Compiled from the discourses of Sathya Sai Baba
"As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get.
"Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide.
The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee therefrom.
Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.
"Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere.
If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light.
For Light is God; God is Light.
"Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence."
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume X, Page 348-350, Shivarathri, 1979 Jyothi Meditation Based on Bhagavan's step-by-step directions. Jyothi (flame) Meditation is the foremost spiritual discipline geared towards gaining inner peace.
1) We should have a fixed time and place every day where we sit for meditation either in the morning and/or evening.
2) We should sit on a thin mattress for this exercise. The sitting pose or asana should be comfortable both for our mind and body.
3) We should then chant Omkar, the Universal Mantra glorified as 'Nada Brahma' at least 3 times but preferably 21 times. The mind under the influence of this divine sound slowly loses momentum and becomes more and more tranquil and steady.
4) The next step is to put the breath in rhythm. The easiest and the most effortless method is to watch the breath, thereby the process becomes normal, that is, longer and calmer. When we inhale, the breath sounds 'So' and when we exhale, it sounds 'Humm' which means 'He' i.e. "God" and 'I' respectively or "God am I".
5) Accordingly, synchronizing with these two breaths, imagine that the flame 'Jyot' is within us. Feel that the light of the flame is in our heart, right in the centre of the Lotus. Gently move the light to other parts of your body -- the stomach, the limbs, the eyes, the ears and the tongue. Feel that the entire body is illumined thereby. Rejoice that the light is the light of love; it removes hatred; it dispels darkness and doubt; it reveals that all are Divine.
6) As the light fills the eyes, you must feel that they have been purified. They shall no longer seek to look upon evil sights. When the light lights the tongue with love, decide that there is no more scope for uttering harsh words. Similarly, once the radiance of the divine light bathes the arms, they can no longer delight in performing harmful deeds while the feet can no longer move into polluting areas and places.
7) Now visualize the light as surrounding our physical body and spreading far out to family members, neighbours and even those whom we do not like. Every object is enveloped in that divine effulgence. Isavaasyam Idam Sarvam. All this is illumined by God. This is the stage of bliss.
8) In this manner, the ONE flame on which we concentrate can cleanse our mind and body and spread its light and radiance to include our entire environment. 9) Finally, take the Jyot on to the figure of our Ishta Devta or the Deity of you choice and/or fix our vision on the Jyot, and commence meditation or silent sitting for a few minutes, followed by Japa of our chosen Mantra with the full understanding of its meaning and firm faith in its power and benefits. It should be inter-woven with our breathing process of inhaling and exhaling.
Exercise on Jyoti Meditation. Instructions compiled from Sri Sathya Sai Discourses
1. Let us close the eyes and chant Omkar (OM) 3 times To make the mind become tranquil and steady.
2. Keeping the eyes closed, let us put the breath in rhythm To make it normal and calmer.
In our mind (mentally) repeat "SOHUM'. (1-2 mins.) As we inhale mentally repeat "SO" As we exhale mentally repeat "HUM". (1-2 mins.)
3. Let us mentally bathe the senses in the light Look at the Jyoti, imagine that the flame is ablaze in the
Lotus of our heart. Having the beautiful feeling of LOVE. Take the flame to the different parts of the body. "Let not my eyes see evil "Let not my ears hear evil or bad "Let my tongue speak only sweet words "Let my hands do only right things "Let my legs be always moving towards places for good actions and good work." Now, bring the flame up the legs slowly, strengthening; up through the stomach, cleansing; through to the eyes, taking away all the darkness and out of the body through the head, purify us.
4. Open the eyes and look at the Jyoti. (2-3 mins.)
5. Now imagine the figure, of the form of your choice (Baba), for worshipping in the Jyoti. (2-3mins.)
6. Effortlessly repeat OM SAI RAM or your personal mantra. (2-3 mins.) It should be natural and without tension. Relax.
7. Slowly close the eyes and meditate for a few minutes. (15-20 mins.)
8. Keep the eyes closed, stop repeating the mantra, or having the flame and form consciously. (2-3 mins.)
9. End meditation. Softly and slowly.
Om Asato Ma Sadgamaya Lead me from untruth to truth
Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya Lead me from darkness to light
Mrutyor Ma Amrutamgamaya Lead me from death to immorality
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Peace Peace Peace
o We always have enough time to talk, visit cinemas etc. There is certainly time for meditation. The power is from God (referring to the feeling of strength after meditation).
o Early morning is best. Mind is quiet and there is not the pressure of responsibilities. There is difficulty during the day. People are around, and there is work. If meditation is attempted, even work may suffer.
o Real meditation is getting absorbed in God as the only thought, the only goal. God only, only God. Think God, breathe God, love God.
