Yoga History

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Chapters Overview

WHAT IS YOGA

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DEFINTION!!

WHAT IS YOGA - DEFINTION!!

“Oneself who follow the path of YOGA is a Yogi or Yogin”
• Definition by Patañjali (पतञ्जलि); “Yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind

Definition by Swami SatyanandaSaraswati;

The word Yoga means “unity” or “oneness” and is derived from the Sanskrit word yui, which means to join. This unity or joining in spiritual terms as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. On a more practical level, yoga is means of balancing and harmonicing the body, mind and emotions. This is done through the practice of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, shatkarma and meditation, and must be achieved before union can take place with the higher reality.

Definition By BksIyengar;

it is the true union of our will with the will of god” “ Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, it was collated, co ordinated &systemazid by “ Patanjali” in his classical work: the yoga sutras, which consist 185 terse aphorism.

Definition By Bhagavad Gita:

: ( sixt chapter) Sri Krishna explains to Arunja the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain & sorrow: “ when mind,intellect& self under control, free from restless desiree, that they rest in spirit within, a man becomes Yukta-one in communication with God.”

Definition by Dr G. Feuerstein

1 Spiritual/traditional point of view; unity of the indicual with the universal consciousness
2 Anatomy: maintaining fine structure of the body through yogic lifestyle
3 Physiology: maintaining balance function in body
4 Chemistry : maintaining a fine homeostasis , establishing an equal balance of chemicals within the body a perfect equilibrium
5 Physics: Energies in body balanced, bio magnetic, bio electric & bio thermal energies, equal balance of electrical pulse
6 Light / Aura: maintaining a positive Aura
7 Quantum mechanics: involves keeping our microcosmic elements at one with the outer microcosmic consciousness
8 Psychological: Yoga establish a stillness in mind, so that it doesn’t identify with its past and suffer misery in its present state.
“ Yoga is the most valuable inheritance of the resent, it is essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow”

Definition By Bhagavad Gita:

: ( sixt chapter) Sri Krishna explains to Arunja the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain & sorrow: “ when mind,intellect& self under control, free from restless desiree, that they rest in spirit within, a man becomes Yukta-one in communication with God.”

Oral tradition:

In addition, the Yoga traditions are historically oral traditions, and some say the Yoga Sutras were not written down for at least a couple hundred years after they were systematized by Patanjali. During that period it was the custom for the entirety of the Yoga Sutras to be memorized as a part of the practice. This type of learning is still done today by a few teachers and students, though many of them now do this as an intellectual study of Sanskrit, rather than as an aid to practice and direct experience.

Patanjali

codified, or compiled in a systematic way, the art and science of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras

The Yoga Sutras:

succinctly outlines the art and science of Yoga for Self-Realization. Nothing new was created with the Yoga Sutras, but rather the ancient practices were summarized in an extremely organized and terse way.

While the Yoga Sutra itself is ancient, archaeological evidence:

and other texts suggest that the methods described in the Yoga Sutras were being practiced as early as 3000 BCE. Oral tradition states that the date may be even earlier.

However, for convenience sake

SPatanjali is spoken of as a single person, who might have been founder of the lineage. Although Patanjali is a surname of the lineage, there have also been several individuals with the name Patanjali, which may or may not have been related with the lineage relating to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Dates:

Scholars estimate that Patanjali lived some time between 400 BCE and 200 AD, though they are in disagreement about these dates. While the scholars debate the actual dates of Patanjali, oral tradition accounts for the apparent time differences by explaining that the name Patanjali is a surname, and is the name of a lineage and school of teachers, students, and sages, rather than being only one person.

Unbroken teaching:

: While the lineage of Patanjali may or may not have continued in unbroken sequence in the visible or recorded traditions in the plains of India, the practices of the Yoga Sutras have continuously been practiced by the sages of the Himalayas- ADIYOGA.

ADIYOGI- Guru Purnima

“The first YOGI by Sadhguru”

In the yogic culture;

Shiva is not known as a god, but as the Adiyogi or the first yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the yogic lore, over fifteen thousand years ago, Shiva attained to his full enlightenment and abandoned himself in an intense ecstatic dance upon the Himalayas. When his ecstasy allowed him some movement, he danced wildly. When it became beyond movement, he became utterly still.

People saw that he was experiencing something that nobody had known before, something that they were unable to fathom. Interest developed and people came wanting to know what this was. They came, they waited and they left because the man was oblivious to other people’s presence. He was either in intense dance or absolute stillness, completely uncaring of what was happening around him.
Soon, everyone left…

In the yogic culture;

Shiva is not known as a god, but as the Adiyogi or the first yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the yogic lore, over fifteen thousand years ago, Shiva attained to his full enlightenment and abandoned himself in an intense ecstatic dance upon the Himalayas. When his ecstasy allowed him some movement, he danced wildly. When it became beyond movement, he became utterly still.

Except for seven men.

These seven people were insistent that they must learn what this man had in him, but Shiva ignored them. They pleaded and begged him, “Please, we want to know what you know.” Shiva dismissed them and said, “You fools. The way you are, you are not going to know in a million years. There is a tremendous amount of preparation needed for this. This is not entertainment.”

The Adiyogi transformed himself into the Adi Guru;

the first Guru was born on that day which is today known as Guru Purnima.

On the banks of KantiSarovar, a lake that lies a few kilometers above Kedarnath, he turned South to shed his grace upon the human race, and the transmission of the yogic science to these seven people began.

The yogic science is not about a yoga class that you go through about how to bend your body – which every new born infant knows – or how to hold your breath – which every unborn infant knows. This is the science of understanding the mechanics of the entire human system.

After many years, when the transmission was complete

, it produced seven fully enlightened beings – the seven celebrated sages who are today known as the Saptarishis, and are worshipped and admired in Indian culture. Shiva put different aspects of yoga into each of these seven people, and these aspects became the seven basic forms of yoga. Even today, yoga has maintained these seven distinct forms.

Transmission of the yogic sciences to the seven rishis.

The Saptarishis were sent in seven different directions

to different parts of the world to carry this dimension with which a human being can evolve beyond his present limitations and compulsions. They became the limbs of Shiva, taking the knowing and technology of how a human being can exist here as the Creator himself, to the world. Time has ravaged many things, but when the cultures of those lands are carefully looked at, small strands of these people’s work can be seen, still alive. It has taken on various colors and forms, and has changed its complexion in a million different ways, but these strands can still be seen./div>

The Adiyogi brought this possibility that a human being need not be contained in the defined limitations of our species.


There is a way to be contained in physicality but not to belong to it. There is a way to inhabit the body but never become the body. There is a way to use your mind in the highest possible way but still never know the miseries of the mind.

So they started preparing

. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, they prepared. Shiva just chose to ignore them. On a full moon day, after eighty-four years of sadhana, when the solstice had shifted from the summer solstice to the winter solstice – which in this tradition is known as Dakshinayana – the Adiyogi looked at these seven people and saw that they had become shining receptacles of knowing. They were absolutely ripe to receive. He could not ignore them anymore. They grabbed his attention.He watched them closely for the next few days and when the next full moon rose, he decided to become a Guru

Whatever dimension of existence you are in right now, you can go beyond that – there is another way to live.

He said, “You can evolve beyond your present limitations if you do the necessary work upon yourself.” That is the significance of the Adiyogi.

YOGA-PRACTICE & NON ATTACHMENT

follow your inner path

Practice and non-attachment

Two core principles:
Practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya) are the two core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests.
It is through the cultivation of these two that the other practices evolve, by which mastery over the mind field occurs , and allows the realization of the true Self.

Abhyasa/Practice:

Abhyasa means having an attitude of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility.
To become well established, this needs to be done for a long time, without a break.
From this stance the deeper practice continues to unfold, going ever deeper towards the direct experience of the eternal core of our being.

Vairagya/Non-attachment:

The essential companion is non-attachment, learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.

They work together:

Practice leads you in the right direction, while non-attachment allows you to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked into the pains and pleasures along the way.
Supreme Non-attachment: Gradually, non-attachment expands to the depth of the subtlest building blocks (gunas) of ourselves and the universe, which is called paravairagya, supreme non-attachment. Eventually the three gunas resolve back into their cause during deep meditation, leading to final liberation

YOGA - IS CONCENTRATION

Focus your mind

Types of concentration

Stages:
Building upon practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya) the meditator systematically moves inward, through four levels or stages of concentration on an object and then progresses to the stage of objectless concentration.

Discrimination:
Developing a razor sharp discrimination from such concentration is the purpose of the eight rungs of Yoga and forms the finer tool for introspection.

