By Swami Harshananda
Dhāraṇā literally means ‘fixing the mind’.
It is an ambition of a human being to control the vagaries of one’s mind and concentrate on a particular subject. Patañjali, the ancient teacher of Yoga, has given us enough reference material in the Yogasutras.
From the eight standard steps, he recommends dhāraṇā to be the sixth. Dhāraṇā is called as the fixing of attention on a definite locus, such as:
- The lotus of the heart - imagining a red, twelve-petaled, lotus in the region of the heart for purposes of meditation
- The light in the brain - imagining a brilliant light in the crown of the head
- On the tip of the nose or the tongue
- On an external object like the moon or the image of a god, etc.
Fickle minds get distracted and run away from their object of concentration. However, it should be repeatedly brought back through strenuous efforts until it develops into dhyāna towards the object.
- Patañjali lived in 200 B. C.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore