Tratak is a very potent Meditation technique to develop and harness the power of the subconscious mind. And when we are able to tap into that power, we are able to use it for great works.
Tratak helps in consolidating all these fragmented energies of our mind and focus them onto one spot. What happens when this happens?
Let me take an example to better explain this.
Sun shines on earth every day. It shines on the lands, on water - just about everywhere.
When you hold a piece of paper under direct sunlight why doesn't it catch fire?
However, when you condense the rays of sun through a magnifying glass, and focus it onto one spot on that same paper - it burns.
What you did was - you took the rays of the sun (which carries heat) falling onto the surface of the magnifying glass, and condensed them onto one spot. So the heat energy (actually 'kinetic energy' due to excitement of photons in the sun rays) of each of those singular rays of light summed up on one spot - thus making that spot very hot. This made it burn the object.
By the way, sunlight is not one beam of light - it's made up of infinitely small 'singular' rays (photon particles) of sunlight appearing as one single light.
This was a little on - physical science.
Now getting back to Tratak - so when you are able to condense all the scattered energies of mind, and condense them with technique of Tratak (the magnifying glass) onto one spot - there is an explosion of power (similar to burning of paper).
These are the hidden powers of the human mind (at subconscious level).
When your mind encounters 60,000 thoughts a day (pity! imagine the workload), it uses most of your energy reserves - and this energy is scattered and wasted in the commotion of these thoughts.
Tratak will help focus your mind completely on one object, and when your focus (energy force) is condensed for an extended time, it opens the portals of your subconscious mind.
Whoa - now what?
Nothing!!!! You just found an indescribable treasure that you can use as you deem fit.
When mind develops undeterred focus, it gives you experiences that you have never encountered before.
What you read even once, it is recorded permanently in your subconscious memory. Not being able to access these records during exams is a problem. So we need to resort to practicing, cramming, and all sorts of other difficult things (school time were a nightmare). Tratak will help students' access their memory banks, as easily as reading the answers out from a cheat sheet and scribbling them onto the examination sheet :-) It's that easy!!
The word trataka means to gaze steadily. Trataka is gazing without blinking at an object placed directly in front of the eyes. At the time of practising trataka, the eyeballs should remain steady and the eyelids should not flicker. No object except the one on which trataka is to be performed should be seen, and the mind should not wander hither and thither but be merged in observation of the object.
The impression of the object falls on the optic nerves. The shadow of the object falls on the eyes and then on the retina. The optic nerves of the retina are connected by the sensory nerves with the brain. The brain has several centres which are connected with the optic nerves. These centres receive information through the optic nerves and send out commands. Many of these centres are asleep or inactive. Trataka does not merely increase the function of perception. Through the medium of perception, the centres of the brain which remain inactive in an ordinary person are awakened. Man is capable of becoming a superman if he is able to awaken and activate those glands and nerve centres which in the natural course of evolution are in an inactive state.
Generally before going to bed people lie down and read a book. Why? By lying down on the bed, the optic nerves are pressed and this pressure makes the eyelids heavy. Due to heaviness the eyelids begin to close. The pressure on the optic nerves causes pressure on the brain too and therefore the instruments of the body, tired from the day’s activities, fall asleep in order to remove fatigue and refresh themselves with new energy.
The mind also goes within at the time of sleep, but it does not sleep. The mind which was active in the external world through the senses goes inside during sleep and sees the pictures of its inner experiences and impressions. This is also exactly what is experienced through the medium of tratak. The only difference is that the eyes remain open. There is no sleep, but all the tendencies are turned inward.
In daily life tratak has many uses related to the power of healing and clairvoyance. Trataka can be utilized for curing eye diseases, spiritual healing, acquiring knowledge of certain events, detection of thieves, murderers, etc., acquiring knowledge of the future, tracing lost individuals and so on. Clairvoyance is a mysterious faculty that can be developed by the practices of trataka. Yogis who have attained this state are able to see things with the eyes open or closed which a normal person is not able to see. Clairvoyance means psychic vision and such vision was given by Vyasa to Sanjaya. There are other great people who have developed this faculty through tratak. Ramana Maharshi had practised a sadhana related to it. C.W. Leadbeater of the Theosophical Society may also have acquired the power of clairvoyance by means of inner tratak.
Tratak plays an important role in yoga. Parvati practised shambhavi mudra, which forms an integral part if inner trataka. Trataka is practised even in hypnotism. The eyes possess the power to act as a reservoir of energy as well as a transmitter. Through the medium of the eyes, we are able to express many things. We are able to express sorrow, joy, anger, displeasure, cheerfulness, malice, etc. Through trataka we can acquire great power.
For best results use a lit candle in a dark room. Gazing at other objects will also help.
We can divide the sadhana of trataka into two stages. The first is the elementary practice of gazing without flickering the eyelids. In the second stage it is to be practised with the eyes fixed as if they are searching for something. Here the process is as if you are carefully observing an object or trying to find something small inside something big. The eyeballs should be steady. There should be no strain, but at the same time your gazing should be with a purpose. Continual practice will lead you to this experience.
Try it, to see results.
Needs to be done daily. Increase the duration of gazing each day (mandatory). Start with few minutes each day and gradually increase.
At a subtle level, when your mind is able to naturally connect with your mysterious subconscious mind (this is where it gets interesting), you may:
All these are quoted in the ancient Vedic texts and also propounded by innumerable saints and yogis of all eras.
Flame gazing is actually an advanced step in Tratak.
Beginners are recommended to practice with a small object. You could make a dot on a white piece of paper and start practicing gazing on the little dot. All above steps apply.
A dot is good as it is least distracting :)
Tratak is a simple practice, but in this practice one has to be very careful and alert as one’s vision and mental processes have to be watched. If the mind is slightly active, the vision wanders away from the object. At the time of gazing the eyes should not be opened very wide. In the first stage, trataka is practised on an object without thinking of its form, steadily and devoid of any mental changes.
Beginners should practice tratak in such a way that the eyes are not strained. If gazing is done in a natural state of mind, strain will be avoided. It is difficult to explain this, but by practice this technique can be acquired automatically. When the gaze becomes fixed in a natural manner and the aspirant has success in practising trataka continually for fifteen to twenty minutes, without any feeling of fatigue, for a few days, then another technique should be taken up.