Inner Light and Sound Meditation in Jainism
Inner Light and Sound Meditation in Jainism, By Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, The Harmony of All Religions, from the Jainism Chapter
YouTube Video: Talk in Hindi By Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj:
Maharshi Mehi Paramahans: "The Jiva (individual Soul) is enveloped by three layers: darkness, Light and Sound. To remove these veils hiding the Soul, we should practice Drishti Yoga (Inner Light Meditation) and Surat Shabd Yoga (Inner Sound Meditation)."
Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj: "Practice Drishti Yoga (Yoga of Light) and Nada-nu-sadhna (Yoga of Sound). These will remove the layers of darkness, Light and Sound which conceal your Soul from the Supreme Soul (God). You will know who you are. And, when you know yourself, you will also know God."
Inner Light and Sound Meditation in Jainism,
By Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj,
The Harmony of All Religions,
from the Jainism Chapter
Lord Mahavira’s Teachings on Atman and Meditation
Here are some references to atman and meditation as taught by Lord Mahavira: "Atman is Brahma (the Ultimate Reality). Brahmacharya (living in Brahma; restraint of the senses) is the state of being established in one’s soul. The practitioner who is freed from the body (who is detached from bodily desires) and established in the soul is the true brahmachari."
"Through meditation of the soul Param Samadhi (highest state of concentration; state of liberation) is attained."
"Absorbed in meditation the mendicant leaves behind all impurities. Therefore, meditation is the cure for all the impurities and afflictions of the soul.
"If your vision itself becomes the source of removing darkness, then why would a man need an outside source of light? [By the practice of meditation the divine light dawns and the practitioner’s divine vision opens up]. If the soul itself is an abode of infinite joy, why then would the sensual pleasures have any value for that practitioner?"
In the above quotes, Lord Mahavira describes the divine vision which removes the darkness of ignorance. His words find support in an ancient anecdote about Mragavati, a devout woman and devoted wife, who was endowed with the divine vision and was able to see clearly in the darkness.
The bright bindu point (infinitesimal point] emerges when the practitioner becomes established in the discipline of focusing on one point with the beams of both eyes. When the inner light is attained, a practitioner is established in the divine light, which is not conditioned by any outward source of light. This technique is known by different names in texts of the various saints and traditions.8 In this practice of light the practitioner sitting in meditation is able to observe the scenes from anywhere (clairvoyance).9 The outward darkness does not hinder the power and ability of seeing. Therefore, Mahavira has asked why the practitioner would need outward light once his vision has itself become the source (instrument) of removing darkness.
Once established in light, the practitioner hears various types of sweet inner melodious sounds. The saints have named this sound the Anahad (Un-struck, self producing divine sound).
Through the technique of Shabad Yoga (Yoga of Divine Sound) the practitioner goes beyond these sounds and enters the eternal sound—Pranava dhvani OM (the cosmic sound of OM).
Through this the practitioner reaches God (paramatma—the Supreme Spirit) and reaches the point where the distinction between the devotee (practitioner) and God (object of worship) disappears. The soul which is united with the Supreme Soul, becomes the Supreme Soul. This state is known as moksha, nirvana, or mukti (Absolute Freedom).
A discussion on Shabad Yoga Jnanarnva is found in the text, composed by Shrishubhachandracharya: "This dhyana (intense concentration) moves from one sound to another, and from one yoga to another. Therefore, it is known as that which is endowed with focus and logic."
Lord Mahavira speaks of the experience of the Bindu—point—in meditation as the experience of sva (inner self). Dr. Hukumchand Bharill in his book, Tirthankara Mahavira and his Sarvodaya Tirtha10 has wonderfully depicted the inner depth of the meditation practice of Lord Mahavira. From these illustrations it is evident that Lord Mahavira practiced inner sound yoga or (Shabad Yoga)11.
In the Jain texts we find various references: "[In the deep state of meditation] Lord Mahavira experienced the divine sounds. The sound of OM was ceaselessly emanating, the inner form of atman manifested in its utmost grandeur, and the nectar was pouring."
