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How does present day meditation that's taught differ from ancient meditation taught in India?

Posted Nov 29 2011 4:13am
How does present day meditation that's taught differ from ancient
meditation taught thousands of years ago in India?
by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj,
and sanyasi pracharak of his mission, Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

Although there are an abundance of different styles of meditation, yet
it is unlikely that there is any meditation being taught today which
did not have its roots in ancient India.  Someone may add their own
personal twist to give a different flavor to any particular form of
meditation, but the main categories of meditation remain the same as
they have always been.  The reason is that our mind has two main
facets: the intellectual mind and the emotional mind.  These are two
facets of the same mind.  Thus, there are two main categories into
which all forms of meditation are divided: intellectual and
emotional.  Intellectual meditation is done from the brain area; the
activity of the mind is focused in the 'head' or 'brain' of the
meditator.  Emotional meditation is done from the heart area; the
activity of the mind is focused in the 'heart' of the meditator.

These two main categories can be further subdivided into more specific
kinds of meditation.  Intellectual meditation is mainly of three
kinds: 1) non-dual meditation (gyan); 2) psychic elevation techniques
(includes psychic relaxation techniques, psychic refinement
techniques, psychic strengthening exercises, psychic concentration
techniques, and psychic unity with a spirit or a celestial being); and
3) yogic techniques (includes hath yog, kundalini yog, raj yog, and
seeing the inner light and listening to the inner musical sound).
Emotional meditation is divided into two main categories: 1) loving
remembrance of the world; and 2) loving remembrance of God.  Loving
remembrance of anything requires a form to meditate on, because no one
can love a formless energy.  So emotional meditation on the world
means loving remembrance of any worldly person or thing; and emotional
meditation on God means the loving remembrance of the personal form of
God.  Emotional meditation on the personal form of God is further
subdivided into those who remember God with any worldly desire that
they wish to fulfill, and those who remember God without any worldly
desire.  Both of these are further subdivided according to the
particular form of God upon which the person is meditating.

To understand how intellectual and emotional meditation affect the
mind, we have to understand that the mind is a very subtle material
energy.  It is not the brain, because the brain is just a physical
organ of the body.  The mind is much more subtle than the brain or
even any electrical transmission between neurons.  The mind is so
subtle that it cannot be studied or detected with material science,
because science can only study the electrical impulses of the brain.
So although the mind functions through the organ of the physical
brain, yet it is more subtle than the brain.  When our soul leaves our
body and goes to another body (reincarnates), the mind goes with it.
The brain, of course, stays behind with the body, but the soul and
mind together go to the next birth.  All the characteristics of a
person's personality are preserved in the mind and transferred along
with the mind to his next life, although the individual memories of
his past lives are not accessible to his conscious mind.  Another
amazing fact about our mind is that it is never static.  The mind
always remains active, and as long as it is active, it is having
thoughts.  All of our thoughts are categorized according to their
quality (good, bad or neutral in intention).  If we think of the mind
as a cloth which can be made clean or dirty, then we can understand
how the mind can accumulate impurities and also be made clean.  The
mind preserves an imprint of every thought in a subtle form called a
sanskar.  Bad thoughts create bad sanskars and add impurity to the
mind.  Good thoughts create good sanskars and purify the mind
somewhat.  Neutral thoughts (like, "I'm hungry.  I should eat
something.") neither purify the mind or make it impure.  A thought is
considered 'bad' if it has an emotional charge to it and is motivated
by a bad intention (like, "I don't like that co-worker. I'd like it if
they got fired.").  A thought is considered 'good' if it has a good
motivation behind it (like, "That person was rude to me, but I'm not
going to retaliate, because that will only make the situation
worse.").  In this way, with every thought, our mind is moving along
the spectrum of purity/impurity, and either becoming more pure or more
impure.  Now let's see what kind of 'thought' meditation is.

