Easy Sadhanas (Practices) for Achieving Rapid Spiritual Progress
In this chapter, I am going to enumerate eight vital sadhanas (spiritual practices), each of which will enable an aspirant to attain Self-realization. Only the first practice namely, Nada-sadhana (or Laya-yoga), is slightly difficult.
1. Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga)
God lives within man in the form of breath. Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga) means to concentrate on the celestial sound of one’s breathing. By concentrating on his breathing, man can achieve spiritual progress and come closer to God Almighty.
Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga) is performed as follows:
- Sit straight, absolutely motionless, facing the East or North or North-east direction, and breathe deeply so as to direct the breath towards the Adnya-chakra.
- During such inhalation and exhalation, you will hear a sound ‘Suuu…’. Listen attentively to this sound. This is called Laya-yoga. Some aspirants also call this practice as Om- sadhana.
Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga) is extremely important to attain Self-realization. I strongly advise you to do this sadhana daily for at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.
The one whose prarabdha (fate) is pure, such a person can attain the highly exalted state of Paramahans by doing Nada-sadhana. However, if his fate is not adequately pure, then the aspirant will face obstacles from forces in the Unseen World. To overcome these obstacles, the aspirant should indulge in devotion to a satvic Deity. He should chant a couple of mantras or stotras (hymns) in praise of his satvic Deity for at least 10,000 times.
In the beginning, the aspirant may experience a whirlpool of thoughts in his mind. As a result, he’s likely to get swayed in the current of these thoughts, and find it difficult to perform Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga). If the aspirant gets distracted in this manner, then he needs to resolutely try again and again to perform Laya-yoga. If the aspirant is still unable to perform this practice despite repeated attempts, then he should stop trying and wander about in the open air for about 15-20 minutes. Thereafter, he should repeatedly chant his satvic Deity’s mantra or hymn for at least 30 minutes and, then again, try to perform Laya-yoga. If the aspirant continually performs this practice, then thoughts gradually diminish in his mind and, eventually, cease to enter his mind. In yogic parlance, this exalted thought-free state of mind is called Savikalpa-samadhi, which is a deep meditative thought-free state wherein the aspirant is conscious of doing meditation.
When an aspirant begins to perform meditation, he sees darkness in front of his closed eyes in the beginning. This darkness is called Bhootakash. God’s Kingdom lies exactly beyond this darkness i.e. Bhootakash. In order to transcend this darkness, the aspirant has to either chant God’s Name or stotras (hymns), or concentrate on his breathing. Concentration on breathing is adequate for higher-level aspirants; however, for lower-level aspirants, it is essential to repeatedly chant God’s Name or stotras (hymns) in their mind. Gradually, lower-level aspirants will be able to concentrate on their breathing even as they mentally chant God’s Name or hymn. Progressively, the aspirant is able to experience how his breath is getting directed towards his Adnya-chakra, and circling around the chakra. At this stage, his mind temporarily becomes non-existent, as a result of which, mental chanting of God’s Name or hymns automatically cease, and the aspirant attains Savikalpa-samadhi.
Progressively, this darkness (Bhootakash) vanishes, and a cloudy sky begins to appear in one’s meditation. This is called Chittakash. This cloudy sky takes on different hues like red, pink, blue, turquoise blue, etc. In due course, the aspirant envisions a jyoti i.e. a flame. In yogic parlance, this jyoti (flame) is called Kala. This jyoti (flame) is about two inches in size. This jyoti (flame) is nothing but the aspirant’s Causal Body. From this jyoti (flame), many Adepts, Yogis, Gods and Goddesses, and Deities emerge, and give darshan (holy visitation) to the aspirant and bless him. The aspirant experiences bliss, and knowledge and joy spring forth from his heart.
Progressing further in his meditation, the aspirant transcends Chittakash and enters in the Chidakash. After entering Chidakash, the aspirant envisions a Neel-bindu (blue dot). Sometimes, this blue-dot looks like a gas-lighter spark, and sometimes it is of the size of a mustard seed. This Neel-bindu (blue dot) is nothing but the aspirant’s Supreme Causal Body. Many times, a Mahayogi emerges out of the Neel-bindu (blue dot) and gives darshan (holy visitation) to the aspirant. Sometimes, the aspirant’s own form emerges from the Neel-bindu (blue dot). Chidakash is also called the region of Supreme Absolute (Mahashunya). At this stage, the aspirant now needs to only perform the required sadhana (practice) to merge with Chidakash i.e. Supreme Absolute. In yogic parlance, merging with the Supreme Absolute is called Nirvikalpa-samadhi.
