The practice of meditation in India dates back to the time of Lord Rishabh, who was the propounder and the first Tirthankara (ford founder) of Jainism . Evidences in the Agamas (Jain Scripture) reveal that Bahubali , son of Lord Rishabh attained salvation after he practiced uninterrupted Kayotsarg , a form of meditation for twelve months. It is believed that he was so immobile that even creepers grew around his body .
Chakravarti Bharat, brother of Bahubali also attained seamless knowledge through contemplation and meditation. His dedication and perfection in the art of contemplation and meditation led him to become the omniscient - all knowing'.
Similarly, we know that the entire penance (sadhana ) of the twenty-fourth, the last tirthankar of Jainism, Lord Mahavir , revolved around meditation (dhyan ) and relaxation (kayotsarg). Hundreds of his ascetics were clairvoyants, telepathists, and omniscients , who had achieved special powers through the practice of meditation. Successive Acharyas (head of the sect) and the current ascetics of Jain community still continue to live with the same tradition.
The roots of the Jain tradition of meditation are found in the Jain Agamas. In the 28th chapter of Uttaradhyayan , we find a brief and systematic description of the path to salvation. References of this kind of penance can also be found in 32nd chapter of Uttaradhyayan. Findings in the ancient literature Ayaro , illustrates the process of Jain-sadhana in detail. Meditation and Asanas are also expounded in certain chapters of Sutrakritang , Bhagwati, and Sthananga. The description of penance is given in Aupapatika Sutra .
The later Jain Acharyas also contributed significantly towards the development of the practice of meditation. Acharya KundaKunda (1st Cent., A.D.), wrote Samayasara , Pravacanasara and introduced a new way to meditate. Acharya Umaswati (2nd and 3rd Cent., A.D.) edited Tattvartha Sutra in which he expounded the path to salvation through meditation. Acharya Bhadrabahu had practiced Mahaprana Meditation for twelve years. Acharya Haribhadrasuri added a new chapter to Jain-yoga in the 8th Cent., A.D. He introduced a new method and compared Jain-yoga with other methods. He wrote several books including Yoga Bindu, Yoga DrishtiSamuccaya, Yoga Shatak, and Yoga Vinshika. In the 12th Cent., A.D. Acharya Hemchandra wrote Yoga Shastra . The most recent contributions of Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya (21st Cent.A.D.) 9th and 10th Acharyas of the JainTerapanth sect, respectively include extensive review and revival of the ancient tradition of meditation known as Preksha Meditation .
In the middle age, the practice of meditation was overlooked in Jain tradition.
Tributary requisites serve as a fertilizer in the garden of spiritual life. Without making it an integral part of our life, we cannot realize the fruits of meditation . Tributary requisites not only enhance the spiritual level but also improve the social, professional, intellectual, physical and emotional aspects of our life.
One who wants to practice Preksha Meditation must follow the following five Tributary requisites (Upsampada) or the guiding principles:
Mindfulness or Bhavakriya implies the unison of mind, emotions and activity. It has three aspects:
Present-mindedness: Itmeans to remain conscious and aware of each and every moment. Present-minded action is contrary to mechanical (absentminded) action. When one is engaged in doing something, it is not proper to be carried away by one's imagination which is not connected with the work in hand.
Habitually, one wastes his time and energy in useless recollection of the past or irrelevant imaginations of the future. But neither the past nor the future is real. Only the present exists and is real. One who lets the present slip away, is never able to re-capture it, and hence, Mindfulness is the only means of capturing the reality of the present. It means present-minded action.
Complete awareness of one's action: Habitually, again, one thinks with 'half a mind', that is fragmenting the mind, and engaging only a piece of it in the work in hand, while the rest of it is allowed to wander about. When the mind is totally engaged by the work in hand, the result is Mindfulness or Bhavakriya. Synchrony of mind and body saves much waste of efforts and energy, increases efficiency and results in greater success.
Un-interrupted (spiritual) vigilance: One must be continuously aware of his ultimate aim, which is twofold: (a) Purification of mind and (b) Awakening the supine Will and other inherent powers.
