Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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Five Universal Stages of Meditation
by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati 

Whatever Gross Object is chosen for meditation (visualized images, sensation, breath, energy, mantra, or attitudes, etc.), the process moves inward through stages (Gross, Subtle, Bliss, I-ness, Objectless). All methods of meditation, of all schools, traditions, teachers, lineages, religions, or paths are experienced in one or more of the stages described below. This is a universal framework for deepening meditation, and is extremely useful to understand, in that it allows you to see where you stand, and where you are going.
(See Yoga Sutras 1.17-1.18)

Gross (Savitarka)

There are numerous gross level objects on which one can concentrate for meditation, including physical objects or their mental forms, attitudes, and a variety of thought processes. Some schools of meditation base their practice on only one of these objects. In Yoga Meditation, these are very important practices, but are seen as preliminary preparation for the subtler practices.

Physical sensation Chakras Visualizations
Mantra Friendliness Compassion
Breath Benevolence Acceptance
Purity of mind Luminosity Thought streams
Energy Subtle senses Anything pleasing
Subtle (Savichara)

Beyond the gross objects of meditation above, there are subtle level objects. Because these subtle objects are either the building blocks of the gross objects, or are the mental instruments of cognition, there are far fewer subtle objects. For example, all of the objects with shape and form are built of earth, water, fire, air, and space (bhutas are gross; tattvas are subtle). All of the perceptions and attitudes are experienced by the sensing instruments, which now are themselves objects of meditation and inquiry.

Elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space
The subtle energy flows of the vayus and pranas
The subtle senses (indriyas) are objects of meditation
The four functions of mind, as objects of meditation
The subtler essence of mantra, beyond the syllables
Bliss (Sananda)

When attention goes beyond the gross and subtle levels of meditation, these recede into the background, as one is aware of the underlying bliss, a reality far subtler than mere emotion. In this still subtler experience, there is a simplicity, in that the multiplicity has been replaced by the awareness of bliss (ananda).

I-ness (Sasmita)

Beyond all three of the above levels (gross, subtle, and bliss), there is meditation on I-ness itself. This is not an ego level, along with the many personality traits, wants, wishes, images, or forms. Rather, it is meditation on individuality itself, untainted by all of those more surface level experiences. Though very deep, it has a simplicity in that it is a single I-ness, rather than a diversity of choices of gross or subtle objects. 

Objectless (Asamprajnata)

All of the four stages above have an object on which attention is focused. Thus, they are called samprajnata, which means with support. Beyond all of these levels comes objectless attention, which is without support, and is called asamprajnata. It is not merely empty-mindedness, but as a vast stillness that is indescribable to the typical level of waking state mind.

For greater detail on this process
Types and stages of meditation 
In particular, see the section on:
Stages of Meditation 

Objects of meditation are at:
50+ Yoga Meditation Methods 

Most methods are described in
Yoga Sutras 



This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.







Yoga Nidra Meditation CD by Swami Jnaneshvara
Yoga Nidra CD
Swami Jnaneshvara