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Dharana leads to Dhyana

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Let us now move to the four successive steps of dhyana process, which begins

with Pratyahara. It implies withdrawing the senses away from the external

world and turn our attention inwards. The whole dhyana process is pursued in

this very mode. It needs to be appreciated that all happenings out in open

originate within one’s mind. You visualise, ideate, discriminate, articulate, and

then will upon to act. And the nature of any action is influenced by how each

mind is inherently framed. You need to look within to figure out what lies in

store of the inner realms of the mind. In the process, before the final desired

destination is struck upon, one passes through various layers of mind that

throw light on memory impressions picked up in the immediate and distant


Going through the process, first comes to sight thought crowd gathered up

that relate to immediate past. Mind keeps flirting with them nonstop. Large

majority of them are inconsequential and negative. They engage our attention

in immediate terms. Also, persistent desires keep chasing us. Impressions of

unpleasant experiences in the past keep alive hurt feelings, which keep

disturbing our emotional frame of mind. In turn, they induce a sense of fear

and insecurity about future. Mind remains so much occupied with these

thoughts that it doesn’t allow space necessary to process any fresh thought

objectively. Mind, thus, remains unnerved and therefore becomes restive. But

then, without becoming aware of them, it would not be possible to resolve and

get disengaged from them. So, the first call is to get disengaged from that

thought crowd with the help of fresh educative inputs. Denial does not help.

Having thus disengaged oneself from the indwelling thought crowd which

otherwise keep hounding us from within, one feels unburdened and relaxed.

Following which, doors open to strike even still deeper layers of mind.

As we move deeper, one’s true nature gets revealed – inherent vulnerabilities

and workable part of indwelling potential - coming as they may as reflection of

the Karmic imprints carried over from the past. We, thus, become aware of

our inherent tendencies – desires, habits, likes & dislikes, prejudices &

obsessions, virtues & attributes. Also, our indwelling potential. Accordingly,

one could take necessary corrective initiatives to get over limitations of mind

again through fresh educative inputs. Also, acknowledge the workable part of

indwelling potential, hone them further, and make them worthy of being

applied in contemporary terms. Even creative abilities could be further

amplified by expanding one’s reach through conscious efforts.

Once well established in the process, step-by-step one could go deeper and

deeper, and unravel memory impressions laid down even at unconscious level.

Eventually, one may strike at the core of existence. One’s true self then gets

revealed. One then realises the unity underlying all diverse existences. That

makes one rise above the sense of duality and thereby relative perception.

One’s full potential of mind thus gets unfolded when it would know no limits.

Once mind gets interiorised, the next step is to develop Dharana. Here begins

the dhyana process proper. It calls for training one’s mind to remain focused to

wherever attention is paid. It needs to be appreciated here that to get to the

bottom of an issue in hand, or successfully make it to the desired destination,

focused attention is necessary. To go about, one needs a concept to work

upon, is what dharana literally stands for. That drives the process further.

Concept involves thought. You may reflect upon a thought but can’t

concentrate on it, no matter how valuable it is. To overcome this limitation,

some iconic imageries are made use of in Indian tradition over which one is

supposed to concentrate. They are named as deities so that we could engage

with them with a sense of veneration. An image has instant appeal. They are so

drawn as to portray the dharana that drives through the dhyana process. The

educative message entailed in the imagery, does also throw light on how to

organise our thought process that may help us conduct with ease and comfort

overriding all challenges coming our way. Simultaneously a mantra identified

with the imagery in focus is chanted, which again is a verbal projection of the

concept. That makes the process even more potent. As the mantra resonates

with the imagery in focus, it helps develop concentration. The process does

also help inculcate a value system. Here comes the role of a Guru, who

identifies and suggests an iconic figure suited to individual needs.

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