“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)

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-3

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.

"sankalpa prabhavan kamanas tyaktva sarvan asheshatah manasaivendriya gramam viniyamya samantatah shanaih shanair uparamed buddhya dhriti grihitaya atma sanstham manah kritva na kinchid api chintayet " :- from Bhagavad Gita-Ch-6/ver-24.
Lord Sri Krishna said : One should engage oneself in the practice of Yoga with determination and faith and not to be deviated from the path. One should abandon without exception, all material speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides of the mind.

This part is devoted to the discussion of ” Ashtanga Yoga”  : Eight Limbs according to Patanjali Yoga Sutras :-

Introduction: 

In my previous blogs part-1 and part-2 of  “Ashtanga Yoga Sutras”, I have tried to explain about Yoga Philosophy and the basis of it. We have discussed four sutras of Samadhi Pada. A brief recap is presented here again. 

Four sections of Patanjali Yoga Sutras are as under:

  1. Samadhi Pada: The first section:  Portion on contemplation has 51 sutras. Samadhi refers to that state of the Yogi, where his Self-identity is absorbed into the pure consciousness with collapsing of three categories of Self (witness, witnessing and witnessed). Beyond this state it is “Kaivalya” (Liberation which is known as “moksha” in Vedanta). The essence of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra is in the second 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.
  2. Sadhana Pada: It has got 55 sutras: Sadhana means practices. Author describes two systems of Yoga.
    1. Kriya Yoga: which includes following steps: 
    a) Tapas (Austerity) ;
    b) Svadhyaya; (Self study of scriptures);
    c) Isvara pranidhana- devotion to God or pure consciousness.
    2. Ashtanga Yoga:    [We will focus here on “Ashtanga yoga”. ]
  3. Vibhuti Pada: This section has 56 sutras: This chapter describes about “Siddhi” (supra normal powers) which can be acquired by the practice of Yoga.
  4. Kaivalya Pada: 34 sutras: Describes the process of liberation (isolation) which is commonly known as emancipation (moksha) too.

    Maharshi Patanjali  divided the path of Yoga, also known as “Raja Yoga” into eight levels (Eight limbs) named “Ashtanga yoga”.  Kriya Yoga will be discussed in later parts.

As we know that Ashtanga means Eight Limbs. Ashta = Eight, Anga = Limbs. Eight limbs are : Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Limbs literally  means "anga" in Sanskrit. All limbs together form the complete system Yoga to reach the final goal. We will frequently now call anga as a prime point of discussion here. Eight limbs can be treated as 8 steps.
  1. Yama: The first “anga”  consists of prohibitions against unethical deeds. These are basically restraints. Following are to be noted: 
  • Ahimsa-Non violence: sutra 2.35: ” Ahimsapratisthayam tatsaminidhau vairatyagah”   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.  However, out of frustrations we sometime become harsh with others. This is also a gross 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. Then frustration will not arise. Through logical reasonings we can definitely have mastery on this quality ” ahimsa”.                                                                                         
  • Satya-Truthfulness: : sutra 2.36: ” Satya pratisthayam kriyaphalasrayatvam” which 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. because one need not be afraid since the life is open to all. Nothing to hide. Life becomes an open book. This is very simple to understand that truthfulness has tremendous power.
  • Asteya-Non-stealing: sutra 2.37: ” asteyapratesthayam sarvaratnopasthanam” which means ” To one established in honesty, non-stealing, all gems present themselves”. 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) : sutra 2.40 & 2.41 ” sauchat svangajugupsa parairasamsargah”  and ” Sattvasuddhi-saumanasyaikagryendriyajayatmadarsanayogyatvani cha”.  These two sutras mandate purity of body and mind.
  • Santosha ( Contentment): sutra 2.42santosadanuttama sukhalabhah”    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.) : sutra 2.43: “Kayendriyasiddhirasuddhiksayattapasah”  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): sutra 2.44 “Svadhyayadistadevatasamprayogah”  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): sutra 2.45 “Samadhisidhisiddhiri svarapranidhanat”    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.

Sadhana Pada (portion on practice) :  teaches on ashtanga(eight limbs) ” 

Beginning of Sadhana Pada describes Kriya yoga. But we will discuss here ashtanga yoga which has been described in the later part. From 28th sutra onwards explains ashtanga yoga.

"Yoganganusthanad Asuddhi ksaye JnanadiptihrA vivekakhyteh" : (sutra 2.28:  from sadhana Pada ) which means-- By the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the impurities diminishes and light of wisdom appears which leads to discriminative discernment.

Yamas and Niyamas are basic foundation to develop a lifestyle that effectively supports your practice of meditation. If the foundation is  strong, then evidently state of mind will be ready enough to progress further. These first two angas direct control our behaviour. Without practicing Yamas and Niyamas sincerely and honestly, one can not have a mind free from stress and conflicts. All of you will agree to this point.

The next three angas asana, pranayama and pratyahara mandate certain kinds of control over our body, breath and senses respectively. Very important to practice these with full devotion. We will discuss one after other in sequence.

Now, we will look into the third “anga” asana : Let us see what sutra says on Asana? 

"sthira sukhamasanam" sutra 2.46: this means one must have practice to sit for a long period without feeling discomfort.

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

" jati desa kala samayna vacchinnah sarvabhauma mahavratam" sutra 2.31 

Let us look into a very important sutra 2.31 in Sadhana Pada. What it says?  In this Sutra Maharshi Patanjali says that these great vows are 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. Let us see what Yoga sutra (2.49) says:-

"tasmin sati svasaprasvasayorgativicchedh pranayamh" sutra 2.49: This literally means that after practicing firm posture, the movements of inhalation and exhalation should be controlled. This is "pranayama" and  Patanjali Sutra 2.49 to 2.52 says all about it.

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. Initially one can feel that how pranayama is creating motion in lungs. 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. I am not going into details of pranayama. Aspirants can have the knowledge of pranayama through further reading and doing under authorized Institutions. The Prana is very powerful energy. One should not play with cobra without a training from trainer. It is like that.

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.

1)"svavisayasamprayage cittasvarupanukara ivendriyanam pratyaharh". sutra 2.54: Which means: When the senses withdraw themselves from the objects and imitate, as it were, the nature of the mind-stuff, this is pratyahara. 
2) " tath
paramo vasystendriyanam" sutra 2.55:
This means : Then follows supreme mastery over the senses.
[
with this sutra the sadhana Pada ends here].

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.

Conclusion:

In this section, sadhana Pada, we have discussed about the means to still the mind which is our final objective. So far we have discussed Five angas.  First two angas “Yamas” & “Niyamas” have ten guidelines which are very practical, logical, visionary for making a man free from all agonies, stress, miseries and sufferings. 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 next higher stages which are Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Eight limbs 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.

