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Thread: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

  1. What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?


    I have few questions regarding OM meditation.

    I calm myself down by observing breath .. in-out .. in-out. After few minutes I enter a state of complete calmness. At this time if I try to chant OM softly with each exhalation (out breath) is that valid OM meditation technique?

    Do I have to visualize an Ishta Devta?

    Some have written that chanting OM makes one completely into a renunciate. But I still have duties and obligations and have to fulfill them. I cannot become a renunciate or neglect my duties as grihi Is chanting OM incorrect for me?

    Can meditation also be a prayer i.e can I meditate and then end with a prayer for myself (prayer for strength, courage and calmness in face of difficulties) and prayer for wellness of my family, friends, enemies, all beings?

  2. #2
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    Re: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

    Dear friend ,
    how can you visualise Ishtadevatha . All the forms and shapes of deities are the creations of artists . Since we can not concentrate on nothingness we need an object . That object was created by the fertile imagination of a great artist . When we think of any God or Goddess , what comes to our inner vision is mostly Ravivarma's pictures.Gods are the images of light and sound . since we believe human species is the highest in the creation we give human form to them. We ascribe all the best in beauty , power , intelligence ,goodness , and other extraordinary powers to them .But in essence Gods are the beings of light .When meditation is done we can concentrate on light reciting the manthra or prayer. What ultimately transpires is our own imagination in terms of the divine power .Many devotees have described the way of sadhana as imagining the form of deity starting with feet ,going up slowly and finally reaching the face .In case of utmost faith and trust it gets materialised in to the form of that particular deity and we hear cases of the devotee talking , interacting, and going in to ecstasy with the experiences .
    That is overflowing love towards that deity .The devotee is blessed with compassion .But like it is pointed out by many , when a devotee reaches that state he becomes impersonal to all the worldly trappings . It is a wrong notion that 'om' sadhana gives detachment and one becomes a recluse .That can happen with any sadhana of utmost sincerity.But some swamijis insist that 'om' should not When do be given to a house holder .Manthra done with pranayama is pranopasana and 'om' manthra has to be recited with 'om' while inhaling , retaining in kumbhaka and then exhaling in the ratio of 1 , 4 , 2 . That is 1 'om'while inhaling , 4 ' oms ' in retention , 2 'oms ' in exhalation .In course of time practice makes one perfect in the process .Starting with 'om' is the safest and easiest. Nothing untoward would happen if simple 'om' is done .All the other manthras have to be given by a guru who has attained siddhi in that manthra . In today's world everything is a commercial proposition including spirituality . Gone are the days where gurus of highest order were guiding the disciples . When a proper guru is not available one can write 'om' on a piece of paper and keep it at the feet Shiva in shivalayam over night , collect it the next morning and start doing the sadhana taking Shiva as the guru .

  3. #3

    Re: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

    Dear arijitmitter,
    The correct way to chant "OM" is like a "Dhriga Ghanta Ninadham" ... the long resonating sound of a temple bell.

    Your meditation seems to be correct. I encourage you to listen to :

    Swami Tattvavidananda ji's lesson on "OM The Cosmic Sound".
    He also has some guided meditation sessions :
    some of these are based on "OM chanting while exhaling".

    1. It is not necessary to imagine Ishta Daivam during OM chanting. A proper appreciation of OM is useful.

    2. The spirit of renunciation is said to grow with the chanting of OM. That is why its advised for serious sadhakas. But if someone feels that it is too much, one may chose mantra like "OM NAMAH SIVAYA" . Please approach a guru for advise.

    Come up, O Lions, and shake off the delusion that you are a sheep

  4. Re: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

    Namaste Saswathy and Silence Speaks,

    I have lived in a very austere manner all my life. Somehow the austerity is growing. So while OM chanting may make me a renunciate, I am not specifically afraid of turning away from being a grihi. I am single (my mother lives with me). After she passes away I do not care if I am a householder or a sadhu

    I live in Calcutta and there is no guru here. None. My work does not allow me to frequently travel out of Calcutta to be at a guru's ashram in any other city.

