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Re: advice on "dhyana" for a novice

From: swathy prabhu (swathy.prabhu_at_blr.sni.de)
Date: Wed Aug 26 1998 - 11:25:31 PDT

Dear Mani,
	I read your posting in the Bhakti Digest regarding "dhyana".

	Kindly excuse me if I will say anything wrong or misleading.
	I will be thankful to you if you will correct me or point
	the mistakes in the views which i am going to share with you.

	Dhyana, meaning meditation, is not the first step. Meditation
	is not a practise but a state of mind which is attained by
	several practices of which one is japa yoga. It is often said
	that 'you get into meditation'.

	I understand that your problem, ( rather our problem ) is
	lack of concentration in which there is a conscious effort
	to settle the vrithis of the mind. The inevitable question
	which every sadhaka asks at some point in time.

	Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says, why one should try to
	stop the mind when it wants to wander. mind, like storm
	will  beat every corner and finally settles becoming tired.
	But do not trace the thoughts in the process. ( tracing
	the thoughts will create links and thus thoughts becomes
	a story and finally we will become a cast in that completely
	forgetting the purpose of 'sitting' ).

	Another method that is suggested is to do pranayama in the
	count of 4-16-8. Gradual intake of breath for 4 secs.
	Air retention in the lungs for 16 secs and gradual breathout
	of air for 8 secs, works remarkably. Infact this is an
	anga of the sandhya vandanam itself. We are supposed to do
	this 10 times before starting the Gayathri Japam.

	Like in any other practise, it may take its time-qouta
	to observe a tangible effect. [ In a humble attempt, i
	found both fruitful ]

	Before starting pranayama do heavy breathing 10-15 times.
	While doing panayama some have suggested additional
	things. 1) Chant the Japa mantra and by that keep track of
	time intervals in breathing. (or) 2) Feel the air that is 
	rubbing past the nostril lining both while intaking and
	outtaking.

with respect
Swathy Prabhu