Essence of Taittiriya Upanishad – Sheeksha Valli : Part-1A

GURUKUL

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:

The Taittiriya Upanishad is a part of the Krishna Yajur Veda and placed in the seventh position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishad. The Upanishad has three Chapters. First chapter of the Upanishad is Sheeksha Valli which gives the essence of the Karma Kanda of the Veda in terms of disciplines, rituals, meditations, values, code of conduct for daily life. Consists of 12 sections, of which the first and the last contain prayers to the deities for the removing of obstacles’ while pursuing spiritual wisdom. In this blog we will discuss Sheeksha Valli. This Upanishad deals with the rituals part(Karma kanda~ Lower Knowledge) and Higher Knowledge part(Gyan Kanda~ Brahma Vidya). Hence it is considered to be a complete Upanishad. In this part we will learn Karma Kanda, the Rituals part.

Sheeksha Valli: Science of Vedic Chanting:

शीक्षावल्ली:

Section-1: Peace Invocation from The Yajur Veda:

May the Sun bless us! May the Night bless us! May the Eye bless us! May Might bless us! May speech bless us! May the All-prevalent bless us! Welcome Spirit! Welcome Life, Face of Spirit! Truth shall be on my lips and truth in my thoughts. May Truth protect me; protect my teacher; protect us both. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

Section-2: Sheeksha –Vedic Phonetics

We explain what constitutes pronunciation. It comprises letters, accent, quantity, articulation, rhythm and lastly sequence of letters.

Section-3:Third Section : Significance of Combinations

Teaches how to meditate on combination of words. Mere recitation of the Text may focus the mind only on letters. But, through meditation pupil will understand the symbolic significance which will make the mind pure and one pointed.

Prayer by Teacher and Student

May we both attain Fame together. May we both obtain Spiritual pre-eminence.(स॒ह नौ॒ यशः । स॒ह नौ ब्र॑ह्मव॒र्चसम् ।)

Now therefore Meditation (Upasana) on Sandhees:

This chapter deals with the Universe, Light(Luminosity), Vidya(Knowledge of Upanishad), progeny (maintaining family line) , language. (अधिलोकमधिज्यौतिषमधिविद्यमधिप्रज॑मध्या॒त्मम् ।) Adhilokam, Adhijyotisham, Adhividyam, Adhiprajam, Adhyaatmam. These are Maha-Samhitas**, the ” Great Word Junctions (Sandhees)” ***Samhita means conjunction or union.

Meditation-1 :What is this Universe?

Earth below, Heaven above, air between, wind joining them.

Meditation-2 :What is Light(Luminosity)?

Fire on one side, Sun on the other side, water between, lightning joining them.

Meditation-3 :What is Vidya( Knowledge of Upanishad)?

The Teacher on one side, pupil on the other side, knowledge between, discourse joining them.

Meditation-4 :What is progeny (maintaining family line)?

Mother on one side, father on other side, child between, procreation joining them.

Meditation-5 :What is language?

The lower jaw on one side, the upper jaw on the other side, words between, tongue joining them.

Summary of Third Section:

Upon these, anyone who meditates as explained, shall have children, cattle**(wealth), food, knowledge and Heavens. [** In the ancient time cattle was treated as wealth.]

Section-4: Teacher’s Prayer for wisdom and fortune:

Fourth section: For the attainment of knowledge of Brahman, one needs good memory, good health, adequate food and clothing which are basic needs. This section describes the process for attainment.

OM! , Whose form is manifold and Essence of Vedas, revealed in Vedas, revealed in the world, sprung from immortality! Lord, fill me with intelligence, that I may grasp immortality!

Make my body strong, my tongue sweet, my ears keen. You are the Spirit’s armor, hidden by sensuality. Keep me from forgetting.

May spiritual riches come of their own will. May they increase, then send me Spirit itself. May I never lack clothes. cows, food, drink, that I may serve you the better. May pupils come, may pupils gather round, may pupils listen, that I may serve you the better.

May they in peace, control mind and sense, that they may serve you the better. may I become famous, may I become richer than the richest, that I may serve you the better.

Lord! may I enter into you, may you enter into me! May I merge into your thousands of shapes, for my purification.

As water flows downward, as months mingle with the year, Guardian! may pupils come from everywhere, that I may serve you the better. You are the Fold. Take me, Enlighten me.

Summary of the Fourth Section:

This is a need for the teacher to have a sufficient number of students, not only to expand teaching venture, but also to spread the Vedic culture to the world. This Upanishad teaches about Ethical and Moral life with Self control (BrahmaCharya) without which a person can not progress towards Enlightenment.

&& Original Sanskrit sloka is available in the following link: Sanskrit Document

Conclusion:

The first chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad has 12 sections comprising of different meditation(UPASANA) and ethical rules which a disciple should practice in order to purify his or her mind. Meditation is required to focus mind towards the cosmic power or the Supreme Being. This chapter deals with discipline of Sheeksha (academics) which comprises the study of phonetics and pronunciation. It deals with sound, pitch, quantity, force, modulation and combination. Ethical and Moral life with Self control (BrahmaCharya) is very important, without which a person as well as society can not progress towards Enlightenment.

