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Meditation & Its Practices
Swami Adiswarananda

A Definitive Guide to Techniques and Traditions of Meditation in Yoga and Vedanta.





     Meditation is a subject of universal interest. It is practiced by spiritual seekers of all traditions, in some form or other, for serenity, peace, and blessedness. The time-honored teachings of meditation, as embodied in the systems of Yoga and Vedanta, serve as a source of inspiration to seekers all over the world. Among the many traditions of meditation in Hinduism, the traditions of Yoga and Vedanta are generally regarded as the two mainstream teachings. While both Yoga and Vedanta strive for the same goal, the two systems differ in their approach to that goal. The present book is a study of the subject of meditation and its practices following the methods and teachings of these two systems.

     The universal principles of Yoga and Vedanta are four: divinity of the individual soul, unity of existence, oneness of the Ultimate Reality, and harmony of religions. Divinity of the soul is the unshakable spiritual basis of freedom and self-fulfillment. The unity of existence is the foundation of all ethical virtues. Self-love is the mainspring of a man’s action and the raison d’ętre of his love for others. But Yoga and Vedanta remind us that the true self of a person is the self of all beings. While the Ultimate Reality is one, the names, forms, and symbols describing It are various. They are frail attempts of the human mind to name the nameless and attribute form to that which is formless. Oneness of the Ultimate Reality teaches us to remain loyal to our own ideal, but to show positive respect to the ideals of others. All religions are fundamentally the same. Unity in diversity is the law of life and so it is in matters of religion. Different seekers following different paths are all trying to reach the same goal. The methods of meditation in Yoga and Vedanta do not cater to emotionalism or any form of sentimentalism. They are precise, scientific, and psychological. They do not measure success in meditation by the seeker’s dreams or visions, which are personal and private, but by transformation of his character.  Following these methods of meditation, many have attained to direct perception of truth and the fulfillment of life. These traditions, methods, and teachings of Yoga and Vedanta have passed the test of time and they are as living today as they were in the past.

            In support of the presentations in the book, extensive citations have been made from orthodox texts. These texts are The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, Uddhava Gita (The Last Message of Sri Krishna), Vivekachudamani (The Crest Jewel of Discrimination), Aparoksanubhuti (Direct Experience of Reality), The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master, Vivekananda: The Yogas and Other Works, The Teachings of Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, The Laws of Manu, and others. Teachings on the subject of meditation that remain scattered over many texts have been brought together in this volume for the convenience of the spiritual seekers. The explanations given with the texts are based on the orthodox interpretations of Yoga and Vedanta.

The book is the result of painstaking research of several years. Many have worked hard to make this publication possible. I am deeply grateful to Martin Sulzberg, Barry Zelikovsky, Rob Baker, Kendra Crossen Burroughs, Priscilla Carden, Lisa Meyer, Mary Jo Krey, and others for reading and editing the manuscript and giving valuable suggestions. I will feel greatly rewarded if the book is of help to the spiritual seekers in the practice of meditation.

                                                            Swami Adiswarananda

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York
New York City
Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday
March 5, 2003



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Copyright© 2003, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York.

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