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Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Tatra Pratyayaikatanata Dhyanam


Generally, the picture of a meditation that comes to one's mind is that of a person sitting erect with eyes closed. But, if we recall the definition of meditation given by Patanjali Maharishi is a single thought without any interruption, then there can be any number of meditation techniques suiting to different individuals provided, theyfulfill all the qualities of meditation. There are more than three hundred methods of meditation in Tantra alone.

Thus, sitting comfortably relaxed in an easy chair with eyes open or closed and listening to chirping of birds or flow of water in a stream or the breeze ruffling the leaves can also be a meditation; anything that helps tame the chattering mind.

SOHAM: Soham means "I am that: (Sah = that, Aham = I). Here we identify ourselves with something very vast (nearer to Him, Brahman, the Vast) so that the expansion of consciousness takes place. To quote Swami Vivekananda, "Expansion is life, Contraction isdeath". One can achieve this expansion in so many ways. Just by sitting and recollecting a vast ocean or sky also, the best way could be to lie down in Savasana and identifying with anything vast, may be, an infinite stretch of desert.

Initially, it may be an intellectual concept, a picture of the sky with clouds or the ocean with waves but by and by it descends at the level of feeling.... one starts feeling a vast expansion of consciousness. In Vivekananda Kendra it is a practice to lead the yoga participants to lead the yoga participants to vast expansion at the end of Savasana by helping themvisualize a dark deep ocean, the ocean of silence and maintaining that feeling throughout the day.

This article appears in the Yoga Magazine, Yoga Sudha March, 1996 edition. This article has been published courtesy www.yogasudha.com

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