tratak
Trāṭak is a way to meditate by fixed gazing on a single point such as an idol of God, a black dot, or candle flame. The main intention of practicing this is to aide the practitioner to halt the restlessness of his eyes, pursuing something every moment; by concentrating his eyes, he can halt the restlessness of his mind too.
Procedure
i. Sit in any meditative asan.
ii. Place either an idol of Radha Krishna, or your favorite form of any God such as Ram, Shivaji, etc. on the table or wall, in front of your eyes.
iii. The distance between you and the idol must be about 3-5 feet (the distance depends more on the size of the picture).
iv. The bigger the idol, the greater the distance one should sit away from the idol for proper Trātak.
v. Perform each of the eye exercises five times successively:
a. Sideways Viewing
b. Front and Sideways Viewing
c. Up and Down Viewing
d. Scattered Viewing (defocusing)
e. Rotational Viewing
Stage – 1
Procedure
i. Gently open your eyes and look at the place below the idol.
ii. Slowly move your eyes to look at the picture, and start gazing at the whole idol effortlessly.
iii. Although in the beginning, you may feel an irritating sensation in the eyes, do not leave the performance.
iv. Using your will-power, do not blink; if tears come, let tears flow from your eyes.
v. Maintain this for about one minute.
vi. Then, close your eyes totally and rub the hands together, and place them over your eyes (Palming process).
vii. After 15-20 seconds, release your hands; then open your eyes with a few blinks.
viii. This is one round; do this for five rounds.
ix. End the final round with palming for a bit longer period (about 30 seconds).
x. Finally, release the hands but do not open your eyes instantly.
Stage – 2
Procedure
i. Slowly open your eyes, and look at the place below the idol and then carefully move the eyes to look at the idol.
ii. This time, just stare at one part of the picture like the eyes, nose, etc.—intensively.
iii. Your eyes may feel a burning like sensation at first, but control your eyes with will-power so that the eyes do not blink.
iv. If tears come, let them flow out freely as they purify the eye muscles.
v. Remain in this position for about one minute without straining the eyes.
vi. Then, close your eyes for a few seconds; rub your hands together, and perform palming.
vii. After 15-20 seconds, release your hands and open the eyes with a few blinks.
viii. This completes one round; repeat for five rounds.
ix. End the final round with palming for a bit longer period (about 30 seconds).
x. Finally, release your hands, but do not open your eyes immediately.
Stage – 3
Procedure
i. Slowly open your eyes and look at the place below the idol.
ii. Slowly, move your eyes from the place below the idol, to the idol.
iii. This time defocusing will be practiced; expanding your awareness, collect the details of the idol such as the colorful clothes, the posture, facial expression, the beautiful eyes, etc., in your mind.
iv. Now, while expanding your awareness more and more, observe the aura around the Lord.
v. Maintain the process for one minute, again close your eyes and try to visualize the image
 in your mind, remembering all the details you have collected. But try to visualize the sentient and dynamic Lord, as if He is smiling or playing on a flute or dancing with His pals in Vrindavan.
vi. When the image disappears, perform Palming process.
vii. Now, Bhramari can be practiced with palming; giving a gentle press over the eyes, breathe in and produce “Mm…” sound and feel the vibrations throughout the body.
viii. Perform Bhramari for five times.
ix. Then, release your hands; sit peacefully for some time and feel the changes in the body.
x. Realize that your mind has now become tranquil and your concentration, will-power, and eyesight have improved as well.

Benefits

  • This meditative process, Trāṭak, purifies the mind, maintains good eyesight by cleansing the eyes, and also relieves the practitioners from tension, insomnia, restlessness, depression, etc.
  • It also stimulates the nervous system, which helps enhance the ability to concentrate.
  • It increases memory and mental power.
  • It also decreases the rate of breathing.
  • This method exercises the centres—olfactive and optical; it also controls ciliary’s reflex and helps in stimulating the pineal gland.

Precautions

  • It is preferable to practice in the dark, especially in the evening time.
  • One should sit comfortably in one of the meditative asans with the head, neck, and spine erect; for this reason, it is better to remove wrist watches, eye glasses, belts, shawls, chains, etc.
  • While performing the palming process, the palms should not touch the eye balls.
  • At the time of palming, breathe slowly.
  • Palming should be done in such a way that there should be complete darkness.
  • The face should remain relaxed—preferably keeping a gentle smile.
  • One should not strain the eyes.
  • Persons with insomnia should not go to bed for at least an hour after doing it as it awakens the mind, and it is really difficult to sleep just after practicing.
  • In case of tension or headache, it is better to avoid this type of ṣhaṭkarma.

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