All objects are in one of four stages:
Virtually all types, styles, methods, or objects of meditation are included in one of these four stages, levels, or categories The specific objects within those four stages are discussed in later sutras.

Savitarka/Gross:
relates to concentration on any gross object while still accompanied with other activities of the mind, including meditation on sensory awareness, visualized objects, the gross level of breath, attitudes, syllables of mantra, or streams of conscious thought.

Savichara/Subtle:
relates to subtle objects, after the gross have been left behind; the subtleties of matter, energy, senses, and the mind are, themselves, the objects of meditation, inquiry, and non-attachment.

Sananda/Bliss:
emphasizes the still subtler state of bliss in meditation. In this state, the concentration is free from the gross and subtle impressions that were at the previous levels.

Sasmita/I-ness:
focuses on I-ness, which is even subtler, as it relates to the I that is behind, or witness to all of the other experiences.

Objectless concentration:
The four stages (above) all have an object to which attention is directed (samprajnata). Beyond these four is objectless concentration , where all four categories of objects have been released from attention

YOGA - IS EFFORT & dicipline

push yourself to the limit

Efforts and commitment

Two kinds of aspirants:

described in sutras, both of whom can attain the goals of Yoga:

-Advanced: The first is those who have made tremendous advancement in previous lives and find samadhi easy to attain

-Others: Most people are of the second type, which means following fivetypes of effort and commitment.

Five core attitudes and goals to cultivate are:

  1. Shraddha: Developing the faith that you are going in the right direction
  2. Virya: Committing the energy to go there
  3. Smriti: Cultivating memory and mindfulness
  4. Samadhi: Seeking the states of samadhi
  5. Prajna: Pursuing the higher wisdom

Choose your level of practice:

In sutras, nine levels of practice and commitment are described, along with three further divisions for those doing intense practice. From those, you choose one of nine levels of practice and commitment for yourself.

Everybody can progress and can have direct experience, and it is very useful to be aware where you are in your practices; great freedom can come from that awareness.

Some who have attained higher levels (videhas) or know unmanifest nature (prakritilayas), are drawn into birth in this world by their remaining latent impressions of ignorance and more naturally come to these states of samadhi.

  • bhava = objective existence, becoming
  • pratyayah = cause, cognitive principle, content of mind, cognition
  • videha = bodiless, disembodied
  • prakriti = creative cause, subtlest material cause, nature
  • layanam = dissolved, merged into

The videhas are the disembodied ones who have attained higher levels, and the prakritiyas are those who have merged into prakriti, which is the subtlest material essence of the universe.

While this may be a somewhat advanced state, merging into prakriti is a detour, so to speak.

Pure consciousness is not experienced, but only the unmanifest prakriti.

Merging into prakriti is not the goal of Yoga.

Recall that this sutra is following through on sutras, which outline the four levels of samadhi on an object, and objectless samadhi. This sutra is describing one of two general types of approach to these samadhis.

YOGA- A 5 FOLD SYSTEMATIC PATH

CHOOSE YOUR INNER PATH

  • shraddha = unconditional faith, trust, confidence, belief, certainty
  • virya = energy, strength of will
  • smriti = memory, intentful remembrance, mindfulness
  • samadhi = deep absorption of meditation, entasy
  • prajna = wisdom, discernment, super cognitive
  • purvakah = preceding, coming before, prerequisite
  • itaresham = of other people

Most need to follow the second path, which is in the sutra just below. In other words, if one does not come into this world as a videha or prakritilaya yogi, then the five-fold path outlined in the next sutra is the one to follow.

FOLLOW a five-fold systematic path:

1) faithful certainty in the path,

2) directing energy towards the practices,

3) repeated memory of the path and the process of stilling the mind

4) training in deep concentration

5) the pursuit of real knowledge, by which the higher samadhi

is attained.

Simple, straightforward outline:

The five principles and practices in this sutra form a very simple, straightforward outline of the personal commitments needed to follow the path of Self-realization. It is very useful to memorize these five, and to reflect on them often. This five-point orientation works in conjunction with the eight rungs of Yoga.

Shraddha is a faith that you are moving in the right direction:

It is not a blind faith in some organization, institution, or teacher. Rather, it is an inner feeling of certainty that you are moving in the right direction. You may not know exactly how your journey is unfolding, but have an inner intuition of walking steadily towards the goal of life.

The ``faith`` of Yoga is not one of ``blind faith``:

as is the case with some, if not most religions. Oral tradition of Yoga suggests that the aspirant not merely “believe” in anything. Rather, it is suggested that one test the ideas in one’s own inner laboratory, with the “faith” of Yoga thus being based on direct experience. If one has practiced breath awareness and diaphragmatic breathing and finds that it leads to a calm, quiet mind, that direct experience is the foundation of the “faith” that continuing such breathing will, in the future, lead to similar experience of calm and quiet.

Virya is the positive energy:

of the ego that is the support for the faith of going in the right direction. This energy of virya puts the power behind your sense of knowing what to do. When you are strongly acting on what you know to be your correct path, that is virya. When you feel weak or uncertain, and are taking little action, that is from lack of virya. Virya is that conviction that says,

“I can do it! I will do it! I have to do it!”

Smriti is cultivating a constant mindfulness:

of treading the path, and of remembering the steps along the way. This memory is not a negative mental obsession, but rather, a gentle, though persistent awareness of the goal of life, of faith in your journey, and of your decision to commit your energy to the process. Smriti is also the practice of mindfulness of inner process, both witnessing at meditation time and during daily life.
Samadhi:

is intently pursued through the various stages of samadhi already described It means committing to systematically moving through the levels or stages of samadhi, and to using these skills of attention as the tools to discriminate the various forms of ignorance and remembering that this is a process of syste- matically moving through the ever finer levels of our being.

Prajna:

is the higher wisdom that comes from discrimination, and this wisdom is assiduously sought through the process of introspection utilizing the razor-sharp tool of Samadhi. Numerous levels of wisdom are experienced through the practices in Chapters 2 and 3, all of which are set aside with non-attachment

Constant remembrance:

by cultivating a constant remembrance of these five forms of efforts and commitments, the specific practices are all understood in this simple context. This helps a great deal to inspire one to follow through on doing the actual practices suggested throughout the Yoga Sutras.

“Those who pursue their practices with intensity of feeling, vigor, and firm conviction achieve concentration and the fruits thereof more quickly, compared to those of medium or lesser intensity.”

  • tivra = rate is fast, speedy
  • samvega = momentum, force, vigor, conviction, enthusiasm
  • asannah = very close, near, speedy

Intensity and rate of practice:

those who move forward quickly in their practices, and do so with intensity, the fruits of the practices are very close. There are two dimensions here. One is that of the speed at which one is moving, and the other is the intensity of effort behind it. There are three levels of each, meaning that there are nine levels of practice.

Choose one of nine ways to practice:

there is something very practical about these nine levels of practice. It is important to be aware of this. You may feel you have little training or time, and thus cannot progress. However, it is sometimes like the story of the race between the tortoise and the hare. While the rabbit is faster, the tortoise won the race because of a steady persistence. If you feel you are on the slow track, rather than the fast track, your gentle, loving persistence can bring great payoffs.

YOGA- EVERYONE CAN PRACTICE

YES, YOU CAN DO IT!
Optimum:

For most people, the Mild and Medium levels of practice are most important, due to the busy activities and duties of life.

With lots of time for Practice, but little Conviction:

It is very easy to think that the only way to progress is when you have retired from worldly life, such as a monk in a Himalayan cave may have done. This is simply not true. Such a person might have a great deal of time available, and know quite a few practices. However, with only mild conviction, little progress is made.

With little time for Practice, but lots of Conviction:

On the other hand, a person with little time might do only mild practice, but have a great intensity of conviction. Such a stance is a far superior way to progress on the path of enlightenment. Having little time is balanced by conviction at practice time and sincere cultivation of meditation in action.

 

For those with intense practices and intense conviction:

there are three more subdivisions of practice, those of mild intensity, medium intensity, and intense intensity.

  • mridu = mild, slow
  • madhya = medium, middling
  • adhimatra = intense, strong
  • tatah = from that
  • api = also
  • visheshah = differentiation, distinction

Three more divisions:

For those with intense practice and intense conviction, there are still three further divisions. Recall that in the last sutra , it was pointed out that such intensity means that attainment is near. With this further subdivision, that attainment also has three levels:

  • For those with mild intensity, attainment is imminent.
  • For those with medium intensity, attainment is more imminent.
  • For those with intense intensity, attainment is most imminent.

