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Stages of Yoga Vedanta Meditation and Contemplation

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Mahavakyas (great contemplations) http://www.swamij.com/mahavakyas.htm STAGES OF YOGA VEDANTA MEDITATION AND CONTEMPLATION Swami Rama Meditation and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2008
      Mahavakyas (great contemplations)

      Swami Rama

      Meditation and contemplation are two different techniques, yet they
      are complementary to each other. Meditation is a definite method of
      training oneself on all levels – body, breath, conscious mind, and
      unconscious mind – while contemplation builds a definite philosophy.
      Without the support of a solid philosophy, the method of meditation
      does not lead to higher dimensions of consciousness.

      Contemplation makes one aware of the existence of the Reality, but
      Reality can be experienced only through the higher techniques of
      meditation. In the Vedanta system, meditation and contemplation are
      both used. When an aspirant tires of meditation because of lack of
      endurance, then he contemplates on the mahavakyas [great
      contemplations] and studies those scriptures that are helpful in the
      path of Self-realization and enlightenment. Contemplation, vichara,
      complements the Vedantic way of meditation, dhyana.

      Mahavakyas (great contemplations)

      In Vedanta philosophy, there is a definite method used for
      contemplation. Ordinarily, the mind remains busy in self-dialogue,
      entangled in the web of its thought patterns. Because of desires,
      feelings, and emotions, unmanageable conflicts are created in one's
      mental life. But the Vedanta way of contemplating transforms the
      entire personality of the aspirant, for the statements, mahavakyas,
      imparted by the preceptor create a dynamic change in the values of
      his life. These statements are compact, condensed, and abstruse
      srutis and cannot be understood without the help of a preceptor who
      is fully knowledgeable of the scriptures and these terse texts. Only
      a realized teacher can impart the profundity of such knowledge in a
      lucid language.

      The thoughts, feelings, and desires which were once important to the
      aspirant lose their value, for he has only one goal to attain. The
      glory of contemplation brings a dynamic transformation to the
      internal states of the aspirant. This seems to be very necessary,
      because that which creates a barrier or becomes an obstacle for
      students loses its strength due to the power of contemplation, which
      transforms all his internal states.

      First, an aspirant attentively listens to the sayings of the
      Upanishads from a preceptor who is Brahman-conscious all the time.

      In the second step, he practices vichara (contemplation), which means
      that he goes to the depths of the great sayings and determines to
      practice them with mind, action, and speech.

      One-pointed devotion, full determination, and dedication lead him to
      the higher step called nididhyasana. Here he acquires comprehensive
      knowledge of the Ultimate Truth. But he has not yet attained the
      final step of consciousness that leads him to the direct realization
      of the one self-existent Truth without second.

      The highest state of contemplation is called saksatkara. In this
      state, perception and conceptualization are in complete agreement,
      and all the doubts from all levels of understanding vanish forever.
      At this height of knowledge, truth reveals itself to the aspirant,
      and perfect realization is accomplished, "I am Atman – I am Brahman."
      This state of advaita is attained by the process of contemplation.
      Meditation plays an entirely different role and helps the aspirant
      make his mind one-pointed, inward, and steady.

      Steadiness and stillness are practiced from the very beginning in
      this meditational method. The method of sitting, the method of
      breathing, the method of concentration, and the method of allowing a
      concentrated mind to flow uninterruptedly are subsequent steps that
      help the aspirant to expand his capacity so that he can contemplate
      without distraction.
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