Recommended readings:

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

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

MaNDukya Upanishad- The Nature of OM- Part1

Introduction:

The Mandukya Upanishad, belongs to Atharva Veda. It is the shortest of all the Upanishads with 12 verses and placed in the 6th position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads. This Upanishad teaches the significance of the sacred syllable ~AUM (OM) and it correlates with four states of Consciousness. It describes the Turiya state, the state of transcendental Consciousness in which all the divisions and Duality disappears. The SELF alone exists in its pure state. Upon meditating on the Mystic Syllable , OM , mind can be trained to achieve freedom gradually to attain ultimate Reality.

माण्डूक्योपनिषत्

॥ अथ माण्डूक्योपनिषत् ॥

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श‍ृणुयाम देवा
भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।
स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्तुवाꣳसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः ॥

स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः
      स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः ।
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः
      स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om! Shining Ones! May our ears hear the good. May our eyes see the good. May we serve HIM with the whole strength of our body. May we, all our life, carry out HIS will. Peace, peace and peace be everywhere.

Everything is OM

 ॐ इत्येतदक्षरमिदꣳ सर्वं तस्योपव्याख्यानं
भूतं भवद् भविष्यदिति सर्वमोङ्कार एव
यच्चान्यत् त्रिकालातीतं तदप्योङ्कार एव  ॥ १॥
First Mantra: Hari OM! OM ityetadakSharamidaM sarvam tasyopavyAkhyAnaM bhutaM bhavadH bhaviShyaditi sarvamoMkAra eva. yachchaanyatH trikAlAtitaM tadapyoMkaAra eva.(1) 

OM + ity + etad + akSharam => means This syllable is OM.                idaM sarvam => means This (OM) is all. tasya + upavyAkhyAnaM =>  Explanation begins with this Omkar.  bhutaM ( past) bhavadH ( present) bhaviShyat (future)  sarvam oMkAra eva. => Past , present future; everything is OM. yachchaanyatH trikAlA (three time periods) titaM tadapy + oMkaAra eva. ( even that too is OM which transcends three division of time).

Mantra 1. Hari OM! The Word OM is Imperishable. All this it’s manifestation. Past , present future; everything is OM. Whatever transcends the three divisions of time , that too is OM.

सर्वं ह्येतद् ब्रह्मायमात्मा ब्रह्म सोऽयमात्मा चतुष्पात् ॥ २॥
Second MantrasarvaM hyetad brahmAyamAtmA brahma so ayamAtma chatuShpAt (2) 

Mantra 2: All this is verily Brahman. (ब्रह्मायमात्मा ब्रह्म) ” Ayam atma Brahma” There is nothing that is not Brahman. The Personal Self is the impersonal Brahman. (सोऽयमात्मा चतुष्पात् ) It has four aspects (states), also known as four quarters.

” Ayam atma Brahma” is one of the four mahaVakyas from four Vedas. It signifies the realization that who I am really is that same Brahman. The word “chatuShpad” (चतुष्पात् )refers to the four aspects of Consciousness. Three states of Consciousness: 1) Waking[GROSS], 2) Dreaming [SUBTLE] and 3) Deep Sleep [CAUSAL]. Fourth is the Reality which is the Background of all states. Details to be known from the following verses.

The first pada: Waking state Consciousness.

जागरितस्थानो बहिष्प्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः
स्थूलभुग्वैश्वानरः प्रथमः पादः ॥ ३॥
Third Mantra : jAgaritasthAno bahiShpraj~naH saptA~Nga ekonaviMshatimukhaH sthUlabhugvaishvAnaraH prathamaH pAdaH (3)

Mantra 3: First comes the material condition-common to all. Perception turned outward. Seven limbs*( सप्ताङ्ग = 7 limbs), Nineteen mouths**( एकोनविंशतिमुखः = 19 mouths), wherein the Self enjoys course matter. This is known as waking condition. Waking State~ jAgrat.  The individual is known here as vaishvAnara (Virat) who is in the waking state of consciousness(the gross world). Bahih PrajNa: (बहिष्प्रज्ञः) means the outward tendencies which is predominant in this state. The Seven Limbs: the macrocosm and microcosm are paired up and through 19 mouths, one enjoys the gross objects( स्थूलभुग्वैश्वानरः ) of this world.

*Seven limbs are: Heavens(he ad), Sun(eye) air(breath), fire(heart), water(belly), earth(feet) and space(body).

