Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj: “When we come out of the realm of darkness and enter into the realm of Light, we will at the same time escape the web of death.” (Harmony Of All Religions — Sarvadharma Samanvya)
The Main Obstacles in the Practice of Dhyana
The two main hindrances to success in the practice of meditation are as follows:
1. Procrastination and Laziness
2. The train of thoughts during meditation, such as day dreaming, fanciful imagination, and planning. In addition, silence during meditation lulls many practitioners to sleep. During meditation we need to be vigilant and awake. Whatever the point of our focus is, we should diligently fix our mind on that goal. Then we will not be bothered by sleep. We can only reach our Noble (arya) destination within, the state of unity with God, if we overcome the enormous challenge of procrastination and also restrain the ever-rising tide of mental activity during meditation. Not so vigilant practitioners usually become engrossed in extraneous thoughts or fall sleep. These formidable passes must be crossed for success.
What is the glorious destination that we are striving for? When we close our eyes we see darkness within, it is the realm of ignorance. When the Light dawns within you, then you see that you reside in noble regions. In darkness resides ignorance and in Light resides knowledge. For example, as we are now sitting in Light, we are able to see one another. However, if the electric power goes out, the ensuing total darkness would make us unable to see others. We would not even be aware of other people coming and going.
In this analogy, Light signifies knowledge and darkness signifies ignorance. When we see darkness with our eyes closed we are in the realm of death and re-birth because we are not aware of our true nature. When we come out of the realm of darkness and enter into the realm of Light, we will at the same time escape the web of death. If we remain in darkness it is not possible to be free from the cycle of birth and death. Only when we achieve the inner Light — the Divine Light which represents the glory of the Divine — can we be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
Sant Kabir says:
“In each house (heart) the Light shines. But we are blind [ignorant of that Divine Light of knowledge] so we cannot see it. If we keep looking we will find the Light and will destroy the shackles of death.”
Various Forms of Dhyana (Concentration)
Without formless or subtle meditation, it is impossible to attain the inner Light. You must first get yourself out of darkness. How can this be possible? Pratyahara — bringing the mind back — is followed by dharana, sustaining the focus of the mind for small periods. At first this will only be for a very short time. Pratyahara involves the repeated practice of bringing the wandering mind to a focus. Through diligent practice of pratyahara we become able to focus on the object of meditation for little stretches of time. This is dharana.
When dharana is continuous for extended periods, the state of dhyana (complete focus) becomes possible. However, merely focusing on a physical form or name is not the only type of dhyana. Dhyana is also emptiness of mind. (Harmony Of All Religions — Sarvadharma Samanvya)