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Concentration

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Thisarticleisachapterfromthebook"BlissDivine".

Concentration
By

SriSwamiSivananda
Introduction
WhatisConcentration?
ObjectsofConcentration
AnUphillTaskfortheBeginner
AMentalProcess,NotaMuscularExercise
HowtoIncreaseYourPowerofConcentration
ConcentrationandPranayama
ImportanceofanEthicalBasis
ConcentrationTheMasterkeytoSuccess
INTRODUCTION
Ifyoufocustheraysofthesunthroughalens,theycanburncottonorapieceofpaperbut,the
scatteredrayscannotdothisact.Ifyouwanttotalktoamanatadistance,youmakeafunnel
ofyourhandandspeak.Thesoundwavesarecollectedatonepointandthendirectedtowards
theman.Hecanhearyourspeechveryclearly.Thewaterisconvertedintosteamandthesteam
isconcentratedatapoint.Therailwayenginemoves.Alltheseareinstancesofconcentrated
waves.Evenso,ifyoucollectthedissipatedraysofthemindandfocusthematapoint,you
willhavewonderfulconcentration.Theconcentratedmindwillserveasapotentsearchlightto
findoutthetreasuresofthesoulandattainthesupremewealthofAtman(theSelf),eternal
bliss,immortalityandperennialjoy.
RealRajaYogastartsfromconcentration.Concentrationmergesinmeditation.Concentration
isaportionofmeditation.
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Meditationfollowsconcentration.Samadhi(superconsciousstate)followsmediation.The
Jivanmukti(liberatedbeing)statefollowstheattainmentofNirvikalpaSamadhiwhichisfree
fromallthoughtsofduality.Jivanmuktileadstoemancipationfromthewheelofbirthand
death.Therefore,concentrationisthefirstandforemostthingaSadhakaoraspirantshould
acquireinthespiritualpath.
YouareborntoconcentratethemindonGodaftercollectingthementalraysthataredissipated
onvariousobjects.Thatisyourimportantduty.YouforgetthedutyonaccountofMoha
(infatuation)forfamily,children,money,power,position,respect,nameandfame.
ConcentrationofthemindonGodafterpurificationcangiveyourealhappinessand
knowledge.Youarebornforthispurposeonly.Youarecarriedawaytoexternalobjects
throughattachmentandinfatuatedlove.
WHATISCONCENTRATION?
OnceaSanskritscholarapproachedKabirandaskedhim,OKabir,whatareyoudoing
now?".Kabirreplied,"OPundit,Iamdetachingthemindfromworldlyobjectsandattachingit
tothelotusfeetoftheLord".Thisisconcentration.
ConcentrationorDharanaiscenteringthemindononesinglethought.Vedantinstrytofixthe
mindontheAtman.ThisistheirDharana.HathaYoginsandRajaYoginsconcentratetheir
mindonthesixChakras(energycentres).BhaktasconcentrateontheirIshtaDevata(tutelary
diety).Concentrationisagreatnecessityforallaspirants.
Duringconcentration,thevariousraysofthemindarecollectedandfocussedontheobjectof
concentration.Therewillbenotossingofthemind.Oneideaoccupiesthemind.Thewhole
energyofthemindisconcentratedonthatoneidea.Thesensesbecomestill.Theydonot
function.Whenthereisdeepconcentration,thereisnoconsciousnessofthebodyand
surroundings.
Whenyoustudyabookwithprofoundinterest,youdonothearifamanshoutsandcallsyou
byyourname.Youdonotseeapersonwhenhestandsinfrontofyou.Youdonotsmellthe
sweetfragranceofflowersthatareplacedonthetablebyyourside.Thisisconcentrationor
onepointednessofmind.Themindisfixedfirmlyononething.Youmusthavesuchadeep
concentrationwhenyouthinkofGodortheAtman.
Everybodypossessessomeabilitytoconcentrate.Everybodydoesconcentratetoacertain
extentwhenhereadsabook,whenhewritesaletter,whenheplaystennis,andinfact,when
hedoesanykindofwork.But,forspiritualpurposes,concentrationshouldbedevelopedtoan
infinitedegree.
Thereisgreatconcentrationwhenyouplaycardsorchess,butthemindisnotfilledwithpure
anddivinethoughts.Thementalcontentsareofanundesirablenature.Youcanhardly
experiencethedivinethrill,ecstasy,andelevationwhenthemindisfilledwithimpure
thoughts.Everyobjecthasitsownmentalassociations.Youwillhavetofillupthemindwith
sublime,spiritualthoughts.Thenonlythemindwillbeexpurgatedofallworldlythoughts.The
pictureofLordJesusorBuddhaorLordKrishnaisassociatedwithsublime,soulstirringideas
chessandcardsareassociatedwithideasofgambling,cheatingandsoforth.
OBJECTSOFCONCENTRATION
Sitonanycomfortablepose.PlaceapictureofyourIshtaDevatainfrontofyou.Lookatthe
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picturewithasteadygaze.Thencloseyoureyesandvisualisethepictureinthecentreofyour
heartorinthespacebetweentheeyebrows.
