New Man : New World ► Prekshadhyan ► [15] The original Sources of Preksha Dhyan

Posted: 24.12.2008

It is not the word but the meaning, which is perennial. Words keep changing, phraseology keeps changing, but the intended meaning does not. What is, remains. Only new terms are created from time to time to express it.

The Founder of Yoga

How old is the term preksha (perception)? Unquestionably, it is at least as old as Mahavira. It is not possible to say whether it was in use earlier too. But the meaning it conveys is very old. From the semantic point of view, we get as far back as Lord Rishabha. He was the first man to introduce Atmava, one of the two main schools of philosophy according to which the soul has a real existence or is regarded as non-perishable, immortal, immutable consciousness and pointed out the path of the practice of Yoga. Hathayoga pays obeisance to Adinath, who pioneered Yoga. Adinath is none else than Rishabha. Some people say he is Shiva. Today it is believed that Adinath/Rishabha pioneered Yoga. Adinath is Hiranyagarbha (Brahma), who introduced Yoga, the method of meditation.

Parshva Bharata

The original source of preksha is Adinath/Rishabha. There is an incident relating to Bharata. He bathed himself and sat in a special house made of glass. He sat on a small square piece of carpet. There was a mirror right in front of him. He was looking at his own reflection and practising preksha. In the act of doing so, from a ruler he became Kevali, omniscient. It is from him that the tradition of meditation started.

Lord Parshva's practice of meditation was of a special nature. It had an extensive influence. The Nath sect, Buddhism and Jainism were influenced by it. He has influenced many sects through it. In his research on the Nath sect, Dr. Hazari Prasad Dwiedi has elaborately discussed it.

Mahavira's Sadhna (dedicated spiritual practice)

After Parshva, Mahavira practised meditation in an exalted manner. He remained standing in the Kayotsarg meditative posture for sixteen days at a stretch. He sometimes saw the upper region; some other times the lower region and yet another time the middle region. He perceived whichever substances of the three regions he wanted to know. His perception (preksha) went on ceaselessly. After the liberation of Mahavira, the practice of meditation came into vogue and continued for a long time. That was the time when meditation was at its best.

Change of Form

A thousand years after the liberation of Lord Mahavira, a change occurred and meditation in Jainism seemed to have lost its verve. Fifteen hundred years after the liberation, the nature of meditation changed. The original ancient method of meditation of Jainism gave way to another kind of meditation, which was influenced by Hathayoga, Tantrism etc. Acharyas Haribhadra, Hem Chandra, Shubha Chandra, Pujyapad etc. again carried forward the practice of meditation. However, during the last about seven hundred years it has become extremely enfeebled. As a result, the Jains have forgotten that they once had an extremely advanced method of meditation.

An Income Tax Commissioner's Query

The incident relates to Delhi. We were going from Anuvrat Bhavan to Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra where a training camp for Preksha Dhyan had been organized. On the way we met a retired income tax commissioner. He made obeisance to us and inquired about our destination. On being told of the training camp for Preksha Dhyan, he expressed the curiosity to know if the Jains also had a method of meditation of their own. We were amazed to know that an educated man - that too a Jain - was ignorant. The past few centuries have seen the emergence of an atmosphere in which external rituals have assumed inordinate influence and meditation has been put on the back burner.

The Emergence of Preksha Dhyan

It was the period when the Agamas (Jain Sacred Books) were being edited. There was a long section on Dhyan in the third chapter of Uttaraadhyayan. In that context, I studied thoroughly a number of books concerning Dhyan in Jainism, both of the Svetambara and the Digambara sects and used relevant information from them.

The place was a big compound of a Panchayat in Udaipur. I was sitting close to Gurudev Tulsi after the nocturnal Pratikraman (confession). By the way I said, “A lot has been written about Dhyan in Jain texts.” Gurudev promptly remarked, “Yes, but now the old tradition has been given up. Why should it not be studied?” That was the Mantra (pious thought, plan) of the emergence of Preksha Dhyan. And the person who gave that pious thought was Acharya Tulsi. The seed had been sown. It sprouted and grew fast. It was a fecund seed.

Giving a Name

The inherent potential of the seed went on maturing, and one fine morning, it sprouted. There was no name or publicity for it. Training camps came to be organized. In 1974, on the occasion of the two thousand five hundredth liberation anniversary of Lord Mahavira, these camps were organized in Delhi and Jaipur. Thereafter, in 1975 we deliberated on the subject at Jaipur. When our method of meditation has begun and training would have been imparted in it, why not give it a name, we thought. It bore fruit in the Green House at Jaipur.

The Sacred Books mention two words for Dhyan or meditation. One is Vipassana and the other Preksha. These are ancient terms. Vipassana is the Buddhist method of meditation. We opted for the term Preksha. The decision was taken in the benign presence of revered Gurudev Tulsi.

