Socio-Spiritual Significance of Preksha Meditation

Posted: 16.12.2016
Updated on: 16.12.2017

Introduction

The Indian thinkers, however, unanimously hold that the absolute elimination of the passions of attachment and hatred, greed and anger is not possible. In fact, the spiritual disciplines propounded in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, the three major religions of India are in perfect agreement on this issue that meditation, in some form or the other is considered as the only way to attain salvation.[1] Jaina  scriptures describe four types of meditation: ārtta (sorrowful), roudra (cruel), dharma (virtuous), and śukla (pure). The first two are inauspicious (black) meditation and the last two are auspicious (white) meditation. Mahāvīra propounded to pay attention on auspicious meditation which is conducive to the attainment of liberation and inspired to refrain from inauspicious meditation which is the cause of kārmic bondage.

Unfortunately, the practice of meditation was somewhat neglected in last centuries by Jains. The 20th century is stated as the scientific age. Research and experiments are highly stressed in this age. In the later part of twentieth century, Ācārya Tulsi (9th ācārya of the Terāpanth sect of Śwetāmbara Jains) tried to resurrect the disappearing Jain yoga system. He composed a book named Manonuśāsanaṁ in aphorismic style of saṃskrit, in which all the material related to the Jain spiritual practices during the last 2600 years is precisely explained in this small sized book. He deputed Muni Nathmal ji (the late Ācārya Mahāprajña) who re-discovered the ancient tradition of meditation in Jainism, and re-organized the disjointed elements into a cohesive whole. After many years of practice  Acharya Mahapragya introduced a process of meditation based on Agamic literature, which is known by the Name- Preksha Meditation. He studied the ancient scriptures deeply for thirteen years, collected the related material, decided the system of approach, compared the scriptural facts with scientific facts, experimented and developed the perception based meditation system of prek·ā dhyāna. Jain meditation as found in the canonical texts are of four types, among them prek·ā dhyāna is based upon the dharma dhyāna and śukla dhyāna.

The proposed research is  concerned with the latter two types of auspicious  Jain dhyānas being reinvented and transformed in the name of  prekṣā dhyāna  on the basis of  meditational experiences.So an humble endeavor will be made to highlight the socio-spiritual significance of prekṣā dhyāna in present scenario in all walks of life after giving a brief introduction to aspects of PM.

 

Aspects of Preksha Meditation

Preksha Meditation is the scientific process of meditation based on the   Dasavekalika Sutra  maxim- 'sampikkhaye appagamappayenam'.[2] It means, 'Perceive yourself through yourself'. Perception is the basic aspect of meditation, hence this process of meditation is named as 'Preksha-Meditation'. Acharya Mahapragya writes "Lord Mahavira has given few formulas of spirituality-in which gyaata drashtaa bhava i.e., 'to know' and ' to see' are prominent one. Thinking, reflection or analysis- arise at secondary stages. These cannot lead you much far in spirituality. Perceive the self through the self' - This is an important aphorism of awakening a spiritual consciousness. We start practice of this with the breathing regulation. Breath is also a part of physical existence. Hence first perceive the vibrations, disturbances,sharp events that occurs within the body. With the perfection in perception, mind  becomes activated and  subtle, which leads to the provocation of internal  impressions when they are provoked, vibrations become more apparent. The real nature of Preksha Meditation is

  1. To remain vigilant towards the soul (the self)
  2. To Avoid lazyness.

Lord Mahavira's spirituality was centered upon vigilance. Hence several maxims about vigilance is found in agamas but there is no particular process is found. Acharya Mahapragyaji has given a systematic form of those maxims and brought them under the process of Preksha Meditation  and  discussed (about them) among eight cardinal, four assertive and 3 specific aspects, the cardinal aspects of Preksha Meditation are as follows[3]:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Internal trip
  3. Perception of Breathing 
  4. Perception of body  
  5. Perception of psychic centres
  6. Perception of Psychic colors
  7. Contemplation 
  8. Bhavana.

