Shanti Sadan and Self-Knowledge name
Vol.62 No.3 Summer 2011

Getting Into Meditation

Here are two verses from the Bhagavad Gita which are meant to set us in the right direction for progressive meditation:

Let a man raise himself by himself, let him not lower himself; for he alone is the friend of himself, he alone is the enemy of himself.

To him who has conquered himself by himself, his own self is the friend of himself, but to him who has not conquered himself, his own self stands in the place of an enemy like the (external) foe.

These words might have come straight out of a modern self-improvement textbook, for they appear to emphasize the self-reliance and skill improvement that are also recommended to those wanting to become successful in business. However, success in the yogic sense is quite different to the modern ideas of worldly success. For instance, qualities like humility and compassion are key to success in Yoga whereas the opposite qualities, like self-assertion and ruthlessness, are considered by some to be necessary for commercial prosperity.

Yet there is some common ground for both types of success. This is the ability to concentrate and to be able to exercise a degree of control over the mind. They also both require perseverance and will-power rather than an attitude of defeatism when difficulties arise. The main difference is that one leads to a knowledge of the true Self, resulting in a life of peace, serenity and contentment, while the other leads to an expansion of the limited ego self, which distracts the individual from identifying the real Self.

continue reading