|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - I
Unit - I01
Lesson I0103: Wrong Meditation
By Raja Subramaniyan
Right Meditation is one of the essential steps to reach Joyful Living.
Wrong Meditation is an optional step prescribed only for those who are not able to comprehend the knowledge, 'I am ONE'.
After gaining knowledge that ONE exists, one has to gain the knowledge, 'I am ONE'. However, for many people who have the strong notion that they are insignificant living beings, such a declaration is not acceptable.
Therefore, they stagnate in the stage of praising/ meditating upon God. Wrong Meditation is prescribed to them so that they progress towards the goal by meditating on the attributeless ONE in the same way they used to meditate on God (ONE with attributes).
Example: A man thinks that he is a rat. The psychiatrist suggests that he should meditate upon the thought, 'I am a man'.
He has to understand that he is a man. It is a mistake to meditate upon this knowledge. However, the psychiatrist prescribes such a Wrong Meditation, since it will lead him to ultimately realize that he is a man.
Similarly, the Holy Scriptures recommend meditation on the knowledge, 'ONE is the consciousness', 'ONE is formless and nameless', 'ONE is eternal' etc with a view to understand the meaning of these terms. Although it is wrong to meditate on ONE as if it is a third person, it is recommended since it will lead them to realize that they are ONE.
Some of our mistakes lead us to the correct destination. Wrong Meditation is one of them.
Example: Two men see a sparkle of light coming from the keyhole of two different closed rooms. Both of them mistake it for a diamond and rush towards the rooms. One of them finds a diamond and another finds a glass piece.
To see a sparkle of light as a sparkle of light is correct. Seeing it as a diamond is a mistake committed by both men. However, such a mistake has lead one person to become rich and therefore the mistake can be classified as 'Good Mistake'. In case of the other person, the mistake is bad because he is disappointed at the end.
The end result enables the classification of the mistake as good or bad. Wrong Meditation is a case of Good Mistake because in the end it helps people realize they are ONE.
Necessity of Wrong Meditation
ONE with the power of illusion is called God. People pray to God and meditate upon him by describing the various attributes of God. This step is essential to progress towards the ultimate understanding, 'I am ONE'.
ONE is without any attributes. To pray to ONE and to meditate upon the various attributes of attributeless ONE is a mistake. However, this is a Good Mistake since it will enable people to reach the fourth stage.
Examples of Good Mistake
1. Mistaking fog as smoke, a person climbs the mountain to get fire and actually finds fire.
2. Following the rituals prescribed in various prayers will yield the benefit due to the strong belief even though the procedures are violated.
3. Wrong diagnosis but patient cured.
Prescribing the Good Mistake as a solution is not uncommon. People in general believe that hard work, sincerity, dedication to work and such positive qualities will get them material success in life. This is a mistake.
Results of any action do not depend on the quality or quantity of work done. The result accrues to a person solely depending on the good or bad actions done by him in the past.
However, this mistake of thinking that quality of the action determines the result is a Good Mistake because ultimately people become more intelligent and competent through their hard work. When the intelligence grows to the sufficient level, the revelation in the Scriptures that the result of an action does not depend on the quality of the inputs will be understood. Till people reach this level, they will continue to assume that their action is leading to the desired results. If the results are not in line with their expectations they attribute the failure to insufficiency of the effort. Such Good Mistake will ultimately make them work harder and better leading them to become more intelligent.
When they become more intelligent, they will be able to comprehend ONE resulting in Joyful Living.
Similarly, when people meditate upon ONE as if ONE is independent of them, they are doing a Good Mistake. Such meditation will prepare and lead them to the practice of Inner Transformation.
Eligibility to practice Wrong Meditation:
1. Those who do not know the existence of ONE, cannot do this meditation. Those who are yet to start the journey cannot do this meditation. They need to inquire and ascertain the existence of ONE prior to commencing the Wrong Meditation of praying to the attributeless ONE.
2. Those who are steady on the knowledge, 'I am ONE' cannot / will not/ need not do this meditation. Such people have reached the destination of Joyful Living and therefore Wrong Meditation is irrelevant to them.
3. Those who do see the illusory nature of God are eligible only for the Right Meditation until they learn about the existence of ONE.
4. Those who are convinced about the existence of ONE, but think ONE as different from Self alone are eligible to practice the Wrong Meditation. Such people, who have not conducted enough inquiry or gone to the right teacher, can do Wrong Meditation until the external circumstances support proper inquiry.
5. Those whose intelligence is not sharp enough to discriminate between reality and illusion cannot comprehend ONE. Wrong Meditation is prescribed to such people.
Impossibility of wrong ending
Even if a person starts praying to ONE as an independent entity during the Wrong Meditation, there is no possibility of slipping to the wrong knowledge on ONE. Since the person involved in the act is fully aware that he is following this intermediary prescription since he is not yet ready to gain the ultimate knowledge, 'I am ONE'.
Example: Since the person worshipping a statue of a God is aware that the stone represents God, he will not slip into the status of thinking God is an inert object like stone.
Similarly, those who practice Wrong Meditation are aware of their goal that they should identify themselves with ONE. Therefore, there is no chance that they will conclude that ONE is different from themselves.
Method of doing Wrong Meditation
Any repetition of thought can be called as meditation. Repeating the thoughts about the attributeless ONE is Wrong Meditation. This will involve meditating 'I am ONE'. Such thoughts should be repeated until the current impression that 'I am the body/mind complex' is overwritten.
Therefore, it is essential that we have the ability to repeat and sustain identical thoughts in the mind.
ONE is beyond words and thoughts. It has to be meditated upon as something that is beyond words and thoughts.
There are two different ways in which Wrong Meditation is done. One is to meditate upon the affirmative attributes of ONE, namely that ONE is blissful, consciousness, eternal and truth. The second is to meditate upon the negative attributes of ONE, namely that ONE is formless, nameless and non-perceivable.
Obstacles to Wrong Meditation
People in general have enough intelligence to understand that the stone to which they are offering prayers is different from God, which it represents. However, when it comes to Wrong Meditation, since the object of meditation is formless and unperceivable, higher order of intelligence is required to see the truth. Deficiency in the intellectual capacity is one of the obstacles to do Wrong Meditation.
Example: When there is an information overload and the size of the RAM is limited, the computer hangs.
Similarly, when a person with insufficient intelligence commences Wrong Meditation he may not be able to comprehend the ONE which is beyond comprehension of words and mind.
The second obstacle to Wrong Meditation is absence of a right teacher. It may so happen that the knowledge of the teacher is limited and he has a wrong understanding that the individual self is different from ONE. In such a case, the Wrong Meditation may not lead to the desired result of realization of ONE.