Concentration means, when all senses and desires fall away and there is only God. In between concentration and meditation, like a separation between the two, is contemplation. Concentration to contemplation, then meditation. As long as one thinks "I am meditating" that is the mind and not meditation. As long as one knows he is meditating, he is not meditating. In absorption in God, one puts aside every form and merges into God. In that process the mind naturally stops.
o Meditation for its proper practice, should be at the same place, at the same time.
In that way, it surely will be successful. If one is away from home in travel, in his mind he can go to the accustomed place no matter where he is. Truth is in every place at all times. When away from Swami, by remembering Him doing this or that, the battery is "recharged". That also is genuine meditation. Meditation is constant inner inquiry as to who am I, what is true, what is ego action, what is loving and what is harsh. Meditation is thinking on spiritual principles, searching out the application to oneself of what Baba says, and the like.
o For the one who has completely surrendered to God and whose heart is filled with love for God, these 'college courses' (referring to Hatha Yoga etc) are not needed and have no meaning and are quite unnecessary.
o The Atma is everywhere, but for the purpose of sitting in meditation, the life principle can be considered as being 10 inches above the navel and at the centre of the chest. An inch in this measurement is the width of the thumb at the first joint.
o Without concentration nothing can be done. And we use that concentration through-out the day. Why is that same concentration so difficult to come in spiritual matters? Because the mind is outward turned, and by desire the mind clings to object. But the mind can be trained to concentrate inwardly, and the heart can be cultured to grow with love for God. How? By sadhana. The best sadhana is that every act through the day be done as worship of God.
o A fence is placed around a young tree to protect it. The same precautions must be observed in meditation. People think it is all right to meditate in any place. There are currents, there is will power. There is a strong current passing into the earth. Because of this, the earth exerts a strong attraction. In meditation it is advisable to insulate oneself from such currents. For this reason, meditators sit on a plank and cover their shoulders with a woollen shawl. Once the person has grown strong in his meditation, he may sit anywhere and not suffer for it.
o The light is first moved into the heart which is conceived as a lotus, the petals of which will open. The Jyothi is then moved to other body parts. There is no particular sequence. But important is the final body station, which is the head. There the light becomes a crown enshrining and covering the head. The light is then moved outside, from the particular to the universal. Move the light into relatives, friends, enemies, trees, animals, birds until the entire world and all its forms are seen to have the same light at their centre as has been found to be within oneself.
o The idea of moving the light into the universal phase, the idea of universality is that the same divine light is present in everyone and everywhere. To impress this universality on the mind, we do the spreading of the light outside one's own body.
o One should understand that what comes about in meditation as one moves deeply into it, is not the thinking of the light, but the forgetting of the body and thereby the direct experience that the body is not oneself. This is the stage of contemplation when the body is totally forgotten. It cannot be forced. It comes about by itself and is the stage that naturally follows correct concentration.
o Seeing the light and moving the light here and there is to give work to the mind, to keep the mind occupied in the right direction so that the mind will not be thinking of this and that and thus interfering with the process of becoming more and more quiet. Spreading the light into its universal phase, sending the light into every other body, and when one is so concentrated in it that he is no longer conscious of his body, is the stage of contemplation. As contemplation deepens, the stage of meditation comes about of its own volition. It cannot be forced.
o If the meditator remains conscious of himself and that he is engaged in meditation, then he is not meditating but is still in the preliminary stage, at the beginning of concentration.
o There are three stages: concentration, contemplation and meditation. When contemplation deepens it moves naturally into meditation. Meditation is entirely above the senses. In the state of meditation, the meditator, the object of his meditation and the process of meditation have fallen away, and there is only one, and that One is God. All that may change has fallen away and Tat Twam Asi, That Thou Art, is the state that exists.
o As one gradually returns to this customary and habitual state of consciousness, the Jyothi is again placed in the heart and kept lighted there throughout the day.
o The three stages, concentration which is below the senses, meditation which is entirely above the senses and contemplation which lies between and is partially within the senses and partially above the senses, which is on the border of each, this is the experience in genuine meditation whether the object taken be form or light.