Whenthepicturefadesoutinyourmentalvision,opentheeyesandgazeatthepictureagain.
Closeyoureyesafterafewsecondsandrepeattheprocess.
Itiseasytoconcentratethemindonexternalobjects.Themindhasanaturaltendencytogo
outwards.Inthebeginningstageofpractice,youcanconcentrateonablackdot.onthewall,a
candleflame,abrightstar,themoon,oranyotherobjectthatispleasingtothemind.
Themindshouldbetrainedtoconcentrateongrossobjectsinthebeginningandlateron,you
cansuccessfullyconcentrateonsubtleobjectsandabstractideas.
Thereisnoconcentrationwithoutsomethingtorestthemindupon.Concentrateonanything
thatappealstoyouasgoodoranythingwhichthemindlikesbest.Itisverydifficulttofixthe
mind,inthebeginning,onanyobjectwhichtheminddislikes.
Practisevarioussortsofconcentration.Thiswilltrainordisciplineyourmindwonderfully.
NowconcentrateontheHimalayas,averygreatobject.Thenconcentrateonamustardora
pinpoint.Nowconcentrateonadistantobject.Thenconcentrateonanearobject.Now
concentrateonacolour,sound,touch,smell,ortaste.Thenconcentrateonthe'tiktik'ofa
watch.Nowconcentrateonthevirtuemercy.Thenconcentrateonthevirtue'patience'.Now
concentrateontheSloka,"JyotishamaiTatJyotih.Thenconcentrateon"SatyamJnanam
Anantam".NowconcentrateontheimageofLordSiva.ThenconcentrateontheAham
Brahmasmi"Mahavakya.
ANUPHILLTASKFORTHEBEGINNER
Foraneophyte,thepracticeofconcentrationisdisgustingandtiringinthebeginning.Hehas
tocutnewgroovesinthemindandbrain.Aftersomemonths,hewillgetgreatinterestin
concentration.Hewillenjoyanewkindofhappiness,theconcentrationAnanda(bliss).He
willbecomerestlessifhefailstoenjoythisnewkindofhappinessevenforoneday.
Thevitalpointinconcentrationistobringthemindtothesamepointorobjectagainby
limitingitsmovementsinasmallcircleinthebeginning.Thatisthemainaim.Atimewill
comewhenthemindwillsticktoonepointalone.Thisisthefruitofyourconstantand
protractedSadhana.Thejoyisindescribablenow.
Concentrationwillincreasebylesseningthenumberofthoughts.Certainly,itisanuphillwork
toreducethenumberofthoughts.Justasyouwillhavetotakebackwithcareyourcloththatis
fallenonathornyplantbyremovingthethornsonebyoneslowly,soalso,youwillhaveto
collectbackwithcareandexertionthedissipatedraysofthemindthatarethrownoverthe
sensualobjectsforverymanyyears.Inthebeginning,itwilltaxyoumuch.Thetaskwillbe
veryunpleasant.
AMENTALPROCESS,NOTAMUSCULAREXERCISE
Concentrationispurelyamentalprocess.Itneedsaninwardturningofthemind.Itisnota
muscularexercise.Thereshouldbenounduestrainonthebrain.Youshouldnotfightand
wrestlewiththemindviolently.
Whenyouconcentrateonanyobject,avoidtensionanywhereinthebodyormind.Think
gentlyoftheobjectinacontinuousmanner.Donotallowthemindtowanderaway.
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HOWTOINCREASEYOURPOWEROFCONCENTRATION
Concentrationcanbedoneonlyifyouarefreefromalldistractions.Amanwhosemindis
filledwithpassionandallsortsoffantasticdesirescanhardlyconcentrateonanyobjecteven
forasecond.Hismindwillbejumpinglikeanoldmonkey.JapaofanyMantraandPranayama
(breathingexercise)willsteadythemind,removetossing,andincreasethepowerof
concentration.
Toomuchphysicalexertion,toomuchtalking,toomucheating,toomuchmixingwiththe
oppositesexandundesirablepersons,toomuchwalking,willcausedistractionofmind.Those
whopractiseconcentrationmustabandonthesethings.
Whateverworkyoudo,dowithperfectconcentration.Neverleavetheworkwithoutfinishing
itcompletely.
Whenyousitforprayersandmeditation,neverthinkofyourofficework.Whenyouworkin
theoffice,neverthinkofthechildwhoissickorofanyotherhouseholdwork.Whenyoutake
bath,donotthinkofgames.Whenyousitformeals,donotthinkoftheworkthatispendingin
theoffice.Youmusttrainyourselftoattendtotheworkonhandwithperfectonepointedness.
Celibacy,Pranayama,reductionofwantsandactivities,renunciationofobjects,solitude,
silence,disciplineofthesenses,annihilationoflustandgreed,controlofanger,nonmixing
withundesirablepersons,givingupofthenewspaperhabitandofvisitingcinemas,allthese
pavealongwayinincreasingthepowerofconcentration.
