Deepening Our Practice of Meditation (1)

by Swami Smaranananda, Board of Directors, YSS India
Excerpts from a talk at 2010 Convocation

What is the purpose of life?
The First 5 minutes of meditation


What is the purpose of life?

lotus Man needs motivation to succeed in any endeavour in life.

What is the motivation for meditation? What is the purpose of life? – To live in perpetual joy. The Scriptures of higher ages say that perpetual joy – Sat Chit Ananda – can only be found in God. The joy we seek and the love we seek are only to be found in God.

Meditation is the most effective way to make contact with the God of Joy and Love, and that is the motivation of meditation. We all want to live in joy and experience love.


A person was walking in a graveyard at night. It was dark, the path was not clear and he fell into a deep ditch. He tried and tried, but could not get out, so he resigned himself to spend the night in the ditch. He sat in a corner of the ditch. A little later, another person fell into the ditch; he also tried to get out, but could not do so. The first person decided to have fun at his expense and changed his voice to a very deep level and said "I know you cannot get out tonight". The second man thought it was a ghost; he made a major effort and got out. He found the motivation to scramble out.

Nobody wants to spend the night with a ghost, but we all do … the ghost of disappointment is around the corner; the ghost of disease, misunderstanding, frustration – they are all waiting.

Why wait for a calamity to strike you, to start thinking about God. We should start right now. That is the only way we can hope to live without tension and fears.

Lord Krishna said, even a little practise of this religious rite will save you from dire fears.

We are not assured that the problems are solved, but the fears that come from them can dissipate with meditation. Isn't this motivation enough for us to meditate?

No matter what is happening around me,
I can still be joyful.

That is the motivation for meditation.

Make Your Meditation
Deeper and Sweeter



srf lotusWe all start meditation with good intentions, but it is all too easy to forget and get sidetracked by issues.

Ask yourself why you want to meditate?

When you are sitting this evening and at every meditation – ask yourself: "Why am I meditating now?". A possible answer could be: "it is a good habit"; "I promised Guruji I would meditate twice a day"; "I have nothing else to do, let me meditate". None of these reasons are good to meditate.

Your attitude should be:

I am meditating now because
God is waiting for me

God must be there in meditation.

Your consciousness should be in the presence of God and Gurus. God must be there in meditation.


Brother Anandamoy had finished work in the ashram and took a break for meditation and lunch. He went to the rooftop to meditate that day. A little later someone came and settled next to him; he thought it was Guruji. Immediately he went deep into meditation. Sometime later someone was scratching his foot. It was a dog! It was not the dog who helped him to go deep into meditation, but the thought that Guruji was sitting next to him. Each one of us can do that. We can always meditate with Guruji. That is the reason we have the opening prayer, inviting all our Gurus to join us.



srfIf you have a problem with thoughts in meditation, take heart, you are not alone. You share the problem with millions. It is a universal problem, but there are some clues to get over it, to minimize the effort.

Do you have any control over the world – over the birds flying over your head? No. Can you prevent a bird sitting on our head and making a nest? Yes. You may not have control over the thoughts – passing thoughts do not disturb you that much. Passing thoughts do not distract. But, if you catch one thought and start brooding over the past, or build upon the future – then you are building a nest. It is no longer a thought – it becomes an action and you are emotionally involved in that thought – that is what you need to avoid.

Passing thoughts will not disturb you, but do not allow one particular thought to throw you off your meditation. If you catch yourself brooding – over a disturbance or argument. If you cannot come out of it, willingly take another thought – a pleasant experience in the last couple of days. The mind goes to the new thought, then you drop the brooding thought. Removing one thorn with another and throw both away.

Use one positive thought
to get rid of a brooding thought.

Do not make it a habit – one thought; another thought; another thought.

We have to be realistically practical. Analogy: If you come to a gold mine and start digging, do you get gold? You only get soil. You have to take one tonne of soil and process and process to get 5 grams of gold. There is no other way to get the gold.

If you sit for 60 minutes in meditation, to expect 60 minutes of deep concentration is unrealistic. If you get 10-15 minutes, it will be good. With time, it increases to higher numbers. It takes time to build up. Do not think that most of the time thoughts were bothering you, but remember the 10 minutes of peace.

Take a glass and pour in muddy water. Observe, the mud starts settling down and after 30-40 minutes, the mud settles and you have a clear glass of water. Similarly, if you sit to meditate, the thoughts (mud) start settling. That is why we have Hong Sau, Om and Kriya. Then we have a clear period, where you can really commune with God. If you have 15-20 minutes, most of the time goes in settling down.


The First 5 Minutes of Meditation
are the Most Important

In any meditation period, the first 5 minutes of your meditation set the tone of that meditation.

