Advaita seeking is in three gradual stages: ShravaNa( Hearing), Manan (Contemplation) and NididhyAsanA (Meditation). In Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣhad sage Yagnavalkya says to his wife Maitreya: Self should be realized by ShravaNa, Manan and NididhyAsanaA; upon realization of the Self, all this is known.
ShravaNa means listening to vedantic teaching by a guru. It would also include reading vedantic literature and in the age of technological advancement, accessing the teaching offered by other sources. Contemplation means analyzing the teaching and grasping intellectually. All doubts should stand cleared at this stage. Next stage is meditation which enables internalization of the teaching and making it a living practice. No doubt, there is a wide gap between intellectual understanding and living practice, like two shores of a river. Having understood the enormity of task, the sages of yesteryear, out of compassion for the mankind, laid down the technique of vedantic meditation so as to swim across the river. Drg Drsya Vivek describes vedantic meditation. It is progressive and in conformity with vedantic teaching.
There are two broad categories of meditation, namely, internal and external. Each category is further divided in three stages, namely, savikalpa meditation with thought, savikalpa meditation with word and nirvikalpa meditation. It is noteworthy that the three stages follow in the same order. Thus it is six- fold method. Vikalpa means division. In savikalpa meditation, subject-object division and duality exist. In nirvikalpa meditation there is no such division and is non-dual. Continue reading