**Nineteen mouths are: 1) Five organs of senses- Hearing, Touching, Seeing, Tasting and Smelling. 2) Five organs of action- Speaking, Handling, Walking, Generating and Excreting. 3) Five living fires- Prana, Apana, Samana,Vayana, and Udana. 4) Four states of mind:  Discursive mind (Manas), Discriminative mind(Buddhi), Mind-Material(Chitta) and Personality(Ahangkara).  { 3×5+4 = 19}

The Second Pada – Dream state Consciousness.

स्वप्नस्थानोऽन्तःप्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः
प्रविविक्तभुक्तैजसो द्वितीयः पादः ॥ ४॥
Fourth Mantra: svapnasthAno.antaHpraj~naH saptA~Nga
ekonaviMshatiMukhaHpraviviktabhuk taijaso dvitIyaH pAdaH (4)

Mantra 4: Dream State:  Taijasa~  the dreamer creates dream world out of his or her own mind. In the dream state, entire dream world seems to be as real as is experienced in waking condition, whatever be the time duration of the dream.
In dream, the person experience the subtle world  (pain or pleasure,  joy or fear) through dream sense organs, not the physical sense organs. In dream, mind reflects the impression left by waking state like a piece of canvas with the pictures painted on it. Dream state experience that as if it were like waking. Like in waking state, here the sphere of activity is inward. It enjoys the subtle objects (प्रविविक्तभुक्तैजसो ) of the mental world. Seven limbs and nineteen mouths also work here but INWARD. Here Anta prajNa is predominant. 

 

According to BRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad IV.3,9:
When he dreams, he takes away a little of the impression of this all embracing world (the waking state), himself puts the body aside and himself creates a dream body in it’s place, revealing his own lustre by his own light and dreams. In this state, the man himself becomes the light.

The Third Pada -Deep Sleep Consciousness      (Vyashti)

यत्र सुप्तो न कञ्चन कामं कामयते न कञ्चन स्वप्नं
पश्यति तत् सुषुप्तम् । सुषुप्तस्थान एकीभूतः प्रज्ञानघन
एवानन्दमयो ह्यानन्दभुक् चेतोमुखः प्राज्ञस्तृतीयः पादः ॥ ५॥
Fifth Mantra: yatro supto na ka~nchana kAmaM kAmayate na ka~nchana svapnaMpashyati tat suShuptam. suSuptasthAna ekibhUtaH praj~nAnaghana evAnandamayo hyAnandabhukchetomukhaH prAj~nastRRitIyaH pAdaH. (5)

Mantra 5:The Deep Sleep state (SuShupta~SU=Sundar/excellent +sUpta=Sleep) ~ 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 that sleep state, not for anything desirable does one have any desire.(यत्र सुप्तो न कञ्चन कामं कामयते).  Not the slightest trace of dream does it see in that state of deep sleep.(न कञ्चन स्वप्नं पश्यति तत् सुषुप्तम् ). In the sphere of deep sleep, there is just one ” homogenous mass of consciousness” alone (सुषुप्तस्थान एकीभूतः प्रज्ञानघन).  Because of his union with the Self and his unbroken knowledge of it, he is filled with joy, he knows his joy, his mind is illuminated (एवानन्दमयो ह्यानन्दभुक् चेतोमुखः). Such is the called third quarter called prajNa (चेतोमुखः प्राज्ञस्तृतीयः पादः).

The Ishwara State of Consciousness.

एष सर्वेश्वरः एष सर्वज्ञ एषोऽन्तर्याम्येष योनिः सर्वस्य
प्रभवाप्ययौ हि भूतानाम् ॥ ६॥
Sixth Mantra: eSha sarveshvaraH eSha sarvaj~na eSho.antaryAmyeSha yoniH sarvasyaprabhavApyau hi bhUtAnAm. (6)

Mantra 6: The Self is Lord of all. He is inner controller and inhabitant of the hearts of all. He is Omniscient, the source of all; creator and dissolver of  all beings. there is nothing He does not know.

The fruit of the process of “Negation”:

नान्तःप्रज्ञं न बहिष्प्रज्ञं नोभयतःप्रज्ञं न प्रज्ञानघनं
न प्रज्ञं नाप्रज्ञम् । अदृष्टमव्यवहार्यमग्राह्यमलक्षणं
अचिन्त्यमव्यपदेश्यमेकात्मप्रत्ययसारं प्रपञ्चोपशमं
शान्तं शिवमद्वैतं चतुर्थं मन्यन्ते स आत्मा स विज्ञेयः ॥  ७॥
Seventh Mantra: nAntaHpraj~naM na bahiShpraj~naM  nobhayataHpraj~nam  napraj~nAnaghanaM  na praj~nam nApraj~nam.
adRRiShTamavyavahAryamagrAhyamalakShaNamachintyamavyap adeshyamekAtmapratyayasAraM manyante sa AtmA sa vij~neyaH.(7)

 

Mantra 7: Negation Phase: He is not knowable by perception, turned inward or outward, nor by both combined. He is neither that which is known, nor that which is not known, nor is He the sum of all that might be known. He can not be seen, grasped, bargained with. He is undefinable, unthinkable, indescribable.

nAntaHpraj~naM = not the knower of the internal (subtle)

na bahiShpraj~naM = not the knower of the external (gross)

na bahiShpraj~naM = not the knower of both

napraj~nAnaghanaM = not the knower of deep sleep

na praj~nam = nor consciousness

nApraj~naM = nor unconsciousness.

