The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :
In the process of pratyahara, the earlier or earliest stage of meditation, there is a need, first of all, to be conscious of what things there are which will distract your attention. What are your loves and hatreds? What are your inner tensions or frustrations, longings? They have to be dealt with very carefully, as we deal with wild beasts when they are tamed in a circus, or as carefully as a physician will diagnose a chronic illness. Here you should not be in a hurry; it is better to go slow - slow and steady wins the race. You should not be too anxious and emotional or enthusiastic about it. Every step has to be a firm step, a reinforced step, such that you need not have to retrace your steps due to any over-enthusiastic movement in this direction. You have to know your strengths and you have to know your weaknesses also. Here you have to be your own judge, unless of course you have a very competent Guru who may be your judge. Where such a Guru is not easily available you have to be your own intelligent judge; and here you should not be, in any way, over-compassionate in regard to your own self. You should be a physician of your own soul, a judge of your own self, and no hypocrisy is permitted where it is a question of your own welfare and it is not a demonstration before others.
This meditational technique is not an advertisement in society. It is a healing process that you are trying to undergo inwardly for your own ultimate blessedness, so you are concerned here with yourself and not with anything else. Here is the point where you are required to be totally dispassionate in judging your own self. You should make a list of all your weaknesses also together with your capacities, endowments, and know where you stand. "This is my strength, but this is also my weakness." And, so far as your strength goes – so far, so good. Be happy. God bless you. But as far as your weaknesses are concerned, they have to be got rid of with an intelligent psychoanalytic technique of positive induction of a new understanding which you have to receive either from your Guru or, if God has blessed you with enough understanding, to the strength of your own self. Generally your weaknesses are your desires which, somehow or other, seek fulfilment by hook or crook – by any means, fair and foul. This word 'desire' has a vast connotation. It covers a large area; it touches anything and everything in the world. It is a desire for any blessed thing.
Now, a philosophical analysis has to help you here in understanding how desires arise, why they are there, and what are the means and methods you have to adopt in checking them, rather, sublimating them, and transmuting them into a friendly power rather than a disturbing, annoying, agonising distraction. That which is an impediment to you psychologically, may become your friend. An energy that is moving outwardly in the direction of a distracting sense-object may get transmuted into your own mental force or consciousness force, and when this attunement takes place, your energy gets re-doubled. Here we have explained, perhaps, the sum and substance of what pratyahara means – the coming together of the energy of the senses with the concentrating activity of the mind. When the senses unite with the mind, you have achieved the process of total withdrawal, pratyahara, and the mind gets concentrated.
To be continued ...