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Preksha Dhyana: Contemplation And Auto-Suggestion: [3] Raison D'etre Of Contemplation

Published: 27.01.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

Knowledge Replaces Ignorance

The essence of contemplative meditation is, first, to get rid of one's traditional beliefs and then perceive and experience the principles of eternal truth. The raison d'etre of contemplation (anuprekṣā) in the system of Prekṣā Dhyāna is to abolish the myths, legends and superstitious beliefs and to realise and accept what is really true. Thus the main objective of contemplative meditation is to replace ignorance and superstition by knowledge and wisdom. It is a process of realising the truth and adhering to

Without practising contemplation it would be very difficult to grasp the essence of meditation i.e. it would not be easy or effortless to practise meditation. Contemplation is a ladder which facilitates ascending to higher levels of consciousness. Without mounting this ladder, one is unlikely to ascend the heights of perceptual meditation. Thus both are concomitant, contemplation (anuprekṣā) both precedes and succeeds concentration of perception (prekṣā) Prekṣā and anuprekṣā are but two states of the same consciousness. When fluid water solidifies, it becomes ice; basi­cally both are same as there is no substantial difference. Ice has its use and value but water has also its own importance by becoming fluid, it does not lose its importance. Similarly anuprekṣā is fulid state of the consciousness. It flows in a regulated canalised way. When the fulid solidifies i.e. concentrates on a single point, it becomes dhyāna. Before it attains a solid state and steadiness, and remains revolving around the central themes, it is contemplation (anuprekṣā).

It is essential to obtain right answers to many questions. To contemplate on a single query (at one time) is a process for finding a suitable and true answer and is called Vichaya Dhyāna (contemplative meditation). To dispel ignorance by acquiring knowledge, to know the unknown and to realise the truth, one must think and concentrate one's thoughtprocess on a single object or idea when the flow of consciousness is controlled and becomes unidirectional (just as flow of water is canalised), proper answers are discovered and ignorance is replaced by knowledge Until one becomes competent and adept for meditating, con­templation and reflection are the only tools to search the reality. Similarly a practitioner of meditation is often faced with many problems. If one is not able to resort to contemplation, he may become confused. Some prescribe that for a practitioner of meditation, reading, thinking, contemplating and reflecting become distractions and should, therefore, be abandoned. One cannot disagree with this formula but total freedom from thought is not an early achievement.

Contemplation is an Armour

Motionless state of the body and steadiness of mind are threats to karma sarira which is the real enemy. To perpetuate its existence, the karma śarīra assumes a very aggressive stance and tries to agitate the practitioner. He would need, at this time, the defending support of contemplation to reinforce his resources. Whereas, the meditational practice increases the vital energy on one hand, it also intensifies the urges of anger etc. on the other. Enhanced vital energy tends to produce agitation and excitation if it is not properly controlled or sublimated. On the contrary, it is regulated and controlled, it enhances the other benefits of meditation manifold. Otherwise the increased energy may take a dangerously explosive state.

The principle of contemplative meditation shows the way to the practitioner to sublimate the increased energy. There are various facets of eternal truth to choose from. An experienced practitioner would know which facet he should contemplate upon. Thus the practitioner would be able to maintain his equanimity and balance even under the most aggressive state of the enemy by practising contemplation.

Dual Status of Relationships

The doctrine of anuprekṣā (contemplation of transceendental or eternal truths) is a powerful inspiration for making one's life happy and free from turmoil. There are twelve themes for contemplation (see Appendix). They constitute a potent armoury of weapons for demolishing stupor and delusion. One, who does not practise contemplative meditation cannot free himself from the vicious effects of stupor and delusion. His ability for decision­making is faulty and he never realizes the realities of life. One of the twelve themes for contemplation is "Solitariness".

Man must live a social live. One cannot just abandon one's social status and declare "I am alone; I am solitary". One has one's parents, family, kith and kin, community, nationality, property etc.-a long chain of relationships. Everybody is enmeshed in an indestructible web of associations—bound up so tightly that it is not possible to experience solitariness even when one is physically alone. This, indeed, is an empirical reality and none can deny it. But this is not the ultimate truth, the transcendental reality. And it would be unwise to ignore this fact. Keeping the social status in the foreground, one must also imcorporate the transcendental reality in his way of life. One, who accepts only the apparent and ignores the ultimate reality, would be in trouble at one time or another. To avoid trouble one must accept the duality of his status.

