Tratak is an ancient Indian yogic method to build concentration.
Many people think it is some sort of meditation, but that’s not true.
Tratak is simply a technique to build concentration.
Concentration is not meditation.
You see, when you are concentrating, you are fixing your awareness on one particular point only. Remember the incident in ‘Mahabharat’ when Arjun said to Guru Dronacharaya that he could saw the eye of the bird and nothing else?
So, What’s Meditation Then?
Meditation means you are aware of whatever is happening to you, and around – you are mindful of the fact that you are the watcher, not the doer.
When you are in a meditative state, you know it’s the body that eats, not you. Likewise, while walking, you are aware that it’s the body that walks, and also, when you breathe, you know it’s the body, not you.
Meditation is the state of being aware of your body, mind, and yourself.
Meditation is a state of non-doing.
Can you recall a night when you were unable to sleep? And since you could not sleep despite being tired, you tried harder.
But nothing happened because sleep happens when you’ve stopped trying.
Of course, you can create the right atmosphere: cosy bed, dim lighting, soothing music, burning incense, etc. And that’s all there is to it. You cannot force sleep to happen. It does happen, though, but on its own.
Now, meditation is somewhat similar to sleep, except that you stay awake in it. 🙂
You can “be” in meditation, but you cannot “do” it. Because meditation happens when all the doing stops.
Trying to do meditation is like trying to get your car to a standstill by pressing the accelerator. Nope, ain’t gonna happen.
Different people use various terms while referring to Tratak. Some call it Tratak Sadhana (त्राटक साधना ) and Tratak Kriya (त्राटक क्रिया), while some others address it as Tratak Vidya (त्राटक विद्या).
But names don’t matter; what matters is that you develop patience and consistency to succeed at Tratak.
Building concentration with Tratak can take anywhere between 21 days to 6 months to achieve unwavering focus.
But Tratak is not a quick fix. It’s not like you’ve had a headache and you swallowed a pill, and within minutes it’s gone. You can’t expect it to produce miracles by practising it once, just before the exam day. You must be determined enough in your Tratak practice to get results. And that brings us to the next point.
Consistency is as crucial as patience. You must practice Tratak regularly if not every day. Make sure you could sit for Tratak for at least 30 minutes per session. If that’s not possible at the moment, put it on hold and begin when you have time.
Diet for Tratak
You don’t need a strict diet, but yes, a light, low-fat diet can help. Simple food, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, would be the best bet. Also, keep yourself sufficiently hydrated.
Is Evening Time Suitable for Tratak?
Most of the people believe that Tratak can (and must be) done only in the mornings.
That’s not true.
If you could manage to practice Tratak in the mornings, good, but if that’s not possible, then evenings or even afternoons would do just fine. Don’t worry much about what time you practice it. But do practice. Whenever you can.
So, What is Tratak?
Tratak is the process of gazing at a particular point – concentrating your mind on one object.
Tratak has various forms:
- Bindu Tratak
- Shakti Chakra Tratak
- Agnishikha Tratak (Candle Light Tratak)
- Chandra Tratak (Moon Tratak)
- Surya Tratak (Sun Tratak)
- Agni Tratak (Fire Tratak)
It’s not necessary to practice them all.
Pick one. Start. And keep practising.
Benefits of Tratak
- You can focus on studies for longer hours
- Controlling the mind gets easier with time
- Your memory gets better by the day
- You start experiencing profound mental clarity, and
- It helps improve your personality
Why Most People Fail at Tratak
Tratak is actually a process of taking control of your life back from your mind into your own hands.
You see, the mind likes to keep moving from point A to point B, and again from point B to point A or even to point C. The moment you direct it to stay at one point for too long, it gets uncomfortable. It loses the authority it had over you.
Now, the mind knows that it cannot hold you back from practising Tratak, so it plays a trick: it urges you to start big from the very beginning. The mind knows that you won’t be able to sustain the practice, and will eventually quit, which is exactly what it wants.
That’s the reason most people fail at Tratak.
But you are not ‘most’ people. You can avoid the trap.
Don’t listen to your mind. Start small.
Begin with a manageable aim. And once you reach there, aim higher, and higher. Start with one minute on day one. Then two minutes on day two. And keep increasing the time each day until you reach thirty-two minutes (for all forms except The Sun Tratak).
When you could focus on a particular point or object without blinking your eyes, for 32 minutes, congratulate yourself. You’ve mastered Tratak.
Following are the various forms of Tratak and how you can practise them.
Bindu Tratak (बिंदु त्राटक )
Take an A4 size sheet, and using a pencil, draw a dot in the middle.
