We all have read about various versions of meditation. Each version has its own benefits. For example Transcendental Meditation is done to recharge the nervous system, chakra meditation is done to cleanse the chakras. But let’s talk about a different type of meditation called colour meditation. Colour meditation is generally considered helpful in maintaining inner calm and in understanding the subtle working of the vital energies of the human body. It is essential to remember that colour meditation is directed toward emotions, and so it is necessary to understand the meaning of the colors.
The first colour for meditation is red. This colour represents all the fiery emotions like anger, passion, lust, hate, violence, and constant activity. The purpose of meditating on this colour is to become one with the emotions it symbolizes, and to understand these emotions in our psycho- logical makeup. In Indian mythology, red is associated with Brahma, the principle of creation, and the mother goddess, the basic energy of the cosmos.
The second colour for meditation is black. This symbolizes all the negative feelings of the human mind. Depression, sorrow, grief, and so on, are all referred to as “dark” emotions. Negative attitudes and emotions are harmful to our physical and mental health. But to overcome them, we must understand them. And to understand them we must accept them
We generally try to push the negative part of ourselves into our subconscious and project only the good. But merely repressing the negative aspects does not make us free from them. They have to be brought into the open and under- stood. Any power that is understood loses its dangerous quality. Meditation on the colour black helps us in bringing the dark part of our mind to the surface. Black is a symbol of night, sleep, and death, and hence represents Lord Shiva, the universal power of death. Having understood and gone beyond the disturbing emotions of passion (rajas = red) and negativity (tamas = black), meditate upon white, the colour of inner peace and harmony. This is the symbol of Lord Vishnu, the cosmic principle of order and balance. White also represents light and wisdom, and stands for purity (sattva).
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The method of colour meditation is simple.
Sit in a comfortable posture. Generally padmasana or sukhasana (easy posture) is recommended, but any posture will do.
Then take a large piece of cloth or paper of the required colour. Stare at the coloured cloth or paper and allow the colour to become part of you. Let your entire body take on the colour you are meditating upon.
When you feel that the colour has covered you completely with its nature, close your eyes and visualize the colour inside you. When you can successfully visualize the colour with your eyes closed, you have perfected colour meditation. The various physical and psychic benefits will come automatically to you.
Accompanying colour Meditation with a Mantra
All the meditations can be accompanied with the repetition of a mantra (mantra japa). This helps concentration, because constant repetition of a set of sounds induces a mild state of auto-hypnosis and calms the restless mind. A mantra is a sound pattern that can either be a name of a deity, a monosyllable like OM, a Sanskrit phoneme imitating a natural sound, or a short prayer.
The most gross stage in the formation of a mantra sound pattern is the sound uttered aloud with the help of the vocal cords, the lips, the tongue and the teeth. This is called “the audible mantra,” or vaikhari. Before audible sound can be produced, there is a stage when the speech centers in the brain activate the vocal apparatus. No audible sound has yet been produced, but the form that the pronounced sound will take is already formulated clearly in the mind. There is no sound but only meditation.
It is said in the Taittiriya Upanishad (II, 9):
He who knows the bliss of Brahman, whence
words and the mind turn away and are
unable to reach it, he is not afraid of anything.
This stage is called “the intermediate” or madhyama. The basic human potential to be able to arrange sounds into meaningful speech is called “the foreseen” in the Tantras. The center of the pashyanti stage of sound is said to be in the cardiac plexus or heart chakra. Pure sound, as a form of kinetic energy that can become manifest as soon as there is vibration, is called “the beyond,” or para stage of sound. In the Tantras the four states of human consciousness are compared to the four stages of sound:
jagriti (waking state) = vaikhari
svapna (dream state) = madhyama
sushupti (deep sleep state) = pashyanti
turiya (the “fourth,” pure consciousness) = para.
The practice of meditation and mantra japa based on the four states/ stages tries to lead the mind from the gross to the subtle and beyond. This process of absorbing the human mind into the universal mind is also called laya yoga.
When a mantra is repeated aloud it is said to be at the gross, audible stage of vaikhari. Most mantras are at this stage. But when a serious disciple repeats a mantra silently- when the lips and the tongue move but no audible sound is produced-the mantra is said to be in the madhyama stage. When the mind has become silent and the mantra becomes automatic and goes on like the movement of the breath, it has reached the stage of pashyanti. Beyond pashyanti, the mantra, along with the disciple’s mind, merges with the Infinite. This is the para stage of the mantra.