Youmusttrytobealwayscheerfulandpeaceful.Thenonlyyouwillhaveconcentrationof
mind.Thepracticeoffriendshipwithequals,compassiontowardsinferiorsordistressed
persons,complacencytowardssuperiorsorvirtuouspersons,andindifferencetowardssinners
orwickedpersonswillproducecheerfulnessorserenityanddestroyhatred,jealousy,and
dislike.
YoushouldhaverealandintensethirstforGodrealisation.Thenallobstacleswillbeobviated.
Concentrationwillbequiteeasyforyouthen.Mereemotionalbubblingforthetimebeingout
ofsheercuriosity,orforattainingpsychicpowers,cannotbringanytangibleresult.
CONCENTRATIONANDPRANAYAMA
ThepracticeofconcentrationandthepracticeofPranayamaareinterdependent.Ifyoupractise
Pranayama,youwillgetconcentration.NaturalPranayamafollowsthepracticeof
concentration.AHathaYogipractisesPranayamaandthencontrolsthemind.Herisesupwards
frombelow.ARajaYogipractisesconcentrationandthuscontrolshisPrana.Hecomes
downwardsfromabove.Theybothmeetonacommonplatformintheend.Therearedifferent
practicesaccordingtothedifferentcapacities,tastes,andtemperaments.Tosome,thepractice
ofPranayamawillbeeasytostartwithtoothers,thepracticeofconcentrationwillbeeasier.
ThelatterhadalreadypractisedPranayamaintheirpreviousbirths.Thereforetheytakeup,in
thisbirth,thehigherlimbofYoga,i.e.,concentration.
IMPORTANCEOFANETHICALBASIS
Purifythemindfirstthroughthepracticeofrightconductandthentaketothepracticeof
concentration.Concentrationwithoutpurityofmindisofnoavail.
Somefoolish,impatientstudentstaketoconcentrationatoncewithoutinanymanner
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undergoinganypreliminarytraininginethics.Thisisaseriousblunder.
Therearesomeoccultistswhohaveconcentration.But,theyhavenogoodcharacter.Thatis
thereasonwhytheydonotmakeanyprogressinthespiritualline.
CONCENTRATIONTHEMASTERKEYTOSUCCESS
Thosewhopractiseconcentrationevolvequickly.Theycandoanyworkwithscientific
accuracyandgreatefficiency.Whatothersdoinsixhourscanbedone,byonewhohas
concentration,withinhalfanhour.Whatothersreadinsixhourscanberead,byonewhodoes
concentration,withinhalfanhour.Concentrationpurifiesandcalmsthesurgingemotions,
strengthensthecurrentofthought,andclarifiestheideas.
Concentrationhelpsamaninhismaterialprogressalso.Hewillhaveaverygoodoutturnof
workinhisofficeorbusinesshouse.Hewhopractisesconcentrationwillpossessveryclear
mentalvision.Whatwascloudyandhazybeforebecomesclearanddefinitenow.Whatwas
difficultbeforebecomeseasynow.Andwhatwascomplex,bewildering,andconfusingbefore
comeseasilywithinthementalgrasp.Youcanachieveanythingthroughconcentration.
Nothingisimpossibletoamanwhopractisesregularconcentration.
Ithelpsthescientistsandprofessorstodogreatresearchwork.Ithelpsthedoctorandthe
lawyertodomuchworkandearnmoremoney.Itdevelopswillpowerandmemoryit
sharpensandbrightenstheintellect.Concentrationbestowsserenityorcalmnessofmind,inner
spiritualstrength,patience,greatcapacitytoturnouttremendouswork,alacrity,acumen,
agility,beautifulcomplexion,sweetvoice,brillianteyes,powerfulvoiceandspeech,powerto
influenceothersandattractpeople,cheerfulness,joy,blissofsoul,supremepeace.Itremoves
restlessness,agitationofmind,laziness.Itmakesyoufearlessandunattached.Ithelpsyouto
attainGodrealisation.
ThemoreisthemindfixedonGodthemoreisthestrengthyouwillacquire.More
concentrationmeansmoreenergy.Concentrationopenstheinnerchambersofloveortherealm
ofeternity.Concentrationisasourceofspiritualstrength.
Beslowandsteadyinconcentration.Bypracticeofconcentration,youwillbecome
superhuman.
Thosewhopractiseconcentrationoffandonwillhaveasteadymindonlyoccasionally.
Sometimesthemindwillbegintowanderandwillbequiteunfitforapplication.Youmust
haveamindthatwillobeyyouatalltimessincerelyandcarryoutallyourcommandsinthe
bestpossiblemanneratanytime.SteadyandsystematicpracticeofRajaYogawillmakethe
mindveryobedientandfaithful.Youwillbesuccessfulineveryattempt.Youwillnevermeet
withfailure.
LastUpdated:Sunday,17Oct200409:50:52EDT
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