The Teacher Within: Tratakum Meditation
Seeing Eye to Eye with the Master
“I am walking my last mile,” Yogi Bhajan said. “Soon it will be time for me to leave my physical body behind.”
There are twenty-five of us Kundalini Yogi teachers sitting on the grass near his cabin in the warm summer sun of Mendocino, California, at one of the very first 3HO Summer Solstice Celebrations.
“Do not be sad that I am leaving you. I am always with you. You can talk to me at any time. You do not need my physical body. Do you know that picture? Place that picture in front of you, look eyes into eyes, and meditate. Chant the long Sat Nam. Guru Nanak will be with you. I will be with you. Any question will be immediately answered. No problem. You can be with me any time.”
We all knew immediately what he meant by “that picture.” A simple black and white photo of his face in which, eyes open, he stared directly at the viewer. He had explained to us that this was a very special photograph. It had been taken of him whilst he was in a state of deep Turiya consciousness. Turiya is the same as Samadhi, the state of total merger with the Universe. He told us earlier about this particular photograph. He said, “Remember, this teacher whose photograph you are going to meditate on is not me. And you might not be aware of this thing; the picture does not have any value. It is how much devotion you have that shall be valued right there.”
Since that sunny day in the Mendocino meadow, I have always kept this magical picture on the wall at eye level right above my altar. In meditating, eyes into eyes, all questions are resolved, and all answers become clear.
Excerpts from “Seeing Eye to Eye with the Master,” by Guruka S. Khalsa, Aquarian Times, Winter 2005
The Teacher Within
In the yogic scriptures it says, “Even a glance from the eyes of a holy man can cure mental and physical imbalances.” Once in a very great while there is a picture that has a transcendent quality of neutrality that allows the person gazing at it to go through it and into their higher consciousness. This is a form of meditation called Tratakum.
Years ago, a photograph was taken of Yogi Bhajan which had such a quality, and it has been used ever since by students as a link to their teacher and their inner consciousness. It is called simply, “The Meditation Picture.” The picture itself does not have any power, and it would be folly to worship a photograph. The power is in the beholder, in the student who, by using the picture to help him tune into his inner awareness, elevates himself and gives life to the spirit of the Teacher inside.
When meditating on such a photo, it is impossible to get stuck on the level of personality. It will reflect you better than a mirror. In a mirror you can fool yourself with your own face. In this photo you cannot. In such a photo there must also be a light in the eyes of the teacher. A photo with the direct gaze of neutrality can heal and give you the instant ability to contact your own higher guidance.
As the different facets of an object of concentration present themselves to you, you actually experience different facets of your own self. The outer object is nothing but a gateway to the many facets of your self-experience. In a real sense, you become what you meditate on.
If you identify a new quality in an object of meditation, you have contacted and brought out that quality in yourself. For this reason, pictures of saints and objects of inspiration have always been subjects of meditation.
We are fortunate to have such a picture of Yogi Bhajan. It is said that if it is meditated on properly and seriously, the karmas can be erased and individual destiny expanded.
Teachers are connected by the Golden Chain, unto Infinity. Meditating on the picture allows you to ascend the Golden Chain. It is an action done with humility. Nothing else has the value of this meditation.
Nothing else has the value of this meditation. It is a must for any student or teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan to have an experience of this. The practice is called, “mental beaming.” It gives the mind the ability to project to Infinity through the creative power of the imagination.
Try this practice for 40 days in the early morning before sunrise and see what effect it has on you. During this time, eat lightly, and see with new sight during the day. If you like, the panj shabd (Sa Ta Na Ma) can be chanted mentally while doing Tratakum.
Yogi Bhajan instructed that the meditation picture be surrounded by an orange border. Set the photo about 3-6 feet (30-60 cm) away from you. Set one or two candles in front of the picture so that it can be clearly seen. The rest of the room should be dark.
Tune in with the Adi Mantra (Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo), and humbly tell your mind that the higher Self will guide you across the ocean of individuality, into the peace of the Cosmic Self. Know that you will receive guidance in all matters.
Posture: Sit very straight in an easy meditative posture, and cover your head and body with a shawl or blanket. Sit on a sheepskin or wool blanket to insulate your auric field.
Eyes: Open the eyes wide, and look eye into eye at the picture. Draw up the lower eyelids slightly. You will feel like you do not need to blink anymore.
Mental Focus: Completely still the body. The breath will automatically become lighter and lighter. Look at the light in the eyes of the photo and travel mentally through the picture to the source of that light. Mentally ask a question and listen to the answer. During the meditation, the picture may seem to move and look three dimensional. You may feel like floating out of the body. Just remember to keep your gaze on the light of guidance in the eyes.
Time: Meditate from 15 – 31 minutes.
To End: Close your eyes and see the image at the Brow Point.
The Meditation Photo is available through The Source at www.kriteachings.org.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
Compiled from “Tratakum Meditation,” The Aquarian Teacher, and “Traatakam: Gazing on the Face of the Teacher” by Gurudain S. Khalsa, Beads of Truth #7 vol. II. Published in Aquarian Times, August 2009.