Friday, August 12, 2011
PATANJALI = YOGA SUTRAS = SUMMARY OF CHAPTER.1 : SAMAADHI PAADHA = 4 SAMAADHIS = WHEN SELF IS TOTALLY FREE
CHAPTER.1 : SAMAADHI PAADHA
With the previous Post – we have completed the first chapter, called the Samaadhi Paadha. We will now look at a brief summary of this Chapter below – before proceeding to the second chapter.
Yoga is a voluntary Discipline. The one who submits to this discipline is the Sadhaka, or Yogi; the practice of Yoga is his Sadhana; the final goal (or Sadhyam) is total liberation from the control of the mind, and attaining to the real self. When Sadhaka attains his chosen goal, he becomes a siddha (the attained).A Sadhaka (or Yogi), through sadhana (practice), attains his Sadhyam (chosen goal) and becomes a siddha (attained; here, Muktha purusha). This terminology is common for any Goal attainment.
Sadhaka must be totally, wholeheartedly, and voluntarily willing to abide by the Yoga discipline. Else, he can not achieve any success.
What is this Discipline of Yoga? Yoga is the control or restraining of the different processes, changes and modifications that occur in the mind-stuff. The processes involved in this Sadhana are also called Yoga.
But, why should we control / restrain mind-stuff from performing what we see as its routine, normal, essential work?
Because, we realize and return back to our real SELF, only when we become a pure witness to the mind-stuff works or modifications and thus and take over its control into our hands instead of being its slave.
In simple terms, YOU are not YOUR MIND ; Your mind always controls you through various chittha Vritthis, to an extent that you start flowing along with the chittha Vritthis (Mind-stuff works), merge with them; and totally identify yourself with the chittha Vritthis.
Who am I, the real SELF, the witness? This comes later. But, understand that the witness is the real you. If so - why the need comes that I, the witness, have to return back to my real self and where am I otherwise?
When I have not achieved mind control, I remain its slave; I forget my role as witness and I assume the shape of the various thoughts that the mind-stuff manufactures every moment. I become anger, when mind-stuff manufactures anger. I become love, when mind-stuff manufactures love. I am in an ocean of constantly changing modifications of my mind-stuff, and I become all that – instead of staying as my real self, the unattached witness.
What does mind-stuff manufacture constantly? What are these modifications that it produces incessantly? These mind-stuff works / modifications can be categorized as of five types; Each mind-stuff modification can be either pleasurable or sufferable / painful.
The five types are (1) Right Knowledge (or Pramaana) (2) wrong / false knowledge (or Viprayaya) (3) Pure assumptions without any reality (or Vikalpa) (4) Sleep (or Nidra) and (5) Memory (or smrithi)
Right knowledge comes from (i) Direct (and correct) perception of the object, event, person etc with one’s own senses and mind (ii) Perception based on indirect but reliable evidence and (iii) words of reliable persons, sacred (reliable) texts etc. When awareness levels are high, right knowledge can be obtained.
False knowledge is mistaking one thing for another. You see a rope and mistake it for a snake. Many circumstances can lead us into false knowledge. People can mislead. Books can mislead. Our own senses also can mislead.
Vikalpa is mere assumption without any basis. You may hear a sound. The sound is of a metal instrument or some thing. But, in your mind, you are thinking of a lion. You seem to have heard a lion’s roar. You imagine a Lion very near to you, about to pounce on you, and so on. Some times even the sound is not really heard, but is assumed to have been heard. Mind manufactures many things – based purely on its fears, assumptions, imaginations and so on –without any basis.
Sleep also is a state that mind manufactures. After a period of sleep, we get up and find we are refreshed. We say, we had a sound, deep, good sleep. How do we know? We know – because, it is mind which caused it and it is mind which knows it too.
