Once a Sanskrit scholar approached Kabir and asked him, “O Kabir, what are you doing now?". Kabir replied, "O Pundit, I am detaching the mind from worldly objects and attaching it to the lotus-feet of the Lord". This is concentration.

Concentration or Dharana is centering the mind on one single thought. Vedantins try to fix the mind on the Atman. This is their Dharana. Hatha Yogins and Raja Yogins concentrate their mind on the six Chakras (energy centres). Bhaktas concentrate on their Ishta Devata (tutelary diety). Concentration is a great necessity for all aspirants.

During concentration, the various rays of the mind are collected and focussed on the object of concentration. There will be no tossing of the mind. One idea occupies the mind. The whole energy of the mind is concentrated on that one idea. The senses become still. They do not function. When there is deep concentration, there is no consciousness of the body and surroundings.

When you study a book with profound interest, you do not hear if a man shouts and calls you by your name. You do not see a person when he stands in front of you. You do not smell the sweet fragrance of flowers that are placed on the table by your side. This is concentration or one-pointedness of mind. 

The mind is fixed firmly on one thing. You must have such a deep concentration when you think of God or the Atman.

Everybody possesses some ability to concentrate. Everybody does concentrate to a certain extent when he reads a book, when he writes a letter, when he plays tennis, and in fact, when he does any kind of work. But, for spiritual purposes, concentration should be developed to an infinite degree.

There is great concentration when you play cards or chess, but the mind is not filled with pure and divine thoughts. The mental contents are of an undesirable nature. You can hardly experience the divine thrill, ecstasy, and elevation when the mind is filled with impure thoughts. Every object has its own mental associations. You will have to fill up the mind with sublime, spiritual thoughts. Then only the mind will be expurgated of all worldly thoughts. The picture of Lord Jesus or Buddha or Lord Krishna is associated with sublime, soul-stirring ideas; chess and cards are associated with ideas of gambling, cheating and so forth. 

Swami Sivananda


To be continued  ...