Now we may compare these eight angas, the methods or process whatever we say, with Vedanta, how it would be? Let us look into:- 

In Vedanta we have seen , prequalification required for a person  is to be competent to understand and study sastras(Scriptures). The aspirant must have tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta. After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman. Four salvations are:

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

In the next part, part-4 we will discuss last three angas, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi which mandate specific practices to control our mind which is most essential part in this philosophy. 

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!

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-2

This part is devoted to the discussion of ” Ashtanga Yoga”   (Patanjali Yoga Sutras):-

Target: To make the MIND calm, tranquil and free from disturbances. 

Introduction :  There are Six systems of Hindu philosophy:    Samkhya ; Yoga ; Nyaya ; Vaisheshika; Mimamsa & Vedanta.

Here we will focus on Yoga system~ “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” , which has it’s own model of  Ultimate Reality according to Yoga philosophy. This has different view point from Vedanta on Ultimate Reality.  Yoga tradition is similar to Samkhya System of philosophy.  Great Sage Kapil was founder of Samkhya Philosophy. Samkhya was composed during 500-600 BC. According to Samkhya philosophy, Universe is composed of two independent co-exiting realities” purusha (consciousness) and prakriti (matter). When purusha is bonded to prakriti , Jiva (a living being ) is formed.  Samkhya philosophy is believed to be the oldest philosophy which is basically a science of liberation. Liberation from bondage of sufferings.   Samkhya means numbers. Kapila was a great a sage. That is why in Bhagavad Gita Ch10-verse-26, Lord Krishna says ” Amongst trees I am peepal tree ^^ ; of the celestial sages, I am Narad. Amongst the Gandharvas, I am Chitrath and amongst siddhas I am the sage Kapil”. It is believed that all branches of Hindu philosophies are derived from Samkhya including Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

Yoga Sutra: What is Sutra? Vayu Purana defines " sutra" as *A very brief statement, leaving no room for doubt, without repetition and expressing a comprehensive idea*. We need commentary to understand sutras.

*****Yoga Sutras are  based on  practical activities along with theory. The basis of  Yoga Sutras certainly lies in Samkhya Philosophy. Samkhya is theoretical and Yoga is Practical.  Ultimate goal is Liberation( Moksha) which is similar to Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta is monistic where as Yoga Tradition is Dualistic. In my blog ” What is Joy ?(Published in 3 parts) and ” The Wisdom of Five Sheaths” , I have discussed about the Ultimate Reality and to find the path of Liberation, in the perspective of Advaita Vedanta. The Vedanta is for the person who is competent to understand and study sastras (Scriptures) ,has tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta.  After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman, which is the main goal. In the same manner, Yoga Sastra is based on controlling the mind by following ethical values, right attitudes, correct postures, Breathing exercises, concentration and meditation. Now I will try to explain ,that I have understood through intuition, after studying both philosophies along with other research work going on in Neurology and an upcoming subject Neurotheology. Advaita Vedanta theory says that you are already free. You are already that what you want to become. ” tat tvam asi” is one of the four mahaVakyas. All the four mahaVakyas are in present tense. Neither in past or future. You already posses your real Identity, which you have forgotten. Then what is the problem with us? Why don’t we realize who I am? We have forgotten our true Self and suffer because of ignorance only. Very simple theory, according to Advaita Vedanta , we need to remove the Ignorance which is termed as Avidya.

Key words: purusha, prakriti, Avidya, samadhi, Kaivalya

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.
To free the mind from the limitations of ignorance is like a drama that has been repeated since time immemorial. The foundation of this drama is summarized in three basic precepts: 1.Purusha 2. Prakriti 3.Avidya

The Yoga Sutras are also known as Raja Yoga, the Royal Yoga. This system of Yoga is universal. Spirituality here is a holistic science and applicable to the people of all faiths.  The guidelines are very specific, well designed, logical, beyond doubt. Through practices step by step one can achieve the goal. 

Now we will discuss Samadhi pada , first section of four Sections of “Patanjali Yoga Sutras”:

We will discuss here Samadhi Pada sutra 1.1-1.4 

Samadhi Pada : This is the first section which is an exploration of the different aspects of Samadhi. First four Sutras (1.1-1.4) of this section deals with the definition of Yoga as a process of mental purification. 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 Vrittis are given in next sutras.                                                                                                                 

Sutras 1.5-1.11 teaches five types of Vrittis which will be discussed in the next part (part-3) : Five Vrittis are as follows :-                                                           Pramana– cognitive process:  Viparyaya– process of misconception:  Vikalpa- illusionary and fantasy prone states: Nidra-  state of inertness Smriti– inner process of memory

Brief discussion over sutras from 1.1 to 1.4- 

1.1 “atha yoganushasanam”: This is the beginning of Yoga. 

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

1.3 “tada drashtuh svaroope avasthanam”: This means that the Self is revealed. Then you see only purusha. During this period the seer (purusha) rests in his own state. Example: When there is no wave, water is still we can see bottom below the surface of water. Even in ocean, where ocean is stand still ,we can see what lies beneath the sea from upper surface of it.  Similarly when mind waves are still, mind is calm we can feel our true nature which is Divine. That is our true Self.

1.4 “vrittisaroopyam itaratra”: At other times, when purusha is not in the state of yoga , man remains identified with the thought waves which are nothing but conflicts in the mind.

Conclusion: 

So, from the above four sutras we learn that Human mind can become a very effective tool and primarily mind would become a very helpful friend and guide us in our day to day life. The concept of purusha and prakriti may be difficult for the time being. As we will study more sutras , more we will know and finally we will have clear concept on samadhiKaivalya , the ultimate goal. When the mind is in sattvic mode, there is a fine difference between sattvic mind and purusha. Mind is not the original and primary creative power of consciousness. Our mind stands between a Superconscious and conscious state. Mind is the instrument through which we receive inspirations, intuitions, imaginations and impulsions to knowledge. Same mind creates errors and wrong perceptions about the world. This is the cause of sufferings. 

According to ancient Hindu philosophy, it is commonly believed that human life started from grass, shrubs, plants, insects, animals, higher animals in order. After wandering for millions of years, he attains human life and then the goal of human life is to find Consciousness, which is covered by Maya, known as ignorance or Avidya whatever we say.

At the end of the evolution of human life, when the intellect called conscience develops in his mind, he becomes curious to know the information of the inner world. Fortunately, one can know the songs of the Vedic religion, or any other similar so that the mystery of creation is gradually captured in his intellect, but even if he knows and understands all these things, it is not possible to attain perfection in this world apart from himself. When all the desires are fulfilled, one then wishes to enter the inner world and becomes thirsty to know “THAT”, by knowing which everything becomes known.  From this state one starts unconditional love and devotion. In this state of mind Yoga practice becomes meaningful.

