Chinmaya experiences this bliss every evening, when after a long day’s work as a hi-tech professional, he sits for meditation in his small apartment room in the bustling city of New York. As he closes his eyes the entire scene gets vividly enacted, breaking through the limits of time and place . . . and the deep joy of that spiritual experience stays with him all the time. This practice of meditation is often called “Leela Dhyana” – meditation on the actions or ‘leela’ of a divine incarnation and imagining oneself in that divine company.
Every day as we interact with a myriad of names and forms, personalities and events, our awareness gets completely filled with those. And at the end of such a day’s experience, when we try to meditate on God, well, we know the extent of success we achieve.
Leela Dhyana gradually conditions our mind, allowing it to smoothly transition from events and personalities of the mundane realm towards those centered on an avatar, thus imbibing his living presence. The mind then naturally concentrates on that blissful Divine form and therein lies the efficacy of this technique. Over time it strengthens the mind, revealing greater mysteries of the spiritual realm. Experiences in the sense world correspondingly evolve, thus transforming one’s life and awareness.
The style in which M. wrote the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, giving vivid descriptions of each scene, was intended to help us in this practice of meditation. Vaishnava literature describes various stages of Leela Dhyana. In Vaishnava tradition special rules are laid out for advanced aspirants to practice more perfected stages of Leela Dhyana. However for a beginner, who is trying to concentrate the mind in accordance with Guru’s instructions, the aforesaid method itself could be a helpful aid.
This technique is also a form of Yoga; can we name it as the “Yoga of Play”? Your comments are welcome.