Do you realize how important it is to have strong concentration?
The people with intense focus—folks who can pay undivided attention to studies, work, and passions—who can concentrate on the task at hand for a longer time, are the ones who succeed.
And the others with not-so-strong mental focus?
They get behind—most of the time.
It’s not like you don’t know this. You do.
But let’s face it:
It’s hard to increase concentration power, like really hard, in today’s world—full of distractions.
Twitter. Facebook. WhatsApp. YouTube. Instagram. This. That. The list is endless.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your concentration. You CAN.
In fact, you can build an exceptional concentration if you’re determined.
And that’s where TRATAK (Tratak Meditation) comes in.
What Is Tratak, Exactly?
Tratak Siddhi, or simply Tratak is an ancient Hindu Yogic Sadhana to improve concentration—there are many types of Tratak—and it dates back to thousands of years—to the Vedic Age.
Remember the incident during the Mahabharata period, when Guru Dronacharya conducted an archery test to measure which of his students had the strongest focus and concentration?
“Arjun, take a deep breath and concentrate. 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.)
Countless people have used Tratak to sharpen their ability to focus, improve their concentration power, and excel in their studies, careers, and life.
You can also use it to boost your concentration to achieve success in your desired field.
Before we discuss how to use it to improve concentration, let’s deal with a minor glitch.
And that is:
Tratak or ‘Tratak Meditation?’ Which One Is Correct?
You can refer to it as TRATAK MEDITATION if that’s what you like, and it’s perfectly fine, but you see, it is not meditation per se. Actually, Tratak is the step that LEADS to meditation.
Let me explain.
Maharishi Patanjali states in Patanjal Yoga Darshan (पातंजल योग दर्शन) that Yoga has Eight Angs.
यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम, प्रत्याहार, धारणा, ध्यान और समाधि—ये योग के आठ अंग हैं । (योग• २ । २१)
- Dhyana and
Let’s focus on ‘Dharana’ (sixth on the list):
चित्त को किसी एक देश-विशेष में स्थिर करने का नाम धारणा है ।
अर्थात स्थूल-सूक्ष्म या बाह्य:आभ्यंतर—किसी एक ध्येय स्थान में चित्त को बाँध देना, स्थिर कर देना या लगा देना धारणा कहलाता है । (योग• ३ । १)
So you see, Dharana is the act of concentrating your total awareness on an object. And that’s what Tratak is.
But, I understand that most people consider it as a form of meditation. So, how about understanding both of them in detail?
Here we go.
Tratak Vs. Meditation: What’s the Difference?
When you fix your consciousness on an object—and that’s exactly what we do in Tratak—when your total energy flows towards that point only, and you become unavailable to everything else—that’s concentration.
The ability to concentrate is very, very important for anybody craving success. And success is nothing but the total of small things in our daily lives, such as:
- Focusing on your studies so you could score better marks in exams.
- Completing your weekly official report for this coming Tuesday.
- Making healthier food choices to lose that last layer of stubborn fat off your waist.
No doubt, having a solid concentration helps with worldly activities.
But concentration is not meditation because concentration takes you from the inside (your core) to the outside (the world), while meditation does the exact opposite.
Instead, it’s quite the opposite: where concentration ends, meditation begins.
Concentration is a dimension of the mind, whereas meditation is the state you reach when you’ve transcended the mind. Or you can say Concentration is mind and Meditation is No-mind.
Meditation is the journey from the outside (the world) to the inside (your core).
In Meditation (unlike concentration, in which you’re focused on a particular object), you become aware of everything (within you and around you) simultaneously.
And when it happens, you come to realize another interesting fact: you’re the watcher, not the doer.
When you eat, walk, or breathe, you stay aware that it’s the body that’s eating, walking, or breathing. Not you.
Of course, you’re the one performing those actions through your body, but you’re not the body—you’re the one watching the body doing the movements.
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 clear that there are two different entities—the car and you.
You’re the one shifting the gears, maneuvering the steering wheel, keeping a safe distance from the vehicles, etc. But you’re not the car—you’re the driver.
The same is true for your body and mind. You’re the one operating the body and the mind, but …
You’re Neither the Body Nor the Mind
You are 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.’
And, unlike concentration, meditation brings you in—to your core.
Let’s sum it up in these words:
Concentration helps you thrive in the world (the outside).
Meditation helps you grow spiritually (the inside).
And by the way, did you know that you experience a meditation-like state every night when you sleep?
Let me elaborate.
Meditation Is Similar to Sleep
Remember that dreadful night?
When you were tossing and turning in your bed—sleep was miles away from your eyes?
The more you tried, the more uneasy you felt. Seeing that, you tried harder, but nothing happened. And then, you quit struggling. Next thing you know—you woke up in the morning—refreshed!
You cannot force sleep to happen. You can only create the right atmosphere: a cozy bed, dim lighting, soothing music, etc., so sleep can come on its own. The important thing is that 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.
So, meditation happens when you’re beyond body and mind.
In other words:
When you’re ‘being’ and not ‘doing.’
Since we’ve understood Meditation and Concentration in detail and how they differ, it’s time to discuss Tratak in detail.