    Somehow I am fixated on Shiva image. I have not read scriptures or done any idol worship ever. I just offer his image flowers and incense sticks. When I say OM my mind tends to dwell on His image.

    I do not know how to explain it but I believe in a personal relationship with Lord Shiva and not through puja etc. Maybe it is wrong. But it is what comes naturally to me.

  5. #5

    Re: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

    Dear arijitmitter ji,

    You should continue to chant "OM" ! It would do you a lot of benefit. This is my opinion.
    Since you live in Kolkata, you can visit a local Ramakrishna Mission for initiation (Belur Math ?).

    Renunciation is not "Physical", its "Mental". Chitta tyagam eva samsara tyagah... renunciation at the level of mind alone is the renunciation of the world.

    So chanting OM increases viaragya ... at the mental level ... one need not run away from one's duties or activities. Infact running away from activities is not renunciation ... since a person who is averse to something is also attached in a negative way.

    So OM is the best !!

    And you yourself are saying that it is an "image of siva" !! Image of Siva is not Siva... its only a representation of Siva... and then the true Siva is the Awareness within... the sense of Being .... the Self. Chanting OM resolves one into that Being ... one is with Siva. True Meditation ... True Prayer ... Thats the true resolution.

    Come up, O Lions, and shake off the delusion that you are a sheep

  6. #6

    Re: What Is Correct Process Of Om Meditation?

    OM Chanting Methods

    I write this post after extensive research in the subject of OM and after practising OM chanting for a fair amount of time. Further, the views and experiences written here have been vetted by Sri Sathya Baba of Puttaparthi, whom many acknowledge as an incarnation of the Lord.

    I have been practising yogāsanās and prānāyāma for several years now in order to maintain my health despite the difficulties of living in a highly urban centre like Bombay. I continue to do so even now (I have just crossed the age of 73). Whereas my practices are nowhere close to achieving perfection, they have served the purpose of keeping me physically fit. To an extent, I can also take advantage of these physical practices when it comes to spiritual practices, particularly in terms of posture.

    Mantra Shāstra says that AUM, the Pranava, can be chanted in 107 ways!

    Madame Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society of India researched ancient Indian works and noted that AUM can be chanted in 250 different intonations and that each intonation has a different effect on the person and the surroundings.

    AUM can be chanted aloud, slowly or fast; or mentally, with a movement of the lips; or silently with no external movement.

    Mentally, AUM can be chanted silently by synchronising the chanting with the heartbeat; in which case, one can visualize AUM at the Anāhata chakra (heart centre) as though it were a candle flame the size of your thumb; or, mentally synchronising it with the pulse at the space between the eyebrows (the Ājnā chakra) and visualising the AUM in that space.

    Whichever method one uses, AUM should be pronounced so that it is a harmonious sound. It should be “like the continuous flow of an oil stream and like the vibration of a bell. This is the way to pronounce AUM and to really know its meaning” (Dhyānabindu Upanishad). One can also write AUM daily a certain fixed number of times in a book kept especially for this purpose.

    A. AUM Chanting by Shri Sathya Sai Baba
    (From Baba, the Breath of Sai, Grace J. McMartin, Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust)

    “The early dawn recital of the OM should be done 21 times. This is how it is laid down at Prashanthi Nilayam. This number is not arbitrary; it has a significance of its own. We have the 5 senses of action (the karmendriyas), the 5 senses of perception (the jnānendriyas) and also the 5 vital airs, the prānas (prāna, apāna, udāna, samāna and vyāna) to sustain us. Again, we have the 5 sheaths, the koshas (annamaya, prānamaya, manomaya, vijnānamaya and ānandamaya) enclosing the Divine Inner Reality. These make up a total of 20. So, the recitation of OM 21 times purifies and clarifies all these twenty components and makes man the 21st entity, ready for the final merger with the Absolute.

    “Finally, end the OM recital with the recital of the Peace Mantra (OM Shāntih) 3 times.

    “The first call for Peace is for purity of the body, the second for purity of the mind and the third for purity of the Spirit. That will complete the process of clarification and purification.

    “AUM must be recited slowly and with deliberation. It has a fading ‘M’ sound that tapers into silence - a silence that must be felt and experienced.

