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A special note On International Yoga Day-2022:

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Introduction: 

The word “YOGA” has been derived from the Sanskrit word “YUJ”. This means “to Connect or to Combine”. In very simple word it is “UNION”. 

∪ ⇒ Union: Union with Source(Brahman/ Purusha)

∑ ⇒ Summation{Of All that we perceive or do not perceive }

∫ ⇒ Integral[ Non-Dual]

+ ⇒ Add [ All good qualities]

There are multiple paths for Union. After deep studies of Vedanta (ten Principle Upanishads) and Patanjali Yoga Sutras, I have found and adopted two easy paths to achieve my goals.

1) Vedantic Approach( Advaita- Non-Dualism)

2) Yogic Approach ( Patanjali Yoga sutras)

Vedantic Approach:

What should be my (our) goal?

Answer: To be United with Supreme[ The absolute “Brahman”] : Complete cessation of sufferings and attainment of Bliss is the goal of everyone.

” Attyantika Dukshya Nivritti, Paramananda praptyachya”

Most important condition to remove sufferings is “fearlessness”.

A vision of Oneness is the sole condition that brings fearlessness.

There is nothing to fear. Everything is Self-created. HE( The Absolute) is that Essence, by drinking which, man rejoices. That Self is the sole giver of Joy (Bliss). When man finds invisible, nameless, homeless, shapeless, he is no longer terrified. He becomes free from fear who attains such Oneness. But if the slightest ” Otherness” is allowed to enter then he is smitten with fear. That man, thinking himself wise, becomes terrified. ” 

The knower of Brahman reaches the Supreme”.

How to Know Brahman?

Knowledge of Brahman can not be gathered by mere reasoning. Knowledge can be attained through intuition or revelation. Intuition is the final result of the enquiry into Brahman. There are three stages which are very essential for progressing in this path. Three stages are as below:

Following are the steps: 

1.Sravana :  Listening to the teachings of the sages on Vedanta. Now instead of Sravana, we can use the word Study of Vedanta, because Sravana was the practice during early Vedic period as no method of writing existed.

2.Manana : This stage is the reflection on the teachings. This means thinking about what has been heard and subjecting that into a reason based on experience gained.

3.Nididhyasana : Stage of meditation on the truth [MahaVakyas]. It is the culmination of the practice of Sravana and Manana. BRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad says  on Nididhyasana. ” The Self , my dear Maitreyi, should be realized-should be heard of , reflected on and meditated upon; by the realization of the self, my dear”.

Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana leads us to intuition (aparoksha anubhuti). In this way, “Brahma Kara Vritti ” is generated from ” Sattvic anta Karana ”  This ” Brahma Kara Vritti” destroys the mula-Avidya or primitive ignorance which is the root cause of all bondage, births and deaths.

When this ignorance or veil is removed, Brahman which is Self effulgent reveals itself in its pristine glory and splendour. 

Now the Text is for whom?

 The Vedanta is for the person who is competent to understand and study sastras(Scriptures) ,has tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta.

After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations(Sadhana Chatustaya) ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman.

Four salvations are:

  1. “Nitya-anitya-vastuveveka” which means discrimination between the eternal and non eternal.
  2. ” IhamutrarthaphalabhogaViraga” : Indifference to the joys in this life or in in Heaven, and of the fruits of one’s action.
  3. ” Shatsampat” : Six fold virtues that are : i) Sama (Control of mind), ii) Dama ( Control of senses),iii) Uparati (Cessation from worldly enjoyments), iv) Titiksha ( Endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold), v) Sraddha (Faith), vi) Samadhana (Deep concentration).
  4. “Mumukshautva” (Desire for liberation).

Why one should enquire Brahman? Why?

Most of the religions believe that life in earth or life in heaven are attained on the basis of one’s virtuous deeds(“KARMA”) which is transient. But once you know Brahman, you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality.

Knowledge of Brahman destroys ignorance which is the root cause of all sufferings. 

