What should one choose according to scriptures between thoughtless mind and mind filled with the thoughts of God?
A mind becomes thoughtless during SamAdhi in the true sense. Because at that time everything is merged into one. So, what is there then to fix your mind upon?
So, then, how can scriptures straightaway recommend in having a thoughtless mind? When it has to come at the very last stage of SAdhana?
For spiritual aspirant who is practicing meditation, two methods are basically prescribed.
Sthula DhyAna- Where mind is fixed upon God, who's endowed with bodily features (like face, eyes, hands, legs etc).
Sukshma DhyAna- Where mind is to be fixed upon subtle Mantrik manifestation of the Deity. In this case, nothing gross we have to fix our minds upon.
In Shakti YAmala, Lord Shiva describes these two meditative techniques to Mother Goddess as follows:
Sthulasukshma vibhedena dhyAnantu dvividam bhavet |
Suksham mantrapurgyAnam sthulam vigraha chintanam ||
KarapAdodarAsyAdi rupam yat sthula vigraham |
Sukshmacha prakrite rupam param gyAnamayam smritam ||
Sukshma dhyAnam maheshAni kadachinna hi jAyate |
Sthula dhyAnam maheshAni kritvA mokshamavApnuyAt ||
According to subtle and gross, meditation are of two kinds. Meditating on the subtle Mantrik representation of the deity is Sukshma DhyAna. And, fixing the mind upon the gross body of the deity is Sthula DhyAna. The form which is endowed with hands, feet, torso and face is the gross form. And the illuminating (GyAnmaya) form, that's beyond TrigunAtmaka Prakriti, is known as the Sukshma form. Hey MaheshAni, [without Sthula DhyAna] Sukshma DhyAna can never be accomplished. [The aspirant] gets [SAlokya etc] liberation by performing Sthula DhyAna.
Having a thoughtless mind from the start, while meditating, is never thus recommended. First, we do Sthula and then after mastering it, we do Sukshma. And, finally it leads to the stage of Nirvikalpa, which is the true state of thoughtlessness. And, one can not just achieve that stage from the start.
Or in other words, for achieving the true state of thoughtlessness, we have to do thoughtful meditation first. Even, most scriptures, do not recommend the Sukshma DhyAna from the start. For, example, Garuda PurAna states one should always contemplate on a definite form of God. This advice is given taking into account a man's inability to straightaway fix his mind on the formless (Amurtya).
Amurtashchet sthiro na swAt tato murtim vichintayet -- A mind can not be fixed upon the formless, that's why always think of a form of God.
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