    “It has to be chanted in a rising crescendo as slowly as possible, coming down just as slowly. Do not take it in two stages, arguing that your breath will not hold out for so long. Persevere, until you are enthralled by the upward sweep, the downward curve and the subsequent silence.

    “The sound must be like that of an aircraft approaching from a distance, coming to the spot where you are and then flying away into the distance – low, at first, but gradually becoming louder and louder, and then slowly relapsing into silence. This silence after each recitation is as significant as the AUM itself.

    “In the Bhagavad Gītā, the Lord has assured us that the person who dies with the OM filling his last breath is sure to be liberated. However, the mere calling to memory of this word will not help; the glory of AUM ought to have been appreciated throughout life. It must stand out before the mind at the time of departure. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Your progress is in accordance with your spiritual discipline and your practice. Meditate constantly on OM.”

    “Spend your time in the recitation of OM. It is the origin of Creation; it is its source, its sustenance and its strength. It is the Vital Air of every being. (“It is in Him that we live and move and have our being”, says the Bible.) OM is the primordial sound of the Absolute. It is the primal effulgence and source of all knowledge. It is the Ultimate, Absolute and Eternal Reality.

    “The Pranava japa (the recitation of OM and the contemplation of that mystic syllable) will help to calm the roaring waves (of the mind). OM is the sum of all the teachings in the Vedas about Godhead and of all the systems of adoring the Godhead; OM iti ek?ksharam Brahma: OM, that one syllable, is Brahman! OM is a composite of three sounds: A arising from the region of the navel, U flowing through the throat and tongue and M ending up at the closed lip. It has to be pronounced rising in a crescendo as slowly as possible, and as slowly coming down, until, after the M, there will be the echo of the silence reverberating in the cavity of the heart. Do not take it in two stages, arguing that your breath will not hold so long. Persevere, until you are able to be stirred by the upward sweep and the downward curve and the silent sequel. These represent the waking, dreaming and sleeping and the fourth, beyond the three stages. It represents also the flower of one’s individuality growing into a fruit and filling itself with sweet juice out of its own inner essence, and then the final release from the tree.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 10, Chap. 13)

    “When you chant the OM, let it vibrate in the Manipūra Chakra. All the power of creation, the entire universe, is present deep inside you. Let it vibrate in each cell of your body.” - Swami Vishwananda

    A. The Manipūra Chakra and its importance
    The human system consists of three components: (1) The sthūla sharira - the gross body, with its various anatomical structures and physiological functions; (2) The sūkshma sharira – the subtle body, which represents all of the non-physical man; and (3) The ātmā – the soul, which is the Overseer of all.

    Within the body are 72,000 nādis – 36,000 subtle (hidden from view) and 36,000 physical – that carry energy to and from various parts. These nādis meet at junction points within the body known as chakras and it is through these chakras that energy is distributed within the body and to the brain.

    All the nādis, however, pass through the Manipūra Chakra; this is, therefore, the one single point through which all energies must be directed so that they may be distributed to the various parts of the body. This tells you the importance of the Manipūra Chakra.

    The Manipūra Chakra is the sūkshma (subtle) counterpart of the physical Solar Plexus. It represents a second brain. It is common knowledge that a hard blow to the Solar Plexus could even kill a person.

    The Manipūra Chakra represents the subconscious mind, the child within, intuition, the psychic centre, gut feelings, the control centre and projection centre for both positive and negative feelings, habits and desires. It functions in close relationship with the astral body and the animal kingdom. It is directly connected to solar energies and solar beings. Higher development of this energy centre brings about peace and serenity to the body as well as the transformation of the lower chakras and the rise of psychic abilities with a high spiritual focus.

    The ākāshic memory in the higher chakras faithfully records the soul’s impressions during its passage through a series of earthly existences as well as in the astral-mental worlds that lie in-between these earthly existences.

    Thus, the OM must be chanted such that its vibrations are especially felt in Manip?ra.

    Kriyā Yoga (propounded by Mahāvatār Babaji and the disciples in his line, including Paramahamsa Yogānanda and Swami Vishwananda) offers the following technique to do so.