Assertion Phase: The only proof of His existence is union with Him. The world disappears in Him. He is the peaceful, the good, the ONE without a second. This is the fourth condition of the Self- The most worthy of all. This is the Atman

This 7th mantra is most important among the Vedic scriptures. This mantra describes the nature of Absolute reality~ Brahman. 

Conclusion:

According to the Mandukya Upanishad, four conditions of  The Self (“Atman”) can be described as below :-
1) Waking condition: Perception turned outward.
2) Mental condition : Perception turned inward, known as dreaming condition. Self enjoys subtle
matter.
3)Deep sleep condition: 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.
ॐ~AUM
A~ Waking
U~ Dreaming
M~ Deep Sleep
The Fourth condition of the Self  can be achieved through deep meditation that corresponds to “OM” as ONE. Self is Whole and beyond bargain. The world disappears in HIM. SELF is one without a second. This condition is known as #Turiya#

Recommended readings:

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

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

Essence of MUNDAKA Upanishad: Part-2-A

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:

Higher Knowledge: Para Vidya: To be discussed in this Khanda:

The Vedas clearly Speak of two distinct fields of Knowledge: i) The Lower ( Apara Vidya ) and ii) The Higher ( Para Vidya ). In the first Mundaka(Khanda-1 & Khanda-2), we have seen that discussion on the Apara Vidya begins with the Karma Kanda. Those who follow the Karma Kanda Rituals (Agnihotra) are desirous of obtaining pleasures through actions. But this is not our goal. Sage Angria said to Sage Saunaka : ” The Sages studied the Rituals described in the Vedas, went beyond them to the Truth. You may find it better to stay with them; if you seek the reward of your actions, stay with them”

According to First Mundaka, Agnihotra ( fire sacrifice)  is considered to be null and void if even one of the eight given conditions is not full filled.

 

Also it is said that better than Karma Kanda is Upasana Kanda which is the middle path and it prepares for the Gyan Kanda which we will study in the next part, The Second Mundaka, second Khanda and The Third Mundaka. There the spiritual teaching will be taken up in greater depth.

॥ मुण्डकोपनिषत् ॥

Peace Mantra:

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवा भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।     स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवाꣳसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः । 
स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः । 
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु। 

॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

॥ ॐ ब्रह्मणे नमः ॥

॥ द्वितीय मुण्डके प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

Thus Begins the First Section of the Second Canto

Sparks from the Flaming FIRE :

तदेतत् सत्यं
यथा सुदीप्तात् पावकाद्विस्फुलिङ्गाः
      सहस्रशः प्रभवन्ते सरूपाः ।
तथाऽक्षराद्विविधाः सोम्य भावाः
      प्रजायन्ते तत्र चैवापि यन्ति ॥ १॥

दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः पुरुषः स बाह्याभ्यन्तरो ह्यजः ।
अप्राणो ह्यमनाः शुभ्रो ह्यक्षरात् परतः परः ॥ २॥
Spark of the Flaming Fire

2.1.1 तदेतत् सत्यं = Know this Truth from the higher standpoint:

The fire sparks , though of one nature with the fire, leap from it; uncounted beings leap from the Everlasting, but these, my son, merge into it again.

2.1.2 Absolute Nature of Brahman:

The Divine is Shapeless (दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः ~ Divine formless), Birthless, (ह्यजः ~ ajah), Breathless, Mindless,(अप्राणो ह्यमनाः) above everything, (बाह्याभ्यन्तरो) Outside everything, inside everything. ( शुभ्रो ) Absolutely Pure, verily even from the Indestructible (Causal), higher than Highest means (ह्यक्षरात् परतः परः) transcending even the transcendent Ishwara” means beyond the Causal state.

2.1.3 :Brahman as “Hiranyagarbha” –the Subtle Macrocosm:

 एतस्माज्जायते प्राणो मनः सर्वेन्द्रियाणि च । 
खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवी विश्वस्य धारिणी ॥ ३॥ 

From Him (Brahman) are born the Prana, the Mind, and all the sense organs, the elements, sky, wind, fire, water, and earth which support all creation.

According to Bhasya, the creation of the Subtle Body at Samasthi or microcosmic level is emphasized here. Aim is to show that Prana, mind and all other elements can not co-exist with Brahman. From Brahman, in association with Maya, arises Ishwara, the Creator. From Ishwara, arises the five subtle elements known as Tanmatras. From Tanmatras arise the mind and the pranas, from their Sattvic and Rajasic portions respectively.

2.1.4: Brahman as Virat- the Gross Macrocosmic.

