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Meditation in Jainism

According to Sramana Bhagvan Mahavira, there are four types of Dhyana. (Meditation).

To keep the mind always engaged in one thought continuously or to concentrate the mind only on one thing or thought, is called ‘Dhyana’ (Meditation). This meditation may be auspicious and proper or inauspicious and improper.

Thus, there are four types of mediation on the basis of auspiciousness or inauspiciousness.

1. Artadhyana - (Inauspicious meditation on unhappiness) - To be eager and agitated; (1) to get rid of an unpleasant thing or an unpleasant individual; (2) to get a pleasant thing, which has been lost; (3) to get rid of a disease and (4) to see that the available comforts and enjoyments are not lost - is Artadhyana (meditation of an unhappy person).

(1) To be troubled, (2) to feel sorry, (3) to cry, (4) to lament loudly - these constitute the characteristics of this Dhyana.

One who engages in artadhyana is born in the lower order of mammals.

2. Raudradhyana (Meditation on cruel and angry thoughts) - To think of violence, untruth, and theft for the protection of available means of enjoyment, is ‘Raudra Dhyana’. ‘Raudra’ means cruel. To think in a cruel and murderous manner or inclination is ‘Raudra Dhyana’.

The practice of greater or lesser violence, collection of and training in murderous weapons, not to repent for one’s faults till death - these are the characteristics of this dhyana.

One who resorts to raudra mediation goes to hell. The aforesaid two meditations are not worth resorting to.

3. Dharmadhyana (Meditation on religious matters) - To interpret the meaning of Agamas (Scriptures) and the words of the Vitaragas, is - Dharmadhyana.

To create interest in the words of the Vitaragas and Tirthankaras, to show feelings and make attempts to behave according to their advice - these are the characteristics of this dhyana.

4. Sukla Dhyana - This has 4 types :
(1) Bheda-Cintana (Contemplation of difference) - To contemplate that the body and the soul are different, is called Prthaktva - Vitarka - Savi
(2) Abhedacinatna (Contemplation of non-difference) To contemplete on the form of the soul - I am the soul - is called Ekatvavitarka - vicara.
(3) To suppress the activity of the mind, the speech and the body is called suksmkriya-apratipatty.

(4) Steady condition under suppression of subtle activity like breathing is called samuc
chinnakriya anivrtti.

Discreption, renunciation, absence of delusion and steadiness in the face of difficulties - these are the characteristics of the four types of sukla Dhyana.

He who takes to the sukla dhyana attains moksa (liberation) and attains to the class of Siddhas.


For further study, please read ‘Yogasastra’, ‘Yogadipaka’, Jnanarnava Dhyanasataka’, ‘Jnanasara’ etc.



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