“Look carefully…and now…tell me what do you see?”
“Umm…all I see is the eye of the bird…”
“Eye of the bird!? Okay…go ahead, release your arrow.”
“As you wish, Guruvar.”
Next, we know—the great warrior prince, Arjun, pierced the eye of the dummy bird placed on a distant tree.
It’s a classic example of how strong concentration can help you reach your goals with precision.
That’s where Tratak comes in.
So, what exactly is Tratak, anyway?
Tratak is an Ancient Hindu Technique to Build Concentration
It’s been there for ages, used by countless people to develop strong concentration and excel in their respective fields. And you can also use Tratak to your advantage. But before we discuss how you can build concentration with Tratak, let me clear the air…
Most people think that “Tratak” and “Meditation” are the same thing, and often, they use the term “Tratak meditation.”
Well, I hate to break it for you, but…
“Tratak Meditation” Is A Myth
The truth is:
Tratak is a technique to develop concentration and there’s no such thing as “Tratak Meditation.”Tratak is a technique to develop concentration, and there's no such thing as 'Tratak Meditation.'Click To Tweet
It’s so important I’d like to repeat it:
Tratak is a technique to develop concentration, and there’s no such thing as “Tratak Meditation.”
But isn’t it against the popular belief that Tratak is a meditation—a powerful way to build concentration?
Okay, let me end this debate about “Tratak and meditation are the same things” once and for all.
What is the Difference Between “Tratak” and “Meditation?”
When you fix your awareness on one particular point—that’s what we do in Tratak—when every bit of your energy flows towards that point and that point only, and you become unavailable to everything else—that’s concentration.
Concentration, or rather a “strong” concentration is useful when you’re trying to focus your mind on studies so you could score better marks in exams.
Also, concentration is desirable when you want to study and analyse a subject/topic in-depth.
Concentration takes you outside—in the world.
On the other hand, meditation is a journey from outside to inside.
It’s the art to transcend the body and the mind—to go beyond them—to relax in awareness.
In Meditation, unlike concentration, you remain aware of everything around you at the same time—you become available to the whole.
And also, you realise that you’re the watcher, not the doer.
For example, when you eat, walk, or breathe, you stay aware that it’s the body that’s eating, walking, or breathing, not you. Yes, you’re the one performing those actions through your body, but you’re not the body—you’re the one watching the body performing those actions.
Similarly, when you think, you know it’s the mind that’s thinking, not you—you’re the one watching those thoughts.
Clear as mud?
Okay, let’s try to understand this with an analogy:
Suppose you’re driving a car. Now, it’s evident that you’re the one shifting the gears, manoeuvring the steering wheel, keeping a safe distance from the vehicles, but you’re not the car—you’re the driver.
The car and you are two different entities.
Same is true for your body and mind:
You’re the one operating the body and the mind, but you’re neither of them—you’re the operator.
So, meditation is the state of simply being aware of all that is. It’s the realisation that you’re neither the body nor the mind—you’re the watcher, the witness, the “Sakshi.”
Meditation Is Just Like Sleep
Remember the night when you’re tossing and turning in your bed—sleep was miles away from your eyes?
The more you tried, the harder it became to go to sleep. So, you tried even harder, but nothing happened. After struggling for some time, you gave up. Next thing you know—you woke up in the morning—refreshed!
You cannot force sleep to happen. Of course, you can create the right atmosphere for sleeping: a cosy bed, dim-lighting, and soothing music, etc. But you go into a deep sleep only when you’ve stopped trying—when you’re not “trying” to sleep.
In that sense, meditation is similar to sleep—you can “be” in meditation, but you cannot “do” it because “doing” is a dimension of the mind. And as I explained above, meditation is the art to go beyond body and mind.
So, meditation happens when all the doing stops—when you’re “Being,” and not “Doing.”
What Are the Different Names Used for Tratak?
Have you noticed I am using the term “Tratak” and not “Trataka?” Well, that’s my personal preference.
You can call it either “Tratak” or “Trataka”— both terms refer to the same process.
That’s not all; there are many different names/terms people use when referring to Tratak:
- Tratak Sadhana (त्राटक साधना)
- Tratak Kriya (त्राटक क्रिया)
- Tratak Vidya (त्राटक विद्या)
- Tratak Yoga (त्राटक योग)
- Tratak Yogic Sadhna (त्राटक यौगिक साधना)
What Are the Benefits of Tratak?
Not only Tratak builds concentration, but it also consolidates your otherwise scattered life energies, and as a result, you start feeling more centred, calm, and clear.