The modern Source

Bharata, the elder son of Lord Rishabha practised Preksha and its import got included in the term Preksha Dhyan in 1974. The word was new, but its content was ancient. This is a brief account of the journey of the word preksha from its ancient to modern source. In fact, the modern sources are innumerable and they have been discussed in as many contexts.

Svash Preksha, Perception Of Breath, and Kayotsarga, Deep Relaxation, are the two basic elements of Preksha Dhyan. Their source was found in the related Niryukti and Kayotsarga Shataka. It has been said there that one should reduce the breath and relax. The breath should be reduced and its speed slowed in a relaxed state. It is a basic principle of relaxation and deep rhythmic breathing.

The Basis of Perception of the Body

We derived the principle of the perception of the body from Acharanga Sutra: “Try to investigate the present moment of this body, what transformation is taking place, which biological and chemical change is happening in the body at a given moment.” It is what Perception of the Body is and there is a clear mention of it in the Acharanga Sutra. Perception of the Body and Perception of Breath are called kayavipashyana and anapansati vipashyana respectively in the Buddhist method of meditation. We studied them and also practised them, but their practices in Preksha Dhyan are significantly different.

The Basis of Perception of Psychic Centres

One of the practices is Perception of Psychic Centres. Preksha Dhyan admits thirteen psychic centres. Hathayoga speaks of six Chakras, vortices of psychic energy. Elsewhere as many as nine are mentioned. Preksha Dhyan discovered a few more centres. How it was done cannot be explained. However, their source was discovered. Where could they be found? Hathayoga and Tantra Shastra also do not go beyond the number nine. What then is the basis of the thirteen centres we determined? It was found that hundreds of psychic centres had been mentioned in Nandi Sutra,which is an Agama dealing with the deliberations on knowledge and consciousness. One kind of knowledge is called Avadhigyan. It is the first type of knowledge aimed at awakening trans-sensual consciousness. It too has many sub-types: Pur-o Advadhigyan of the front, Pittha-o Avadhigyan of the back, Pas-o Avadhigyan of both sides and Majjha-o Avadhigyan of the upper region.

The Number of Psychic Centres

Churnikar made the following succinct statement: “The light of a lamp is obstructed by putting lid on it. If the cover is meshed, the light pierces through it. Our soul is also covered with Gyanvaran karma, knowledge obstructing karma. If the cover is changed into a mesh through dedicated spiritual practice, the soul will emit trans-sensual rays of light from all sides. The body has innumerable psychic centres and each one of them is capable of emitting light. Neuroscientists tell us that we see with our eyes, because we have crystallized them. If the fingers are crystallized we shall begin to see with them. One of the achievements is called sambhinnasrotolabdhi, which means the ability to see, hear and taste with any part of the body. The function of all the sense organs can be performed with a single finger or toe, or for that matter, from wherever we want, provided it has been crystallized. Perception of Psychic Centres enables us to activate any part of our body, to turn it into an electro-magnetic field, to let light emit out of it.

The Importance of Dhavala

It has been extensively discussed in the Digambara literature under the name Karana. Its form has been described like that of a wheel or the lotus in Hathayoga. But Dhavala mentions a variety of its shape: Swastika, a cross with four of its arms bent at right angles, Kalasha, a water pot, wheel, conch, lotus, etc. The centres above the navel are praiseworthy, while those below it are not. The lower centres are more active in animals, but through dedicated spiritual practice, man can awaken and activate the upper centres and develop special powers.

The Basis of Perception of Psychic Colours

The practice of the perception of the psychic colours or Leshya Dhyan started accidentally. It was never thought of or reflected upon. Once we went to a Preksha Meditation training camp. We had to help the participants practise meditation. We wondered how we should start. The very next moment, commenced the experiment of perceiving the psychic colours. Later on we searched for its source and found it. Jayacharya has given a good description of the visualization of the psychic colours. He wrote two books on the subject, Chhota Dhyan and Bada Dhyan. In these booklets we discovered a very good method of visualizing the psychic colours.

Centre of Vigilance

New bases were developed. We made the participants practise meditation on the ear. It was named the Centre of Vigilance. By practising it, drug addiction can be tackled. This practice had been going on since Vikram Samvat 2032 (1976). Three years later, Gurudev Tulsi was spending the rainy months in Gangashahar. At that time we came across a Soviet magazine in which it was written that some Soviet scientists gave electric vibrations to the ears of drug addicts and could fully cure fifty out of seventy patients, the remaining twenty benefiting substantially though not fully. We felt assured that what we were doing had a scientific basis.


