Meditation is “to be in Awareness”. Only Awareness
remains. You are lost.
Realize yourself as the Immovable (kutastha),
Behind and beyond the movable (jivatman)
The silent witness of all that happens
CONNECT THE DOTS
How would you define silence?
- Absence of sound
- Opposite of sound
- Absence of thoughts
Where does sound come from?
- From the sky
You can say sky is the womb from which sound takes birth
What is the nature of the sky?
- It is space
Where is the sky?
- Top, down, right, left – everywhere!
What are its boundaries?
Nobody knows. That is why they say the sky is boundless, and it
is therefore, infinite.
Let me tell you a secret…….
What is a secret?
- That which nobody knows or only a few people know.
- Once you know it, is it a secret? No.
We all know Sri Lalita Sahasranama stotra rahasyam. Rahasyam means secret. So it is the chanting of the 1000 names of Sri Lalita Devi which are considered secret.
By reciting the 1000 names of Sri Lalita Devi we are praising Her and worshipping Her.
What is Her form?
She is described in 2 forms. The first few shlokas describe her physical form.
Her 2 forms are
SA-kArA …………….. with form
Nir-AkArA ………….. without form.
We are with form and so it is easier for us to understand Her sA-kArA form
It is difficult to understand her without form, her nirAkArA form.
Sri Lalita Sahasranama contains the secrets of both her forms and the way to worship Her.
Where can she be found?
She can be found everywhere because She is formless. She is all-pervading since she has no boundaries and she is infinite. Her nirAkArA form can be compared to the sky which is also formless and infinite. So let us look for Her in the sky.
If the sky is formless and infinite and all-pervading, it must be within us as well as without us. To say it another way, the sky is within us and we are within the sky. The sky is the best metaphor to consider when understanding Her.
The word, PundarIkAksha, means the One who is in the bosom of my heart!
One of the names in L.S is ‘hrdayAkAsha’ which refers to Her as being in the Inner Sky.
Is the heart mentioned here a physical organ?
No. It is the ‘formless’ heart that is also called the ‘mind’, because all feelings are experienced in the mind but we point to our heart when we refer to our feelings. We experience the feelings of joy and sorrow coming and going from our mind. The feeling of sorrow sometimes makes us aware of our physical heart but it is really connected to the mind.
Lalita Sahasranama shloka 81: Bhakta manasa hamsika:
Who is the swan sporting in the Manasa lake of Her devotees’ minds
The mind is also referred to by the analogy of a pure lake (mAna Sarovar). It is also referred to as a mirror. Both reflect back to you your true nature. In order to experience Her, we have to purify our minds by removing the curtains of ignorance or dust particles of ignorance. Our thoughts are the curtains of ignorance or dust particles that we need to remove in order to experience Her in the stillness of our minds or hearts. Thoughts have forms and therefore, take away our focus to worldly things which have forms. A still mind that has no thought is formless. It is simply stillness with no sound. You can experience yourself or your ‘true nature’ in silence in the form of peace and love.
Meditation is the process of getting your mind to a state of ‘no thoughts’ as defined by Patanjali Yoga sutra: “Dhyanam nirvishayam manaha”.
“Achintaiva param dhyanam-To be thoughtless is the highest form of meditation.” (Sri Sankaracharya)
When you have no thoughts, you experience a ‘silence – an empty space’ that gives you peace and reflects your true ‘loving nature’ in your own mind – the inner sky or mirror of your mind. But, it is not just inner space or inner sky reflected in the mind that matters! Pay attention to the element of Consciousness or Awareness as you experience the silence or stillness of the mind.
The philosophy of the Vedas or the message conveyed in the Vedas is that the nature of the Universal Soul is ‘sacchidananda’ or supreme truth: Sat, supreme truth or existence, Cit, Infinite Consciousness, and Ananda, highest spiritual bliss. Since the Universal Soul has become all the individual souls, all souls possess this essential nature of ‘sacchidananda’.
Let us examine this further by taking the analogy of the sky.
“You” are the one who recognizes the external sky or the internal sky and says, “the sky is external to me and also the sky is inside me” for that is what you see when you close your eyes – an empty space.
If you are not aware of its presence, there is no presence for you, i.e. there is no “Is” – meaning there is no existence (of a sky).
If there is no “I” to say “I” “see” (seeing is awareness of the presence of a sky) there is no sky.
“I” is Consciousness (if there is no I, there is no seeing or awareness)
“Is” or “Am” is existence.
In the stillness of your mind you become aware of existence and realize your true nature of peace and love! You do not need proof of your existence because it is ‘self-evident.’ If you did not exist you cannot be aware of yourself. Consciousness and existence is inter-dependent. That is why our Pure Consciousness, is referred to as Shiva, and existence, as Shakti or Energy. Shiva and Shakti are the 2 sides of the same coin, the Atman.
L.S. Brahmatmaikya swarupini
L.S. “Shiva Shaktyaikya swarupini”!
So how do I meditate in the absence of this understanding or experience?
We said earlier L.S. described Her physical form. You can paint with your thoughts, the form of God in your mind and give it all the good qualities and or positive attributes. With this practice, you become what you think.
~As A Man Thinketh, So Is He~
~YathA BhAvas tathA bhavati~
So either way, by worshipping Her with form or without form, you reach that divine state which is One only.
Here’s what Sri Sivananda has to say on meditation.
Meditation is the keeping up of an unceasing flow of God-consciousness. It is the flow of continuous thought of one thing or God or Atman, like the continuous flow of oil (Tailadharavat). All worldly thoughts are shut out from the mind. The mind is filled or saturated with Divine thoughts, Divine glory and Divine presence. Meditation is regular flow of thought with regard to the object of concentration. Meditation follows concentration.
Meditation is the seventh rung or step in the ladder of Yoga. Yogis call this ‘Dhyana.’ Jnanis term this ‘Nididhyasana.’ Bhaktas style this ‘Bhajana.’