From Dhaarana to Samadhi

Q: Why can't we straight away practice Meditation and skip Dhaarana?

A: To experience Samadhi, we need something more, it’s not just dhaarana or it’s not just dhyana. When we perfect our dhaarana, then there is a spontaneous experience of meditation. Because meditation we cannot do, if I say "I am meditating", it means I am not meditating!! May be conventionally you can say that, just to communicate the idea, but factually it is not so. Because one really cannot meditate, meditation has to happen. As long as the sense of "I" is there, "I am Meditating", the very element of "I AM" will nullify your meditation.

There is a beautiful episode of Swami Rama in the book "Living with Himalayan Masters". When he was very young in the gurukula in the Himalayan caves, he was given the practice of mediation, and he says in the book, there was a big row of students, all siting in the cave, one by one, and His Guru started walking around to find out how well his students are in meditation.

Jyothi Ma on Dhaarana
Then Swami Rama says in the book, I could feel, I could sense, I could hear my guru coming near, hear his walking steps etc., then all the time, I pretended to meditate. When my Guru came and asked “What are you doing?, then Swami Rama opened his eyes and said “I am meditating”.. for which his Guru Bengali Baba replied, "your very statement 'I am meditating', tells me that you are not meditating"Because all your indriyas are outward, when you can hear your guru coming, when you can smell your guru presence, when you can feel his presence, physically here, How can you say that you are meditating ?".

So if the meditation has to be perfected, it has to happen. How can you make it happening? How can you make your meditation to happen, and not you doing it ? There the Dhaarana comes into picture. So initially it is wise on our part to spend more and more time on dhaarana, and not worry too much about dhyana and not at all worry about Samadhi.

Samadhi is bound to come, meditation is bound to happen, provided you focus, you spend more time on your dhaarana. So it is dhaarana, when perfected, when you become the master of your dhaarana, then the other two results Dhyana & Samadhi, fruits of the destination, you are bound to get.

- Extract from the DVD 'Concept of Dhaarana'

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Let's Hear from our School - Sadhana Sankalp (2013)

Lets Hear from our School

Sadhana Vidyalaya celebrated Sadhana Sankalp Diwas on July 5, 2013 to rededicate ourselves to the Panch-Kosha way of developing every child of the school in to an integrated personality.  Below is the brief report of the whole event. 

The Panch-Kosha concept is central to Guruji’s vision of holistic education and this vision has led to this mission of a Panch-Kosha based Gurukul System of education. 

This is the foundation of Sadhana Vidyalaya, and it is this system that makes our school, the school with a difference.

Sadhana Sankalp Diwas is going to be celebrated every year and its agenda shall continue to be: Orient, Inspire and Resolve. 

On this first instance of Sadhana Sankalp, the word orient implies turning all needles north, that is, all stake holders orient themselves to the vision and mission mentioned above. Subsequent celebrations would focus on course correction.

Inspiration percolates down the line, from Guruji and Jyothi Maa, through teachers down to school children. An inspired teacher alone can carry the flag of our mission and build a unique organization.

Guruji Pattabhiram & Jyothi Ma 

Guruji at Sadhana Vidyalaya Community Day
Jyothi Ma addressing the participants
The session has this deliverable – an action plan for the implementation of Panch-Kosha based system of education.

The Celebration

The program was blessed by the presence of P. P. Guruji and P. P. Jyothi Maa. Our Guest-of-Honor was Shri Shrinivas Murthy who has been associated with the school from its inception and who has significantly and consistently contributed to the development of Sadhana Vidyalaya and has been very active in spreading Yoga Education across South India.

Our Chief Guest was Shri S K Jain, General Manager, National Thermal Power Corporation. 

All teachers actively participated in the day long deliberation and finally evolved an action plan for implementing the system for the year 2013-14.

The proceedings were compered by Ms Basamma in a very lively manner.

