Meditation enables to retain vision of the Self

CHENNAI FEB.16. Meditation is the art of focussing the mind on one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts - single-pointed concentration. This presupposes that a person has the capacity of general concentration as whatever activity he engages in needs concentration. Even in worldly engagements it can be seen that the majority of people are unable to concentrate on the activity they are engaged in most of the time. Why is this so? The distractions are due to latent desires which make the mind wander in different directions. So first of all one must master the art of withdrawing the mind by reducing desires through the practice of Yoga. When the mind becomes steadfast one can concentrate on anything and such a mind can plunge into meditation ultimately leading to Self-realisation. Hence there is no shortcut to realisation and one has to proceed step by step.

The Bhagavad Gita says that God is not an object of knowledge and hence cannot be described. Words can only point to Him. Just as one can explain what electricity is to a villager who does not know what it is by showing its manifestations as light in a bulb, heat in an oven and current of air in a fan, so also, the scriptures resort to concepts with which we are familiar to explain the Supreme Reality. Likewise, the Self (Atman) is not an object of knowledge and does not need anything to illumine it. On the other hand, it is because of the Self that one is able to gain all other knowledge. In fact, it enables one to be aware of one's ignorance also.

In his discourse, Swami Parthasarathy said everything in creation was meticulously planned and maintained but we take it all for granted without being aware of what we were enjoying. The various systems in the functioning of the body, like breathing, are so perfect and the composition of air balanced to the needs of living beings; we do not consciously recognise this in our day-to-day life.

Awareness of the beautiful design in nature is devotion. Gratitude for what one enjoys comes as a consequence of this knowledge. But, in general, one can see that instead of a feeling of satisfaction there is always some want which makes for unhappiness with one's lot in life. He who is aware of the totality of existence (Reality) and can appreciate it becomes the knower of the Self. A spiritually evolved person can see God in His creation. Just as a classical musician stays attuned to the Sruti in a concert, one can retain the vision of the Self while engaged in the world.

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