Keep the size of the dot similar to a 25 paisa coin (roughly the size of a large Bindi).
Hang the sheet on a wall and sit at a distance of about three feet-on a cotton cushion or ‘Aasan.’ Take three deep breaths and concentrate on that ‘Bindu’ (the dot). Your mind will not like it, and it’s quite natural. Keep working.
Keep your target to practise Bindu Tratak for thirty-two minutes (without blinking your eyes). Reaching the target of thirty-two minutes is difficult than it sounds, and it may take three to six months.
And even if you feel like it’s not working during the initial phase, keep practising because most of the things don’t work for the first time.
You surely can master it if you just keep practising.
Shakti Chakra Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक )
You’ll need a Shakti Charka to perform this Tratak.
Below is the Shakti Chakra image I used to practice at in 11th standard. You can save the image on your computer. Also, you can download the Shakti Chakra image in pdf format (click on the link).
Hang the Shakti Chakra image on a wall (just like you did in Bindu Tratak).
Now, concentrate on the centre of the picture. Breathe normally.
You are supposed to concentrate on Shakti Chakra without blinking your eyes. And believe me when I say that focusing without blinking is damn hard. It’s brutal. But again, practice is the key. I did it, and you can do it, too.
Start small. Go easy and keep moving forward. And within twenty-one days, it’ll be ‘a piece of cake’ for you. 🙂
Here’s a catch, though:
You may start seeing some random images appearing in the Shakti Chakra, which is normal. The pictures you are seeing may either be reflections of your past lives, or some unexpressed desires from this lifetime.
Just keep practising.
AgniShikha Tratak (अग्निशिखा त्राटक )
AgniShikha Tratak uses the fire element. This Tratak is more suitable for winters because you cannot run a fan or AC while practising this.
You’ll need a thick candle for this (if a candle is not available, you can use a ‘Diya’ instead). Make sure the candle is high quality because inferior quality candles release smoke.
Light the candle, and turn the lights off. Put the candle on the ground, and sit about 3 feet away from it. Take three deep breaths and concentrate on the tip of the flame. You may notice some arbitrary images and may also start hallucinating. Just don’t pay attention to anything and keep looking into the tip of the flame.
Chandra Tratak (चंद्र त्राटक )
The best time to practice Chandra Tratak is on a full moon night or three to four days before and after.
Here’s how to do it:
Go to the roof and lie down on your back. If that’s not possible, then sit on a chair in a comfortable position and concentrate on the Moon. Try not to blink your eyes for as long as possible. Again start small.
Keep increasing the time every time you do it.
Things take time.
Surya Tratak (सूर्य त्राटक )
Fifteen million degrees Celsius.
That’s the temperature on the Sun. And Surya Tratak requires you to concentrate on it which makes Surya Tratak a dangerous thing – just a little carelessness, and your eyes are gone – forever.
Does that mean you can’t or shouldn’t do it?
No. You definitely can practise Surya Tratak just like any other form of Tratak. But yes, be very, very careful.
The best time to practice Surya Tratak is morning – at the time of sunrise. Never practice on mid-morning or afternoon sun. Never.
Go to a park or stand on your roof. Take three deep breaths. And focus on the Sun. Become one with it.
Start small and keep increasing the time until you reach 18-20 minutes. Be careful not to push yourself. Do NOT attempt to go beyond 20 minutes.
Apart from the concentration, your confidence and personal power shall also grow exponentially because you’d be concentrating on the King of the solar system. And when it’s about power and authority, nothing comes even closer to the Sun.
Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक)
I’ve practised all the forms except Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक). And for a good reason.
You see, Agni Tratak requires you to go into deep woods (which I find eerie, but if you insist, then who am I to stop you).
Here’s a possible way to practice it:
Go into a forest or a highly dense wild area. Collect some dry woods and start a fire.
Now, sit about 6 feet away from the fire and concentrate on the flame. Keep staring at it. You may hear some abnormal sounds and may also notice some disturbing images in the fire. Fear, anxiety, or a weird restlessness may also emerge out of nowhere.
Be brave. Carry on.
Keep concentrating on the fire for as long as 32 minutes. Do I need to repeat that you must advance with patience?
Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
- It is performed outdoors – in a forest. Forests are for wild animals, not humans, mind you.
- The fire may attract paranormal or supernatural entities, which may be beyond human understanding and control. And you don’t want to be in such an uncomfortable, and possibly life-threatening situation, right?
So, there you go. I have explained most Tratak forms. Pick one and get started. Just be careful to practice slowly and steadily. And when you achieve the concentration you desired, use it with good intention.
Remember: With great power comes great responsibility.