When Swami Kriyananda gave me the spiritual name, Jyotish, he said that it means “Inner Light.” Seeing light in the forehead during meditation has always been a cornerstone of my practice, which is probably why he chose this name for me.

Yogananda explains that one of the hidden teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is that each character, good and bad, symbolizes a different psychological trait within our psyche. Each quality we express in this life has been trained by the same teacher—Dronacharya (past habit). Yogananda says, “No matter how many times a man suffers from very powerful attacks of sense-habits and restlessness-producing material desires, he finds that the meditation-born, occult soldiers of this life and past lives still come to his aid.” One of the greatest generals in the spiritual battle is Dhumata (Calm Inner Light), who arranges our pure discriminative faculties for spiritual battle. Though the Gita appears on its surface to be a mere philosophical discourse, when we meditate we can actually experience the realities it describes.

Most people, even beginners, are able to see some kind of light in the forehead during meditation. This is because light is an innate aspect of our spiritual essence and is reawakened by any spiritual effort.

When his mind becomes very calm and focused, the meditator can see the spiritual eye as a golden ring enclosing a deep-blue field with a silvery-white five-pointed star at its center. Seeing the spiritual eye clearly is challenging, and many people get disheartened if they can’t. Don’t get discouraged. Any perception of the inner light, even as only a kind of ephemeral opalescence, is extremely beneficial.

the inner light

The inner light can deepen our meditation in many ways. Typically, we begin our meditation by praying to God and our line of gurus. Unfortunately, this is often done absentmindedly. It will be much more effective if you first take a few moments to center yourself and connect to the light and energy in the spiritual eye. Then, as you pray, clearly visualize each of the masters, especially their eyes. It adds even more power if you also feel and direct devotional gratitude to each of them from the heart.

After your prayer, move on to the practice of watching the breath. First, feel the cool and warm currents of the inhalation and exhalation high in the nasal area. As you get calmer and more focused, feel that each breath is awakening and energizing the inner light in your forehead and prefrontal cortex of the brain.

After the inner light has been awakened, it can become a kind of “home base.” When your mind wanders, bring it back to the inner light. For me, this is the best and fastest cure for restless thoughts.

When practicing other techniques, especially Kriya Yoga, use the inner light as a reference point, continually returning to it and strengthening its power. At the end of all techniques, focus there as deeply as possible. The spiritual eye is the gateway through which the deep meditator exits the body and enters Christ consciousness, experiencing his unity with everything in existence.

The inner light is useful also throughout the day. Swami Kriyananda advised that when relating to others, especially if giving advice, we should feel love and goodwill arising in the heart and being projected from our forehead to the spiritual eye of the other person. This will connect us soul-to-soul and make possible much deeper communication.

The inner light is, indeed, one of our greatest allies in our spiritual journey. In his great book of prayers, Whispers from Eternity, Yogananda wrote the following: “My eyes are enthralled, O Father, with the beauty of earthly flowers, with life’s passing scenes, and with the sailing, silent clouds. Everywhere, all I see hints at Thy hidden presence. Open that eye in me which sees only Thee. With that gaze may I behold Thee above, beneath, all around, within, and outside me. Teach me in all things to see only Thee. Open in me that eye which beholds everywhere Thy hidden but ever subtly reigning wonder.”

He further suggests, “This demand, especially, should be repeated mentally with deep concentration until the prayer-thought becomes fixed in your superconsciousness by the conviction born of deep faith.”

May the inner light guide each of us back to our one true home.

In the light,

Nayaswami Jyotish