Everyone can practice:

For most people practicing Yoga meditation, these divisions help to make it clear that there really are levels of practice, and that everyone can practice. It is not a case where only the most ascetic meditators living in caves can attain. Rather, everyone can progress at his or her own comfortable rate.

YOGA - IS OM / What is AUM!

(Auṃ or Oṃ)  Sanskrit: ॐ
The lower curve represents the Gross, Conscious, and Waking state level, called Vaishvanara.

The center curve represents the Subtle, Unconscious, and Dreaming level, called Taijasa.

The upper curve represents the Causal, Subconscious, and Deep Sleep level, called Prajna.

The dot, point, or bindu represents the fourth state, the absolute consciousness, which encompasses, permeates, and is the other three, and is called Turiya.

The arc below the dot symbolizes the separateness of this fourth state, standing above, though ever remaining part of the other three.

The pure consciousness itself that is represented by AUM

is not colored the way that the samskaras are commonly colored. It is also not subject to the playing out of karmas, nor do actions cause the creation of new samskaras.

In that pure consciousness

the seed of omniscience has reached its highest development and cannot be exceeded

  • tatra = there, in that (in that special purusha)
  • niratishayam = unsurpassed, not exceeded by any others, limitless
  • sarvajna = all knowing (sarva = all; jna = knowing)
  • bijam = seed

The pure consciousness identified by AUM

is also the seed of pure knowledge or omniscience. That level of knowing is sought in the practice of OM.

This pure consciousness, being eternal in nature,

is the direct teacher of all of the ancient, earlier, or even the first of the teachers within humanity. In other words, some of the original teachers of humanity have learned directly from this pure consciousness, not from a human lineage of teacher-student, etc., whereby there is just a passing of information. This direct learning from the source continues to be available at all times and places, though the help of human teachers is surely a useful, if not essential aid.

From that consciousness

the ancient-most teachers were taught, since it is not limited by the constraint of time.

  • purvesham = of the first, former, earlier, ancient
  • api = too, also
  • guruh = teacher
  • kalena = by time
  • anavachchhedat = not limited by (time), no break or division, continuous

The sacred word designating this creative source is the sound OM, called pranava.

  • tasya = of that
  • vachakah = designator, signifier, indicator, term
  • pranavah = the mantra AUM or OM

AUM has a vibrational quality along with other meanings, one of which is as a designator or term to denote the pure consciousness referred to in the sutras above. The word pranavah literally translates as “humming.”

This sound

is remembered with deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents.(tat japah tat artha bhavanam)

  • tat = its
  • japah = repeated remembrance
  • tat = its
  • artha = meaning
  • bhavanam = understanding with feeling, absorbing, dwelling upon

It is important to remember not only the vibration (japa), but also the deep meaning of the mantra, rather than to perform merely parrot-like repetition in the mind.

From that remembering

comes the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles.

  • tatah = thence
  • pratyak = individual
  • chetana = consciousness
  • adhigamah = understanding, realization, attainment
  • api = also
  • antaraya = of obstacles or impediments
  • abhavash = absence, disappearance, removal
  • cha = and, also.

Two direct benefits ;

come from the proper practice of the OM mantra:

  • Obstacles will be removed.
  • It is a direct route to Self-realization.

If one is able to sincerely, devotedly, intensely practice the AUM mantra in the depth of its meaning, it is a complete practice unto itself.

YOGA- IS ``OM MANI PADME HUM`` Mantras

” Mantras rebalance your mind at anytime”

OM is a direct path:

Remembering the sound vibration of AUM (or OM), along with a deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents , brings both the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles that normally block that realization . In a sense, this practice is like a short cut, in that it goes directly to the heart of the process.

 

Systematically piercing the levels:

This practice takes one on a direct route inward, systematically piercing the levels of consciousness. It is done with sincerity and dedication towards the untainted creative source or pure consciousness , which AUM represents. That consciousness contains the seed of omniscience, which is the source of the teachings of all the ancient sages

Remember the meaning:

For it to have its effect, the sound of AUM is remembered with deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents.

 

From a special process of devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged, the coming of samadhi is imminent.

  • ishvara= creative source, pure consciousness, purusha, God, supreme Guru or teacher
  • pranidhana = practicing the presence, sincerity, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice
  • va= or

Through the sincere, dedicated, and devoted practice towards the pure consciousness known by words such as purusha, God, or Guru, which is symbolized by AUM, the results of samadhi come more quickly. In other words, the practice of following AUM through the levels of reality and consciousness is a short cut of sorts, meaning direct route to the center of consciousness

 

 

Systematically piercing the levels:

This practice takes one on a direct route inward, systematically piercing the levels of consciousness. It is done with sincerity and dedication towards the untainted creative source or pure consciousness , which AUM represents. That consciousness contains the seed of omniscience, which is the source of the teachings of all the ancient sages

That creative source:

is a particular consciousness that is unaffected by colorings , actions , or results of those actions that happen when latent impressions stir and cause those actions.(klesha karma vipakaashayaihaparamristahpurusha-visheshaishvara

  • klesha = colored, painful, afflicted, impure; the root klish means to cause trouble
  • karma= actions,
  • vipaka = fruits of, maturing, ripening
  • ashayaih = by the vehicles, resting place, storage of traces, propensities, accumulations
  • aparamristah = untouched, unsmeared
  • purusha-vishesha = a consciousness, a special or distinct purusha (purusha = a consciousness; vishesha = special, distinct)
  • ishvara = creative source, God, supreme Guru or teacher

 

Meaning of Ishvara:

In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one’s individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe.

 

YOGA - ALL OBSTACLES ARE REAL

“FACE IT & NEVER GIVE UP”

  • Obstacles and solutions& why Obstacles are to be expected:

There are a number of predictable obstacles (1.30) that arise on the inner journey, along with several consequences (1.31) that grow out of them. While these can be a challenge, there is a certain comfort in knowing that they are a natural, predictable part of the process. Knowing this can help to maintain the faith and conviction that were previously discussed as essential

 

Predictable Obstacles

Illness

Dullness

Doubt

Negligence

Laziness

Cravings

Misperceptions

Failure

Instability

 

Companions to those Obstacles

Mental and physical pain

Sadness and frustration

Unsteadiness of the body

Irregular breath

 

One-pointedness is the solution:

There is a single, underlying principle that is the antidote for these obstacles and their consequences, and that is the one-pointedness of mind (1.32). Although there are many forms in which this one-pointedness can be practiced, the principle is uniform. If the mind is focused, then it is far less likely to get entangled and lost in the mire of delusion that can come from these obstacles.

 

Remember one truth or object:

Repeatedly remember one aspect of truth, or one object. It may be any object, including one of the several that are suggested in the coming sutras . It may be related to your religion, an aspect of your own being, a principle, or some other pleasing object. It may be a mantra, short prayer, or affirmation. While there is great breadth of choice in objects, a sincere aspirant will choose wisely the object for this practice, possibly along with the guidance of someone familiar with these practices.

 

Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained

 

  • vyadhi= disease, illness, sickness
  • styana= mental laziness, inefficiency, idleness, procrastination, dullness
  • samshaya= indecision, doubt
  • pramada= carelessness, negligence
  • alasya = sloth, languor, laziness
  • avirati = sensuality, want of non-attachment, non-abstention, craving
  • bhranti-darshana = false views or perception, confusion of philosophies (bhranti = false; darshana = views, perception)
  • alabdha-bhumikatva= failing to attain stages of practice (alabdha = not obtaining; bhumikatva = stage, state, firm ground)
  • anavasthitatva = instability, slipping down, inability to maintain
  • chitta-vikshepa = distractions of the mind (chitta = mind field; vikshepa = distractions, diversions)
  • te= they are, these are
  • antarayah= obstacles, impediments

 

 

Comfort in knowing these are predictable:

If these are the impediments along the journey, then we can feel much more at ease when we encounter them. Instead of thinking, “Something is wrong with me,” we can see that these are predictable bumps along the road of spiritual life and unfoldment. If we know that such obstacles are going to come, and that other people before us have encountered them, then we can also follow their experience and guidance as to how to deal with these obstacles.

Distractions (chitta-vikshepa) come first:

These two principles (chitta-vikshepa and antarayah) are not just lumped together as one concept. They are separate, though work together. Seeing these two as separate reveals a big key to Yoga. First, one of these nine states of mind or mental impressions arises, and attention engages with them. They literally distract the attention from whatever else it was focused on at the time. That distraction comes first.

