Hindu Meditations: Meditation Techniques from India
India has long been known for its wisdom. A variety of Hindu meditations offer powerful spiritual tools for those learning meditation.
"All philosophy remains talk unless people practice sadhana (spiritual practice)."--Shivabalayogi
"Body, mind and spirituality--these are three cages. A spiritual seeker will go beyond all these cages. In his natural state, samadhi, the entire universe is nothing but his Self. Whatever he enjoys in this world is nothing but Self; time is Self only; wisdom is Self only."--Karunamayi
My first exposure to Hindu meditations and the wisdom that came out of India, was when I was in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa.I was a young man of 24 years, and in my apartment was a library that was built up by preceeding volunteers. One of those books was The Razor's Edge, by Sommerset Maugham. It was about a young man who no longer found comfort from the society he grew up in and went traveling the world seeking the answers to life. Eventually, he comes to a master who teaches him how to meditate and to find the answers within.
When I read about his meeting of the master a desire arose in me that I, too, would love to meet such a master. Later on, after meeting many teachers, many ending in disappointments, I came across Ramana Maharshi and had an inner initition with him. Later, I found that Somerset Maugham had met Ramana in India and then wrote The Razor's Edge, basing his master on Ramana. I had received my wish.
Another book that became an ispiration and introduction to the variety of Hindu meditations was Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. I read this book after returning from Africa, while hitchhiking across the backroads of America. This book opened a whole new world for me, and like many people I would meet later, my life changed. What Yogananda wrote about felt so familiar, and I longed to immerse myself in such a world.
I was led to study with many Indian teachers (whether in the flesh or in the dream state) such as Satya Sai Baba , Shivabalayogi, Ramakrisna, Karunamayi, and Neem Karoli Baba, each offering me exactly what I needed at the time. I fell in love with the Hindu pantheon: Vishnu, Shiva, Divine Mother (Kali, Parvati and Saraswati), krishna and Rama, Hanuman and more. My heart would swell just hearing about their stories and I tears would flow when I talked about them and those teachers who embodied them. I was walking the path of Bhakti Yoga, the path of the Heart. And it was ecstatic.
And then came Ramana and the path of Jnana Yoga, the path of Self knowledge. And I began practicing a self meditation self meditation called Self Inquiry. It is a practice I have continued daily over 25 years. It was the sword that cut me away from my illusions about who I thought I was.
What are Hindu Meditations?
What I include under Hindu meditations are spiritual tools that originate in the Hindu tradition that brings one into a greater understanding with one's Self, or the Divine. It can be through either chanting, repeating mantras (sacred words and sounds), working with the body (Hatha Yoga) and breath (pranayama), meditating on sacred writings and teachings, and meditations that either focus on an image or those that go beyond all doings of the mind.
When people in the West speak of yoga, they generally mean and assume one is practicing Hatha Yoga, the yoga where people twist themselves up in all kinds of positions. However, there are many yogas. Yoga means to yoke, or to to attach to. And what yogis are attaching to is the Divine--whatever their chosen focus of the Divine is. Some yogis will focus on some form, whether an aspect of God, such as Shiva; or upon the formlesss, that which is beyond duality. I will be sharing from the various yogas and offering meditation techniques from those that I have found
beneficial for me upon my journey.
Hindu Trinity Meditation
Ramana Maharshi's Self Inquiry or Atma Vichara
Ramana Maharshi: The Embodiment of Advaita Vedanta
Advaita Vedanta and Compassion
Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
Guru or Friend?
Satsang or Meditating Solo
Sai Baba: The passing of an Enigma
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Your Favorite Meditation Technique
Do you have a favorite meditation technique that you have found helpful? Great. How about sharing it? What is it? How have you benefited from it? And more importantly, what is your background story that led to this practice? In other words, this is not a technical piece, but a human story to inspire others.