Each of us at one time or another has looked at the sky and stars at night and felt an ineffable awe at the immensity of everything. Some feel an inexpressible joy while others feel a sense of complete insignificance compared to this infinite colossus called the cosmos. Some people may become a little depressed yet this is not necessary if each and everyone of us also looked inwards to the unfathomable depths of the internal cosmos of the mind. This inner universe is just as awesome, breathtaking, stupendous and exciting as its outer equivalent; in fact, it is more so. It is also infinite in extent. It is limitless. It is by knowing the nature of the inner cosmos that one ceases to feel totally dwarfed by the outer cosmos. This is the whole reason for meditational practices.
In Sanskrit the material universe around us is called the mahakasha. The word maha means ‘great’, and akasha means ‘space’ or ‘ether’. Therefore, mahakasha literally means ‘the great space’ or ‘ether’. It is the exploration of the mahakasha, the external universe, that almost everyone has been totally concerned with in the past and today. This applies to the farmer, the engineer, the sailor and the astronaut. They are all exploring the potential of the material cosmos in their own way.
It is a sad thing, yet nevertheless a fact, that veiy few people make any attempt to explore the inner cosmos. They don’t even know of its existence. Man continues to go further and further into outer space but neglects the infinite within himself. Almost everyone is so engrossed in looking outwards that they forget to look inwards. In Sanskrit the inner cosmos is called the chidakasha; the word chit means ‘consciousness’. Therefore, the literal translation of the word chidakasha is ‘the space of consciousness’. In the mahakasha we see the material world and the innumerable occurrences and forms of the macrocosm. In the chidakasha it is possible, though few realize it, to view the infinite psychic events occurring within each and every human being. This is the aim of all meditational practices, including the practice we will now discuss, called chidakasha dharana.