How do I pray to Bhraman to help me achieve unification with Him? I want to know how to meditate on Him. I want to achieve liberation. I want to end my desires.
To Summarize, Conceptually, Praying can be through your Mind, Sense organs, Your action, or through Mouth.
1) You are praying because you want something and use sense organs, action, Utter mantra etc.-> Follow and use Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Saraswati etc. for praying
2) You are praying because you love that thing you pray to and want nothing in return but that happiness stemming from Love of that thing-> Keep saying you love that when no one is around, always show it in your actions, bodily or otherwise.
3) You are praying because you just want to pray selflessly and that is not related to any benefit to you but probably for others-> Any mode above suffices!
4) You want to achieve clarity and get to know the "right" way to get to Brahman ->
Achieve chitta-shuddi i.e. Consistent Extremely Good values maintenance in thoughts and actions over the course of years -> in addition to 1, 2 and 3 Perform rites and rituals as prescribed in the Shastras as appropriate. This includes things like Vedic Homams, Yagnas, Dhana, Dharma etc. Do these with proper understanding of these rituals and knowing the meaning of your actions.
Achieve chitta-shuddi + Sacrifice something. People try different things. Stop eating your most favorite food, Give up and donate large sums of Money, Help the poor by sacrificing your time for helping out others through different means etc., like Educate people etc.
- Achieve chitta-shuddi + Sacrifice + Meditate almost all the time on Brahman Most of the ancient Rishi's like SanatKumaras did things like this and I can say they found the way to Brahman
- The Next level. Now we enter into actual "true" knowledge of the Path let's just say more technical. Naciketha from Katopanishad was querying Yama on this... Many Devas are in this stage like Indra, Vayu, Agni..See Kena Upanishad on Brahman testing them and Uma guiding them...
- + All the things above. Figure out what that something else is through your Intelligence and Pure understanding( Remember, Avidya + Vidya etc.). Sadhaya Devas from Purusha Sukta figured that out first... That knowledge must be Self-learnt. No Guru but Parabrahman can teach you that!
- Do Kundalini yoga and the likes and Wait for Kundalini Awakening to be one with Brahman (or Supreme Consciousness ) @ Ajna Chakra! Remember, The Brahman chooses you to be one with Him. You don't get to choose...
And then there is more... the "left" way Tantra, Shakta etc. through Aghori, Black Magic etc...Which as more civil human we shouldn't want as that is damaging to your body and mind...if things go haywire. check out Razoredge from Katha Upanishad...
The Brahman that we are talking about so far is "Saguna Brahman" Brahman with Gunas or properties. The Truth "Para" Brahman is just beyond "Brahman". Neti, Neti is the best description YagnyaValkya could give! Nothing (No physical body, mind or spirit) knows how to reach That Truth! The Hunt for this knowledge is ongoing for ages!
Relevant Upanishad quotes....
The seer (Atman, Self) is not born, nor does he die, He does not originate from anybody, nor does he become anybody, Eternal, ancient one, he remains eternal, he is not killed, even though the body is killed.
If the killer thinks that he kills, if the killed thinks that he is killed, they do not understand; for this one does not kill, nor is that one killed.
The Self (Atman), smaller than small, greater than great, is hidden in the heart of each creature, Free from avarice, free from grief, peaceful and content, he sees the supreme glory of Atman. — Katha Upanishad, 1.2.18-1.2.20
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत । क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ॥ १४ ॥ Rise, awake! Having obtained these boons, understand them! Like the Razor's sharp edge is difficult to traverse, The path to one's Self is difficult. —Katha Upanishad, 1.3.14
यदा पञ्चावतिष्ठन्ते ज्ञानानि मनसा सह । बुद्धिश्च न विचेष्टते तामाहुः परमां गतिम् ॥ १० ॥ तां योगमिति मन्यन्ते स्थिरामिन्द्रियधारणाम् । अप्रमत्तस्तदा भवति योगो हि प्रभवाप्ययौ ॥ ११ ॥ Only when Manas (mind) with thoughts and the five senses stand still, and when Buddhi (intellect, power to reason) does not waver, that they call the highest path. That is what one calls Yoga, the stillness of the senses, concentration of the mind, It is not thoughtless heedless sluggishness, Yoga is creation and dissolution. —Katha Upanishad, 2.6.10-11
दुर्दर्शं गूढमनुप्रविष्टं गुहाहितं गह्वरेष्ठं पुराणम् । अध्यात्मयोगाधिगमेन देवं मत्वा धीरो हर्षशोकौ जहाति ॥ १२ ॥ He (the Atman), difficult to be seen, full of mystery, the Ancient, primaeval one, concealed deep within, He who, by yoga means of meditation on his self, comprehends Atman within him as God, He leaves joy and sorrow far behind. —Katha Upanishad, 1.2.12
"There the eye goes not, speech goes not, nor the mind. We know not, we understand not, how one would teach it?