Ihamutrafalbhogabiragah”(Vedantasarah-17) :-

Sachchidananda (Sat+ Chit+ Ananda) is my true nature. Unless a strong desire gets developed to realize this nature (Swaroopa), yogi can not progress. and if anyone goes on the path of Yoga, yet there are chances to get back to previous state, by seeing various worldly materials of enjoyments, sensual enjoyments etc which distracts the  during this journey. In that case leaving the Yoga, Yogi gets attracted and continue the path of enjoyment. If we follow the path correctly, all the obstacles of the four ages will not harm a man. Therefore one must understand properly and get engaged in the pursuit of Raja Yoga.


In the next part, we will discuss in details about “Ashtanga Yoga” Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Maharshi Patanjali gives a wide range of techniques that slowly control the mind and continuously induce more and more subtle perceptions automatically, as if someone is whispering into your ears. The main part of Ashtanga Yoga is contained within eight fundamental methods as follows. These will be discussed in details in my next part- part-3.

1. Yama – Social code: Restraints. 

2. Niyama – personal code: Observances.

3. Asana – sitting pose: Physical postures.

4. Pranayama – Control of Prana: Breathing control.

5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses.

6. Dharana – Concentration

7. Dhyana – Meditation.

8. Samadhi – Absorption.      

 ^^ Notes:- ( In India ,peepal tree known as “asathwa” plant) [ scientific name is Ficus religiosa know n as sacred tree in many regions of the world ] )

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 !

“Ashtanga Yoga” [ Eight limbs of Yoga]~ Part-1

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.  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.

Introduction:

“mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshaya bandhaya visayasaktam muktam nirvisayam smritam”  which means that for  man , 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. [brahmaBindu upanishad-verse-2

“Ashtanga Yoga” .. in English we call it as Eight limbs of Yoga. “Yoga Darshan” means philosophy of Yoga which is one branch among six systems of Hindu philosophies. 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. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are classified as a classical text of ancient psychology of East, because the text guides how control of mind to achieve the goal.

We know that Sigmund Freud [1856-1939], was an Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing it’s central role in the analytical process. He described the evolution of his clinical method and set out his theory of the psychogenetic origins of hysteria. In 1899 he published ” The interpretation of Dreams”. His analysis of dreams as wish fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanism of repression.”  Concept of the Unconscious mind was central to Freud’s account of mind. He ensured that unconscious mind theory receives a scientific recognition in the field of psychology.  When people think of psychology , they recall contribution of Sigmund Freud. His contributions in the field supported the belief that not all mental illness have physiological causes, rather difference in environment have an impact on psychology and behavior. His research work contributed towards understanding the development of human personality, clinical psychology and abnormal psychology. But long before Sigmund Freud , the concept was known to the scholars of East.

Now, in the present condition of society , worldwide, people are passing through difficult time, particularly due to pandemic situation. Human life has become miserable with diseases like cancers, diabetes, depression, and bitter relationships, betrays, unlimited unfulfilled desires and it’s implications, poor economy, failed marriages, immoral activities, political rivalries , corporate rivalries, fights, terrorism and what not? Unable to bear with the sufferings, people are committing suicides, going for killing or else finishing their lives with diseases as a result of unwanted outcome of worst relations, bad life events, mental shocks due failures in life etc. As a result people are rushing to Psychologists for better well being in the life to carry on. Psychologists help people to cope up with life events and relationships by understanding their behaviors and emotions.  Psychologists have their systematic methods to support the sufferers and bring them a better human life.

But long long ago, when there were no phycologists, there existed a method adopted by religious teachers of different ages who guided humankind to overcome miseries, sufferings. Before religious teachers there existed the philosophies of Vedanta. Also existed philosophies of Yoga. // 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, we can raise our nature to a divine nature.//

The practice of Yoga will bring you to the trance state. A state where you can experience increased insight in yourself and others. You will have the ability to access information from higher beings. Definitely there will be  a continuous changing of states from a normal state of consciousness. You will find some calling from unknown sources. I have my own experiences in this life journey which I will share some other time in some other space, because I would like to share my concept about Yoga and particularly Raj Yoga which comes from Patanjali Yoga Sutras. I hope that this article will help you to awaken your ability to access altered state of consciousness.  

Each system of philosophies has it’s own method of teachings.  In this article we will concentrate on Yoga philosophy of Patanjali.

Key words: Consciousness, Ashtanga yoga, Meditation, Mind

Before proceeding further, I would like to emphasize on the word ” Consciousness”. What is consciousness? According to science ( reductionism) consciousness exists only in the brains of highly evolved organisms.  It has become a great challenge to the scientists to understand consciousness. How brain produce consciousness?  At present this topic is an debatable and interesting issue of interdisciplinary fields of Quantum physics, Cosmology, neurology etc. Research is going on at higher levels throughout the world to find out what the consciousness is.  Philosophers argue that consciousness is beyond the physical workings of Brain. After the discoveries of Quantum physics and quantum Biology modern scientists and cosmologists started believing that Consciousness is a mystery and it is so deep that can be compared to Quantum theory which is equally a deep mystery. Almost one century have been spent by the scientists to understand consciousness from the perspective of our current scientific paradigm, but no significant progress has been made. What ever has been understood by the scientists, through research and recent studies, outcome is not accepted universally. However we have clear concept on Consciousness according to Vedanta Darshan or Yoga Darshan. In this article we will discuss on Consciousness in the perspective of Yoga Darshan. 

There are many paths , many religions. All the religions have one goal which is almost similar in one way. All adopt the religious path to reach ultimate goal that is to know the Supreme Knowledge (Supreme Consciousness) and to be united with the infinite Being. As such the enquiry should arise from the heart of the seekers to know the Supreme Consciousness.

Main Topic: Ashtanga Yoga:- 

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. The teachings include theory and practice. 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. Four PADAs (4chapters) are divided as follows:-

  1. Samadhi Pada: 51 sutras: Samadhi refers to that state of the Yogi, where his Self-identity is absorbed into the pure consciousness collapsing of three categories of Self (witness, witnessing and witnessed). Beyond this state it is “Kaivalya” (Liberation). The essence of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra is in the second 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.

2. Sadhana Pada: It has got 55 sutras: Sadhana means practices. Author describes two systems of Yoga.
1. Kriya Yoga which includes following steps: 
a) Tapas (Austerity) ;
b) Svadhyaya; (Self study of scriptures);
c) Isvara pranidhana- devotion to God or pure consciousness.
2. Ashtanga Yoga

3.Vibhuti Pada: This section has 56 sutras:

This chapter describes about “Siddhi” (supra normal powers) which can be acquired by the practice of Yoga.

4. Kaivalya Pada: 34 sutras: Describes the process of liberation (isolation) which is commonly known as emancipation (moksha) too.