 

Then, they become obstacles (antarayah):

However, the second part of the process is that this distraction (chitta-vikshepa), once the engagement of attention remains fixed on the distraction, then also becomes an obstacle (antarayah), which is alive and rich with its painful disturbing qualities. Thus, it is a two part process, of the distraction occurring and then being followed by its becoming an obstacle. If the first part (the distraction) did not happen, then the second part (the obstacle) would not surface as being a problem.

 

Distraction and disturbance:

Distraction and disturbance are two different principles. Notice that there first must be distraction, and that this is followed by disturbance.

 

Key to the obstacles is to not be distracted: How to break the link between the distraction and the subsequent pain as an obstacle is then the key to freedom. It is suggested in sutra 1.32 (below) that the means of doing this is through making the mind one-pointed, or focused in such a way that the distraction does not come. In turn, the obstacle does not surface. It is an amazingly simple principle; so simple, in fact, that it is very difficult to entice ourselves to believe it and to practice it. Nonetheless, the ability to focus the mind is critical and worthy of great effort to cultivate.

 

From these obstacles;

there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are:

 

  1. mental or physical pain
  2. sadness or dejection,
  3. restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety
  4. irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.
  • duhkha= pain (mental or physical)
  • daurmanasya = sadness, despair, dejection, frustration, depression, anguish
  • angam-ejayatva = shakiness, unsteadiness, movement
  • shvasa= inhalation, inspiration
  • prashvasah = exhalation, expiration
  • vikshepa= distractions
  • sahabhuva= companions, accompaniments, correlates

These four arise because of the other nine:

four obstacles arise as a consequence of the nine that are given in the previous sutra. In one sense, it seems that all thirteen of these could be grouped together in one sutra. However, it’s useful in practice to see that these four come as a result of the other nine. If you look at these four closely, you’ll see that these are relatively easy to notice in yourself, compared to the other nine. When you see one of these four, it is a clue to you that something is going on at a subtler level. Then it is easier to see, and to adjust.

These four are good indicators of the subtler obstacles:

If you think of these in terms of other people, notice how easy it is to observe when someone is experiencing pain, dejection, restlessness of body, or irregularities of breath. You may not know the underlying reason, but you can sure spot the symptom on the surface. Similarly, we may not know that something is going on inside with ourselves, at the subtler level. Yet, if we observe our own gestures, body language, general level of pain and mood, we can more easily see that something is going on at the subtler level.

 

Seeing can lead to making changes:

Once those surface four lead you to awareness of the subtler obstacles, then it is much easier to take corrective action, to get back on track. At first, this can sound like a lot of intellectual analysis, but it is actually quite simple and extremely useful. You may discover that a simple refocusing back to your practices, your personally chosen philosophy of life, or useful attitudes will weaken those obstacles. Most importantly, it can be a reminder that you have temporarily lost your focus, and to return to one-pointedness.

 

To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.

  • tat = those, their
  • pratisedha= prevention, negation, neutralizing, prohibition, opposing, voiding, removal
  • artham = for, for the purpose of, in order to
  • eka = single
  • tattva = truth, principle, subject, reality
  • abhyasah= practice, cultivating that habit

One-pointedness is the solution:

There is a single, underlying principle that is the antidote for these obstacles, and that is the one-pointedness of mind. There are many forms in which this one-pointedness can be practiced, but once again, the principle is uniform. If the mind is focused, then it is far less likely to get entangled and lost in the mire of delusion that can come from these obstacles. Remember that the fundamental reason we do not experience enlightenment is the fact that consciousness is falsely identified with the many levels of conditioning.

Some specific suggestions are given in forthcoming sutras of ways to focus the mind so as to attenuate the effects of these obstacles.

 

Remember one truth or object: Repeatedly remember one aspect of truth, or one object. It may be any object, including one of the several that are suggested in the coming sutras. It may be related to your religion, an aspect of your own being, a principle, or some other pleasing object. It may be a mantra, short prayer, or affirmation. Here, in this sutra, the principle of one-pointedness is introduced as the antidote for the many obstacles mentioned in the previous sutras . While there is great breadth of choice in objects, a sincere aspirant will chose wisely the object for this practice, possibly along with the guidance of someone familiar with these practices.

 

This is preparation for meditation:

Sometimes it can seem that meditation is the means by which we learn to deal with these kinds of distractions. Actually, it is somewhat the other way around. We learn the basic principles of how to deal with the distractions so that we can subsequently meditate and experience the true Self, which is beyond the mind. However, we first have to stabilize the mind and deal with the distractions. It is that preparation that is being taught in these few sutras here , along with the specific suggestions for purifying the mind that are presented.

 

 

 

One-pointedness applies at all levels:

The principle of one-pointedness of mind as the antidote to obstacles continues throughout the subtler and subtle-most of the meditation practices. While it is essential at the beginning to neutralize the gross level of mental obstacles, it remains a key tool at all of the subsequent stages of practice. The nature of the obstacles might become subtler and subtler, but the nature of their disturbing, distracting quality is similar, as is the solution.

 

One-pointedness, practice, and non-attachment:

Recall that the two principles of abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment) were presented as the foundation for Yoga meditation. Here, the companion principle of one-pointedness for removal of obstacles is introduced. It is extremely useful to repeatedly reflect on how these three play together in a practical way. The commitment to practice, along with training the mind to be one-pointed, and cultivating non-attachment in relation to the many mental obstacles act together, in coordination, to bring the fruits of meditation.

 

This is not repression of thoughts and emotions:

Most people automatically learn the principle of one-pointedness as a way to deal with problems or obstacles in life, though the way it is done is often off target.

Getting absorbed in some hobby, sports activity, television, or some form of addiction each provide some sense of relief, but this can end up causing suppression and repression of thoughts and emotions. One-pointedness of this kind can lead to avoiding or escaping from matters at hand. This is not the intent of the one-pointedness of Yoga meditation. Rather, with the one-pointedness of Yoga, there is also an expansion of awareness of the inner world, coupled with non-attachment. It leads to freedom and openness, not to stifling and closed mindedness.

 

Focusing on the positive:

There is a commonly known principle of focusing on the positive attitudes, actions, or situations in life, while allowing the negative to gradually wash away. This focus on the positive is one of the practical applications of the principle of one-pointedness.

Over and over, in example after example, we find that this principle of staying focused is a universal process for health, healing, wholeness, and transcending the more external levels of our being so as to experience the Truth within.

 

Lifestyle of focus:

The spirit of one-pointedness is not merely a technique or method of meditation. It is an intentionality, a world view, a way of being. It is a process of developing a lifestyle where you pay attention to what you are doing, while being ever mindful of the subtler aspects of our being. Whatever we do, say, or think, there is a gentle, persistent awareness that is one of focus, rather than distraction. The yogi consciously cultivates this lifestyle of attention, focus, or one-pointedness, while remaining aware of the rest, ever expanding in awareness.

 

Many means of one-pointedness:

In the forthcoming sutras , several specific methods are suggested for one-pointedness. These include cultivation or meditation on four attitudes, breath awareness, awareness of sensing, focus on inner luminosity, contemplating on a clear mind, witnessing the stream of thoughts, or choosing whatever focus is found to be pleasing and useful.

 

 

YOGA- CLEANING THE MIND

“Let go of all obstacles”

  • Stabilizing and clearing the mind

Reparing for subtler practices:

Stability and clarity of mind are necessary before being able to experience the subtler meditations or samadhi.

 

One-pointedness brings fitness for meditation:

The specialized training of an olympic athlete rests on a solid foundation of generalized physical fitness. Similarly, generalized training in one-pointedness is necessary so that meditation practices can advance. The particular methods suggested in these Sutras relate to the removal of obstacles through one-pointedness, as suggested in the previous sutras

  • Four attitudes with people: The first method deals with meditation on four types of attitudes towards people, including friendliness or lovingness, compassion or support, happiness or goodwill, and neutrality or acceptance.
  • Five suggestions for focus: Five specific suggestions of objects for focus of attention are given, including breath awareness, sensation, inner luminosity, contemplation on a stable mind, and focusing on the stream of the mind.
  • Whatever you choose: Lastly, you might practice one-pointedness on whatever you find pleasing and useful.

Don’t skip the basics:

Skipping such basic training of the mind is tempting, but is a serious mistake for a student of meditation, and might result in meditation becoming nothing but a fight with your mind.

 

Few will go beyond these:

Many schools of meditation emphasize only one method, such as meditation on kindness , breath , or some other object , failing to note that, while extremely useful, these are only preparatory practices for the subtler meditations and samadhi, as described in later chapters . Most people will settle for the calming benefits of the preparation, and will not pursue the subtler meditations that lead to Self-realization.

