Stages of meditation – The Hindu

Sage Narada approaches Sanatkumara and tells him that he (Narada) needs instruction from Sanatkumara. Narada has studied the Vedas, Itihasas, Puranans, grammar, mathematics, logic, astronomy, musicology. But Narada confesses that he only knows the mantras. He does not know the nature of the Supreme One, said M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse.

Sanatkumara says that all the works Narada has studied deal with words or names. What Narada needs to do is to meditate on Brahman. He who meditates on names or words as Brahman will have freedom of movement in the region of the name. But speech is greater than names. Meditation on speech as Brahman will result in freedom of movement in the region where speech exists.

Mind is greater than speech, for the mind holds both names and speech. Meditation on mind as Brahman will give freedom of movement in regions which the mind has pervaded. Sankalpa, that is will, is greater than mind. Heaven, earth, air, space — all have their respective natures, because of sankalpa. So Brahman should be meditated upon as sankalpa. But thought is greater than sankalpa. Concentrated meditation is greater than thought. Scriptural knowledge is greater than concentrated meditation, and one should meditate on knowledge (vijnana) as Brahman.

Bala (strength) is greater than vijnana. So meditate on strength as Brahman, Sanatkumara tells Narada. Food is greater than strength, water greater than food, tejas is greater than water, akasa is greater than tejas, memory is greater than akasa, desire is greater than memory, and prana greater than desire.

But satya is the greatest object of meditation, and one realises this only if one has faith and control of the mind. So Sanatkumara takes Narada through various stages of meditation, showing him finally the highest form of meditation.

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