TRATAKA MEDITATION TECHNIQUE AND RESEARCH STUDY
Trataka – A Meditation Technique and Research
Tejasaa sooryadeepaaderaakaashe shabaleekrite
Drishtir niveshyaa tatraiva svaatmaroopam prakaashate||
That is: by gazing on the space that appears variegated by the rays of the sun or an oil lamp, there the nature of one’s essential self is illuminated.
Trataka means “to look”, “to gaze” steadily. A meditation technique that helps the mind to relax. It’s a process that involves gazing (without blinking) at a particular object that is steady until one is comfortable. When eyes start watering closing the eyes gently, one requires to visualise the image at the eyebrow centre and in detail focus on the afterimage for a more extended period. It’s an effective cleansing practice as well. Palm the eyes and relax with eyes closed along with deep breaths after the practice. It’s a practice to excite the brain’s energy levels towards one object of visual attention.
This technique helps one in homogenising thoughts towards the object of our gaze; by fixing the gaze on one object and thus calm down the mind. This technique is practised by fixing the gaze on any source of visual input either nearby or far-off which can be gazed at; e.g. candlelight, a leaf, blue sky, an idol, a picture, flower, water, needle, fire or moon to name a few. The object at which one gazes should be fixed, ie.the flame of the candle to be steady and not flickering.
Researches on tratak meditation technique:_
1. By Psychology department of Dev Sanskrit Vishwa Vidyalaya, Haridwar, the effect of tratak on various age groups was studied. Results were as follows:- In children, the rapid growth of the brain and short attention span resulted in not much of improvement in memory due to trataka, teenagers, adults of both gender showed improvement in recollection, and due to old age and conditioning the elderly females had difficulty with recall reverse test.
2. Effects of trataka on the level of anxiety among adolescents were measured using Sinha’s Comprehensive anxiety test and a significant reduction in anxiety levels among adolescents was observed.
3. Study regarding the effect of trataka candle flame meditation technique on concentration and memory of college athletics team showed significant positive change over the concentration and memory levels of the subjects.
4. In a study to evaluate the immediate effect of tratak on critical flicker fusion (CFF) showed a significant increase in CFF following tratak which could be due to changes at the cortical level.
5. Another study to assess the immediate effect of tratak on cognitive performance using the Stroop colour-word test showed a good response in aspects of attention, cognitive flexibility and response inhibition concerning the control group.
6. A clinical study was carried to evaluate the efficacy of tratak, and eye exercises in the management of similar (Ametropic & Presbyopia) and the study showed moderate improvement in clarity of vision, contrast sensitivity and fines of objects and with a percentage more in the group of tratak in comparison to the eye exercise group.
Overall Benefits Of Trataka Meditation Technique Are:-
• High willpower
• Improved vision
• Emotional balance
• Eliminates eye disorders
• Ability to control situations
• Balances nervous system
• Induces single-mindedness
• Intuition and Imagination Enhanced.
• Increased relaxation and pleasantness
• Clarity and capacity of mind improves
• Alertness and confidence levels increased
• Ability to memorise faster at peace and less fatigue
• A link between conscious and the subconscious mind
• Transparency of past, present even future (pure rapture state)
• Tratak is a holistic and natural way of enhancing memory level
• Enhances the capacity to rehearse information for a more extended period of time-improves memory.