The Panch Kosh System

Every human being exists at five distinct levels – Physical Sheath or Annamaya Kosha, Vital Sheath or Pranamaya Kosha, Mental Sheath or Manomaya Kosha, Intellectual Sheath or Vijnyanmaya Kosha and Blissful Sheath or Anandmaya Kosha.

The significance of each of these sheaths to the integration of personality was described by different presenters. 

Annamaya Kosha: Shri Shrinivas Murthy

Shri Shrinivas Murthy on Annamaya Kosha
Pranamaya Kosha: Shrimati Shailaja Karandikar

Shrimati Shailaja Karandikar on Pranamaya Kosha
Manomaya Kosha: P.P. Jyothi Maa

Jyothi Ma on Manomaya Kosha
Vijnyanmaya Kosha: Shri Laxman Karandikar

Shri Laxman Karandikar on Vijnyanmaya Kosha
The fifth or the Anandmaya Kosha and the integration of all Koshas were explained by P.P. Guruji.

Guruji talking on Anandmaya Kosha

Guruji Pattabhiram

Guruji Pattabhiram

Guruji Pattabhiram

Guruji Pattabhiram

The lunch session was followed by open forum in which teachers formed four groups, one for each Kosha except the Anandmaya Kosha and this was followed by a brain storming session in which the four groups identified the activities for the development of Koshas. 

Teachers listening to the speakers

Over the years the school Time-Table has a period for Sanskara and another for Activity on a daily basis. This is in addition to the weekly Physical Education period. The activities needed to be appropriately integrated with the Panch Kosha system in a way they could be practically implemented. The proceedings resulted in fulfilling this requirement.

The activities corresponding to the four sheaths were:

Physical Sheath: Sports activity, Yogasanas

Vital Sheath: Pranayama, Long jump, High Jump, 200m running

Mental Sheath: Chanting mantras, singing, dancing

Intellectual Sheath: Chess, Sudoku, Puzzle solving, increasing difficulty level in science and mathematics problems

The inspired teachers have resolved to effectively implement the plan outlined in the concluding session. This completed the orientation for this year.

It is proposed to review the Panch Kosha program implementation twice a week so that practical problems of implementation are addressed expeditiously.

Cultural Program

After the daylong deliberations and brain storming sessions a cool breeze came in the form of vocal music presentation by teachers. Some teachers presented solo programs while others presented group songs. The evening was further enlivened by mono acting of Shri Prashanth Kumar. 

The highlight of the cultural evening was a wonderful solo dance performance on Krishna Leela by P.P. Jyothi Maa.

Inspirational Dance performance from Jyothi Ma

Krishna Leela Dance performance from Jyothi Ma

Jyothi Ma 
Program ended with a Vote-of-Thanks by Ms Vinutha.

Vote of Thanks

Follow up Actions

The preliminary plan of action was reviewed on 6th, 10th and 13th July and was fine tuned to its present form. Teachers have voluntarily opted for various activities. The Panch Kosha system is now active. 

Guruji allotted a 1-acre piece of land from the Ashram area to be developed as a play ground. Now Volley Ball, Kho-Kho, Long Jump, Throw Ball, Javelin Throw, Discus Throw and Kabaddi facilities are available and children are using these facilities with great enthusiasm. All this was done in the form of a joint effort by teachers and students – first step in Panch Kosha has been taken. It is less than a fortnight and enthusiasm is monotonically growing.

Teachers have identified three thrust areas to create an atmosphere conducive to Panch Kosha System:

[1] Cleanliness in campus 

[2] Discipline and

[3] Language

This is a collective activity and is already underway. Thanks all again for your continuous support & love.

- Shri Laxman Karandikar
Director - Academic Quality
Sadhana Vidyalaya

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Shri Rama Dootham - Story Series - Part 9

Shri Rama Dootham
Click here to read previous episodes1234567, 8

As it took more time than I thought, to bring back the Messenger in this material world, I continued to recite the next stanza from Hanuman Chalisa along with its meaning…

Hath bajre aur dhvaja biraje | Kandhe moonj janeu saaje ||

Shankar suvan kesari nandan | Tej pratap maha jag vandan ||

Vidyavan guni ati chatur | Ram kaj karibe ko atur ||

Prabhu charitra sunibe ko rasiya | Ram lakhan sita man basiya ||

Shri Hanumanji is holding in one hand a lighting bolt and in the other a banner with sacred threadacross his shoulder

Oh Hanumanji! You are the emanation of 'SHIVA' and you delight Shri Keshri. Being ever effulgent, you and hold vast sway over the universe. The entire world propitiates. You are adorable of all.