Other is it indeed than the known, and more over above the unknown. Thus from the forbearers, the doctrine has been transmitted to us. — Kena Upanishad 1.3a and 1.3b, Translated by Woodburne
तसै तपो दमः कर्मेति प्रतिष्ठा वेदाः सर्वाङ्गानि सत्यमायतनम् ॥ ८ ॥ Tapas, Damah, Work - these are the foundations, the Vedas are the limbs of the same, the Truth is its fulcrum. — Kena Upanishad, 4.8 (paragraph 33)
The fable begins by asserting that in a war between gods and demons, the Brahman won victory for the gods. The gods, however, praised themselves for the victory, saying, "Of us is this victory, of us is this might and glory". The Brahman noticed this. It revealed itself before the gods, who did not recognize and know it. The gods said, "what is this wonderful being?" They delegated god Agni (fire) to go discover who this wonderful being is. Agni rushed to Brahman. The Brahman asked, "who are you?". Agni replied, "I am Agni, knower of beings". Brahman asked, "if so, what is the source of your power". Agni replied, "I am able to burn whatever is on earth." The Brahman then laid a piece of grass before Agni, and said, "Burn this, then." Agni rushed to the grass and tried his best to burn it. He failed. He turned back and returned to the gods. Agni told the gods, "I am unable to discover what this wonderful being is". The gods then nominated god Vayu (air) to go, and "explore, O Vayu, what this wonderful being is". Vayu rushed to Brahman. The Brahman asked, "who are you?". Vayu replied, "I am Vayu, I am Matarisvan (what fills the aerial space around mother earth, mover in space)". Brahman asked, "if so, what is the source of your power". Vayu replied, "I am able to carry or pull whatever is on earth." The Brahman then laid a piece of grass before Vayu, and said, "Carry this, then." Vayu rushed to the grass and tried his best to lift and carry it away. He failed. He turned back and returned to the gods. Vayu told his fellow gods, "I am unable to discover what this wonderful being is". The gods then turned to god Indra (lightning, god of might) to go, and "explore, O mighty one, what this wonderful being is". "So be it", said Indra. Indra went to Brahman. There, in the place of Brahman, he found a beautiful woman with knowledge. Her name was Umã. Indra asked Uma, "what is this wonderful being?" Goddess Uma replied, "that is the Brahman; that is the one who obtained victory, though gods praise themselves for it". Indra then knew. The tradition holds that Agni, Vayu and Indra are elevated above all other gods, respected first in ceremonies and rituals, because these three "met" and "experienced" the Brahman first. Indra is most celebrated because he "knew" Brahman first, among all gods.
– Translations by Deussen and by Johnston Kena Upanishad Third Khanda
dhAtA purastAdhyamudAjahAra | shakra: pravidvAn pradishashcatasra: | tamevam vidhvAnamrta iha bhavati | nAnya: panthA ayanAya vidhyate || 17 ||
(ayaNaya) To moksha, liberation (na vidhyate) I know not of (anya:) other (panthA:) paths. (yam) Whom (dhAtA) Bramha (udAjahAra:) saw as the Supreme Being, and revealed (purastAt) in the beginning, (yam) whom (shakra:) Indra (pravidvAn) knew well, (pradishas-ca-tasra) in the four quearters, and everywhere, (vidvAn) who knows (tam) Him (evam) in this manner (bhavati) becomes (amrta:) immortal (iha) in this very birth.
yagnyena yagnya-mayajanta deva: | tAni dharmANi prathamAnAsann | te ha nAkam mahimAna: sacante | yatra poorve sAdhyA: santi devA: || 18 ||
(yagnyena) By sacrifice (devA:) did the Gods (ayajanta) sacrifice (yagnyam) to sacrifice. (tAni) The (dharmANi) associated dharmas (Asan) became (prathamAni) the first. (te mahimAna:) By the glory of these very dharmas (sacante) will the great ones achieve (yatra nAkam) that heaven where (poorve) the ones who were, before, (devA:) and the Gods also called (sAdhyA:) the achievers, (santi) are...
-Purusha Sukta 17 and 18 verses
"The form of that person is like a cloth dyed with turmeric, or like grey sheep's wool, or like the scarlet insect called Indragopa, or like a tongue of fire, or like a white lotus, or like a flash of lightning. He who knows this—his splendour is like a flash of lightning. Now, therefore, the description of Brahman: "Not this, not this" (Neti, Neti); for there is no other and more appropriate description than this "Not this." Now the designation of Brahman: "The Truth of truth." The vital breath is truth and It (Brahman) is the Truth of that." Brhadaranyaka Upanishad: 2.3.6 Yagnyavalkya’s answer