The main vaasana or habitual thinking in us is – I am the Jeeva. This has arisen in us due to Avidya. It is the most prevalent misconception and malady in us. This is because, we are guided by the five senses and the mind in our cognitive skills and these are not made for perceiving the Self.
For this reason – to perceive the real self, we took the help of Sravanam, Mananam – for first understanding the Nature of our SELF and then for clearly ingraining this understanding in us without an iota of doubt. But, this is just the path but not yet the final goal post. We need to do Nidhidhyasanam, a sort of contemplation / Meditation process – on our real nature, for as long as it takes to totally identify with the “Brahman” and dis-identifying with the Anatma. This process started with Vs.31 and is continuing.
“I am the Brahman” is the Key understanding in Nidhidhyasanam.
We must do contemplate on this always without break – until the Avidya and its Vikshepa sakthi on us are totally destroyed.
We become free of Maya with this Medicine. ‘Aham Jeeva Asmi’ thought and belief will be totally replaced by ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ knowledge. As Jeeva feeling persists in us, we are susceptible to all the dualities of life and go through the cycles of pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow, respect and disrespect etc all through our lives.
With ‘Aham Brahma Asmi” I become the master, I become free of all dualities, I become the eternal, supreme consciousness bliss. My responses to worldly situations will become infinitely better.
My avidya and its related vaasanas are totally destroyed and will fail to have even an iota of influence on me. This is the biggest advantage I get from Nidhidhyasanam even for my worldly life.
Let us now find out how to do Nidhidhyasanam.
3rd step is - For contemplation / Nidhidhyasanam, I must select a secluded, solitary place (Viviktha Desa). Lord Krishna in Dhyana Yoga Chapter of Gita gives elaborate details on the type of place and type of seating arrangements I need to make for Dhyanam – which is the contemplative effort of Nidhidhyasanam. It is also mentioned in Upanishads like taittireeya. The place must ensure a spiritual outlook and practice. It should not distract my attention to worldly matters.
The seat must be slightly above the ground to prevent ants etc disturbing me. It must be sufficiently wide to make me sit comfortably, without falling.
What Posture is convenient? Patanjali and Lord Krishna both merely say “Sukham, Sthiram, Asanam” – meaning the posture must be firm and comfortable for reasonably long Dhyanam / Nidhidhyasanam.
I must find out what posture suits me, my age and health condition and adopt that posture. I must not adopt one in which I cannot sit for at least 10-15 minutes, to start with. Subsequently, with increasing practice, I will be able to sit for longer time in the same posture.
It is also preferable to do some simple relaxation asanas / exercises for about 5 minutes before sitting in meditation. I can also preferably do a few Pranayamas – which have deep relaxing effect on me.
Having thus seated comfortably and firmly – I must relax my body deliberately and completely. There are relaxation techniques for doing this from head to toes. I must adopt them – but in the posture in which I am seated – but not lying down.
I must relax my Gross body first. The Pranamaya kosa comes next. For this, certain special, relaxing Pranayamas help. Even while the Pranamaya kosa is getting relaxed, it further relaxes the Manomaya kosa. My disturbances in feelings must become quiet.
My sense organs must become quiet. Eyes must be preferably closed and totally relaxed. Lord Krishna talks of freely drooping eye lids (not necessarily totally closed). Ears, eyes, skin etc and their sensations must turn inward. I must keep disturbing smells away from me. The mouth should be clean and free from various tastes. This helps me in keeping myself as ‘Free of sensory inputs’ – or as Vijithendriyaha, one who has conquered the senses- at least for the time of contemplation. But, it is better that the whole life must turn into the path of conquering senses and keeping them under control.
I must also keep myself free from all likes and dislikes (viragaha).When I am the Brahman who is all pervading, which part of me shall I like more and which part shall I dislike? I am the same in all people and things. I can have no likes, dislikes, fears and hatreds towards any part of me – and all people are and things are part of me. This deep conviction should arise in me.
Having achieved this in my mind, I must now devote myself to just one thought ‘I am the all pervading Atman’ –without diverting to any other thought. This Nidhidhyasanam must be continued till I achieve total identification with Brahman.
The whole Universe is the Drisyam (the scenery, the seen aspect). It is ever changing and is the Mithya Prapancham.
I, as the wise one, must merge this universe, this Mithya Drisyam, into my own self (Atma), in my contemplation.
The universe is now in me and is one with me. I must see myself as the one without a second, the Advayam. There is now only me – and no other principle outside me.
I must contemplate on this oneness of my Self, the pure Atma with a constant, single thought. This is Atma Dhyanam.
It is much like how I see the pure, all pervading sky in my wakeful state. The pureness and all pervading nature of my Self, which I can not see with my senses, but can only experience in my contemplation (Nidhidhyasanam) is akin to the pureness and all pervading nature of the sky, which I can see with my eyes. In reality – even the sky is invisible. I assume that the blue colour I see everywhere is the sky. It too is limitless.
Atma Dhyanam continues till total identification with Brahman is achieved. What happens in me – when I know my self as the Brahman? We will examine this in the next Post.