I have been doing Sandhya, Gayatri, Nama Japa, Vishnu
Sahasranama, Aditya Hridaya, Shiva Panchakshari etc. I have had
a lot of family problems and these anustanas have helped me
in mitigating the family problems. All these were suggested by a
great soul, who was an astrologer in Madras. He is no more now. I
want to progress spiritually. I have done some meditation but I
stopped because of lack of guidance. I have approached other Swamis,
but I could not get much help, maybe because I could not get close
to them. I have read a lot of books, I have also studied Vedanta for my M.A. degree.
Recently read your book and have come for your guidance.
You have been doing quite all right. Reading and doing different
kinds of upasanas for material benefit cannot get you too far
on spiritual path. You have to follow either jnana
marga or Bhaktimarga. In Bhakti you give up all
the different recitations and stick to one Mantra and one deity and
do Sakar meditation in which you repeat a short Mantra
continuously and concentrate on the form of deity. For example,
conceive the form of Vishnu from foot to head, visualize the lotus
feet, legs, yellow dhoti, waist, chest, neck, shoulders, four
hands, holding Shankha, Chakra, etc.,, the ornaments,
the garland of flowers, Kaustubha gem on the chest,
Yajnopavita, comely face, smiling lips, ears with rings,
bright eyes, royal crown, long hair, etc. Like this your mind should
stay steady on Sakar, saguna Brahma while
repeating the Japa. The purpose is to attain one pointed
concentration. Otherwise mind hops from object to object, never
stays steady on a single object. This is pratyahara and
dharana of yoga.
Then from one object and one thought, it reaches no thought state.
This is thoughtless state. In that thoughtless state, you realize
are an intellectual, you may prefer to go by jnana
marga. That entails Self Enquiry. Who am I? You have to
go on thinking I am not this body not these sense organs, not the
mind. Then who am I?
to go through three states- waking, dream and deep sleep. This body
appears only in waking state. When I sleep, this body and the entire
waking universe disappears and a different dream world and dream
body appears. There is no similarity between the two worlds and the
two bodies. No correspondence in the time frame. Now I am convinced
that this waking world is real. In dream also I am convinced that
that world is real. The feelings, love, hate, hunger, thirst are all
real in dream even though this body is safely lying in bed. Then in
deep sleep, I am not aware of myself not even my own existence. What
happens to me then? Where do I go? How do I disappear? And how do I
reappear on waking? Of the three states, waking, dream and deep
sleep, which is my reality? I have three different bodies, but I
remains the same. The experience of three states is common and this
I knows the happenings in three states. Who is this I? Like this
you reflect and enquire deeply to who the I is. You must dwell on
this thought steadily. Have full faith, keep satsanga.
Practice yama and niyama.
the two paths. Bhakti is easier. You can combine the two
paths also; Jnana cannot arise without Bhakti, and
Ananya Bhakti (intense devotion) is not without
jnana. In the end, they become one. In jnana
marga, you may need to study certain Upanishads. Good
satsanga is indicated in both.