Dhyana involve four different things, all of which must be in complete harmony. The first is the meditator, the second is the act of meditating, the third is the object that one is meditating upon and the fourth is the reason why one is performing the mediation. One does not have to; sit in a rigid posture for dhyana to be possible. It can be done while one is walking, sitting or even sleeping. The important aspect is to establish the object of one’s meditation in one’s heart.
There are different ways of establishing one’s concentration. As an object of meditation, one can meditate on three concentric circles which are black, red and white. In the centre of the circles is a divine lotus. The lotus has eight petals. One thinks that detachment is the stem of the lotus and praying to Vishnu its stamen. Right in the centre of the lotus is a pure spark of fire and that is the paramatman. Alternatively, one can visualise the paramatman in a blaze of light, in the centre of the lotus. Dhyana is far far superior to any yajna that one might perform.
One particular form of deep and intense meditation is known as samadhi. The meditator is then completely still, as calm as the ocean. He loses all track of the outside world. He does not hear, smell, see or touch. His mind has no wishes and feels nothing. He is completely united with god. Such a meditator automatically gets to know all the knowledge that can be gleaned from the Vedas or the shastras. He can obtain all the material possessions that he wants, but he regards them all as no more important than a blade of grass.
Such a meditator attains supreme knowledge. If you look at various pots full of water, you will find that the same sky is reflected in them all. Supreme knowledge tells one that, exactly similarly, it is the same atman that is everywhere. It is the atman which is the same as the paramatman, it is this atman that is in the water, in energy, in water, in the earth and in metals. The atman is everywhere.
The Knowledge Of The Brahman
Brahma jnana is the knowledge of brahman. This knowledge, which gives the ultimate bliss, is nothing but the sense that the individual atman is identical with the universal brahman or paramtman. The physical body is not the atman. Nor are the senses the atman. The mind or intelligence is not the atman. Life itself is not the atman.
The atman is different from all the objects that have been mentioned above. The atman is in an individual’s heart. It sees everything and senses everything, but is different from the physical body. It is this that sages contemplate when they meditate. The sky was created from the brahman, from the sky came wind, from wind fire, from fire water, from water the earth and from the earth the five elements. One has to meditate on the physical body gradually disappearing and merging into the brahman.
The brahman is neither true nor untrue. It has neither form nor is it without form. The brahman has several parts, but at the same time it is an integral whole. The brahman cannot be described. It cannot be achieved through the power of action. The brahman is always pure. It has no ties and it is the true form of happiness. What is required is the sense that it is I, the individual, who am the brahman. I am nothing but the atman and the atman is nothing but the brahman. This sense is true knowledge. The brahman is the Lord who is the origin of everything and the individual is part of the brahman. It is this knowledge that frees one from the ties of the world and this is what brahman jnana is all about.
The brahman is not the earth; it is beyond the earth. The brahman is not the wind, nor is it the sky. The brahman has no beginning; it is independent of all action. The brahman is huge; it is everywhere. The brahman not only has no form, it is beyond all form. The brahman cannot be heard. It cannot be touched. The brahman has neither intelligence nor mind. It has no sense of ego or vanity. It does not have life, birth, old age or death.
The brahman is neither happy nor unhappy. It does not feel hungry or thirsty. It cannot be measured. At the same time, it is both nothing and everything.
Life has five possible ends. By performing yajnas one can attain heaven. By performing tapasya one can become an ascetic. By performing actions one can attain brahmaloka. By detachment from material pursuits (vairagya) one can merge oneself into nature. And by true knowledge the individual gets absorbed into the divine essence. This is known as kaivalya. Detachment means to withdraw oneself from the effects of all actions. And knowledge means the knowledge that the atman is no different from the brahman. This is known as jnana yoga (the yoga of knowledge).
There are few people who attain this knowledge. One of those was Bharata. Bharata had done a lot he became very attached to a deer and when he died, he died thinking of the deer. The result was that in his next life, Bharata was born as a deer. But the deer happened to be a jatismara, that is, it remembered its earlier life. The deer eventually died and Bharata was again born as jatismara human.
The king of Soubira was once travelling on a palanquin and he wanted someone who would bear his palanquin free of charge. The king’s servants caught hold of Bharata to bear the palanquin. But Bharata moved slowly and could not keep up with the other bearers. The palanquin did not progress and the king asked Bharata. “Why are you so tired? You have not been bearing my palanquin for long. Can’t you some toil? You look fairly strong to me.”
Bharata replied, “I am not strong. Nor am I bearing your palanquin. I am not tired. nor am I lazy. I am my atman and feet are and my body is balanced on my thighs. My shoulders are on my body and your palanquin rests on my shoulders. But I am not my feet, thighs, body or shoulders. I am the atman. The atman is not carrying you. So why do you say that I am beating you?”