“Meditation highlights one’s inseparable connection with the total, Isvara. Through various steps,
one is brought to be one’s own self, recognizing all the way the presence of the whole at every
level of oneself.”
Meditation, dhyanam, implies a mental activity, manasa karma. The definition of meditation is
saguna brahma visaya manasa vyaparah, mental activity related to Brahman in the form of Isvara.
Vyapara, activity, is qualified by the word ‘manasa,’ meaning mental. Whenever a word is qualified
by an adjective, there should be a need for it. People who use words carefully do not use
adjectives without reason.
Words are meant to communicate. When you want to convey an object as distinct from another, you
use an adjective. If you say, a tall tree, then the word ‘tall’ is an adjective. lf all the trees
are of the same height, you do not need to say ‘tall’ tree or ‘short’ tree. An adjective has the
capacity to negate certain other things by qualifying a given noun. The adjective ‘tall’ negates
other trees that are not as tall as this tree, and distinguishes it from other trees. But you
cannot say ‘sweet sugar,’ ‘good sadhu’ and so on; these are redundant expressions. If there is
‘bitter’ sugar or ‘sour’ sugar, then you are constrained to use an adjective ‘sweet.’ One who is
good is called sadhu. There is no good sadhu. You do see such expressions as ‘mental attitude,’
and ‘intellectual knowledge? Unless there is a ‘dental knowledge’ there is no need to use
expressions as ‘intellectual knowledge.'
Knowledge always happens in the intellect. Attitude is always mental and so there is no need to
say, ‘mental attitude.’
If meditation is an activity, qualified by the word ‘mental,’ then it negates all physical
activities from its purview. However, it implies other activities belonging to the same group. Any
thinking is mental activity. Sadness is also a mental activity, as it is a mental expression of
one’s emotion. lf this is meditation, then one is always in meditation. So too in dream, one will
be always in meditation, because there is a lot of mental activity in dream.
Before we understand what meditation is, we must be clear in distinguishing it from other mental
activities so that nothing else is accepted as meditation. In the phrase, manasa vyaparah, the
word ‘manasa ’ is an adjective distinguishing meditation from other activities. Therefore, we have
to define what kind of activity will constitute meditation. In a definition, we distinguish an
object not only from other objects belonging to the same group, but also from everything else. The
definition should point out to only one thing. Hence, meditation is a directed action.
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