Tag Archives: patanjali

Stages of meditation

It is known that the restless mind cannot immediately enter into a state of thoughtlessness.  That is why meditation is practised in stages.  A 2005 paper “Meditation and the Neuroscience of Consciousness” by Antoine Lutz and his colleagues contains a very succinct description of this graded process accompanied by a concise table, which we highlight in this post.    Continue reading

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The greater powers of the sense-mind (Manas)

At a certain stage of spiritual progress, when the mind acquires the ability to stay tranquil for large periods of time and the subtle body disengages itself from the bulk of the physical body and begins to extend freely in the subtle physical world, one starts having those flashes of intuition which are indicative of the working of the greater sense-mind (called Manas in Sanskrit).   The mind can see things without the aid of the senses or, as the Katha Upanishad says, mind is the real sense behind the senses. [8]  As per the Mother Mirra Alfassa, some of the esoteric traditions of antiquity recognized that man had not five but twelve senses.   The rest of this article outlines the greater powers of the sense-mind with some examples from recent history followed by a method for enhancing the action of the senses.

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The purpose of idolatry and its limitations

We are all idol-worshippers.  We worship actors, sportsmen, thinkers and – when we are feeling proud – even ourselves!   Our subconscious desire is to mold ourselves in the image of our idols.   The Hindu practice of idolatry directs this urge to spiritual goals by clothing the Divine in various forms.   The modern rational mind forgets the original psychological motive behind image worship and dismisses it all as an abomination.  On the other hand, there are those who narrowly fix themselves in adoration of their  chosen image forgetting that this is only a preparatory step in the spiritual path.   This post explores the various pros and cons of idolatry(aka image worship).

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Types of meditation

Vyasa, in his commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, defines five planes of the mind (i.e. Chitta Bhumi)

  • Kshipta: Disturbed and restless mind due to the predominance of Rajas (kineticism).
  • Mudha: Dull and forgetful mind due to the predominance of Tamas(inertia).
  • Vikshipta: Occasionally steady mind which gets easily distracted by impulses.  In this state, neither Sattva (illumination), Rajas or Tamas is dominant.
  • Ekagra: One-pointed concentration of thought is possible.
  • Niruddha: Complete mastery over the thought process.

The following is an excerpt from an article by Nolini Kanta Gupta, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, on the progressive stages of meditation as one leads the mind to the last stage of Niruddha or Complete Mastery described above:

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