” Sastrayonitvadhikaranam” : Brahman is realisable only through the scriptures. The scripter is the source of right knowledge.  Through scripture only we get a comprehensive understanding of the nature of Brahman. Brahman is formless, colourless, attribute less. Hence it can not be grasped by the senses alone. Brahman is ONE, infinite and without second.

THE FOUR GREAT VEDIC STATEMENTS


Yogic Approach: Ashtanga Yoga: Patanjali Yoga sutras:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to Maharshi Patanjali , Ashtanga Yoga is  not limited to any class, place, time and circumstances.

This path of Yoga is Universal. 

The essence of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra is in the second sutra(1.2):

” yogashchittavrittinirodhah” [sutra-1.2] : Yoga is for the control of thought-waves in the mind. To still the fluctuating mind.

Yogas citta-vritti-nirodah” which literary means “Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind”.

Principal Teachings of Yoga Sutras: 

“Ashtanga Yoga” : Eight limbs of Yoga are as follows.[8 steps]

All the steps are scientifically designed. That is the specialty of Ashtanga Yoga. If one has followed all the steps properly, then only Dhyana is possible

1. Yama – Restraints.

2. Niyama – Observances.

3. Asana -Physical postures.

4. Pranayama – Control of Prana (Breathing control).

5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses.

6. Dharana – Concentration

7. Dhyana – Meditation.

8. Samadhi – Absorption.  

Details of Each of the Limbs of Yoga:

Yama: The first “anga” 

This consists of prohibitions against unethical deeds. These are basically restraints. Following are to be noted: 

  • Ahimsa-Non violence:  Non-violence truly  meant here as  to refrain from causing harm , showing anger , being harsh to others including self. Love  must be unconditional and universal. At the same time we must love ourselves equally.                                                                             
  • Satya-Truthfulness: : This means, on being firmly established in truthfulness ,the Yogi gets the power of attaining for himself  the fruits of work without the work . 
  • Asteya-Non-stealing: With the establishment of virtues like honesty, aspirant develops an intuitive awareness.                                      
    Brahmacharya- celibacy:  Right use of energy: sutra 2.38 says Brahmacharya pratisthayam viryalabhah”. It is about controlled and disciplined sex. 
  • Aparigraha- non possessing, non accumulation: sutra 2.37: ” Aparigraha sthairye janmakathamta sambodhah”  which means : On becoming steady in non-possessiveness, there arises the knowledge of how and from where is it generated. 

Niyama: Second  limb (“anga” )

It is composed of some injunctions to develop various ethical virtues. Following are the components of Niyama.

  • Saucha (cleanliness) :  Purity of body and mind.
  • Santosha ( Contentment): To keep mind away from dwelling in the past or future. One should not  regret on missed opportunities and also need not worry about future. Contentment is  the way to live in present moment, NOW.    
  • Tapas (discipline, austerity etc.) : Mandates spiritual disciplines.  A state of spiritual maturity.  With the practice of austerity, all kinds of impurities are removed from body and mind. 
  • Svadhyaya ( study of self and sacred texts): This sutra teaches for self-observation, study of scriptures, recitation of mantras and union  with the desired deity ( Ishta devata).                                                                     
  • Isvara Pranidhana (Total surrender to the Supreme being):   Dedicated services for the welfare of others including mankind, animal kind, plants and nature.               

The third anga ” Asana”

It is important part of Ashtanga Yoga. The importance is to make spine held erect and relaxed with the three upper parts of the body, the chest, the neck and the head in a straight line. This is required for nerve currents to channelize for further improvement in concentration.

The object of  Yoga is to make a man rise above body consciousness. In Patanjali Yoga sutra, it is simply stated that asanas should be stable and comfortable for meditation.

The fourth anga “pranayama” 

Commonly believed as control of breath but scholars says this is actually control of Universal Energy. The Prana  moves the whole Universe. Prana is believed to be a cosmic energy. It is prana vibrating at the beginning of cosmic cycle that shapes akasha (space) out of which all energies are evolved. Biological functions of all kinds are performed by this vital energy. The knowledge and control of this prana is known as pranayama.

