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Re: dhyAna

From: M.A.alwar ph 3444975 malleswaram (alwar_at_blr.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Sun Aug 30 1998 - 09:46:01 PDT

Repected Swamin,
As far as my limited knowledge goes, I think there are many references to 
this aspect of how to do dhyana, what are the required aspects etc. All 
this information is available in the Sri Bhashyam itself.

In the beginning itself, Bhagavan Ramanuja defines and reiterates the 
definition of Dhyana by saying that 
"Dhyanam nama taila-dhaaravat avicchinna smrti-santatih...."
Dhyana is that process wherein a person constantly concentrates on the 
divine form of the Lord without any interruption, just like when an oil 
is poured form one vessel to another at a particular speed, there will 
not be any spurts or diturbances, unlike when water is poured down, ther 
will be spurts in the fall.  thus, one has to meditate without thinking 
of anything else.  Even if the mind wanders away from the form of the 
Lord, one has to try and bring it back to the same form. In Bhagavad Gita 
Krishna has given specific instructions regarding this and the same has 
been explained in detail by Ramanujacharya. Krishna says :
Yato Yato niscarati manah cancalam asthiram
Tatah tatah niyamya etat atmanyava vasam nayet.

So I feel that beleiving that only advaitins have enumerated these 
aspects is not appropriate.  Apart from this the question of Dhyana 
arises only in the case of Visistadwaita and is not at all relevant to 
Advaita.  Advvaitins say that the Brahman is nirguna - deviod of all 
attributes, nirakara - formless etc.  How can Dhyana happen when there is 
no form at all.  What will the person meditate on ? So I feel that the 
Dhyana question arises and is answered in the Visistadwaita only.  Apart 
from this, I personally dont think that terming Ramakrishna Parahamsa as 
an advaitin is correct, since in many places, in his authnticated works, 
he has said that Advaita concept is totally wrong in the stage we are in 
and gives many examples to prove this.  

If anyone wants me to write more on this topic, I will do so.  I will 
aslo try to get the original words of our Purva Acharyas to reiterate 
these facts.

I request all Bhagavatas to kindly let me know of thier opinion in this 
regard.
Adiyen,
Alwar.  

On Fri, 28 Aug 1998, Mani Varadarajan wrote:

> A correspondent wrote to me:
> 
>    Dear Sri Mani,
> 
>    This is with respect to your post on how to concentrate. As you have
>    rightly pointed out, the mind just would not stay still, would it?
>    I went through so many responses and was quite amazed to find
>    references to:
> 
>    1. Sri Ramakrishna
>    2. Sri Sankaracharya
>    3. Sri Ramana
> 
>    and their teachings/notes on dhyAna. Moreover the commonality among
>    them is that all are advaitins propagating the ashtanga yoga process
>    for self-realization. (References to pranayama techniques, etc.)
> 
>    Why is that Sri Vaishnavas have to refer to all these saints for
>    successfully situating themselves in dhyAna? Are there no references
>    in Swami Desikan's literature on this subject matter?
> 
> A very valid question, and one to which I have no response.
> Why is there such a paucity of information concerning such
> simple matters as sitting down and concentrating on God in
> our sampradAya granthas? Or perhaps are there such texts
> for beginners, and they have not come to the light of day
> yet?
> 
> Members in the know are requested to respond.
> 
> Mani
>