Do We Really Need to Attain Samadhi?
April 29, 2015
Is attaining the permanent state of Nirbikalpa Samadhi (Nivikalapa or Nirbeej Samadhi) necessary for a soul to attain Liberation/Moksha?
In Adi Shankara’s vivekachudamani he seems to be indicating very clearly that unless one unites one’s soul with spirit in samadhi, there is no question of moksha.
However, in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna in several places indicates several ways by which we can reach him and he does not seem to insist on Nirbikalpa Samadhi for Moksha.
According to Paramhansa Yogananda, nirbikalpa samadhi is indeed a necessary step toward the higher state of moksha (liberation). I suspect that Sri Krishna does not elaborate on samadhi states in the Gita because he is emphasizing the things we need to do in order to approach samadhi. First things first!
But do not be discouraged, for we do not know what states we have already obtained in past lives. Yoganandaji asked one of his most advanced disciples, when she was on her deathbed, if she had any last wish. When she asked for samadhi, he told her that she was beyond that. And yet, advanced as she was, she didn’t know! I find that very encouraging.
In any case, Hitesh, all we can do is keep meditating and leave the results in God’s hands.
Meditation Is Making Me Sweat — Is Something Wrong?
April 27, 2015
I am doing meditation but by blood pressure is increasing after meditation .Also at time of meditation sweat is leaving from all over my body .My question is is this natural ?if not please give me some suggestion
Since you have not described what kind of meditation you practice, I can’t answer it specifically, but I can give you some general tips that might help you. Usually true meditation doesn’t raise blood pressure, or cause excessive perspiration.
What can raise blood pressure is vigorous breathing techniques, holding the breath deliberately, and keeping the body or mind tense. The sweat can be caused by overly exerting the body through aggressive breathing techniques, by moving energy too quickly through the body, or encountering energy blockages.
Please check if what you are doing is straining your body instead of relaxing it. Meditation should not agitate or strain the body.
You might stop practicing your particular technique until you can discuss the specifics of what you are doing with someone who is an expert in meditation and can help you.
You can also try this meditation technique offered by Paramhansa Yogananda, which is unlikely to cause these symptoms.
I hope you will be able to meditate peacefully.
Tips for Staying Awake During Meditation
April 16, 2015
I would like to ask if there are any tips you can suggest to keep myself awake during morning meditation.
In my case, I wake up, cleanse my face and mouth in the morning, sit to meditate but at times feel so drowsy that I’ve to shorten the meditation or at times i fall asleep while meditating. I feel that if you can suggest tips of staying awake, I will be able to meditate on the duration i set myself on.
There are things that you can do to help you stay awake during your morning meditation.
Paramhansa Yogananda created a set of 39 simple exercises which are called The Energization Exercises. He recommended to practice them before sitting for meditation. These exercises will recharge your body with energy, help focus your mind and fill your soul with joy.
(You can purchase the Energization Exercises DVD here. If you have an iPhone, you may also find the Energization Exercises app very helpful.)
So after you wash up in the morning, practice these exercises, then sit to meditate. Make sure that your meditation room has good air circulation and that the temperature in the room is on the cool side. You can wrap yourself with a shawl to stay warm. Here are a few breathing techniques you can use before meditation—start with them you meditate.
Once you learn the Energization Exercises, it will take you 12–15 minutes to practice them, and you will be awake and ready for your morning meditation.
Blessings on your practice,
I'm Seeing Symbols; What Do They Mean?
April 6, 2015
Greetings of joy! ive been seeing a lot of astral symbols and I don’t always know the meaning. ive learned the meaning of some and im eager to know more. these astral symbols appear before my awareness bright with a similarity close to caricatures on a monopoly board. I know these symbols are meant to guide me and affirm whats going on with my consciousness at the time. Also I see numbers and Id like to know the meaning. please inform me of any informational resources. Thanks. Joseph
Thank you for your greetings and joy to you also! Are these symbols and numbers coming to you as a part of your meditations? If so, then they are probably gifts to you from God to encourage you to go yet deeper into your meditative life.
