Monday, June 10, 2019

Contemplation and Compilation ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2:20- 2:55

Everything and everyone in this universe is made up from same energy and a yogi knowing this does not blame people for their actions. He sees the whole world as one and as a playground of karma where everyone is simply playing their role as a postman delivering the joy or suffering based on our previous karma equation with them.
He accepts the people and situations as they are.

He lives in knowledge and sees that the actions of the people around him don't define them, rather they are just a manifestation of the role they are playing. 

The yogi understands that the whole world is just a play (maya), hence he stays detached from events. Even when he is actively involved he does not get emotionally engaged. 

A yogi knowing this truth about the world does not run away from the situations and experiences, rather he becomes a master by gaining confidence, courage and conviction. 

For others, they perceive the world and all happenings as real, they live in ignorance all their lives and keep suffering. 

How does one attain the state of mind which is devoid of suffering?

For a meaningful and purposeful life a yogi lives by an eightfold path which is called an ashtanga or eight limbs which brings stillness in yogis mind, body, soul, spirit and tranquility in emotions on and off the mat. 

The 8 limbs of yoga are ~

  • Yamas - Attitudes and behaviors towards other people and environment, moral discipline
  • Niyamas - Attitudes and behaviors towards ourselves, inner observances
  • Asanas - Practice of physical poses
  • Pranayamas - Rhythmic control of prana or life force by controlling the motions of inhalations and exhalations
  • Pratyahara - Withdrawl of senses
  • Dharana- One pointed focus, concentration
  • Dhayana - Meditation, uninterrupted concentration
  • Samadhi- State of equanimity, bliss and ecstasy

Yamas, The first limb of Yoga emphasis on living ethically and morally with sense of integrity and focusing on ones behavior for ones personal fulfillment that will also benefit society. 

The sutras do not imply people are good or bad based on their behavior, but choosing certain behaviors lead to certain results.

The 5 Yamas are

  • Ahimsa - non harming/non violence/not causing physical or emotional pain to ourselves, others or nature
  • Satya- Staying truthful, living with integrity, speaking with the intention of being truthful
  • Asetya - Non stealing or not taking more than what you need
  • Brahmacharya - non excess, self restraint or right use of energy
  • Aparigraha - Non greed, non possessiveness or non hoarding
Niyamas, are the second limb of Patanjalis 8 limbs, They are the moral codes that guide us
towards the positive behavior, self discipline and spiritual observances for personal growth.

The 5 Niyamas are
  • Saucha - Cleanliness - physical and mental hygiene
  • Santosa - Contentment by accepting life and situations as they are
  • Tapas - Practicing self discipline with enthusiasm
  • Svadhaya - Contemplating, self observation, study of ones inner self and Sacred scriptures
  • Ishvara Pranidhana - Devotion, Dedication and Surrender to God
The knowledge of Niyamas teaches a yogi to respect his boundaries. They also help us to be truthful to our strengths and weaknesses and not compare ourselves with others. They learn to be mindful of our thoughts and surrender all good and bad and whats not in our control to the Divine and stay happy and free of the emotional baggage.

Through the practices of asanas and pranayama first, we can learn to control the physical body, then the movement of the breath, then the senses and finally the mind.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Contemplation and Compilation ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1:42 - 2:19

Sam in Sanskrit means equanimity and dhi means faculty of consciousness.

Samadhi means deeply sustained equanimity. 

Samadhi happens when there is a harmony in one's nature, senses, soul and prana. 
Samadhi brings dignity, strength and dispassion in our lives. 

There are 2 kinds of Samadhi ~

  • Samprajnata (with conscious awareness) and 
  • Asamprajnata (without conscious awareness). 

Asamprajnata is the last and highest stage of samadhi where the mind, body and self are completely lost in the meditation. Yogi in this ultimate state of samadhi has also obtained a complete control over their breath, heartbeat and other organs, they can freeze the time and live longer or drop the body when they wish to. 

Kinds of Asamprajnata samadhi 

Nirvitarka, Nirvikalpa, Nirvichara and Nirbija- thoughts, ego, sanskaras cease to exist in this samadhi, they dissolve completely and only consciousness remains. This is the state of being one with the divine, there is no mind only infinite ecstasy and limitless bliss. Yogi can stay in this blissful state for 21 days and makes a choice to return to the world or leave the body. 

