Meditation in the Indian Context

In the Indian culture, meditation is used to assist people in developing a state of inner calm and tranquility as well as a deeper awareness of who they are and the world around them. Meditation is considered a potent spiritual and human development technique in Indian religions.

What is Meditation?

The word "meditation" is derived from the Latin meditatum, which means "to ponder." It denotes the act of reflecting or contemplating. It can be characterized as a simultaneous state of silent thought and thoughtful awareness. The practice of meditation helps the mind achieve equilibrium and peace. It can be interpreted as a technique for managing the mind and refocusing it on the transcendental plane of existence. Meditation helps to relieve tension and anxiety by calming the mind. Higher states of consciousness may be experienced as a result of meditation practice. The meditative state known as pure awareness or Samadhi aims to achieve this

In addition to calming down and reducing cerebral activity, it also significantly influences the physical metabolism, causing it to enter a profoundly relaxed state of awareness. The body "settles" into profound relaxation at that point. After the body's stress is relieved, after some time to relax, the mind returns to the body. The "outward stroke" of meditation is what is meant by this. The "inward stroke" resumes after this stroke of stress release.

Background of Meditation

Yoga and meditation are two of the most well-known Indian traditions. The Indus Valley civilization flourished around 3000 BCE and is considered the ancestor of this ancient and authentic culture. The underlying presumptions of this tradition are fundamental to Indian civilization, both Vedic and Non-Vedic (such as Buddhism), and they include a belief that the human state is characterized by misery and that there is a gradual ladder-like path that is intended to elevate the practitioner into a completely different, liberated state.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, which is the main text of the tradition and is accessible in numerous editions, including English and Chinese translations, is thought to be the primary source. Beyond its core texts, the yoga and meditation tradition has become extremely popular and occupies a significant space in the mystic Upanishads. Similar to this, it can be found in well-known epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and above all, it has had a significant impact on devotional movements. The Indian tradition has recognized the immense strength and vigor inherent in Yoga and meditation.

Indian Meditation Techniques

Following are the major techniques of Indian meditation

Transcendental Meditation

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) approach differs from other types of meditation in terms of where it came from, how it is used, and how much research has been done. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a scholar of the ancient Vedic culture of India, brought the TM technique to the West. It is a straightforward psychophysiological technique done twice daily for 20 minutes. Although it might lead to altered lifestyle preferences, no special adjustments or beliefs are necessary. It can be used with most traditional medical treatments and is instructed by instructors who have undergone particular training.

Sahaja Yoga Meditation

In Sahaja yoga meditation, basic breathing exercises and applications of silent affirmations help a person reach a mental silence in which all of their focus is on the present now, and they are free from unnecessary mental activity. Practitioners frequently describe the experience as calming, pleasurable, and relaxing.


Gautam Buddha discovered the meditation technique known as Vipassana approximately twenty-five centuries ago. In the historic Indian language of Pali, which Buddha spoke, the word vipassana is translated as "insight." It teaches how to accept reality as it is. Although the basis of what is now known as Buddhism may be found in Vipassana, this discipline is open to students of all faiths, nationalities, colors, and backgrounds and does not require conversion. The ethical and social route results from a nature-centered investigation of one's body and intellect. Liberation from pain and spiritual transcendence are the objectives of Vipassana. According to Hart, the goal of Vipassana is healing—not the curing of disease, but the fundamental healing of human suffering.

Zen Meditation

Zazen (Zen meditation) refers to seated meditation, a religious practice in Zen Buddhism. Zen sitting has two main meditation postures: a full cross-legged sitting and a half-cross-legged sitting. The disciple's hands usually join during the Zen sitting, and their eyes must be open and pointed downward approximately one meter ahead. The disciple meditates for roughly 30 minutes while sitting on a spherical cushion in a quiet space. In certain cases, the rigorous Zen training is done 8–10 times daily for roughly a week. Zen Buddhism refers to this as Sesshin. The disciples follow a rigid "schedule," abstaining from regular activities in favor of leading a monastic life.

Mindfulness Meditation

The origins of mindfulness meditation may be traced back to Buddhist meditation practices. Since the 1990s, mindfulness meditation has been used to treat various physical and mental health issues and has drawn significant interest in psychological research. Currently, mindfulness meditation is characterized as nonjudgmental attention to experiences in the present moment in clinical and research contexts. This definition includes the Buddhist ideas of mindfulness and composure. It describes practices that call for the control of attention (to keep the attention on present-moment experiences like thoughts, feelings, body posture, and sensations) and the capacity to approach one's experiences with acceptance and openness.

Effects of Meditation on Indian psychology

Indian psychology emphasizes meditation, which has been used for thousands of years. It is thought to provide various benefits, such as lowering stress and anxiety, enhancing attention and concentration, and elevating sensations of well-being. Additionally, it is believed that meditation improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure. Additionally, it has been discovered that meditation helps treat various ailments, such as chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. It has been discovered successful in PTSD symptom reduction and addiction treatment. It is also said to aid in self-discovery and spiritual development.


Meditation can be challenging for some people to start and keep up with despite its many advantages. Starting to meditate might be challenging for some people, especially if this is their first time doing it. Some people need help to make the time commitment necessary for regular meditation practice. Furthermore, meditating in a noisy or stimulating setting can be difficult. Due to cultural or societal restrictions, meditation may not be acceptable or appropriate in many regions of India.

Updated on: 06-Feb-2023


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