o There is no essential difference. If the devotee has a form of God to which he is particularly devoted, he may merge that form into the Jyothi, and that form is most attractive to him and is the object of his concentration and is seen to be within the light wherever it is seen. Or, the concentration may be just on the form of God, for God is universal in every form. o Again, the object chosen is just a device to allow one to sink deely into quietness and to allow the body, which is non-self, to fall away out of consciousness. Anything concrete, such as light, form or sound may be chosen as the object of concentration. It is possible to just move directly into the stage of meditation.
o Meditation as described by Swami is the royal road, the easy path. For meditation to be effective there must be steady practice with no hurry and no worry. With steady practice, the person will become quiet and the state of meditation will naturally come about. To think otherwise is weakness. Success is assured. Call upon God, He will help you. He will respond and He himself will be your guru. He will guide you. He will always be at your side. Think God, see God, hear God, eat God, drink God, love God. That is the easy path, the royal road to your goal of breaking ignorance and the realization of your true nature. Which is one with God.
o Light a lamp or a candle. Gaze straight ahead at the flame. Then take the candle flame, the Jyothi, into the heart and see it in the midst of the petals of the heart. Watch the petals of the heart unfold and see the light illumine the heart. Bad feelings cannot remain. Then move the flame to the hands and they can no longer do dark deeds. In turn move the flame in like fashion to the eyes and ears so they may henceforth take in only bright and pure sensations. Then move the light outward and into your friends, relatives and enemies, and then into animals, birds and other objects so that all are illumined by the same light. Christ said, "All are one, be alike to everyone."
o To sit straight is important. Between the 9th and 12th vertebrae is the life-force. If the spine is injured at this point, paralysis occurs. If the body is in straight position, as if it were wound around a straight pole, the life force may rise up through the straight body and give the quality of intense concentration of the mind.
o Moreover, just as a lightning rod attached to the roof of a building attracts lightning, in like fashion a perfectly straight body provides a conductor, so to speak, for divine power to enter the temple of your body and give you the strength to accomplish your task and reach your goal. As another example, the divine power is always here, just as radio signals are here. But to hear the radio music there must be an antenna. Further, if the tuning device is not properly adjusted, there will be some sound but no music. In like fashion, the divine power, which is always present, may flow into you if the meditation is correct and the body straight.
o First you are in the light. Then the light is in you. Finally, you are the light and the light is everywhere. Enjoy for a while, then bring the light back to the heart and hold it there for all the day. The form of God may also be included. Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Sai, as you wish. The form of God selected may be seen in the centre of the flame wherever it is carried, and then you are with God everywhere.
o The stomach is four parts: 1/4 part air, 1/4 part food, and 1/2 part water. Too much food results in dullness of the mind. Food in moderation does not result in sickness. Too much milk is bad. It is rajasic.
o The type of food you eat, that kind of thought will come to your mind. If you have satwic food, there will be satwic effect. Fruit and milk everything that is cool and not hot like strong onions. Meat gives the blood its effect, like passion and similar qualities. Dirty thoughts come with fish. Although fish is always in water, it has a bad smell.
o If you are keen on spiritual life, eating meat is not worthwhile; but if you are keen on worldly life, it is all right. There is another spiritual reason. When you kill an animal you give it suffering, pain, harm. God is in every creature, so how can you give such pain? Sometimes when someone beats a dog he cries, he feels so much pain. How much more pain then in killing. Animals did not come for the purpose of supplying food to human beings. They came to work out their own life in the world. When a human being is dead, the foxes and other animals may eat, but we have not come to provide food for those that eat the human body; we have not come for that purpose. Similarly, man eats the animal, but the animal has not come to provide man with food. But, we have taken to eating meat as a habit.
o In Dwapara Yuga, before Kali Yuga, 5680 years back, milk came into favor. Eleven thousand years is the full length of the Kali Yuga. (ie 3712 BC to 7288 AD). The world is also turning round like a fan. Even if the Kali Yuga stops, it still has a few more revolutions to go before the final ending. (speech dated 1968) There are four Yugas. The sequence is circular, and when the last is finished, the whole cycle starts all over again. Kali Yuga still has 5,320 years before ending. (AD 7288. Year now is 1997, another 5,291 years to go!!)
(Extracted from: Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by Dr. John Hislop, pages 145-156, 22. Conversation recorded in 1968)
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