Visualization in Bhakti Yoga Meditation
A dynamic devotional imagination is the easiest and most enjoyable way to channel the mind in meditation. This visualization is also called rupadhyana, loving remembrance of God's divine form, presence, qualities, and so on.
In bhakti meditation your aim is not to empty, still, transcend, go beyond, observe or witness the mind. It also doesn't involve any kind of physical practice such as mechanical repetition of a mantra or name of God, the performance of any kind of religious ritual, recitation of memorized verses.In bhakti yoga meditation we utilize the natural tendencies of the mind, which are:
- To form emotional attachment
- To be constantly active
If you are on a bicycle and want to go in the opposite direction, you don't apply the brakes and stop to do this. While you are still in motion, you simply turn the handlebars and your bicycle changes direction.
Similarly, the human mind is active every moment. In bhakti meditation, we don't try to tame, interrupt or stop this nature. Instead through visualization we give it lots of divine subjects to reflect upon. We don't change the thinking process, we just change what is thought about. In this practice of meditation, the knowledge of God's divine form is extremely important.
Even if you try to meditate on God's form, you might wonder if that could be called "God", because you have never seen Him. How could your mental imagination spiritualize the mind?
In bhakti yoga meditation we base our imagination on the divine form of God as it has been described in Vedic scriptures and by God realized Saints.
Fortunately, there is also a wealth of devotional material that we can refer that has been written by past and present Saints. We can refer to these teachings for renewed inspiration. At the same time, we also have complete freedom to adjust this image so it is compatible with our nature and style of thinking.
In other words, this image of Radha Krishna is an artist's conception of Their divine form based on scriptural descriptions. Using this image only as a base, conceive a form of Radha Krishna that you find loving and desireable. You may only take 1% of this image to start with or a full 100% - both are correct.
A canvas is only plain material. On top of that an artist paints a masterpiece. Similarly, when you conceive the form of Radha Krishna, or any other form of God, imagine your own devotional masterpiece that is unique to you.
Take all images and descriptions as a guide, make them personal to you, and then most importantly...
...add into this imagination the feeling, "This is my divine beloved," and deeply feel that you wish to attain the actual experience of His divine love one day.
Make your imagination active. Imagine God's form and engage all your senses in feeling His close presence. Feel He is reaching to you, speaking to you, moving towards you, involving you in some activity.
This is the easiest and most natural form of meditation.
As your mind begins to purify through regular practice, the feeling of God's closeness will become stronger, and a natural state of meditation will begin to permeate your daily activity, regardless if you are sitting intentionally for meditation or not.