is living within my own Self, as the Soul of my soul." After contemplating these thoughts for some time, one must turn one's attention to the heart — imagine a flame as one's own Atman-Soul to be there, — and concentrate as much and as long as possible on this imaginary flaming spot in the heart.
3) The line of thought to be followed in this kind of meditation (the other preliminary conditions to be the same as in the first two methods) is this: "I am not this body. I am not finite. I am the Self. I am eternal." Following some contemplation in this way, one must suddenly close the two external eyes as tightly as it is comfortably possible to do, and then mentally gaze intently upon the centre of the forehead from inwards as much and for as long as possible, avoiding all other thoughts, whether high or lowly, during this concentration.
4) This is at once a very simple and very difficult kind of meditation. All that one has to do is to retire into solitude and sit in a comfortable position with both the external eyes closed and try to keep the mind a blank. One has neither to think about God nor about the devil, neither about immortality nor about eternity, neither about existence of the world nor about its non-existence. In short in this meditation one must try to remain mentally blank throughout the sitting, for as long a period as possible.
5) One should sit aside in solitude, close the eyes and contemplate and mentally say and reiterate this: "God is my Beloved. I am His lover. I want union with my Beloved, the Lord, the great God." Following this process for a while, one should begin to repeat mentally any one of the names of the Almighty in any language, but in such a way that half of the name must be pronounced (of course mentally) while inhaling the breath, and half of it to be pronounced while exhaling the breath. While carrying on this reiteration rhythmically, one should try to concentrate all attention on the reiteration of the name only.
6) One who is inclined to think of the personal aspect of the Lord, i.e. Personal God, must sit with one's soul for one's companion in a quiet spot, close the eyes, then try to bring before one's mind's eye the whole face of any Prophet, God-Incarnate, or Sadguru, of the past or the present age, and concentrate on it as long as possible. In order to facilitate the bringing of the features of any Perfect Master to one's mind's eye, his portrait must be gazed at deeply, before closing the eyes in meditation.
a) Wherever and whenever possible one should select a quiet and solitary spot on or around a hill or mountain or by a bank of a river for sitting in meditation. Failing this, one should retire into a room all alone and keep the door closed during meditation.
b) It is unnecessary to lay down hard and fast rules regarding the posture. Any sitting posture which one finds most convenient should be adopted. But once it is adopted, one must stick to it and sit in the same way daily. Where there is a need of mental reiteration of the name of God, one must select any one name and adhere to it daily. Therefore the most comfortable sitting (not reclining) position and the most appealing name should be carefully selected once* for all.
c) There is no length of time that can be called too long for any of the meditations, and every hour of the night and day is suitable for any meditation; but the best period for meditation is the early hours of the morning, 4 to 7 a.m.
d) It is preferably, though not quite necessary, to take a bath before sitting in meditation.
Now which of the methods is the best one? It is not the method but the force that one would use behind a method that counts. The saying, 'one man's food is another man's poison,' applies just as much to meditation as to gastronomy. It would be foolhardy to say that this or that particular kind of meditation is the best. That which suits one's own inclination or that which appeals most to one is the best kind of meditation for that one. The question of success depends on one's own self. Purity counts as much as perseverance and devotion as much as determination. There is no question about the benefits of meditation. The chief of them are the following:
*The word "and" seems to be needed here, not printed in original text. - webmaster, JK