By Swami Harshananda
Akhandākāra-vrtti literally means ‘modification in the form of the Partless'.
Advaita Vedānta advocates nidi dhyāsana or meditation as the means of the realization of the ātman. This should be preceded by the following :
- Śravaṇa - Hearing about the ātman from the guru or preceptor
- Manana - Reflection leading to a clear concept and conviction
Once the nature of the ātman is comprehended a clear idea is formed in the mind. Meditation can be proceeded with maturing into a deep conviction. In meditation, the mind takes the form of the object presented to it. Such modifications are called vṛttis and are like waves unto water. Meditation is like each succeeding wave similar to the preceding wave.
The objective of such meditation in Advaita Vedānta is the Ātman itself, which is identical in its essence with Brahman, the Absolute. Brahman is akhaṇḍa, partless, since it is the only Reality that exists. So, when the mind starts meditating on Brahman which is akhaṇda, its vṛttis take on the form of akhaṇḍa-Brahman. Such vṛttis are called akhaṇḍākāra-vṛttis. When this meditation ripens into samādhi (absolute concentration), the vṛttis die down and akhaṇḍa-Brahman stands revealed.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore