“Arjun, remember your Tratak training. Concentrate, and breathe deeply. Now tell me, what do you see?”
“Umm . . . all I see is the eye of the bird.”
“The eye? Go ahead, release your arrow!”
“As you command, Guruvar.”
You know what happened next.
It’s a classic example of how powerful concentration can help you reach your goals.
And that’s where TRATAK comes in.
So, what exactly is it, anyway?
Tratak is an Ancient Hindu Yogic Method 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 it to boost your concentration.
But before we discuss ‘How?’ I need to clear the air:
Most people think that ‘Tratak’ and ‘Meditation’ are the same things, and often, they use the term Tratak Meditation or Concentration 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. Maharishi Patanjali clarifies in Patanjal Yoga Darshan (पातंजल योग दर्शन) that Yoga has Eight Angs, and one of them is Dharna.
Tratak (Dharna) is sixth on the list.
But isn’t it against the popular belief that Tratak is a form of meditation—a powerful way to build concentration?
I know. Okay . . . let me end this debate once and for all.
What is the Difference Between Tratak and Meditation?
When you fix your consciousness on a particular point—which is exactly 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 focus on and analyze 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 simultaneously—you become available to the whole.
And also, you realize 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, maneuvering the steering wheel, keeping a safe distance from the vehicles, but you’re not the car—you’re the driver.
Here we have two different entities—the car and you.
The 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 being aware of all that is. It’s the realization that you’re neither the body nor the mind—you’re the watcher, the witness, the ‘Sakshi.’
Unlike concentration, meditation brings you in—to your core.
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 got.
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 cozy bed, dim-lighting, and soothing music, etc.
But you go into a deep sleep only when you’ve stopped ‘trying.’
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 of going beyond body and mind.
So, meditation happens when you’re ‘being’ and not ‘doing.’
What Are the Different Names Used for Tratak?
Tratak Sadhana (त्राटक साधना), Tratak Kriya (त्राटक क्रिया) and Tratak Yoga (त्राटक योग) are the most popular names used for Tratak.
However, some people also refer to it as Tratak Vidya (त्राटक विद्या) and Tratak Yogic Sadhana (त्राटक यौगिक साधना).
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 centered and calm.
And that’s not all; it also has 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
Dangers of Tratak
The greatest danger is that you might become impatient. You know, ‘too much too soon?’
You may want to ‘speed up’ the process.
This kind of misadventure can affect your eyes and also your mental health.
Developing concentration takes time. Being in a hurry can harm you beyond imagination.
Tratak For Beginners: Many Begin, But Only A Few Succeed. Here’s Why
Most people begin without having a clear understanding of the human mind.
Remember a simple rule:
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 (and it hates that).
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, and so, it plays a smart trick on you:
It says, “You want to improve concentration? Great! Let’s go all out. Let’s practice 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 do the practice, 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 practice for such long periods, you quit, and the mind won.
Starting BIG is the reason why most people fail at their practice.
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 as your concentration grows, as you achieve your desired 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 the forms except The ‘Sun Tratak’).
When you could focus on a particular object without blinking your eyes for 32 minutes, congratulate yourself—it’s a milestone!
You Can Use Tratak to Increase Concentration, Here’s What You Need
It’s possible to nurture intense concentration if you’re willing to do the work.
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 practicing it once—on the night before your exam day. And that brings us to the next point:
Consistency is a must if you’re serious about developing concentration with Tratak.
Don’t expect to progress if you work at Tratak for a couple of days, then stop. And start practicing again where you had left.
It doesn’t work that way. You must practice regularly.
Remember: Practice doesn’t make one perfect; consistent practice does.
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 your practice.
When to Do Tratak?
Most people believe that Tratak can (and must be) practiced only in the mornings. Well, not exactly.
There’s no best time for it (except the Sun Tratak. You must practice it early in the morning only. More on that later).
It’s okay to practice 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 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 practice for a long time.
Seven Powerful Forms of Tratak
There are many forms of Tratak you can use to develop an intense concentration.
Here, I’ve listed seven of them:
- 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)
Let’s discuss them one by one:
1. Bindu (Dot) Tratak (बिंदु त्राटक)
Take an A4 size sheet, and using a pencil, draw a dot in the middle. Keep the dot size 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 normal.
Your ultimate goal should be to practice 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 you can achieve it with patience and consistency.
2. Shakti Chakra (Spiral) Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक)
You’ll need a Shakti Charka to perform this one.
Fortunately, I have the Shakti Chakra image I used when preparing for my 12th board exams. Here it is:
Hang the Shakti Chakra on a wall.
Concentrate on the center 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, practice is the key again. I did it, and you can do it, too.
Go easy. 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 reflect your past lives or some unexpressed desires from this lifetime—it’s normal to have such visions.
Just keep practicing.
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 practicing this.
You’ll need a thick candle for this (if a candle is not available, use a ‘Diya’ instead). Make sure the candle is of high quality because inferior quality candles release smoke.
This form needs to be done in a dark room to 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 do it 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 of the Sun.
And Surya Tratak requires you to concentrate on it, which makes it 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.
Remember: It is a powerful Tratak and the best time to practice it in the mornings—at sunrise. Never practice in mid-morning or afternoon. 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)
When I was trying to build concentration with Tratak, I practiced all the forms, except Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक). And for a good reason.
It 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 strange restlessness may 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 challenging, and I think taking the trouble to travel to a forest for improving concentration 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 practicing because the danger of attack by wild animals is always present.
The ‘fire element’ 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 method 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 it only after you’ve practiced certain other forms.
And that’s the reason I’ve kept it at the end of the list.
Here’s how to do it:
Sit comfortably in front of a mirror.
You can use a chair or 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 practicing.
Why am I asking you to choose either eye?
Because it’s nearly impossible to look into both eyes at the same time.
So, decide which one you’re going to focus on, 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 (I had warned you).
Remember: If you experience overwhelmingly eerie or disturbing feelings, then discontinue the practice.
You may not be ready—yet.
Rest for some days, practice 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 develop concentration.
By ‘right mindset,’ I mean you must be clear about why you want to practice Tratak:
Is it because somebody you know is doing it, and you don’t want to get 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’ve achieved the concentration you desired, use it with good intention.
Remember: With GREAT Power Comes GREAT Responsibility.