Let’s begin with the names.
Tratak has many names. Here are some examples:
- Siddhi (त्राटक सिद्धि)
- Sadhana (त्राटक साधना)
- Kriya (त्राटक क्रिया)
- Yoga (त्राटक योग)
- Vidya (त्राटक विद्या)
- Yogic Sadhana (त्राटक यौगिक साधना)
But, you see, the names do not matter. What matters is what does it do. In other words: what are the benefits of Tratak meditation? (Oops! Did I say ‘Tratak Meditation?’ 😳 )
Okay, okay. You got me! 😋
Anyways, let’s talk about the benefits.
Benefits of Tratak
Apart from improving concentration power and building a rock-solid mental focus, this Sadhana has many other benefits. For example:
- 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
And as you know, everything has its positives as well as negatives. So, what are the negatives? Can this Sadhana be dangerous?
Let’s find out.
The greatest danger in this quest is that you may become impatient.
You may try too hard to achieve faster results.
But remember, things take time. And, you can beat everything but time.
So, be patient.
Trying too much too soon can affect your eyes as well as your mental health.
Before starting your practice, you must know certain things because the beginning is the hardest and the trickiest part.
Many Begin, But Only A Few Succeed. Here’s Why
Almost everyone fails at this Sadhana, and that too at the beginning itself.
For a simple reason: they don’t educate themselves about the human mind and how it works.
But you’re not everyone. You want to succeed at this, right? Well, then remember:
The mind hates concentration.
Your mind loves movement. Staying at one point is against the very nature of the mind. It keeps moving from point A to point B and point B to point A, just like a pendulum. And, that’s how it keeps you enslaved—by not letting you stay focused on an object or task for a long time.
And when you force it 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).
So, this is what Tratak is all about:
To make your mind stay focused on a specific object for as long as you wish.
And you can achieve the level of concentration you want if you’re determined.
And you ARE determined, right?
Beware! Your Mind Can ‘Play’ You. And It Will
Now, since the mind knows it cannot hold you back, it plays a 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 you can’t sustain such rigorous practice in the beginning.
Did you smell something foul here?
You wanted to practice and increase your concentration, 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.
The mind won.
So, can you see now? Starting big is the reason why most people fail.
Now you know how does the mind work and the trick it plays, this is what you want to do:
Begin with a manageable aim. Take baby steps. And as you achieve your desired goals (milestones), aim higher and higher.
Start with one minute on day one. Then two minutes on day two. And so on. Keep increasing the time until you reach thirty-two minutes (for all the forms except the Sun Tratak).
And when you’re able to focus on an object without blinking for 32 minutes, congratulate yourself—you’ve made it.
From there, it’s just a matter of maintaining your practice.
Now, let’s talk about the basics.
Basics of Tratak
Just like anything, improving concentration takes time.
It can take 21 days to 6 months. Or even more to achieve unwavering focus. It all depends on how intense your concentration was when you began.
But, let me also warn you:
Tratak is NOT a quick fix.
It’s not like you’ve had a headache, you swallowed a pill, and it’s gone.
No. Doesn’t work like that.
So, don’t expect any miracle by practicing it once—on the night before your exam day. And that brings us to our next point.
You must be consistent if you’re serious about developing concentration.
Don’t expect to progress if you work for a couple of days. Then give up. And resumed after a month.
Nothing will happen.
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.
Don’t have the time right now? Then put it on hold.
Begin when you do.
Most people believe that this Sadhana can (and must be) practiced only in the mornings.
There’s no best time for it (except the Sun Tratak. 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 you do it.
You don’t need any ‘special’ diet for this Sadhana.
Stick with simple homemade food along with fresh fruits and vegetables, and you’ll be fine.
Also, keeping yourself hydrated is important because you’ll lose fluids in the form of tears during your gazing practice.
That concludes ‘The Basics,’ one must keep in mind before starting.
Since we’ve prepared the ground for our Sadhana, it’s time to talk about some of its different forms.
Though there are many, here I’ve listed seven types of Tratak.
Seven Powerful Forms of Tratak
- Bindu Tratak (बिंदु त्राटक)
- Surya Tratak (सूर्य त्राटक)
- Shakti Chakra Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक)
- Agnishikha Tratak (अग्निशिखा त्राटक)
- Chandra Tratak (चंद्र त्राटक)
- Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक)
- Darpan Tratak (दर्पण त्राटक)
Let’s discuss them one by one:
1. Bindu Tratak (बिंदु त्राटक)
Here’s how to do Bindu Tratak:
Take an A4 size sheet.
And using a pencil, draw a dot in the middle of it. Keep the dot size similar to a 25 paisa coin (roughly the size of a large Bindi).
Now, hang the sheet on a wall, and sit on a cotton cushion or ‘Aasan’ at a distance of about three feet.
Take three deep breaths and concentrate on the ‘Bindu’ (the dot). It might make you feel uncomfortable at the beginning, which is quite normal.
As your practice times increases, you’ll get used to it.
Remember: Your ultimate goal is to reach thirty-two minutes of staring at the dot (without blinking your eyes).