And that’s not all, Tratak or “Trataka” (if you love the term) provides many other benefits, such as:
- Improved memory and increased IQ
- Better control over thoughts and feelings
- An unprecedented increase in self-worth
- Enhanced sense of general well-being
- A more open and friendly attitude in general
Only A Few Succeed In Building Concentration With Tratak. Here’s Why
Most people start practising Tratak without having a clear understanding of the fundamental premise of the human mind:
The mind loves movement.
Your mind keeps moving from point A to point B, and again from point B to point A, or even to point C—that’s how it keeps you in bondage—by not letting you stay focused on a particular point for a long time.
The moment you force your mind to stay at one point for too long, it gets uncomfortable because you’re pushing it to act against its will, which, it hates.
And that’s exactly what Tratak is all about: To make your mind stay focused on a specific object for as long as you wish.
Now, the mind knows that since you’re determined, it cannot hold you back from practising Tratak, and so, it plays a smart trick on you:
It says, “You want to practise Tratak? Great! Let’s go all out. Let’s practise for 1 hour daily.”
You know why?
Because the mind knows that nobody can sustain such rigorous practice, at least not in the beginning.
Did You Notice the “Wickedness” at Play?
You wanted to practise Tratak, and your mind hated that. But, instead of saying a definite “no,” it persuaded you to go BIG.
The mind made it an “ego” issue for you—”Do this, or you’re a loser.”
And, you fell for it.
You began with great enthusiasm, but since it wasn’t humanly possible to practise for such long periods, you quit, and the mind won.
Starting BIG is the reason why most people fail at Tratak.
But you’re not most people, right?
You know that if you wanted to build concentration with Tratak, you’d have to be careful. And since now you know what goes on behind the scenes, this is what you want to do:
Begin with a manageable aim. Take baby steps. And once you achieved your goal, aim higher, and higher:
Start with one minute on day one. Then two minutes on day two. And so on.
Keep increasing the time each day until you reach thirty-two minutes (for all forms of Tratak except The “Sun Tratak”).
When you could focus on a particular object without blinking your eyes, for 32 minutes, congratulate yourself—you’ve mastered Tratak!
You Can Develop Concentration With Tratak, Here’s What You Need
It’s possible to nurture intense concentration with Tratak if you’re willing to do the work. I say this because it can take anywhere between 21 days to 6 months or even more to achieve unwavering focus. It depends on how intense your concentration is at the moment.
But, at the same time, let me warn you:
Tratak is not a quick fix.
It’s not like you’ve had a headache, and you swallowed a pill, and it’s gone. No, it’s not like that. So, don’t expect a miracle by practising it once—on the night before your exam day. And that brings us to the next point:
Practice doesn’t make one perfect; consistent practice does.Practice doesn't make one perfect; consistent practice does.Click To Tweet
Consistency is a must if you’re serious about building concentration by practising Tratak. Make a schedule: let’s say Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Or how about Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays? You decide.
If you don’t have the time right now, then put it on hold and begin when you’re sure you have time to spare for Tratak.
Also, most people believe that Tratak can (and must be) practised only in the mornings. Well, not exactly.
It’s okay to practise Tratak in the mornings. But evenings or even afternoons are fine, too. Don’t fuss over the time of the day (or night). Just make sure your Tratak practice goes on.
Simple homemade food, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, would be the best bet. Also, keep yourself hydrated. That’s important because you’ll lose a decent quantity of water in the form of “tears” when you practise Tratak.
Seven Powerful Forms of Tratak
- Bindu Tratak (बिंदु त्राटक)
- Shakti Chakra Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक)
- Agnishikha Tratak (अग्निशिखा त्राटक)
- Chandra Tratak (चंद्र त्राटक)
- Surya Tratak (सूर्य त्राटक)
- Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक)
- Darpan Tratak (दर्पण त्राटक)
Anybody can build concentration with Tratak by following the proper technique.
The best part?
You don’t need to practise all of them.
Just pick one, start, and keep practising.
Let’s discuss them one by one:
1. 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 the “Bindu” (the dot). You might feel uncomfortable at the beginning, which is quite normal.
Your ultimate goal should be to practise Bindu Tratak for thirty-two minutes (without blinking your eyes). Now, staying focused on one point for thirty-two minutes without blinking your eyes is difficult, but with patience and consistency, you can achieve it.
2. Shakti Chakra Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक)
You’ll need a Shakti Charka to perform this one.
Fortunately, I have the Shakti Chakra image I used to practise at in 11th standard, here it is:
Hang the Shakti Chakra on a wall (just like in Bindu Tratak).
Concentrate on the centre of the picture. Breathe normally.
