CONCENTERATION OR DHARANA TECHNIQUES
The development of this practice of antar darshan is the practice of hridayakasha dharana. Although hridayakasha dharana has been taught in the past, it is not the first practice that we need to do. The first practice is antar darshan. The perfection of antar darshan will lead us to hridaya-kasha dharana. Hridayakasha dharana comes when the mind and the emotions have become stable and steady, and when we have attained some degree of mastery within and without ourselves.
We need to look at the meaning of dharana to understand the practice better. Dharana means 'to bind, to focus, to hold the mind at one point'. It comes from Dmust be stable. Right now none of us has that stable base. Just as the earth shakes during an earthquake, in the same way we are also shaking like that much of the time. The practice of dharana comes when we have become steady, stable and unshakeable. We are unshakeable because we understand ourselves. We understand our mind, our emotions and our thoughts. We have come to terms with them so we are unshakeable. Whatever faces us and whatever situation arises we can manage it without being affected. Dharana is a higher stage, not just in meditation but in life.
The word akasha means space. The practice of hriday-akasha implies that we are going to find a steady base within the element of space. We can think of space like the sky, like the openness in a room. There is space and then there are things within the space. Mentally this space symbolizes the aspect of consciousness. Within the consciousness the mind exists and the emotions exist. The different aspects of the mind exist, the ego exists, all the experiences in life exist, but they are not the space. The space is just space like the sky is open.
Hridayakasha dharana means that we are going to become stable. We are going to practise steadiness within this space and we are going to localize that space within the heart. Hridaya means heart. Hridayakasha dharana means to find a stable base within the space of the heart. When we are able to find a stable base, when the mind is able to function in a focused, one-pointed manner within this space, then we will begin to have intense emotional experiences and we will be able to handle them. Things will come with great intensity but because our mind is trained and we are focused and have developed strength of mind, we can face them without becoming unbalanced and unhinged. This is the development of and the result of antar darshan. Antar darshan will lead to the further stage of hridayakasha dharana.
Prithvi DharanaThere are five elements, viz., Prithvi, Apas, Agni, Vayu and Akasa. To the body of the five elements, there is the five fold Dharana. From the feet to the knees is said to be the region of the Prithvi. It is four-sided in shape, yellow in colour and has its Varna the Sanskrit letter ‘L’ along the region of the earth, i.e., from the feet to the knees. Contemplating upon this, one should perform Dharana there for a period of two hours daily. He then attains mastery over the earth. Death does not trouble him since he has obtained mastery over the ‘earth’ element.
Ambhasi DharanaThe region of Apas is said to extend from the knees to the anus. Apas is semi-lunar in shape and white in colour. It has the letter ‘Va’ for its Bijakshara—seed-letter. Carrying Up the breath with the letter ‘Va’ along the region of Apas, one should contemplate on God Narayana, having four arms, a crowned head, dressed in orange-colour clothes and as decayless. Practising Dharana there daily for a period of two hours, he is freed from all sins. Then there is no fear for him from water.
Agneyi DharanaFrom the anus to the heart is said to be the region of Agni. Agni is triangular in shape, red in colour and has the letter ‘R’ for its Bija. Raising the breath with the letter ‘Ra’ along the region of fire, one should contemplate on Rudra, who has three eyes, who grants all wishes and who is of the colour of mid-day sun. Practising Dharana there daily for a period of two hours, he is not burnt by fire, even though his body enters into the fire-pit.
Vayavya DharanaFrom the heart to the middle of the eyebrows is said to be the region of Vayu. It is black in colour and shines with the letter ‘Ya’. Carrying the breath along the region of Vayu, one should contemplate on Isvara, the omniscient. The Yogi does not meet his death through Vayu.
Akasa DharanaFrom the centre of the eyebrow to the top of the head is said to be the region of Akasa. It is circular in shape, smoky in colour and shines with the letter ‘Ha’. Raising the breath along the region of Akasa, one should contemplate on Sadasiva. By practising this Dharana one obtains the power of levitation. The Yogi gets all the Siddhis.