An Essay on ” Ashtanga Yoga” on the occasion of INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY-2021

Introduction: 

Multiple paths are there to attain enlightenment. Here we will concentrate upon the teachings given by Maharshi Patanjali through his Yoga sutra. If we can follow sincerely, the steps described in Yoga sutra, we can understand Ignorance (Avidya), the cause of Bondage . We can  distinguish between permanent and impermanent, between Body and Consciousness. 

” yogashchittavrittinirodhah” : Yoga is for the control of thought-waves in the mind.

Mind alone is the cause of bondage and mind alone is the cause of liberation.

Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage and mind devoid of desire for objects is the cause of liberation.

Yoga means union. Union of inner self with higher Self. Yoga brings perfection, peace, harmony in life. It will help in leading a disciplined successful life with good health and mind. Through Yoga one can have a calm mind and peaceful sleep. And these are all normal achievements.  If followed properly what Maharshi Patanjali has taught us “Ashtanga Yoga”, we can raise our nature to a divine nature. 

“Ashtanga Yoga”  : In English we call it as Eight limbs of Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga was formulated by Maharshi Patanjali ,through his Yoga Sutras (aphorisms). According to scholars, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra was compiled around 2200 centuries back. The Yoga sutras of Patanjali is the science of joy and a blue print for living a deeply satisfying life. It presents a holistic systematic approach towards the elimination of sufferings and attainment of spiritual liberation. Liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. These teachings are for all genders of all ages, races, faiths and positions. There are 196 sutras presented in four sections know as PADA. 

“Ashtanga Yoga” : Eight limbs are as follows.

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.  

Principal Teachings of Yoga Sutras:

  1.  Human sufferings can be removed by eliminating faulty and wrong perceptions of life, because wrong perceptions gives rise to endless cravings for satisfaction of senses.
  2. The eternal peace we seek is realized by experiencing the truth our Identity which is obscured by ignorance (Avidya). The Identity is always exists within us, waiting to be revealed. Once revealed, it is then enlightenment, the Self-realization.
  3. Self-realization can be attained by mastering the MIND. Only tranquil mind with one pointedness can remove the veils of ignorance.
The second sutra alone gives a vast meaning. If that line is understood and practiced, then the goal will be achieved. This sutra directly points towards setting of Subconscious mind.  "yogah chitta vritti nirodha" means stopping of distraction and fluctuation of mind. If mind is fixed, conflicts will be ceased. 

Details of Each of the Limbs of Yoga:

  1. Yama: The first “anga”  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. Killing and doing physical harm is common form of violence.  To maintain a life with non-violence, we need to have a heart with full of love for others irrespective of their attitudes towards us. That 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 . Results come to them automatically. This is the power of truth. It is believed that for an honest person who is in the path of truth, fear vanishes for him. Nothing to hide. Life becomes an open book. 
  • Asteya-Non-stealing: With the establishment of virtues like honesty, aspirant develops an intuitive awareness. Therefore we should curb our desires for the things which are not our own. Rather we should share our knowledge, our noble thoughts and material belongings to uplift others who are indeed needy ,instead of hoarding them for own benefits.                                                                                           
    Brahmacharya- celibacy:  Right use of energy: sutra 2.38 says ” Brahmacharya pratisthayam viryalabhah”.  It is about controlled and disciplined sex. Brahmacharya does not mean cut off from sex. According to explanations of the above sutras by the scholars it is said that “Virya” , the seminal fluid is our life. If stored properly, it can generate lot of energy. When absorbed into the system it gets transformed into prana. Conserved sexual energy in woman also gets transformed. Seminal fluid gives stamina and strength to the brain and nerves. 
  • 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. One of the most important virtues. This sutra teaches to give up tendency of accumulation of materials. Possession should be that much required to maintain life (necessary items).

2. Niyama : This second  limb (“anga” ) 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): Very simple meaning.  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. Austerity is very important in one’s life to ascend to higher state. 
  • 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):  This sutra teaches Self surrender. Complete surrender to God.  Dedicated services for the welfare of others including mankind, animal kind, plants and nature. This practice is non selfish in nature. Without expectation of fruits of actions. This is the path of Karma Yoga.                   
At first sight, these 5 yamas and 5 niyamas might seem to resemble the 10 commandments of the Bible. Unless an aspirant has mastered these two steps of discipline, practice of subsequent steps of yoga will be ineffective.

The third anga ” Asana” 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. In Yoga culture around the world , some asanas are taught, which are very complex and performed with great difficulties. As such, aspirants remain busy with the perfection of asanas. Finally the essence of Yoga gets spoiled. Since they concentrate on asanas only, other seven limbs do not get due attention. Practicing asanas only becomes a part of Hatha Yoga which is mainly concerned with the maintenance of the health and attainment of longevity of the body. Getting too much engrossed in asanas will make a man body minded only.

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.

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

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. 

By regulating prana, we can regulate our mind, because both moves together. If one is controlled, the other will automatically be controlled. Finally we need a controlled mind.

Now we will discuss “pratyahara” the fifth anga.

Our perceptions are developed through sensory inputs that we see, hear, feel, touch, and taste which influence internal organs in the brain and mind acts accordingly. We react through inputs received by our senses. If the inputs are not favourable to our expectations or wishes, we become unhappy, angry, depressed. Our minds are engaged constantly evaluating the inputs and categorize whether inputs are favourable or not. This is our reaction on 24X7 basis. Pratyahara gives our mind a moment to not evaluate and teaches us to be free from any reactions developed by senses. Now step by step we have reached to this point of Pratyahara.

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. It is the first step towards Dhyana (meditation). Practicing Dharana stops mind moving randomly and make it one-pointed concentration. As such it finds complete absorption in the present moment. Even one pointed concentration can be made by focusing on breath, or reciting mantras or concentrating on image of deity. 

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

In reality, normally mind remain fixed hardly for a very few minutes. Even if someone fixes mind on image of deity, yet mind wanders at numerous points or issues. Therefore it is important to practice first five limbs with full attention. “Pratyahara”  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. For that ,let us look into Sutra 1.33 (Samadhi Pada) to understand right methods for purification of mind which will help in concentration of mind. 

According to above sutra , 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: 

sutra 3.2 "tatra pratyayaikatanata Dhyana" means uninterrupted stream of consciousness is Dhyana. 

Definition : DhyanaThe extension and lengthening of Dharana is Dhyana. Dharana continued without interruption is Dhyana. We have reached unto Dhyana after through practice, step by step, sequentially of  Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana. One cannot skip any of the above 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. 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. Obviously it is not an easy job but not impossible! 

State of mind which is calm, quite, tranquil, and free of distortions, reflects purusha”. When the mind is in completely sattvic mode(there is a fine difference between sattvic mode and purusha), then it is possible to achieve the goal. The essence of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra is in the second sutra(1.2): Yogas citta-vritti-nirodah” which literary means “Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind”. Target is to achieve the state of mind which is calm, tranquil and free of distortions. It is the control of thought waves in the mind. One must not have conflicts in the mind. We think only mind is real but actually “purusha” is real. This is due to ignorance. Within inside or outside , ignorance has to be removed through mental exercises, through discrimination. So all these sutras so far we have come across is pointing towards the Dhyana for farther higher level  “Samadhi”. When the ignorance is destroyed and you remain in stillness of mind, you do not have any other idea, you become blank and then you can do Dharana effectively. It will be then possible to stretch Dharana and that will be Dhyana. Unless the foundation work is done , Dharana can not be stretched to Dhyana. Continuing this one pointed attention without any distraction or disturbance, the aspirant saves a lot of energy which will build up a system, vast quietness and silence that fill one’s being.

Since now a days, people are talking of meditation, it has become important to know what is meditation.  At least we can concentrate on breath which is the vital force. Understand the secrete nature of breath. It must not be an ordinary one. It is prana. It is the breath to whom we should respect.  Realise that breath is the fountain head of life which primarily moves the entire universe. 

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. 

Now we may discuss about Dhyana in details in practical point of view. According to yogic science, in every human being there are thousands of channels of energy passing through the body and life energy prana functions through these channels known as “naddis”. Among these channels, there are three most important naddis. These three channels are 1) Ida naddi, 2) pingala naddi and 3) susuhumna naddi.  Among these three, susuhumna is the Supreme. If we consider  prana as the energy field like an electrical energy field, then  Ida which is in the left may be imagined as “cathode” (-ve charge) and the right which is pingala  may be compared with anode (+ve charge). Energy flows through these channels. This concept is according to yogic anatomy. These are to be considered as psychic energies. When they are balanced, body and mind is also balanced and in the best condition for practice of Yoga. Practice of Pranayama makes balancing of these channels and thereby activate sushumna naddi. According to yogis, ida and pingala are considered as two nerve currents on either side of the spinal column. It is considered that the Moon moves the ida and the Sun moves the pingala. Ida is cooling where as pingala is heating. Ida flows through left nostrils and pingala through right nostrils. Sushumna runs along the center of the spinal column.  It is believed that when Sushumna operates Yogi enters into samadhi. However this topic is yogic science and out of scope of  discussion in this part.

Samadhi– The 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 analyze 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. In samyamah, mind dives completely in to an object or idea and gains complete knowledge of the object of attention down to its most subtle aspect. This gives rise to psychic powers called “Vibhuti”. Practice of Samyamah and mastery of its technique opens the door toward power and Siddhis.

Key points : Dharana, Dhyana , Samadhi , concentration, meditation, purusha, samyamah , Ashtanga Yoga.

Conclusion:

We have discussed about the means to reach the Goal , the last limb of Eight limbs.  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. Who does not want a peaceful sleep?  

All practices as mentioned above will make ways for state of “samyamah” which constitute Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Eight limbs as a whole constitute one complete path which leads the aspirant upwards. 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

Recommended readings:

  1. Patanjali Yoga Sutras: commentary By Swami Vivekananda.
  2. FOUR YOGAS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :Condensed and retold by Swami Tapasyananda.
  3. Patanjal Yogasutra : Commentary , by Swami Premeshananda.
  4. Inside the Yoga Sutras- By Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
  5. Four Chapters on Freedom- By Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
  6. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Swami Satchitananda.

My sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

Essence of Prashna Upanishad: The Third Question: —

Introduction:   

Prashna Upanishad comes from the Brahmana portion of the Atharva Veda, belonging to Pippaladasakha. It has 67 mantras spread over six chapters. Each chapter contains one question. Prashna means question.  The scientific approach of Vedanta is the basis of the Prashna Upanishad, where the teacher and the students are engaged in an enquiry into the nature of Universe. This Upanishad leads the aspirant from the known to the unknown, from the manifest to the unmanifest, from the grossly materialistic mind to the Supremely subtle, Absolute and Pure Consciousness’. Here we will discuss the THIRD QUESTION (तृतीयः प्रश्नः)

तृतीयः प्रश्नः

3.1: Kausalya, the son of Asvalaya, put forward this third question:

 1.From whom does this Prana take its birth?                                             2. How does it get into body?                                                                       3. How does it there after dividing itself?                                                   4. How does it get out of the body?                                                               5.How does it support all that is outside and all that is inside?  

अथ हैनं कौशल्यश्चाश्वलायनः पप्रच्छ । भगवन् कुत
एष प्राणो जायते कथमायात्यस्मिञ्शरीर आत्मानं  वा
प्रविभज्य कथं प्रतिष्ठते केनोत्क्रमते कथं बाह्यमभिधत्ते
कथमध्यात्ममिति ॥ ३.१॥

तस्मै स होवाचातिप्रश्नान् पृच्छसि ब्रह्मिष्ठोऽसीति
तस्मात्तेऽहं ब्रवीमि ॥ ३.२॥

Difficult Question:

3.2:  Sage replied: ” Indeed the question is transcendental. You dig into the root. However, as you are an earnest seeker of Brahman (ब्रह्मिष्ठोऽसीति), so I shall explain it to you.”

आत्मन एष प्राणो जायते । 
यथैषा पुरुषे छायैतस्मिन्नेतदाततं
मनोकृतेनायात्यस्मिञ्शरीरे ॥ ३.३॥

यथा सम्रादेवाधिकृतान् विनियुङ्क्ते ।
एतन् ग्रामानोतान् ग्रामानधितिष्ठस्वेत्येवमेवैष
प्राण इतरान् प्राणान् पृथक् पृथगेव सन्निधत्ते ॥ ३.४॥

3.3: This prana is born of Atman(Self). Life falls from the Self as shadow falls from the man. 

3.4: How does prana come to abide in this Body?

It is the mind which makes the prana identify itself with a particular body only, and no other. Life and Self are interwoven, but Life comes into the body that the desires of the mind may be satisfied. [( Reason:- Causal ! Ref: BG: 8.5-6) ] As the king portions out his kingdom under different officials , lordly prana portions out and assign duties to his five other assistants to maintain respective departments.

Following two are the Shlokas from Bhagavad Gita, Chapter: 8.5-6:

अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् |
य: प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशय: || 8.5||

यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् |
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावित: || 8.6||

पायूपस्थेऽपानं चक्षुःश्रोत्रे मुखनासिकाभ्यां प्राणः 
स्वयं प्रातिष्ठते मध्ये तु समानः ।
एष ह्येतद्धुतमन्नं समं नयति तस्मादेताः सप्तार्चिषो भवन्ति ॥ ३.५॥

3.5: The apana, prana and samana assistants:

Apana : The organs of excretion and generation under the downward stream.                                                                                        Prana: Functions of eye, ear, mouth and nostrils, where He lives himself under prana.                                                                        Samana:  Lying in the middle of the body is responsible for swallowing the food, distributing nutrients equally and kindler of the seven flames(2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils and mouth). 

हृदि ह्येष आत्मा । अत्रैतदेकशतं नाडीनां तासां शतं 
शतमेकैकस्या द्वासप्ततिर्द्वासप्ततिः प्रतिशाखानाडीसहस्राणि
भवन्त्यासु व्यानश्चरति ॥ ३.६॥

अथैकयोर्ध्व उदानः पुण्येन पुण्यं लोकं नयति पापेन
पापमुभाभ्यामेव मनुष्यलोकम् ॥ ३.७॥

3.6 The Vyana: Governs circulatory system.

Self lives in the heart. There are a hundred and one arteries, from every artery start one hundred veins, from every vein seventy two thousand smaller veins. All these are under the Vyana. It governs the circulatory system.