 

Stabilizing versus discriminative knowledge:

It is very important to note that these contemplations are used to stabilize and clear the mind. The later practices are used for discriminative knowledge. For example, if you are contemplating on friendliness , this is not being done to discriminate that it is a part of avidya or ignorance , and thus, set aside. In the later practices, you are discriminating and setting aside what is due to avidya or ignorance .

 

Meditation Practice:

There is a meditation practice described in the Bindu article, which draws upon the nine practices outlined in Yoga Sutras

 

In relationships:

the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.

  • maitri= friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
  • karuna= compassion, mercy
  • mudita= gladness, goodwill
  • upekshanam = acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality
  • sukha = happy, comfortable, joyous
  • duhka = pain, misery, suffering, sorrow
  • punya = virtuous, meritorious, benevolent
  • apunya = non-virtuous, vice, bad, wicked, evil, bad, demerit, non-meritorious,
  • vishayanam = regarding those subjects, in relation to those objects
  • bhavanatah = by cultivating habits, by constant reflection, developing attitude, cultivating, impressing on oneself
  • chitta= mind field, consciousness
  • prasadanam = purified, clear, serene, pleasant, pacified, undisturbed, peaceful, calm

Each attitude is a type of meditation:

Each of these four attitudes (friendliness, compassion, goodwill, and neutrality) is, in a sense, a meditation unto itself. While it is actually a preparation practice, it has become popular to use the word meditation in a very broad way, rather than as the specific state of dhyana, as normally used by the yogis. Some schools of meditation base their entire approach on one or more of these four attitudes. However, to the seeker of the absolute reality, these are practiced as valuable steps along the journey, but not the end itself.

 

Getting free from negativity with other people:

the question is posed as to what to do when one does not act or think in accordance with yogic values such as non-violence, but rather, has negative emotions. What is one to do with such strong negative thought patterns? The suggestion is made in those sutras, that we cultivate an opposite attitude by reminding ourselves (through internal dialogue) that holding onto this negative attitude is going to do nothing but bring unending pain and misery . It also points out that, in terms of the inner reaction and effects, there is really no difference between three kinds of actions:

  • We, ourselves carrying out such a negative act 
  • Soliciting another person to do it for us, or 
  • Approving of the act when it happens, but without our effort. 

To work with these four attitudes:

of friendliness, compassion, goodwill, and neutrality specifically, we can make much easier progress with the practices of the yamas and the instructions to cultivate the opposite when we become negative .

 

Four perceptions of other people to cultivate:

Here, in this practice, four specific types of people are mentioned (happy, suffering, virtuous, non-virtuous), how we perceive them, and what attitudes we might cultivate to stabilize, purify, or calm our own mind (attitudes of friendliness, compassion, goodwill, and neutrality).

 

These four encompass most of our relationships:

By memorizing these four, and actively observing them in daily life, and during daily quiet time, it is much easier to see the vagaries of the mind, and to regulate them. Having a short list of four makes the process pretty easy to do. Many, if not most or all, of our relationship challenges with people encompass one or more of these four.

 

Have a specific antidote for each:

Having a specific attitude to cultivate for each of the four also makes cultivating change much easier to do. It does not mean that you replace all of your other fine ideas about how to have good people relationships, but these four sure do make a useful practice.

 

Towards those who are happy or joyful

We might feel & Better to cultivate.

 

Resistance/distance:

Remember how it is that sometimes when you are not having such a good day, you might resist being around other people who are feeling happy or joyful. It is very easy to unintentionally have a negative attitude towards them at such a time, even if they are your friends or family members. This is not to say that your mind is being 100% negative, but it is the tendency, however small, that we want to be mindful of. It is not about setting ourselves up for an over expectation of perfection, but a gradual process of clearing the clouded mind so that meditation can deepen.

 

Friendliness/kindness:

If you are mindful about this normal tendency of the mind, then you can consciously cultivate an attitude of friendliness and kindness when you are around these happy people, or when you think about them. This conscious act of being mindful of the negative tendency of mind, and actively promoting the positive and useful has a stabilizing effect and brings inner peace and calm. It is being mindful that the mind often holds both sides of the attraction and aversion, positive and negative. Here, we want to be aware of both, but cultivate the positive and useful.

 

 

Towards those who are in pain or suffering

We might feel & Better to cultivate.

 

Imposition/frustration:

You might normally think of yourself as being a loving, caring, compassionate person. Yet, notice how easy it is to feel the opposite when someone around you is sick. You have other plans and suddenly some family member gets sick, or there is an extended illness in the family. Surely you care for them, but it is also a habit of the mind to feel somewhat imposed upon. Again, we are not talking about some 100% negativity or psychopathology. These are normal actions of mind that we are systematically trying to balance and make serene.

 

Compassion/support:

It is good to observe that inclination of the mind, however small. It just means to be mindful of it, while at the same time consciously cultivating compassion and support for others who are suffering. It does not mean acting, or suppressing the contrary thoughts and emotions. It does mean being aware, and lovingly choosing to act out of love. Again, we want to be mindful of the habits of mind. Unawareness leaves disturbances in the unconscious that will disturb meditation. Awareness allows freedom and peace of mind.

 

 

Towards those who are virtuous or benevolent

We might feel & Better to cultivate:

 

Inadequate/jealous:

We all want to be useful, to be of service to our families, friends, and other people, whether in our local community or across the world. Often we privately may feel there is more we could do, but that we are just not doing it. Jealousy and other negative emotions can easily creep in when somebody else is sincerely acting in virtuous or benevolent ways. We can unconsciously push against such people, whether we know them, or they are publicly known people.

 

Happiness/goodwill:

Better that we cultivate attitudes of happiness and goodwill towards such people. It is not always easy to cultivate such positive attitudes when, inside, we are feeling negative. But something very interesting happens as we become a neutral, non-attached witness to our inner process. That is, humor comes; the mind is seen to be a really funny instrument to watch, in all of its many antics. Then the happiness and goodwill seems to come naturally.

 

 

Towards those who we see as bad or wicked

We might feel & Better to cultivate:

 

Anger/aversion:

Most of us have some limits of what we find as acceptable behavior. We might sincerely hold the belief that all people are pure at their deepest level. Yet, are there not some individuals you think to be dishonest, cruel, mean, or even wicked, or evil? Are there not some behaviors that you consider so outside of acceptable conduct that it strongly causes you to feel anger and frustration? Even if you really feel strongly about some other person in this way, is it not also true that you, yourself, carry the burden of this? How to be free from that is the question.

 

Neutrality/acceptance:

To counterbalance the negative feelings toward someone you feel is bad, wicked, or lacking in virtue, the antidote is to cultivate an attitude of neutrality, indifference, acceptance, or equanimity. It can be difficult to cultivate this attitude, since it might make us think we are approving of their bad behavior. We seek the neutrality of inner balance and equanimity, which does not mean approving of the person’s actions. In fact, cultivating attitudes of neutrality might go a long way in being able to cause change. It surely helps to stabilize and clear the mind for meditation.

Intentional meditation on these four attitudes:

During daily meditation time, it can be very useful to spend some time reflecting on these four attitudes.

You might do them all, or you might practice with only one of them for an extended period of time.

Simply choose one of the four attitudes and allow some person or persons to arise in the mind field.

You will notice your reactions, the coloring mentioned earlier.

 

As your attention rests on that inner impression of that person, allow yourself to cultivate the positive or useful attitude. Gradually, the negativity or coloring weakens or attenuates .

 

This is part of the preparation for meditation.

 

Talk to yourself:

When you notice any of the negative attitudes above, it is very useful to literally remind yourself that this is not useful. You might literally say to yourself:

“Mind, this is not useful. This attitude is going to bring nothing but pain. You need to let go of this.”

It is also good to remind yourself, “I need to cultivate friendliness with this person”

 

What to do with really “bad” people:

It is common for meditators to question these four attitude meditations in relation to really “bad” people such as certain political or religious leaders, present or historical.

How can I feel friendliness, compassion, goodwill, or acceptance towards someone like “him?” I’ll not mention any names here, but you can easily think of some of them yourself. It can sound like Yoga is suggesting that we agree with, or validate the behavior of such people, which is not the case. The questions of approving of behavior and dealing with our own internal states are very different issues.

 

Sometimes I find that shallow understanding

is a good tool for deeper understanding. Without using examples of known historical or present public figures, instead ask yourself how useful it would be to continue to hold animosity towards some childhood friend who did something to hurt you. That person is far in your distant past, yet here is the mind continuing to hold on to that coloring of aversion.