Oh! Shri Hanumanji! You are the repository learning, virtuous, very wise and highly keen to do the work of Shri Ram.

You are intensely greedy for listening to the naration of Lord Ram's life story and revel on its enjoyment. You ever dwell in the hearts of Shri Ram-Sita and Shri Lakshman.

"Hmm….."  Messenger softly acknowledged having heard what I recited…and told with a smile "You too are greedy to listen more from me, isn't it" ? 

I just nodded my head in affirmation with a return smile. 

"Tell me Beta, what is needed to achieve any set goal" ?,  Messenger suddenly posed a question to me..

After a brief thought, I replied “Determination”..

"What else"?


"What else" ?



"To have a plan in place…!"

"All are OK, but what you should have in basic before you get all these additional qualities ?

"Sir, I fail to find any definite answer, you only please clarify…" I surrendered finally.... 

Messenger replied, "Son, to do any work or to achieve anything what is more important than anything else is the enthusiasm that you should have to do it. Without it, you cannot achieve anything and with it, you can achieve everything. Even 90 year old man if he has enthusiasm can do anything, and with no enthusiasm even a 20 year young man cannot achieve anything. Age is not limitation when one has enthusiasm in doing anything".

"Hanuman shows this when he readily accepts the job of crossing the ocean... Didn't He ? asked the Messenger looking straight into my eyes.

"Sir, I understand, but I have one doubt here.. It may be idiotic question as well.. Can I ask? "...

"Son whatever you have asked till now are all idiotic only, never mind, I am tuned to it, Go ahead".. said the Messenger with the twinkling eyes....

Strangely, this taunt from the Messenger didn't hurt me, rather I was feeling more happy to know that the Messenger is now more willing to listen to me...  So I continued with my question...

"Sir, why did Hanuman choose to go through Akasha marga to cross the Ocean? Doesn't he know swimming" ?

"Hahaha… Bete, with Ram blessings, Hanuman can cross the Ocean through Akasha Marga or through Jal Marga…or He can also drink the entire Ocean if he wish, but He did not do it because if He drank all the Ocean, then how can the sedhubandhana leela would happen later. For every action there is a reason…. The blessed one’s do them so casually that we fail to understand them many a times …"

"For your understanding let us assume that Hanuman decided to cross the ocean through Akasha, because flight goes faster than the Ship, isn’t it ? Hahaha..... the Messenger laughter echoed the whole Dhyana Mandir, in the Sadhana Dhama Ashram... 

"Ah! Yes, now there is logic…." Now I too joined in that laughter.... 

"You know what He did immediately..."? the Messenger again posed a question to me... 

I know whatever answer I would give, it wouldn't be right, so I decided to keep quite & waited for the Messenger only to answer it…

"Hanuman himself was quite aware how important & critical is the mission entrusted to Him and as he was taking leave of all fellow monkeys, Sugriva, Rama & Lakshmana, He knew to achieve anything one need both manusya (human) effort and lord’s anugraha (blessing), so he decided to start the journey with a Prayer. Now tell me, to whom he prayed first ?

Again.. I thought for a moment and before I answer.. the Messenger interrupted stating…

"Tell me, Because of whom you are peaceful and Happy in life now...."?

"My Guruji… !",  I instantly answered…

"Yes, Hanuman first salutes to His Guru, the 'Sun' God since he learnt all Vedic scriptures from Sun, then He Salutes to the Lord Indra, Brahma, the devotees of the Lord, his own father (the Wind-God) and then mentally paid obeisance to Rama and Lakshmana. He then bowed down to all the rivers and oceans before embarking on the mission". 