The four assertive factors are:

  1. Sound (Chanting Mantras)
  2. Position of hands
  3. Yogic exercises.
  4. Breathing exercises.

Three specific aspects are:

  1. Perception of present moment
  2. Perception of thoughts
  3. Perception with unblinked eyes.

 

Socio-spiritual Significance of  Preksha Dhyāna

 

i. Increase in Self-awareness Through Preksha  Meditation

The reflection over the four sub-classification of dharma dhyāna[4] i.e. ājñyā, āpāya, vipāka and saṃsthāna vicāya makes meditator to be introvert. Through āgyā vicaya meditator contemplates on the scriptural concepts as attachment and aversion are the two main causes of kārmic bondage.[5] Then under vipāka vicaya, meditator contemplates on the mechanism of karma that human beings have to suffer the consequences of their past deeds unless liberation is achieved.[6] In apāya vicaya, meditator concentrates on the present state of life. In this process a clear picture in one's mind appears as the happiness is the consequence of good deeds done in the past and unhappiness is the consequences of one's bad deeds. Then the meditator refrains from hurting others, refrains himself from indulging in bad actions and tries to concentrate on auspicious actions, thoughts and speech to shed off the past inauspicious karmās. In saṃsthāna vicaya, he knows that universe is the place of enjoying good or bad deeds. Moreover by contemplating, on anitya, aśaraṇa, ekatva, anyatva bhāvanā, self-awareness develops to extreme level. This self-awareness not only inhibits the karma but at the same time, carefulness in each and every action is achieved.

 

 

ii. Development of Compassionate Personality through Preksha Dhyāna

The greatest outcome of PM  is the origination of compassion for all the categories of living beings.[7] Tīrthaṅkara Mahāvīra said, the behaviour, which you like, behave the same with others.[8] This kind of notion of equality of soul develops through meditation. Today we see serial bomb blasts in various cities, incidents of dowry deaths, familial violence, abortion, adulteration in kid's food products and in medical products are becoming common burning issues of the present scenario. They are the living examples of cruelty. To establish the compassionate society, meditational practice is the need of the hour. Without cruelty, exploitation can't take place. The layers of kārmic particle on the self is the main cause of cruel behaviour. Once these layers of karmās are uncovered through the process of Preksha meditation, then we can translate the dream of the compassionate society into reality.

 

 

iii. Energy Equilibrium Through Preksha Meditation

Dhyāna has great importance in maintaining the energy equilibrium, between vital force and bio-electricity in the body. In Preksha meditation we practice to  carry the vital energy upwards through the process of  Internal Trip. Once this energy has been developed, there will be no harm if it is carried downwards. All the physical postures recommended for meditation namely vajrāsana, padmāsana, sīrṣāsana postures push vital energy upward. The science of āyurveda says that the heart is the seat of the soul as well as of energy. It is from the heart that the upward flow of energy begins.[9] According to Ācārya Mahāprajña subtle energy is needed to destroy the karmās attached to subtle body, tapa and bhāvanā are two means to achieve it.[10] Today we see many physical and mental diseases are becoming incurable in allopathic treatment; here lies the relevance of meditation. Through the practice of perception of body, not only the energy equilibrium in body can be attained but also many, person's neural diseases, tension problem can be resolved. We find frequent reference of Mahāvīra concentrating on the tip of his nose that was an important secret of his health and for the equilibrium of mind.[11]

 

 

iv. Change of Habits Through Preksha  Meditation

The purpose of meditation is to bring about transformation.[12] Habits die hard. But Ācārya Mahāprajña has a strong belief that habits can be changed through the practice of contemplative meditation in PM. By contemplating on the center of vigilance, self-awareness increases, a kind of deluded attitude that drugs can give us pleasure also transforms. The glandular secretions play a great role in the transformation of habits. If the glandular flow is regulated through the practice of contemplation on the center of vigilance, corresponding bio-chemical changes in body occurs and the habits began to change themselves. Psychologists have certainly succeeded in bringing about some chemical change through various drugs and tranquilizers but no drugs can ever bring about a lasting transformation. Preksha Dhyāna is a powerful means of bringing about a complete change of habits[13] of smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, drugs; habit of pāna-parāga and gutkhā and the like many pouches of betalnuts so on and so forth. The scientists are in search of a cure to the vice of drug abuse but until now no effective remedy has been evolved. The kāyotsarga is like a tranquilizer (relaxation with self-awareness) one of the important practice of PM can solve the problems related to addiction of intoxicants and can change the vital habits and pave a new direction to their life.[14]

 

 

v. Physical cum Mental cum Emotional Problems and Solutions Through Components of  Preksha Meditational Practices