Act - Do not "Re-act" (PratikriyaVirati):
Habitually we react to external stimuli, that is, we are generally overwhelmed by retaliatory emotional forces within us demanding appropriate action. But, surely this cannot be called "action"; it is, in fact, "re-action". Disciplineof the reasoning mind controls the re-active forces and results in appropriate "action", rather than "re-action". One should endeavor to establish control and avoid retaliatorybehavior.
This principle is about being‘action-oriented and not reaction oriented’. However, reaction has become an integral part of the human nature, in spite of the fact that every individual desires for freedom. Everything that we do including talking, hearing, seeing, eating, reading, etc. both involves and generates some sort of reaction. The realistic path to freedom is to free our consciousness from impurities of thoughts and emotions. To defeat anger , ego, deceit , and any other reactive attitude, we need to practice equanimity and restraint from reactions of all sorts.
Behaviour of a spiritual practitioner should radiate friendliness, compassion and sympathy. This is possible only when one is able to countermand one's reactive tendencies by reasoning and avoid retaliatary thoughts and actions. Subjugation of retaliatary impulse results in friendly and compassionate behaviour. The practitionershould be ever vigilant in this respect and cultivate amity.
Dietics is an important facet of meditational practice. Intake of food deeply influences not only our physical health, but also mental tendencies and emotional states. Habitually we eat too much. This overloads our digestive system and results in indigestion etc. This in turn, further weakens not only the digestive organs but vitiates the entire organism, including mental tendencies and emotional states.
Practitionershould be vigilant towards his diet.Over eating or eating unpalatable food is prohibited for a practitioner. It is one of the biggest obstacles in the path of meditation. He should particularly abstain from such foods and drinks as are unsalutary to one's health, physical as well as mental.
It is - controlled speech or complete silence. We speak in order to communicate with one another. However, habitually we speak too much and too long. Practitionershould be careful to effect full control over his speaking mechanism. It should be used only when necessary. His speech should be modulated and measured.
Preksha Meditation focuses on perception i.e. to perceive without attachment or aversion, excluding thoughts of the past or imaginations of the future. DuringPreksha , one acknowledges the truth. But after we perceive and realise the truth, we need to contemplate it in Anupreksha.
Contemplation is what occurs after we have engaged in Preksha, or deep and profound perception. In this way,Preksha Meditation is a complete system of spiritual development, involving meditation on both perception andcontemplation . In the first technique ofmeditation , perception is used whereas in the later technique the mind is encouraged to concentrate on the thought process, i.e. contemplation.
In brief, Preksha Meditation is of two types:
- Concentration of perception known as Preksha
- Concentration of thoughts known as Anupreksha
It is stated in theDhyan Shatak that at the end of each meditation session, contemplation must be performed. After meditation, four contemplations are generally practiced:
- Contemplation of solitariness
- Contemplation of transitoriness
- Contemplation oftolerance
- Contemplation of amity
Preksha or profound perception is an extremely valuable technique for acquainting oneself with the facts of life. However, in order to change one’s habits, one has to undertake the path of contemplation It is an art of giving suggestions. A person can make suggestions either to his own self; the autosuggestion or he can accept suggestion dictated by someone else. If suggestions are repeated over and over for a long period of time they get registered in our subconscious mind and translated into habits.
The main objectives of contemplation are:
- To change one's character or habit by registering a resolution in the subconscious mind
- Realization of the eternal truth through deep mental concentration
- Emotional transformation or development of virtues
- Eradication of psychological disorders specially phobias
Contemplation is a technique by which positive transformation of the negative emotions such as disgust, jealousy, fear, aversion, etc., can be achieved. The other major benefits include:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Desirable physical changes
- Relieves frombody aches
- Replaces negative thoughts with positive ones
- Enhances mental abilities
- Improves imagination power
- Imparts good decision-making power
- Radical transformation in the attitude and behaviour
- Rectification of negative instincts with the positive ones
- Attainment of happiness
- Cool temperament
- Inculcates spiritual doctrines in the subconscious mind
- Converts materialistic outlook into the spiritual one
- Realizes the truth
In brief, contemplation can be practiced to change deep-rooted habits and addictions including drinking, smoking, stealing, and lying. Contemplation of any reverse determination that we communicate to our subconscious mind can prove very effective under such situations.