I interrupted by asking, "Sir, I understand why Hanuman prays to his Guru & to Rama & Lakshmana, but why others? "..... 

Without any hesitation, the Messenger replied gently, "Hanuman realizes that to accomplish his mission, he needs Lords as well as the natural forces like rivers and oceans cooperation and blessings. The manner in which Hanuman starts his mission is indeed a lesson for all of us on how we should initiate any critical mission".

"Hanuman then says:

- He will go as fast as Ram’s weapon in search of Sita 

- Like how Ram’s arrow reach the target accurately, he too will search Sita Devi accurately. 

- Like how ram’s arrow after achieving the target, returns back to its original place, He too will come back to ram’s feet. 

- Like how in all Lord Ram’s arrow, the name ‘Ram’ is imprinted, in same way, He too would always utter the Lord's name ‘Ram... Ram...’ 

and adding to it Hanuman states that He has Ram’s ring which He feels would give Him the strength & guide Him to Success".

I knew it's morally not right to question the deeds of Lords, but nevertheless I was prepared to be open to my Messenger to pose any question that arise in my mind, as I am willing to get myself corrected before Him. So I decided to ask that question which lingered in my mind.. 

"Sir, you said Lord Hanuman does not have any ego, then why does He say all these before leaving, I feel these statements may be sign of ‘Ego’... ?"

"Good Question Son!, Hanuman knows very well that any power that he Has belongs to Ram, There is no Ego in him. He states all this to show His enthusiasm & to make the entire Vanara group to be motivated. It does not mean ego. You should also have such enthusiasm but at the same time you should have humility in you like Hanuman. Its very difficult as it’s only a subtle difference. If you have too much confidence, it can easily turn into ego. So you should be very careful".

"Sir, but how to realize this Ego and to overcome it?.... 

Messenger gently closed his eyes & replied, "I will tell you what Swami Rama says, to understand this. He Says:

A person walking on the path of self-transformation should be aware of the dangers of egoism. Even while practicing the great virtues of truthfulness and nonviolence, a person can feed the ego. The ego related to the realm of spirituality is more subtle and injurious than the ego related to one’s worldly success.

During the period of seeking, the student may become too intellectual, ignoring sahaja bhava (spontaneous intuition); conversely, he may become too emotional; ignoring reason. An emotional trip is as dangerous as an intellectual trip; each feeds the ego.

A person becomes a slave to his ego when he thinks of selfish gains. A selfish person dwells in a state of doubt since his conscience constantly reminds him of his wrong attitude. On the one hand, he is pulled by his selfish desires, and on the other, he is alarmed by his inner voice. He is torn apart by these two forces.

Do not ever condemn yourself in any way. Learn to appreciate and admire yourself, but see that you do not feed your ego. It is the arch enemy on the path, though it can be polished with some effort.

Acknowledge your weak points, let the power of discrimination counsel your ego, and make a strong resolution to overcome your weaknesses. While working on the removal of weaknesses, you have to be very vigilant. Ego does not want its weaknesses exposed. The more you hide your weaknesses, the more they grow. Remind yourself that you are on the path of inner purification and self-discovery. It requires great courage. Stand firm during this internal battle, and support your Atman, even at the cost of dismounting the ego and all its retinue.

A human being is miserable if he fails to unfold and use his inner potentials. In order to unfold his inner potentials, he must purify the ego or surrender it to the higher Reality. After renouncing slavery to the ego, he can emerge from the confines of body, senses, and mind.

Only a profound method of meditation can help to purify the ego. A purified ego does not create barriers.

By practicing diligently, one may attain concentration of mind, one may speak the truth, and one may serve others, but one cannot realize the Truth unless one surrenders one’s ego to the higher Self. Only after rising above egocentric awareness, can one find the universe within. Only then can one learn to love all and exclude none. One who does not love one’s fellow beings, cannot love God at all.