The Preksha system of Meditation and Yoga from ancient India is eagerly advocated by the modern medical community. This is due to its scientific foundation and ability to restore health at the deepest cellular and emotional level. Preksha is a proven system of combating stress and diseases like High Blood Pressure, Heart Diseases, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Cancer and a host of psychosomatic ailments. Preksha is widely used by medical doctors in India and it is now becoming popular in the west also. Through Preksha you can experience your innate power to achieve lasting health in a short time. Preksha is a simple yet a powerful practice that can be practiced at home for lasting benefit. It is esoteric and mystical and yet at the same time amazingly scientific and systematic.With Preksha you can expect to experience lasting benefits at every level of your existence - Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.  This table shows the authentic references to the problems with live solutions arrived after due practice of PM.

 

S.No.

Problems

Solutions

01.

Absence of Self-awareness

Breath perception.[15]

02.

Problem of anger

Regular 10 minute concentration on white colour on the center of enlightenment.[16]

03.

Problem of ego

Contemplation of humbleness.[17]

04.

Problem of deceit

Contemplation of straight-forwardness.[18]

05.

Problem of greed

Practice of kāyotsarga leading towards detachment.[19]

06.

Solution of complex problems

Ten minute concentration on Center of Bliss with yellow colour.[20]

07.

Idleness laziness, inactivity

Concentration on Center of Intuition and perception of red colour.[21]

08.

Freedom from nervous tension

kāyotsarga.[22]

09.

Drug addictions

Concentration on Center of Vigilance.[23]

10.

Heart disease, H.B.P., L.B.P.

Kāyotsarga and yogic exercises.[24]

11.

Asthama

Alternative breathing and few yogic exercise.[25]

12.

Insomnia or

Kāyotsarga and practice of Mahaprana dhwani.[26]

13.

Blue colour breathing. Yellow colour breathing. Green colour breathing.

Blood pressure. Liver disorder is balanced. Control of mood.[27]

14.

Mental excitement

Concentration of  the orange colour on Center of knowledge for 10 minutes.[28]

15.

Control of sex desires

Concentration on the Center of Intuition and celibacy.[29]

16.

Mental tensions

Kayotsarga of Preksha Meditation.[30]

From the above table, it is obvious that Preksha means different things to different people because it contributes to increase physical, nervous as well as spiritual energies. It has profound influence upon mental states and forming positive behavioural patterns of an individual.

On the physical level it helps each cell to revitalize itself, it facilitates digestion, it makes respiration more efficient and improves circulation and quality of blood. Preksha Meditation is especially recommended for people with heart problems. In most cases an operation (by-pass) can be avoided.

On the mental level it becomes a methodology to train the mind for better concentration, purification and relaxation. It offers a way to treat serious psychosomatic illness without drugs. It is an efficient exercise in self-discipline leading to the end of addiction and other bad habits. It leads to what lies beyond the conscious mind.

On the emotional level the active functioning of the reasoning mind controls reactions to environmental conditions, situations and behavior of others. It helps to harmonize the functioning of nervous and endocrine systems. This lead to control and ultimate eradication of fear, hatred, jealousy, anger, lust and sexual perversion.

On the spiritual level, the firm control of the reasoning mind, regulation and transformation of blood chemistry through proper blending of the neuron-endocrinal secretions and production of dispassionate internal vibrations lead to attain infinite compassion, equanimity, bliss and happiness. So physical and mental health of an individual primarily depends on emotional health. Only when the physical, mental and emotional health of the individual is achieved can it give rise to social health. All the four are inter-dependent and constitute a whole. Thus, Acharya Mahapragya's Preksha Meditation is a miraculous way for self-healing.

 

vi. Transformation of Personality Through Preksha Dhyāna

Scientists speak of three dimensions, length, width and height. A fourth dimension has now been added to them. It is time. The human personality also has three dimensions, memory, thinking and imagination. A fourth dimension may be added to them and that is perception as per the view of Mahāprajña.[31] Practice of perceiving the centers of consciousness opens the fourth dimension in our personality. This results in the transformation of personality. Practice of Perception of Psychic Centres in the body with specific colours can help in changing the personality of an individual. The first principle of transformation and work efficiency is development of non-absolutist personality. The second principle is balanced emotions, third is tolerance and fourth is concentration on Leshya dhyana and fifth is lending mutual support when needed.[32] These qualities of self-transformation can be developed through the practice of Jain Preksha Meditation.[33] The personality of practitioner of Preksha Meditation will not only influence others but everywhere he/she will be welcomed by all as conduct speaks louder than the speech. Development of five principles will really transform the personality.

