Disciple: What is the purport of the teaching that
in pratyahara one should meditate on the pranava?
The purport of prescribing meditation on the pranava
is this. The pranava is Omkara consisting
of three and a half matras, viz., a, u, m,
and ardha-matra. of these, a stands for
the waking state, Visva-jiva, and the gross body;
u stands for the dream-state Taijasa-jiva,
and the subtle body; m stands for the sleep-state,
Prajnajiva and the causal body; the ardha-matra
represents the Turiya which is the self or 'I'-nature;
and what is beyond that is the state of Turiyatita,
or pure Bliss. The fourth state which is the state of
'I'-nature was referred to in the section on meditation
(dhyana): this has been variously described --
as of the nature of amatra which includes the
three matras, a, u, and m; as maunakshara
(silence syllable); as ajapa (as muttering without
muttering) and as the Advaita-mantra which is
the essence of all mantras such as panchakshara.
In order to get at this true significance, one should
meditate on the pranava. This is meditation which
is of the nature of devotion consisting in reflection
on the truth of the Self. The fruition of this process
is samadhi which yields release which is the
state of unsurpassed bliss. The revered Gurus also have
said that release is to be gained only by devotion which
is of the nature of reflection on the truth of the Self.
Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.