YOGA AND SPIRITUAL MEDITATION DURING KUMBH MELA
For pilgrims at Kumbha Mela, early mornings are the most austere time of day, as it is always colder than at any other time. However, sunrise is also considered to be the most auspicious time of day for spiritual practices, such as meditation & yoga. The yogis call this period of the day brahma-muhurta, or the spiritual hours for awakening higher consciousness. It has been observed that every day during the brahma-muhurta, thousands of pilgrims rose, bathed in the Ganges, and returned to their camps to chant mantras and meditate.
These early morning practices of the yogis and other spiritualists are called sadhana. These activities include the chanting of mantras, sitting postures, breathing exercises, and silent meditations. The sadhana itself is not the goal of yoga, but is meant to help one develop higher consciousness. In the spiritual development of a yogi there is a progression from one stage of enlightenment to the next. Initially the yogi begins by performing sitting postures called asanas. The asanas then prepare the yogi for the second stage of Yoga, pranayama, or breathing concentration. The yogi then practices control of the mind and begins meditation. Through meditation the yogi develops knowledge of the difference between matter and spirit and realizes that the body is different from the self. The yogi who attains this knowledge is always in contact with the Supreme Truth.
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