Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: April 25, 2017 Reading time: 3 minutes
Swami Sivananda (8 September 1887 – 14 July 1963) or Swami Sivananda Saraswati, the author of Concentration and Meditation, was a doctor turned spiritual teacher and yogi. He founded “The Divine Life Society” and “The Sivananda Ashram”.
He has written many books, but one of his best books is Concentration and Meditation. This is a simple manual on how to achieve success in “Dhyana” and “Dharana”.
First, the book starts with the need for control of behaviour. Then, it goes straight into the theory and practice of concentration. Next, Swami Sivananda also explains some philosohical and spiritual concepts which he intersperses with practical lessons for implementation.
Additionally, there is special emphasis on integrating the science of meditation with ancient Indian spiritual ethos. This automatically gives depth to the book and an and assured entry into the body of books on Yoga.
Swami Sivananda next addresses similarities ad differences concentration and meditation.
Concentration is the ability to bring focus of attention to a single point while meditation is the ability to mold awareness to ones sense of Identity.
So, this means that while concentration is a skill which does not require spiritual maturity, meditation is a spiritual activity which requires increased awareness.
The book goes into many small details on the practice and requirements of meditation. Often, it integrates various elements of Yoga and Indian spiritual scriptures with practices for a cohesive outcome.
Next, Swami Sivananda moves from practice to various experiences, dangers, and precautions which a practitioner should confront when practicing meditation. Finally, there is a question-answer section which addresses the most common doubts on the subject. Lastly, the final chapters are devoted to the mystical evolution and experience of Samadhi.
There is no doubt that Swami Sivananda could not have written with such accuracy without personal experience. There is also ample evidence that many students benefited from Swami Sivananda and reached great mystical levels.
Unfortunately, Swami Sivananda sometimes repeats concepts and practices. Also, the english is written in the style of the 1950’s. This could make the book a little tedious, boring or pedantic. However, at no time is there any confusion on the path to be taken – collect the scattered thoughts, remove distraction, inertia or laziness, practice attention and single pointed attention, live an ethical life, do not be afraid at the various experience during practice and you will reach Samadhi.
This book is sure to motivate one to reach the realm of the mystics.