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Methods of Meditation in Rigveda

Sage Vaisvamitra mentions different methods of meditation in Rigveda.

Two such methods are given in the following:

इन्द्रेण सं हि दृक्षसे संजग्मानो अबिभ्युषा | ([1]

To obtain Indra’s (grace) meditate; indeed worship lightning; meditate while being ever active on fearless Usha. Thus, to meditate even when engaged in daily activities, and to meditate on Usha or Dawn are suggested.

A second method known nowadays as Meditation on a Light or Candle meditation is outlined in two verses. The first reads:

युञ्जन्ति ब्रध्नमरुषं चरन्तं परितस्थुषः | रोचन्ते रोचना दिवि || (1.006.1)[2]

The man practicing before a ruddy flame, fully stationary is a learned man; Taking light inside, he attains to enlightening brilliance.

This verse is a precise description of the Meditation on a flame taught by Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba. It says that the learned man sits still (परितस्थुषः ) before a ruddy flame. He then takes the light inside him (रोचन्ते). Presumably after considerable practice, he attains to enlightening brilliance (रोचना दिवि).

In the next verse Vaisvamitra says that while practicing before (a flame), the seeker should live striving for Hari. The verse begins with: युञ्जन्त्यस्य काम्या हरी (1.006.2..1)[3]. That is, the meditator on the flame should desire Hari or Visnu.

A fourth method of meditating on the Ishta Devata is also described in relation to Indra, in the following verse:

सं चोदय चित्रमर्वाग्राध इन्द्र वरेण्यम् |  असदित्ते विभु प्रभु ||  (1.009.5)[4]

Meditation stimulates Union. Picture within yourself surrendering to and holding Indra is most excellent. Everything seems unreal, even you, existing everywhere is the Lord.

The verse says that meditation stimulates union with the divine (सं चोदय). A most excellent method is to picture within yourself surrendering to and holding on to the Lord (चित्रमर्वाग्राध इन्द्र), in this case Indra (चित्रमर्वाग्राध इन्द्र). The final result of such meditation is that everything seems to be unreal, even yourself, and existing everywhere is the Lord (असदित्ते विभु प्रभु).

In the next verse, Vaisvamitra repeats that one should meditate on Indra (सं गोमदिन्द्र,[5] 1.009.7). Lord Indra is described as the stimulater of Yoga or Union (चोदयेन्द्र[6]). He is there to fasten us (presumably in Union) (अस्मान्त्सु तत्र)[7] (1.009.6).

Clearly there is a link between Union, meditation and Indra. The sage expands on this link in different verses that also describe the life of Indra before he was raised to godhood. It may be mentioned here that Indra, mighty warrior and King, turned pious, became adept at yoga and meditation, popularised procedures to be followed while engaged in meditation, and many rode ‘on his backbone, as it were’ into Yoga. These are discussed separately in under the heading Indra.

[1] इन्द्रइण सं हि दृक्षसे सं-जग्मानो अबिभ्य-उषा |

Indra (इन्द्र) obtain (इ = इण) meditate (सं) indeed (हि) worship lightning (दृ-क्ष = दृक्षसे) meditate  ( सं) being in constant motion (जग्मान) (सं-जग्मान = संजग्मानो) fearless (अबिभीवस् = अबिभ्य) dawn (उषा)

[2] युञ्ज्अन्ति ब्रध्नम्-अरुषं चरन्तं परि-तस्थु-षः | रोछ-अन्ते रोचना दिव्-इ  ||

Practicing (युज्जक = युञ्ज्) before (अन्ति) pale red (ब्रध्न = ब्रध्नं) flame (अरुषः=अरुषं)) man (चरन्त = चरन्तं) fully (परि) stationary (तस्थु) learned man (षः) | Light (रोचस् = रोच्) inside (अन्ते) Enlightening (रोचन = रोचना) brilliance (दिव्) attain to (इ)

[3] Practising (युञ्जक = युञ्ज्) before (अन्ति) live (अस् =अस्य) striving for (काम्या) Hari (हरि = हरी).

[4] सं चोदचित्रम्अर्वाक् राध इन्द्र वरेण्यम् |  असद् इत् ते विभु प्रभु  ||

Meditation (सं) stimulates (चोद) Union (य) picture (चित्रम्) within  (अर्वाक्) surrender (रा) hold (धः) (Indra (इन्द्र) most excellent (वरेण्य = वरेण्यम्) |  Unreal (असद्) even (इत्) you (ते) existing everywhere (विभु) Lord (प्रभु).

[5] Meditation (सम्) speech (गो) to revel in (मद्) Indra (इन्द्र)(गो-मद्-इन्द्र = गोमदिन्द्र)

[6] stimulating (चोद) Union (यः) Indra (इन्द्र)(चोद-यः-इन्द्र = चोदयेन्द्र)

[7] Us (अस्म) to bind (अन्त्) well (सु)(अस्म-अन्त्-सु = अस्मान्त्सु) there (तत्र)