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Re: dhyAna

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Mon Aug 31 1998 - 11:34:10 PDT

A member had written, regarding dhyAna:
> Are there no references
> in Swami Desikan's literature on this subject matter?

and I had written in reply:

> A very valid question, and one to which I have no response.
> Why is there such a paucity of information ... [by acharyas
> of our sampradAya]?

I went home that night thinking about this, and shortly
discovered that I had spoken too soon.  In perusing Sri Ramanuja's
bhagavad-gItA-bhAshya on the same verse from which Ramakrishnan
Balasubramaniam had quoted Sri Sankara's bhAshya, I noticed a footnote 
quoting Desika's tAtparya-candrikA, his subcommentary on
the Gita.  Apparently, Desika goes into great detail on
the steps of meditation, from ashTAnga-yoga to the para-bhakti,
para-jnAna, and parama-bhakti described by Ramanuja, in this
work.

In fact, on the very same verse mentioned by Ramakrishnan,
Desika quotes Sankara's comments with approval -- the eyes
are not to be focussed on the "tip of the nose" per se,
but only "as it were". They should be locked in focus in
general.  Presumably the eyes should not be completely
closed because it induces sleep. If they eyes are completely
open it is distracting.

I have already tried some of the suggestions given by various
members and they have proven very interesting.  Letting the
mind wander a bit relieves some stress, and in some cases
has made it _easier_ to concentrate, strangely enough.  
Keeping the eyes locked in focus puts one in a strange,
trance-like state where it is easier to keep the thoughts
under control.  Or so it seems after a couple of days of
trying.

It would be nice to examine the tAtparya-candrikA of Desika
in detail for more suggestions.  I have also read a few
excerpts from the nampiLLai eedu vyaakhyaanam on the
tiruvaaymozhi.  There seem to be many pieces of anecdotal
advice on how to concentrate there as well.

Mani