3.7: The Udana: Leads energy from lower to upper level of consciousness.

Climbing through one of these the upward stream, Udana leads the meritorious man to his reward; the sinful man to his punishment; if his merit and demerit are mixed, back to the world. Leads from lower to upper levels of consciousness.

 आदित्यो ह वै बाह्यः प्राण उदयत्येष ह्येनं चाक्षुषं प्राणमनुगृह्णानः । पृथिव्यां या देवता सैषा पुरुषस्य 
अपानमवष्टभ्यान्तरा यदाकाशः स समानो वायुर्व्यानः ॥ ३.८॥

तेजो ह वा उदानस्तस्मादुपशान्ततेजाः ।
पुनर्भवमिन्द्रियैर्मनसि सम्पद्यमानैः ॥ ३.९॥

3.8-9: Coupling of inner with outer Upa-pranas.

Rising Sun is the symbol of life. Sun maintains Prana of the eye. Earth draws down Apana. Air, filler of all maintains samana and external wind relates to vyana. Light maintains Udana. When light is out, sense dissolves in mind, man is born again. 

यच्चित्तस्तेनैष प्राणमायाति । प्राणस्तेजसा युक्तः सहात्मना 
तथासङ्कल्पितं लोकं नयति ॥ ३.१०॥

य एवं विद्वान् प्राणं वेद न हास्य प्रजा हीयतेऽमृतो
भवति तदेषः श्लोकः ॥ ३.११॥

3.10: How Does Prana Go Out? 

Udana united to the mind’s desire at the moment of death, returns to life and life. Udana lighting the way, brings the soul to whatever place it deserves.

3.11 : The fruit of knowledge on prana:

The man who knows this , knows the meaning of life, his children are never lost. 

उत्पत्तिमायतिं स्थानं विभुत्वं चैव पञ्चधा । 
अध्यात्मं चैव प्राणस्य
विज्ञायामृतमश्नुते विज्ञायामृतमश्नुत इति ॥ ३.१२॥

3.12: Shruti Quotation: A Summary:

“He who knows the sources and power of Life, how it enters, where it lives, how it divides itself into five, how it is related to the Self, attains immortality; yes attains immortality”

 

It is believed that Prana controls the Universal energy. It moves the whole Universe. According to ancient Texts, the whole of the manifested Universe is divided into two:

1) Akasha: the ultimate or basic stuff, out of which all the gross forms, from galaxies to atoms, from microscopic cells to the major animals and Human. Takes shape, and into which they resolve, and dissolve at the end to it’s pristine condition. Akasha, the matrix of all forms, can not itself be perceived. It is experienced only as its gross effects or combinations. [ Particle physics of you** ]

2) Prana: What works upon the Akasha and shapes it into all forms or manifestations is called prana.

“Prana” is vital energy and invisible to us. It is like Electric Power ,which gives life to the machines and machines run, animates.  Same way this vital energy “Prana” animates us, the live bodies.  It runs the 1st layer the Physical body. This prana is external to further subtler energy which is Mind. The mind is so subtle and transparent, that  mind can reflect consciousness. 

Prana (Breath) is verily the life of beings and hence it is called the Universal life. It is matter of common knowledge that life becomes possible only so long as the vital energy keeps the different organs of the organism alive. ” Though this vital life force makes the body animated and actions are performed but this is not the Real Self. This Prana separates life from death once the “Prana” leaves the body. Prana as a whole is  composed of five Pranas (prana, Udana, vyana, samana, Apana). These pranas have their own importance to operate The Body perfectly. Through practice of Pranayama (pranayama is breathing exercise, part of Yoga as described in the ancient texts) , we can transcend to the next layer. Pancha Kosha Tattva (Wisdom of five sheaths explains about the layers before and after Pranamaya kosha.

Prana and Cosmic Vibration: 

To the Yogi, the whole Universe is his Body. The matter which composes his Body is the same that evolved the Universe. It is by the power of controlled prana, faith healing is effected due to certain state of vibration. Also remote healing of others can be made by conveying similar vibration. It is also the secret of the power of the great men of the world. Thought is the highest expression of prana. Its expression is three fold. Unconscious, Conscious and Super Conscious. All manipulations of the subtle forces of the body, which are different manifestations of the prana, give a push to the mind to assume vibrations, which reveal facts of subtle levels of existence. The whole Universe is one unbroken mass of matter in flux beaten into different states of vibration by the prana. When the action of prana on akasha is most subtle, it is mind. Mind is also one unbroken continuum. The Universal Mind. If one gets into that subtle vibration through the regulation of prana within oneself, then the whole universe is seen as composed of subtle vibrations of thought. Samadhi brings the individual’s mind to those vibrations which enable it to apprehend the facts of these subtle levels of existence. He who has grasped this Prana, has grasped the very core of cosmic life. Through Pranayama, Yogi controls the prana.

  इति प्रश्नोपनिषदि तृतीयः प्रश्नः ॥

Conclusions: A Look : In the perspective of Modern Science: 

Efficiency of the Human Body

SELECTED VERSES FROM ATMA BODHA

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  4. Commentary of Prashna Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Prashna Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. Information available on internet.

             It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me. Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

The Divine Art !!!

 THE DIVINE ART: FOUR STAGES OF MANIFESTATION OF UNIVERSE

Light on the analogy of painted picture: “Universal Superimposition” :

Introduction:

A Text from “Panchadasi” composed by The Sage Vidyaranya Swami:– 

“Panchadasi” is a comprehensive Text (Prakarana Grantha) on Advaita Vedanta ,composed during 14th century A.D. It has fifteen chapters divided into three sections; Five chapters in each sections: Sections are: 1. Viveka (Discrimination), 2. Deepa (Illumination), 3. Ananda (Bliss). Sixth chapter explains on the process of manifestation of the Universe which is fourfold. We will discuss on 6th Chapter. Analogy of painting of art explains the principle of Advaita Vedanta in very simple manner. 

Sixth Chapter: “Chitra Deepa Prakarana”

  1. First step: Piece of white cloth, pure in it’s original state to start painting.
  2.  Second step: The cloth is then stiffen with starch to turn it to a canvas.
  3. Third step: Artist draw Outline of the painting according to his imagination in mind.
  4. Fourth Step: Finally, the outline is filled with different colors and thus a complete picture appears on the canvas.

The Universe is like a vast painted picture:

Similar to the process of the painting, there are four stages in the process of creation of this Universe. There is an all pervading, unchangeable background , Pure Consciousness, known is “Brahman” which  is the first stage of creation. As cloth has to exist for drawing painting, similarly, Pure Consciousness exists for the creation of Universe. That is the first stage. Second stage- stiffening of cloth is compared with the concentrated Will of Cosmic Being. In the pure Being, there is no question of Will.  The stiffened form is Ishwara, where The Maya is superimposed with pure Consciousness. The third stage , drawing outline is similar to faint picture of cosmos, can be seen as “Hiranyagarbha. Fourth stage is the gross manifestation. The Virat”

1. Pure white cloth is equivalent to Nirguna Brahman:

Pure Consciousness~ Nirguna Brahman

Now, we will discuss on the analogy drawn: Pure Consciousness which is the nature of Brahman, is the substratum of all things, and this may be compared with pure white cloth. Swami Vidyaranya says ,for analogy, Pure white cloth is equivalent to Nirguna Brahman(Nirguna means~ Non-qualified Brahman). This is first unchanging  stage of projection of Universe.

2. Starch which stiffened the white cloth is Maya.

Maya superimposed with Nirguna Brahman

Nirguna Brahman (Pure Consciousness), the absolute in itself is not projecting the universe. With the help of Maya it is projecting itself as the universe. Just as in the rope-snake example, where rope appears to be snake. But it is actually rope. Due mistake it happens. Similarly, ignorance, the Maya plays the role of rope. Therefore,  Brahman(Sat-Chit-Ananda) is projecting the Universe when Maya is superimposed with Pure Consciousness. This has been compared with the starched canvas. This is second stage of manifestation of Universe(Maya Upahita Chaitanya)

3. Third stage indicates drawing of the outline: That is “Hiranyagarbha”

Nirguna Brahman, with the power of the Maya, with subtle bodies projecting as Hiranyagarbha.

 Same Sat-Chit-Ananda, Nirguna Brahman, with the power of the Maya, associated with the subtle bodies are projected as “Hiranyagarbha”. Five subtle elements: known as Tanmatra  (तन्मात्र) out of which our mind, intellect, in a the subtle body      ( sukshmah sarira ) is formed. Pranamaya kosha, ManoMaya kosha and VijnaMaya Kosha are created. Thus the drawing of the outline is formed. This is third stage of projection of Universe.

4. The same Hiranyagarbha with all physical bodies is Virat. 

Once the outline is drawn, the painter fills in the color, Various colors. That completes the full painting. And that is gross body. Same is applicable to the formation of the Universe. Hiranyagarbha, associated with gross bodies becomes gross physical Universe. Same Consciousness which is Nirguna Brahman now with Maya is Ishwara and  again associated with all subtle bodies is Hiranyagarbha. The same Hiranyagarbha associated with all physical bodies is Virat. This is final and changing  stage of manifestation of Universe.

Thus the analogy drawn by Swami Vidyaranya, is very unique. Easy to understand the concept of “Nirguna Brahman” and “Saguna Brahma”  White cloth is compared with “Nirguna Brahman”(Pure Consciousness~ Sacchidanand Brahma).  And the Virat is Saguna Brahman.

Sacchidanand Brahman associated with power of Maya is termed as Ishwara.

Consciousness associated with Maya, subtle bodies and with physical bodies is Virat the final form. What we see as Universe. This Virat Roopa was seen by Arjuna [ Bhagavad Geeta-eleventh chapter]. Arjuna asked Shri Krishna, I would like to see your Divine form.  

Now let us investigate into details of Virat. We see Virat as scattered. Now think I am an individual. And there are other beings, billions and billions of living beings, microorganisms, plants, oceans, mountains, microscopic elements, macroscopic materials, stars, planets ,Sun moon galaxies etc. which all exists before us.  Though, they look separate, but actually not. Because all these appear in ONE PURE CONSCIOUSNESS. 

What lesson we get from four stages of painting with the analogy given by Vidyaranya Swami? What is real is the cloth. The canvas. How we can say that? Because painting doesn’t exists without cloth. 

Only Reality here is the cloth. Pure white cloth. No starch, no outline, no painting. Basically it is cloth even after all association. Before association it is cloth. After all association, it is cloth. Suppose the completed painting shows nature, animals, people. Ultimately, if you think carefully, in the picture, each object of the painting is nothing but a piece of cloth. All characters, such as men, women, children, whatever be shown in the painting are basically a piece of cloth. We may even consider a movie hall. Where the screen is basically a cloth. Screen remains screen before and after the movie. What we see in the movie is known to us. Similarly, this Universe is a vast projection of Supreme Consciousness. What is that? Can we not say now that “YOU ARE THAT ( TAT TVAM ASI)” That means each of us is Pure Consciousness, Brahman. Advaita Vedanta says us that in the background we are all pure Consciousness.

Famous Verse from “Viveka Chudamani” a prakarana grantha(Sacred Text) is:  “Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya, Jivo Brahmaivanaparah.

Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya” : It means Brahman is the only truth (the ultimate reality), the world is illusory, neither true, nor false (Mithya). Means the world is changing and what we see is just appearance. “ Jivo Brahmaiva naparah”:  Adi Shankaracharya is conveying that the realization of the individual Self, Atman, Life energy in its purest form (without the ego) is nothing but realizing brahman only. 

The entire Universe you are experiencing, all that you see, living, non living, around you, that you interact, all the events, happenings in your life, are in reality Sat-Chit-Ananda,  Brahman, the ultimate Reality. We are not body made of flesh and blood, not body and mind complex. We are actually Sat-Chit-Ananda. ( Existence, Consciousness Bliss) appearing as this body and mind.  

We have to see through the experiences in our life. 

Vidyaranya swami explains, there are human beings shown in the picture wearing clothes and painted with different colors. These clothes on human being, are painted on real clothes. Think carefully here. There is a painted cloth, which is a Real cloth. People see the picture and put their comments on the colors, objects shown in the painting and discuss on their look. But nobody talks of clean cloth which first became canvas and then finally a painted picture. Same is true for all of us the human beings, having different qualities, different nature etc., we do not think of chidatma, Brahman, the Pure consciousness. Reality is: “I am not the body not the mind. I am pure consciousness.” That is true for all of us. Background Consciousness : that is all of us. 

The Virat Rupa of Lord Krishna

Conclusion:

“Chitra Deepa prakarana” with 280 verses is very important and significant chapter of the Text Panchadasi. Teaching of Swami Vidyaranya is very systematic , consistent and very progressive. Very simple to understand the essence of the topic. Method is “adhyaropa apavada”. Adhyaropa apavada is the meaning of superimposition. Verse 1 to 17 gives the whole Vedanta in nutshell. Just as the canvas painting is created, same way the whole world is created. Slowly we can start negating Apavada method. Intellect has to discern, to falsify all the entire objective world. Entire objective world has to be falsified. That is what intellect has to be convinced to understand and realize the Ultimate Reality. That is our Original nature. I am the witness Consciousness. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-3 of 4

                    Know the Atman(The Self) to be the master of the Chariot.

Disclaimer:

  • This article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆ I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.

Katha Upanishad : —  It gives a direct teaching to the spiritual aspirant.

ॐ ॥ अथ कठोपनिषद् ॥

Peace Invocation:-

ॐ सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सहवीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ॥
  ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
May HE protect us both. May HE take pleasure in us both. May we show courage together. May spiritual knowledge shine before us. May we never hate one another. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

प्रथमाध्याये तृतीया वल्ली॥  Introduction: 

This third section is very important for the seekers. Deals with process of Sadhana. How can an aspirant transcends himself ? Section-1: [ Essence of Katha Upanishad part-1 of 4 ] was an introduction on Nachiketas’ position. Section-2 [ Essence of Katha Upanishad part-2 of 4 ] introduced the existence of the Supreme Being. Now an extended Metaphor is introduced in this section to make the Text easy. Section has 17 verses. All verses are discussed.  Let us look into:

Two Selves :The Universal Self and The Individual Self: 

Two Selves:  One is in the process of attaining: The attainer. Other is that what to be attained. One is Traveller , other is Destination. Obviously between two the common is means of communication and that is “CHARIOT”.