    B. OM in the Nābhi Chakra and Manipūra Chakra
    (Kriyā Yoga for purifying the debris of attachments)

    Nābhi Kriya is done into the Mūlādhāra chakra in the front and the Manipūra at the back.

    To practice Nābhi Kriya, first do Pratishtā to initiate this exercise; then, with all your attention in Sahasrāra and opening for God, tilt your head forward to touch the chest with your chin and chant 100 OMs into the Mūlādhāra.

    Then, tilt your head back as far as you comfortably can and repeat 25 OMs into Manipūra Chakra. After finishing your 100 OMs into Nābhi Chakra and 25 OMs into Manipūra Chakra as described above, terminate this exercise by doing Visarjan.

    C. Stimulating the Manipūra Chakra
    Because of the importance of the Manipūra Chakra as described above, it must be kept stimulated as much as possible, so that its response to our practices increases by the day. The Manipūra Chakra is stimulated by following some breathing and twisting practices as prescribed by traditional yoga practices:

    (1) Kapālabhāti tones up the entire abdominal area and the parasympathetic nervous system, carrying its influence right up to the skull (kapāla).

    (2) Uddiyāna Bandha is a splendid exercise and is almost specific to the Manipūra Chakra in its effects.

    (3) Ardhamatsyendrāsana is a twisting posture. However, if this is not found convenient or even possible, one could do a variation of it, as follows:

    1. Sit in Padmāsana.
    2. Hold the left knee with the right hand (this involves a certain amount of stooping of the spine) and place the left hand on the left thigh.
    3. Begin twisting the spine towards the left and carry your head along with the twist. As you are twisting, gradually – very gradually – release the stoop of the spine. Hold the posture for a few seconds; then repeat the same twist on the right side.

    We give below a method that fuses the following aspects in the practice of OM chanting: (1) The importance of synchronising AUM with the breath; (2) The relationship of the breath and AUM with the chakras and our samskāras; and (3) The importance of the Manipūra Chakra in OM chanting and how to stimulate it.

    We give below a method that fuses the above aspects in the practice of OM chanting.

    A. Preliminaries
    All spiritual practices are methods of conditioning the mind, often through conditioning the body; therefore, it is important that they must be done under the same surroundings and environment every day.

    Discerning persons will soon realise that it will be helpful to ensure the following conditions: (1) a proper posture, (2) a relaxed state of the body and mind and (3) the ability to stimulate the Manipūra chakra. Specific yoga exercises are of immense help in ensuring that the practice of OM chanting is acquired smoothly and retained without much effort. (They are also of immense help in ensuring general health).

    In the previous page, some exercises have already been explained; some more can be added to good effect. These are: Kapālabhāti, Jala Néti and Trātaka; Padmāsana and Sukhāsana; Bhrāmari, Ujjāyī, Bhastrikā; and Mūla Bandha, Jālandhara Bandha, Uddiyāna Bandha and Mahā Bandha.

    Since this post is not intended to be a treatise on asanas and pranayama, one will have to refer to authoritative texts on the subject (preferably books by Swami Sivānanda or Shri B.K.S. Iyengar) for their correct practice.

    B. The Method
    1. Close your eyes and sit comfortably in Sukhāsana, which is the usual position in which one squats. (The Padmāsana posture is the best, but not many people might be inclined to sit in this posture). Close your ears with ear plugs, so that external noise and sounds are shut out to a large extent.

    2. Hold the spine erect, but do not do so by forcibly or artificially stretching it. The head must be kept slightly lowered such that the chin is about an inch away from the chest.

    3. The hands could be clasped in front or over the knees; it is not important where they are so long as they do not disturb the comfort of the sitting posture.

    4. Relax each muscle in the body from head to toe (as is done for the Savāsana posture). Notice that the breathing is already becoming more relaxed and smooth!

    5. Continue with the relaxed breathing for some time until you feel you can maintain this style of breathing. Then, pause for half a second after each inhalation and for half a second after each exhalation. You will notice that this makes the inhalations and exhalations deeper and richer.