As to their exact meaning, it would be hard to say unless I could know exactly what they looked like. If you want to e-mail me personally being more specific, I will try to answer back more specifically. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But in general, it is probably best for you to pray to God/Guru to be given the answers to your questions about symbols and numbers. They are being given to you personally and thus, their meanings should be give to you personally also, from the Divine Source where they came from, if at all possible.
They best way to do this is to pray deeply at the beginning of your meditation, that the answers to your questions will be revealed to you. Then set aside the questions and go ahead with your regular meditation practice calming your breath and mind.
Try not to think of these things, but meditate with peaceful assurance that your questions will be answered in the right time. At the close of your meditation, ask again and sit quietly to see if it is revealed to you. If it doesn’t happen immediately, then go on with your life and have faith that the answers will eventually be offered to you at your next meditation or at some later time.
Often answers come to us in very unexpected ways and at unexpected times, especially when we sincerely pray for divine guidance.
I Saw an Oval Shadow in Meditation
April 6, 2015
today I was trying to meditate (it must be the 4th or 5th time I try to do it in my life) and something intrigued me: during the meditation I saw an oval shadow and thought of the word 'oblongata'.
I googled it afterwards and saw what it was. I heard about it once but never thought of it again.
with your experience, could you help me in understanding if it was some kind of message or if it was just a subconsious suggestion? it brought me mixed feelings
thank you very much
Dear S in Portugal,
When we meditate, many things can appear to us. Some are important and some or not. Some are messages from our higher Selves or God and some are just the meanderings of the subconscious or conscious minds. To determine the difference is not always easy, but we can try.
First, I would encourage you to keep meditating regularly, every day! If you don’t know how to meditate, then learn the techniques of meditation which will help you keep up a steady practice. We can help you with this.
Then at the beginning of the next meditation, pray that if this shape is to have a special meaning for you, then the meaning will be revealed to you at the close of your meditation or at some later time.
The word oblongata has a special place in Yogananda’s teachings — it refers to the medulla oblongata or as Yogananda calls it, the "mouth of God." It is where prana or life-force enters the body and is very important as a part of the techniques of meditations from his path of Kriya Yoga. Perhaps this is a sign to you that this is your path to follow. It is a very good path, indeed!
In recent weeks I have had my concentration shattered during meditation. Many images and sounds appear in my mind. The strange thing is that they are extremely clear and detailed as if I was seeing and hearing physically. Several times during the meditation I have to bring my attention back and avoid these "lucid dreams".
My meditation used to be quiet, but now it is disturbed by voices , images and faces of people I’ve never seen before.
What can I do?
When you have a regular meditation practice, you will probably encounter a number of disturbances of various kinds during meditation over the years. It can be disconcerting to have this happen, but it doesn’t necessarily signify that something is wrong. It does mean that during these times you will need to put out more energy in your meditations to concentrate and to continue to push these images away — as you are already doing.
The most important thing to do at times like this, is to steadily continue on with your regular meditation routine. This is usually the way out of such disturbances. Your regular practices will act as a calming influence on your mind and lead you forward — even if at the time it can feel as though you are in the middle of a battlefield!
The other more subtle aspect of having these things happen, especially when you describe them as being “extremely clear and detailed, as if I was seeing and hearing physically,” is to not encourage them by continuing to give them energy. You can do this by not continuing to think about them, and mulling them over in your mind.
Why do things like this happen? Well, it can be from a number of causes. No matter what the cause, it does present a good opportunity to look at what the rest of your life looks like. Is there anything that you are doing that could be causing such disturbances? It might be things such as associating with old friends, family troubles, the movies you watch, the daily news, trouble at work, etc. These are just some ideas of the kinds of things that could be disturbing your meditations.
In addition, these kinds of disturbances could be caused by your own past karma. Actions done either in this life, or previous lives, are all registered in the subconscious mind. The energy from these actions travels with us through all our lifetimes, and is only resolved completely when we are spiritually liberated. In the meantime, this karma can come up and affect us in various ways in our present lifetime. Paramhansa Yogananda referred to these happenings as “karmic bombs.” These can go off at any time in our life given the right circumstances. Again, the best way to deal with them, is to continue your meditation practice, keeping it strong and focused, and not keep these disturbances active by thinking about them too much. The disturbances are there, and the way out of them is to look to the light, not to focus on the disturbance. If you have a guru, then the other important thing to do, it to pray to him/her for help, guidance, and grace (spiritual power) to move beyond them.