ऋतं पिबन्तौ सुकृतस्य लोके
    गुहां प्रविष्टौ परमे परार्धे ।
छायातपौ ब्रह्मविदो वदन्ति
    पञ्चाग्नयो ये च त्रिणाचिकेताः ॥ १॥

यः सेतुरीजानानामक्षरं ब्रह्म यत् परम् ।
अभयं तितीर्षतां पारं नाचिकेतँ शकेमहि ॥ २॥

Both the Individual Self and the Universal Self, are living in the heart, like shade and Light. Though beyond enjoyment, yet enjoy the fruit of action. Wise says this for the knowers of Brahman and the performers of the Nachiketas fire ( त्रिणाचिकेताः ~ trinachiketaah). [1.3.1]. The Heart here is referred to the Intellect, where the Supreme Self gets reflected and that reflection is Jiva or Ego (Ahamkara). “पञ्चाग्नयो~ pancha-agnayah refers here to the performers of the five fires, the house holders, the followers of Karma Kanda of Vedas. And  those who performs त्रिणाचिकेताः ~ trinachiketaah are worshipper of Upasana Kanda of Vedas. Man can kindle that Fire, that Spirit, a bridge for all who sacrifice, a guide for all who pass beyond fear.[1.3.2]

आत्मानँ रथितं विद्धि शरीरँ रथमेव तु ।
बुद्धिं तु सारथिं विद्धि मनः प्रग्रहमेव च ॥ ३॥

इन्द्रियाणि हयानाहुर्विषयाँ स्तेषु गोचरान् ।
आत्मेन्द्रियमनोयुक्तं भोक्तेत्याहुर्मनीषिणः ॥ ४॥

Know the Atman to be the master of the Chariot; the body, the chariot; the Intellect (buddhi) , the charioteer ; and the mind , the reins. The senses, they say , are the horses; the objects, the roads. When Self is joined to body, mind, sense, none but He enjoys. [1.3.3-4]

The Intellect: Avijnanvan and Vijnanavan:

यस्त्वविज्ञानवान्भवत्ययुक्तेन मनसा सदा ।
तस्येन्द्रियाण्यवश्यानि दुष्टाश्वा इव सारथेः ॥ ५॥

यस्तु विज्ञानवान्भवति युक्तेन मनसा सदा ।
तस्येन्द्रियाणि वश्यानि सदश्वा इव सारथेः ॥ ६॥

When a man lack steadiness, unable to control his mind, his senses are like unmanageable horses.  यस्त्वविज्ञानवान्भवत्ययुक्तेन~  “avijnaanavaan bhavati” means non-discriminating intellect and विज्ञानवान्भवतिdiscriminating intellect. The non-discriminating charioteer is most dangerous. The discriminating one takes care to rein in the mind so that the horses are well-controlled.[1.3.5-6 ]

The Destination: Reaching the Goal:

यस्त्वविज्ञानवान्भवत्यमनस्कः सदाऽशुचिः ।
न स तत्पदमाप्नोति संसारं चाधिगच्छति ॥ ७॥

यस्तु विज्ञानवान्भवति समनस्कः सदा शुचिः ।
स तु तत्पदमाप्नोति यस्माद्भूयो न जायते ॥ ८॥

विज्ञानसारथिर्यस्तु मनः प्रग्रहवान्नरः । 
सोऽध्वनः पारमाप्नोति तद्विष्णोः परमं पदम् ॥ ९॥

Three verses: 1.3.7 to 1.3.9 focus on the Destination, where the intellect is the key factor. The impure, self-willed, unsteady  man misses the goal and is born again and again. The self-controlled , steady, pure man goes to that Goal from which he never returns. He who calls intellect to manage the reins of his mind reaches the end of his journey, finds that Supreme abode of Vishnu.[ 1.3.7-9] 

The Route of the Journey: 

इन्द्रियेभ्यः परा ह्यर्था अर्थेभ्यश्च परं मनः ।
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्बुद्धेरात्मा महान्परः ॥ १०

महतः परमव्यक्तमव्यक्तात्पुरुषः परः । 
पुरुषान्न परं किंचित्सा काष्ठा सा परा गतिः ॥ ११॥ 

Above the senses are the objects of desire, above the objects of desire is mind, above the mind is intellect, above the intellect manifest the great Atman, beyond the great Atman, the unmanifest, the Purusha. Beyond the Purusha, there is nothing. That is the END, the Supreme Goal. [1.3.10-11]

Here the journey is through understanding and reaching deeper levels within our Being. No physical distance needs to be covered. Only to meditate on ॐ (AUM) going deeper and subtler till it reaches the core. 

Self is seen only by Subtle intellect:

एष सर्वेषु भूतेषु गूढोऽऽत्मा न प्रकाशते ।
दृश्यते त्वग्र्यया बुद्ध्या सूक्ष्मया सूक्ष्मदर्शिभिः ॥ १२॥

This Atman is in all living beings. It is hidden there and not visible to eye (गूढोऽऽत्मा न प्रकाशते ). It can indeed be  seen by the sharp intellect with the subtle vision(बुद्ध्या सूक्ष्मया सूक्ष्मदर्शिभिः) [1.3.12]. Intellect of the sage finds Him.

Successive Merging from Speech to Self:

यच्छेद्वाङ्मनसी प्राज्ञस्तद्यच्छेज्ज्ञान आत्मनि ।
ज्ञानमात्मनि महति नियच्छेत्तद्यच्छेच्छान्त आत्मनि ॥ १३॥

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत
    प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ।
क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया
    दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ॥ १४॥

The wise nature in  man would loose his speech in mind, mind in the intellect, intellect into the “Mahat” and the Mahat into The Peaceful Self. Arise, awake! Learn Wisdom at Master’s feet. The path is indeed difficult to cross and hard to tread, like the sharp edge of a razor. Mahat here is referred to the total MIND [1.3.13-14] { Please see the notes at the end}.

Subtlety of the Supreme Self:

अशब्दमस्पर्शमरूपमव्ययं
    तथाऽरसं नित्यमगन्धवच्च यत् ।
अनाद्यनन्तं महतः परं ध्रुवं
    निचाय्य तन्मृत्युमुखात् प्रमुच्यते ॥ १५॥

He who knows the soundless, odorless, tasteless,  intangible, formless, deathless, supernatural, unchangeable Reality, springs out of the mouth of Death.(1.3.15).

Glory of the ” Nachiketas ” Knowledge:

नाचिकेतमुपाख्यानं मृत्युप्रोक्तँ सनातनम् । 
उक्त्वा श्रुत्वा च मेधावी ब्रह्मलोके महीयते ॥ १६॥

य इमं परमं गुह्यं श्रावयेद् ब्रह्मसंसदि । 
प्रयतः श्राद्धकाले वा तदानन्त्याय कल्पते । 
तदानन्त्याय कल्पत इति ॥ १७॥

This Vedic knowledge as received by Nachiketas, and as told by the Lord of Death is Eternal. Those who hear and repeat correctly this ancient dialogue becomes worthy of glorification in the world of Brahman( Brahma Loka). He who sings this great mystery at the anniversary of his fathers to a rightly chosen company, finds good luck, good luck beyond measure.[1.3.16-17]

Conclusion:

The highest evolute in creation is Mahat. Then comes ahankara; then comes the tanmatras and then, at last, the five elements. But to us , the five elements come first. And as the world affects our thinking and perception, we are slaves of it. The jive is enslaved by Avidya (ignorance). Avidya has to be removed. Absence of knowledge brings fear of Death. With vidya( knowledge), people become fearless. Knowing this knowledge, people will welcome Lord of Death, Yama, not repel Him.

॥ इति काठकोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये तृतीया वल्ली ॥***End of Second Valli of first Adhaya***

Thus ends the Third Chapter of the First Part of the Katha Upanishad.

Notes:-

  • a) Tanmatras are the 5 objects of perception, made up of the five subtle elements.
  • b) Mahat: Beyond the senses there are objects. Beyond the objects is mind, beyond the mind is intellect. Beyond the intellect is Great Self Mahat(cosmic intelligence).

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.
  4. Commentary of Katha Upanishad By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Katha Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. Information available on internet.

             It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me. Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

Next part : Path to realization of Atman

 

Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-2 of 4

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆ I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards.    NAMASTE.

Katha Upanishad : —  It gives a direct teaching to the spiritual aspirant.

        ॐ       ॥ अथ कठोपनिषद् ॥

प्रथमाध्याये द्वितीया वल्ली॥  Introduction: 

In Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-1 of 4 , Section-1/Chapter-1 has been discussed. In this part we will discuss second Valli of first Adhaya.(Section-2/Chapter-1- from verse -1 to verse-25). Text is lengthy, since all the verses are covered to know the Essence of Katha Upanishad. Readers are requested to read with patience. My efforts will be successful, if you like the content.

Two Paths in Human Life: ” The Good and the Pleasant”  # PREYAS & SREYAS #   

अन्यच्छ्रेयोऽन्यदुतैव प्रेय-
    स्ते उभे नानार्थे पुरुषँ सिनीतः ।
तयोः श्रेय आददानस्य साधु
    भवति हीयतेऽर्थाद्य उ प्रेयो वृणीते ॥ १॥

श्रेयश्च प्रेयश्च मनुष्यमेतः 
    तौ सम्परीत्य विविनक्ति धीरः । 
श्रेयो हि धीरोऽभि प्रेयसो वृणीते 
    प्रेयो मन्दो योगक्षेमाद्वृणीते ॥ २॥

Lord Yama said ” The preferable (Sreyas=श्रेय ) and the pleasurable (Preyas= प्रेयो ) both approach the mortal man. The good is one, the pleasant is another. These two serves divergent purposes. Both have commands. Who follows the good, attains sanctity; who follows the pleasant drops out of the race.” Every man faces both. The intelligent selects the electable in reference to the delectable. Choosing is always a function of the intellect, not the mind. The non intelligent person(मन्दो ) , driven by mind looks for short time happiness and chooses Preyas.[1.2.1-2]

Lord Yama praises Nachiketas’s discrimination:

स त्वं प्रियान्प्रियरूपांश्च कामान्
    अभिध्यायन्नचिकेतोऽत्यस्राक्षीः ।
नैतां सृङ्कां वित्तमयीमवाप्तो
    यस्यां मज्जन्ति बहवो मनुष्याः ॥ ३॥

Lord Yama said: Nachiketas! Having examined the pleasures, you have rejected them; turned from the vortex of the life and death. I showed you all the glitters there exists. You simply renounced them, where most people would have grabbed that I offered.[1.2.3]

Sreyas is Vidya(wisdom) and Preyas is Avidya (ignorance).

दूरमेते विपरीते विषूची
    अविद्या या च विद्येति ज्ञाता ।
विद्याभीप्सिनं नचिकेतसं मन्ये
    न त्वा कामा बहवोऽलोलुपन्त ॥ ४॥

अविद्यायामन्तरे वर्तमानाः 
    स्वयं धीराः पण्डितंमन्यमानाः । 
दन्द्रम्यमाणाः परियन्ति मूढा 
    अन्धेनैव नीयमाना यथान्धाः ॥ ५॥

Lord Yama continues: ” Diverging roads: one is called ignorance and the other is called wisdom. Nachiketas! you turn towards wisdom. Being an aspirant for wisdom, do I consider you to be, O Nachiketas!  Fools brag of their knowledge; proud, ignorant, deluded in many crooked ways, blind led by the blind, go round and round.[1.2.4-5]

Preyas: A false Vision:

न साम्परायः प्रतिभाति बालं
    प्रमाद्यन्तं वित्तमोहेन मूढम् ।
अयं लोको नास्ति पर इति मानी
    पुनः पुनर्वशमापद्यते मे ॥ ६॥

न साम्परायः प्रतिभाति बालं => na saam-paraayah prati-bhaati baalam” :- Meaning of the line is that, the means for the attainment of the long term goal are not revealed to those who have a short term goal. What can the money-maddened ignorant know of the future? This is the only world, and none hereafter- the fool thinks in this manner. I kill him again and again. (पुनः पुनर्वशमापद्यते मे ~ Poonah Poonah vasham aapadyate me). Remain in the cycle of birth and death.[1.2.6]

Wonder Teacher and Wonder Disciple:

श्रवणायापि बहुभिर्यो न लभ्यः
    श‍ृण्वन्तोऽपि बहवो यं न विद्युः ।
आश्चर्यो वक्ता कुशलोऽस्य लब्धा
    आश्चर्यो ज्ञाता कुशलानुशिष्टः ॥ ७॥

Lord Yama says: “Some have never heard of the Self, some have heard but can not find Him. Who finds Him is a world’s wonder, who expounds Him is a world’s wonder, who inherits Him from his Master is a world’s wonder. No man of common mind can teach Him; such men dispute one against another. But when the uncommon man speaks, dispute is over. Because the Self is a fine substance, He slips from the mind and deludes imagination. It is a wonder to find that rare expounder , who is proficient to teach , also it is wonder to find that rare listener who is proficient to grasp the teaching.”[1.2.7]

Principles in Spiritual teaching:

न नरेणावरेण प्रोक्त एष
    सुविज्ञेयो बहुधा चिन्त्यमानः ।
अनन्यप्रोक्ते गतिरत्र नास्ति
    अणीयान् ह्यतर्क्यमणुप्रमाणात् ॥ ८॥

नैषा तर्केण मतिरापनेया 
    प्रोक्तान्येनैव सुज्ञानाय प्रेष्ठ । 
यां त्वमापः सत्यधृतिर्बतासि 
    त्वादृङ्नो भूयान्नचिकेतः प्रष्टा ॥ ९॥

