong – karma yoga or dhyana yoga?. Think this way: we carry our mobiles even to satsangs or pooja; in such a state of mind, can dhyana (Meditation ) be possible for us?
Shri Krishna gives us the actual process for meditation:-
•Establish your asana (seat) for meditation in a pure and clean space which is neither too high nor too low.
•To prepare your asana, first spread the sacred grass on the ground, then a deerskin over the grass and then finally spread a cloth.
•Then sitting on this asana, detach your mind from all external objects.
•The body should be firmly held, and the head and neck should be still.
•The meditator should look at the tip of his nose without looking at the directions around him’ (6.11-13).
•According to Krishna: ‘With his mind at supreme peace; the meditator should be without any fear; he should be situated in the strictest vows of ascetic celibacy. He, with a controlled mind, should think of Me only and take Me as his supreme goal’ (6.14).
•Next, the Gita speaks of how a meditator should eat, and other regulations regarding his lifestyle, etc.: ‘Meditation is not possible for him who overeats. Nor is it possible for him who does not eat at all; Nor for him who sleeps too much, nor him who sleeps too little’ (6.16).
•What then should be the habits of a yogi to achieve dhyana-yoga? ‘He should be moderate in his eating and recreation. He should exert himself only moderately while performing karma (like begging for his food etc.). He should also be moderate in his sleep and wakefulness’ (6.17).
•Further on, Lord Krishna enumerates the fruits of dhyana-yoga, inspiring us to aspire towards it:
•Dhyana-yoga helps to remove all dukkha.
•When your mind, has become transparent through the practice of dhyana, reveals in itself the True-Self, the yogi achieves the state of absolute self- contentedness. This bliss transcends the senses.
•By having achieved this bliss, the yogi realizes that there is nothing more superior to be gained.
•To established in such a state, even the mightiest sorrow is unable to shake the yogi. Indeed, this state means a complete severance from grief’ (6.17-22).
•Finally, Shri Krishna shows the ultimate fruit of yoga – the realization of the essential oneness in a pluralistic world:
•Situated in dhyana, the yogi sees the Self in all and the all in Self. He who sees Me in everything and everything in Me, he is never separated from me, nor do I ever get separated from him’ (6.29-30).
So Meditation is not done to calm the mind. It is to be done after the mind has been calmed. To achieve this required calmness of the brain, one first needs to fulfill one’s karmic destiny, i.e., perform karma according to one’s station in life - The karma.