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Section 4 - Right meditation and wrong meditation

posted Oct 30, 2019, 7:33 PM by Sudhir Babu   [ updated Dec 7, 2019, 5:38 AM ]

Here are 4 powerful tips to understand what is ‘right’ meditation and ‘wrong’ meditation!

1.    The meditation principle!

Lord Krishna mentions the “Meditation Principle” in Bhagavad Gita 8.6, that after we leave this body, our next life will be based on the state of mind at the time of death. 

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ

tyajaty ante kalevaram

taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya

sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”

The state of mind at the time of death naturally depends on whatever we meditate on throughout the life. Meditation need not be something we sit down in an isolated place and do. If our mind is absorbed in a particular object or desire, we are actually meditating on it. All our activities will then be centered around fulfilling what the mind is absorbed in. And that will become the state of mind at the time of death. So, we have to be very careful and make sure we are doing the right meditation instead of wrong meditation.

2. The same destination myth!

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 9.25 mentions the four different destinations based on our meditation/worship:

yānti deva-vratā devān…

pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ

bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā

yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām

“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.”

There is a common misconception that whatever kind of meditation we adopt or whatever mantra we chant, we will reach the same destination or we will become liberated. That is not supported in the Bhagavad Gita. We know that from a particular place, we will reach different destinations based on whether we go east, west, north or south. In the same way our different meditations/worship will take us to different destinations. 

3. Wrong meditations

Following are the wrong meditations which should be avoided:

a) Worshiping Demigods

If one cultivates attachment to a particular demigod during their lifetime, as mentioned above they will take birth among the demigods in their next life. That means they will attain heavenly planets and will get a chance to live there for some time. But Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 8.16 clearly states that even if we go to the planet of the highest demigod Lord Brahma, we will come back again to this earthly planet where one has to suffer birth, death, old age and disease. (ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ, punar āvartino 'rjuna). So, it is not at all wise to worship a demigod as the ultimate aim of human life is to not come back to this earthly world but attain the spiritual world Vaikuntha where there is no birth, death, old age and disease. A variation of this is some people concoct a form of God and worship it. They think that all are forms of the same God and any of them can be worshiped as God and that the same results will be obtained. This is called worship in modes of passion and ignorance. As a result, they will take birth in either earth or lower planets in possibly sub-human species (BG 14.18).

b) Worshiping powerful humans 

If one worships a powerful/influential person or mystic yogi of this world, you will go to the place where they dwell. If they end up going to hell because of their impious activities, the worshiper will also go to those places because of meditation on them. Srila Prabhupada says about this kind of worshipers in purport to Bhagavad Gita 4.12: “To achieve such temporary things, they worship the demigods or powerful men in human society.” “... results so obtained are temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons…”

c) Worshiping ghosts and spirits

Worshiping ghosts and spirits will cause one to be born among such beings. It is said in vedic scriptures that being born as ghosts is a condemned life as there is no physical body to enjoy the senses which in turn causes extreme frustration. That is why ghosts try to enter other’s bodies and try to get enjoyment from their senses. So, this kind of ghost worship should be absolutely avoided.

d) Worshiping and meditating on the impersonal / formless

We can understand the Sun in 3 ways: sunlight, Sun globe, and the Sun God in the Sun planet. One who understands that Sun is only sunshine is having incomplete knowledge. Similarly, in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.11, it is mentioned that the Supreme Lord Krishna actually has three features and the impersonal feature is the inferior aspect of all. The Impersonal Brahman is the glowing effulgence of the Personality of Godhead just as the sun rays are to the demigod sun-god who is ruling the Sun planet. Further in the Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.32, it is mentioned that even if one performs severe austerities and penances and finally attains impersonal liberation, they will actually fall down from that position. Hence this kind of meditation has to be avoided.

ye ’nye ’ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas

tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ

āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ

patanty adho ’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ

“O lotus-eyed Lord, although non devotees who accept severe austerities and penances to achieve the highest position may think themselves liberated, their intelligence is impure. They fall down from their position of imagined superiority because they have no regard for Your lotus feet.” 

Bhagavad Gita 12.5 discourages meditation on this impersonal feature as it is very troublesome. 

4. The right meditation

Finally, following is the right meditation that should be done, i.e.,

Worshiping the Supreme Lord Krishna (or Vishnu)

Lord Krishna in the final chapter of Bhagavad Gita 18.65, makes a conclusive statement about right meditation technique:

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto

mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru

mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te

pratijāne priyo 'si me

“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”

The easiest way to always think of Lord Krishna is by always chanting His holy names like the Maha Mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”. Another efficient way of thinking of Lord Krishna is to read, understand and remember various instructions given by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Apart from that, as stated by Lord Krishna above, we should worship him with whatever means we have. When we follow this process of meditation and worship, Lord Krishna promises that we will go to Him. And in the Bhagavad Gita 15.6, Lord Krishna mentions that His abode is the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) which is self effulgent and once one goes there, they will never come back to this earthly material world:

na tad bhāsayate sūryo

na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ

yad gatvā na nivartante

tad dhāma paramaṁ mama

“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.”

Note: To test your understanding, please visit the below URL to answer a short quiz: