14253MEDITATION: A PROPERSTANDING
- Aug 2, 2005Meditation: A Proper Understanding
Author: Rama Devagupta
With the many types of meditation being taught and practiced today, meditation means
different things to different people. It can often create confusion for the average person.
This article, first published in The Healing Way, Spring 1998, attempts to answer the most
basic questions such as: "What does 'meditation' mean? Will it help me in my search? If yes,
what system should I practice?"
More and more people are seeking a new meaning and purpose in their lives.
Notwithstanding the pleasures and comforts that come along with the latest advances in
science and technology, there is a renewed quest for an understanding of who we are and
what we really want to be. Based on this primary need, we can now see more new
publications addressing this issue and a growing awareness of the different types of
spiritual practices outside the traditional forms of worship and religion.
In the inspirational sections of libraries and bookstores, there are dozens of books that
use the word "meditation." Each book describes a system of meditation and talks about its
benefits. With the many types of meditation being taught and practiced today, one might
actually wonder: "What does 'meditation' mean? Will it help me in my search? If yes, what
system should I practice?" I would like to utilize this article to put forth my understanding
of this subject based on the teachings of my Master, Shri P. Rajagopalachari, who teaches
Sahaj Marg meditation to sincere spiritual seekers all around the world.
Meditation can be defined as thinking continuously about something. Most of the time
people are meditating on one thing or another, but they are unaware of it. For instance,
when we are thinking about a problem, we can say that we are meditating on that
particular problem for a given period of time. Therefore, one can say that when different
people talk about meditation, they are essentially talking about the same process.
However the major difference lies in the object upon which we are meditating. It is the
final goal and actual features of the practice that mark its uniqueness.
Because it is very important to select a proper way and proper guide before embarking on
any quest, a person seeking spirituality should ask the following questions:
1. As an aspirant, what are you looking for in a spiritual practice? Is it relaxation, health,
wealth, power, miracles, knowledge, or spiritual evolution within a balanced life?
2. What does this particular system of meditation offer you? Is it offering you the
highest goal that you are seeking?
3. What is being demanded of you? Are you free to join or drop off from the system
without any pressure, fear or temptation? Remember that selfless teachers of spirituality
have never measured spiritual growth monetarily, or in terms of name and fame. They
have always looked for willingness in an aspirant.
4. Is this an open system? Do you have access to all the available literature and to the
spiritual teacher? Are you encouraged to ask questions?
5. Is it a practical system? Are you expected to read some books and do it on your own?
Or will you be helped in each and every step of your spiritual journey as and when
6. Do the practicants in the system look like good examples of their mode of teaching?
Can you feel peace when you are in the company of the teacher?
7. Does your conscience, the inner voice within you, permit you to continue after you
have started the prescribed practice? After a reasonable period of practice, are you able to
perceive the results that the system promises?
As a person who was educated in a Christian convent until middle school and studied
Hinduism to some extent, I had only been aware of fear and temptation as used by
everyday religion. "If you do this, good things will happen to you." "If you don't do this,
you will be punished accordingly." Therefore, the above questions were like crisp, fresh air
and an open invitation to me when I first came across Sahaj Marg meditation. As I pursued
them through direct experience, I found all the answers I received satisfactory.
I learned that Sahaj Marg means "The Natural Path" (from the Hindi language) because our
evolution towards the Highest should be natural--just like a child who evolves naturally
into an adult. Other aspirants of Sahaj Marg made me feel welcome with an openness that
I had never experienced before. During my first visit to a spiritual retreat hosted by Shri P.
Rajagopalachari in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1989, I felt that I was truly at home even though I
had never met any of the people present there before. All the teachings in Sahaj Marg
literature allowed me to focus on my spiritual evolution in a positive manner and showed
me the efficacy of the system in practical, realistic terms. Here was a system that not only
talked about spiritual evolution to the Highest, but was also capable of taking me to the
final destination because the living master was present to guide me and pull me up when
the going got tough. I am happy to say today that Sahaj Marg is a system of meditation
that keeps its promises and is showing me the wonders of spirituality with each new day.
Basic Ideas and Principles of Sahaj Marg Meditation
"Sahaj Marg (the Natural Path) is a system of practical training in spirituality of the Shri
Ram Chandra Mission. It is in essence the well-known raja yoga (yoga of the mind),
remodeled and simplified to suit the needs of modern day life. Its goal is inner
perfection--God realization. God is infinite yet simple, and therefore the way to reach
Him must be as simple. By proper regulation of the mind through meditation, under the
practical guidance and support of a spiritual master, one can evolve to the Highest. This
support is made possible through the use of Pranahuti (yogic transmission). It is defined
as transmission of the Divine energy for the transformation of self. This transmission is
capable of being felt by anyone who practices this system for a brief period.
The need to live a simple and pious life as a family member is encouraged in Sahaj Marg.
One is asked to accept the problems and difficulties of daily life as Divine blessings, as
this environment is considered ideal for spiritual development. There are no fees charged
to practice this system and all are welcome, the sole qualification being a willingness to
- Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Vol. I.
"In silence alone can there become union with the Ultimate, which you may call God, or
anything you like. In the utter silence of the inner Self alone, God exists. We have to get
into that utter silence ourselves, if we are able to communicate with Him. We have to be
in the medium, or in the dimension, in which something exists, before we can
communicate with that which exists in that dimension."
- Shri P. Rajagopalachari, Religion and Spirituality.
Rama Devagupta has been practicing Sahaj Marg since 1988. She holds a doctorate in
bioorganic chemistry from Texas A&M University and lives in Pearland, Texas, with her
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