Yogi can also through proper guidance learn to get in Nirvikalpa and Nirvichara state and function normally in the world.  (there is no vikalpa~no reasoning, no vichara~no reflection), mind is under control and no longer imagines and wishes anything and there is no movement of thoughts) 

Samprajnata Samadhi is a Sabeeja Samadhi (beeja means seed, there is an object of meditation in mind) ~ We all have often done this as children. This is the Samadhi that you can experience while activity. 

Example - Prakriti Leya ~ You see the mountain you become one with the mountain, you see the ocean you become one with the ocean. This can happen when we have a depth and steadiness in our eyes and soul. 

Our eyes are the window for us to see the world and for the world to see our soul, our souls steadiness. We perceive and receive the knowledge of the world through our senses. Patanjali says when we drop all the resentment, let go of all apprehensions, inhibitions, fears and become free, hollow and empty we become like a crystal. Our soul reflects our true divinity and senses reflect the blissful soul. 

There are 4 kinds of Samprajnata samadhi

  • Sa vitarka ( irrefutable or irreversible logic eg. when someone dies or a relationship ends or movie ends the state of mind with a blank), 
  • Sa vichara( thoughts are present but not disturbing the mind), 
  • Sa ananda (blissful state) and 
  • Sa asmita(I am) Samadhi. 

Guided meditation, mantra meditation, tratka meditation etc are sabeeja or samprajnata samadhi where there is councious awareness, where mental impressions are not erased. We are aware of the outside world, of the self and of the inner self. There is a gentle separation of the observer and the object. 

Kriya Yoga, the yoga of action has 3 parts that help us minimize the obstacles and attain equanimity.

1.Tapah ( experiencing the opposite values, willingly without grumbling, willingly doing what is not very easy or self discipline. 

  • Tapas of Body- maintaining a healthy body, 
  • Tapas of Speech-speaking pleasant truth and 
  • Tapas of Mind- Maintaining the pleasantness and contentment in the mind, silent and not a chattering mind

2. Swadhyaya ( being alert in self study, observing ones thoughts, emotions, breath), 

3. Ishwara Pranidhana (surrendring to the divine). 

The 5 root causes of misery in life that makes us cling to life in the body are

  1. Avidya ~  living in ignorance -  considering permanent as impermanent and impermanent as permanent that which is not joy to be joy, thinking we are just our thoughts and emotions. 
  2. Kaleshas can be in present in us in dormant ( eg. a newborns past sanskaras), feeble( mind of advanced practitioner, present in them but impressions like a line in thin air), intercepted ( mind of begining practitioner, the kaleshas have subsided temporarily but can immediately come to the surface)  or sustained form (Kaleshas manifest in abundance in average person who has no say over them and can get carried away easily with their thoughts and emotions), 
  3. Asmita ( stuck in the ego or the I ness, stubbornly sticking to the opinions despite the fact being contrary to it, arguing meaninglessly) , 
  4. Raga ( cravings for pleasure), Dwesha ( hatered or aversion), 
  5. Abhinivesha ( Abhinivesha is fear of unknown, intellectually you know everything but you have a bit of abhinivesha. abhinivesha is not bhaya or fear.In crude form its fear in subtle form its a form of care. example- walking on edge of lake, you are careful so the body does not get hurt. a certain amount of abhinevesha is essential but more can turn into insecurity or fear or paranoia. 
Regular Sadhana can thin down and destroy these kaleshas and hindering thoughts over a period of time. 

Hindering thoughts can come in 2 stages the potential form

  1. Unmanifested form - Before the thoughts come to surface and get converted into action. 
  2. Manifesting form - the thoughts that are being put into action. 

Meditation helps manifesting thoughts first and with practice breaks the ego and thins down the potential thoughts. If we will not cleanse our consciousness of these 5 kaleshas or impurities then we will suffer in this life and next ones as miseries are forming the bank of karma. while some karma we will live here the rest becomes the reason for next birth.

There are 3 kinds of karma 

1. Prarabdha karma 
2. Agami Karma 
3. Sanjita Karma. 

Our species, span of life, experiences of pleasure and pain are determined by the karma which is a fruit of the 5 root causes of misery or obstacles. 

We are solely responsible for our good and bad karma's. 

All pleasure from outside world is temporary and ends in pain, for the fear of losing co exists. 