Beloved! logic brings no man to the Self. But when taught by one who sees no Duality, then no doubts and variations will arise. नरेणावरेण “प्रोक्त एष सुविज्ञेयो बहुधा चिन्त्यमानः ”  This knowledge can not be obtained from the inferior instructor( who has not attained Brahman). “अणीयान् ह्यतर्क्यमणुप्रमाणात् “  means:  Indeed, It  can not be argued that It is subtler than the subtlest. You have obtained that wisdom, as you are already soundly fixed in the Truth. [1.2.8-9]

Lord Yama’s attainment, when He was young: [1.2.10]

जानाम्यहं शेवधिरित्यनित्यं
    न ह्यध्रुवैः प्राप्यते हि ध्रुवं तत् ।
ततो मया नाचिकेतश्चितोऽग्निः
    अनित्यैर्द्रव्यैः प्राप्तवानस्मि नित्यम् ॥ १०॥

कामस्याप्तिं जगतः प्रतिष्ठां 
    क्रतोरानन्त्यमभयस्य पारम् । 
स्तोममहदुरुगायं प्रतिष्ठां दृष्ट्वा 
    धृत्या धीरो नचिकेतोऽत्यस्राक्षीः ॥ ११॥

Lord Yama explains here that impermanent means can not bring permanent. Because man can not find the Eternal through pleasures, means Preyas. Yama says: ” I have sought Nachiketas fire in these pleasures and worshiping that alone, found the Eternal. The fulfilment of all desires, the conquest of the world, freedom from fear, unlimited pleasure, magical powers, all were yours , O Nachiketas!, being full of wisdom and firm resolve, you have rejected them all.”[1.2.10-11]

The means to attain the Supreme Self: 

तं दुर्दर्शं गूढमनुप्रविष्टं
    गुहाहितं गह्वरेष्ठं पुराणम् ।
अध्यात्मयोगाधिगमेन देवं
    मत्वा धीरो हर्षशोकौ जहाति ॥ १२॥

एतच्छ्रुत्वा सम्परिगृह्य मर्त्यः 
    प्रवृह्य धर्म्यमणुमेतमाप्य । 
स मोदते मोदनीयँ हि लब्ध्वा 
    विवृतँ सद्म नचिकेतसं मन्ये ॥ १३॥

Lord Yama continues: “The wise meditating on God, concentrating their thought, discovering in the mouth of the cavern, deeper in the cavern (गुहाहितं गह्वरेष्ठं पुराणम्),  that Self, that  ancient Self, difficult to imagine (तं दुर्दर्शं गूढमनुप्रविष्टं), more difficult to understand, pass beyond joy and sorrow.  Hearing from the teacher and comprehending, distinguishes nature from the Self. He then rejoices, for that he has obtained the very cause of all joy. I think, the abode of Brahman , your gates of joy stands open.”[1.2.12-13]

The concept conveyed here is that; the Self is Real even though it can not be perceived through senses and mind. It is said that He is the most hidden of all hidden secrets. People go to different places seeking Him, but He is hidden in the bottom of the seeker himself. Seeker carries Him wherever he goes, yet he asks for Him. The cave represents the intellect. [deeper in the cavern (गुहाहितं गह्वरेष्ठं पुराणम्) : पुराणम् = pooranam which means ” from the time immemorial” ] By means of the science of inner Self, the Supreme Deity within is meditated upon (अध्यात्मयोगाधिगमेन देवं). The wise man who recognizes That Supreme Being, comes to renounce both joys and sorrows (मत्वा धीरो हर्षशोकौ जहाति ).

Boon 3: A reminder: Nachiketas says to Lord Yama: 

अन्यत्र धर्मादन्यत्राधर्मा-
    दन्यत्रास्मात्कृताकृतात् ।
अन्यत्र भूताच्च भव्याच्च
    यत्तत्पश्यसि तद्वद ॥ १४॥

Nachiketas asked: ” What lies beyond right and wrong, beyond cause and effect, beyond past and future , tell me of that thing as you see it” [1.2.14]

The Goal of all Spiritual efforts- “OM”

सर्वे वेदा यत्पदमामनन्ति
    तपाꣳसि सर्वाणि च यद्वदन्ति ।
यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति
    तत्ते पदꣳ सङ्ग्रहेण ब्रवीम्योमित्येतत् ॥ १५॥

Brahman is AUM:

Yama said: ” The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence, will tell you briefly: The word is AUM [1.2.15]

एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ब्रह्म एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं परम् ।
एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ज्ञात्वा यो यदिच्छति तस्य तत् ॥ १६॥
एतदालम्बनँ श्रेष्ठमेतदालम्बनं परम् । 
एतदालम्बनं ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्मलोके महीयते ॥ १७॥

एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ब्रह्म : = This word alone is verily Saguna Brahman.  एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं परम्: = This word alone is verily the Nirguna Brahman. This syllable AUM(ॐ) is indeed Brahman. This syllable is the Highest, Eternal. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. एतदालम्बनं ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्मलोके महीयते : = This word is the ultimate foundation. Who finds it is adored among saints.[1.2.16-17]


The Yoga of the Self: The Nature of Atman:

Following two slokas are also seen in second Adhaya of Bhagvad Geeta: 

न जायते म्रियते वा विपश्चि-
    न्नायं कुतश्चिन्न बभूव कश्चित् ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो
    न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ १८॥

हन्ता चेन्मन्यते हन्तुँ हतश्चेन्मन्यते हतम् ।
उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायँ हन्ति न हन्यते ॥ १९॥

The knowing Self is not born; It does not die. It has not sprung from anything; nothing has sprung from It. Birth less, eternal, everlasting, and ancient, It is not killed when the body is killed.[1.2.18]

If the killer thinks he kills and if the killed man thinks he is killed, neither of these apprehends aright. The Self kills not, nor is it killed.[1.2.19]

Self-Knowledge-1 : Majesty of the Self: –

अणोरणीयान्महतो महीया-
    नात्माऽस्य जन्तोर्निहितो गुहायाम् ।
तमक्रतुः पश्यति वीतशोको
    धातुप्रसादान्महिमानमात्मनः ॥ २०॥

Atman, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden in the hearts of all living creatures. A man who is free from desires beholds the majesty of the Self through tranquility of the senses and the mind and becomes free from grief.(1.2.20)

Let us put it mathematically: “smaller than the small, greater than the great”.  Suppose n is a number, and we consider two loops. n=n+1 and n=n-1 in two different cases.

case 1.  n+1> n ;   in the loop n=n+1, n approaches to ∞ (infinity)

case 2.   n-1 <  n; in the loop n=n-1, n approaches to zero; ε (epsilon) but ≠ 0 . This example will just help to imagine the vastness of Brahman.

Planck length, the smallest in size = 1.6 x 1035 meters. Planck time, the smallest time = 1044seconds. Volume of the observable Universe is 3.566×1080 m3           

आसीनो दूरं व्रजति शयानो याति सर्वतः ।
कस्तं मदामदं देवं मदन्यो ज्ञातुमर्हति ॥ २१॥

अशरीरँ शरीरेष्वनवस्थेष्ववस्थितम् ।
महान्तं विभुमात्मानं मत्वा धीरो न शोचति ॥ २२॥

Though sitting, He travels; though sleeping, yet everywhere. Who but you and  I , Death can comprehend that Supreme who is beyond joy and sorrow.[1.2.21]

The wise man, having realized Atman as dwelling within impermanent bodies but itself bodiless, vast, and all-pervading, does not grieve.(1.2.22)

The sole condition: Choose only the Self: 

नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो
    न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन ।
यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यः
    तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूꣳ स्वाम् ॥ २३॥

नाविरतो दुश्चरितान्नाशान्तो नासमाहितः ।
नाशान्तमानसो वाऽपि प्रज्ञानेनैनमाप्नुयात् ॥ २४॥

The Self is not known through discourse, splitting of hairs, learning however great; He comes to the man He loves; takes that man’s body for his own. [1.2.23]

He who has not first turned away from wickedness, who is not tranquil and subdued, and whose mind is not at peace, can not attain Atman. It is realized only through the knowledge of Reality.[1.2.24]

यस्य ब्रह्म च क्षत्रं च उभे भवत ओदनः ।
मृत्युर्यस्योपसेचनं क इत्था वेद यत्र सः ॥ २५॥  

He has made mere preachers( Brahmanas) and soldiers(Kshatriyas) His food, death it’s condiment; how can a common man find Him? This verse means that How can one know thus as to where the Self is, for which both the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas become food, and for which death takes the place of curry. Above mantra (verse-25) has an intellectual in depth inner meaning, which need to be elaborated.

The Brahmanas and Kshatriyas represent knowledge and power. But that knowledge is not omniscience and power is not the authority.उभे भवत ओदनः = means both become food ( odanah = boiled rice).    मृत्युर्यस्योपसेचनं  = means , for which mrtyuh, death becomes upasecanam, supplement to the food, being unfit even to be food.        क इत्था वेद यत्र सः = means kah, who – being a man with worldly intellect, and devoid of the disciplines described above; veda knows; ittha, in this way- like the man endowed with above mentioned disciplines; yatra, as to where The Self, the eater-destroyer of the Universe-exists in Its own glory. Who knows It as such? In other words, it can be said as ” In the case of Atman, existence is general and absolute. This is paramarthika-satta. In it , individuality ( Brahmanas and Kshatriyas ) is ruled out. As such death has no meaning there; death is dissolved in it. Such Atman-who can know where He really is? “

॥ इति काठकोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये द्वितीया वल्ली ॥

***End of Second Valli of first Adhaya***


Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.
  4. Commentary of Katha Upanishad By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Katha Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. Information available on internet.

             It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

 

Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-1 of 4

Nachiketas at the door of Death!

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.

प्रथमाध्यायेप्रथमा वल्ली॥  Introduction:-

Katha Upanishad (Kathopanishad) is one among ten principal Upanishads and part of Krishna Yajurveda. Katha Upanishad consists of two Adhayas (Chapters). Each Chapter has three Vallis (sections). This is a legendary story of a little boy Nachiketas, barely ten years old, son of Sage Vajasravasa (also known as sage Gautama), who meets Yama (The Death God in Hindu philosophy). Through conversation, Yama reveals Supreme Knowledge to Nachiketas, the knowledge of the nature Atman and the path to gain WisdomMoksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). Vajasravasa wished to perform a sacrifice called Vishwajit (Sarva Dakshina), meaning victory over the whole universe. Through such sacrifice, the performer aims to gain the fruit of going to a higher world and enjoying the pleasures there. (Vajasrava means a Giver). The boy faced wrath of his father after completion of sacrificial fire , when he found there was fault in the part of his father. as such the boy was offered to Yama, by his father in anger. finally he got the desired knowledge from Yama when he exhibited Mumukshautva(intense desire to seek wisdom) and vairagya(dispassion for all worldly pleasures).

Katha Upanishad : —  It gives a direct teaching to the spiritual aspirant.

        ॐ       ॥ अथ कठोपनिषद् ॥

Peace Invocation:-

ॐ सह नाववतु। सह नौभुनक्तु । सहवीर्यं करवावहै।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु। मा विद्विषावहै॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Gifts(Dakshina) not worth the name:

Desiring heavenly enjoyment, sage Gautama performed a sacrifice(rituals part of karma kanda) called  “Sarva Dakshina” . After completion of Sacrifice, Nachiketas, son of Sage Gautama, noticed something not quite right about the gifts that were being presented to the priests.  Nachiketas thought:  ” These cows have drunk water for the last time, and eaten grass for the last time. They have yielded all their milk means can not yield more. They have lost their senses and can be treated as barren. They were totally useless. (1.1.3)

Nachiketas went to his father and asked, ” sa hovaca pitram taata, Kasmai maam daasyasi?” iti;” means ” To whom you have given me as sarva dakshina? Three times asked Nachiketa this question. His father was angry and replied, “Mrityave tvaa dadaami! iti.” means ” Unto death I offer you” (1.1.4)

“kimsvid yamasya kartavyam; yat mayaa adya karishyati” Nachiketas thought; ” Whether I die now or later hardly matters; but what would I like to know is what happens if Death gets me now ? (1.1.5) .

The Glory of upholding tradition:

” asyam iva martyah pachyate; sasyam iva aajaayate” Vajasrava would have taken back his words, but Nachiketas said: ” Think of those who went before and those who will come after; their words their bound. “Man dies and is born again like a blade of grass. This means seed grows only to fall and fall only to grow. This is the cycle of human life because birth and death are correlatives.” 1.1.6

Nachiketa then proceeded to Yama -loka. Upon reaching Lord Yama’s abode, he found Yama was out of his kingdom and he was on his usual duty to Martya Loka. Nachiketa waited for three days and nights and refused to accept food that was offered by the ministers of Yama. On Yama’s return, his ministers informed him that one atithih (guest) is waiting for him.

Lord Yama’s Instructions on Hospitality: 

वैश्वानरः प्रविशत्यतिथिर्ब्राह्मणोगृहान् ।तस्यैताँशान्तिं कुर्वन्ति हर वैवस्वतोदकम् ॥ ७

When a Brahmana (holy man) enters a house as a guest it is as if Fire has entered. The wise man cools him down. So please give him water. We should pacify guest, as is customary. A guest who comes of his own accord, an atithih -means the one who come without a particular tithih ( particular time or particular day) is regarded as God.(1.1.7)

आशाप्रतीक्षेसंगतँसूनृतां चेष्टापूर्ते पुत्रपशूँश्च सर्वान् ।एतद्वृङ्क्ते पुरुषस्याल्पमेधसो यस्यानश्नन्वसति ब्राह्मणोगृहे॥ ८

Of the person in whose house a guest starves, is not being given, even when asked for; of that person, the guest goes away taking all virtues and merits, and also lives of all children and cows; all these are destroyed.(1.1.8)

As such, Yama said to Nachiketas; ” you have dwelt three nights in my house; without food, O venerable Brahmana guest, I beg of you, O Brahmana, be good to me. Hence, in return, please choose three boons.”[1.1.9] And so, Nachiketas asked his boons one by one. 

