In this article from a Winter 2005 Aquarian Times, Guruka Singh remembers the day that Yogi Bhajan taught the Tratakam.
“I am walking my last mile,” Yogi Bhajan said. “Soon it will be time for me to leave my physical body behind.”
There are 25 of us Kundalini Yoga teachers sitting on the grass near his cabin in the warm summer sun of Mendocino, California, at one of the very first 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 while he was in a state of deep Turiya consciousness. Turiya is the same as Samadhi, the state of total merger with the Universe.
In Turiya, though the eyes are open and the brain awakened and alert, the brain waves are the long delta waves of deep sleep. Normally this frequency of the brain waves never occurs during waking. This is the deep, deep awakened state called Turiya.
He told us earlier about this particular photograph. He said, “If you meditate with open eyes, remember you have to meditate into the eyes.” He also said that if you meditate with your eyes open and then close them and see the picture on the inside of your eyelids, even then, it will take a longer time, but it will still be a perfect meditation on your teacher.
“Remember, this teacher whose photograph you are going to meditate on is not me. 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.”
**He told us to mount the photo on an orange matte and place it at eye level with a low light (like a candle flame) on either side of the picture and then to stare with fixed, open eyes into the eyes of the picture and let the connection take place. The meditation can be performed for any length of time and is ended by closing the eyes and seeing the image of the picture at the brow point, internally. This technique is known as Tratakam.
Tratakam means beaming with a steady gaze. Tratakam is the focusing of the mind on specific anatomical or psychic locations to awaken the awareness and energy within these foci.
Yogi Bhajan continued: “Not all pictures do something. However weird that particular picture is—sometimes you don’t like it—that’s the only picture |of me| that works. All the other pictures can do nothing. That’s the only one. What should I do? Some people complain to me, ‘Yogi Ji, your other pictures are more beautiful.’ But I say, ‘I can’t help it.’ Sometimes non-beautiful things are required too.”
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.
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