[Advaita-l] dhyana and japa/mantra

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Mar 22 05:18:37 CDT 2009

Learned Sirs,

I have noted a verbal imprecision in the West, or rather, in the English
language as used, over the word 'meditation', as in the translations of
sacred texts and in recent practices.

Since the introduction of japa/mantra (I leave the distinction open) to the
West -- as recommended by all the sages as essential in the kaliyuga,
irrespective of faith or religion -- the word 'meditation' as a translation
of 'dhyana' in, for instance, the astangayoga of Patanjali, is confused with
'meditation' as a technique.

How far this matters, I'm not sure -- though all confusion in matters sacred
must be regretted.  And obviously, the ultimate aim in samadhi (rather than
mere 'calm and complacency' of meditation techniques as they are sometimes
written off) is not in doubt.

The problem is increased  because in English we have no other common word to
distinguish dharana from dhyana except 'concentration' which covers both.

I don't have problems with this myself -- but note that others confuse the

I wondered if you have any comments on this apparent confusion ?


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