Maharshi Patanjali  divided the path of Yoga, also known as “Raja Yoga” into eight levels (Eight limbs) named “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.

In the next part, I will elaborate on each of these Eight limbs. All the steps are highly logical , essential and very important too . One can not skip any of the steps. To achieve the goal, one has to follow each step with full sincerity and honesty. Initially you may find the steps as difficult one. But truly, they are not. Path of Yoga Darshan is very simple and clear. Personally ,I have experienced and observed changes in my Mind my, perceptions. It is a continuous process. It is like gaining heights. You have to be cautious too, because there are chances to fall back to the previous level. Also it has to be believed that the experience, knowledge gathered will be stored for next life. 

My sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

Thank you  NAMASTE !

 

What is Joy?-part-3 (concluding part)

Declaration:         

☆The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, 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 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 sacred books/ancient texts, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood. 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.  There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.  Your positive feedback will be highly appreciated. NAMASTE

  • Recap: This post is the concluding part of the article ” What is Joy” 

  • Part-1:- What is Joy (Part-1)” In this part we have seen that section VIII of Brahmananda Valli, the second part of “Taittiriya Upanishad”  define the unit of Human Joy. Thereafter in the successive slokas, it has been shown that each time we go to the next higher world(Loka), joy is multiplied by 100. Finally, at the top most Loka, the joy has become 100,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00 units. However, according to Taittiriya Upanishad ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” in each loka. In Sanskrit, the sentence is : —” श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ –  which means a man well versed in Vedas (Scriptures) has equal Joy.
  • Part-2:- In part-2 we have discussed the real meaning of the statement ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” What revelation is that? Revelation means knowing Vedas. A brief description on Vedanta has been given in part-2. Brahma sutra “Topic-1” to “Topic-3′ was explained. Part-3 will cover Brahma Sutra “Topic-4” and some mantras from principal Upanishads.
  • Readers are requested to send queries on any part to my mail ID: arun7663@gmail.com

We will continue from last topic ( Topic-3/Chapter 1) of Brahma sutra that was discussed in part-2.

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

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

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

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

Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana leads us to intuition (aparoksha anubhuti). In this way, “Brahma Kara Vritti ” is generated from ” Sattvic anta Karana ” after following four means of Salvation (discussed in part-2) and teachings of Guru , who has understood the real significance of MahaVakyas. This ” Brahma Kara Vritti” destroys the mula-Avidya or primitive ignorance which is the root cause of all bondage, births and deaths. When this ignorance or veil is removed, Brahman which is Self effulgent reveals itself in its pristine glory and splendour. 

Part- 3 starts here with Brahma Sutra Topic-4 of Chapter-1 which says :-” Samanvayadhikaranam” [Sanskrit] which means Brahman is the main purport of all Vedantic texts. First statement is ” Tattu Samanvayat”  means Brahman is to be known only from Scriptures. ChAndogya Upanishad, chapter six beautifully explained the topic. In the next few paragraphs we will concentrate on famous lines from different Upanishads. These lines will give us more knowledge about Brahman.

A little about ChAndogya Upanishad:  Once upon a time, there lived one Shwetaketu, son of sage Uddalaka. One day Uddalaka said to his son ” My son! find a teacher and learn. None of our family has remained a Brahman in name only. So at the age 12, Shwetaketu was sent to “GURUKULA” for studying Vedas for 12 years. When Shwetaketu returned home after completion of studies, sage Uddalaka noticed that  Shwetaketu has become a stiff necked arrogant and self willed young man of 24 years. Watching his attitude, sage asked him    ” My son, you think such a big of yourself, but did you ask your teacher about that initiation ,which makes a man hear what is not heard, think that is thought of, know what is not known?  Shwetaketu gave a negative  reply. Shwetaketu said his father ” I have not learnt that. Please teach me that my Lord”. Then sage started teaching that lesson, by knowing which everything is known. This conversation between sage Uddalaka and his son is the main topic of ChAndogya Upanishad. One of the Four mahaVakyas “ tat tvam asi” has been quoted 9 times to deliver Brahma Gyan. We will see in the next paragraph a few mantras from ChAndogya along with mantras from other Upanishads where Brahman is the main purport.

  1. ” Being only this was in the beginning without a second”—-ChAndogya: VI-2-1.
  2. ” The Atman which is free from sin that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand”—-ChAndogya: VIII-7-1.
  3. ” In the beginning all this was Atman or Self only”— Aitareya -Aranyak-II-4-1-1.
  4. ” Let a man worship him as Atman or the Self” —- BRRihadAraNyaka : I-4-7 
  5. ” Let a man worship him as Atman only as his true state” —- BRRihadAraNyaka : I-4-15 
  6. ” This is Brahman without cause and effect, without anything inside or outside; this Self is Brahman perceiving everything.—– BRRihadAraNyaka : II-5-19 
  7. ” He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman—– Mundaka Upanishad—III-2-9.
  8. ” The wise who knows the Atman as bodiless within the bodies, as unchanging  among changing things, as great and omnipresent does never grieve”                          –Katha Upanishad II-1-2 . [Such person is not attached to anything.]

Brahman cannot become an object of perception because it is extremely subtle, abstract, infinite and all – pervading. Senses and mind derive power from Brahman the ultimate source. Brahman is Self luminous, Self existent, Self knowledge, Self delight and Self contained. When one realizes Brahman, he is totally free from all sorts of miseries. He attains the Moksha( liberation from the cycle of birth and death). The state of moksha, the final emancipation is Eternal.

Thus we see Vedantic texts teach that Brahman is Eternal, all knowing , absolutely self-luminous and indivisible. Therefore proper understanding Vedanta leads a man to the final emancipation. This is the concept behind the line ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.”

Now in this concluding passage, let me describe a little about Vedas, without which the content will not be completed. Four Vedas are divided broadly into two parts. : 

  1. Karma Kanda: pUrva mimAMsA : The ritual portion:-  Mainly concerned with the earlier part of the Vedas. It is associated with the philosopher Jaimini, believed to be disciple of Maharshi Vyas regarded as original compiler of the Vedas. This part lays down various rituals and sacrificial acts to be performed for attaining specific goals like gaining enough wealth, progeny, expanding kingdom, heaven etc.. However this is not the intention of the Vedas that people should continue to perform these sacrificial, rituals to enjoy the results thereof.  These are teaching to divert one’s mind from improper way of life to a proper way of life. Ultimate teachings is that one should perform actions without desire and attain the purity of mind and thereby become fit for Self-knowledge. That is what Lord Krishna taught through Bhagavad Gita.
  2. Gyan Kanda : uttara mimAMsA : The knowledge portion : Mainly concerned with the later parts of the Vedas, the philosophical part popularly known as Upanishads and also as Vedanta, i.e., conclusion of Vedas. Philosopher Badarayana is said to be the author of Vedanta which includes Brahma Sutra.