 

 

vii. Development of Working Efficiency and Emotional Control

The important rule of working efficiency is to reconcile opposites. Opposites are natural and inevitable. Without opposites, no independent philosophy or religion can develop. Each object has its own nature and intrinsic qualities, distinct from those of another. Contrariness is natural. If we focus on opposition, no work can be accomplished. To reconcile opposites is a great art of operational efficiency. An efficient person can accomplish good work through harmony.

Another imperative of operational efficiency is balanced emotions. Our emotions should be balanced. I chanced upon a book titled "Emotional Intelligence" written by a professor of Harvard University. He came to the conclusion, after surveying and doing considerable research, that "Those who are not highly qualified but are emotionally balanced have risen to top positions. Concomitantly, those who are highly qualified, but are not emotionally balanced are working under these people." [34]This means while education is a yardstick to measure status, it does not necessarily reflect an integrated personality. Along with high qualifications, a person will want to know if the educated man is quarrelsome or not. If he is quarrelsome he will create a problem. He may have pursued higher studies, but is he greedy? If he is greedy, he will cheat and deceive others. We judge persons on the basis of their emotions. Only intelligence is not sufficient. As long as emotional intelligence is missing, work cannot be performed properly.

Passions i.e. anger, pride, greed and deceit which are derivative passions and purifying them is not only necessary but also it is the most difficult task of all spiritual practices. One should, from time to time, see how much emotional purification has occurred and try to find out the reasons of slow or no achievement through introspection. Thus control of emotions through meditation is a matter of stage-by-stage development. As per the view of Mahāprajña, concentration on the white colour at the Center of Peace, installing the image of the ishta there, fixing the sacred white aural colour are extremely useful means of purifying the emotional flow.[35]

 

VIII. Behavioural Change Through Preksha Meditation

Man is a social animal. He lives in society. The family is a unit; even institutions and nations are units. All these units belong to society. He lives in these units and maintains a relationship with all. Where there is a social life, the question of behaviour comes up. In matters of the soul, the question of behaviour does not arise. But where relationships matter, social and societal lives take precedence, and it becomes very important to know how to behave with each other and how to perform any action without hurting anybody.

Meditation activates the process of transformation and its effects should be judged by the gradual transformation that comes in its wake.[36] It will be in vain to imagine that Preksha dhyāna brings quick freedom from passions. It is not a one or two year long process. Its consummation takes not one but many life times. We expect quick results. When even an ordinary ailment takes quite some time to cure, then how can we expect emotional control promptly. Thus meditation is the journey of the self, towards the self. The only form of religion, which could be universally accepted in modern times, is meditation, where individuality loses his identity.[37] Ācārya Mahāprajña stresses on Preksha Meditation to such an extent that meditation of two and a half minute can supersede the fasting of two days.[38] Social problems related to intolerance, anger etc. passionate behaviour, in adjustment leading towards divorce, corruption, cruelty, adulteration and many incurable diseases can be permanently resolved through the guidance of dedicated mentor and continuous practice of  contemplation in Preksha Meditation.

Thus Preksha Meditation is a path of Self Realisation and Eternal Joy. So nurture the practice of Preksha or Self-Perception to see your own self. Blossom with Preksha Meditation to connect with your soul at its most profound level and achieve a state of super consciousness. This blissful meditation purifies emotions and nullifies negative vibes and is a technique for attitudinal change, behavioural modification and integrated development of personality. It is highly effective relaxing de-stress practice. Calm downs mental and  emotional turmoil.It enhances mental abilities, concentration level, creativity, will power, intuition and insight and turns body into a powerhouse of energy with enriched immune system and  vital energy. Helps in getting rid of harmful habits, phobias and permanently transforms behaviour. So in nutshell,  Preksha Meditation is a means of social transformation through individual's spiritual and behavioural transformation.

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/persons/Samani_Shashi_Pragya/Acharya_Mahapragya_sw.png

Acharya Shri Mahaprajna

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