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Lesson 19 - Dhyana

In lesson 18 you learnt about Dharana or concentration. The next progressive stage after dharana is dhyana. Dhyana is often translated as meditation. Though dhyana is next stage of dharana you always need to start with dharana. You cannot directly go in dhyana. You start with dharana and then it evolves into dhyana. In this lesson you will learn about some finer aspects of dhyana and also few dhyana techniques.

When you sit for dharana you are essentially concentrating on some internal or external object. During dharana your overall awareness is divided into three types:

  • You are aware about the object of concentration
  • You are aware about your own body, breathing etc.
  • You are aware about the process of concentration

Each of this awareness may or may not be continuous. For example while performing dharana you can easily get distracted by surrounding sounds. You then again bring your mind back onto the object of concentration. That means dharana is not absolutely continuous. You concentrate on the object on and off. You need to spend some efforts to glue the mind again and again on the object.

A stage is reached when your dharana becomes so mature that the three types of awareness merge together. That means you no longer possess bodily awareness. Naturally the sense organs cannot get distracted by any means. This process is dhyana. Thus dhyana is like a continuous flow of oil.

Since dhyana is a progression of dharana the same techniques of dharana can lead you to dhyana. However, you may find internal and subtle techniques more suitable. For example instead of Trataka you may find Ajapa Japa or Shambhavi Mudra more suitable for dhyana.

Dhyana is often classified as Saguna Dhyana and Nirguna Dhyana. The former refers to dhyana on an object with name, form and qualities whereas the later refers to dhyana on formless, nameless and qualityless aspect of the supreme reality. It is very difficult to attain the stage of Nirguna Dhyana unless you practice Saguna Dhyana for a long time.

In addition to the dharana techniques described in the previous lesson I am giving two more subtle practices here.

Omkara Dhyana

Omkara dhyana involves meditation on Om, the shabda-bramhan (Bramhan in the form of a word or sound). The technique to perform this dhyana is as follows:

  • Sit in any meditative posture with spine and head erect
  • Close your eyes and relax the whole body
  • Spend a minute or two in breath awareness
  • Now visualize a bright orange or blue colored Om at the eye brow center
  • Simultaneously start chant Om mentally
  • Let the visualization and chanting be uninterrupted
  • Be in this position as much as you can

This dhyana gives a feeling of divine bliss if done correctly. You may find that Om is changing its color and size on its own. Sometimes Om may get substituted by bright light on its own. This is perfectly normal. After some practice you will find that your practice becomes steady and yields bliss and joy that cannot be explained in words.

Sahasrara Chakra Dhyana

Sahasrara Chakra or Crown Center is located at the top of the head. This technique is an advanced technique and it is recommended that you seek guidance of a Guru. The technique to perform Sahasrara Dhyana is as follows:

  • Sit in any meditative position with spine and head erect
  • Close your eyes and relax the whole body
  • Spend a minute or two in breath awareness
  • Now focus your awareness in your head
  • Visualize a bright light or lotus resting on the top of your head
  • Make your visualization as vivid as possible
  • If you wish you can visualize an image of your favorite deity there instead of light or lotus
  • As an alternative you can also focus on inner cavity of your head (where brain resides)
  • Maintain this awareness as much as possible

Sahasrara Chakra Dhyana gives pure joy and bliss and should not be attempted for a prolonged time during initial stages. If you feel that your awareness is loosing and you are about to lose control on your body immediately rub your feet on some rough surface. Because of this reason it is strongly recommended that you do this practice under a guidance of a Guru.

When your dhyana matures further it evolves into Samadhi, the ultimate state of any Yoga practice. In the next lesson I will explain the concept and types of Samadhi.

May the peace be with you.



Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a yoga mentor, meditation teacher, and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To read more about him go here. More details about his Kriya and Meditation online course are available here.

Posted On : 06 May 2007

Tags : Yoga Patanjali Raja Yoga Ashtanga Yoga Meditation Courses