The first 5 minutes are the most important.

When you sit for meditation, immediately get into the meditation – practising the presence; chanting; techniques.

If you have a serious problem – go into the living room, think about your problem, solve it, then return to meditation.

The quality of our meditation improves if we join in Group Meditations. They help newcomers as well as veterans.


Two pieces of charcoal burning red hot – put one aside and it slowly loses its heat. If you return it to the stove, it glows again. After Convocation, we have new resolve, but slowly, slowly we lose that inspiration. Bring yourself back to a prayer group to renew that inspiration. Once a week, or two weeks, go to a group. There vibrations are high and something in the reading may inspire you.

Definition of a River – every river wants to meet the ocean, and there are many small streams that are trying to do so, but if a small stream joins a large river, it is assured of its water going to the ocean. As an individual, there is so much resistance to oppose maya, but with the power of the group, we are assured of our destination.



srfGuruji said the worst shaft of maya delusion is unwillingness to meditate. By this, we prevent ourselves from joining with God and Guruji. Maya's purpose is to keep man away from God. If it can keep us from meditation, it is assured of victory. Make it a habit to meditate. Daya Mata said you will be a beginner even after 20 years, if you are not regular at meditation. You will continue to ask the question about how to keep your attention at the Christ Consciousness centre.

A piece of advice – just start meditating.

Never think whether to meditate or not,
just sit down and

You come home after work and think – should I meditate? Immediately you have excuses – I have had a long day; I am tired; want to see a news item on TV; Guruji will understand; I can do a long meditation tomorrow. Interestingly you never think about whether to eat or not. You never think about whether to sleep or not, but when it comes to meditation there are excuses.

To live a life free of fears and worries, then meditation is essential. It can be before bath or after; before brushing teeth or after.

A devotee had a contract with Guruji: Regularity of mediation is my responsibility, but going deep into meditation is your responsibility. How much control do I have? – I do not know whether it will be deep or shallow. Regularity of meditation is my responsibility – going deep is beyond my control – that is your responsibility Guruji. I have always received more than what I need, deserve and expect. My only investment is regularity; everything else comes from God.

If you start walking towards God, God starts running toward you and covers more ground. 25% our effort; 75% God and Guru.



srfFaith is an important ingredient in our spiritual life and for success in meditation. You need to have faith in the path you have chosen and in your Guru. That is not enough. You need to have faith in yourself. We are assembled here because we have faith in the Kriya Yoga path and in Paramahansa Yogananda, who can lead us to our cosmic home.

Do you have faith in yourself?

Often devotees say "I know that Paramahansa Yogananda realized God; Daya Mata found God; many Saints know God, but me? I do not think so. I know my faults and shortcomings – with all of these, how can I? The nature of saints is so high.

Remember that God is not a monopoly of Himalayan yogis or ashramites. God is for everyone.

Guruji said
"The only difference between you and Yoganananda is that
I made the effort

Otherwise we are all as eligible for God's grace as any other saint on this earth.

God has no favourites, he is not partial, but devotees rationalize - even those who sit regularly in meditation. Subconsciously it is there: "Yesterday I did not find God; for the last month I meditated and did not find God; for the last 365 days there was no God - today I do not need to meditate".

Rationalization is a tool of maya to discourage us.

Today is a new day; a new window.

We impose the conditions, not God. God is waiting for me, I am going to meet him.

Recall the condition of Guruji's mind before he had the first experience of cosmic consciousness. In Autobiography of a Yogi – "I planned to meditate, but my laudable purpose was unshared by disobedient thoughts". Sri Yukesteswar calls him "I know how you are meditating, with your mind distributed like leaves in a storm!". A few minutes later Guruji had an experience in cosmic consciousness.

God does not put limitations. We do. This evening during meditation you can have a response from God in meditation. Have faith, I am eligible for a response, then sit down.

You have to be conscious about what is a response from God.

In meditation you can feel a sense of well being. The problems may not been solved, but in your heart you felt it is okay, all right. The sense of well being and assurance. That is God's response and we can have that everyday. There is deep peace and joy, no matter what is happening around me ….

Once Guruji said to a group of devotees – "Millions will find God by following this path". One devotee thought he was exaggerating and said "Master, you mean thousands?". Then Guruji said emphatically "I mean millions; millions will find God". Quotes of an Avatar cannot be taken lightly. If so many are going to find God, can't you be one of them? Why not? Do not impose conditions on yourself, saying that you will not be one of them.

Remember what Guruji said about Kriya – "You do not start a search for God with Kriya Yoga, but you end your search with Kriya Yoga". If you have come to this point, where you are given this Kriya gift, there are thousands of incarnations of Sadhana behind you. This is the last point, the climax.

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