Finally, Atman = Brahman is the purport of the entire Advaita philosophy. There is non-dual reality(Brahman), there is no separate existence of world and there is no second. This is the final Revelation.

References:

  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. You are the Universe; Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters: By Deepak Chopra & Menas Kafatos.
  5. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentry By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  6. Information available on internet.

What is Joy (Part-2)

☆The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my experiences and self realization.
☆I found some link between modern science and statements of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth 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 sacred books/ancient texts translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I am trying to share the subject matter as I understood in very concise form.
You may find it boring or interesting, dull or exciting, but my intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. Please give your suggestions for the shortcomings and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts.  There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
♡ Please share your feedback at — arun7663@gmail.com : Regards. Namaste.

Part-1 is summarised in the figure below:

Introduction: In the previous blog ” What is Joy (Part-1)” , we have seen that, according to second part of the scripture ‘Taittiriya Upanishad”, second section “Brahmananda Valli ” beautifully explained what is Joy? At first the definition and one unit of Human Joy has been described. Thereafter in the successive slokas, it has been shown that each time we go to the next higher world(Loka), joy is multiplied by 100. Finally, at the top most Loka, the joy has become 100,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00 units. However, according to Taittiriya Upanishad ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” Now what is that revelation? In Sanskrit, the sentence is : —” श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ –  which means a man well versed in Vedas (Scriptures) has equal Joy. So that is the essence of the sentence. This is our point of discussion here. I will try to project the subject according to Texts followed in Advaita Vedanta. Advaita (NON-DUALISM) is essentially a philosophical framework which make sense of the mysterious Universe. Traditional Advaita takes its authority from the Upanishads. Advaita Vedanta was systemized somewhere around 8th century by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. However essence of teaching originates in the Upanishads which were composed during 5000-6000 BC. No where it is mentioned about any author in the Upanishads and date of origin can not be fixed. Some scholar says Vedic period is 4000-5000 BC. Upanishads are known as Vedanta means essence of Vedas. Teachings of Vedas were transferred orally known as ” Sruti”. The principal book that attempts to explicate the actual philosophy of Upanishad is called ” Brahmasutra” . In the past 100 years, there have been a resurgence of interest in Advaita Vedanta in the West after the discovery of new field of physics known as Quantum Physics. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) toured the world to spread the message of Vedantic truth with the aim of uniting all religions.

Key words: “Brahman” ; ” Brahma sutra”; ” Advaita Vedanta” ; Upanishad;

The word “Brahman” will be used repeatedly. Meaning of Brahman is VAST. This is to be noted here that the word “Brahman” does not refer to any Cast , Creed or Sect. According to Vedanta the word ” Brahman” has been derived from the root word “brh” which means growing or expanding and suffix “man” added to it signifies absence of limitations. In Vedanta, the word Brahman is a neuter gender and hence it is referred as pronoun ” That”. It is very difficult to describe Brahman which is ultimately indefinable, indescribable and utterly beyond all human comprehension. Brahman can not be described through senses alone. Vedanta has however taught us how to realize Brahman which is “Supreme Consciousness”. In this article I will try to explain what I understood after reading different Scriptures. Hope readers will find it interesting and worth reading.

To start with our topic of discussion in part-2 here, we need to know the real meaning of the statement ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” What revelation is that? Revelation is knowing Vedas. Since knowing Vedas is beyond our scope in this space, but we can have some glimpses of famous lines from Vedas. Let us read following paragraphs quoting few lines from different Vedantic Texts

satyam jnanam anantam brahma” : which literarily means ‘the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.” Taittiriya 2.1.1 which is the opening sentence of Taittiriya Upanishad. (This has been explained in my earlier blog ” THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS (FIVE LAYERS~ Pancha Kosha)”

First of all we need to know the true meaning of “Brahman”. From Upanishads we can learn about Brahman. Five great Acharyas have explained about Brahman. One of them, founder of Advaita Vedanta, 8th century scholar, Shri Adi Shankaracharya said: ” there Exists one Absolute Brahman, who is “Sat-Chit-Ananda” and homogeneous in nature .” **** However the origin of entire Vedanta philosophy which is part of the four Vedas are believed to be composed and orally transferred, goes back to 5000 years. The oneness of Soul and GOD, the ultimate Truth is the principal essence of Vedanta philosophy. In the next paragraphs we will see what teachings we receive from Vedas.

There are four great statements (Maha Vakyasgreat sayings), one each taken from four Vedas by ancient scholars. These are most famous mantras and gives the core knowledge of Veda. Traditionally these well known MahaVakyas are pointers for the aspirants seeking liberation from the cycle of births. Four MahaVakyas are as below:

1) ” prajnAnaM brahma ” which means consciousness is Brahman. This has been taken from Rig Veda ( Aitareya Upanishad): The essence is that Brahman is Supreme knowledge. The absolute reality is the essence of what you really are.

2) ” tat-tvam-asi” which means “You are that” which is from Sama Veda (ChAndogya Upanishad).

3) ” ayamAtma brahma” which means This Self is Brahman. It has been selected from Atharva Veda ( maNDukya Upanishad). Atman and Brahman are the same like the waves and the ocean are one.

4) ” aham brahmAsmi” which means “I am Brahman” has been taken from Yajur Veda (bRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad ).  Who I am is that absolute reality.

Now, to understand the subject ,one has to study Vedanta . Vedanta consists of three basic Texts. Together they are referred as ” PRASTHANA TRAYA” , triple canon of Vedanta.

  1. Upanishads ( Shruti Prasthana):
  2. Bhagavad Gita( Smriti Prasthana : Quintessence of the teaching of entire Veda: “samasta-vedanta-sarasangraha-bhutam”).
  3. Brahma Sutra (Nyaya-Prasthana also known as uttarmimamsa sutra).

Those who wish to study the philosophy of Vedanta, may read ” The Ten Principal Upanishads” and the “Brahma Sutra” after reading the “Bhagavad Gita”. In the following paragraphs, I will write brief introduction about Brahma sutra. Rather I will emphasize on Brahma sutra because it is essential to understand the concept of Advaita Vedanta. While explaining Brahma sutra, some references of Upanishads obviously will follow.

There are four chapters in Brahma sutra. First chapter unifies Brahman. Second chapter shows no conflicts between Vedanta and other sastras (sacred texts). The third deals with practice to attain Brahman and the fourth one is result of attaining Brahman which is nothing but fruits of Self realization. The first topic of first chapter of Brahma sutra is “Jijnasadhikaranam” [ Topic-1/first chapter] which means ” The enquiry into Brahman and it’s prerequisites“. The first sentence of this chapter is ” Athato Brahmajijnasa” (Hence thereafter a deliberation on Brahman.1.1.1)

Now the Text is for whom? A little explanation is essential here. The Vedanta is for the person who is competent to understand and study sastras(Scriptures) ,has tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta. After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman. Four salvations are:

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

Even without possessing the knowledge of “Karma Kanda” (Rituals, religious ceremonies), a desire for attaining the knowledge of Brahman( BrahmaGyan) will arise direct from the study of “Srutis”. Therefore, I will recall here the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” which is written in sanskrit as श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ means well versed in “Srutis”. Hence it implies that the enquiry of Brahman does not depend on the performance of any act but through study of Vedas. That is the essence of the section ” Ananda Valli” of Taittiriya Upanishad.