Earlier it was stated that urges and impulses, passions and emotions are all endocrine expressions. There are forces more subtle than the physique. These forces are the primal drives emanating from the microbody (Karma-sarira) which is intimately united with the psyche. The micro-vibrations of the primal drives first produce appropriate conditions in the neuro-endocrine system. The integrated action of this system produces hormones and neuro-hormones which not only generate feelings but also command appropriate action that satisfies the need of the urge. We either progress or retrogress depending on whether we control and subdue our primal drives or succumb to them. The process of subduing the forces of primal drives consists in generating vibrations or waves which countermand them by conscious reasoning. It is the authority of the spiritual self which commands the reasoning mind to produce the counter-vibrations. The vibrations of waves resulting from the primal drives are malevolent lesyas whereas the counter-vibrations produced by the authority of the self are benevolent lesyas. On the basis of their intensities both the above type of lesyas are divided into three categories:
(i) The most intense of the malevolent class are Krsna - dark black.
(ii) The medium ones are Nila - blue dark.
(iii) The least intense ones are Kapota - grey.
Similarly in the benevolent class,
(i) The least intense ones are Tejas-bright red.
(ii) The medium ones are Padma-bright yellow.
(iii) The most intense ones are Sukla-bright white.
When one is under the influence of the evil trinity of Krsna, Nila and Kapota, the force of the instinctive drives is so powerful that the reasoning mind surrenders to it. On the other hand, with the conversion of lesyas, the rational mind is able to countermand the insistence of the carnal desires.
It will be seen from the above that the nomenclature of the lesyas has been made on the basis of the spectrum of dark and bright colours.
Colour is an inherent characteristic of the entire material existence. The nature of colour is electromagnetic radiation. Difference in wave-length and frequency distinguishes one colour from another. Lešyãs are also radiations and different lešyãs have different wavelengths, and therefore, each has a definite place in the electromagnetic spectrum. Each one, therefore, can be associated through its harmonics with a definite colour in the visible spectrum, i.e. from red to violet. Thus on the basis of the relation between the colours of the visible spectrum and the lešyã radiations, we can use specific colours as the means of strengthening or weakening the lešyã radiations.
The spiritual progress will depend upon the degree of transformation of the malevolent trinity into the benevolent one. Without actual transformation, there will be no process. This is not merely a speculation, but the basis of a real experience. And to bring about the desired transformation, perception of psychic colour—Lešyã-dhyãna has proved to be a practical means of transformation. Lešyã-dhyãna is thus an efficient tool of sucessively diminishing the intensities of the malevolent lešyã from Kṛṣṇa to Nīla and from Nīla to Kãpota, and then progressively increasing the intensities of the benevolent lešyã—from Tejas to Padma and from Padma to Šukla. The actual spiritual progress commences with the conversion of Kãpota to Tejas, i.e. from grey to red. The index of Tejas lešyã is bright red colour of sunrise. Colour psychology also supports the view that the bright red colour is the first indication of the spiritual progress.
With the above conversion, there is a remarkable drop in animal instincts and carnal desires and such other habits. Further progress will result from the change of Tejas lešyã to Padma lesya and the final change of Padma to Šukla lešyã will result in the total eradication of cruelty, hatred etc.
It is now well-known that the body is constantly surrounded by an envelope of colours called "aura" which is an effect lesya. Change in lesya will bring about a corresponding change in the colour of aura. That is why aura is predominated at different times by different colours such as black, red, yellow, blue or white.
Aura is not only influenced by the internal colour indices, but is also influenced by the colours of the external environment. That is why the cause and effect relation between lesya and colours is reciprocal. In other words, just as any change in lesya would result in the change in the colour of aura, the change in the aura by the influence of the colours of the external environment would bring about a change in the lesya. This principle has been utilized in the "perception of the psychic colours" (Lesya-dhyana) to transform the malevolent lesya into benevolent ones
To cleanse the psyche from the dirt of animal impulses, carnal desires, and such other pernicious bad habits it is essential to know the sources of uncleanliness and its modus operandi. Once we know this, the process of cleansing becomes easy and efficient. We can discuss the process applying the ancient methodology of Yoga as well as that of modern science.
