Compilation of insights for progress and contemplation

How should Nididhyasanam (contemplation) be practiced?   Swami Paramarthananda: The biggest obstacle to ‘aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahman) knowledge is the basic ignorance of the Jiva (individual soul) identifying himself with his body/mind. Even after understanding what the Srutis (Scriptures) teach, the orientation that he is the body/mind still remains. Just because he has a body/mind because of his past karmas (action), his real identity of being Atma (Self) never changes. It is his ignorance that he takes himself to be a karta (doer) and bhokta (experiencer).

This kartritva bhoktritva buddhi (doer enjoyer identification) has to be given up. This thought of association with the body/mind is very deep and is a vasana (impression) carried on from birth to birth. This wrong identification needs to be given up. The fact that the seeker of the vedantic knowledge is himself Atma (Self) has to displace this wrong identification.

Nididhyasanam (contemplation) which is a Vedantic meditation helps to uproot this wrong idea from the mind of the seeker. It is not a means for getting knowledge. It only helps to remove the viparita-bhavana (wrong identification) entrenched in the mind. The knowledge has to come only from the study of scriptures and undergoing sravanam (study) etc.

The seeker should understand that if he were to be the body/mind, he can never be purna (whole) since body/mind is anatma (non-Self) and is full of deficiencies. He should meditate on the fact that he is not the body/mind, but the witness consciousness within him. That is his real svarupa (nature). This meditation is not an upasana or prayer which can lead to moksha (freedom). It is only a step, a veryimportant step for removal of the dehatma-buddhi (body identification) from the mind of the seeker. When he looks at his body/mind and experiences it, he should focus his attention only on the pratyagatma (inner Self), the Sakshi chaitanyam (witness consciousness) behind his actions.

Mandukya Upanishad advises the seeker to understand the mithyatvam (apparent reality) of the three shariras (bodies), the three states of existence and claim his turiya (real) status. He should understand that both the vyashti (individual) and samashti-sharira-trayam (total),which is Ishvara (the Lord) with his Maya (creative power) and Prakriti (available for creation) are within ‘Him’ and He himself is in the form of Virat (creation), Hiranyagarbha (total subtle body) and Antaryami (Indweller). Mere negation of the world or the body/mind is not enough.

He should say that He alone is there in all of them. He should say: Let them all of them be where they are, I always remain unaffected by them and I alone exist knowing fully well that all these are nothing but mithya (apparent existence). He remains unaffected just like a screen remains unaffected by a fire projected on the screen.

Acharyas advise all the seekers to practice this meditation every morning as soon as they wake up, when their mind is fresh. This will make the nididhyasanam (contemplation) more effective.  Select from the tabs below for more details

Aparokshanubhuti – 15 Nididhyasana approaches to Brahman – Swami Sarvapriyanands

Video talks on these contemplation
Notes on the 15 practices

Swami Sarvapriyananda Talk: Non-Dual Awakening and Nididhyasanam

Very insightful talk that addresses in practical terms very important realization of “timeless, being, without modifications, I shine always”. Swami TV, part of Upadeshasahari talks (see page for the full playlist).

Saptabhumika Gurupurnima Talk 2020-Swami P
- 7 steps of spiritual progress to Jivan mukta and beyond.
- Optional path for Jnani to be in quiet meditation, nirvikalpa samadhi if he does not want to participate in Loka sangraha.
Jivan Mukti Gurupurnima Talk 2019-Swami P
- A realized Jnani can do Nidhidyasana (Vedantic meditation) to enjoy atma ananda experientially and thus make any discomforts of prarabda become insignificant.
Viveka C Ni verses for a Senior Student - Swami P
- insightful  set of Nidhidyasana verses, masterfully expounded

See this link for Swami TV Meditations from Retreat 2021

See this link for Swami TV Meditations from Retreat 2020

See this link for Swami Dayanandaji's Meditations

See this link for Swamini Svatmavidyananda’s Meditations

See this link for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Meditations

Various Shanti Mantras and chants of AVC Vedic chanting


Pratah Smarana stotram

Some Insightful explanations

Vedanta Teaches: Praptasya Prapti, Nivritasya Nivritti

Praptsya Prapti, I attain that which is already attained.

