Ramana Maharshi Meditations, Pranayama, Silence
Question : May I do pranayama? Is it useful?
Ramana Maharshi : Pranayama is an aid for the control of mind. Only you should not stop with pranayama. You must proceed further to pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Full results are reaped finally.
Question : Another of the group asked: How are lust, anger, acquisitiveness, confusion, pride and jealousy overcome?
Ramana Maharshi : By dhyana.
Question : What is dhyana?
Ramana Maharshi : Dhyana is holding on to a single thought and putting off all other thoughts.
Question : What is to be meditated upon?
Ramana Maharshi : Anything that you prefer.
Question : Siva, Vishnu, and Gayatri are said to be equally efficacious. Which should I meditate upon?
Ramana Maharshi : Any one you like best. They are all equal in their effect. But you should stick to one.
Question : How to meditate?
Ramana Maharshi : Concentrate on that one whom you like best. If a single thought prevails, all other thoughts are put off and finally eradicated. So long as diversity prevails there are bad thoughts. When the object of love prevails only good thoughts hold the field. Therefore hold
on to one thought only. Dhyana is the chief practice.
A little later Sri Bhagavan continued: Dhyana means fight. As soon as you begin meditation other thoughts will crowd together, gather force and try to sink the single thought to which you try to hold. The good thought must gradually gain strength by repeated practice. After it has grown strong the other thoughts will be put to flight. This is the battle royal always taking place in meditation. One wants to rid oneself of misery. It requires peace of mind, which means absence of perturbation owing to all kinds of thoughts. Peace of mind is brought about by dhyana alone.
Question : What is the need then for pranayama?
Ramana Maharshi : Pranayama is meant for one who cannot directly control the thoughts. It serves as a brake to a car. But one should not stop with it, as I said before, but must proceed to pratyahara, dharana and dhyana. After the fruition of dhyana, the mind will come under
control even in the absence of pranayama. The asanas (postures) help pranayama, which helps dhyana in its turn, and peace of mind results. Here is the purpose of hatha yoga.
Later Sri Bhagavan continued: When dhyana is well established it cannot be given up. It will go
on automatically even when you are engaged in work, play or enjoyment. It will persist in sleep too. Dhyana must become so deep-rooted that it will be natural to one.
Question : What rite or action is necessary for the development of dhyana?
Ramana Maharshi : Dhyana is itself the action, the rite and the effort. It is the most intense and potent of all. No other effort is necessary.
Question : Is not japa necessary?
Ramana Maharshi : Is dhyana not vak (speech)? Why is japa necessary for it? If dhyana is gained there is no need for anything else.
Question : Is not a vow of silence helpful?
Ramana Maharshi : A vow is only a vow. It may help dhyana to some extent. But what is the good of keeping the mouth closed and letting the mind run riot. If the mind be engaged in dhyana, where is the need for speech? Nothing is as good as dhyana. Should one take to action with a vow of silence, where is the good of the vow?