There are various paths to salvation but all these converge in Jnana. In some instances, enlightenment is attained directly through intense concentration or revelation. In a majority of cases where direct perception of truth remains evasive, meditation is suggested as a sure step to attain Jnana. This is based on the idea of representation where one begins to meditate on an object by relating it to something else, pointed out Sri K. Srinivasan in a discourse. So it is possible that esoteric truths that go beyond reason and logic can be grasped through symbol and representation.

The basic method of meditation is to focus on form. One can meditate on the form of Vishnu or Siva as has been revealed in the Sastras and Puranas to bring the form into one’s inner vision for meditation. The Dyana slokas for the respective deities describe in detail their forms to help the aspirant to meditate. The effect of such meditation is evident in the case of a sculptor who undertakes to sculpt the images of the deities that are to be worshipped in temples. He practises intense meditation and what he sculpts is the culmination of the yoga of meditation on the form of the Lord.

All the objects of creation are made known to us through name and form. But the Upanishads also make it clear that the infinite variety in creation is sourced from the one Absolute Brahman who is beyond form, shape, thought and word. In this context, the Mandukya Upanishad teaches Omkara Upasana as an aid to meditation. It states at the outset that the syllable Om stands for the unmanifested world, the past, the present and the future as well the unmanifested Absolute. ‘Om’ is the essence of speech and sound as well. Speech is the basis of communication and medium for enlightenment.

More In: Faith | Friday Review