Prior to attaining this exalted state of Nirvikalpa-samadhi, an aspirant is blessed with several divine experiences as per his spiritual stature. Some such divine experiences are mentioned below:
i. The aspirant sees with his own eyes his crystal-like luminous Astral Body.
ii. On many occasions, he envisions Deities in his Astral Body.
iii. Some aspirants envision their seven Chakras i.e. Centres of Knowledge, and also beeja-mantras in their body as well as on the petals of their plexuses.
iv. Some aspirants envision Deities in place of their Chakras.
v. Some aspirants are blessed with the darshan (holy visitation) of Adepts, Gods and Goddesses, Who provide spiritual guidance to the aspirant.
vi. Devotees receive a lot of joy on meeting such aspirants. They also achieve spiritual progress.
Whichever Deity’s mantra is continually chanted by the aspirant, that same Deity manifests Himself (or Herself) before the aspirant, and gives him guidance and divine powers. In this manner, the aspirant achieves mantra-siddhi (i.e. bringing a mantra to full potency) of mantras pertaining to many Gods and Goddesses. Further, he also receives darshan (holy visitation) of many Gods and Goddesses.
After the mind becomes thought-free, the aspirant attains Savikalpa-samadhi and enters in Chittakash. I have already mentioned above the various divine experiences the aspirant will receive on entering Chittakash. When the mind becomes totally free from imagination, then the aspirant attains Nirvikalpa-samadhi i.e. the pinnacle accomplishment through Laya-yoga.
Even after attaining Nirvikalpa-samadhi, the aspirant is not be able to indefinitely live in this highly blissful state of consciousness because of demands of daily existence. Thus, even though he’s able to attain Nirvikalpa-samadhi whilst sitting or lying prone, he has to necessarily interrupt his blissful state of existence to attend to worldly duties. In the following section, we will dwell upon the spiritual bounty that an aspirant will gain based on how long he’s able to remain in the exalted state of Nirvikalpa-samadhi:
- 7-minute Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant gains a lot of energy, radiance and enters into deep sleep.
- 15-minute Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant gains a lot of energy and many divine powers.
- 1-hour Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant begins to gain knowledge of others’ fate.
- 3-hour Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant gains knowledge about all the nadis (energy-meridians) in the human body.
- 5-hour Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant can read others’ mind like an open book.
- 7-hour Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant’s body begins to levitate in the air, or float on water.
- 12-hour Nirvikalpa-samadhi: the aspirant can travel anywhere in the Universe with his Astral Body.
- 1-day (24-hour) Nirvikalpa-samadhi: Adepts, Yogis, Siddhas, Mahasiddhas, Gods and Goddesses manifest Themselves before the aspirant and give him guidance.
- 3-day Nirvikalpa-samadhi: The aspirant attains the capability to spiritually uplift hundreds of thousands of low-level spirits including earth-bound spirits.
- 7-day Nirvikalpa-samadhi: The aspirant attains the capability to spiritually uplift Deities and Family-Deities of his devotees.
- 1-month Nirvikalpa-samadhi: The aspirant attains various kinds of yogic powers.
- 1-year Nirvikalpa-samadhi: The aspirant attains Siddha-state completely.
- 12-year Nirvikalpa-samadhi: The aspirant becomes God Almighty.
2. So-Hum sadhana
To mentally chant ‘So’ during inhalation and ‘Hum’ during exhalation in meditation is called So-Hum sadhana. This is also called ajapajapa, which means automatic chanting from birth till death. This sadhana (practice) will also enable the aspirant to merge with the Supreme Absolute. Again, prior to merging with the Supreme Absolute through So-Hum sadhana, the aspirant will receive the same divine experiences as he would receive in Nada-sadhana (Laya-yoga).
So-Hum means ‘I am That’, ‘or ‘I am God Almighty’. The insightful reader would now come to know that God Almighty – Who’s the Eternal Ocean of Bliss and Joy, and also the Ever-Fulfilling Tree of Man’s Wishes, and Who resides nowhere else but in man’s heart, is always making the proclamation – ‘So-Hum.., So-Hum.., So-Hum..’ through every breath of man from birth till death.
Hunger and thirst drive the Physical Body to eat food and drink water; similarly, the Ego, which lives in the Astral Body, drives man’s Mind and Intellect and leads him astray most of the time in his life; further, the Subconscious Mind in the Causal Body continuously records the karma (deeds) indulged by man’s Ego every moment of his life and, accordingly, determines the consequences to be faced by man in this life or thereafter.
