Paul Mason wrote:

>Guru Dev - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati gives a few 
>words about when and how to meditate.
>Translation by Paul Mason 31st August 2006
>"At daybreak and in the day do that fit puja and dhyaana etc, but at 
>night before sleeping you should certainly do 10-15 minutes of japa 
>of the 'ishhTa mantra kaa japa' and 'dhyaana' of the 'ishhTa muurti' 
>(desired form). From this 'upaasanaa' (sitting near / devout 
>meditation) quick advancement occurs.
>In darkness you should sit with eye closed and do japa of the mantra, 
>and in the same way with eye closed you should do dhyana of the 
>ishhTa with the mind. Not on their whole body, you should look on the 
>foot or on the mouth area of the head, seeing the full of compassion 
>of our favourite ishhTa, looking infused with tenderness. The vision 
>of the ishhTa becomes one's own desire. You should look not envisage 
>the eye of the ishhTa to be closed. This manner of having seen the 
>vision of the infusion of tenderness, doing dhyaana of the ishhTa in 
>the heart, you should remain doing japa of the ishhTa mantra. From 
>this, the image of the ishhTa will grow and provided that the mind 
>gets strengthened and held with the ishhTa then in the end will stay 
>in this condition. On the strength of this you should go across the 
>ocean of samsaara."
>['Shri Shankaracharya UpadeshAmrita' kaNa 48 of 108]
It's important to remember that India being close to the equator does 
not have the varying sunrise and sunset times nor Daylight Saving Time 
that more northerly countries have.  Hence many gurus will modify the 
meditation after sunset to meditating in a dark room.

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