Our glandular system consists of two types of glands— exocrine and endocrine, the latter being ductless. Their products (called hormones) flow directly into (he bloodstream and are distributed by it. The complex of endocrine system includes pineal, pituitary, thyroids, para-thyroids, thymus, adrenals, gonads and pancreatic islets. They participate in every bodily function and have profound influence upon the mental states, and tendencies, attitudes, emotions and behavioural patterns of every individual. The quality of our existence necessitates that there must be some built-in mechanism through which our subtle spiritual self can exercise its authority and control the grosser elements of the physical body. This mechanism must translate the code of intangible and imperceptible forces of the psyche into a form of crude power which can function through the nerves and muscles of the body. Such a mechanism is located in the endocrine glands. They are the inter-communicating transformers between the psychical and the physical cells. The known methods of inter-communication are electrical impulses of the nerve action and the chemical reaction of the hormones and neuro-hormones. The endocrines are therefore aptly named psychic centers.
So far we had believed that the brain was the source of energy and the place from which the psychic forces acted. But now we know that it is only a repository of memories. The endocrine system is the seat of the impulses and emotions of an individual. Endocrine and the nervous systems are two very important systems of our body. Function of both these systems is to integrate the organism. Close collaboration between the two systems governs mental states, behaviour and habits. The functional interlocking between both qualify them to be regarded as constituting a single integrated system called neuro-endocrine system. It is this system which comprises the subconscious mind, and profoundly influences psychological behaviour and tendencies of the conscious mind. It is, therefore, obvious that to cleanse the psyche by removing psychological distortions such as cruelty, retaliation, fear, etc. from our habits, we have to find means of transforming the nature of the chemical messengers i.e. the hormones. The above-mentioned psychological distortions originate in the adrenals, while the sex-impulses are produced in the gonads.
We can put the same facts in the language of Chaitanya-kendras—psychic centres.
The following table shows the relation between the endocrines and the Chaitanya-kendras :
Svãsthya-kendra and Šakti-kendra
Constant triggering and overaction of the lower endocrines viz. adrenals and gonads result in pernicious bad habits, affecting our physical and mental health.
Development of the upper endocrines alone can modify the synthesization of the endocrine output, and weaken the intensities of the primal drives, thus making them controllable. Constant and regular practice of Chaitanya-kendra-prekṣã results in establishing firm control of the reasoning mind over all actions. The cumulative effect of developing the reasoning mind, and weakening the forces of the primal drives would ultimately bring about the desirable transformation in mental behaviour and habits.
Švasa-preksã, Šarīra-preksã and Chaitanya-kendra-preksã are tools for developing the power of reasoning mind. Once the authority of the fully-developed reasoning mind is established, it would prevent the recurrence of the old injurious habits.
On the eternal spiritual level, we shall be able to gain self-mastery and attain infinite compassion, bliss and happiness.
Introduction to be given prior to the exercise:
The practice of the pereception of body consists in concentrating the mind on each part of the body, one by one and perceiving the sensations and vibrations taking place in each part.
Of course, here the perception does not mean the visual perception, but the mental one.
The sensations may be superficial sensations of the skin such as the contact with your clothes warmth or coolness, itching and perspiration etc, or they may be the sensations of pain, numbness, tingling etc. felt in the muscles or the vibrations of the electrical impulses in the nervous system or any other type of vibrations.
Starting from the surface you have to penetrate deeply inside and try to become aware of the internal and subtle vibrations.
Remain completely equanimous towards the sensations; try to keep your mind free from like or dislike.
A third step of preksha meditationis perception of body(alternative, see: [3A][3B][3C])
- Concentrate your mind on the big toe of your right foot. Allow it to spread and permeate throughout the whole portion of the toe. Perceive the sensations and vibrations taking place in that region. Become aware of them, experience them without any like or dislike; use deep concentration and remain fully alert.
