The complete sourcebook for exploring Hinduism's two most time-honored traditions of meditation. Meditation is a subject of universal interest, practiced by seekers of all traditions on the quest for serenity, peace, and blessedness. Among the many traditions of meditation in Hinduism, Yoga and Vedanta have passed the test of time, proving as vital today as they were throughout the ages in helping seekers overcome the maladies of life and attain the greatest spiritual fulfillment. In one comprehensive volume, Meditation & Its Practices illuminates the principles of the Yoga and Vedanta meditation traditions, the meaning of meditation, its goal of Self-Knowledge, the methods by which concentration is developed, and the ways of achieving self-control. Defining key concepts in clear terms, this complete guidebook covers every aspect of this ancient spiritual practice, including:
Goals and Benefits of MeditationObjects of MeditationMethods of ConcentrationPosture, Physical Condition, Eating Habits, and Spiritual ExercisesMystical Experiences and RealizationsObstacles in Meditation and Ways of Overcoming Them
Drawing on both classic and contemporary sources, this comprehensive sourcebook outlines the scientific, psychological, and spiritual elements of Yoga and Vedanta meditation, the results of which lead not to the seeker's dreams and visions but to the transformation of his or her character.
Asserting that meditation leads to direct perception of ultimate reality and samadhi, a "state of blissful superconsciousness," Adiswarananda (Senior Minister of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York City) surveys the vast topic of meditation in the Yoga and Vedanta traditions within Hinduism. He begins by discussing meditation's characteristics, goals and benefits, then explores various objects of meditation, including a particularly informative chapter on the "most sacred of all sacred words," Om. Next, he examines the mechanics of meditation, such as chakras, posture, eating habits and japa, the practice of repeating a sacred word or phrase. He then turns to the tricky subject of charting one's spiritual progress, discussing mystical benefits of meditation, such as visions and psychic powers. (He does caution readers about the subjective nature of such phenomena, insisting instead on the centrality of reason, orthodox Hindu scriptures and especially the real-world transformation of one's character as gauges of effective meditation practice.) Finally, he rounds out the tome with a discussion of obstacles in meditation and methods of overcoming them. The sheer scope of the book allows Adiswarananda to strike a graceful balance between liberal inclusiveness and conservative exclusiveness: one may choose the meditation method that seems most suitable, but straying from that chosen path undermines one's efforts and is "fraught with danger." Yet his microscopic attention to so many intricacies makes distinguishing between Yoga and Vedanta difficult and prevents the book from being a practical, how-to guide to meditation, limiting its appeal to very serious students.