Dhyana and Yoga (Part 2)

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Three kinds of Dhyana and Dhyana Defined


Article from "Four Essays in Suddha Raja Yoga" - Published by Sri Janardana, The Third initiatory Authority of Suddha Dharma Mandalam

Towards the respective realization of the objects of this threefold perception, Dhyana is resorted to, and is categorically termed Saguna-Dhyana, Nirguna-Dhyana and, Suddha-Dhyana accordingly. That is to say, Dhyana forms a sequential process to knowledge acquisition. In other words, in the absence of knowledge, i.e., an intellectual comprehension of the wished for objects, Dhyana can hardly be fruitful; so that, the importance of acquiring knowledge as a first step should be obvious to those that want to take up to Dhyana since it can be efficiently exercised only in accordance with the perceptive basis, even as its definition clearly points out. Let us know find out what this definition states.

3. Dhyana Defined

Dhyanam chintarupamsyat - Dhyana is of the form of Chinta. Chinta means reflection. Unlike thinking, there is in Chinta, a frequency, a repetition, a constant dwelling on a single idea. Dhyana is not merely Chinta but chinta-roopa, or reflectible form. That is to say, a picture has to be formed in the mind on which reflection may be directed. The definition of chinta-roopa, however, should help us to have a clearer correct estimate of its scope fully - tat tad vishya niradisayananda vastu chinta-roopam - chinta-roopa is that exquisite bliss giving object in accordance with the respective theme of perception. The presence of a picture in the mind representing the bliss-giving object - anandavastu - is imperative, and again this picture has to represent the respective theme tad-tad vishaya, which refers to the threefold perception alluded to. Those three perceptions create in the mind a picture, of the bliss-giving objects respectively - the Guna-para perception the Saguna form, Atma-para perception, the Nirguna form, and Brahma-para, the Suddha form, and chinta-roopa has reference to anyone of these three bliss-giving objects. It must be borne in mind that in Dhyana the visualizing of the form is, imperative, as otherwise it becomes only Chinta i.e., merely a reflection on an idea, and this is not Dhyana. There must be also the bliss-giving effect: If the effect is painful there is no Dhyana, since the mind will be engaged in thinking a way out to remove the pain An idea may cause exquisite bliss, but it is the form which the idea is capable to create could alone cause a continuity of the said bliss-effect for reflection, and hence chinta-roopa is form, and not merely an idea. So that, Dhyana defined as chinta-roopa is explained, thus tad tad Vastu vishyaka smrityanukoola vypara roopamcha hi dhyanam vignayate - that kind of transaction, which helps to retain the memory of those respective (bliss giving) objects of perception is termed Dhyana. In other words, all those efforts of thought, word and deed as would help the mind to retain in itself the memory of the particular bliss-giving object comes under the category of Dhyana. The perpetual retention in the memory is the crux, as otherwise the object is quite likely to fade out from the mind leaving merely an idea, and correspondingly the Zest ( enthusiasm) wanes. Hence, the obviousness of an intensification of the activities so as to retain the memory of the form by Dhyana, which results in the realization of the beatitudes associated with the objects of worship sought after, is evident.

In the realization of the beatitudes – vibhooties - through Dhyana, there is this qualification, in that, while that which is pertaining to Nirguna and Suddha leads to their respective vibhooties, Saguna Dhyana leads to two-fold results. Where the forms meditated upon are those of the Deities endowed with auspicious qualities already mentioned, it leads to good results in material life - peace and plenty, and the devotee is said to reach swarga - mental heaven - after he vacates his body. Where such meditation is directed merely on objects of physical pleasure, though the man may get it, it ultimately terminates in pain, leading to “hell” here and hereafter, even as the Gita forcefully points out - dhyayato vishayan pumsaha sangasteshoopajayate, sangat sanjayate kamaha, kamat krodhobi jayate krodhadbhavati sammoha, sammohatsmritivibrahmaha, smritibrahmsat buddhinasaha buddinasat pranasyati - one intent on the sense-objects an attachment therein is generated; from attachment passion emerges; and from passion is bred anger; from anger loss of insight; there from the obscuration of memory; hence intellect is weakened and from such attenuation, the man loses his object and collapses. From this, it should be clear, that by meditating on objects merely of physical pleasure and striving to get at them, memory is gradually weakened; and to obviate such a calamity and the consequent collapse, Dhyana on auspicious and Daivic forms has to be resorted to, since it helps to increase the memory - smriti, which is the very purpose of Dhyana even as the definition shows. The present is a standing example of perversion of the usage of the principle of Dhyana for the realization of mere material ends, with the resulting catastrophe. Therefore, meditation is a process of vast magnitude, which can be put to various usages, good and bad, according to the inclination o f the individual, which inclination again depends on the kind of knowledge in which he is educated. As such the importance of acquisition of proper knowledge - sat siksha is obvious both in respect of spiritual and material matters even from one's very early age.