- Now shift your attention to each part of right limb one by one. I shall now indicate the name of the part of your body on which you have to concentrate your mind and perceive it: The other toes, the sole, the heel, the ankle, the upper part of the foot, the calf-muscles, the knee, the thigh, upto the hip-joint. Perceive the whole part, experience the sensations and vibrations taking place in each part. Maintain equanimity.
- In the same way practice perception of all the parts of your left limb.
Thus the trip of the lower body is completed.
- Now, start the trip of the middle body from the waist upto the neck.
Concentrating your mind on each part one by one--perceive the waist, the navel, the abdomen including the big intestine, the small intestine, the kidney, the spleen, the liver, the pancreas, the duodenum, the stomach and the diaphragm. Then the whole portion of the chest including the lungs, the heart, the ribs, the throat and the vocal cords. Concentrate your mind and perceive.
- Then practice the perception of the whole portion of the back including the spine, the spinal cord and the neck.
- Now concentrate on the whole portion of the right hand and arm including the thumb, the finger, the palm, the wrist, the lower arm, the elbow, the upper arm and the shoulder. Perceive each part one by one. In the same way concentrate on the left hand and arm.
The trip of the middle body is completed.
- Now we come to the upper body.
Concentrate your mind on each part from the chin upto the head. The chin, the lips, the inner portion of the mouth including the tongue, the teeth, the palate, the cheeks, the nose, the right ear, all the three parts---the outer, the middle and the inner, the right temple, in the same way the left ear and the left temple, the right eye, the left eye, the forehead and the head. Perceive each part one by one. During the perception of the tongue allow your tongue to remain hanging freely, without touching anywhere inside the mouth.
- While perceiving the head, perceive all parts of your brain -
the front, the back, the right, the left, the outer and the inner. Allow your mind to permeate throughout the brain. The trip of the upper body is completed.
- Now practice the perception of body as a whole.
You may stand up slowly and carefully, keeping your eyes closed. Allow your mind to travel from the big toes to the head and from the head to the big toes, rather speedily. Passing through each part of the body, perceive the vibrations throughout the body. Experience a tingling sensation in each and every muscle, skin, nerve and cell produced by the contact of your conscious mind. You may also practice the holding of breath for a while intermittently.
Get yourself completely absorbed in the perception of body.
- Now allow your mind to travel throughout the body rather slowly. If you experience pain or any other peculiar sensation, you may stop there for a while and perceive it with equanimity without any like or dislike.
In our day to day life, we experience manifestation and coexistence of two opposing principles e.g. hot and cold, harmony and chaos, love and hate, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, constructive and destructive ideas, negative and positive attitudes, and so on. Under normal situations, these opposing forces remain in equilibrium. Similarly, our body ;maintains harmony between the two opposing subsystems of the autonomic nervous system that are responsible for our physical and psychological well-being. This harmony gets disturbed due to the fast life style of this age.
Breathing can bring about substantial changes in our life because breath remains connected and control the working and harmony of both nervous system. We can breath either through the right or the left nostrils, or through both of these. Breathing through alternate nostrils is an amazing phenomenon and the selection of the nostril largely governs the type of activities that ensue. For example, fervid actions can be accomplished while breathing through the right nostril. In contrast, breathing through left nostril imparts patience and perseverance. Similarly, breathing through both the nostrils takes us to the state ofsamadhi , a form of deep meditation .
The main objectives of the perception of alternate breathing are:
- To achieve and sustain a state of equanimity
- To establish homeostasis in the body functions and processes
- To gain higher levels of consciousness
During the last millennium, scientific discoveries have revealed the secrets of the working strategies and the connection of the two cerebral hemispheres and the process of breathing. The right hemisphere of the brain offers discipline , faith, friendliness, good conduct, and other similar positive attributes while the left hemisphere gifts logical and reasoning capabilities. Establishing balance between both the hemispheres is the objective of perception of alternate breathing.
For a spiritual life, equanimity is the founding principle. It is believed that the state of equanimity can be achieved by equally activating both the respiratory cycles. A more active right cycle causes aggression, anger , and tension while a more active left cycle leads to fear and inferiority complex.
While practicing alternate breathing, mind and breath should accompany each other. Holding of the breath also plays an important role in achieving the state of thoughtlessness.
