Saturday, August 8, 2009

Zhine to develop Sambavi

Let us talk about Zhine (peaceful steadiness) here, a Tibetan Buddhist practice to gain control over the mind. It is useful while practicing Sambavi Mudra.

The Tibetans speak of three stages of Zhine, the forceful, natural and ultimate. The practice begins with focusing the mind on an external object and goes on to the fixation of mind on an objectless state.

You can sit in a chair for this practice. Cross your legs under you. Place the hands folded in your lap with palms up one over the other. Hold the spine straight but not rigid, head slightly tilted to keep the neck straight. Keep the eyes open (This is the main reason I am talking of this technique. It teaches us the Poornima Drishti.)

The eyes should not strain, it should neither be wide open or too shut, but just open enough to keep them relaxed and steady. The object on which you are concentrating should be dead ahead of you, not over or below the line of vision. Don’t move or blink, even if tears stream down the face keep the eyes steady on the object. Breathe naturally.

I would suggest the letter Aum in Sanskrit script or Aum written in English as the object of meditation. If you are using the English version make the A big and inscribe U and M within it.

The Tibetans inscribe the picture of the letter on a paper an inch square and fix it on a stick with a base to hold it on ground. This is a good idea. You can carry it around and practice the technique where ever you want. Make the letter white on a black background. Place it just a foot and half in front of the eyes while practicing.

If something strange occurs during practice think they are natural and continue practicing. In forceful shine you make your mind concentrate on the object. It would wander, but try to bring it back every time. If you can’t break session and try to concentrate on a quality you would like to develop, like compassion, truthfulness etc and return to your practice. You can do it as many times as you want. (If you have no tool to concentrate on you can also visualize a ball of light in the forehead.)

Never waver for a moment. Keep your attention steady on the object and breathe steadily. Slowly the breath would begin to thin and become un noticeable.

Just be aware of the object and don’t think about it. Slowly concentration would intensify and you will begin to get absorbed in the object. This is the time to start meditating without object. Look at the space in front of you and not at any object. Take an imaginary point in before you and focus on it. Then even forgetting it allows the mind to dissolve. This is called ‘merging the mind in space’. This leads to the next stage the Ultimate Zhine.

This is the natural next stage in the practice. Thoughts would not enter the mind and you will remain in a relaxed and tranquil state.

You should not involve in intense physical activity just before practice, this would agitate the mind and make concentration difficult. Then while you are practicing sleep might come. Stop it with your mind by concentrating more strongly.

The most troublesome problem of all is a lax state of mind while in meditation. Your mind would be calm and passive with no power to it. This can be very pleasant but is not conducive to reaching higher levels of consciousness. Strengthening your posture and alerting your mind would be effective in combating it.

Practice it always till you can consciously reach a state of steadiness of mind. This is the preliminary practice on Raja Yoga; the Tibetans learned it from Padmasambava a Tantric Yogi who came to Tibet sometime in the thirteen hundreds. It would lead you towards the attainment of Sambavi mudra.

I suggest this for those who are struggling to fix the mind at Trikut (the fore head, at the point between the eyes, the ajna chakra) without any previous experience in meditation. Sometimes props such as these might become useful to them.

I will discuss similar practices as we go on. Our mind tires easily and might welcome variety while involved in spiritual practices.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I would have liked to post more in the blog, but it does not seem possible now because of other engagements. But I do have few things to say on the general aspects of spiritual practice which might be of interest to those who seek the truth.

Well I might get to it eventually.

In the meantime I would like to welcome Ashok Kumar to my blog.

Please be at home here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Swetaswatara On Finding Truth

Dhyana is actually a mental activity and has little to do with bodily postures, but having said that a comfortable posture might be helpful in quieting the mind.

The Swetaswatara Upanishad says that the head, neck and shoulders should be held straight and steady while meditating. Then one should think of AUM. AUM is the Shabda (Nada) Brahman, the primordial sound. (Think of A as creation, U as the steady state and M as destruction). Just imagine that all the three is happening when you mentally pronounce the word. It would move us away from hindering thoughts and would help to still the mind.

I might write something on the worship of AUM sometime later. But really it’s not needed. It’s only a boat to steady the mind for further activity.

As you stay like that in your place of meditation you will notice the thinning of breath. At that moment you need to close your mouth and begin Pranayama. The Rishi prescribes Rechaka-Puraka-Kumbaka’s (You might want to look up the article on Pranayama to learn what it is). But to me such strenuous practices are not all that necessary. Just steadying the breath would do.

Upanishad says that a flat clean surface with no disturbing sounds or no captivating/awkward sights is preferable to every other kind of sites. Air currents should not also trouble us while we sit thus. Caves are suggested for this purpose. A room is as good as anything else as far as I am concerned, if it’s uncluttered and clean.

If you experience the presence of fog, smoke, sun, gaseous phenomena, fire, star, lightning, crystals and moon in the beginning it would lead you towards the final truth. You can meditate with your eyes open and see all these phenomena in the visible form.

I can assure you of that. These are not mere words; I have been through the experience.

According to Indian cosmology there are five states of matter in our environment. They call it elements. Prithvi (Solids), Jal (Liquid), Agni (energy), Vayu (Gaseous) and Akasha (Space). As you meditate your mind would start to understand how these elements form and evolve into each other. This would give you the Yogic body (that is you would know what the body is really made up of) and thus would eliminate old age death and diseases.

A word of caution: Though this is possible, if you concentrate on these aspects it would lead you astray from the search of truth. These are spectacles by the way side and we should not and stop our journey for them.

The first signs of Yogic state are lightness of body, strength in you, personal beauty, attractive voice, presence of good scents, aversion to worldly things, and diminished quantity of excretions.

All this is true too.

This yogi sheds his vestures and starts to realize his real nature, that is, his oneness with everything. This Deva (Spirit) is nothing but the whole world. He pervades all directions and is the first born in the universe. He is the one in the womb and the one outside and is the one yet to be born. He resides in the hearts of all as the inner spirit. He faces all points in the universe simultaneously.

The second chapter of the Upanishad concludes enjoining us to pray to this god who resides in fire, water, plants and trees and has entered everywhere in the universe.

It technically becomes a prayer to our own true self.