Dharana (Pronounced Dhaaranaa, with a voiced, aspirated dh) is the sixth of the eight steps of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga. Dharana can be translated as 'Holding steady', and it is the initial step of deep meditation, where the object being meditated upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it. The difference between Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is that in the former, the object of meditation, the meditator, and the act of meditation itself remain separate. That is, the meditator is conscious that s/he is meditating (i.e. is conscious of the act of meditation) on an object, and of his/her own ego/mind, which is concentrating on the object. In the subsequent stage, as the meditator becomes more advanced, consciousness of the act of meditation disappears, and only the consciousness of being/existing and the object of concentration exist (In the mind). In the final stage of Samadhi, the ego-mind also dissolves, and the meditator becomes one with the object. Generally, the object of concentration is God, or the Self, which is seen as God itself. Though a minority of Yogis perform atheistic meditation on Self alone, the most famous being Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha.
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