Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 27 Oct 2022


Place of meditative practices in the spiritual path

1. Who is a sthitaprajña? What is the state of yoga or samādhi?

[Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji, I have been asked to teach a course on mediation this semester to students. Due to the high mental stress that people are facing in society nowadays, Amma has instructed that meditation be taught to all students in the university...[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami replied:

In view of the similarity between Arjuna and the present student, the main advice given to Arjuna by Krishna can be applied to the present student as well. The student must understand that he/she is a system (existing at constant atmospheric pressure) supplied with some energy through the form of some food (Q), must be converted totally into academic work (W) without diverting it to tension by raising the internal energy (E) as per first law of thermo-dynamics Q=E+W, which is essence of the famous verse of Gita (Karmaṇyevādhikāraste..).

All the energy of the student (Q) must be fully concentrated on the academic work (W) without diverting any part of the energy to tension (E) so that when E=0, Q=W and this is the goal of the meditation. Q=W itself is the process of meditation, in which the student is converting all his energy into academic work without wasting it to raise the tension. Raise in the tension (E) is spoiling the meditation due to which all the energy is diverted to tension resulting in no energy available for academic work, i.e. Q=E and W=0.

2. How is being a sthitaprajña related to spiritual knowledge, devotion, meditation, and karma yoga?

[Spiritual knowledge is the knowledge about God. It is called Brahma Jñānam or Prajñānam. The final conclusion of the vast field of Brahma Jñānam is that God is the greatest, the most precious, the kindest, and the most loving. He is the true Father, true Mother, true Preacher, true Friend, and true Husband of all souls...[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami replied: Concentrating all the energy on academic work (God) without diverting it to issues causing tension is comparable to the Sthitaprajna, who concentrates on God only without diverting his attention towards worldly matters. Such a student will keep all his mind and intellect on the attainment of the goal of his stay in the college. 

3. How are jñāna yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, and rāja yoga related?

[Learning the knowledge of God (Brahma Jñānam) is the starting point. The completion of the first step of learning divine knowledge is the attainment of jñāna yoga. It is reaching the state where the intellect gets firmly established in the final conclusion of that divine knowledge. This state is also called samādhi, dhyāna or sthitaprajñatā. This state of the intellect, fills the person’s mind with the emotion of love for God...[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami replied: Jnaanayoga is understanding the present concept with full attention. Bhaktiyoga means diverting full interest in adapting this concept. Karmayoga consisting of Karma Samnyaasa and Karmaphala Tyaaga is also valid in this case because Karma Samnyaasa or sacrifice of work is to be done immediately by practicing this concept in the form of doing dedicated academic work. Karmaphala Tyaaga is the most important part which is sacrifice of fruit of work or money, which is the fees paid by you to achieve the degree with distinction. This is the most important part because your parents have paid the fees which is the fruit of their hard work. You must do justice to that. Raajayoga is the external attachment with internal detachment. This can be done in your academic work by having full attachment in work only with complete detachment from the fruit, which brings freedom from tension.

4. Why is it necessary to have God as the goal?

[The person whose goal is not God (ayukta), cannot reach the correct intellectual conclusion (buddhi, prajñā) that God is the greatest and most lovable. When the intellect is not established in the right conclusion, one retains the wrong conclusion in the mind that the self is the most precious. So, one remains self-centric...[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami replied: In spite of all this systematic implementation of a well-planned program, there is a dire necessity for the grace of God because the association of effort with the grace of God will certainly yield a favourable result not only in the present, but also, in the future by blessing the student with a good job. Confidence on God proves to be better than self-confidence in long run of life.

5. What is the connection between meditative practices and attaining samādhi or the state of a sthitaprajña?

[Meditative practices only prepare the mind for the first step of the journey towards samādhi. They provide basic mental fitness and form the very initial step. If you are a weak and unhealthy person who wants to win the tennis championship, the very first step is to attain some basic physical fitness. This includes eating nutritious food, getting sufficient rest, and doing some simple exercises in the gymnasium...[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami Replied: Doing prayer to God with full absorption of mind that is attained from knowing the omniscient and omnipotent divine personality of God gives not only full peace but also good and beneficial practical results related to worldly life or pravrutti. This can be treated as the real meditation and true samaadhi. Detachment from worldly fruits and attachment to academic work without dissipation of a trace of energy to other things must be well understood because after settling in life, one can enjoy the worldly pleasures and also fully concentrate on God, if interested fully to the spiritual life.

6. What are some of components of meditative practices?

[Click here to read the detailed question→]

Swami Replied: By practicing the Yoga preached by Patanjali in Yogasutram, one can achieve good practical results in worldly life. The first and foremost point is that God (Iishvara) exists and that efforts to attain His grace is the ultimate goal of human life. For this, good physical health is very essential, which can be attained by physical exercises through games etc. By attaining control over breathing, one can retain the inhaled air for a long time so that the entire oxygen present in the inhaled air can be completely used in the purification of the blood. By detaching the mind from worldly affairs (Pratyaahaara) the wastage of mental energy is restricted making the mind very much strong and energetic. The concentration on the confined ultimate goal is the result of this entire scheme and such concentration yields undefeatable practical fruits.

Conclusion:- Meditation does not mean simply sitting and doing some breathing exercises. It only means in the ultimate sense, the total dedication of the entire energy existing in the body on a set up goal, which will help in attaining the ultimate goal, which is to gain the grace of God before the end of the human life. Concentration on the goal that helps in achieving the ultimate goal is the real meditation because if the immediate goal is not attained, there will be loss in attaining even one of both the goals.