अग्नीर्मूर्धा चक्षुषी चन्द्रसूर्यौ
दिशः श्रोत्रे वाग् विवृताश्च वेदाः ।
वायुः प्राणो हृदयं विश्वमस्य पद्भ्यां
पृथिवी ह्येष सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा ॥ ४॥

HE is the inmost Self of all. Fire His head; Sun and moon, His eyes; the four quarters, His ears; The Vedas when uttered are His voice; Wind, His Breath; The Universe, His Heart; Earth, His Feet. He is indeed the inner Self of all beings. This is the macrocosmic picture of Virat that is Total Gross Universe.

2.1.5: The ” Panchagni” – The Five Fires in the Cosmos:

तस्मादग्निः समिधो यस्य सूर्यः 
    सोमात् पर्जन्य ओषधयः पृथिव्याम् । 
पुमान् रेतः सिञ्चति योषितायां 
    बह्वीः प्रजाः पुरुषात् सम्प्रसूताः ॥ ५॥

Fire is from Him, its fuel Sun, moon from Sun, rain from moon, food from rain, man from food, seed from man; thus all descends from Purusha( Supreme).

From HIM are produced the 1st Fire, whose fuel is SUN. From the MOON comes the Rain Clouds (2nd Fire), from Clouds, the Herbs(3rd Fire) on Earth. From Herbs comes Man(the 4th Fire). His semen is Shed into the Woman (the 5th Fire). In this sequential process , Many living beings from the PURUSHA are produced. This is the “Cycle of Five Fires.” “The Panchagni- Five Cosmic Fires.”

2.1.6: Origin of Karma Kanda Rituals:

तस्मादृचः साम यजूंषि दीक्षा
यज्ञाश्च सर्वे क्रतवो दक्षिणाश्च ।
संवत्सरश्च यजमानश्च लोकाः
सोमो यत्र पवते यत्र सूर्यः ॥ ६॥

From Him come the Hymns of the Rig & Sama Vedas and the Sacrificial formula of the Yajur Veda, used in the preliminary rites. Then come the sacrifice, the sacrificial post, the sacrificial gifts etc, the time of sacrifice, the sponsor of the sacrifice , and the worlds (to be gained by the sacrifice); purified by the Lunar and Solar paths.

2.1.7: Origin of Upasana Kanda Rituals

तस्माच्च देवा बहुधा सम्प्रसूताः 
साध्या मनुष्याः पशवो वयांसि ।
 प्राणापानौ व्रीहियवौ तपश्च 
श्रद्धा सत्यं ब्रह्मचर्यं विधिश्च ॥ ७॥

From Him also Gods of various hierarchies are born. There are the celestials, the men, the animals and the birds. There are the in-breath and out-breath, the corn and barley, and austerity(तपश्च ); there are faith (devotion), truthfulness, sexual abstinence, and all the values of life (श्रद्धा सत्यं ब्रह्मचर्यं विधिश्च ).

2.1.8: “The Secret of Groups of Seven”

सप्त प्राणाः प्रभवन्ति तस्मात्
सप्तार्चिषः समिधः सप्त होमाः ।
सप्त इमे लोका येषु चरन्ति प्राणा
गुहाशया निहिताः सप्त सप्त ॥ ८॥

The Seven Pranas are born from HIM alone. The Seven flames [The Seven Tongues of Fire explained in First Mundaka, 2nd Khanda, Mantra no: 4], the Seven fold fuel, the Seven fold oblations; as also the Seven ” nodal points” or Chakras, where the Pranas are seated (distribution in the Body) in the “cave of the heart” (of all beings) lie all these in groups of Sevens.

2.1.9: Our Physical World:

अतः समुद्रा गिरयश्च सर्वेऽस्मात् 
स्यन्दन्ते सिन्धवः सर्वरूपाः । 
अतश्च सर्वा ओषधयो रसश्च 
येनैष भूतैस्तिष्ठते ह्यन्तरात्मा ॥ ९॥

From HIM arise oceans, rivers, mountains, herbs and their properties. And in the middle of the elements is the innermost Self.

2.1.10: Brahman and Universe is ONE.

पुरुष एवेदं विश्वं कर्म तपो ब्रह्म परामृतम् ।
एतद्यो वेद निहितं गुहायां
सोऽविद्याग्रन्थिं विकिरतीह सोम्य ॥ १०॥

The Purusha alone is this entire Universe– the sacrificial works and austerities. He is The Supreme Consciousness. This highest and immortal Brahman. He who knows this as seated in the cavity of the heart, unties the knot of ignorance even here in this very life, O good-looking son.