What kind of goal is Vedanta solving?. They say there is no goal to be achieved/ reached etc. (no degrees, no travel, family, heavens). Why? I don’t need to become ultimate C, because I am already that, the Sat, Chit, ananda, the Consciousness.

Why do I need to attain which is always attained? because I don't know it and that makes all the difference.

Nivritasya Nivritti. Vedanta also removes what was never there.

Due to errors in assumptions, leads me to samsara which leads to life’s roller coaster rides. The sorrow the problems, the burdens which we are trying to solve life after life.  When this enlightenment dawns we realize that was not a problem to be removed. it was never there.  It is roles/costume that we happen to  take upon ourselves.  These have to be shed with proper knowledge.

Jnanis know this truth and live in peace and wonder of what is, and what appears as changing phenomenon.

Strategies to describe the indescribable Brahman

Brahman cannot be described directly through language of words because it:  

  1. has no attributes (guna) that can distinguish it from another characteristic, e.g. yellow, sweet
  2. has no action (kriya), so cannot say what it does or not do, e.g. cook, seer
  3. has no substance (dravya),e.g. it does not have any mass/weight or size
  4. has no relationship (sambantha), there is no other to relate to, e.g. father, king etc
  5. cannot be known by some etymological convention ( ) e.g. name given to a specific recognizable object, agreeable to all, like “Bill”, pointing to a specific man.

Vedanta uses other strategies to describe Brahman thru indirect words  (since words and thoughts cannot directly describe/understand it).  (See also documents on Discover page for various methods used in Vedanta)

  1. Neti Neti, Not This Not This.
    • Using Drg Drsya Viveka, what I see is not me. What is experienced is just an object in Name and Form. I am the subject/witness I thought/ and ultimate sakshi- pure C/awareness
    • Pancha Kosha Viveka. Peel back the layers of coverings/koshas in body/mind to go beyond the subtlest like ananda kosha of all experiences, to discover joy of fullness.
    • Avastha traya – I am not the waker, dreamer, sleeper. I am the fourth that is witness/awareness to all these states. I am not the mass of memory of the mind and thoughts, but the awareness of the movement of momentary thoughts. The C/awareness principle.
    • Brahman is not any existent “object/ or concept” describable by words. It is also not non-existent phenomenon (e.g.rabbit’s horn). Vedanta and Buddha’s teachings is that I am  awareness, C. Realized in silence only. Otherwise words objectify it with a description (Reification).  I am the awakened one, walking the middle path, in silent and direct awareness,  without objectifying anything as a N&F.
  2. Using the language of paradoxes, to go beyond the normal understanding of the words to discover the implied meanings. The key to hidden meaning is unfolded by Upanishads via a guru.
  3. Using metaphors and ways in which the stories are told
    • discovering the 10th man
    • prince of kashi
  4. Using examples in every day to imply deeper meaning
    • Gold as essence of ornaments
  5. Saguna/nirguna
    • Ishwara is described as Eternal (includes element of time span), All pervasive (includes concept of space), Everything (includes concept of things). However, Brahman is beyond S, T and things. Jivas (limited sentient beings) are Kshara, Ishwara is Akshara (saguna all pervasive etc cosmic sentient being, associated with Maya), and conceived as God by religions. Brahman is described as Purushottma, the absolute, nirgunam.
    • Deva Devam. Devatas as essence behind senses, further H (Ishwara)  behind/essence of devatas and further, Nirguna Brahman essence of Saguna Ishwara
Why is there Maya? Invalid question!

Why Maya?.  Why Maya the  manifestation of world, in immortal, nirguna Brahman?.

  • Is it Brahman-NO,
  • is it apart from Brahman-NO (dependent on Br, without Brahman, Maya cannot exist).

Question itself is wrong!  Maya itself is S, T causation.   Asking for cause is wrong question for causation itself (which is the dimensions of S, T, causation).

