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Re: dhyAna

From: S.A.Shivashankar (shivu_at_mrc.iisc.ernet.in)
Date: Wed Aug 26 1998 - 11:16:43 PDT

Dear Sri Mani Varadarajan,

I read your post asking for suggestions regarding contemplation. I am not
sure that what I have to say meets your definition of dhyAna and of
contemplation on nArAyaNa. I venture to say it anyway.

I, too, have had difficulty in staying focused while praying or while
engaging in contemplation. For example, during the  recitation of VishNu
sahasranAmam, my mind would wander while reciting those segments that I
know well by heart. So, I began to read the entire text from my own
manuscript. This was of little help: the mind wanders anyway. What I have
found effective of late is a form of prayer which I would not call
contemplation, but during which I find my mind truly focused. As I sit 
alone in my room or in my office, or as I take a walk in the evening (on
our beautiful campus), I pray to the Lord (nArAyaNa) in a conversational
mode, speaking to Him in Kannada, and asking Him to rid me of selfishness,
pettiness, and other ills, and seeking refuge in Him (anyathA sharaNam
nAsti...). I ask for His forgiveness for the many mistakes I have
committed which have resulted in pain to others. I seek His blessings so
that I have the wisdom not to commit any MORE of them. I pray for the
welfare, in the most catholic sense, of those near and dear to me, naming
them one after the other--parents, spouse, son, siblings, relatives,
friends, colleagues. I ask for the strength and wisdom to perform my
duites properly from here forward. At the end of this "conversation",
which in fact is an entreaty, I usually recite the NArAyaNa sUkta. On a
day when my mind is more calm than usual, I am almost able to visualise
nArAyaNa as the "nIla thOyada madhyasthAdwillEkhEwa bhAswarA".

As I said, this experience/method does not probably constitute dhyAna.
I have written to you about this only because you invited us to relate to
you "any practical means that has worked in (your) experience". 

My prayer takes me about twenty minutes.

Best regards...........///shivashankar
_____________________________________________________________________________

S.A. Shivashankar		      Tel: (91)-(80)-309-2782 (Office)
Materials Research Centre		             331-3921 (Residence)
Indian Institute of Science           Fax:           334-1683 
Bangalore 560 012, INDIA              Email: shivu@mrc.iisc.ernet.in