Intellectual meditation is a neutral thought, because it is done
without any emotional charge and the motivation behind it is neither
to harm another, nor to hurt another; so it is neutral.  So when the
mind is being 'intellectual', it is in a neutral state, where it is
neither becoming more pure nor impure.  However, emotional meditation
can be considered either good, bad or neutral, depending on the object
of meditation and on the motivation of the meditator.  When the mind
is emotionally remembering any person or thing, then the mind has an
'adoptive' quality.  It means that the mind is affected by the
qualities of the person or thing which it emotionally remembers.  In
other words, the mind takes on, or adopts, the qualities of whatever
it emotionally remembers.  If a person is lovingly remembering another
person, then they will slowly and gradually begin to adopt the
qualities of that person's mind into their mind.  This even happens
with pets, which can be observed when the pet owner's mannerisms
sometimes begin to reflect the personality of his pet.  We do not
usually think of lovingly remembering the world as being a form of
meditation, but in fact it is.  We all do it so naturally that we
don't think it could be meditation, but in fact deeply remembering
anything is meditation.  And whatever we deeply remember enters into
our heart and stays there (for better or for worse).  Thus, we are
naturally meditating throughout the day on whatever we are emotionally
attached to, and our mind becomes more pure or impure according to the
quality of the object of remembrance.  This emotional meditation can
be taken to another level entirely when the object of meditation is

Meditating emotionally on God, or lovingly remembering a personal form
of God, has a powerful purifying effect on the mind.  Two of God's
qualities are that He is omnipresent and He is Divine (He is better
than 'good', or 'pure'.  He is ultimate good and absolute purity).
Since He is omnipresent, the moment you think of Him, there is an
instant connection between Him and your mind; and since He is Divine,
when that connection is made, you begin to adopt His Divine qualities
into your mind.  This is the fastest way to purify the mind, even
faster than through normal good thoughts.  Please note that just
saying, "I love God" will not purify your mind.  You have to actually
lovingly remember Him in His personal form, only then will your mind
be purified.  Also keep in mind that meditating on God and asking Him
to fulfill a worldly desire means that your mind is attached to the
world, not to God, so it will not have a purifying effect.  If one
desires the full effect of emotional meditation on God, then they
should lovingly remember God without any worldly demand, only with a
desire to attain Him.  As mentioned above, this type of meditation is
further subdivided according to the form of God upon which a person
chooses to meditate.  When a person's mind is fully purified, then
that person can attain the Divine vision of that specific form of God
upon Whom he was meditating.  This Divine attainment is not the
outcome of one's meditation alone, because the process also requires
surrendering to that form of God to receive His Grace.  The Grace
reveals the Divine vision of God, whereas the emotional meditation on
God purified the mind and made it a fit receptacle to receive the
power of Grace (called kripa shakti in Sanskrit).

Thus, we see that while intellectual meditation can improve certain
abilities or powers of the mind, and can also give certain psychic
experiences, it cannot change the inherent quality of the mind; it
cannot affect the purity of the mind.  Emotional meditation has the
power to change the quality of a person's mind, and if the object of
meditation is God Himself, then the mind purifies very quickly and the
ultimate result can be God realization.  This process of emotional
meditation on God is also called bhakti or bhakti yog, which has been
practiced in India for more than thousands of years.  The intellectual
techniques described above all fall under the general titles of yog or
gyan, which have also been practiced in India for more than thousands
of years.  Thus, we see that the ways of meditation being taught
around the globe today are all related to the techniques that were
being practiced in ancient India thousands of years ago.

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat (JKP) was founded by Jagadguru Shree
Kripaluji Maharaj, our beloved Shree Maharajji, the fifth prime
Jagadguru in the last 5000 years.

Founded in 1990, Radha Madhav Dham Temple and ashram serves as the
national center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat in the United States and
is one of the largest Hindu temples in North America.

JKP Radha Madhav Dham Official Website:
Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Worldwide Mission:
Swami Nikhilanandji's Facebook Page:
Official Youtube Channel:

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