Why one should enquire Brahman? Why? Most of the religions believe that life in earth or life in heaven are attained on the basis of one’s virtuous deeds(“KARMA”) which is transient. But once you know Brahman, you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality. Knowledge of Brahman destroys ignorance which is the root cause of all sufferings. We will continue our study of Vedanta a little more in the following paragraphs. I admit that this will be lengthy for the readers, but it is essential part of Vedas which needs to be presented.

“Janmadyadhikaranam“: Definition of Brahman[Topic-2/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. First sentence here is ” Janmadyasya yatah” 1.1.2(2) means Brahman is that from which the origin, sustenance and dissolution of this Universe proceed. Brahman is eternally pure, wise and free. He is Omnipotent and Omniscient. One can attain knowledge of brahman through reflection on it’s attributes. Would like to refer here Taittiriya upanishad-iii-1: Conversation between Varuna and his son Bhrigu Varuni on enquiry into Brahman. Bhrigu is asking his father- ” Sir, teach me Brahman”. Varuna said ” that from whence these beings are born, that by which, when born they live, that into which they enter at their death, try to know that“. That is Brahman. Here the point to be noted is that the origin, sustenance and dissolution of the Universe are characteristic of the Universe because of changing (cyclic) in nature. They do not pertain to the eternal unchanging Brahman, yet they indicate Brahman which is the cause of this universe. Sruti has another definition of Brahman. ” Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman” means Truth, knowledge, Infinity is Brahman.

” Sastrayonitvadhikaranam” : Brahman is realisable only through the scriptures [Topic-3/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. “Sastrayonitvat”: 1.1.3(3) means the scripter is the source of right knowledge. The scriptures illumine all things like a search light. Through scripture only we get a comprehensive understanding of the nature of Brahman. Brahman is formless, colourless, attribute less. Hence it can not be grasped by the senses alone. Brahman is ONE, infinite and without second.

Hope readers have found the reason why the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” is so important which has been repeated many times in the scripture Taittiriya Upanishad. I request to my readers to give me feedback for improving the content. Please send your comments/suggestions for improvement to my email; arun7663@gmail.com

“More on part-3 .This is the end of Part-2.”

What is Joy? (Part-1)

My humble request to the readers is that, before you start reading, please consider this statement of mine.

☆The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my experiences and self realization.
☆I found some link between modern science and statements of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth 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 sacred books/ancient texts translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I am trying to share the subject matter as I understood in very concise form.
You may find it boring or interesting, dull or exciting, but my intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. Please give your suggestions for the shortcomings and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts.  There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
♡ This is my second blog. Will be waiting for your support and encouragement.
Please share your feedback at — arun7663@gmail.com : Regards. Namaste.

PEACE MANTRA “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”.

This article is about “Joy”. Definition of One unit ofHuman Joy” as mentioned in Taittiriya Upanishad.

Lets look into the section VIII of Brahmananda Valli, the second part of Taittiriya Upanishad which is one of among 10 Principal Upanishads.

We all know that our fundamental aim is to be always happy, joyous in our life. We always think of overcoming sufferings, miseries during different phases of life. We need permanent happiness which ordinarily is never seen. Any living creature will seek comfort zone with all good happenings all the time. Among all creatures, Human is considered to be the most intelligent creatures of this world. We the human being, though always search for joy and always try for a life with full satisfaction, yet we can not achieve both joy and satisfaction permanently. Joys and sorrows come and go like waves’ crest and trough.

According to Vedanta, the goal of Human is ” Attyantika Dukshya Nibritti, Paramananda praptyachya”. Complete cessation of sufferings and attainment of Bliss is the goal of everyone. In the Second part of the Brahmananda Valli, there is one section(section eight), known as Ananda Mimamsa which means an enquiry into the form of Supreme Bliss(Ananda). The Text first defines what is human joy and defines one unit measure, a standard unit of human joy. Then it explains about multiple units of this Joy at different levels and compare those amount of Joys(Bliss) with one revelation. According to measurement model, it will take us to the highest level for clear conception about Joy. Very interestingly and mathematically described in such a fashion that one will understand and find what is Joy in reality.

Part of Sloka starts like this:- 2. seisa ananda mimamsa bhabati….which means ” This is the enquiry for Joy(Bliss)

3. yuvaasyaatsaadhuyuva aadhoayakaha aashishtho drathistho balishthah tasyeyam pruthvi sarva vittasyapoomasyaat sa eko maanusha aanandah”

Above sloka defines measurement of one unit of human joy this way:-Think of a young man, well educated ,ambitious, firm, strong, noble, and poses total wealth of this world. Call his joy as “eko maanusha aanandah” means one unit of human joy” . Thus the standard unit of Human joy is defined. We will now see what next is in the sacred text.

So we have now one unit of human joy for further enquiry, further analysis. Before proceeding further, we will analise the definition of one unit of human joy. The first point to be noted here is that, the first condition is, the Man should be young. Why young? Because youth is the ideal condition in one’s life to enjoy ,since at young age , body holds full strength, vigor and vitality. Looks very attractive, body heals faster and posses all the benefits of physical works. Second condition is that the youth should be well versed, ambitious, firm, strong, noble and have the wealth of the entire world. We may imagine him as the King of this world. The Joy of such a person may be assumed as one unit of human Joy which is maximum possible Joy of any human in this world. According to Vedanta, even more than this Joy is possible, but not in this world ( loka /plane/heavens and also known as Astral Planes ). There are higher worlds beyond this world like heavens which is believed by most of the religions. I will write about those Astral planes in my other blog. However we should understand the concept of Joy in actuality.

Now we will move to the next part of the sloka.

Sloka continues :-

A hundredfold of that Human joy is now unit measure of Human Gandharvas, joy of those brought to the celestial choir (Gandharva loka) by their good deeds. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

A hundredfold joy of Human Gandharvas is now unit measure of joy of celestial Gandharvas. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

A hundredfold joy of celestial Gandharvas is now unit measure of joy of manes (fore fathers), living in their eternal paradise (pitri loka). A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that one unit of joy of pitri loka hundred times and call it one unit of joy of Heaven born gods. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that one unit of joy of Heaven born gods hundred times and call it one unit of joy of Gods brought to godhead by their good deeds . A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of gods brought to godhead by their good deeds. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of ruling gods . A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of god Indra (known as King of Heaven and also known as God of Thunder). A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of Brihaspati, who is known to be Guru of gods. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of Prajapati, who is known to be maker of gods. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Multiply that joy a hundred times and call it one unit of joy of Spirit. A man full of revelation but without desire, has equal joy.

