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An Essay on

2008 by Academic Services International, Los Lunas, NM, USA

. .

Raja Yoga - Continued



6. Dharana ("mental concentration"): Dharana means "immovable concentration of the mind." It is practiced by sitting in an asana position and mentally visualizing an unwavering image of a single object.

This is a simple task to begin to practice, but becomes much more difficult when one when trying to maintain the concentration.

Here is the starting point:
(1) Pick a simple geometric shape with a basic color..
For example, a red triangle or a yellow square.

.Ancient texts recommend using one of the five Tatwas:
A black egg, blue circle, red triangle, silver cresent, or yellow square


(2) Close your eyes and visualize your chosen object.

The first thing that you will notice is that the object will start to change its shape and/or color. It does this all by itself (of course it is really your mind resisting control ).

(3) Continue concentrating and mentally force the object back into its correct shape and color.

(4) This uses a great deal of energy. Start with short periods - One minute a day is enough. Do it for the exact same period of time each day and keep a written count of the "breaks" (each distortion or color change - or distraction of any kind - is a break ).

At first the number of breaks will tend to increase each day. Then, as you gain control, they will reduce. When they reduce, it is time to increase the timespan of the daily practice.

(5) Do this until you can hold a steady image for long periods (at least ten minutes).

(6) Proceed to a combined image with two shapes. Repeat everything over and over until you can finally add more and more complex objects - eventually leading to images of trees and people.


For specific dharana objects, please refer to the dharana section in the Inner Teacher document that is found in the Appendix.

< Link to Inner Teacher document
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At any time in this exercise the yogi may undergo ego-loss and may actually become the object of the concentration. This is the definition of "stopping the mind," which was examined in the previous Chapter, Pratyahara.

However, the actual becoming is called dhyana and is described in the next chapter . . .