It sounds easy than it really is. Staring at one point for thirty-two minutes straight is no easy task. But you can achieve it if you stayed patient and consistent.
2. Surya Tratak (सूर्य त्राटक)
Fifteen. Million. Degrees. Celsius.
That’s the temperature of the Sun.
And this particular Sadhana requires you to concentrate on the Sun, which makes it highly dangerous. A little carelessness and your eyes will be gone—forever!
That’s the reason Sadhaks practice this method in the mornings—at sunrise.
Never practice in mid-morning or afternoon. NEVER.
Let’s discuss how to do it:
Go to a park or stand on the roof. Take three deep breaths, and concentrate on the Sun.
Now, you must start small and take it from there until you reach 15-20 minutes. Do NOT attempt to go beyond 20 minutes.
The Sun is the king of the solar system. And when it comes to power and authority, nothing comes even close to it.
This form will not only strengthen your concentration but will also help skyrocket your confidence, especially while dealing with authority figures.
3. Shakti Chakra Tratak (शक्तिचक्र त्राटक)
For this one, you’ll need a Shakti Charka.
Fortunately, I have the Shakti Chakra image I used to practice at. Here it is:
You can take a printout of this picture.
The method remains the same:
Hang the Shakti Chakra on a wall. Concentrate on the center of the picture. Breathe.
Again, you need to concentrate on Shakti Chakra without blinking your eyes—that’s very 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. Keep moving. And within weeks, it’ll be a piece of cake for you.
A word of caution:
During your practice, some random images might appear in the Shakti Chakra. Those pictures may either reflect your past lives or some unexpressed desires from this lifetime.
Nothing to worry about. It’s normal. Just keep practicing.
4. AgniShikha Tratak (अग्निशिखा त्राटक)
This form uses ‘Agni’ as its main element.
It’s roughly translated as Candle Gaze or Candle Gazing.
You’ll need a high-quality candle. It’s best to avoid inferior quality candles as they release a lot of smoke.
Also, you can use a Diya if a candle is unavailable. The idea is to stare at the candle flame.
Light the candle and put it on the ground, or fix it in a candle holder at your eye level. Now, turn off the lights (LED, Tubelight, etc.) and sit at a distance of about 3 feet.
Now, take three deep breaths and concentrate on the tip of the flame.
You may notice some random images in the flame and might also start hallucinating, which, again, is expected. Just stay focused on the flame.
This form is more suitable for winters because you’re not supposed to run a fan or AC while practicing to avoid the air disturbing the candle flame.
5. Chandra Tratak (चंद्र त्राटक)
A full moon night or three to four days before and after is the best time for this variation.
Here’s how to do it:
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.
6. Agni Tratak (अग्नि त्राटक)
I have practiced many forms except this one.
And for a good reason:
This requires you to go into deep woods (which I find eerie, but if you insist, then who am I to stop you?)
As I said, I never did it. But 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 6-10 feet away from the fire and concentrate on the flame.
Keep staring at it.
You might hear some weird sounds or may notice some disturbing images in the fire. Also, fear, anxiety, or strange restlessness may emerge out of nowhere.
Be strong. Keep concentrating on the fire. Aim for 32 minutes. Not at once, of course.
Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
Finding a forest is challenging unless you’re already living in one. And I feel that traveling to a forest for the sake of improving concentration is not worth it.
Now, even if you’re able to find one, you’ll need to be constantly vigilant while practicing because the danger of wild animals is always there.
Moreover, the ‘fire element’ may attract some paranormal entities. And such things are clearly beyond human control. Now, you don’t want to be in such an uncomfortable and life-threatening situation, would you?
7. Darpan Tratak (दर्पण त्राटक)
You may address it as Darpan Tratak Siddhi. Roughly translated as Mirror Gazing.
Unlike other forms (which require you to focus on external objects), this method requires you to focus on yourself.
You’re supposed to focus on your eyes.
This form may get disturbing and even scary at times. So, I recommend attempting it only after you’ve practiced certain other forms.
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 notice strange faces or figures appearing in the mirror.
- Sometimes, your face might disappear from the mirror, and you’ll be staring at a blank surface.
- You may feel somebody’s staring at you from inside the mirror.
See, I warned you.
Remember: If you experience overwhelm or eerie images or disturbing feelings, then discontinue the practice.
You may not be ready for it—yet.
Give it a rest. Practice other forms first, and then try again. See how it goes.
Increase Your Concentration Power With Tratak. It’s Possible
Most people believe:
Only sannyasins and sages should undertake this Sadhana.
That’s not true.
You see, anyone with the right mindset and determination can practice and improve their concentration power.
By Right Mindset, I mean that you must be clear about why you want to increase your mental focus and concentration?
Is it because your best friend is doing it, and you don’t want to get behind him? Or is it because you really want to develop your concentration?
Think about that.
Once you’re clear about the WHY, pick any form of and get started.
Aim small. Go slow and steady. Keep practicing.
And when you’ve achieved the concentration you desired, use it with good intention.
Remember: With GREAT Power Comes GREAT Responsibility.