Similarly, Before big bang??  is not valid, because time is associated/starts with big bang itself.

As Ajnanis, there is this question, but no satisfactory answer possible

For Jnanis, there is no such question of Why..  It is just a WONDER and they enjoy it.

BE in Awareness, samanya jnanam, drop vishesa jnanam

Vishesha jnanam is knowledge of specifics (objects,concepts etc) as mental thoughts (mana vritti). Samanya jnanam is understanding of underlying awareness consciousness (swarupa atma) that makes all mental thoughts possible.
Even a glimpse of this general awareness, existence principle is considered awakening (enlightenment) and has the ability to transform one’s understanding of the relationship to the world. With that basis of samanya jnanam (of pure awareness), it is easier to see the projection of the apparent worldly phenomenon that can create binding interactions.

Niddidhyasanam with this knowledge, helps dissolve the habitual vasana (tendencies) of body and mind, which leads to moksha freedom.

In this journey of discovery of “who am I”, the subtle thought “aham brahmasmi” also needs to be dropped to abide in the pure awareness, and that is “enlightenment”.

Jnani’s who have realized, may continue to “enjoy the mental experience” of atma ananda in deep nirvalpaka samadhi and thereby diminish any discomforts of Prarabda on body/mind.

Yogic, Vedantic, and Enlightened Meditations

Yogic Meditation:

3 important steps to keep mind steady.  Mind gets easily distracted by bodily movements, and irregular breaths or distracted by what one sees (major component of experience). Therefore for successful yogic mediation it is important to do the following. Goal is Chitta Nivritti Virodha (elimination of thoughts in the mind. (which by can be temporary though)

  1. Sthira, sukha asana: Physical body in steady, relaxed posture
  2. Prana: long, slow, steady breaths. (rapid breaths acts like bellows to stoke the mental agitation fires – rajas)
  3. Steady gaze: with eyes partially open, staring at tip of nose (or an image) to control mind, and eliminate thoughts (for as long as possible)

Vedantic meditation, (verse 119 of aparoksha anubhuti, Adi shankakara)

  1. Knowing (seeing directly) Brahma vidya  (Sravanam + Mananam), quietens the mind in itself!.  With that  fullness, and ultimate joy, all desires are satisfied
  2. Sadhana Chatusthaya Sampadtti. To gain sufficient mind control, steadiness, forebearance and equanimity for deeper study.
  3. Niddhidyasanam is for vasana Kshaya. Contemplating on aspects of knowledge to  reduce habitual tendencies that bind us to body/mind and world.  This can take a long time, as hidden vasanas will keep surfacing over time.
    1. Pranayama – alternate nostril breathing, to relax the body and steady the mind enough for knowledge clarity  (no need to stare at the tip of the nose for long time)
      1. breathe out –seeing the falsity of the world and let it go,
      2. breathe in – Brahma jnani, I am Brahman,
      3. hold – abiding in knowledge

Jnani's meditation (after enlightenment of Brahma vidya)

With Brahma vidya clarified, the shift in niddhidyasanam meditation is to remain in the knowledge, and as a hobby, see the play of the jagat and thoughts in the mind.  Relaxed withdrawal of the mind.

  1. Niddhidyasanam to keep claiming Aham Brahma asmi, Brahma satyam, jagat mithya.
    1. Keep refining the knowledge, so as not to get trapped by mithya jagat by grasping at any object/concept.
    2. Observe (as witness)  the play of the mind (thoughts) caused by Prarabda and play of the 3 gunas throughout the day, as a hobby for fun.
    3. Mindfulness throughout the states of waking, dream and sleep.
    4. Chanting  Om; See mithya Jagat AUM in all 3 states (waking, dream and sleep), and let go to remain in silence as turiyam,C, Self .


Meditation Talks, Meditations and Stotrams

Vedantic Meditations
Stotrams lyrics, meanings
Ashtavakra Samhita Talks
Talks on “Self”

Mandukya Verse 7