I hope this will help you in what you are dealing with.
In divine friendship,
Ears Feeling Hot During Meditation
March 2, 2015
hello. I’ve got anxiety disorder, on meds. I’ve noticed when in meditation, sometimes intense unpleasant heat is generated in parts esp near ears. harder I try to concentrate hotter it gets. Ive noticed it is associated with an unfocussed mind. Medically they call this psychosomatic symptoms. But when strongly focused on my Guru, it dissapears. Is this me unable to channel energy properly? I’d like to know your take on this. Thank you.
Since you have specific health conditions which are being treated by a health care professional, I must be cautious in my comments. If you are having good results by concentrating on your Guru, this seems a good and safe course of action. As to whether your symptoms are the result of an unfocused mind, that is a much broader question and could be as much related to medical conditions as to the mind itself. There’s nothing wrong with developing your concentration skills. Any one can benefit from doing THAT, whether during meditation or by engaging in specific mental concentration techniques.
During meditation, it is always good to avoid concentrating so "hard" that tension (and heat!) results. Think of something that you enjoy doing where the need to concentrate doesn’t exist because you enjoy doing it! That’s how meditation should be. Swami Kriyananda, in his popular book, Awaken to Superconsciousness, describes meditation as "upward relaxation into superconsciousness." Always emphasize RELAXATION first in the art of meditation. From devotion and sincere yearning for God, Guru, or inner peace, concentration becomes natural and not a strain upon the brain or the mind.
Approach, therefore, meditation with joy; with devotion; with sincere love. It would help you, I think, to practice some hatha yoga before sitting. Certainly, to practice some pranayama as your guru recommends. Paramhansa Yogananda commented that "Chanting is half the battle." This can include mantra also. So, try chanting both as part of meditation and part of daily life.
Remember: RELAXATION IS THE KEY!
How to Be Aware of Breath in the Nostrils
March 2, 2015
Can you give me tips on becoming aware of the natural breath in the upper nostril area?
Dear Sanjay, The best way to become aware of the breath in the upper part of your nostrils is through learning and practicing daily Yogananda’s Hong-Sau Technique of concentration/meditation. In the Art and Science of Raja Yoga, Swami Kriyananda, while carefully explaining this technique, includes the following information about breathing in different parts of the nostrils:
"Begin by mentally watching the breathing process: the movement of lungs, navel, and diaphragm; gradually only, as you grow calmer, shift your attention to the breath itself. At this point, feel it as it enters the nostrils. And even here you may find it natural to go through a transition from physical to more subtle awareness. That is, as the breath becomes finer, feel it gradually higher and higher in the nasal passage. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives the counsel to concentrate on nasikagram, 'the beginning of the nose.' Commentators often interpret this passage to mean 'the tip of the nose,' since agra means 'front' as well as 'beginning.' But no subtle chakra, or nerve plexus, exists in the tip of the nose. It is at the other end of the nose that yogis concentrate. Here is the seat of spiritual vision. Normally, to make it easier to locate, this seat is spoken of as being located at the point between the eyebrows. But where the breath is considered as part of the concentrative process, it is more appropriate to think of this seat as being located at the origin of the nose. In fact, the real center is situated in the frontal lobe of the brain. The breath, as it enters and leaves the nasal passage, passes very close to this point. To visualize the breath passing this point helps to stimulate this center. As you watch the breath in the nose, then, feel it becoming gradually calmer until you can feel it at the point between the eyebrows."
In addition, you might try feeling/experiencing the coolness of the air as you inhale and it passes through the nose up into the sinus area, then in turn, feel the warmth of the air as you exhale and as the air passes back out of the sinuses into the nostrils.
In the beginning of this process, try placing your right index finger horizontally under your nose and feel the gentle sensations of coolness and warmth being created there, as you inhale and exhale. When you have a good sense of these sensations, move your finger away and transfer the feeling into the lower nose, then up into upper nostrils, and finally into the area of the sinuses and the point between the eyebrows.
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