Driśti Yoga (Preksha Dhyāna) - Yoga of Inner Light
Preksha, the Yoga of Vision or seeing is the subtle form of meditation. It is known by various names in the Jain tradition. The word preksha is derived from the Sanskrit root verb iksha, which means “seeing.” With the pra prefix it means “seeing by entering in depth” or “observe carefully.” In Jain literature, two words are used to describe the Yoga of Light meditation: preksha and vipashyana. However, the term vipashyana is also used in Buddhist meditation techniques. Therefore, in the present Jain context, we use the term preksha dhyāna to avoid any confusion with the Buddhist terminology.
In the Dashvaikalick Sutra it is said: "See the atman through the atman. Seeing is the essential element of this meditation and therefore it is named preksha dhyāna."
Acharya Tulsi explains: "The Center of “seeing” or inner focus is known as ajnachakra (the third eye). When the mind is focused on it, the divine light pervades every part of the being. The life of one who focuses on this center of life (in front of the nose between the two eye-brows) is ever filled with the smile and joy."
Acharya Mahapragya elaborates: "The goal of the Yoga of Vision is to know one’s self. As long as the soul is covered with afflictions and desires we are unable to know our self. Therefore, to remove this veil or covering it is necessary to concentrate the mind.
"The Yoga of Vision is the technique of looking at the soul. Whom shall we see? We shall see our Self and experience our own nature. We shall manifest the true form of our own nature. Seeing the true form of oneself is the Yoga of Vision.
"Collect your consciousness in the sushumna, the tenth gate (ajnachakra)."
According to Maha Manaswi Shri Jinendra Varni: "Meditation beyond physical forms is known as Shukla Dhyāna (light meditation). This meditation is beyond name and form. One sees only the inner light, and it is therefore called shukla. The yogi experiences the indescribable form of God in the form of light. Therefore, this meditation is known as the meditation of light—shukla dhyāna."
According to Shubhachandrachrya, "[In this way] The ascetic who has understood the technique of mantra meditation, must then meditate on a point in front of the nose and in the middle of both eyebrow, focused on the unmovable form."
Surat Śabada Yoga (Yoga of Divine Sound)
In the Yoga of Sound (Surat Shabda Yoga), the gross material sound (anhad sound) manifests initially, and thereafter the essential inner divine sound (anahad), also know as OM or Pranava. It is the cosmic sound of the beginning.
There are several references to the essential cosmic sound in the context of Lord Mahavira’s teachings: "Taking hold of this essential anahat element (the sound of OM) or Shivanam, the ascetics have gone across [beyond] this world of delusion and pain."
In this way meditation upon the mantra and the essential sound are described. Also the technique of meditation on the OM sound is elaborated: "O Ascetic! Meditate on the cosmic sound of OM because it is like rain for extinguishing the fire of suffering. And it is also like a lamp which illuminates the subtle essence of the sacred teachings. It is the governance of good deeds." (Jnanarnva, sarga: 38)
Acharya Tulsi says: "From the infinitesimal point and the divine sound the subtlest waves (vibrations) reverberate."
In his book, The Method of Using Preksha Dhyāna, Acharya Mahapragya writes: "Close both ears with your hands and listen to the inner sounds."
The Jnanarnva (sarga 36) says: "The mendicant with purified mind should meditate on the sky with rainbow, lightning, and the sound of thunder, and full of clouds."
Swami Jnananada says in the Pandita Puja: "In the divine sound of God (Bhagawan) all the mysteries are revealed."
Shri Jinendravarni states: "What does one hear with these ears? It is a sweet sound . . . Closing my eyes, as if I were united with God, I was away from this world. Only my Peace incarnate and dispassionate Lord (Mahavira) and I existed [ego and worldly concerns had vanished in the state of complete tranquility]."
8 Drishti yoga is known by various names in different texts and traditions: Bindu-dhyāna, drishti yoga, Atama-dhyāna, Preksha-dhyāna, Vipashyana dhyāna, Jyoti dhyāna, Shunya-dhyna, Nasagra dhyana, Shambhavi Mudra, Vaishvanavi-Mudra, Adhar dhyana, Sushumna dhyana, etc...
9 It is also said in the Yogashikhopanishad, “Absorbing mind in Bindu behold the scenes of great distance.”
10 Literally, “Bridge-builder Mahavira and his All-uplifting Bridge”.
11 Jain Acharya Sushil Kuamarji Maharaj Ji practiced various steps of yoga including the yoga of Sound vibration.