Monday, January 27, 2014

Forms for Meditation

Vishnu avataras“Even if one concentrates his mind on the boar form of the Lord, that is also yoga. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, one who concentrates his mind constantly in meditation upon the Personality of Godhead in one of His many varieties of forms is the first-class yogi, and he can very easily attain trance simply by meditating upon the form of the Lord. If one is able to continue such meditation on the Lord's form at the time of one's death, one is liberated from this mortal body and is transferred to the kingdom of God.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.19.28 Purport)

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“How was my weekend, you ask? It was okay, I guess. Now that I think about it, I’m feeling pretty good today. I tried to block out so many other distractions and just meditate. The weekends are a difficult time for me to relax. It seems like it should be the opposite, no? Since there is no pressure to go to work, I should be able to chill for two straight days, right?

“But what ends up happening is that I can’t stay focused on any one task. There’s always something to clean. All those responsibilities I neglect during the week start to mount. I have to do laundry for sure; otherwise there will be no clean clothes for the upcoming week. I have to pay bills, run to the supermarket, fill the car with gas, and prepare meals. All of this makes it very difficult to relax.

“What I did different this weekend was set aside some time for meditation. I’ve realized that the more I can stay away from my bedroom, the more I can concentrate. I’m actually more relaxed when seated upright, even if it’s just to watch television. So I found myself a comfortable chair and took out my tablet computer. That device in itself invites so many distractions, I know. I can check my email, preview the weather for the upcoming week, watch videos, and even exchange instant messages with friends.

Image of Varahadeva“This time I focused on a specific photo that I had in the camera roll section of the tablet. This photo is of a boar. I meditated upon that photo for hours on end. No, I’m not lying to you. I basically meditated on a pig this weekend. I can’t tell you how happy it made me feel. Where did I get the idea? In an ancient Sanskrit work called the Shrimad Bhagavatam there are descriptions of this boar. One can find out about its activities and appearance. It is also said in that work that mystic yogis, people who renounce the urban lifestyle for the wilderness, try their best to meditate on the personality who is that boar.

“It is said that the yogis have a tough time staying fixed in concentration on that same person who once manifest as a boar. And here I was, in the modern day, where no one has time for anything, meditating on that beautiful form. While meditating I kept thinking about how wonderful that boar was. It held up the earth after it had fallen into the water. While nobly saving the population of this world, it was verbally attacked for no reason.

“The attacker was envious. He was also very powerful, having the name of Hiranyaksha. He was golden-eyed and also golden in his ability to fight, and so he thought no one was there to properly challenge him in this world. He heard of this boar, named Varahadeva, and thought he could get a good fight from it. In the ensuing conflict, the boar absorbed all of the enemy’s blows without being disturbed. He let Hiranyaksha use his full arsenal of weapons. And then at the end Varahadeva took aim at victory. In a swift turn, Hiranyaksha lost his life, and the world of saints rejoiced, for they knew a terrorizing figure was gone.

“Actually, describing this to you right now has been a sort of meditation as well. So you’re wondering if you can pick any pig to meditate on and feel the same way? Can you meditate on just anything and get the benefits of peace and tranquility? Actually, no. There is something special to this boar. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which is the more descriptive term used for the entity we typically refer to as God. He is the sum total of everything, and yet He is not directly everything. The tree and the dust on the ground are part of His definition, and yet He is not the tree nor the dust. He is a distinct spiritual entity who can appear in any time and place and in any form He chooses. His personal appearances are always in transcendental forms. This means that the mystics looking to connect with God are actually trying to meditate on the person who appears in various forms, such as the boar.

Lord Krishna“I can do the same meditation by focusing on Varahadeva’s original form of Shri Krishna. Krishna is an attractive male youth who holds a flute in His hands, sports an enchanting smile, and happily plays in the sacred land of Vrindavana. His complexion is dark blue, like the raincloud, and He is beautifully adorned with jewels, a flower garland, and a yellow garment around His waist. His activities are also described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, and setting aside time for meditating on them is most worthwhile.

“I got this idea for meditation from the works of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has actually translated and commented on the Shrimad Bhagavatam in English, which is a huge plus for me. I don’t know Sanskrit and so being able to learn these timeless truths in the language I am most familiar with is such a blessing. We all have this tendency to serve, and we like to contemplate on wonderful people and their attributes and activities.

Shrila Prabhupada“Shrila Prabhupada says that this tendency is purified when it is directed at God. He not only sanctions meditating on Varahadeva and Shri Krishna, but wholeheartedly recommends it. He says that the same meditation can be done through just chanting the names of those respective personalities. And the potency of saying the names of all the incarnations of the Supreme Lord comes with chanting just the names of Krishna and Rama. Therefore He recommends chanting the maha-mantra, ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.’

Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill“You should give this a try, as it removes all doubts. We don’t need to speculate anymore as to how to find true happiness in life. We don’t need to wonder what God looks like or what He wants from us. If we are truly devoted, He will lift mountains for us, as He did with Govardhana Hill. If He sees us in trouble, He’s willing to bear the burden of the entire earth, as He did as Varahadeva. And just by meditating on Him, we become dear to Him, which shows that the path of devotional service is both the easiest and the most effective.”

In Closing:

With attention more and more,

Meditate on picture of a boar.

 

From strange practice what to gain?

Know that to object of yogis the same.

 

In variety of forms the Lord to come,

Though differently looking, of personality one.

 

On Krishna, Boar, Lion, or Vishnu lay eyes,

Success guaranteed for one who this path tries.

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