Another practice consists of self-contemplation or Anupreksha. Twelve or sixteen contemplations have been in vogue since antiquity. Kundkund, Swami Kartikeya, Vinayvijayaji and other innumerable Acharyas have written about them. But it was by the grace of revered Gurudev Tulsi that we developed the method of self-contemplation. Terms like Kayotsarg and self-contemplation are old, but the credit for developing the method of doing them goes to us. The method of self-contemplation, contemplating upon the transitoriness of things and the like for the steadiness of the mind, was developed and now we have some twenty-five to thirty different practices of self-contemplation. Practice of self-contemplation is perhaps the most potent practice for bringing about temperamental transformation. It is the most important means of giving up old habits and cultivating better ones.


In the beginning there was only one Kayotsarga practice, but as experience matured, new vistas opened and as of now, we have developed five different ways of Kayotsarga. In searching them we went to different sources, Hathayoga, Tantra, Shaiv Sadhana method, Vigyan Bhairav etc. We have made use of what was given in them. We were never diehard traditionalists. Some people would not allow even a letter to be changed in what is old. But our guru has a highly flexible approach in this respect. We have no obduracy whatsoever.

We have been inspired to adopt a rational and flexible way of looking at things. As a result, we have used not only old literature on the subject, but modern science also in ample measure. We believe that there are many elements of dedicated spiritual practice, which have come to us from antiquity, but they can be explained far better by modern science than by old treatises.

The Use of Science

A lot of progress has been registered in Anatomy and Physiology as well as Psychology. Any method of meditation not incorporating modern scientific techniques is at best a shot in the dark. These techniques should be fully put to use. We have given a new dimension and interpretation to meditation by extensively using modern Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology in Preksha meditation. That is why a medical practitioner can easily grasp Preksha Dhyan. It is true that sound meditation is not possible without adequate knowledge of the body. Modern physicians are ignorant of the flow of vital energy, pran. Medical science can greatly advance by knowing it. One stream of vital energy is cool, another warm. It is vital to know when to use which.

Where was the Source?

Many years ago, I wrote an essay: One can see from any part of the body. It was published in Anuvrat. One of the professors of the University of Delhi read it. He called the editor and asked him who the author of the essay was. He was told the name of Muni Nathmal, now Acharya Mahaprajna. The professor then said that the statement of the essay would form a hypothesis in his subject, Biochemistry a hundred years later. From where was it derived? The editor made this natural query based on the observation of the professor. We told him that it was neither stolen nor imported from abroad. Today America is talking of imposing restrictions on intellectual property, but we did not have to import the above idea from anywhere. It comes from an ancient tradition of ours and a very rich one at that.

Room for Both

Thus, both old sources and modern scientific discoveries have been properly integrated in Preksha Dhyan. For that reason, its method is truly flexible. Even today, it has enough room for new additions. The doors to both old collections and new additions are open. Revered Gurudev Tulsi emphasized from the very beginning the principle that there should be neither an obsession with the old nor an allergy to the new. We are therefore neither traditionalists nor modernists. Good things from both the past and the present should be made use of. This non-absolutist viewpoint is the main basis of Preksha Dhyan.

The Giver of the Mantra

The above is a brief analysis of the basic principles of Preksha Dhyan, whose ancient source lies in Rishabha and Bharat. In modern times, the revered Gurudev Tulsi has given me its mantra. The potential is present in everybody, but someone is needed for being able to realize it. I myself feel that if the small child called Nathmal had not been initiated in the Terapanth religious order, if he had not been blessed by the revered Kalugani, and if he had not got an opportunity to be guided and educated by Muni Tulsi, he would probably not have been established as Acharya Mahaprajna. There is a doctrine of karma, which says that very often potential strengths and powers remain unrealised. They are activated with the guru's support and blessings. I feel one will have to explore history books to find out if anyone got as many opportunities of development as I did at the hands of Acharya Tulsi. If he had not commanded me to discover a complete method of meditation, I would have continued to practise meditation in any routine manner, but Preksha Dhyan could not have been developed.

Every seed can “think” that it has the potential of growing into a tree. It may even start the growth process, but if the gardener turns sulky and stops watering, the seed's dream of growing into a tree will never be fulfilled. It is only when the gardener waters the plant with a good feeling that it flourishes and fructifies. Power is important, but more important is he who awakens and activates it. A mantra is important, but more important is the guru who gives it. It was our great fortune that we got a guru like Acharya Tulsi, who urged us to develop this technique of meditation and who guided us in doing so. As a result, a technique developed which has the potential for the creation of a new world and a new man.

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Edition 2005
ISBN No. 81-7196-019-7

© Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110 002

Edited by:
Muni Dhananjay Kumar

Translated by:
Prof. R.P. Bhatnagar

Published by:
Kamlesh Chaturvedi
Adarsh Sahitya Sangh,
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg
New Delhi

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