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The Techniques of Knowledge are four ways to meditate. They were popularized in the second half of the twentieth century by Prem Rawat, known to his followers as Maharaji, but the techniques are actually much older. Rawat originally called the techniques Light, Music, Word, and Nectar, and his followers are known as premies.
Light, the first technique, is intended to help the practitioner see through the divine inner eye instead of the physical eyes. To do this, one places the thumb and middle finger on the eyes and the forefinger in the middle of the forehead where the inner eye should be. At one point, premies often applied great amounts of pressure to the eyes. Later, after reports of eye injuries, Maharaji instructed his followers that they should touch the eyes but not push them.
The second technique, Music, involves sealing off the ears by twisting the thumbs slightly into them and listening to the silence. Premies are told to relax and listen to whatever sounds they hear. Unlike the Light technique, which focuses on the sense of sight, Music focuses on the sense of hearing.
Technique three originally went by either the Holy Name or the Holy Word. This technique is the most common among various traditions. One simply concentrates on breathing and feeling the breath. Some instructors say to concentrate on hearing the sound so during intake and hung or ham when letting the breath out.
Nectar is the old name for the fourth technique. It concentrates on taste, placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth and sliding it backward as far as is comfortable. Rawat’s original instructions called for passing the tongue passed the uvula and into the nasal passages. Some speculate that the purpose is to touch the brainstem with the tongue and therefore taste knowledge.
Although their names and popularity originated with Rawat, the Techniques of Knowledge have been practiced by various religious groups since the Middle Ages. The groups who use these meditations include the Hindus, especially the Sant Mat and Radhasoami traditions, and yoga practitioners, including Siddha Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and modern yoga exercise groups. Rawat’s followers all take a vow of secrecy before learning the Techniques of Knowledge.
According to Rawat, the Techniques of Knowledge should be practiced sequentially, with approximately the same amount of time spent on each stage. The meditation session traditionally lasts a minimum of one hour, with fifteen minutes per technique. Instructors discourage the use of timers or alarms since they can disturb the mind’s meditative state.
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