Wednesday, February 8, 2012
PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS = Vibhoothi Paadha = Chapter 3.Vs.1 = DHARANA (FOCUS/ ATTENTION)
We are at a very interesting point of our Journey in Yoga. I strongly suggest to readers to bring Yoga into their lives by active practice of the eight limbs of Yoga, one by one.
We have examined the first five limbs in detail – in chapter.2, Sadhana Pada. Patanjali ended the Sadhana Pada with Pratyahara, the fifth limb of Yoga.
The last three limbs, the sixth to eighth, are really the glorious pinnacle of Yoga, they are the vibhooti, they are the treasure, they are the fruits of the first five limbs of Yoga.
Does it mean that, our sadhana is over now? In one, limited sense, Yes. In a larger sense, No.
Yama, Niyama, aasana, Pranayama, pratyahara are practices that must be done ACTIVELY by the sadhaka. Yama and Niyama cleanse the body and mind significantly. Aasana enables the calmed mind and body to sit at the place of Yoga Sadhana with reasonable stability and comfort. Pranayama further calms the mind and body and makes them fit for Dharana.
Pratyahara starts the Sadhaka’s inward Journey – by shutting out external stimuli and turning the senses towards the mind-stuff, where the action is now to take place totally.
Now, the Sadhaka has to open the Main Gates to kaivalya, the ultimate goal of Yoga.
The Key for that is – Dharana.
Desha bandhah chittasya Dharanaa
Ø deshah = place or object
Ø bandhah = tying the two; uniting
Ø chittasya = the mind-stuffs
Ø dharanaa = Focus, or attention
Dharana is fixing the Sadhaka’s mind-stuff’s attention on a single object, idea or place.
Just One thing – and nothing else!
Sadhaka must drop the whole world, the whole universe, except the one thing chosen by him for his concentration / attention in Dharana.
Nothing else matters now. Nothing else exists now – for him.
What does not exist in chittha does not exist at all – for the Sadhaka. His reality is just that.
The body does not exist, the thinking mind does not exist. The feelings do not exist. The entire universe does not exist – except the one thing that Sadhaka has chosen as the object of his Dharana or attention.
That is why – the Sadhaka has made all possible efforts to shut out all external stimuli, by shutting out his five senses appropriately. He has also focused all of his energies towards the chittha.
Now, Sadhaka resides in the chittha. He can direct the chittha to do deeds it never did before. Chittha was always wayward, a nomad, which cannot stay on any single thought or object for more than a moment.
But, now, it can.
This is a Great, new found, Power for the Sadhaka.
The Sadhaka can direct the Chittha now – to focus attention on a single thought, or object, or place, or person – to the total exclusion of all other things.
It is not that the Sadhaka is an instant success in doing Dharana on a single object. He focuses. The focus goes towards the chosen object. It stays on it also, for a moment. But, the mind again plays lots of tricks. Hitherto, it was the master. It was driving the Sadhaka here, there, everywhere, every moment, never allowing him to stay on any object or thought. Now, the Sadhaka is taking the reins of Chittha into his own hands. The Sadhaka is now the master, and, per force, Chittha is the unwilling servant.
It takes quite some time and effort for the Chittha to accept the Sadhaka’s master-hood on itself. It surely makes efforts to regain control over the sadhaka. There is a tussle for some time.
The ONE THING AT A TIME – is the toughest thing for the Chittha to do. It lures the sadhaka into all sorts of thoughts – many of which will seem more important and urgent – than the Sadhaka’s Yoga Sadhana.
Do me first, do your Sadhana thereafter, I am urgent – cries each thought. It happens all the time – until the mastery over chittha is significant enough – for it bow down before the Sadhaka’s commands.
In Vedanta philosophy also, this perennial problem is always encountered by the disciples of Vedanta.
Contemporary saints like swami Paramarthananda (a noted disciple of Swami Dayananda) advices a certain technique which he calls –P O R T REDUCTION.
P – for Possessions
O – for Obligations
R – for relations
T – for transactions
Reduce all the FOUR to the absolute minimum possible level.
Not only for Vedanta pursuit – but for Yoga Sadhana, this is an eminently desirable way. During Yoga Sadhana – it is good for Sadhakas to keep these four at the minimum level possible.
Concentration on one thing – necessarily must exclude all other things. That is Dharana. Sadhaka cannot do Dharana – keeping a thousand obligations pressing on his time. Possessions and relations may not be possible to get away totally from totally - but, if there is a Possibility – go out to a great Guru or an Ashram, which encourages your Sadhanas – for some time, periodically. Throw off your Cell phone and other means of communication with the world.
Do not try to make new friends at the Ashram. Do not talk much with others. Keep transactions to the minimum.
The focus must be on Dharana. Dharana must be on a single suitable object.
If you do Dharana at home – no matter what – switch off the Phones, the TV, the Radio etcm tell all of your people not to disturb – shut yourself somewhere – where you conveniently do your Sadhanas – and start in a methodical way.
Gurus do teach some methods to initiate the process. But that is it. They cannot travel with you thereafter in your inward journey.
More important – you should not carry them along with you. In Buddhism, it is some times said that, if you encounter even Buddha on the way (in your Sadhana / Dharana / Dhyana ), kill him straightaway and move ahead.
One thought, one object for the thought – and nothing else. That is Dharana.
Now we will move to Dhyana in the next step.
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