Concentration in Nama-smarana
Why are we unable to achieve concentration in nama-smarana although we earnestly desire and strive for it? What should we do to achieve this concentration? It is true that hordes of vagrant, irrelevant thoughts throng and distract the mind during meditation. The simple remedy is, not to pursue or multiply them, not to indulge in day-dreams. Thoughts will go away as they come, if we ignore them. Indeed, nama-smarana will itself lead to concentration. Real concentration will come only at an advanced stage. The mind is, by its very nature, fickle, restless, fugitive. It can be steadied only by tethering it to something; so we should keep it engaged in nama. Practising listening to nama mentally, as we chant it, will greatly help achieve concentration. Persistence in repeating nama will ultimately lead to concentration of the mind.
Everyone knows that the mind readily concentrates on what it likes or is interested in. We have an inborn affinity for worldly matters and sensual pleasures, and so get easily absorbed in them. If, then, we cultivate affection for God, why should we not be able to get engrossed in Him and His nama? So let us cultivate a keen longing for God and nama.
Real concentration requires complete fusion or merger of identity, like that of salt in water. Yoga may train you in concentration, which, however, will last only so long as the state of samadhi lasts. Real, lasting concentration is to be fully and incessantly aware of the divinity pervading all things. When we realize that all is God and nothing else, where is the scope for duality to exist? And the moment duality vanishes, oneness or concentration alone remains: this is true samadhi.
Even if a person is lonely, he creates a whole world in his mind and peoples it with a host of persons and things, with the help of his imagination. The learned especially possess a prolific imagination. If the mind must, after all, imagine something, let us think of God in His various qualities as a benefactor, as the protector of everybody and everything, and as the bestower of peace and bliss. God, Who transcends and defies intellectual comprehension, should be imagined as saguna, with a certain form and name, and we should endavour to concentrate our mind on these to the exclusion of all else.
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