॥ इति मुण्डकोपनिषदि द्वितीयमुण्डके प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

Conclusion:

This Universe, including all subjects and all objects, is only a condition supported by the Supreme Consciousness, on the basis of which appearances are experienced by the cognizing individual and without which the Universe has no Reality. In fact, what is real in the Universe is nothing more and nothing less than the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss( Sat-Chit-Ananda). The names and the forms are not existent substances. When the Purusha is known, all is known. In fact there is no such thing as all, except this One Purusha. The Knowledge of the Purusha, therefore, means the absence of Duality which is the same as the destruction of Ignorance and attainment of Immortality and Absoluteness.

Recommended readings:

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

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

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

Introduction: 

Multiple paths are there to attain enlightenment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ashtanga Yoga” : Eight limbs are as follows.

1. Yama – Restraints.

2. Niyama – Observances.

3. Asana -Physical postures.

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

5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses.

6. Dharana – Concentration

7. Dhyana – Meditation.

8. Samadhi – Absorption.  

Principal Teachings of Yoga Sutras:

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

Details of Each of the Limbs of Yoga:

  1. Yama: The first “anga”  consists of prohibitions against unethical deeds. These are basically restraints. Following are to be noted: 
  • Ahimsa-Non violence:  Non-violence truly  meant here as  to refrain from causing harm , showing anger , being harsh to others including self. Killing and doing physical harm is common form of violence.  To maintain a life with non-violence, we need to have a heart with full of love for others irrespective of their attitudes towards us. That love  must be unconditional and universal. At the same time we must love ourselves equally.                                                                             
  • Satya-Truthfulness: : This means, on being firmly established in truthfulness ,the Yogi gets the power of attaining for himself  the fruits of work without the work . Results come to them automatically. This is the power of truth. It is believed that for an honest person who is in the path of truth, fear vanishes for him. Nothing to hide. Life becomes an open book. 
  • Asteya-Non-stealing: With the establishment of virtues like honesty, aspirant develops an intuitive awareness. Therefore we should curb our desires for the things which are not our own. Rather we should share our knowledge, our noble thoughts and material belongings to uplift others who are indeed needy ,instead of hoarding them for own benefits.                                                                                           
    Brahmacharya- celibacy:  Right use of energy: sutra 2.38 says ” Brahmacharya pratisthayam viryalabhah”.  It is about controlled and disciplined sex. Brahmacharya does not mean cut off from sex. According to explanations of the above sutras by the scholars it is said that “Virya” , the seminal fluid is our life. If stored properly, it can generate lot of energy. When absorbed into the system it gets transformed into prana. Conserved sexual energy in woman also gets transformed. Seminal fluid gives stamina and strength to the brain and nerves. 
  • Aparigraha- non possessing, non accumulation: sutra 2.37: ” Aparigraha sthairye janmakathamta sambodhah”  which means : On becoming steady in non-possessiveness, there arises the knowledge of how and from where is it generated. One of the most important virtues. This sutra teaches to give up tendency of accumulation of materials. Possession should be that much required to maintain life (necessary items).

2. Niyama : This second  limb (“anga” ) is composed of some injunctions to develop various ethical virtues. Following are the components of Niyama.

  • Saucha (cleanliness) :  Purity of body and mind.
  • Santosha ( Contentment): Very simple meaning.  To keep mind away from dwelling in the past or future. One should not  regret on missed opportunities and also need not worry about future. Contentment is  the way to live in present moment, NOW.    
  • Tapas (discipline, austerity etc.) : Mandates spiritual disciplines.  A state of spiritual maturity.  With the practice of austerity, all kinds of impurities are removed from body and mind. Austerity is very important in one’s life to ascend to higher state. 
  • Svadhyaya ( study of self and sacred texts): This sutra teaches for self-observation, study of scriptures, recitation of mantras and union  with the desired deity ( Ishta devata).                                                                     
  • Isvara Pranidhana (Total surrender to the Supreme being):  This sutra teaches Self surrender. Complete surrender to God.  Dedicated services for the welfare of others including mankind, animal kind, plants and nature. This practice is non selfish in nature. Without expectation of fruits of actions. This is the path of Karma Yoga.                   
At first sight, these 5 yamas and 5 niyamas might seem to resemble the 10 commandments of the Bible. Unless an aspirant has mastered these two steps of discipline, practice of subsequent steps of yoga will be ineffective.

The third anga ” Asana” is important part of Ashtanga Yoga. The importance is to make spine held erect and relaxed with the three upper parts of the body, the chest, the neck and the head in a straight line. This is required for nerve currents to channelize for further improvement in concentration. In Yoga culture around the world , some asanas are taught, which are very complex and performed with great difficulties. As such, aspirants remain busy with the perfection of asanas. Finally the essence of Yoga gets spoiled. Since they concentrate on asanas only, other seven limbs do not get due attention. Practicing asanas only becomes a part of Hatha Yoga which is mainly concerned with the maintenance of the health and attainment of longevity of the body. Getting too much engrossed in asanas will make a man body minded only.

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

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

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

The knowledge and control of this prana is known as pranayama.

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

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

Now we will discuss “pratyahara” the fifth anga.

