Q: Gurudev, until now, we kept our eyes closed while meditating, so we could go inwards. What is the reason for keeping our eyes partly open during meditations?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many times, when you close your eyes, you have the tendency to go into your mental fantasies, or drift off into a dream, or sometimes fall asleep. This is called Mano Rajaya in yogic terminology.
Mano Rajaya is a state where the mind starts creating its own kingdom and reels in it, either in conflict or in pleasure. You sit in your own mind, thinking, fantasizing or recreating something that makes you feel happy or upset.
Either you think everybody is against you, the whole world is against you; your mother in-law, father in-law, husband or boyfriend; everybody is out to get you. Or your mind thinks about how you should convince or impress somebody. These sorts of things go on in the mind.
When your mind is stuck in Mano Rajaya, it transpires all the more during (close-eyed) meditations.
In this meditation, where you keep the eyes partly open, you have very little chance to drift into Mano Rajaya; a different quality of meditation starts happening.