Sloka ‘He who lives in Man, He who lives in the Sun are one. He who knows this spiritual joy, mind cannot grasp, nor tounge speak, fears nothing.
He who knows this, cries goodbye to the world, goes beyond elemental Self, living Self, thinking Self, knowing Self, joyous Self. Here is my Authority. ” [** End of Sloka 2.8 of Taittiriaya Upanishad.]

Let us now analyze the amount of human joy which is One unit in this world. More happiness is possible. but not in this world. As we believe, beyond this world, there are higher worlds, higher planes commonly known as Etheric plane, Astral planes of different vibrational frequencies. All the planes are in ascending order according to the energy densities. Commonly we call it as Gandharva loka, Pitri loka, Deva loka, Indra loka, Brihaspati loka, Prajapati loka, Brahma loka etc. All these lokas* are in ascending order. According to description, joy of each loka is multiplied by hundred to that of joy of previous loka. Finally the figure of joy becomes billions of times greater than that of maximum human happiness. {*I will write about the lokas, higher worlds or higher planes separately with full details}

For the time being, let us assume and believe that those higer worlds exist and also believe in the text of the sloka. We may concentrate on the concept. What we have learnt from the above sacred text? We can have discussion over it. In the sloka, every time it has been pointed out that the amount of Joy in the new loka, remains same. The statement is “A man full of revelation, but without desire, has equal joy”.

Continue reading What is Joy? (Part-1)

THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS (FIVE LAYERS~ Pancha Kosha)

PICTURE: Courtesy: #Debashree

My humble request to the readers of my blog that before you start reading, please consider this statement of mine.

☆Whatever I have written in the following article is purely based on my studies, my experiences and my personal development in the field of the particular subject.
☆ While studying ancient sacred texts (Advaita Vedanta), I found the statements of ancient sages regarding Universe and Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth whatever we say, is similar to the statements of modern physics, the quantum physics
  ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as HUMAN irrespective of gender differences (without any distinguish, until unless quoted)
♡ The article is just outcome of my studies on the subject.  I have gone through the books of different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic. After studying thoroughly and after self-satisfaction, I have tried to project the subject matter in very concise form.
You may find it boring or interesting, dull or exciting, but my intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. Please give your suggestions for the shortcomings. 
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts.  This is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
♡ This is my first blog. Will be waiting for your support and encouragement.
I will be happy to receive your comments, suggestions regarding the topic. Please send your comments to my    mail id:     arun7663@gmail.com

Namaste.

THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS (FIVE LAYERS~ Pancha Kosha)

Introduction:

 The opening sentence of Taittiriya Upanishad , Section-2 is “Satyam jnanam anantam Brahman” which literarily means the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.

 Let us know about the five sheaths that surround our true essence, our true nature as described in the traditional Advaita Vedanta which uses a model to illustrate the successive layers of identification which obscure our real nature.

 Our true nature is covered by the sheaths~[SHEATHE means KOSHA in Sanskrit ] known as “panchakosha“` The Five Sheaths.

 According to Taittiriya Upanishad, our true essence is covered by these sheathes in the same way that a scabbard encloses the blade of sword. Self is hidden behind the mask of the personality.
The second chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad “BrahmanandaValli” teaches about the five sheathes. Concept of whole of this Five Sheaths model is highly symbolic and metaphorical.
Five sheaths are as follows:-
1) AnnaMaya Kosha
2) PranaMaya Kosha
3) ManoMaya Kosha
4) VijnaMaya Kosha
5) AnandaMaya Kosha

 

The First Layer:  “AnnaMaya Kosha” : From food (food= anna) arise all the creatures, which live on earth, and through food alone do they live, and finally they return to the food in the end.
 The first layer, the grossest one with which we first identify ourselves as the body, is made up of food and known as “AnnaMaya Kosha” (অন্নময়কোষ). The body takes birth, grows old, dies and decays back into the food from which it was produced. This has nothing to do with the real “Self”. This body alone is not the “Self”.

The Second layer: “PranaMaya Kosha” This is vital life force for which the body is animated and actions are performed. This layer is made of “Prana” the breathe which known as “PranaMaya Kosha”(প্রানময়কোষ). We are multilayered being, composed of physical body, subtle body and causal body . The first mentioned sheath, the AnnaMaya Kosha is permeated by four Koshas.
The next layer the Second layer is “PranaMaya Kosha”. The AnnaMaya Kosha is the effect of Prana. PranaMaya Kosha controls AnnaMaya Kosha.

"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 Maya Kosha separates life from death once the “Prana” leaves the body. This sheath 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 “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ). But this is not the real Self.

The Third layer: – “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ)
This Self is embodied in the previous one (Prana) which is   the mental sheath consisting of the thinking mind.  This MIND (Manas” মন”) and the organs of perception is known as “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ). This is the sheath which limits us and blocks us to go beyond.

Pancha Koshas(FIVE SHEATHS) can be divided into the three bodies: These three bodies are the objects of experience in deep sleep, dream and waking conditions respectively. It is the causal body that is experienced in deep sleep. The subtle body in dream and the physical body in waking condition.

Three bodies are as follows:–
A) The gross body “Sthula sarira”=(~ Sanskrit word) consists of first layer AnandaMaya Kosha.  
B) The Subtle body “Suksma sarira”( ~ Sanskrit word) consists of Pranayama Kosha., ManoMaya Kosha and VijnaMaya Kosha. Also known as Astral body.
C) The causal body “Karana sarira”(~ Sanskrit word) consists of AnandaMaya Kosha.


This Self is embodied in the previous one (Prana) which is   the mental sheath consisting of the thinking mind.  This MIND (Manas” মন”) and the organs of perception is known as “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ). This is the sheath which limits us and blocks us to go beyond.
This Kosha is powerful, because bondage and liberation depends on the mind. It pervades the PranaMaya Kosha.
Basically, this body is consisting of Mind through which we perceive the world via five agents (sense organs).Mind functions in three levels.
 1. Conscious mind
 2. Subconscious mind
 3. Unconscious mind.
All the above three minds are subsets of Universal mind.
Human being is stuck in this sheath as always people are abducted by the mind (monkey mind).
In the Patanjali yoga sutras 1.2 ” yoga is the stilling of modifications of mind’~” “yogass chitta vritti nirodaha”.
When the fluctuations of mind are stilled, our true nature is revealed.  We have then enough clarity to perceive the Self beyond the mind. Through pranayama and pratyahara (mental withdrawal of senses) we can pervade to the next layer. But this is not the real Self.