Wisdom teaches us to accept a dual way of life. The social life is necessary because without it one cannot obtain the necessitites of living and would not survive. Without a family, when there is none to cook, wash, do the shopping, nurse in sickness or provide a myriad other comforts of life, it would not be worth living. The family and social life is thus essential to live comfortably. At the same time if we totally ignore the other side of the coin - the transcendental reality - this very family and society may create a hundred aches and pains to make one's life miserable. While living comfortably with family and friends, one would be wise to keep the ultimate reality at the back of one's mind. Let the family be in the fore but allow the reality to make up the back-drop. When both are concomitant, passage of life would be happy and free from strife. It is, indeed, essential to be sorrounded by one's kith and kin, friends and society. But, if one accepts their association to be ultimate reality and further believes this to be the only security and guarantee, one is most likely to feel betrayed at some time or another. On the other hand, if one is constantly reminded of the fact that the family etc. are for convenience and expedience, while in reality he is 'alone', and occasionally contemplates on his "Solitariness", one will never feel betrayed. The fact is that one betrays himself and there is no other betrayer. This is because he betrays himself and there is no other betrayer, this is because one nourishes the falsehood while ignoring the truth—the truth being sacrificed in the interest of comfort. If one would have realised that grouping of persons in the form of family or society is merely a transient association and not an ultimate reality, if one would keep himself reminded of the truth the whole 'association' and 'relationship' are facts of life in a social background, dissociation and solitariness are also stark realities, the problems would not be confounded and the Raison D'etre of the practice of contemplation is to understand this complicated, diametrically opposite, dual realities of life. Through the exercise of contemplation of solitariness, one comes face to face with the real situation and really experiences—"I am solitary".

Doubts may be raised that if one is constantly reminded of his soliary status, would it not, one day, result in his withdrawal from the society? Would he not neglect duties and responsibilities as a husband, or a father or a patriot? Would he not tend to become unsocial? Such doubts are quite reasonable and are likely to disturb one's mind. This complex situation must be considered from all angles. From the social angle, it is quite necessary for one to consider himself (or herself) as a husband (or a wife), father (or a mother) and a patriot citizen and to discharge one's duties faithfully and sincerely. He (or she) should feel bound by umpteen relations as a member of the society. Simultaneously he (or she) should also feel his (or her) solitariness as an individual on transcendental plane. While one is bound to live a social life, one should not delude oneself that this is the only real life. One must destroy the delusion before the bonds of relationship become indestructible shackles of steel; then it will be very difficult to realise the truth.

As regards the doubts expressed above, it can be emphatically declared that no practitioner of prekṣā meditation has ever shirked responsibilities of family or social life or ever broken the code of good conduct or disrupted or repudiated social obligations. Practice of contemplative meditation in general and that of 'Solitariness' in particular enables one to effect equilibrium between his mundane social status and transcendental solitary status.

Thus the doctrine of contemplative meditation is not a theoretical principle but has a practical application as well. Regular practice of contemplation enables the practitioner to reach his unconscious mind and establishes the truth and reality therein, that is the Raison D'etre of contemplation. The practitioner must have full faith in the exercise and practice. One who practises systematically is bound to have experience and whatever is realised through a real, experience is stable and perpetually useful. Apparently impossible becomes possible as a result of constant practice.

Sources
Published:
Jain Vishva Bharati
Ladnun-3 41 306 (Rajasthan) Editor: Muni Mahendra Kumar © Jain Vishva Bharati Edition: January, 2009 Printed by:  
S.M. Printers
Uldhanpur, Delhi-32

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Anuprekṣā
  3. Body
  4. Concentration
  5. Consciousness
  6. Contemplation
  7. Dhyāna
  8. Equanimity
  9. Karma
  10. Karma śarīra
  11. Meditation
  12. Prekṣā
  13. Prekṣā Dhyāna
  14. Sarira
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