शान्तसंकल्पः सुमना यथा स्याद्;वीतमन्युर्गौतमोमाऽभि मृत्यो।
त्वत्प्रसृष्टं माऽभिवदेत्प्रतीत;एतत् त्रयाणां प्रथमं वरं वृणे॥ १0 ॥

The First Boon: 

Nachiketas said: ” I will take as my first gift that I may be reconciled to my father, that he may be happy, that he may keep no grudge against me and when I am sent back to him by you, may he greet me and recognize me“.[1.1.10]     Yama grants the first boon! [1.1.11]

The Second Boon:

स्वर्गे लोके न भयं किंचनास्ति;न तत्र त्वं न जरया बिभेति ।
उभेतीर्त्वाऽशनायापिपासे;शोकातिगोमोदतेस्वर्गलोके ॥ १२ ॥

Nachiketas said: ” There is no fear in the kingdom of Heaven; because you are not there, nobody there is afraid of old age; man is beyond hunger, thirst and sorrow. being free from such grief, one rejoices there.” [1.1.12]Nachiketas continued: ” you know that fire sacrifice which leads to Heaven, O Yama; Explain that to me. I am full of faith. I pray for this knowledge as my second boon.” [ 1.1.13]. Yama grants the second boon! 

प्र तेब्रवीमि तदुमेनिबोध;स्वर्ग्यमग्निं नचिकेतः प्रजानन् ।
अनन्तलोकाप्तिमथोप्रतिष्ठां;विद्धि त्वमेतं निहितं गुहायाम् ॥ १४॥

Lord Yama says to Nachiketas: ” I will explain it, you must learn it well from me. The fire sacrifice that leads one to heaven- O Nachiketas, I am well versed in it. It is a means to attain eternal heaven( Hiranyagarbha Loka or Brahma Loka); and it is also the support of the Universe. You should know that knowledge to be seated in the hidden cave of the intellect.[1.1.14] ** Beyond Brahma loka, it is the unmanifest , causal state of the Universe when it goes into cosmic dissolution. Beyond even this is the unconditioned Absolute Brahman.  

Detailed Knowledge is Taught!

लोकादिमग्निं तमुवाच तस्मै;या इष्टका यावतीर्वा यथा वा । 
स चापि तत्प्रत्यवदद्यथोक्तं;अथास्य मृत्युः पुनरेवाह तुष्टः ॥ १५॥

The perfect sacrifice is explained by Yama. Out of fire arises all that exists in the Universe. Mastering this, one gains mastery over any field of human activity, and acquires whatever one desires in terms of worldly prosperity and power. However, it is all within the transitory realm; all gains here are impermanent. Nachiketas very attentively listened and was able to follow what was said. He repeated all that Yama explained. Being happy with Nachiketas, Yama encouraged and said ” I will give you another gift. This fire shall be called by your name.” And it is known as “Nachiketas Fire”. 

तमब्रवीत् प्रीयमाणोमहात्मा;वरं तवेहाद्य ददामि भूयः ।
तवैव नाम्ना भविताऽयमग्निः;सृङ्कां चेमामनेकरूपां गृहाण ॥ १६॥

त्रिणाचिकेतस्त्रिभिरेत्य सन्धिं;त्रिकर्मकृत्तरति जन्ममृत्यू।
ब्रह्मजज्ञं देवमीड्यं विदित्वा;निचाय्येमाँशान्तिमत्यन्तमेति ॥ १७॥

Yama explained: “Count the links of the chain. Worship “Trinachiketah” the triple Fire: Knowledge, meditation, practice, TribhihSandhim” :the triple process: evidence, inference, experience; “Trikarmakrit” :the triple duty: study, concentration, renunciation; understand  ” Brahmaja-jnam” that everything comes from Brahman, that Brahman alone is sought and found ;attain everlasting peace; mount beyond birth and death. When man understands himself, understands Universal Self, the union of the two, kindles the triple Fire, offers sacrifice; then shall he , though still on earth, break the bonds of death, beyond sorrow, mount into heaven”. [1.1.16 & 1.1.17]

Yama asks for choice of third Boon[1.1.19]

एष तेऽग्निर्नचिकेतः स्वर्ग्यो;यमवृणीथा द्वितीयेन वरेण ।
एतमग्निं तवैव प्रवक्ष्यन्ति जनासःतृतीयं वरं नचिकेतोवृणीष्व ॥ १९॥

The Third Boon:

येयं प्रेतेविचिकित्सा मनुष्येऽस्तीत्येके नायमस्तीति चैके ।
एतद्विद्यामनुशिष्टस्त्वयाऽहं;वराणामेष वरस्तृतीयः ॥ २०॥

Nachiketas said: ” Some say that when man dies he continues to exist, others that he does not. Please explain. This is my third boon”.[1.1.20]

Lord Yama’s response:

देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं पुरा न हि सुविज्ञेयमणुरेष धर्मः ।
अन्यं वरं नचिकेतोवृणीष्व;मा मोपरोत्सीरति मा सृजैनम् ॥ २१॥

Lord Yama replied: ” This question has been discussed by the Devatas(gods), it is deep and difficult. choose another gift, Nachiketas! Do not be hard. Please do not compel me to explain.[1.1.21]

देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं किल त्वं च मृत्योयन्न सुज्ञेयमात्थ ।
वक्ता चास्य त्वादृगन्यो न लभ्यो नान्यो वरस्तुल्य एतस्य कश्चित् ॥ २२॥

Nachiketas said: ” Indeed, on this matter, even by the gods doubt have been entertained! That it is so deep and difficult; what explanation can be as good as yours? No other boon equal to this can there be.[1.1.22]

शतायुषः पुत्रपौत्रान्वृणीष्वा; बहून्पशून् हस्तिहिरण्यमश्वान् ।
भूमेर्महदायतनं वृणीष्व;स्वयं च जीव शरदोयावदिच्छसि ॥ २३॥

Lord Yama starts tempting Nachiketas:

Yama says: ” Take  sons and grand sons, all long lived ( centenarians) , cattle and horses, elephants and gold, take a great kingdom. From this vast Earth (over which I rule), choose an estate of any size; and for yourself a long life consisting of as many autumns(years) as you like. [1.1.23]

एतत्तुल्यं यदि मन्यसेवरं;वृणीष्व वित्तं चिरजीविकां च ।
महाभूमौनचिकेतस्त्वमेधि;कामानां त्वा कामभाजं करोमि ॥ २४॥

येयेकामा दुर्लभा मर्त्यलोके;सर्वान् कामाँश्छन्दतः प्रार्थयस्व ।
इमा रामाः सरथाः सतूर्या;न हीदृशा लम्भनीया मनुष्यैः ।
आभिर्मत्प्रत्ताभिः परिचारयस्व;नचिकेतोमरणं माऽनुप्राक्षीः ॥ २५॥

Yama tempts Nachiketas a bit more: Includes Heavenly and Sexual Pleasures”[1.1.24-25]

Yama offers Heavenly & Sexual Pleasures. Says for pleasures beyond human reach, fine women with carriages, their musical instruments; mount beyond dreams, enjoy. But do not ask to know what lies beyond death. Finding that even these extreme pleasures are having no effect on the boy, Yama plays for an offer that has unfailingly worked on many. The most tantalizing and demoralizing, of all sensual objects is beautiful woman. Yama’s ultimate weapon is now MAYA.[1.1.24-25]

श्वोभावा मर्त्यस्य यदन्तकैतत्;सर्वेंद्रियाणां जरयन्ति तेजः ।
अपि सर्वं जीवितमल्पमेव;तवैव वाहास्तव नृत्यगीते॥ २६॥

न वित्तेन तर्पणीयोमनुष्यो;लप्स्यामहेवित्तमद्राक्ष्म चेत्त्वा ।
जीविष्यामोयावदीशिष्यसि त्वं;वरस्तुमेवरणीयः स एव ॥ २७॥

Nachiketas said: ” Destroyer of man! these things pass.  This is ephemeral world. The longest life is short here. Man with all the sense organs are subject to death and decay.  Keep those horses, keep singing and dancing, keep it all for yourself. Wealth can not satisfy a man. If he but please you, Master of all, he can live as long as he likes, get all that he likes. Hence, the boon that is worth praying for by me is THAT” alone. [1.1.26-27

अजीर्यताममृतानामुपेत्य;जीर्यन्मर्त्यः क्वधःस्थः प्रजानन् ।
अभिध्यायन् वर्णरतिप्रमोदान्;अतिदीर्घे जीवितेकोरमेत २८॥

यस्मिन्निदं विचिकित्सन्ति मृत्यो;यत्साम्परायेमहति ब्रूहि नस्तत् ।
योऽयं वरोगूढमनुप्रविष्टो;नान्यं तस्मान्नचिकेता वृणीते ॥ २९॥

Nachiketas chooses Wisdom over Folly and stick to his original boon.

Nachiketas said:” I have reached to the proximity of immortals. When I know being a perishable mortal self , why will I rejoice in wanting extended span of life? Please say where does man go after death?. 

Conclusion: Temptations are to be discarded through “Viveka”.

The story is nothing but an example of teaching of the Supreme Knowledge. Here Teacher is Lord of Death ” Yama” and the student is “Nachiketas”. In this “Valli” (first part, first section),the message to be taken away is : Beware of all temptations !!. Temptations only make us down fall. The temptation that was offered to Lord Buddha and in other stories in puranas are relevant here. When temptations come, one can not recognise them as temptations. They come as realities and it requires an extra ordinary intelligence to divert them. Always comes as an offer. If we can detect the root cause of those offers and reject those offers, we can easily overcome main handles in the progress of spiritual journey. Temptations are to be treated as “Tests” . Should not fall prey to those offers. Viveka (intellect) must always be active because Viveka acts as true guide, mentor, teacher, guru whatever you say. If we follow Viveka, Truth will be revealed at the earliest.

॥ इति काठकोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्यायेप्रथमा वल्ली

     ***End of First Valli of first Adhaya***


Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.
  4. Commentary of Katha Upanishad By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Katha Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  7. Information available on internet.

             It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

 

Essence of Kena Upanishad (KENOPANISHAD)

Essence of Kena Upanishad: 

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.

Introduction: – 

Kena Upanishad, part of Sama Veda, is one among the Ten Principal Upanishads and comes next to Isha Upanishad in list (Serial number 2). Kena Upanishad is presented in the form of a dialogue between “Guru” and “Shishya”. Deals primarily with the nature of the Self, the path to its realisation which gives aspirant a knowledge of Brahman” the ultimate reality. (Brahma-Gyan). 

This Upanishad has profound analytical and metaphysical presentation, which leads our mind from gross to subtle with a logic. Upanishad delivers a conceptual knowledge on “Brahman”.  It has four chapters. First two chapters gives us knowledge of nature of individual. Third chapter has a story in the form of a moral lesson and continues up to half of the fourth chapter. Fourth chapter ends with contemplation. In this post, I will discuss on few slokas (verses).  

Shanti Path:  

OM! apyayantu mamangani vakpranascaksuh srotramatho balamindriyam ca sarvani                                  sarvam brahmopanisadam. 
maham brahma nirakuryam ma ma brahma nirakarodanirakaranam astvanirakaranam me’stu. Tadatmani nirate ya upanisatu dharmaste mayi santu te mayi santu. OM shantih santih santih. 

 Beginning Shanti Mantra: [Prayer] : – May my limbs, Speech, prana, eyes ears, life, energy, come to my help. All is the pure Brahman of the Upanishads. I shall never deny that Brahman, nor that Brahman desert me! Let me be in union, communion with Brahman. Let the virtues recited in the Upanishads be rooted in me. May they repose in me! OM! Peace. Peace. Peace! 

 Sloka-1: “Om kenesitam patati presitam manah kena pranah prathamah praitiyuktah. kenesitam vacamimam vadanti caksuh srotram ka u devo yunakti” 

Sloka-1.ओं केनेषितं पतति प्रेषितं मनः केन प्राणः प्रथमः प्रैति युक्तः ।
केनेषितां वाचमिमां वदन्ति चक्षुः श्रोत्रं क उ देवो युनक्ति ॥ १ ॥ 

First Sloka:  OM! By whose will be directed does the mind light on its subjects. At whose, command does prana, the foremost, move? By whose will do men speak this speech? What Intelligence directs the eye and the ear? (1.1) 

The student asked teacher with the intention to know, what is that other than body and mind, which makes it possible.To understand well, let us concentrate on our day to day and even moment to moment experiences means entire conscious experiences. We will examine what makes these possible? By whose will or command? We all know Consciousness makes it possible. Example: How eye sees? Function of eye, optic nerve network, neurons then finally image of that ….an impression. But apart from the mechanism of seeing through eye, one such experience is known as qualia, according to modern science. Hard problem of consciousness. We experience through inputs received by sense organs. Consciousness, is not the product of body mind system. Neither body, nor mind (brain) is producing Consciousness. Even the mind is regarded as matter. Because mind is influenced by matters. Then what is it?  Let us investigate Sloka -2.  

 Sloka-2: Srotrasya srotram manaso mano yadvaco ha vacam sa u pranasya pranascaksusascaksu. Atimucya dhirah pretyasmallokadamrta bhavanti (1.2) 

 Sloka-2.  श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनसो मनो यद्वाचो ह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणश्चक्षुषश्चक्षुः ।
अतिमुच्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ २ ॥ 

Second Sloka: The teacher replied: It is the Ear of the ear, mind of the mind, speech of the speech, the Life of the life and the Eye of the eye. Having detached, the Self, from the sense organs and renouncing the world, the Wise attains immortality. (2) 

From second sloka we learn, It is the Atman, the spirit, by whose power the ear hears, the eye sees, the tongue speaks, the mind understands and life functions. The wise man separates the Atman from these faculties, rises out from the cycle of birth and death, attains immortality. 

Guru’s (Teacher) reply implies that, It is Consciousness, which enables everything. Knowing this entity, the wise person transcends the limitations of human life. Transcends the world and attain immortality. Advaita (Non-Dualism) teaches that I am not the body, not the mind. What is then? I am Atman. I am awareness. 

The significance of the reply is to bring that it is not the mind and sense organs, but it is Consciousness which functions behind the scenes. Thereby mind and other organs perform their respective functions. Self only impels the mind and other sense organs work. 