    6. At the pause after the inhalation, start chanting the AUM.

    7. The sound of the AUM must flow along with the outward breath, but must be directed down the spine. This will happen automatically if the chin is depressed towards the chest, as explained above. The lips must be opened only enough to be able to utter the sound of A and U. The M sound of the AUM is produced with the lips closed. To achieve this, simply try to hum the AUM; it is like producing the hum of a bumble bee or of an electric motor (Bhrāmari).

    8. The volume of sound produced in the chanting must be as little as possible and its pitch (sur / swara) as low as possible. Despite the low volume and pitch, the reverberations of the chant will be heard loudly and in the entire region of the skull, since the ears have been plugged. Such reverberations are essential, as they excite the Sahasrāra and Ājnā chakra, which latter is the seat of the AUM.

    With some practice, the sādhaka will know what pitch and volume are comfortable for him. It is exactly the position of an Indian musician who is undergoing preliminary training to find out the pitch that suits him most appropriately. This pitch is his resonating frequency.

    9. A single intonation of the AUM should be continued until one has completely breathed out. That is to say, the intonation must be synchronised with the breath.

    10. The pitch of the chanting should remain the same during the entire outward breath. It is, in the words of Shri Sathya Sai Baba, as though an aircraft is approaching you and then receding from you. Anyone who recollects this will realise that the pitch of the aircraft’s sound never varies as long as it is within our hearing; only its volume changes.

    11. If the breathing is smooth and easy, the AUM chanting will be steady and unwavering. Achieving this will, itself, take a few weeks or more; so, some amount of patience is required.

    12. The AUM originates from the Ājnā chakra, the seat of Siva, first travelling upwards to stimulate the Sahasrāra chakra. Visualise it then traversing down the spine, stimulating and energising each chakra on its way, and ending with the Mūlādhāra chakra, where sits Shakti in the form of the serpent Kundalini, eagerly awaiting the call of Siva for union. Visualise the AUM as being distributed to every corner and cell of the body through the Manipūra chakra (refer to the paragraph on OM in the Nābhi Chakra and Manipūra Chakra above). [Note: Such visualisation must accompany the chanting; which means that the breath has to be controlled enough to be let out slowly.]

    13. Chanting must be done for a minimum of 21 times initially, as prescribed by Shri Sathya Sai, and eventually increased to 108 times. Even chanting 21 times is not going to be easy initially, since AUM chanting goes hand in hand with disciplined breathing, which is a matter of some practice. A minimum of 9 times, however, is an absolute must.

    14. As you become more comfortable and relaxed with this practice, you will feel your attention being drawn inwards. Since the eyes are closed and the ears are plugged, you have temporarily de-sensitised these organs - at least partially. Your world will now consist only of sound and breath!

    15. Listen only to the sound of the AUM that you are producing; make your mind dwell on it to the exclusion of everything else.

    16. It is necessary to physically feel the vibrations of the AUM during chanting. This sound ought to be felt along the spine, both at its front and at its rear, particularly in the lower three chakras, especially the Manipūra. If the neck were held erect, feeling the vibrations is almost impossible; but, if it were bent forward, with the chin an inch away from the chest, and the sound of the AUM being deep and low, it is entirely possible, with just a few weeks’ practice, to feel the vibrations in the front of the spine, at the lower three chakras. (To feel these vibrations at the rear of the spine, one needs prolonged practice and some proficiency in prānāyāma).

    It is when you physically feel the vibrations of the AUM that you have begun to make progress. All the chakras along its pathway are being exposed to this universal vibration and are being stimulated and energised. The Manipūra Chakra – that excellent gateway – distributes these vibrations to all the nādis throughout the body, so that every fibre and cell receive it and begin, over a period of time, to vibrate uniformly and in resonance.

    17. Complete the chanting session with the shanti mantra three times: OM Shanti Shanti Shantih!

    18. Within a few days after you begin experiencing these vibrations, you will observe that your nādis have suddenly opened up and that you are breathing more easily and more comfortably. You will realise that the AUM has begun to purify the nādis and the chakras; the process of cleansing them of the various subtle impressions (the samskāras) that they have been carrying within them over several births has begun!

    OM! OM! OM!

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