The most important step toward self-transformation is to shed one’s ego, to surrender it to the higher Reality, and thereby attain the light of discrimination and pure faith.

Once ego surrenders itself to the highest Truth, you have attained victory, and spiritual illumination is yours. Soon after the victory over ego, all other virtues, such as humility, love, selflessness, compassion, and kindness, spontaneously unfold. These virtues are prerequisites for self-transformation. When these virtues blossom, a human being becomes a saint. These saintly qualities send a silent invitation to the Lord of Life.

"Hanuman didn't for a moment looked at other vanaras and thought proudly, “See only I can cross, not you people”. No!, certainly he did not do that. He only bowed to all and stretched his two hands, folding his two legs, twisting his long tail once, opening his mouth wide open, with the force, he jumped saying “Jai Sitaram” and climbed up to highest peak of the Mahendra promontory, and stood like a pillar supporting the vault of the sky. Then poising himself for flight, with hands and tail outstretched in air, his neck drawn in, his legs bent, and his chest contracted, he pressed down his feet and rose sheer into the sky and clove through the air towards Lanka".

"Hanuman pierced into the Akasha....." 

stating this the Messenger again went into silence... then suddenly with thundering blooming voice, he said, "Bolo.. Jai Ram Ji Ki,... Bolo, Jai Ram Ji Ki".......

I too joined.... 

Jai Ram Ji Ki.....
Jai Ram Ji Ki.....
Jai Ram Ji Ki.....

(To be contd..)


(Please note that the views expressed in this fictional story series are the views of the author's own imagination taking reference from various sources which includes but not limited to Valmiki Ramayana, Kamba Ramayana, Hanuman chalisa along with Swami Rama & Guruji Pattabhiram's teachings. If you find any text inappropriate, the author seeks humble apologies.) 

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Dhaarana - A Kite to fly


If your dhaarana is perfected, it will be like a kite. How the kite is handled ? You allow the kite to fly very high in the sky, but you always have the control in your hand, the connectivity is the thread. Is it not a great kill to keep the kite flying all the time, but at the same time you being connected to it with the thread? All the time you are very skillfully handling your fingers and hands, your attention and your dhaarana is completely absorbed to the kite. It can be beautiful analogy to understand what dhaarana is all about.

So if you know how to handle this movement of thread to control the kite, then you have perfected your dhaarana, otherwise, it is an uncharted plane of existence, you really don’t know, where to go, how to go, how far you have gone, and the worst thing is, if you don’t know how to come back, then you are lost as well. So through dhaarana, you are going to create a beautiful path which becomes very familiar to you, so that everyday you start your journey, reach the center of your consciousness and at the same time you are not afraid of it because you yourself have created the path and you also know how to come back. Otherwise we would be become the case of Abhimanyu in Mahabharata. Our dhaarana should not become like a chakravyuha.

So your dhaarana teaches you how to move confidently, step by step in a very scientific way, understanding what it is all about, experiencing your own center of consciousness, experience how is the self can recognize consciousness, stay there, enjoy the flight, and then come back, with a successful landing.

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Dhaarana - a path to succeed in Meditation (Dhyana)

Dhaarana - A path to succeed in Meditation

What is Dhaarana? Dhaarana is a power of the mind to hold on to something singularly, to the exclusive of everything in a state of complete absorption

In dhaarana practice, a word of caution is that, when you want to travel in the path of Dhyana (meditation), which is the next step of Ashtangayoga, i.e. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama , Pratyaghara, Dhaarana, Dhyana and Samadhi, you are two steps away from Samadhi. So when you are practicing dhaarana, your journey is a uncharted plane of existence. There is no defined highway to give you the milestones to tell you that you have covered 10 kms., 15 kms., or there are no hand-post to say that this path, this road is going to lead you to this place etc. So dhaarana is a very important aspect of your sadhana if you want to succeed in your meditation. You need to prepare yourself perfectly tuned in dhaarana to spontaneously dive into Samadhi.

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"That which liberates you is true knowledge", declare the Upanishads.

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