Sloka-3: na tatra caksurgacchati na vaggacchati no mano na vidmo na vijanimo yathaitadanusisyadanyadeva tadviditadatho aviditadadhi. iti susruma purvesam ye nastadvyacacaksire (1.3) 

Sloka3.   न तत्र चक्षुर्गच्छति न वाग्गच्छति नो मनो न विद्मो न विजानीमो यथैतदनुशिष्यादन्यदेव तद्विदितादथो अविदितादधि |
इति शुश्रुम पूर्वेषां ये नस्तद्व्याचचक्षिरे ॥ ३ ॥ 

Third Sloka: The eye does not reach there, nor speech, nor the mind. We do not know That. We do not know how to instruct one about it. It is distinct from the known and above the known. We have heard it so stated by preceptors who taught us that. (3) 

Guru signifies that Self cannot be known by the mind or other sense organs. Self is different from the known and beyond the unknown. But we are beyond that. That, which is illumining all this is Consciousness. Knower of everything. This is the real you. So, something apart from eye, ear, mind, speech that which…. That you are. [   Tat TVAM ASI…]  

All problems and sufferings happen in the body and mind. When mind is not active, say deep sleep. All problems disappear. Next time in awakening state, they become active again. These body and mind are apart from Consciousness, which is our own reality. The sufferings are all appearances in Consciousness which are of changing nature.  

Knower and known. Consider Universal knowledge as super set of all knowledges. It has two subsets that are : 1) That which is known.  2) That which is unknown. There are some knowledge in the unknown subset which cannot be known objectively. Can be known only subjectivity(intuitively). Means we cannot objectify as in the case of eye or ear or mind. Knowledge gained is through objects. But some knowledge can be gained through intuition, through realisation. 

 Sloka-4:  yadvacanabhyuditam yena vagabhyudyate. tadeva brahma tvam viddhi nedam yadidamupasate.(1.4) 

Sloka4. यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ४ ॥ 

Fourth Verse: What speech does not enlighten, but what enlightens speech, know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which (people) here worship. 

After explaining the nature of Brahman, Guru warns shishya against thinking that he knows Brahman very well. Guru says that one who thinks he knows the Brahman well doesn’t know it in reality. ” It is known to him who does not know it and unknown to him who knows it.” 

Upanishad mentioned, how Brahman can be realised intuitively. Knower of Brahman knows that Brahman exists in everything, in all beings and in experiences as “Sakshi Chaitanyam” (witness consciousness). The wise who knows this becomes immortal. 

Story in short. Third part: 

There was a war between Devas (God’s) and Asuras( Demons). Devas got victory and they thought that it was their glory. 

Brahman, knowing this, appeared as Yaksha (Venerable being). Devas could not find out who the Yaksha was. So, Agni was asked to find out. Yaksha asked Agni, “Who are you and what do you do?”

Agni replied, “I am fire and I can burn everything.” Then Yaksha placed a straw before Agni and asked him to burn that. Agni could not do and returned to the Devas.

Next,  Vayu was sent to Yaksha and same question he repeated.  “Who are you and what do you do?”. Vayu replied’ I am Vayu, and I can blow away anything” Again, Yaksha placed the straw before Vayu and asked him to blow that. Vayu could not do that and returned as well.

Finally, Indra himself went to find out who the Yaksha was. But as he neared, Yaksha disappeared and in his place appeared Goddess Uma. She explained that in fact, Yaksha was Brahman and because of Brahman, the war was won by the Devas. Moral of the story is that: Brahman made Devas realise that they were not the doers of any function, but they can do it is because of presence of Brahman. It is because of Brahman, the whole Universe functions. Brahman is the Substratum and the reality of everything. 

 That real essence of me, which is my true identity, must be realized and once that is realized, then I am free from all the personalities I possess. In essence, we are pure Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. With this understanding, we can continue with the personalities we possess and do our duties as advised in Isha Upanishad. 

  The fundamental question: Who we are ⁉️ 

Vedanta philosophy gives an answer to the question. (Vedanta namah Upanishad pramana) and if we can know the answer, then we will overcome all sufferings and sorrows.  

The answer is: We are pure Existence, Consciousness, Bliss (Sacchidanand) and not a limited mortal being, as we see in this present body of flesh and blood. Essence of all Upanishads is that our true nature is pure Existence, Consciousness, Bliss (Sacchidanand)  

“Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya Jivo Brahmaivanaparah.”  Famous Verse from “Vivek Chudamani” a prakarana grantha (Text) 

“Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya” : It means Brahman is the only truth (the ultimate reality), the world is illusory, neither true, nor false (Mithya). Means the world is changing and what we see is just appearance. 

“ Jivo Brahmaiva naparah”:  Adi Shankaracharya is conveying that the realization of the individual Self, Atman, Life energy in its purest form (without the ego) is nothing but realizing brahman only. 

 Now, we will refer DRIG-DRISHYA VIVEKA, which is a prakarana grantha, believed to be composed by Eminent author, scholar about 700 years back, known as Vidyaranya Swami. Some says author was Bharati Tirtha. The text has another name as Vakya Suddha. The text has 46 slokas. But we will see first sloka to the context of Kena Upanishad. 

This text will help, to understand the essence of first three mantras. This text specifically establishes the identity of Jiva and the infinite Reality using a technique for discrimination between the Seer (Drik) and the seen (Drishya). In this text “Vivekah” is a medium to differentiate Real from unreal. Three levels of Seer-seen relationship is discussed. 

 First sloka of DRIG-DRISHYA VIVEKA: – 

“roopam drishyam lochanam drik, tat drishyam drik tu maanasam; drishyaa dhee-vrittayah saakshee drishya dhee-vrittayah saakshee.” 

Analysis: 

1  roopam drishyam lochanam drik  Formis the seen, the eye is the seer. 
tat drishyam drik tu maanasam  that eye is the seen, and mind is its seer. 
drishyaa dhee-vrittayah saakshee  thoughts in the mind are seen by the Witness. 
drishya dhee-vrittayah saakshee.  which alone is the Seer but can never be the seen. 

 We see the world through eyes. Eyes are distinct from what it sees. Here eyes are the seer. I am aware of the eyes, that eyes are object. Mind is seer and eyes are now object. Eyes and mind are separate. Let us investigate deeply. Mind is the observer of the body, because it observes through all sense organs. It is seer here. Let us observe Mind now. Mind itself which constitutes our thoughts, feeling, emotions, ideas are changing, which are never static. 

I am aware that whether, 

  • I am happy or not. 
  • I understand or do not understand. 
  • I like or do not like.
  • I love or do not love. 
  • I hate or do not hate. 
  • I am angry or not angry. 

All the above are expressions of my mind. These are wave of thoughts. So, I am aware of all the changes in my mind. Therefore, I am the witness of the mind. Hence mind is seen by Me. Evidently, I am distinct from the MIND. I am not the mind, but witness of the mind. Seer and seen are different. I am that who illumines my MIND. 

 Now the logic is that:  I must not forget that I, the witness of the mind, whatever I am, I am distinct from the mind. I am thus aware and conscious of the mind, the variations in mind. Generally, we identify ourselves most closely with our minds that I am this person who thinks, feels and has a personality (my personality-that i am proud of) 

But this mind is that one, whom I think I am and where I am being told, I am aware of the contents of my mind, then I cannot be the mind, I am that=> which is aware of the mind, that which is witness of the mind. This witness, this awareness is Consciousness.  Mind being observed by Consciousness. Therefore, we have first crossed bodily self to a sense of mental self and then finally to a sense of witness. Now I have become the witness of my Body and Mind. Now that I am distinct from this Body and Mind. So, who am I?  Answer is: — I am the Consciousness. I am the witness of the Body and Mind. This Consciousness self, this pure subject, is not an object. It cannot be known. I AM always Awareness, Consciousness, not something else. 

 The idea that Consciousness is not an object is fundamental insight going all the way back to the “Upanishads”. According to teachings of Upanishads, Consciousness is not an object. Whatever we are aware of is not Consciousness. What we see, hear, smell or taste, or think of, or understand, or objectify in any manner, whatsoever, none of these is Consciousness. These are objects shinning in Consciousness. 

What is Consciousness?  For that let us see the text “Nirvana shatakam” composed by Shri Adi Shankaracharya.

When young boy of eight,Shri Shankara, while wandering in the Himalayas, seeking to find his Guru, he encountered the sage Govinda pada Aacharya who asked him” who are you”.  The boy reply replied with these stanzas which is known as Nirvana shatakam. The Sage was indeed his teacher he was looking for. 

 

“Mano BuddhyA-hankara chittani naaham. Nacha shrotra jihve na cha Ghrana netra. Nacha vyoma bhoomir na tejo na vayuh. Chidananda Rupa Shivoham” 

  I am not mind, intellect, ego and the memory. I am not the sense of organs (ears, tongue, nose, eyes and skin). I am not the five elements (sky or ether, earth, light or fire, the wind and the water). I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am Shiva, I am all auspicious, I am Shiva. 

 “Na cha prana sangto na vai pancha vayu. .Na vaa sapta dhatur na vaa pancha koshah. Na vak pani Padam na chopastha payu. Chidananda rupah Shivoham Shivoham.” 

 I am not prana (vital force) nor five vital airs(panchvati), Nor the seven essential material (sapta dhatu),nor the five Sheaths of the body (pancha kosha). I am not the organs of speech, nor hand nor the leg, Nor the organs of procreation or the elimination (payu-anus). I am Supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am Shiva, I am all auspicious, I am Shiva. 

 “Na Me Dvesha Ragau Na Me Lobha Mohai. Mado Naiva Me Naiva Maatsarya Bhavah. Na Dharmo Na Chatthi Na Kamo Na Mokshah.Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham 

 I have no hatred or dislike, neither greed nor liking, no delusion, I have no pride or haughtiness, nor jealousy. I have no duty to perform (dharma), no desire for any wealth or pleasure (kama), I have no liberation (moksha) either. I am Supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am Shiva, I am all auspicious, I am Shiva. 

  “Na Punyam Na Papan Na Saukhyam Na Dukhan.Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Veda Na Yajnaha. Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta. Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham 

  I have neither virtue, nor vice,nor pleasure or pain, I do not need mantras (sacred chants), nor pilgrimages. nor scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yajnas). I am neither the enjoyed nor the enjoyer, nor enjoyment. I am the supreme auspiciousness of the form of consciousness-bliss( chidananda Rupah). I am the auspiciousness. I am Supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am Shiva, I am all auspicious, I am Shiva. 

 “Na Me Mrityu Shanka Na Me Jati Bhedah. Pita Naive Me Naiva Mata Na Janma. Na Bandhur Na Mitram Gurur Naiva Shishya. Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham 

  I have no fear of death, nor do I have death. No doubt about my existence, nor distinction of caste. I have no father or mother, I have no birth. I have no relatives, nor friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple. I am pure knowledge and supreme bliss, I am Shiva, I am all auspiciousness, I am Shiva. 

  “Aham Nirvikalpo Nirakaara Roopah. Vibhur Vyapya Sarvatra Sarvendriyanaam.                                                                                     Sada Me Samatvam Na Mukthir Na Bandhah.  Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham”. 

  I am formless and devoid of all dualities. I exist everywhere and pervade all senses. Always I am the same, I am neither free nor bonded. I am pure knowledge and supreme bliss, I am Shiva, I am all auspiciousness, I am Shiva. 

 Vedanta defines Consciousness very precisely. ” Neti, neti” Whatever we can be aware of, either directly through our senses or through our mind or thoughts, or indirectly through scientific instruments, all of these are objects. 

Conclusion: 

That which is aware of all these objects is Consciousness. It is purely subjective. Consciousness is uniquely distinct from the objective Universe.

The common name is I or Self. Religious name is / Brahman (Infinite being)…according to Vedanta. All these refer to  “THAT “in which experience appears. With which ,it is known and out of which it is made. Conventional view is that our thoughts and feelings appears in ourselves. The experience of body like sensations appears in ourselves is also consciousness. Perceptions also appears in same consciousness, in the same field thoughts etc appears. But these are not pure consciousness. Pure Consciousness is that Consciousness, where there is no thought.(Consciousness-thoughts=Pure Consciousness). State of “No Mind”. Chitta Vritti nirodah……. 

 *** Note: The term Brahman, Atman, Self or Consciousness, Witness, Reality, each word refers to the same ONE Reality, known as Brahman in all Upanishads. Advaita Vedanta philosophy believes in one Supreme being, because of which all this exists. All these terms are interchangeable. 

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. DRIG-DRISHYA VIVEKA by Swami Gurubhaktananda
  4. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.
  5. You are the Universe; Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters: By Deepak Chopra & Menas Kafatos.
  6. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentry By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  7. Information available on internet.

It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

************************************************************************* 

 

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-6

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.

Introduction!

For practice of Samadhi, aspirant require advanced state of spiritual development. In my earlier blogs, I have discussed “Ashtanga Yoga” which is a integrated method to reach the state of Samadhi. In this blog we will concentrate on another kind of method called “Kriya Yoga” which is preliminary preparation for entering into the state of Samadhi. Sadhana Pada, the second section among four sections of Patanjali Yogasutra starts with the instructions in “Kriya Yoga”.  In this section Maharshi Patanjali gives us guidelines to make proper foundation through some practical methods to enter into state of “Samadhi”. Here we will discuss the first part of Sadhana Pada which deals with philosophy of “klesha”. Klesha means pain, misery , sufferings , problems and difficulties in life. Pain may be physical or mental. We will focus on different types of kleshas which are obstacles that must removed to achieve goal.  Our goal is to attain state of Samadhi. Through this article, we will learn the method of overcoming the pains in life according to Patanjali Yoga sutras.

Recap: In previous blogs “Ashtanga Yoga”  part-1 to part-5 , I have covered following topics (links included):-

Ashtanga Yoga Part1  Introduction to Patanjali Yoga sutras : It presents a holistic systematic approach towards the elimination of sufferings and attainment of spiritual liberation.  Maharshi Patanjali integrated and simplified the science of Yoga concisely in his Yoga sutras. There are 196 sutras presented in four sections know as PADA. Maharshi Patanjali  divided the path of Yoga, known as “Raja Yoga” into eight levels (Eight limbs) named “Ashtanga yoga”.