First, inhale through the right nostril and hold the breath inside. Exhale through the left nostril and hold the breath outside. Now, inhale through the left nostril and hold the breath inside. Then exhale through the right nostril and hold the breath outside. It completes one round of alternate breathing. Regular practice of perception of alternate breathing can enhance mental concentration .
Perception of alternate breathing is a unique technique, which offers several benefits:
- Achieves higher levels of consciousness
- Increases mental concentration and alertness
- Provides extra sensory perceptions and intuition
- Establishes homeostasis in the body functions and processes
Perception of alternate breathing is a scientific technique in which alternate breathing is practiced to help us establish the state of equanimity and lead a healthy life.
- Regulate your breathing; make it slow, deep and rhythmic.
- Let the vibrations of each breath reach your navel.
- Allow your abdominal muscles to expand during inhalation and contract during exhalation.
- Now concentrate your mind fully on your navel. Practice deep, slow and rhythmic breathing, by allowing each breath to take the same time. Perceive each inhalation and exhalation through the expansion and contraction of the abdominal muscles accompanying each inhalation and exhalation respectively.
- Continuing the slow, deep and rhythmic breathing, now shift your attention from the navel and focus it inside the nostrils at the junction of both the nostrils. Perceive each incoming and outgoing breath. Remain fully aware of each and every breath.
Continuously practice slow, long and rhythmic breathing - inhale and exhale each breath while remaining fully aware of it.
- Fully occupy your mind in perception of breathing.
If you are distracted by any thought, do not try to stop it forcefully, but also perceive it, and then again start perceiving your breath.
If the distraction is frequent, you may hold your breath for a few seconds without causing any discomfort.
Maintain the continuity of the awareness of breathing.
Merely perceive it without like and dislike.
Perception Of Alternate Breathing
In the practice of breathing through alternate nostrils, you have to inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other, then inhale through the same and exhale through the other.
Try to accomplish the alternation by exercising your will-power.
But in the beginning you may make use of finger and thumb of the right hand by placing the right thumb against the right nostril and the ring finger of the right hand against the left nostril and resting the middle and index fingers on the forehead.
Now, remove alternately the thumb and ring finger for opening the path of breath through the right and the left nostril respectively.
The third step preksha meditation of is perception of breathing through alternate nostrils.
- Regulate your breathing; make it slow, deep and rhythmic.
- Concentrate your mind inside your nostrils, practice breathing through alternate nostrils.
- Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left one.
- Now inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right one; this completes one cycle.
- Repeat the same exercise again and again continuing the rhythmic breathing.
- Perceive each inhalation and exhalation by concentrating the mind in alternate nostrils.
- Let your mind and breath go hand in hand.
- No thinking, no memory of the past, no imagination of future.
- Simply perceive.
Continuously the mind and breath should accompany each other.
While you are breathing in, let your attention follow the breath inside.
While you are breathing out, let your attention follow it outside.
Now, practice the perception of breathing through alternate nostrils together with holding the breath intermittently.
Concentrate your mind inside the nostrils.
- Inhale through the right nostril and hold the breath inside,
- exhale through the left nostril and hold the breath outside;
- again inhale through the left nostril and hold the breath inside and exhale through the right nostril and hold the breath outside.
In this way, practice holding of breath four times during one complete cycle.
Continuously remain aware of each exhalation and inhalation.
You may hold the breath only for a few seconds without causing any discomfort.
Repeat the same exercise for several rounds.
Let the mind and breath go hand in hand.
There exists two worlds-the external and the inner world. The human consciousness has a natural tendency to incline towards the external world. This is because the sense are continually in touch with the external world. The eyes analyse physical beauty, the ears receive and respond to the sound waves, the nose identifies various smells, the tongue relishes different kinds of flavours and the skin gives the sense of touch. Similarly, the mind is conditioned and acclimatized with the impressions of the external world. In contrast, the inner world often remains unexplored because we are not acquainted with the powers that assist us in realization of the true beauty of it. In Preksha Meditation , there is a technique named Internal trip through which one can become familiar with the inner world and realise oneself.