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

Sixth anga: Dharana – Concentration: 

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

One pointed attention: Dharana is the process of fixing the attention of mind to a certain point. That may be any object of concentration (internal or external), sound, deity or  noble idea for the benefit of creation. After successful practices of first five limbs, one becomes ready for Dharana. It is the first step towards Dhyana (meditation). Practicing Dharana stops mind moving randomly and make it one-pointed concentration. As such it finds complete absorption in the present moment. Even one pointed concentration can be made by focusing on breath, or reciting mantras or concentrating on image of deity. 

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

In reality, normally mind remain fixed hardly for a very few minutes. Even if someone fixes mind on image of deity, yet mind wanders at numerous points or issues. Therefore it is important to practice first five limbs with full attention. “Pratyahara”  helps in attaining a mind without fluctuations, since withdrawals of senses bind the mind to a fixed point. It is impossible to concentrate unless the mind is purified. For that ,let us look into Sutra 1.33 (Samadhi Pada) to understand right methods for purification of mind which will help in concentration of mind. 

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


 Seventh Anga: Dhyana- meditation: 

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

Definition : DhyanaThe extension and lengthening of Dharana is Dhyana. Dharana continued without interruption is Dhyana. We have reached unto Dhyana after through practice, step by step, sequentially of  Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana. One cannot skip any of the above steps. All the steps are scientifically designed. That is the specialty of Ashtanga Yoga. If one has followed all the steps properly, then only Dhyana is possible. One has to change his or her way of life to reach unto this stage of Dhyana (concentration). Let us look into sutra 3.2 again for further analysis.  “tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam” :  If we now split the sloka like this =>>  tatra + pratyaya +ekatanata, then  tatra => means ” in that place” which refers to “desha” as mentioned in sutra 3.1.                                                                pratyaya=> means total content of mind which occupies the field of consciousness at a particular time.  Mind remains in continuous contact in Dharana.                                                                                                                                   Ekatanata=> means extending continuously without interruption. Before practicing Samadhi, this kind of un interrupted continuous Dhyana is essential for the aspirant. Obviously it is not an easy job but not impossible! 

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

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

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

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

Samadhi– The state of Cosmic Consciousness- the 8th anga: 

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

When Dhyana enters into Samadhi , the Gate which leads into the world of realities opens. Samadhi means a state of mind which through the practice of Dharana and Dhyana has become so  completely tranquil and the person meditating  is so absorbed that the he or she even forgets own existence.                Let us analyze the word “svaroopashoonyam”  of sutra 3.3. ” svaroopa” + shoonyam”  means that ” svaroopa” which is the residual consciousness of its own action disappears completely i.e. becomes “shoonyam” .

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

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

If we analyse the word “samyamah”  we will find it has two parts. Sama + Yama. Sama means perfection and Yama means control. In samyamah, mind dives completely in to an object or idea and gains complete knowledge of the object of attention down to its most subtle aspect. This gives rise to psychic powers called “Vibhuti”. Practice of Samyamah and mastery of its technique opens the door toward power and Siddhis.

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

Conclusion:

We have discussed about the means to reach the Goal , the last limb of Eight limbs.  If followed properly, the person will definitely feel joy and peace of mind which will accompany to the bed at the end of the day. Who does not want a peaceful sleep?  

All practices as mentioned above will make ways for state of “samyamah” which constitute Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Eight limbs as a whole constitute one complete path which leads the aspirant upwards. When the mind is set into a pattern, automatically one connection will be established with higher Self. That is individual’s experience which can be considered as Self-Realization

Recommended readings:

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

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

Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-3 of 4

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

Disclaimer:

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

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

ॐ ॥ अथ कठोपनिषद् ॥

Peace Invocation:-

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

प्रथमाध्याये तृतीया वल्ली॥  Introduction: 

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

Two Selves :The Universal Self and The Individual Self: 

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

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

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

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

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

इन्द्रियाणि हयानाहुर्विषयाँ स्तेषु गोचरान् ।
आत्मेन्द्रियमनोयुक्तं भोक्तेत्याहुर्मनीषिणः ॥ ४॥

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

The Intellect: Avijnanvan and Vijnanavan:

यस्त्वविज्ञानवान्भवत्ययुक्तेन मनसा सदा ।
तस्येन्द्रियाण्यवश्यानि दुष्टाश्वा इव सारथेः ॥ ५॥

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

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

The Destination: Reaching the Goal:

यस्त्वविज्ञानवान्भवत्यमनस्कः सदाऽशुचिः ।
न स तत्पदमाप्नोति संसारं चाधिगच्छति ॥ ७॥

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

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

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

The Route of the Journey: 

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

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

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

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

Self is seen only by Subtle intellect:

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

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

Successive Merging from Speech to Self:

यच्छेद्वाङ्मनसी प्राज्ञस्तद्यच्छेज्ज्ञान आत्मनि ।
ज्ञानमात्मनि महति नियच्छेत्तद्यच्छेच्छान्त आत्मनि ॥ १३॥