Ashtanga Yoga Part-2:  Samadhi Pada ,the first section of four Sections of “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” explained briefly. Ashtanga Yoga Part-3:  In this part we have discussed on first five limbs of Eight limbs(Ashtanga Yoga), which are : 1. Yama – Restraints, 2. Niyama – Observances, 3. Asana -Physical postures, 4. Pranayama – Control of Prana (Breathing control), 5. Pratyahara -Withdrawal of the senses.   Ashtanga Yoga Part-4:   Last three limbs of Eight limbs are Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.  In this part-4, sutras from Vibhuti Pada  ,Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi have been discussed in details. Practices of samadhi unravel the mysteries of Yogic Life and the power of siddhis are thus acquired. 

Ashtanga Yoga Part-5:    In this part we have discussed five Vrittis, means mental modifications as mentioned by Maharshi Patanjali. Five Vrittis are 1)Right Knowledge. 2) Wrong Knowledge. 3) Imaginary Knowledge. 4) No Knowledge. 5) Past Knowledge.

Now, this Blog will start with definition of “kriya yoga” Sutra: 2.1

sutra 2.1 "tapahsvadhyayeshvarapranidhanani kriyayogah" means=> Kriya Yoga is three fold- Austerity, study of scriptures and surrender to Supreme Being.

The first sutra of Sadhana Pada defines ” Kriya yoga” . Kriya yoga comprises of three actions : 1) Tapas, 2) Svadhyaya and 3) Isvara Pranidhana. We will discuss on the actions which are basically practices means Sadhana. Tapas: Tapas means fire. Fire burns. Here fire is referred to burning of mental impurities which is the first and foremost step towards Samadhi. Sometime Tapas is referred to austerity too.  Tapas is the first step, for the removal of Avidya( ignorance). It is also conservation of heat and energy in physical body through pranayama.

Tapas has to be considered as pain and that to be accepted as an inspiration for the purification of mind. Tapas is austerity which is a practice that helps to struggle and accept our life’s challenges happily. Austerity does not mean torturing the body or doing anything that weakens the faculties of mind. Practice of such austerity should help in bringing the ability to endure and overcome problems, sufferings with great strength. It is the foundation which gives rise to wisdom, peace and an inner joy. It builds a strong faith on Self. Wisdom, faith and fearlessness are the result of tapas.           

We will see what Lord Krishna says in the context of ” Tapas” in Bhagavad Gita-Chapter-4,verse-7.

BG:4.7 " As a kindled fire reduces wood to ashes , O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions(karmas ) from material activities. Fire of knowledge burns the entire karma, accumulated karmas, current karmas and reduces the scope of future karmas.

Tapas is that practice which can remove mental impurities in waking state, dreaming state and even beyond. The complexities in mind must be eliminated even from the stock that gathered due Samskaras (previous births). Svadhyaya: Study of spiritual and devotional texts that will strengthen spiritual inclination. It also means the detailed study of one’s own self. Self-study. Study of own personality which includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspect. Practice of Svadhyaya will lead to perception of self ,through which awareness will rise. Through Svadhyaya, aspirant can look at his or her own consciousness. It is refinement of the intellect through introspection and acquisition of knowledge. For acquisition of knowledge, study of sacred Texts are essential. Even the aspirant may approach his master to learn lessons. Let us look into Bhagavad Gita Chapter4, verse 34 to understand “Svadhyaya”  which is a process of gaining knowledge in another way. I felt it adding here:– “tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah” : Bhagavad Gita:4.34

Bhagavad Gita:4.34:  “Learn the truth by approaching a Spiritual master(GURU).Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”

Ishwara Pranidhana: This step is dedication. A life dedicated to God.  Ishwara is inner awareness. It is within us ,the real Self.  Mind(Chitta) should be placed at the disposal of this “Self “(inner awareness)completely. This dedication also includes discharge of duties towards creation of God, for the betterment society, for the betterment of Nation, and for the betterment of this Earth and beyond.  An unconditional surrender to the Supreme Being is referred here.

sutra 2.2: " Samadhibhavanarthah klesatanukaranarthascha" means=> practice of kriya yoga is required for the purpose of developing samadhi and for thinning out the "klesha"

We will now discuss about kleshas. Kleshas are pain bearing obstacles. According to Patanjali Yogasutra 2.3, there are five types of kleshas. To get rid of kleshas, practice of kriya yoga is necessary. Let us know in details.

sutra 2.3:" Avidyasmitaragadveshabhiniveshah klesha" 
  • Avidya : Ignorance. It is misapprehension about the real nature of self
  • Asmita: Egoism
  • Raga: Attachment
  • Dwesha: Aversion
  • Abhinivesa: Fear of death: 
sutra 2.4: " Avidyaksetramuttaresam prasuptatanuvichhinnodaranam" means => Ignorance is the productive field of all kleshas, whether they are dormant, attenuated, oscillating or expanded.

Five types of kleshas need to be eliminated to enter into the state of  Samadhi. Kleshas are impurities and  removal of kleshas is the process to be known as kriya yoga. Kleshas are to be understood clearly. Just as a roasted seed does not sprout and does not give birth of a tree, same way after a successful practice of Kriya yoga, the kleshas do not rise in mind and becomes unproductive state. As such, unproductive state does not give rise to modifications of the mind. Impression that “I am not the body ” becomes like a roasted Seed from the latent impression of the belief that “I am the body”. Therefore other such modification does not arise and all feelings based on such a belief get extinguished for all time. Maharshi Patanjali has explained five kleshas  one by one and the order is also significant because Avidya (ignorance) gives birth  to egoism .From egoism comes attachment. From attachment comes non-fulfilment of attachment, which in turn gives rise to aversion. From aversion comes fear of death i.e. clinging to body life Avidya (ignorance) is the source of  rest of the four Kleshas: Asmita, Raaga, Dwesha and Abhinivesa. Just as a seed gives rise to a whole tree , similarly Avidya gives birth of other four kleshas.  These kleshas have four states of expression. They may be in 1) dormant when you cannot perceive them. Sometimes they become 2) feeble or attenuated and they are experienced  in the scattered condition. They give rise to an 3) oscillating state(alternating). Some are in 4)  Expanded state.

In the dormant condition Kleshas are present in latent form. It can not find expression due lack of proper conditions as in the case of advanced Yogi. In the attenuated condition also, kleshas are present but in feeble condition and remain inactive due to lack of stimulus. When kleshas are in oscillating condition, the sufferers passes through state of confusion. In the state of expanded condition kleshas are fully operative and behaves like waves in the surface of sea as seen in the time of storms. In this condition sufferings are extreme.

sutra 2.5 "anityashuchiduhkhanatmasu nitya-shuchi-sukhatmakhyatiravidya" means=> Avidya considers non-eternal, impure, evil and non-atman to be eternal, pure, good and atman respectively

Sutra 2.5 gives classical definition of Avidya. To consider impermanent as permanent is Avidya . Sutra explains clearly what is the mistaken idea that we consider as real and permanent.  Avidya is associated with jivatma from the very beginning and remains as Samskaras until Avidya is removed through self realisation and enlightenment. 

Conclusion:

By now, we have understood that ignorance is the source of all kinds of distress in life. From sutra 2.1 to 2.5 we have covered and understood the “kleshas” and cause of kleshas. Our goal is to reach to the state of Samadhi after eliminating the kleshas. We have also learned that Avidya is the source of all kleshas and Avidya is collection of wrong and false knowledge. Therefore if we practice, we can remove kleshas means pain bearing obstacles. Through practice of kriya yoga, kleshas can be attenuated. Calmness of body and mind will come through Tapas. Through Svadhyaya will come true knowledge , self realisation and tranquillity of mind through Ishwara Pranidhana.


Multiple paths are there to attain enlightenment. Here we have concentrated upon the teachings given by Maharshi Patanjali through his Yoga sutra. If we can follow sincerely, the steps described in Yoga sutra, we can understand Avidya . We can  distinguish between permanent and impermanent, between Body and Consciousness. Advaita Vedanta also teaches about methods for removal of Avidya means ignorance in different way. In this connection readers may read my other blogs such as:  ” WISDOM OF FIVE SHEATHES”   and  ” What is Joy” (part-1)

My next blog will cover last chapter of Patanjali Yoga sutra" KAIVALYA PADA"  

Notes:-  Having gone through all the books listed below, I have composed this blog as a concise text for Ashtanga Yoga.  


Recommended readings:

  1. Patanjali Yoga Sutras: commentary By Swami Vivekananda.
  2. FOUR YOGAS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :Condensed and retold by Swami Tapasyananda.
  3. Patanjal Yogasutra : Commentary , by Swami Premeshananda.
  4. Inside the Yoga Sutras- By Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
  5. Four Chapters on Freedom- By Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
  6. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Swami Satchitananda.

It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-5

Disclaimer:

The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization. ☆I found some link between modern science and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say. ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences. ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.  ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept, gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.  Your positive feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.


Patanjali sutra 1.40 : ” paramanu paramamahattvantosya vashikarah” means=> Meditating mind becomes un obstructed from the atomic to the infinite.

Recap: In previous blogs “Ashtanga Yoga”  part-1 to part-4 , I have written on following topics(links included):-

Ashtanga Yoga Part1  Introduction to Patanjali Yoga sutras : It presents a holistic systematic approach towards the elimination of sufferings and attainment of spiritual liberation.  Maharshi Patanjali integrated and simplified the science of Yoga concisely in his Yoga sutras. There are 196 sutras presented in four sections know as PADA. Maharshi Patanjali  divided the path of Yoga, known as “Raja Yoga” into eight levels (Eight limbs) named “Ashtanga yoga”.

Ashtanga Yoga Part-2:  Samadhi Pada ,the first section of four Sections of “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” explained briefly.

Ashtanga Yoga Part-3:  In this part we have discussed on first five limbs of Eight limbs(Ashtanga Yoga), which are : 1. Yama – Restraints, 2. Niyama – Observances, 3. Asana -Physical postures, 4. Pranayama – Control of Prana (Breathing control), 5. Pratyahara -Withdrawal of the senses.  

Ashtanga Yoga Part-4:   Last three limbs of Eight limbs are Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.  In this part-4, sutras from Vibhuti Pada  ,Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi have been discussed in details. Practices of samadhi unravel the mysteries of Yogic Life and the power of siddhis are thus acquired. 

Introduction: 

In the previous posts we have seen “Eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga”. In this post we will discuss on “Vrittis” from “Samadhi Pada”. Mind has its dynamic nature (prakriti). As such mind has the capacity to express itself with modifications, various modes, which are known as ” Vritti”Vritti ” is a Sanskrit word. Vrittis are like innumerable waves as seen in agitated ocean of “chitta” (mind). Can we see bottom of an agitated sea? No, we can not. Similarly when mind is agitated, we can not see “purusha” which is our own and very true nature. Therefore, we need to isolate those Vrittis. Vrittis are mental modifications. We need to stop those modifications. Our aim is to follow the second sutra of Samadhi Pada. This is the essence of Patanjali Yoga Sutra: Yogas citta-vritti-nirodah” which literary means “Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind” Target is to achieve the state of mind which is calm, tranquil and free of distortions. It is the control of thought waves in the mind. One must not have conflicts in the mind. We have to block Vrittis. In the following paragraphs we will know about different Vrittis. Sutra 1.5 onwards tells us about Vrittis.

sutra 1.5: " Vrttayah panchatayyah klistahaklistah" means => modifications of mind are fivefold; they are painful or not painful.

There are five kinds of mental modifications, means five types of “Vrittis” , which are either painful or painless.  In the following sutras ,we will learn one after another.

sutra 1.6 "Pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrtayah" means => five folds of Vrittis are right knowledge, wrong knowledge, conceptualization, sleep and memory.

Let us now concentrate over the five fold Vrittis (modifications of mind) which  are  classified  in the sutra1.6:  Maharshi Patanjali explains all these five modifications in his sutras from 1.7 to 1.11.  All that we see, hear, and experience arise in our mind through senses and constitute consciousness in mind. Every mental state can be explained through these five mental modifications and can be said as manifestation of mind

  1. Pramana:  Right Knowledge : [sutra 1.7]
  2. Viparyaya: Wrong Knowledge : [sutra 1.8]
  3. Vikalpa: Delusion, imagination : [sutra 1.9]
  4. Nidra: Sleep : [sutra 1.10]
  5. Smritayah: Memories : [sutra 1.11]
sutra 1.7: "pratyakshanumanagamah pramanani" (pratyaksha + anumana + agamaha) Direct cognition, inference and testimony are the proof and right source of knowledge.

According to above sutra there are three types of right knowledge. 1. Direct perception or cognition , 2. Inference and 3. Authoritative testimony are the basic source of knowledge. Perception is gained through sense evidences. It is the product of sense organs. If the sense organs are optimally functional, then these can be the sources for right knowledge. (Not always true. Example:- mirage ,an optical effect sometime seen at sea or in the desert or over a hot pavement ). However direct perception is the initial reaction of stimulus on individual mind. When the mental function starts, pure and direct experience can be varied according to the limitations of thought process of that individual. Another point is lack of focus during the act of sense organs and focus of mind on the act. Like thinking something while doing something else. Knowledge gained in this way can be incomplete and differ according to the self ego known as “ahamkara”. Experiences gathered have the imprints of biased thoughts also. Perceptions include some factors like desires, aversions , fears, greed etc. Such perceptions when recalled ,mind becomes venerable  to the false impressions and incomplete memories. Such perceptions are also one form of mis-perception. Next sutra (1.8) will explain more on it. 

Anumana means Inference:  Inference is based on experiences. It  can be another source of right knowledge. 

Agamah: Testimony: Where no sense evidence is available, and there is no solid ground for inference, then we have to depend on testimony, provided it is authoritative testimony.  We can consider teachings of Guru and Scriptures are best testimonies.

sutra 1.8: "viparyaya mithyajnanam atadroopapratishtham " This means misperception is the result of false or incomplete knowledge.

