Hindu Meditation

Hindu meditation can be defined as a state of relaxed contemplation on the present moment, or a state of reflection where the mind dissolves and is free of all thought.  The goals of this method of consideration vary, including spiritual enlightenment and the transformation of attitudes.  Hindu meditation can be classified according to its focus.  Some types of rumination focus on the type of experience and perception which occurs during meditation.  These types are called mindfulness meditation.  Others involve deliberation on a pre selected object.  These types are called concentrative meditation.  Hindu meditation encompasses both fields of focus. 

Hindu meditation has been described as a journey to the deeper part of one’s being.  This kind of contemplation can be energizing and fulfilling.  To enter into the tranquil, deep part of one’s being, the strength within is tapped.  This strength is believed to sustain the meditator throughout the day, preventing the calm center from being disturbed.  Fear, doubt, and other earthly troubles cannot touch the practitioner of Hindu meditation who has tapped into this strength.

The types of Hindu meditation encompassed by Yoga include, but are not limited to Vedanta, Raja Yoga, Surat Shabd Yoga, and Japa Yoga. 

Vedanta is a Sanskrit word meaning “the culmination of knowledge,” and deals with the nature of reality.  This school draws its source material from a set of philosophical scriptures called the Upanishads.  These scriptures dictate the forms of meditation used in this school.  Raja Yoga, also referred to as Ashtanga yoga is concerned primarily with cultivating the mind through meditation.  The goal of this cultivation is to finally achieve liberation from reality.  The practice of Surat Shabd Yoga comes from Sanskrit words meaning “essence of the Divine.”  This form of meditation seeks absolute union with the Divine whole.  This Divine spirit is seen as the first force of dynamic creative energy, embodied as sound, which was sent out at the beginning of time.  Japa Yoga refers to the meditative method of repeating a mantra or name of the Divine.  Usually this mantra is spoken softly, or sometimes only in the subject’s mind.  The Japa form of Hindu meditation is usually performed while sitting in a meditative yoga posture, such as the classic cross-legged position.  This discipline is given the most emphasis by the Dharmic Religions.

The ancient practice of mediation is found in many cultures around the world, particularly as a component of Eastern religions.  Hinduism, one of the oldest of these religions, has been a source of meditation practice for over five thousand years.  There are several types of Hindu meditation, all components of Yoga, one of the six branches of Hindu philosophy.  Yoga is a universal method of union with the divine, deriving from the primary text of the Bhagavad Gita

By Uma Johnson

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