Practice of pranayama is done after mastering asana. When pranayama is practiced under the guidance of right “Guru” (Teacher), one can have control over prana and it becomes possible to feel the vibrations which helps attaining higher insight. Thereby ,the power generated will help the nerves in getting optimum functions. It is believed that Pranic healing, faith healing etc. are  the results of doing pranayama. 

Pratyahara” : the fifth anga.

“Pratyahara”  : Withdrawals of senses:  It helps in attaining a mind without fluctuations, since withdrawals of senses bind the mind to a fixed point. It is impossible to concentrate unless the mind is purified.  Pratyahara gives our mind a moment to not evaluate and teaches us to be free from any reactions developed by senses. 

Sixth anga: Dharana- Concentration: 

“deshabandhashchittasya”  => this suggests to confine mind in a territory, a very limited space, which disallows movements of mind. That is called “Dharana”.

One pointed attention: Dharana is the process of fixing the attention of mind to a certain point. That may be any object of concentration (internal or external), sound, deity or  noble idea for the benefit of creation. After successful practices of first five limbs, one becomes ready for Dharana

Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi: These three limbs together lead aspirants to the ultimate goal. 

If the fourfold qualities are dealt with right actions, then the practitioner of Yoga will overcome the distractions of mind. These are : 1. friendliness towards happiness, 2. compassion towards misery,  3. rejoicing for virtues and 4. indifference to vices.  With such preparation and practice, “Dharana” comes much more easily and naturally. 

 Seventh Anga: Dhyana- meditation: 

Definition : DhyanaThe extension and lengthening of Dharana is Dhyana. Dharana continued without interruption is Dhyana. One has to change his or her way of life to reach unto this stage of Dhyana (concentration). Let us look into sutra 3.2 again for further analysis.  “tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam” :  If we now split the sloka like this =>>  tatra + pratyaya +ekatanata, then  tatra => means ” in that place” which refers to “desha” as mentioned in sutra 3.1. pratyaya=> means total content of mind which occupies the field of consciousness at a particular time.  Mind remains in continuous contact in Dharana.                        Ekatanata=> means extending continuously without interruption. Before practicing Samadhi, this kind of un interrupted continuous Dhyana is essential for the aspirant. 

Therefore let us keep in mind that when Dharana is stretched for a long period it becomes Dhyana. In other words elongated condition of Dharana is Dhyana. 

SamadhiThe state of Cosmic Consciousness- the 8th anga: 

sutra 3.3: "tad evarthamatranirbhasan svaroopashoonyam iva samadhih" means=> In that absolute state, then there is no meditator or the thing that is meditating upon. What remains only is the meditation, that is called samadhi. 

When Dhyana enters into Samadhi , the Gate which leads into the world of realities opens. Samadhi means a state of mind which through the practice of Dharana and Dhyana has become so  completely tranquil and the person meditating  is so absorbed that the he or she even forgets own existence.

Let us analyse the word “svaroopashoonyam”  of sutra 3.3. ” svaroopa” + shoonyam”  means that ” svaroopa” which is the residual consciousness of its own action disappears completely i.e. becomes “shoonyam” .

When you are fully absorbed with the vastness of the Supreme being and even the sense that I am meditating is not there and the ego “I” goes then, only the true Self, higher Self ,the Big I” remains.  This is possible when there are no Vrittis in chitta. In other words mind does not fluctuate. In Samadhi, Mind  surrenders all its resistances to the union with the object of meditation. In this state, field of observation and the observing intelligence merge and total intelligence shines as the sole substance of reality. 

sutra 3.4 "trayamekarta samyamah" means => The three practices Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi together on same object is called samyamah.

If we analyse the word samyamah”  we will find it has two parts. Sama + Yama. Sama means perfection and Yama means control. 

Conclusion:

Eight limbs as a whole constitute one complete path which leads the aspirant upwards.

If followed properly, the person will definitely feel joy and peace of mind which will accompany to the bed at the end of the day. 

When the mind is set into a pattern, automatically one connection will be established with higher Self. That is individual’s experience which can be considered as Self-Realization

 

2 thoughts on “A special note On International Yoga Day-2022:”

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