A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana -5.10
Discourse 5: Narada Instructs Yudhisthira on Ashrama Dharma-10.
There is no chance of distraction of mind here if we have properly prepared ourselves from an early age, but if we have lived a very dissipated life until fifty or sixty years of age and then attempt this meditation, we will find that our mind will not concentrate at all because we have not given it time to prepare itself through the earlier conditions required during the previous parts of our life. It is necessary to remember that one’s whole life is a period of austerity, conservation, duty, and meditation.
Here, in these Aranyakas, the various upasanas are prescribed: how the cosmic prana can be meditated upon, how the cosmic mind can be conceived, how Brahma—the Mahat, or the cosmic intellect—can be brought into the focus of our attention, how we can intensely feel the unity of the parts of our physical body with the parts of the physical universe. This is the highest form of upasana that we can think of.
There are also various other ways. This is a transcendental technique of the Aranyaka portion of the Vedas, but we have other devotional paths which can also be called upasana—such as contemplation/meditation on a form of God, or an ishta devata, as it is called, that we think is suitable for us. The ishta devata is a chosen deity.
It may be the name that we give to our concept of God as a person pervading the whole world, or as a person seated near us as an image on our altar or a murti in a temple, as the case may be. In the earlier stages, we may require a physical form of the object of our meditation, and that could be a yantra, mantra, murti, image, idol, saligrama, painted picture or whatever it is, for the purpose of concentration.
The reason is, we have to divert our affection for life to the life of the Total. We love ourselves, we love our own life, but it is good that we love the Total Life which has bequeathed to us this personal life. If the Total Life is ignored, the personal life cannot be guarded. It is the security of the Total Life that gives us security here individually, because the Total controls individual existence, as the whole is inclusive of all the parts.
We should not imagine that we can have everything that we want individually, irrespective of our concern for the world that is outside us. The world is not outside us, really speaking; it is ingrained into the very vitals of our energy. It is actually the warp and woof of our existence. The five elements, including the sun, moon and stars, all superintend our sense organs, mind, intellect, etc. Such meditation is called for through a gradual process.
To be continued ...