Four Questions About Dhyana

[Krishna and Arjuna on battlefield]“A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.46)

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तपस्विभ्यो ऽधिको योगी
ज्ञानिभ्यो ऽपि मतो ऽधिकः
कर्मिभ्यश् चाधिको योगी
तस्माद् योगी भवार्जुन

tapasvibhyo ‘dhiko yogī
jñānibhyo ‘pi mato ‘dhikaḥ
karmibhyaś cādhiko yogī
tasmād yogī bhavārjuna

1. What is the need for dhyana?

It is an aspect of yoga, which is the linking of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. As Shri Krishna advises in the Bhagavad-gita, a person should strive to be a yogi. They do not need to change their occupation. A person can be a yogi anywhere, and it will be the best thing for them.

In the systematic analysis, dhyana is one aspect of yoga. There are eight legs, collectively known as ashtanga-yoga. Dhyana is concentration or meditation. Focusing the mind. Indeed difficult to do, but well worth the effort.

Dhyana has lasting benefits. Less stress. Increased focus. Progressing towards a better future destination. Union with the all-attractive one, who is blissful in every aspect of His existence.

2. What is the best time for dhyana?

The morning is most ideal, particularly when it is after waking up from the night’s sleep. Dhyana in the morning builds momentum for the rest of the day. Less risk from procrastination. No worry about meeting the day’s routine, for keeping the streak of meditation going.

The morning also matches with the qualities of Brahman, which is pure truth. The time right before sunrise is known as brahma-muhurta. This is the moment of the Absolute Truth. Spiritual activities conducted during this time carry an increased potency.

“The time early in the morning, one and a half hours before sunrise, is called brahma-muhurta. During this brahma-muhurta, spiritual activities are recommended. Spiritual activities performed early in the morning have a greater effect than in any other part of the day.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.20.46 Purport)

3. Where is the best place for dhyana?

The key is to limit distractions. I could be in a remote cave, without any outsiders to bother me, but if I am constantly peeking at a tree in the distance, the mind is not focused. At the same time, I could be in a loud room, with so many people talking, but if the mind is concentrated on the Absolute, the dhyana is perfect.

[Krishna and Arjuna on battlefield]Krishna offers the recommendation to become a yogi in the oddest of settings. He is speaking to a bow-warrior on the precipice of victory in a large-scale military conflict. How will Arjuna practice dhyana whilst shooting arrows? How will he stay focused whilst dodging enemy fire?

4. Who is the best object of focus?

As described in Shrimad Bhagavatam, real meditation is on the image of Lord Vishnu, the personal God. Starting from the lotus feet and working your way up, this bears no resemblance to the modern-day concocted theory of removing everything from the mind. The focus is on a specific form, and that object of worship must be spiritual to carry the requisite positive influence.

Arjuna can practice dhyana while fighting a war because his effort is a sacrifice for the pleasure of Krishna, who is non-different from Vishnu. This is like visiting a temple and paying respect. It is like composing beautiful poetry in praise of the one whose gunas are endless. It is like singing devotional songs such as the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[Shri Krishna]Meditation on void is not real dhyana. The process is not genuine unless Vishnu or one of His non-different forms is included. Krishna passes down the eightfold mysticism to begin with, so it would make sense that He is an expert on its parameters and procedures.

In Closing:

Dhyana in yoga where to concentrate,
Not just sitting for blood to circulate.

On Vishnu’s form starting at feet,
Until smile on face to greet.

But can be practiced anywhere ready,
Like Arjuna on battlefield steady.

Because this life for His pleasure meant,
Best time in Lord’s association spent.

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