Friday, October 11, 2013
What is Ekagrata?
Translating words from Sanskrit into English is a tricky business. The depth (in terms of inner evolution) of the translator affects the translation. For example, consider the word love. How do we provide meaning to this word?
When we see one of our favourite songs being played on radio, we exclaim 'Oh I love that song'. This has a certain meaning. Then, there are other meanings to the same word. When in a deeply intimate moment with a loved one, we exclaim 'I love you'. The meaning of the word love in this usage is completely different. It obviously has a much deeper connotation.
Sanskrit words, especially the ones used in the context of Yoga and inner evolution, have varied meanings with different depths. If one enquires into it relentlessly, the meanings will be revealed.
Ekagrata is usually translated as 'concentration'. This is not wrong but in my opinion it is one of the grosser meaning and not the deepest meaning possible. Usually, the example of Arjuna (the historical / mythical archer), who was able to effortlessly focus on the eye of the bird which he was to shoot at, as a sparkling example of Ekagrata. This is a wonderful ability to have. It helps one frequently get into the state of flow. This will help one stay ahead of the curve and succeed in most of the mundane aspects of life.
But, in my opinion, there are deeper meanings. The example of Bhagiratha is a case in point. He wanted to accomplish something deeply socially meaningful. Tremendous amount of effort had to be put in towards his chosen goal over many decades. In today's context, imagine trying to convince all of India (farmers / consumers / leaders) to accept organic farming. There will be many difficulties (some genuine / some born out of greed / some born out of ignorance etc). Besides that there would be many difficulties that one invites due to one's own yet to be cleared sub-conscious. Imagine the kind of effort that will one have to put in to accomplish this. This will require one to sublimate all of ones available energies into this single chosen goal. That, to me, is a much deeper meaning for ekagrata than concentration. Concentration is not to be denigrated. It becomes a necessity for the manifestation of this deeper quality.
This deep quality called ekagrata is a life vision for oneself. This should not be confused with ambition. Ambition is motivated by the ego. This indicates a sub-conscious that is yet to be cleared (not suppressed) of lower desires like need for fame / social status etc. The vision is one that is manifested after clearing of all the sub conscious. One has to go beyond petty desires like career and seeking of various pleasures. The great thing is that to cultivate ekagrata one does not need a clear sub-conscious straight away. If one wants ekagrata seriously, one will slowly work on cleaning oneself up. This process is Yoga and will lead to the flowering of the higher qualities in the individual.
Such a vision will clearly be the biggest and greatest contribution that the individual in question can offer to the world. When one is channelling all of ones life energies towards that vision one can be said to be in a state of Ekagrata.