When man’s Ego is totally destroyed, then his Mind, Intellect and Physical Body get aligned in absolute harmony, and he merges into the Supreme Causal Body. As a result, God-consciousness awakens within him. Such a Soul is called The Enlightened One, Adept, Yogi, Siddha, Saint, etc.
Most Yogis stop their spiritual journey at Siddha-avastha i.e. state of Self-realization. Very few proceed further.
3. Akash-dhyan (Meditating on the Sky)
In this practice, the aspirant should sit straight, absolutely motionless, facing the East or North or North-east direction, and gaze at the sky with wide-open eyes. The aspirant should perform this practice daily for at least 20 minutes in the morning and also for 20 minutes in the evening. After completing the practice, one should wash one’s eyes with cold water at least 4-5 times. Progressively, the aspirant should increase his practice-duration by one minute every week.
After six months, the aspirant should stop gazing at the sky and, instead, begin to meditate with closed eyes. During this meditation, he should contemplate on the sky and also concentrate on his fontanel.
After performing this practice i.e. Akash-dhyan for 2-3 years, the aspirant directly enters into Chidakash i.e. he merges with the Supreme Absolute.
4. Pratibimb-dhyan (Meditating on One’s Image)
For this practice, a good quality full-size mirror is essential. The aspirant should sit straight, absolutely motionless, facing the East or North or North-east direction in front of a full-size mirror. Thereupon, he should gaze at his image and concentrate on the mid-point between the eyebrows of his image.
Beginning with 15 minutes of this practice daily, the aspirant should gradually increase the practice-duration by five minutes every week, eventually practising Pratibimb-dhyan for about three hours daily.
This practice (Pratibimb-dhyan) enables the aspirant to enter Shunya i.e. region of The Absolute.
When the aspirant attains mastery over Pratibimb-dhyan, he is bestowed with certain divine powers that enable him to produce and transmit as many of his images anywhere in the world to perform the necessary work.
5. Jyoti-dhyan (Meditating on the Flame)
This practice requires a lamp filled with pure ghee (clarified butter) to be lit, and kept on a table so that it is directly in one’s line of sight. In the beginning, the aspirant should gaze at the flame without blinking his eyelids for at least 15 minutes. He should do this practice (Jyoti-dhyan) daily and, gradually, increase its duration by five minutes every month. He should keep increasing the practice-duration till he’s able to do Jyoti-dhyan continuously for an hour.
After practising one hour of Jyoti-dhyan daily for one full year, the aspirant should try to meditate with his eyes closed and concentrate on his fontanel. As mentioned earlier, he will receive several divine experiences and, eventually, attain Nirvikalpa-samadhi.
6. Crystal gazing
This practice requires a piece of pure, spotless and transparent crystal, or acrylic, about 3-4 inches in height. Everyday, the aspirant should gaze at this piece of pure crystal (or acrylic) for 15-20 minutes. Gradually, he should increase this crystal-gazing to 30 minutes. Whilst gazing at the crystal, the aspirant should concentrate on his breathing.
This practice makes the aspirant’s Astral Body pure and transparent. He begins to envision Gods and Goddesses in his own Astral Body.
7. Meditating on the Saffron Colour
For this practice, at least one square foot of silk saffron cloth is required. This saffron cloth may be placed as a table cover, and positioned in such a manner that the morning sun’s rays reflect off it. The aspirant should gaze at the shining saffron cloth for 2-3 minutes and, thereafter, close his eyes. He will immediately see a turquoise blue-coloured bindu (dot) about 20 mm in size. The aspirant should focus on this turquoise blue bindu till it vanishes. After it vanishes, he should open his eyes and, yet again, gaze at the shining saffron cloth. He should perform this practice at least 5-6 times at a stretch.
After doing this practice for a few months, the aspirant begins to experience a certain kind of joy.
8. Meditating on the Rising and Setting Sun
The aspirant should see the rising and setting Sun daily for at least 30 seconds continuously, and then close his eyes and try to visualize the rising (or setting) Sun along with the sky. The aspirant should do this practice at least 15 times in the morning as well as in the evening.
After a few months of meditating on the rising (or setting) Sun in this manner, the aspirant begins to regularly envision the Sun and the sky in his dreams. If he begins to receive such dreams, then the aspirant should understand that he’s indeed achieving spiritual progress. Thereupon, he should increasingly focus on mediating on the rising (or setting) Sun and, in addition, begin to practice So-Hum sadhana. Apart from doing both these sadhanas, the aspirant should also chant God’s Name or hymn daily for at least one hour.
After doing these practices diligently for at least 2-3 years, the aspirant’s Kundalini (Serpent-Power) is likely to get awakened.