We each get to decide whether holding on to this kind of mind impression is serving us, or whether we would prefer that the coloring drift away, leaving the mere memory to be neutral. Choice rests with each of us.

 

The uncoloring approach is a part of yoga.

 

How these attitudes are mastered:

While these four practices are used from the very beginning to stabilize and clear the clouded mind, the practice becomes far more subtle in later stages of meditation. Once there is an ability to perform samyama , then each of these four become objects themselves for examination with the razor-sharp focus and absorption of samadhi. This later practice, done with this subtler, finer intensity brings the perfection of that attitude.

This process is described in sutra.

 

The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath, particularly attending to exhalation and the natural stilling of breath that comes from such practice.

  • prachchhardana = gentle exhalation through the nostrils
  • vidharanabhyam = expansion or regulation, control
  • va= or (or other practices in 1.34-1.39)
  • pranasya= of prana

Awareness of breath:

One of the finest methods there is to stabilize and calm the mind is breath awareness. First, be aware of the transitions between the breaths, and allow them to be smooth, without an abrupt transition, and without pausing between breaths. Consciously practice seeing how delicately smooth you can make the transitions. Allow the breath to be quiet, and to have no jerkiness.

 

Elongation of exhalation:

Second, after establishing sound and steady awareness of the breath, allow the exhalation to gradually elongate, such that the amount of time spent exhaling is longer than the amount of time inhaling. The air will move outward more slowly with exhalation than with inhalation. Gradually allow the ratio to be two to one, where the exhalation is approximately twice as long as the inhalation. Pranayama is often translated as breath control. The root ayama actually means lengthening. Thus, pranayama more specifically means lengthening the life force.

 

Not rechaka, puraka, and kumbhaka:

There are other breathing practices that include rechaka (exhalation), puraka (inhalation) and kumbhaka (intentional holding of the breath). These practices are not the intent here in this sutra, particularly not the practice of breath retention. Though these may be useful practices at some stage of practice, they are not the subject of this sutra in relation to stabilizing the mind and making it tranquil.

 

The inner concentration

on the process of sensory experiencing, done in a way that leads towards higher, subtle sense perception; this also leads to stability and tranquility of the mind.

  • vishayavati= of the sensing experience
  • va = or (or other practices in 1.34-1.39)
  • pravritti = higher perception, activity, inclinations
  • utpanna= arising, appearing, manifesting
  • manasah= mind, mental, manas
  • sthiti = stability, steadiness, stable tranquility, undisturbed calmness
  • nibandhani = firmly establishes, causes, seals, holds

Meditation on the means of sensing:

This practice is on becoming aware of the inner process of sensation (not merely the objects), using the five cognitive senses (indriyas) of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing. It does not mean pursuing the object that you are experiencing, such as the sound you are hearing or the image you are seeing. Rather, it means trying to become aware of sensing itself. Initially, the sensing is at a more surface or gross level. Ultimately, the intent of the practice is to witness the higher or subtler inner senses.

 

Concentration on a painless inner state

of lucidness and luminosity also brings stability and tranquility.

  • vishoka = state free from pain, grief, sorrow, or suffering
  • va = or (or other practices in 1.34-1.39)
  • jyotishmati = the bright effulgence, lucidity, luminosity, inner light, supreme or divine light

Concentration on painless inner luminosity:

The easiest way to practice this is to place your attention in the space between the breasts, the heart center. Simply imagine that there is a glowing luminosity there, about the size of the palm of your hand. Whether or not you literally see with your inner eye is not important; the practice works either way. Maintain an inner attitude that it does not matter what other thoughts, images, impressions or memories might arise in the mind field; you will hold that stance that these will not disturb or distract you.

 

Stay only with that glowing inner luminosity in the heart.

 

 

Contemplating on having a mind that is free from desires:

the mind gets stabilized and tranquil.

  • vita = without, devoid of
  • raga = attachment, desires, attraction
  • vishayam = objects of the senses
  • va = or
  • chittam = of the consciousness of the mind-field

Imagine a mind free from desire:

One way to do this practice is to think of some great sage, yogi, or spiritual person you respect. Simply imagine what their mind would be like if they were sitting quietly for meditation. Then, pretend that your own mind is as quiet as you think his or hers would be. It is a trick of your own mind to imagine in this way, but it is an extremely useful practice for stabilizing your own mind.

 

Imagine your own mind free from desire:

Another method is to imagine what your own mind would be like if it were temporarily free from any desires, wants, wishes, attractions, aversions, or expectations. It is like a game you are playing with yourself, wherein you see if you can pretend that your mind is in this tranquil state.

 

With a little practice, this works amazingly well.

 

Focusing on the nature of the stream in the dream state or the nature of the state of dreamless sleep, the mind becomes stabilized and tranquil.(svapnanidrajnanaalambanamva)

  • svapna= dream (focusing on the nature of the state of dreaming itself, not the content of dreams)
  • nidra = sleep (focusing on the state itself, as an object)
  • jnana = knowledge, study, investigation, awareness, observation
  • alambanam = having as support for attention, object of concentration
  • va = or

Meditation on the states of the unconscious:

Focusing on the stream of the dream state or the nature of dreamless sleep will stabilize the mind and make it stable. It is extremely important to note that this is not meaning dreaming or dream analysis. To learn to allow these streams to flow, and to witness that stream is very calming. To witness the stream is a stabilizing influence, not a deep meditation or samadhi beyond the mind.

 

Contemplating or concentrating:

on whatever object or principle one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind becomes stable and tranquil.

  • yatha= as, according to
  • abhimata = one’s own predisposition, choice, desire, want, like, familiarity, agreeableness
  • dhyanat = meditate on
  • va = or (or other practices above in sutras 1.34-1.39)

Meditate on the object of your predisposition:

This sutra is making it very clear that the key principle in the stabilizing of the mind and the removal of obstacles is one-pointedness. Obviously, saying that one may focus on any object or principle that one feels predisposed towards is a broad statement. Wisdom should guide the choice of object for concentration.

 

We already know this:

Virtually everybody already knows this principle of focusing on something enjoyable as a means of stabilizing the mind.

 

The relative usefulness of the object

chosen is a very different matter.

Watching television, playing a game, listening to music, having a conversation, or many other activities may concentrate the mind enough to partially let go of the mental chatter from the activities of the day.

 

While the principle of one-pointedness is in all of these, and may have some benefit, the meditator will learn to choose more refined objects to stabilize the mind for meditation.

 

Remember,

in this section we are talking about stabilizing and clearing the mind, not about deep meditation itself. This level of one-pointedness provides the stable foundation for the subtler meditation practices.

 

Mantra:

One of the finest means of focusing, training and stabilizing the mind is through mantra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOGA - IS PEACE of MIND

” Inhale-Exhale-Inhale & let go”

  • Results of stabilizing the mind

 

Mind becomes like a transparent crystal:

Once the mind is reasonably stabilized and clear (1.33-1.39), the deeper process of Yoga can begin. The mind eventually becomes like a transparent crystal (1.41), and is a purified tool for the subtler explorations of the gross and subtle levels. Such a mind can explore the whole range of objects, even the smallest or largest.

 

Four levels of meditation on an object: There are only four levels of meditation on an object. These are systematically experienced, all the way to the level of unmanifest matter:

  • With gross thoughts, savitarkasamapattih
  • Without gross thoughts, nirvitarkasamapattih
  • With subtle thoughts, savicharasamapattih
  • Without subtle thoughts, nirvicharasamapattih

Fruits of the meditations:

From these meditations on gross and subtle objects come purity and inner luminosity, higher wisdom, reducing of the impressions that drive karma , and the experience of objectless samadhi.

 

Accompanying practices:

Along with these practices are the whole range of meditation practices in Chapters 2-4, including minimizing gross colorings , dealing with subtle thoughts , the eight rungs of Yoga, and the subtler explorations through samyama.

 

When, through such practices as previously described in the mind develops the power of becoming stable on the smallest size object as well as on the largest, then the mind truly comes under control.

  • parma-anu= from the minutest
  • parama-mahattva = ultimate magnitude
  • antah = end, extending to
  • asya= of this, of his or hers; who has
  • vashikarah = mastery, power

Mind under control becomes a tool:

When the mind is under control (vashikara), then that mind can be used as an instrument to explore the subtler components of the mind field, including the samskaras themselves, which are the deep impressions driving karma (actions). This control, this ability to focus on the smallest or largest is not the goal in itself. It is not a matter that some power has come that inherently means you have attained some final goal. Rather, it is clear evidence of having trained the instrument of mind. Then that mind is used as a tool, in ways unimaginable previously.

