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It is very difficult to say where concentration ends and meditation begins. Meditation follows concentration. Purify the mind first through the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then take to the practice of Dharana. Concentration without purity is of no use.
Concentration is steadfastness of mind. If you remove all causes of distraction, your power of concentration will increase. A true Brahmachari who has preserved his Virya will have powerful concentration. Attention plays a prominent part in concentration. He who has developed his power of attention will have good concentration. You should be able to visualise very clearly the object of concentration even in its absence. You must call up the mental picture in a moment's notice. If you have good practice in concentration you can do this without difficulty. He who has gained success in Pratyahara (abstraction) by withdrawing the Indriyas from the various objects will have good concentration. You will have to march in the spiritual path step by step, stage by stage. Lay the foundation of Yama (right conduct), Niyama, Asana (posture), Pranayama and Pratyahara to start with. The superstructure of Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi will be successful then only.
Asana is Bahiranga Sadhana (external); Dhyana is Antaranga Sadhana (internal). When compared with Dhyana and Samadhi, even Dharana is Bahiranga Sadhana. He who has steady Asana and has purified Yoga-Nadis and the Pranamaya Kosha (vital sheath) through Pranayama will be able to concentrate easily. You can concentrate internally on any of the seven plexus or Chakras or centres of spiritual energy viz., Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara, or on the tip of the nose, or on the tip of the tongue or externally on the picture of any Devata, Hari, Hara, Krishna or Devi. You can concentrate on the 'tik-tik' sound of a watch or on the flame of a candle, or on a black point of a wall, or on a pencil or rose flower or any pleasing object. This is concrete concentration (Sthoola). There can be no concentration without something upon which the mind may rest. The mind can be fixed easily on a pleasing object such as jasmine flower, mango or orange or a loving friend. It is difficult to fix the mind in the beginning on any object which it dislikes such as faecal matter, cobra, enemy, ugly face, etc. Practise concentration till the mind is well established in the object of concentration. When the mind runs away from the object of concentration, bring it back again and again to the object. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: "Yato yato nischarati manas-chanchalam-asthiram, Tatastato niyamyaitad-atmanyeva vasam nayet-As often as the wavering and unsteady mind goes forth, so often reining it in, let him bring it under the control of the Self."
If you want to increase your power of concentration, you will have to reduce your worldly activities (Vyavahara-Kshaya). You will have to observe Mouna (vow of silence) also for two hours daily. A man whose mind is filled with passion and all sorts of fantastic desires can hardly concentrate on any object even for a second. His mind will be jumping like a balloon. Regulate and master the breath. Subdue the senses and fix the mind on any pleasing object. Associate the ideas of holiness and purity with the object.
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Thanks for viewing. 2013 � Sonali T. Gangane
April 29th, 2013
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