Every facet of daily life is aligned with the purpose of nurturing, health, harmony, and spiritual growth and provides a complete experiential education in holistic
The Invaluable, Inbuilt Visual Processor
The modern-day research reveals that humans process visual data better than sheer text. It’s because when we think of a word, we have a mental image we associate with that word. The inbuilt visual processor that God has bestowed upon us can be harnessed with the technique of visualization, to our advantage.
“Visualization is the process of consciously creating images, with the eyes open or closed, for producing the desired beneficial effect. In it, the conscious mind visualizes images that will create a beneficial impact on the subconscious.” [*]Personal coaches utilize guided imagery to motivate their clients, help them stay optimistic, and change their inner visualization of situations and outcomes. This technique of visualization has found application in the fields of medicine, therapeutics, competitive sports, and art to name a few.
We can use this potential of visualizationto purify the subconscious by absorbing our mind in God. The mind is such a machine that it cannot remain void; it flitters from one thought to the other. To still the restless mind into a state of thoughtlessness creates an unstable condition for the mind that is difficult to maintain. This is like while riding a bicycle, if you hit the brakes and bring the bicycle to a standstill, you will fall either to the left or to the right. But if you steer the handle to one side, the cycle will stop moving forward and very easily turn in the direction you desire.
Meditational techniques for stopping the thought process and stilling the restless mind are highly unsuccessful. In Bhakti Yog, we do not try to still the mind; we divert it to God. We do this by visualizing and meditating upon the form of God
Visualize to Nurture Your Devotion
In endless past lifetimes, we have been habituated to interact with forms. All the personalities we loved and all the objects we were attached to had forms, and so attraction to forms is a natural sanskār (tendency) of the mind. In devotion, if we add meditation on the forms of God along with chanting, it gives the mind a tangible basis for loving Him. If we endeavor to meditate merely upon the name of God, or the syllable ‘Om’, the mind does not easily experience the sweetness in it. On the other hand, if we have the all-attractive form of God in front of us, the mind will be effortlessly drawn towards him. This meditation upon the form of God is called RoopDhyānmeditation, which is vital to sādhanā (spiritual practice), as Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj revealed:
खातगीधअरुस्वानजनु, कामादिकशवमान ||
saba sādhana janu deha sama, rūpa dhyāna janu prāna
khāta gīdha aru svāna janu, kāmādika śhava māna
(Bhakti Śhatak 10)
“All spiritual practices are like the body; meditation upon the form of God is like the life airs. Just as the body without life airs is worthy of being eaten by dogs and vultures, similarly sādhanā without meditation upon the form of God, is eaten by lust, anger, greed, and envy.”
Can We Visualize Godwithout Having Seen His Roop(Form)?
The divine form of God can only be visualized whenour mind becomes divine. How then do we visualize God, whom we have never seen? Well, we desire to travel and see the world just by hearing or reading about how wonderful it is. Similarly, “the Saints who have seen God reveal to us that He is the very epitome of beauty. Also, the scriptures describe His personality as all-attractive and enchanting. From what we have heard and read can we not create the desire to love and see Him? Definitely we can, just as we did in the world!” assures Swamiji.
“Besides, having darśhan (vision) of God is the fruit of our sādhanā. We cannot demand the fruit without having put in the effort.” [*]For example, a gardener can’t have the juicy and nectarine mango fruit before he plants the sapling, protects it from the grazing animals, nurtures, fertilizes, waters, and waits for five years for it to grow and bear the fruit. Similarly, “in devotion to God as well, we first practice meditation on Him without having seen His divine form. Only later, after we become God-realized, will we have the good fortune of seeing Him with our eyes,” elucidates Swamiji.[*]Therefore, first we have to create a mental image of Him and develop divine sentiments.
Can Our Material Mind Meditate upon the Divine Lord?
According to the Vedas, God created the world through Maya (His material energy), which possess three guṇas – goodness, passion, and ignorance. Hence our body, mind, and intellect that are made from Maya also possess these three modes. But the Supreme Lord is beyond these three modes. Therefore, He is called tri-guṇātīt (transcendental to the modes of material nature). How, then, can ourmaterial mind meditate on the image of Supreme Almighty, who is beyond the realm of Maya?
“Meditation on the divine can only happen when God bestows His Grace and makes the mind divine. Until then, continue to meditate upon the imagined form, developing divine sentiments towards Him. These divine sentiments purify the mind. Do not worry that the image of the Lord you build with your mind is material. Use that image to increase your love for Him.
When we reach the state of mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja or complete surrender to God, we receive His Grace. Then our mind becomes divine, and we do not need to create His image with the mind, for we truly see Him – as He is – standing before us, in His original form!” [*]Until then, choose any form of the Lord that you are attracted to, or create His form with your mind as you wish. Else, take the help of a deity or a picture of God, and meditate upon it. But while meditating, have divine sentiments to increase your love for Him.
Experience the sweet bliss of RoopDhyān meditation, where Swamiji guides you to focus the mind on Shree Radha Krishna.
*H. H. Swami Mukundananda. “Visualization and Meditation.” Art of Mind Management, Plano: JKYog, 2017, pp. 147-154. Print.