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

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

Subtlety of the Supreme Self:

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

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

Glory of the ” Nachiketas ” Knowledge:

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Notes:-

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

Recommended readings:

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

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

Next part : Path to realization of Atman

 

Essence of Kena Upanishad (KENOPANISHAD)

Essence of Kena Upanishad: 

Disclaimer:

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

Introduction: – 

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

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

Shanti Path:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story in short. Third part: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

  The fundamental question: Who we are ⁉️ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 First sloka of DRIG-DRISHYA VIVEKA: – 

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

Analysis: 

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

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

I am aware that whether, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: 

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

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

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

Recommended readings:

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

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

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

 

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

Disclaimer:

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

Introduction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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


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

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

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


Recommended readings:

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

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

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

Disclaimer:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sutra 1.11: " anubhootavishayasanpramoshah smritih"

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

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

sutra 1.12: " abhyasavairagyabhyan tannirodhah"

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

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

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

Conclusion!

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

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


Recommended readings:

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

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

              

 

 

 

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

Disclaimer: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction:

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

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

Dharana – Concentration: 6th anga: 

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

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

One pointed attention: Dharana is the process of fixing the attention of mind to a certain point. That may be any object of concentration (internal or external), sound, deity or  noble idea for the benefit of creation. After successful practices of first five limbs, one becomes ready for Dharana. It is the first step towards Dhyana (meditation). Practicing Dharana stops mind moving randomly and make it one-pointed concentration. As such it finds complete absorption in the present moment. Even one pointed concentration can be made by focusing on breath, or reciting mantras or concentrating on image of deity. 

Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi: These three limbs together lead aspirants to the ultimate goal.  In reality, normally mind remain fixed hardly for a very few minutes. Even if someone fixes mind on image of deity, yet mind wanders at numerous points or issues. Therefore it is important to practice first five limbs with full attention. “Pratyahara”  helps in attaining a mind without fluctuations, since withdrawals of senses bind the mind to a fixed point. It is impossible to concentrate unless the mind is purified. For that ,let us look into Sutra 1.33 (Samadhi Pada) to understand right methods for purification of mind which will help in concentration of mind. 

sutra 1.3 " maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukhadukhapunyapunyavisayanam bhavanataschittaprasadanam"

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


Dhyana- meditation: 7th anga.

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

Definition : DhyanaThe extension and lengthening of Dharana is Dhyana. Dharana continued without interruption is Dhyana. We have reached unto Dhyana after through practice, step by step, sequentially of  Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana. One cannot skip any of the above steps. All the steps are scientifically designed. That is the specialty of Ashtanga Yoga. If one has followed all the steps properly, then only Dhyana is possible. One has to change his or her way of life to reach unto this stage of Dhyana (concentration). Let us look into sutra 3.2 again for further analysis.  “tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam” :  If we now split the sloka like this =>>  tatra + pratyaya +ekatanata, then  tatra => means ” in that place” which refers to “desha” as mentioned in sutra 3.1.                                                                pratyaya=> means total content of mind which occupies the field of consciousness at a particular time.  Mind remains in continuous contact in Dharana.                                                                                                                                   Ekatanata=> means extending continuously without interruption. Before practicing Samadhi, this kind of un interrupted continuous Dhyana is essential for the aspirant. Obviously it is not an easy job but not impossible! 

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

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

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

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

Samadhi– The state of Cosmic Consciousness- the 8th anga: 

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

When Dhyana enters into Samadhi , the Gate which leads into the world of realities opens. Samadhi means a state of mind which through the practice of Dharana and Dhyana has become so  completely tranquil and the person meditating  is so absorbed that the he or she even forgets own existence.                Let us analyse the word “svaroopashoonyam”  of sutra 3.3. ” svaroopa” + shoonyam”  means that ” svaroopa” which is the residual consciousness of its own action disappears completely i.e. becomes shoonyam” .

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

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

If we analyse the word “samyamah”  we will find it has two parts. Sama + Yama. Sama means perfection and Yama means control. In samyamah, mind dives completely in to an object or idea and gains complete knowledge of the object of attention down to its most subtle aspect. This gives rise to psychic powers called “Vibhuti”. Practice of Samyamah and mastery of its technique opens the door toward power and Siddhis.

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

Conclusion!:

In this section, Vibhuti Pada, we have discussed about the means to reach the goal , the last limb of Eight limbs.  So far we have discussed Eight angas.  If followed properly, the person will definitely feel joy and peace of mind which will accompany to the bed at the end of the day. Who does not want a peaceful sleep?  

All practices as mentioned above will make ways for state of “samyamah” which constitute Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Eight limbs as a whole constitute one complete path which leads the aspirant upwards. When the mind is set into a pattern, automatically one connection will be established with higher Self. That is individual’s experience which can be considered as Self-Realization\

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

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


Recommended readings:

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

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

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

“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.

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