Vyasa: “Entering into the subtle it attains the position of steadiness upon the smallest of the small, down to an atom. Entering into the large, the position of mental steadiness reaches up to the largest of the large. His great power consists in not being turned back by any check while running along both these lines.

 

The mind of the Yogi, full of this power, does not again stand in need of the mental embellishment due to habitual practice.”

 

When the modifications of mind have become weakened:

the mind becomes like a transparent crystal, and thus can easily take on the qualities of whatever object observed, whether that object be the observer, the means of observing, or an object observed, in a process of engrossment called samapattih.

  • kshinna-vritti= with modifications of mind weakened (kshinna = weakened; vritti = modifications of mind)
  • abhijatasya = transparent, purified
  • iva= like
  • maneh = of a crystal
  • grahitri= the knower, apprehender, observer
  • grahana = process of knowing or apprehending, instrument of knowing
  • grahyeshu = the knowable, knowledge, apprehended objects
  • tat-stha = remaining in it, being stable on them, on which it stays or rests
  • tat-anjanata= taking on the coloring of that, coalescing with, appearing to take the shape of the object
  • samapattih = engrossment, coincidence, complete absorption, transmute into likeness, total balance

What is samapattih or engrossment?: Four categories of meditation were mentioned in sutra 1.17 (savitarka, savichara, sananda, and sasmita). When the mind becomes concentrated and the extraneous thought patterns begin to subside (as a result of the persistent practice of one-pointed meditation), the mind can then be not only concentrated, but also more thoroughly engrossed in the object of meditation. It is a sort of inner expansion of attention on the object of meditation, and that engrossment is called samapattih.

 

A mind like a crystal is a tool: Just like the last sutra, this too is a sign of a trained mind. When the mind is like a crystal, it has no coloring of its own. It means that when you place your attention on some inner object, such as a samskara or deep habit pattern, your mind field is able to fill with awareness of that object. Having the mind be like a crystal is not the end unto itself, but allows the mind to become a still subtler tool.

Mind becomes clear, like a transparent crystal, so that whatever is witnessed is seen clearly, as it is.In this way the deep impressions or samskarasthat drive karma can been encountered, purified,and transcended, allowing pure consciousness,purusha, to rest in its true nature .

 

When you put the focus of the crystal:

like mind on an object, then there comes the insight, the awareness of its true nature as being just another manifestation of prakriti (primal matter). This opens the door to true non-attachment to that object, as the coloring falls away. Having the mind as clear as crystal makes the mind a tool for the subtler process that removes the barriers or obstacles clouding the true Self, which then stands alone in its true nature .

 

One type of such an engrossment (samapattih)

is one in which there is a mixture of three things, a word or name going with the object, the meaning or identity of that object, and the knowledge associated with that object; this engrossment is known as savitarkasamapattih

  • tatra = there, among these, in that
  • shabda = sound, word
  • artha = meaning
  • jnana = knowledge, idea
  • vikalpah = with options
  • sankirna = mixed with, commingled, interspersed
  • savitarka = accompanied with gross thoughts
  • samapattih= engrossment, coincidence, complete absorption, transmute into likeness

Engrossment with gross objects:

The first of four levels of that engrossment is savitarkasamapattih, meaning that vitarkas, or gross thoughts, still exist while the engrossment increases. Once the mind is stabilized and clear enough to witness like it is a crystal, the mind becomes fully engrossed (samapattih) in the object of meditation. Savitarkasamapattih is the first of four types of engrossment on an object.

 

Non-attachment:

Along the way, each of the gross objects is encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment, as it is seen to be not-self. By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self.

 

All meditations on an object are 1 of 4 types:

There are only four types of meditation on a gross object regardless of what system or school of meditation one follows. These are:

  • With gross thoughts, savitarkasamapattih 
  • Without gross thoughts, nirvitarkasamapattih
  • With subtle thoughts, savicharasamapattih 
  • Without subtle thoughts, nirvicharasamapattih 

Relating to gross objects SavitarkaSamapattih:

Four categories of meditation were mentioned above (Savitarka, Savichara, Sananda, and Sasmita). When the mind becomes concentrated and the extraneous thought patterns begin to subside (as a result of the persistent practice of one-pointed meditation), the mind can then be not only concentrated, but also more thoroughly engrossed in the object of meditation. It is a sort of inner expansion of attention on the object of meditation, and that engrossment is called Samapattih. The first level of that engrossment is SavitarkaSamapattih, meaning that Vitarkas, or gross thoughts, still exist while the engrossment increases.

 

NirvitarkaSamapattih:

Nirvitarka is concentration on a gross object in which there are no longer any extraneous gross level activities in the mind because of the memory having been purified. Notice that with Savitarka, there was not only meditation on the object, but also there were the other thought streams in the mind, though these were not distracting due to vairagya (non-attachment). Here, in Nirvitarka, these thought patterns have subsided.

Relating to subtle objects SavicharaSamapattih:

Beyond both Savitarka and Nirvitarka is Savichara. With Savichara, the gross thoughts (Vitarkas) have subsided, but there are still subtle thought patterns, which are called Vichara. SavitarkaSamapattih and SavicharaSamapattih are similar processes, though one is on gross thoughts, while the other relates to subtle thoughts.

NirvicharaSamapattih:

Nirvichara is concentration in which there are no longer any extraneous gross or subtle activities in the mind This purity of mind comes through the processes of meditation and non-attachment. In NirvicharaSamapattih, the engrossed mind completely takes on the coloring of the subtle object of meditation, much like a pure crystal will take on the coloring of whatever color it is near. With increasing mastery of Nirvichara, the eternal Self begins to shine for the aspirant.

These four types of meditation on an object extend all the way to the direct experience of unmanifest matter, or prakriti (1.45). Thus, as one progresses in meditation, not only are individual objects witnessed and set aside with non-attachment (1.15), but entire levels of meditation on objects are transcended.

Discerning Parts of an Object:

After one has the initial ability to allow the otherwise noisy, chattering conscious mind to become quiet, there comes a time for discriminating between the three different aspects of how a mental object is constructed.

These three are:

  1. the Word or Name that represents the object,
  2. the specific Object being observed,
  3. the Knowledge or Nature of that category of object.

Gradually:

the meditator comes to see that all of our attractions, aversions and fears, as well as our conceptions, perceptions and opinions are all mental constructs. This process of discrimination gets ever subtler, until the final discernment between the subtlest aspect of mental process and pure consciousness or Purusha

Keeping in mind the three “parts” of an object described above, note that:

  1. Each of the three objects below would be referred to by the name or word “apple.”
  1. Each specific “apple” is different from the other two.
  1. However, each of them has an essence or nature of “apple-ness” that is in each.

  1. Each of the three objects below would be referred to by the name or word “apple.”

 

  1. Presuming that these three are stages of the same “apple” there is, nonetheless a difference.

 

  1. Yet, the subtle “apple-ness” essence is existent in each.

 

     

One of the ways of describing the systematic process of Yoga meditation is that of systematically discerning the difference between names or words, the specific object referred to by those names or words, and uncovering the underlying essence.

 

In this way we gradually examine the ever subtler aspects of our own being and discover that none of our false identities is actually who we are. Even the next subtler level is, itself, eventually discovered to be just one more level or layer of false identity.

In the example of apples, this is like first discovering the essence of apple-ness in meditation, and subsequently discovering that even apple-ness is just a manifestation of something subtler, such as of the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space.

 

Eventually we discover that “who I am” is pure Consciousness itself, or Purusha.

The true Self stands alone, as is described in sutras. The final discernment relates to setting aside even the finest aspect of our entire mental process, which is sattvicbuddhi.

 

In commenting on this sutra, the sage Vyasa uses the cow to make the point of discriminating between word, object, and essential knowledge. So, here is the example of cows, which is just like the apples above or the cars further below.

 

This principle is so extremely important

to understand that all of these visual examples are provided here. Note that each of these is called “cow” even though the objects referred to are different. Yet, in each is the essence or nature of “cow-ness.” Like the apples and the cars, we seek to know cow-ness so that it too can be transcended.

 

 

When the memory or storehouse of modifications of mind:

is purified, then the mind appears to be devoid of its own nature and only the object on which it is contemplating appears to shine forward; this type of engrossment is known as nirvitarkasamapattih.