You need to concentrate on Shakti Chakra without blinking your eyes—that’s important! And believe me, when I say that focusing without blinking, is hard as hell but again, practice is the key. I did it, and you can do it, too.
Go easy, and keep moving, and within weeks, it’ll be a “piece of cake” for you.
A word of caution:
You may notice some random images appearing in the Shakti Chakra. Those pictures can either be reflections of your past lives or some unexpressed desires from this lifetime—it’s normal to have such visions. Just keep practising.
3. AgniShikha Tratak (अग्निशिखा त्राटक)
AgniShikha Tratak, also known as “Candle Gaze” or “Candle Gazing” uses the fire element. This form 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, use a “Diya” instead). Make sure the candle is high quality because inferior quality candles release smoke.
This Tratak needs to be done in a dark room so you can focus on the flame of the candle.
Light the candle and put it on the ground, or fix it in a candle stand at your eye-level. Now, turn off any other type of light (LED, Tubelight, etc.) and sit about 3 feet away from it. Take three deep breaths and concentrate on the tip of the flame.
You may see some random images and may also start hallucinating, which again, is a normal thing. Just stay focused on the flame.
4. Chandra Tratak (चंद्र त्राटक)
The best time to practise Chandra Tratak is on a full moon night or three to four days before and after.
Go to the roof of your house 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.
5. 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 this Tratak walking on the razor’s edge—a little carelessness and your eyes will be gone—forever! Does that mean you can’t or shouldn’t do it? Well, you definitely can—it’s just like any other form of Tratak, but you must be careful.
The best time to practise Surya Tratak is in the mornings—at the time of sunrise. Never practise on mid-morning or afternoon sun. Never.
Go to a park or stand on your roof. Take three deep breaths, focus on the Sun. Become one with the sun.
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 self-confidence shall also grow leaps and bounds because you’d be concentrating on the King of the solar system—when it’s about power and authority, nothing comes even close to the Sun.
6. 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:
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.
Carry on. Keep concentrating on the fire for as long as 32 minutes.
Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
- Finding a forest near your house can be quite challenging, and I think taking the trouble to travel to a forest for practising Agni Tratak is way too much of an effort.
- Even if you’re able to find a forest (or move to one)—you’ll need to be constantly vigilant while practising, because the danger of attack by wild animals is always present.
- The “fire element” in Agni Tratak may attract paranormal entities—something that’s beyond human control. And you don’t want to be in such an uncomfortable and life-threatening situation.
7. Darpan Tratak (दर्पण त्राटक)
Darpan means “Mirror” and hence Darpan Tratak means “Mirror Gazing.”
What’s unique about this Tratak is that it’s a little different from the other forms—it requires you to focus on yourself, on your eyes, not on any external object.
Darpan Tratak can, at times, get a little disturbing, and even scary. So, I recommend doing this Tratak only after you’ve practised certain other forms. That’s important. And that’s the reason I’ve kept this Tratak at the end of the list.
Here’s a simple method to perform Darpan Tratak:
Sit comfortably in front of a mirror. You can use a chair, or you can also sit on the floor on an Aasan (Yoga Mat). Relax, and breathe deeply. Don’t try to control your breathing; let it be the way it wants to.
Now, look into the eyes of your reflection in the mirror. Choose left or right eye for practising.
Why am asking you to choose either eye?
Well, because it’s nearly impossible to look into both the eyes at the same time.
So, decide which one you’re going to focus at and then keep looking into that eye.
Many things may happen during your practice:
- You may start noticing strange faces or figures appearing in the mirror.
- Sometimes, you’ll notice your face disappeared from the mirror; you’ll be staring into a blank mirror.
- You may feel somebody else’s face is staring at you from inside the mirror.
That’s normal for Sadhaks of Darpan Tratak (I had warned you).
Remember: If you experience overwhelmingly eerie or disturbing feeling, then discontinue the practice. You may not be ready, yet, for this form of Tratak. Rest for some days, practise other forms first and then try again. See how it goes.
It’s Possible to Build Concentration With Tratak
Most people believe that only sannyasins and sages can undertake Tratak, but that’s not entirely true. Anyone with the right mindset and determination can build concentration with Tratak.
By “right mindset” I mean you must be clear about why you want to practise Tratak:
Is it because somebody you know is doing it, and you don’t want to left behind? Or is it because you genuinely want to develop your concentration to move forward in life?
Think about that!
And when you’re clear. Pick any form of Tratak and get started.
Be careful, build momentum gradually. And when you achieve the concentration you desired, use it with good intention.
Remember: With Great Power Comes GREAT Responsibility.