If we split the sentence , Sanskrit words of the sutra, it would be easy to understand.  viparyaya (misconception) + Mithya (false)+ jnanam (knowledge)+ atad (not on that)+ Roopa (form)+ pratishtham(established).  One example will make the sense clear.  If someone mistakes a rope for a snake, it will be a false. To see a rope as a snake is misconception( Mithya jnanam). Such false knowledge should be corrected through right knowledge. viparyaya (misconception) is nothing but ignorance (Avidya) only. Now, how ignorance can be eliminated?   To understand what ignorance is, we may refer sutra 2.3 in brief.(2.3/Sadhana Pada):    “avidyasmitaragadveshabhiniveshah kleshaah”   means ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging to bodily life are five obstacles. [sutra 2.3]

sutra 1.9: "sabdajnaananupati vastushoonyo vikalpah" means=> A kind of mental modification, which arises on hearing mere words having no objective reality. It is a verbal delusion only.

Here we will learn about “vikalpa” another kind of mental modification, a type of Vritti. Vikalpa is , a conceptualization ,verbal delusion, which arises on hearing mere words having no basis. We get angry on hearing some words ,when uttered by some persons. If we reason it out, we can manage ourselves without reacting, without being angry, without being miserable. The words are not objects, have no basis. It is just a mental modification due to vague notion. This vague notion is due to knowledge gained through conceptualization. In conceptualization, mind weaves basis through combination of memory and language, which may or may not be correct. 

sutra 1.10: " abhava-pratyayalambana vrittirnidra" means=> mental modification(Vritti) based on cognition of nothingness is sleep.

Here we will discuss the fourth type of modification of mind. This modification of mind is based on the absence of content and that is known as Sleep. During sleep a person’s mind remains blank. There is a feeling of voidness. There is no cognition in the field of consciousness. We will refer to maNDukya Upanishad regarding “Deep sleep” condition to understand this sutra. According to maNDukya Upanishad ,there are four states of self.  The Deep Sleep state also known as “SuShupta” is one of the four states.  SuShupta~SU=Sundar/excellent +sUpta=Sleep~ means prajNa and antaryAmin.
In this state, waking world and dreaming world temporarily ceases. We exist here in non dual state. Most refreshing state. A state of Bliss(with ignorance). In the waking and dreaming state, we are diverted from this state of bliss, though knowledge of our true nature is absent here. All the perceived limitations are removed in this temporary state but ready to spring forth as soon as we move to waking world. In Deep sleep condition self has no desire, no dream. This is intellectual condition. Because of union with Self and his unbroken knowledge, one feels joy. He knows joy. His mind is illuminated.                                                            This state outwardly appears to be the same as  citta-vritti-nirodah, where mental modifications are suppressed. However in Deep sleep, although there is no consciousness as is present in waking state, yet mental activity is transferred to subtle condition and comes back as soon as sleep is broken. Therefore, Sleep is one condition of mind which hides the knowledge of the external world. Thoughts are there but not present before mind. 

sutra 1.11: " anubhootavishayasanpramoshah smritih"

Sutra 1.11 is about fifth Vritti which is known as “smritih” (memory).  Memory is nothing but retention of past experiences collectively. Past experiences leave impressions in mind. All experiences impact the mind as Vrittis. As time passes, these Vrittis become subtler and then it become part of SamskarasSamskaras are subconscious impressions which lie dormant. It is active in the subconscious level and influence our conscious mind in the background. 

Normally we do not observe the movements of mind , the fluctuations of mind, carefully. But if we observe the movements of mind carefully, then we can stop its fluctuations. Mental modifications can be stopped ,if we concentrate on our thoughts appearing in mind. What ever we think in waking condition are included in five types of Vritti as mentioned above. Most of the time, the thoughts are found to be baseless and they are originated due to ignorance only. This ignorance is due to absence of knowledge of our real nature, true nature which is “purusha”.  Ignorance is removed by regular and persistent practice of Yoga. Ignorance is removed by gaining more insight into the nature of our mind and going beyond mind.

sutra 1.12: " abhyasavairagyabhyan tannirodhah"

” abhyasa (continuous practice) + vairagya (detachment) + abhyam ( by both) + tannirodhah ( modification of mind are stopped)”.

All mental modifications means five types of Vritti can be restrained by practice and non attachment. According to sutras of Maharshi Patanjali, combination of uninterrupted practice and non-attachment stop fluctuations and mental modifications in mind. In this respect we may refer four means of Salvation as stated in Vedanta. According to Vedanta, the study of scriptures helps in realization of truth, when one is equipped with necessary fourfold discipline:
1. Discrimination between real (Nithya নিত্য~ eternal) and unreal (anitya অনিত্য~transitory).
2. Renunciation of the unreal (Viraga~বৈরাগ্য)
3. Six fold qualities.
4. Longing for liberation (Moksha ~মোক্ষ প্রাপ্তি to escape from the cycle of births and deaths)

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

Conclusion!

In this part we have discussed five Vrittis, means mental modifications as mentioned by Maharshi Patanjali. Five Vrittis are 1)Right Knowledge. 2) Wrong Knowledge. 3) Imaginary Knowledge. 4) No Knowledge. 5) Past Knowledge. Next post  will cover first part of Sadhana Pada to know about “Kriya Yoga” 

Notes:-  Having gone through all the books listed below, I have composed this blog as a concise text for Ashtanga Yoga.  


Recommended readings:

  1. Patanjali Yoga Sutras: commentary By Swami Vivekananda.
  2. FOUR YOGAS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :Condensed and retold by Swami Tapasyananda.
  3. Patanjal Yogasutra : Commentary , by Swami Premeshananda.
  4. Inside the Yoga Sutras- By Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
  5. Four Chapters on Freedom- By Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
  6. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Swami Satchitananda.

My sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

              

 

 

 

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-4

Disclaimer: 

The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, my experiences and self realization.
☆I found some link between modern science and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind. 
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.  Your positive feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE.

"svarasavahi vidushopi tatharoodho bhiniveshah" means => Fear of death is an inherent and present in all leaving beings, even in those who are very learned. [sutra 2.9]
"te pratiprasavaheyah sookshmah" means => These causes of unhappiness can be annihilated by resolving them to the source i.e. by reversing the process by which they are produced can be destroyed.[sutra 2.10]
"Dhyanaheyastadvrittayah" : means => Through meditation, their (different states of minds/
Vrittis) are to be rejected. [sutra 2.11]

Recap: In the previous parts of my blog “Ashtanga Yoga”  part-1 to part-3 , we have discussed following topics:-

Ashtanga Yoga Part1  Introduction to Patanjali Yoga sutras : It presents a holistic systematic approach towards the elimination of sufferings and attainment of spiritual liberation.  Maharshi Patanjali integrated and simplified the science of Yoga concisely in his Yoga sutras. There are 196 sutras presented in four sections know as PADA. Maharshi Patanjali  divided the path of Yoga, known as “Raja Yoga” into eight levels (Eight limbs) named “Ashtanga yoga”.

Ashtanga Yoga Part-2:  Samadhi Pada , first section of four Sections of “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” explained briefly.

Ashtanga Yoga Part-3: In this part we have discussed on first five limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, which are : 1. Yama – Restraints, 2. Niyama – Observances, 3. Asana -Physical postures, 

4. Pranayama – Control of Prana (Breathing control), 5. Pratyahara -Withdrawal of the senses.  

Introduction:

Five limbs described in Sadhana Pada are step by step processes of elimination of all external causes of mental distraction. Yama and Niyama helps in eliminating disturbances due emotions and uncontrolled desires. Asana and Pranayama eliminates disturbances that arise in physical Body. Pratyahara plays a vital role through detachment of senses which affects mind. As such ,the practitioners become free of external disturbances. These five techniques of yogic practices are referred as “Bahiranga” or external.  These practices make aspirants fit physically, mentally, emotionally and morally for practices of next higher levels of Yoga. These three practices of Yoga Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are known as Antaranga or internal. In this part-4, we will discuss sutras from Vibhuti Pada  Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.  Practices of samadhi unravel the mysteries of Yogic Life and the power of siddhis are thus acquired. Accomplishments of Power are discussed in the second part of third Pada. Therefore the third Pada is known as Vibhuti”

Vibhuti means to expanse your consciousness. Expanse of state of mind to higher level of consciousness is Vibhuti. Instead of scattered and fluctuating mind, mind should be held in one place , at one point. That is one pointedness.  Pranayama, Pratyahara helps to practice Dharana. That is the ultimate aim of practicing Dharana. This practice will lead the aspirant to next higher stage  “Dhyana”. One pointed attention is essential to explore the core of consciousness. Even one pointed attention can be applied in day to day activities for better results, better performances and thus getting a satisfaction which will keep the mind happy. When mind is happy, it means one can lead the life happily. The first sutra of Vibhuti Pada defines Dharana.

Dharana – Concentration: 6th anga: 

sutra : 3.1 "deshabandhashchittasya Dharana" means fixing the mind onto a fixed point.

“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. It is the first step towards Dhyana (meditation). Practicing Dharana stops mind moving randomly and make it one-pointed concentration. As such it finds complete absorption in the present moment. Even one pointed concentration can be made by focusing on breath, or reciting mantras or concentrating on image of deity. 

Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi: These three limbs together lead aspirants to the ultimate goal.  In reality, normally mind remain fixed hardly for a very few minutes. Even if someone fixes mind on image of deity, yet mind wanders at numerous points or issues. Therefore it is important to practice first five limbs with full attention. “Pratyahara”  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. For that ,let us look into Sutra 1.33 (Samadhi Pada) to understand right methods for purification of mind which will help in concentration of mind. 

sutra 1.3 " maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukhadukhapunyapunyavisayanam bhavanataschittaprasadanam"

According to above sutra , 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. 


Dhyana- meditation: 7th anga.

sutra 3.2 "tatra pratyayaikatanata Dhyana" means uninterrupted stream of consciousness is Dhyana. 

Definition : DhyanaThe extension and lengthening of Dharana is Dhyana. Dharana continued without interruption is Dhyana. We have reached unto Dhyana after through practice, step by step, sequentially of  Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana. One cannot skip any of the above 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. 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. Obviously it is not an easy job but not impossible! 

We will now discuss on why Maharshi Patanjali starts Yogasutra with Samadhi Pada instead of Sadhana Pada, while Samadhi is the last limb of Ashtanga Yoga. Because he is trying to direct us to what we have to achieve at the first instance, means setting the Goal. State of mind which is calm, quite, tranquil, and free of distortions, reflects purusha”. When the mind is in completely sattvic mode(there is a fine difference between sattvic mode and purusha), then it is possible to achieve the goal. The essence of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra is in the second sutra(1.2): Yogas citta-vritti-nirodah” which literary means “Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind”. Target is to achieve the state of mind which is calm, tranquil and free of distortions. It is the control of thought waves in the mind. One must not have conflicts in the mind. We think only mind is real but actually “purusha” is real. This is due to ignorance. Within inside or outside , ignorance has to be removed through mental exercises, through discrimination. So all these sutras so far we have come across is pointing towards the Dhyana for farther higher level  “Samadhi”. When the ignorance is destroyed and you remain in stillness of mind, you do not have any other idea, you become blank and then you can do Dharana effectively. It will be then possible to stretch Dharana and that will be Dhyana. Unless the foundation work is done , Dharana can not be stretched to Dhyana. Continuing this one pointed attention without any distraction or disturbance, the aspirant saves a lot of energy which will build up a system, vast quietness and silence that fill one’s being.

Since now a days, people are talking of meditation, it has become important to know what is meditation.  At least we can concentrate on breath which is the vital force. Understand the secrete nature of breath. It must not be an ordinary one. It is prana. It is the breath to whom we should respect.  Realise that breath is the fountain head of life which primarily moves the entire universe. 

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. 

Now we may discuss about Dhyana in details in practical point of view. According to yogic science, in every human being there are thousands of channels of energy passing through the body and life energy prana functions through these channels known as “naddis”. Among these channels, there are three most important naddis. These three channels are 1) Ida naddi, 2) pingala naddi and 3) susuhumna naddi.  Among these three, susuhumna is the Supreme. If we consider  prana as the energy field like an electrical energy field, then  Ida which is in the left may be imagined as “cathode” (-ve charge) and the right which is pingala  may be compared with anode (+ve charge). Energy flows through these channels. This concept is according to yogic anatomy. These are to be considered as psychic energies. When they are balanced, body and mind is also balanced and in the best condition for practice of Yoga. Practice of Pranayama makes balancing of these channels and thereby activate sushumna naddi. According to yogis, ida and pingala are considered as two nerve currents on either side of the spinal column. It is considered that the Moon moves the ida and the Sun moves the pingala. Ida is cooling where as pingala is heating. Ida flows through left nostrils and pingala through right nostrils. Sushumna runs along the centre of the spinal column.  It is believed that when Sushumna operates Yogi enters into samadhi. However this topic is yogic science and out of scope of  discussion in this part.

Samadhi– The 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. In samyamah, mind dives completely in to an object or idea and gains complete knowledge of the object of attention down to its most subtle aspect. This gives rise to psychic powers called “Vibhuti”. Practice of Samyamah and mastery of its technique opens the door toward power and Siddhis.

Key points : Dharana, Dhyana , Samadhi , concentration, meditation, purusha, samyamah , Ashtanga Yoga.

Conclusion!:

In this section, Vibhuti Pada, we have discussed about the means to reach the goal , the last limb of Eight limbs.  So far we have discussed Eight angas.  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. Who does not want a peaceful sleep?  

All practices as mentioned above will make ways for state of “samyamah” which constitute Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Eight limbs as a whole constitute one complete path which leads the aspirant upwards. 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\

In the next part, part-5 we will discuss Samadhi Pada, 5th sutra onwards from the first section of Patanjali Yoga Sutra and some part of Vibhuti Pada which will explain different types of Vrittis. Removal of Vrittis is essential to control our mind.

Notes:-  Having gone through all the books listed below, I have composed this blog as a concise text for Ashtanga Yoga.  


Recommended readings:

  1. Patanjali Yoga Sutras: commentary By Swami Vivekananda.
  2. FOUR YOGAS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :Condensed and retold by Swami Tapasyananda.
  3. Patanjal Yogasutra : Commentary , by Swami Premeshananda.
  4. Inside the Yoga Sutras- By Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
  5. Four Chapters on Freedom- By Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

My sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries. Any suggestion to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me.  Readers are requested to read part-1 to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

Thank you. Regards!  NAMASTE ! JAI GURU! (17/01/2021)