The Process of Meditation

Radha Raman

The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified. (SB 2.2.13)

…The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void. The meditation should concentrate on the person of the Supreme Godhead, either in His virāṭ-rūpa, the gigantic universal form, or in His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], as described in the scriptures. There are authorized descriptions of Viṣṇu forms, and there are authorized representations of Deities in the temples. Thus one can practice meditating upon the Deity, concentrating his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and gradually rising higher and higher, up to His smiling face.

Full text and purport

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 2, Chapter 2, Text 13

The Lord in the Heart

ekaikaśo ‘ṅgāni dhiyānubhāvayet
pādādi yāvad dhasitaṁ gadābhṛtaḥ
jitaṁ jitaṁ sthānam apohya dhārayet
paraṁ paraṁ śuddhyati dhīr yathā yathā

eka-ekaśaḥ—one to one, or one after another; aṅgāni—limbs; dhiyā—by attention; anubhāvayet—meditate upon; pāda-ādi—legs, etc.; yāvat—until; hasitam—smiling; gadā-bhṛtaḥ—the Personality of Godhead; jitam jitam—gradually controlling the mind; sthānam—place; apohya—leaving; dhārayet—meditate upon; param param—higher and higher; śuddhyati—purified; dhīḥ—intelligence; yathā yathā—as much as.

TRANSLATION

The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified.

PURPORT

The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void. The meditation should concentrate on the person of the Supreme Godhead, either in His virāṭ-rūpa, the gigantic universal form, or in His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], as described in the scriptures. There are authorized descriptions of Viṣṇu forms, and there are authorized representations of Deities in the temples. Thus one can practice meditating upon the Deity, concentrating his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and gradually rising higher and higher, up to His smiling face.

According to the Bhāgavata school, the Lord’s rāsa dancing is the smiling face of the Lord. Since it is recommended in this verse that one should gradually progress from the lotus feet up to the smiling face, we shall not jump at once to understand the Lord’s pastimes in the rāsa dance. It is better to practice concentrating our attention by offering flowers and tulasi to the lotus feet of the Lord. In this way, we gradually become purified by the arcanā process. We dress the Lord, bathe Him, etc., and all these transcendental activities help us purify our existence. When we reach the higher standard of purification, if we see the smiling face of the Lord or hear the rāsa dance pastimes of the Lord, then we can relish His activities. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, therefore, the rāsa dance pastimes are delineated in the Tenth Canto (Chapters 29-34).
The more one concentrates on the transcendental form of the Lord, either on the lotus feet, the calves, the thighs or the chest, the more one becomes purified. In this verse it is clearly stated, “the more the intelligence becomes purified,” which means the more one becomes detached from sense gratification. Our intelligence in the present conditioned state of life is impure due to being engaged in sense gratification. The result of meditation on the transcendental form of the Lord will be manifested by one’s detachment from sense gratification. Therefore, the ultimate purpose of meditation is purification of one’s intelligence.

Those who are too engrossed in sense gratification cannot be allowed to participate in arcanā or to touch the transcendental form of the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu Deities. For them it is better to meditate upon the gigantic virāṭ-rūpa of the Lord, as recommended in the next verse. The impersonalists and the voidists are therefore recommended to meditate upon the universal form of the Lord, whereas the devotees are recommended to meditate on the Deity worship in the temple. Because the impersonalists and the voidists are not sufficiently purified in their spiritual activities, arcanā is not meant for them.

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