The objectives of Internal tripare:
- To initiate upward movement of vital energy. The mind moves from shaktikendra (the center of energy ) towards the gyan kendra (the center of knowledge)
- To cultivate the power of self restraint
- To boost the vital energy
- To create a strong platform for meditation
The flow of consciousness in the central nervous system (CNS) is called the internal trip . The human nervous system comprises three sub-systems:
- Parasympathetic nervous system (ida )
- Sympathetic nervous system (pingla )
- Central nervous system (sushumna )
The outward flow of Vital energy' is facilitated by the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. In terms of Hatha yoga , these are synonyms for ida and pingla, respectively. For the inward flow, the consciousness must travel from ida and pingla towards the sushumna or the spinal cord.
In order to visit the inner world by undertaking the internal trip, one must withdraw ones attention from all the external objects and focus on the center of vital energy , situated at the base of the backbone or the vertebral column. Let the consciousness flow through the spinal cord all the way from the center of vital energy up to the center of knowledge situated in the middle of the skull.
We can understand this process through an example. Consider a well with water. A man passes by and wants to fill a drum of water. He cannot reach the water below directly, so he makes use of a rope, ties a bucket with the rope. The bucket is lowered into the well, filled with water and then pulled out. By repeatedly filling and emptying the bucket, he can fetch desired quantity of water. Similarly, our consciousness takes the shape of a bucket and the breath of the rope for the transport of the vital energy from the center of vital energy all the way to the center of knowledge and vice versa. Synchronize ones internal trip with the process of breathing. During exhalation, one should undertake the upward trip. Where as, during the inhalation one should undertake the downward trip. While practicing internal trip, it is essential to remain in the state of deep concentration .
- Promotes physical well being by strengthening the nervous system
- Promotes mental well being by revitalization of the mental abilities
- Promotes emotional well being by establishment of sustainable control over emotions
- Promotes spiritual well being by establishment of efficient flow of , the vital energy
- Sustained practice helps the practitioner to overcome the anxiety and frustration of everyday life and assist in the awakening of super natural powers
Internal trip guides us to the unexplored zones of our , the tremendous source of positive energy hidden within us. It also strengthens the spiritual side of our life.
Since perception is the key to this meditation technique, it is known as Preksha Meditation. Preksha means to perceive and Dhyan means meditation. The word Preksha is derived from the root iksha, which means to see. When the prefix Pra is added, it becomes Pra+iksha, which now means to perceive carefully and profoundly being free from attachment and aversion. In this technique, one has to observe the internal phenomenon of the body. In the beginning a person observes the states of the gross body, then the phases of the taijassharir, (the electrical body), followed by the vibrations in the karma sharir (the micro body). At a more advanced stage of the meditation process, the practitioner may succeed even in witnessing his past life. Thus while progressing through the gross to the subtle bodies, the art of visualizing ones own self may be acquired.
SampikkhaeAppagamappaenam this aphorism from the Jain canon Dasaveaaliyam forms the basic principle for Preksha Meditation. It means, 'See yourself through yourself.' Perceive and realize the most subtle aspects of consciousness through your own conscious mind.'
Acharya Siddhasena (6th Cent., A.D.) wrote, 'Let us observe the state of our body, perceive the form of our mind. Let us sit in meditation and observe the different states of our body.' Thousand of different kinds of changes occur in our body and to witness all these changes with inner eye is called the perception of self through self.
Basic Components of Preksha Meditation
In order to achieve perfection in the technique of Preksha Meditation, one has to pass through various stages. The basic components of Preksha Meditation are:
- Kayotsarg (relaxation)
- Antaryatra (internal trip )
- Shvas Preksha (perception of breathing)
- Sharir Preksha (perception of physical body)
- Chaitanya Kendra Preksha (perception ofpsychic centers )
- Leshya Dhyna (perception of psychic colour)
- Anupreksha (contemplation )
- Chanting of Mantras (mantra meditation)
- Asana (yogic exercise)
- Pranayam (restraining the breath)
- Mudra (posture)
- Dhvani (sound)
- VartamaanKshanki Preksha (perception of the present moment)
- Vichaar Preksha (perception of thought)
- Animesh Preksha , Traatak (focusing on a single point with open eyes without blinking