Meditation is an unbroken uninterrupted or incessant flow of the idea of the object that is concentrated upon. If you close your eyes when you do Trataka and mentally visualise the picture of the object of Trataka, it is concrete meditation or Saguna meditation. Concrete meditation on an object is necessary for an untrained mind, in the beginning. If you meditate on an abstract idea, it will constitute Nirguna meditation.
For beginners whose minds are engrossed in and filled with passions and impurities, meditation on a form is absolutely necessary. A Murty or any concrete form such as a Pratima is indispensable during meditation or Japa. Without undergoing a course of concrete meditation in the beginning, especially for the ordinary type of people, it is absolutely impossible to start Nirguna meditation at the very outset. The vast majority of aspirants commit a serious mistake in jumping to Nirguna meditation all at once. They will only break their legs. The mind is so framed as it demands a form to cling to. Meditation on a Murty, i.e., a stone-image remains the stone as it is, but the devotion of the devotee goes to the Lord. He is pleased. Divine Grace will surely descend. You will have to superimpose the attributes of God on the stone-image. You will have to imagine that there is the Antaratman hidden in the image, the all-pervading, indwelling presence, the pure consciousness, the Chaitanya at the back of it.
A child makes a toy-child (doll) of rags, and plays with it with motherly instincts of nursing and protection. The doll remains the same but the child develops the motherly instincts for future development and manifestation. Even so, a Bhakta in worshipping a Murty, develops devotion, Bhakti. Anugraha, Preeti, Viraha and Mahabhava and eventually Parabhakti.
An aspirant can meditate on the physical form of his Guru.
Sit on Padmasana or Siddhasana in a solitary room. Close the eyes. Concentrate on the picture of Lord Vishnu in the heart. Imagine that Lord Vishnu is seated there with His four hands in the centre of a blazing sun of light, with conch, disc, mace and lotus. Mentally visualise the picture, from head to foot as you have done in Trataka. Do mental Puja also. Offer flowers, Arghya, Sandal paste, incense; burn camphor, etc., mentally. Similarly you can meditate on Lord Siva, Krishna, Devi. Instead of concentrating at the heart, you can concentrate at the space between the two eyebrows (Trikuti). Practise this Saguna meditation for two years and then take to Nirguna meditation. You can do meditation while sitting or standing or walking. For beginners a sitting posture is necessary. Repeat your Guru Mantra or the Mantra of the Ishta Devata mentally. Associate the ideas of purity, infinity, eternity, immortality, Vyapaka, Paripurna, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Akhanda, Advaita, Chidakasa, etc., with Om repetition.
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