Memory is the recalling of other mind-modifications which happened earlier. We may recall right knowledge, wrong knowledge, pure assumptions without reality or even sleep which happened earlier and which is recorded in the mind-stuff. Mind-stuff acts as a video-cassette recorder, for many of the experiences that we go through in life. You can rewind all those experiences and re-experience them now, as if they are happening now. This is memory. Some times, mind goes through dreams in sleep, which is also a type of memory, which occurs in sleep but not in waking state.
These mind-stuff modifications are occurring uninterruptedly throughout our lives. I, the real self, the pure witness is constantly identifying myself with the mind-stuff modifications – and not able to know or experience my self. This is the problem for the self, the perpetual ignorance of the self created by the mind-stuff modifications.
So, how do I control / restrain these mind-stuff modifications and take control over them, my self? This is no doubt very difficult but there are 2 processes / methods which make it easier : (1) constant practice, and (2) Non-attachment
Constant Practice – involves uninterrupted and devoted effort to restrain / control mind-stuff modifications. It may have to continue for long periods till mind attains a stable, peaceful state.
Non-Attachment – involves transcending / going beyond the Sathva, rajas and thamo Gunas and understanding very clearly that all things that we desire to experience are actually always in our control. These experiences are nothing great to be desired by us. Knowing this frees us from attachment to them.
The Sadhaka performs Yoga Sadhana in this way with constant and consistent practice of mind-stuff restraint and with non attachment to worldly and heavenly pleasures.
As Sadhana progresses, what major attainments come to Sadhaka? We are not talking of some incidental benefits which also come to Sadhaka, but of the major milestones – each of which can be considered as an intermediate Goal in itself. The incidental benefits will be talked about in chapter.3.
The first goal reached by Sadhaka is called Samprajnaatha Samaadhi. In this Samaadhi, the Sadhaka still possesses the Pure ego state of asmitha; he experiences Aananda ( or joy of a un-earthly variety) and he retains knowledge that he is the one in meditation and contemplation. It is Samaadhi, bit, “I” sensation of the pure ego still exists in the Samaadhi and I, the pure ego, remains the experiencer. This ‘I’ is not the real self but the ego self attached to mind stuff. Since, I, the ego based experiencer is present, but the process of witnessing and control is happening through the Sadhana, the whole knowledge of whatever I contemplate and meditate on, comes under ‘my’ influence and control. This is a certain progress – since the control is taken over from mind-stuff, though to the higher pure ego self. Also, the witness I has also started functioning now.
As the mind-stuff modifications are still available and the asmitha, is still present – there cannot be total liberation from mind stuff works. The mind stuff continuously drags the Sadhaka backwards. So, beyond asamprajnaatha Samaadhi, there is yet another Samaadhi which goes beyond the current chittha Vritthis and current samskaaraas (attitudes producing mind stuff works) almost totally and in which only the deepest, dormant samskaaraas of perhaps some past births remain in seed form. They are in seed form – but not opened up to grow. This is the asamprajnatha Samaadhi. In this stage, mind is almost totally controlled. It is a definite progress over Samprajnaatha Samaadhi, and is yet another intermediate goal reached by Sadhaka.
It may be emphasized that Sadhaka does his sadhana – not for this or that Samaadhi. It is just that in his sadhana – he passes through these goal posts.
Unless non-attachment becomes absolute and total, even asamprajnaatha Samaadhi can only result in attaining the slightly higher status of Videhas (like angels, goddesses, who can subsist without a body) and Prakrithi layas (those who become part of the powers of nature).
How do we attain total liberation or Mukthi – beyond the asamprajnaatha samaadhi state? We must continue to practice the meditation and Samaadhi with exceptional confidence, energy, goal orientation and highestawareness. Encouragement comes in many ways. But obstructions also come in many ways, right from the beginning of sadhana.
For a Sadhaka - deeper the intensity of his sadhana, faster the success. Patanjali hints at a few helpful techniques for him.
