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Tamil meditation is a form of mental practice designed to calm the mind and gain access to transformational energy and a sense of inner spiritual and emotional balance. It is one of several types of meditation practiced around the world, and originated in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India as well as among the Dravidian people of Sri Lanka. The meditation techniques of Tamil are closely affiliated with the Sahaja Yoga religious movement from the same region. This movement was founded by an Indian woman named Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi in 1970, and her meditation practices as of 2011 have spread to over 75 nations.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi is more informally referred to as Nirmala Salve, and is believed to be the direct incarnation of Shakti. Shakti is a Sanskrit term that refers to the fundamental and everlasting cosmic energy of all existence, also referred to as the Divine Mother. The practices of Nirmala Salve including her method of meditation first gained adherence in India, Sri Lanka, and England in the early 1970s, but have since spread to at least 140 of the 193 countries that exist in the world as of 2011. The primary tenets of the religion are that all other religions contain elements of truth, and that Tamil meditation and the other practices that it recommends should encourage a state of thoughtless awareness where ancient wisdom is brought to light. The practices it promotes and gatherings it encourages are meant to be free, and students are initially encouraged to learn Tamil meditation on their own without direct guidance from authoritative sources, as a purer approach to enlightenment.
Since learning Tamil meditation is meant to be self-guided until a student reaches an advanced stage, it has come under some criticism for being vaguely defined and difficult in which to advance. Nirmala Salve herself has stated that meditation must be a regular practice for followers of Sahaja Yoga and that those who do not do so are likely to leave the movement. She also believes that learning Tamil meditation is a process most easily mastered by young children, as it is a practice where someone attempts to clear their mind of all personal problems, and this is more easily attained in children than in adults.
Like many eastern philosophies, Tamil meditation and Sahaja Yoga itself eschews the western model of solutions to problems that is based on scientific discovery, new technologies, and specifically pharmaceutical drugs used to balance mental states. The meditation practices instead attempt to find clarity and a sense of well-being in the mind that can lead to solutions to problems in the world as it currently exists. Practitioners of Tamil meditation are said to experience energetic vibrations at the edge of their fingertips or to experience the presence of divine energy as a cool breeze around them when they are performing the meditation techniques properly and reaching a state of heightened awareness or understanding.
The primary focus of Tamil meditation is to gain a greater understanding of the self. In this regard, it is closely affiliated with the Sanskrit belief in chakras, which are seven energy centers spaced throughout the body connected to various aspects of an individual's psyche or soul. As a practitioner masters Tamil meditation, he or she is said to gain greater and greater access to his or her kundalini energy. Kundalini is a term in Hinduism for the vital life force within an individual that ensures his or her eventual salvation and rise in spiritual power and peaceful ascendance to a higher state of being. In everyday practice, meditating is designed to produce an overall calming effect for the waking mind that relieves stress and is designed to make it easier for people to focus their attention on the details of life that matter most to them.