The Fourth layer:- VijnaMaya Kosha (বিজ্ঞানময় কোষ)

Beyond Mind (Manas~ Sanskrit word) there are higher levels of mind responsible for discriminations recognizing the truth and the false fruit real or unreal. In silence it knows without needing to think. This is intellect (buddhi~ Sanskrit word). This intellectual sheath is known as “VijnaMaya Kosha”.

VijnaMaya Kosha (~Buddhi) Sheath of wisdom. This is part of subtle body. When subtle body is disciplined, the physical body also becomes very healthy and strong. The mind which is ruler of the subtle body gets flattened by worldly affections, attachments, desires etc. Through practice mind comes under control by this sheath.
This self is embodied in the previous one that is ManoMaya Kosha. But this is not the real Self.

 I AM (the Real Self) the witness of this sheath.
Mind is mostly engaged with the first layer which is nothing but the body, the false identity with ego. It has a shape, size, name, fame everything.  Very much visible to self, to inner self, outer self and to others of this samsara (সংসার).
• The unwavering peace we seek is realized by experiencing the unlimited and eternal Peace that is our True Identity. Though obscured by ignorance, it exists within us, waiting to be revealed. This experience is enlightenment—Self-realization.{Experience to be gained with the help of 4th layer }
• Self-realization can be attained by mastering the mind. Just as only a clean, undistorted mirror can reflect our face as it truly is, only a one-pointed and tranquil mind can part the veils of ignorance to reveal and reflect the Self.
The effort to free the mind from the limitations of ignorance is a drama that has been repeated since time immemorial.
But if the mind leads one towards the VijnaMaya Kosha by pervading itself, then what will happen? 
Let’s look beyond the mind.
Beyond the mind (Manas), there are higher levels of mind responsible for discriminations, recognizing the truth and the false, real or unreal. In silence it knows without needing to think which is intellect (Buddhi~বুদ্ধি). This intellectual sheath is known as “VijnaMaya Kosha “~sheath of wisdom.
According to Vedanta, the study of scriptures helps in realization of truth, when one is equipped with necessary fourfold discipline:-
1. Discrimination between real (nitya 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)

The word “Self” is generally meant to “Atman” (soul). But the Sanskrit word is “Atman”, which cannot be translated.  This Atman is deathless, birthless, eternal and real for every individual.  It is the unchanging reality (sat ~সৎ) behind the changing body, sense organs, mind and ego. It is Spirit, which is pure Consciousness (চিত্) and is unaffected by time-space causality. It is infinite and it is ONE without the second.
As the unchanging reality in the individual is known as Atman, same way the unchanging reality in the Universe is known as “BRAHMAN”. Vedanta says This BRAHMAN and ATMAN are one and the same.
VijnaMaya Kosha consists of the intellect in conjunction with the five organs of knowledge (জ্ঞানেন্দ্রিয়).

The Fifth layer:-  “AnandaMaya Kosha”
This Self is embodied in the previous one. The self-consisting of Bliss and is filled by it. Here is the presence of most profound peace and silence when mind becomes no mind.  This is State of Bliss 
Let us recall the first sloka (1ST verse) of “Taittiriya Upanishad” second chapter which is known as “Brahmananda Valli”.
Quoting the sentence again: —

“Satyam jnanam anantam Brahman” which means “The knower of “BRAHMAN” attains the Supreme”.  BRAHMAN is Truth, knowledge and Infinity, which is our own very Self, the Atman.  Brahman is not an object of knowledge.  It is always witnessing subject. (দ্রষ্টা~The Seer).
In the second chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad, there is the definition of “Human JOY”. One unit of Human Joy. Will write that in my next blog very shortly.

The Self is infinite. There is in fact no multiplicity or plurality in that ONE, Homogeneous Being, the Supreme Being and the Ultimate. Because of superimposition and our ignorance, we have forgotten our true nature.  It alone
exists as the illuminator. This “Atman” the Real “Self” in its glorious existence, reveals its own Sat-Chit nature which is Anandamaya. That is why this Sheath is referred to “Anandamaya Kosha”. Actually, this Five Sheath model as mentioned in Taittiriya Upanishad is just an idea for understanding the different levels of the Self. The eternal nature of Self is Bliss only.

Through identification of five layers or sheaths the Self is revealed.  This reveals that:-
“I AM NOT THE PHYSICAL BODY”
“I AM NOT THE PRANA (BREATH)”
“I AM NOT THE MIND”
“I AM NOT THE INTELLECT (BUDDHI) “
“I AM ALSO NOT THE ANANDAMAYA KOSHA” too. ☆☆

Then who I AM?

☆☆ I am The Witness of these five sheaths.
Our true nature is beginning less, endless, non-dual, unbounded, ever free, pure, aware, Supreme Bliss. Due to ignorance known as Maya (Avidya), we pass through cycles of births and deaths and that is the cause of pain, sufferings, and miseries. Maya is compared as veil in Vedanta.
The ignorance of the real nature of the Self constitutes this causal body or the seed-body. It projects the appearance of the whole Universe through the subtle sheath.
This Anandamaya Kosha or the causal body is impersonal, formless, Universal, a blissful space usually identified within deep sleep (sushupti~সুসূপ্তি) ★★
★★The Mandukya Upanishad explains about 4 states of Atman. There is one state the 3rd state, known as deep sleep. The second state is known as dream state (    ). The first state is known as Awaking state.
4th state is known as Turiya.

We have to rise above these five sheaths to realize the identity with Pure Consciousness. So we need to strip off all the layers one after the other, to take out the innermost essence of the Atman from all objects of perception. When the identification with the sheaths ceases, the self realizes the Infinite Being and gets liberated beyond death.

I am trying to project the concept p the figure drawn below:-

Notes:-

Maya (~ Sanskrit word) :–

According to Vedanta, our real nature is divine, pure, perfect, eternal and free.  We do not have to become Brahman, because we are That. But Maya is the veil which covers our real nature. Maya is beginning less. Time arises only with Maya. It is unthinkable, indescribable (Anirvachaniya). The word illusion is often used as meaning of Maya, but scholars says it is improper. There is no equivalent word in English to mean it.
What is known to us, according to ancient sacred texts, that Maya disappears when we realize our true nature.

^^Atman & Brahman:-
According to Vedanta, The ultimate in us is ATMAN The ultimate in Cosmos is BRAHMAN. This is the Universal Reality. Total Substance is Brahman. The same substance, when conceived as the essence of particular being is Atman. The Universe has been manifested out of this Total Substance can be said as Brahman. This is Atman, the Self of the universe. This Brahman is without a prior or a posterior, without interior or exterior. This Atman is Brahman, the perceiver of everything.

Thank you

Namaskar