Sadhaka can surrender the fruits of all of his actions to Eeshwara, the omniscient, the one without beginning and ending, the most ancient Guru of the ancient Gurus – and this also results in faster success. This is because Eeshwara is one who is beyond all sorrow, desire, Karma and fruits of Karma and omniscience is in full form in him while it is in mere seed form in sadhakas.Eeshawara’s capabilities to help Sadhaka are immense.
Eeshwara is represented by the Pranava Sound of AUM. Sadhaka can contemplate on AUM and its deep significance – which in reality is Eeshwara himself. This contemplation takes Sadhaka to the depths of his inward journey, breaking through all obstacles easily.
What are the obstacles to Sadhana?
Disease, mental sluggishness, doubt, physical idleness, sensual pursuits, living in dreams/illusions, unstable mind (going from one goal to another) and a highly distracted mind are all obstacles to Yoga and must be carefully avoided. Also – Sorrow, mental dejection, physical unsteadiness, distractions all around Sadhaka, if present are obstacles to meditation.
For overcoming these obstacles, Sadhaka must adopt and adhere to a single goal and continue his Sadhana. Some helpful mental conditions the Sadhaka can create are : He can adopt friendliness towards successful people, compassion towards sorrowful people, joy when seeing some one do good deeds and indifference to those indulging in bad deeds. These self created feelings will help Sadhaka in avoiding negative sensations, attachments etc.
Regular Pranayama practice also calms the mind greatly. Contemplation on certain types of sacred objects and ideas also results in steadiness and peacefulness of mind.
Patanjali also talks of contemplation on a luminous inner light that results in peace and calmness of mind. Contemplating on the conduct of great and successful Yogis and sages who have conquered their likes and dislikes also is a good method for steadying the mind.
In some cases, sudden knowledge coming in sleep or dream also becomes handy for deep meditation.
While these are examples or suggestions for good contemplation and removal of obstacles, Individual Sadhakas may find some special method themselves which suits them and their situation and they can adopt the same – says Patanjali.
When Sadhaka does such a successful meditation, the knowledge of the objects contemplated on, be they an atom or a huge celestial object – becomes his and he achieves their mastery.
The Yogi can meditate on his own self, or on the instruments of knowing available to him or on the knowable object outside – and he becomes one with all of them; a master of them through his meditation.
Samprajnaatha and asamprajnaatha samaadhis are not the final end. While meditating in these samadhis, the sabda, artha, and Jnaana of the object meditated on, blend themselves and present before Sadhaka and his meditation flowers into savichaara Samaadhi. All these (Sabda, artha and Jnaana of the object) are available but, essentially, the Sadhaka is able to receive them all as one. This is another goal post reached in his sadhana.
At a still advanced level, the Sabda and Jnaana also disappear and only the pure artha presents itself – which is called Nirvichaara Samaadhi. There is a total no-mind state in it. One has transcended the mind and its Vritthis totally.
Meditation on Gross objects keep the Sadhaka at the level of Savitharka and Nirvitharka Samadhis. When the contemplation proceeds on subtlest objects, savichara and Nirvichara samadhis result.
Until the seeds of poorva samskaaraas are totally extinguished, these samaadhis also remain as sabeeja smaadhis, or Samaadhi with seeds of samskaaraas.
At an advanced stage – in Nirvichaara Samaadhi, when Sadhaka obtains great skill in it, the adhyathma or the self shines forth in its original state totally and fully.
Wisdom is total in this state and is called ritambhara prajna, the wisdom of absolute, total truth.
This wisdom that Sadhaka gains from nirvichara Samaadhi (On subtlest objects, extinguishing all seeds) is very special – and is far beyond and transcending of what wisdom can be gained from ordinary processes of proof, logic and inference. The final impressions that arise in this Samaadhi can root out all other impressions and samskaaraas open or deep rooted. But this one final samskaara is still there to contend with.
This final impression also will finally be rooted out through continuing the adhana - leading the Sadhaka to Nirbeeja samadhi.
This is the final fruit of the restraint we achieve on the mind-stuff-modifications. This is the stage in which the real self, the real I shines forth in all its brilliance.
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