  • smriti = of memory
  • pari-shuddhau = upon purification
  • svarupa-shunya= devoid of its own nature
  • iva= as it were
  • artha-matra = only the object (artha = object; matra = only)
  • nirbhasa = illuminative, shining brightly
  • nirvitarka = without a gross thought (nir = without; vitarka = gross thought)

When the extraneous gross thoughts fall away:

Nirvitarka is concentration on a gross object in which there are no longer any extraneous gross level activities in the mind because of the memory having been purified. This is the second of four types of engrossment on a gross object. Notice that with savitarka, there was not only meditation on the object, but also there were the other streams of gross thoughts in the mind, though these were not distracting due to vairagya (non-attachment).

Here, in nirvitarka, these thought patterns have subsided.

 

Non-attachment:

Along the way, each of the gross objects is encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment as it is seen to be not-self. By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self.

 

In the same way that these engrossments operate with gross objects in savitarkasamapattih, the engrossment with subtle objects also operates, and is known as savichara and nirvicharasamapattih.

  • etaya= by this
  • eva = also
  • savichara= accompanied by subtle thoughts
  • nirvichara = devoid of subtle thoughts
  • cha= and
  • sukshma-vishaya= having subtle for their objects
  • vyakhyata = are explained, described, defined

Engrossment with subtle thoughts:

This is the third of the four types of engrossment on an object. All of the gross thoughts have been set aside, or transcended. The object of meditation is subtle thought patterns, and these are accompanied by streams of other subtle impressions.

 

When the subtle streams fall away:

With this fourth of the four meditations on an object, even the subtle streams of extraneous thought patterns have been set aside, while the engrossment on the subtle object of meditation becomes complete.

 

Subtlest matter and objectless concentration:

These subtle meditations extend all the way to the subtlest matter, or prakriti , and finally to objectless meditation and samadhi.

 

Non-attachment:

Along the way, each of the subtle objects is encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment, as it is seen to be not-self. By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self.

 

1.45 Having such subtle objects extends all the way up to unmanifestprakriti.

  • sukshma= subtle
  • vishayatvam= of having as objects
  • cha = and
  • alinga= without a mark or trace, unmanifestprakriti
  • paryavasanam = extending up to, ending at

Subtle objects extend to the unmanifest:

These four types of engrossment or samapattih extend all the way from the gross level, through the subtle levels, all the way to the unmanifest substratum of subtle matter, or prakriti. After that comes meditation that is objectless.

 

Non-attachment:

Along the way, each of the gross and subtle objects is encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment, as it is seen to be not-self. By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self .

 

These four varieties

of engrossment are the only kinds of concentrations (samadhi) which are objective, and have a seed of an object.

  • tah = these, those, they
  • eva = only
  • sabijah = with seed, seeded
  • samadhih = deep absorption of meditation, entasy

All meditations on an object are 1 of 4 types:

There are only four types of meditation on a gross object regardless of what system or school of meditation one follows. These are:

  • With gross thoughts, savitarkasamapattih
  • Without gross thoughts, nirvitarkasamapattih
  • With subtle thoughts, savicharasamapattih 
  • Without subtle thoughts, nirvicharasamapattih

These four types of meditation

on an object extend all the way to the direct experience of unmanifest matter, or prakriti. Thus, as one progresses in meditation, not only are individual objects witnessed and set aside with non-attachment, but entire levels of meditation on objects are transcended.

 

Non-attachment:

Along the way, each of the gross and subtle objects is encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment, as it is seen to be not-self.

 

By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self.

 

YOGA- IS PEACE of MIND

” The only GAIN YOU have, a calm mind!”

 

  • Results of stabilizing the mind

As one gains proficiency in the undisturbed flow in nirvichara:

a purity and luminosity of the inner instrument of mind is developed.

  • nirvichara = devoid of subtle thoughts (nir = without; vichara = subtle thoughts)
  • vaisharadye = with undisturbed flow,
  • adhyatma = spiritual, regarding the atman or true Self
  • prasadah = purity, luminosity, illumination, clearness

Higher purity and luminosity comes:

When the modifications of the mind are weakened, the mind is purified and takes on a crystal like quality, as was already explained . However, this current sutra is explaining that after there is mastery of the nirvichara (subtle) engrossment, there comes an even greater level of purity and luminosity.

The experiential knowledge that is gained in that state is one of essential wisdom and is filled with truth.(ritambharatatraprajna)

  • ritambhara = filled with higher truth, essence, supreme cognition
  • tatra = there
  • prajna = knowledge, wisdom, insight

Higher knowledge: There are many insights that come along the way, but each of those falls short. Recall that one of the five efforts and commitments is seeking the higher knowledge of prajna . Along with the purity and luminosity mentioned in the last sutra , which came from proficiency in nirvichara, or subtle meditation , there also comes a wisdom that is filled with the higher truth.

That knowledge is different from the knowledge

that is commingled with testimony or through inference, because it relates directly to the specifics of the object, rather than to those words or other concepts.

  • shruta = testimony, heard, learned, from tradition
  • anumana= inference, reasoning, deduction
  • prajnabhyam = from those kinds of knowledge
  • anya-vishaya= having different objects
  • vishesha-arthatvat= relating to particular objects, purpose, or significance

Knowledge is usually commingled:

Most knowledge is commingled with words or other concepts, and thus the knowledge of the object is not really pure knowledge. This is the nature of most of our experiences. With Yoga, we are wanting to see clearly , to see the true nature of things, so that we might become free from the false identities of the mind field .

Unencumbered knowledge: Here, in this sutra, it is being explained that by virtue of the ability to do this high level of meditation, we are able to experience knowledge in its true form, unencumbered with those extraneous words and concepts. By seeing the objects more clearly, we are even better able to see them for what they are, as objects clouding our true Self.

Non-attachment:

All of these elements of unencumbered knowledge is also encountered, examined, understood, and set aside with non-attachment, as it is seen to be not-self (1.4, 2.5). By removing these obstacles, the aspirant is ever closer to the realization of the true Self.

Freedom from karma:

What is being described here is a major part of the mechanism used in the process of freedom from karma. The mind is stabilized, gross colorings are attenuated, and the subtler thoughts are dealt with directly through meditation. Now, the impressions left by samadhi itself are seen to be a major antidote to the deep impressions that normally block our view of the true Self

When even these latent impressions from truth filled knowledge recede along with the other impressions, then there is objectless concentration.

  • tasya = of that
  • api= too
  • nirodhe = receding, mastery, coordination, control, regulation, setting aside of
  • sarva= of all
  • nirodhat = through nirodhah (nirodhah = control, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, understanding, stilling, quieting, setting aside of)
  • nirbijah = without a seed, seedless (nir = without; bijah = seed)
  • samadhih = deep absorption of meditation, entasy

Even the effects of samadhi recede:

On the path of Self-realization, you systematically find attention moving past all of the levels of your being. This word recede (as a translation of nirodah, 1.2) describes what the experience is like:

  • When you succeed in meditation to go inward, leaving aside the external environment, it is as if the world recedes from you, though it is your attention that has come inward.
  • When you move past your body, going inward, it seems as if body awareness recedes.
  • The same thing happens with breath, with which you give a great deal of emphasis until ready to go past that; then it seems that the breath recedes.
  • When you encounter the chattering, noisy, distracting conscious mind, it eventually seems that this too recedes.
  • When you encounter the many layers and levels of the unconscious, they too gradually seem to recede.

They only appear to recede: All along, none of these are actually receding, but that is the way it is experienced. Thus, before moving into the higher experience of objectless, or formless samadhi, even those blissful residues from the lower states of samadhi seem to recede, as attention moves still further inward, leaving them behind as well.

Objectless samadhi comes: While even these latent impressions from truth filled knowledge recede along with the other impressions, then there is objectless concentration , which was described as the state following the four stage of meditation on an object.

Supreme non-attachment: Along the way, one systematically experiences the stages of vairagya (non-attachment), and how that process goes ever further inward, all the way to the supreme non-attachment.

 

This type of knowledge

that is filled with truth creates latent impressions in the mind-field, and those new impressions tend to reduce the formation of other less useful forms of habitual latent impressions.

  • tajjah= arising or producing from that
  • samskarah = deep impressions, residual imprints, activating imprints
  • anya = of other
  • samskara= deep impressions, residual imprints, activating imprints
  • paribandhi= impeding, obstructing, reducing, opposing, inhibiting

Samadhi leaves an imprint in the mind field: Like other experiences, samadhi, or deep absorption leaves its impressions in the mind field. Like other impressions, these impressions also cause their subsequent effects.

These counteract other impressions:

The effect of these imprints from samadhi and the higher knowledge is that of counterbalancing, impeding, reducing, or preventing the formation of other deep impressions.