To the one of discrimination every thing turns pleasurable from painful as the learn to detach and live in the moment. They stay unaffected by the highs and lows, thoughts, situations and emotions. The root cause of pain needs to be eliminated so we can avoid the pain that has not sprouted yet. We associate and identify ourselves and give importance to possessions than ourselves, that leads to pain and misery. This does not mean we should not enjoy in world, The world is here to enjoy but we should not forget the self keeping ourselves separate from our senses. 

Every aspect of this world is an expression of consciousness. everything is manifested out of consciousness, everything is dynamic - flowers, mountains, butterflies, rivers, oceans  all are dynamic, changing. Everything is being governed by certain principles and going through changes and stages of evolution. The entire creation is made of 5 elements, 5 sense organs and the mind. The entire creation is there to give us pleasure and relief. And all pleasures turn into pain if we do not detach ourselves from them. 

Normally, we understand what we see and perceive through our 5 senses but through constant sadhana we can dive deeper and see the subtle layers of existence and feel the energies.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Contemplation and Compilation ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1:21 - 1:41

Our success on any spiritual path or any other path depends on how committed and regular we are in our practices. 

If we are mild, we see mild results and if we our commitment is intense we see sustainable progress. 

To stay free of physical, emotional and mental distress which can become a huge obstacle in any path, it is very important to surrender all good and bad and stay free of suffering.

Suffering arises when 

1. We can get trapped in ignorance and give importance to something which is not important or which is not worthy of importance. 
2. When we think too much about me n I~ Always thinking what people think about you, living with the superiority or inferiority complex. 
3. Having strong cravings, aversions or hatred and fear for anyone or anything. 

Our consciousness is pure love and devoid of all these miseries, karmas, fruit of karma and latent desires or impressions or opinions. 

There are 4 types of Karmas ~
  • Karmas that brings us merits, 
  • Karma that brings us demerits, 
  • Karma that brings both merits and demerits and 
  • Karma that's devoid of both merits and demerits

Though our supreme self is all knowing and knowledge itself, a Guru is necessary to help us go within and understand ourselves. 

The supreme Purusha or Ishvara or the first Guru that existed is addressed by the sound OM. 

When we are still in our senses, emotions and breath we can feel the humming in our body, the Pranava. 

The Anahata is the unsaid sound of OM that can lead us into deep meditation. 

The Anahata is Ajapa, the one that need not be repeated, it is always going on and just needs to be noticed.

If we are thinking continuously and churning on the thoughts we can not get attuned to this never ending vibration. 

What we think we become, knowingly unknowingly we are imbibing the qualities of our thoughts. 

Japa or Mantra meditation is the simple technique that can help us make our mind steady and transforms it in the qualities of the mantra. Repeating mantra there comes a clarity in our thoughts and feelings. 

By holding on to this infinite sound from mantra one can overcome 9 obstacles. 

  • Physical disease, 
  • Mental sickness, 
  • Doubt in oneself, 
  • Doubt in teacher or the path, 
  • Doing something wrong willfully (careless) or not doing what you are supposed to do, 
  • Laziness, 
  • Obsession with the sensual objects and not being able to let them go, 
  • Hallucination, 
  • Feeling that you are going no where with practices or one has not attained any state, 
  • Instability in spiritual experiences where the feeling of good experiences vanishes and leaves one craving, and when our body is not obeying us anymore, we want to do something but unable to anymore. 

The 5 signs that we are overtaken with these 9 obstacles are 

  • Sadness in heart and soul,
  • Bitterness, 
  • Disturbed inhalation and exhalation, 
  • Unstable thoughts, confusion and 
  • Confusion and distraction

Our patience, perseverance on one pointed path whatever we have chosen can help us get over the obstacles and the symptoms. 

Our goal in life is to keep the serenity of our mind. 

In this world we come across 4 types of people and the guide to deal with them is through

  • Happy people ~ Friendliness
  • unhappy people ~ Compassion
  • the virtuous people ~ Delight and disregard
  • the wicked people ~ Be indifferent
When we do so we are not disturbed by the people around us. 

You can also bring the stillness in the mind by focusing on the breath and by breaking the natural rhythm of the breath, through concentrating on any object of senses, focus on your past experiences in meditation or deep sleep and finding the right spiritual Guru who can guide you. 

Our regrets, fears, anger, anticipation memory, wrong knowledge, fantasy, judgments, thoughts, feverishness, calculations does not let us see the things the way they are and does not let us be in harmony or Samadhi. 

Our eyes, senses, behavior, ambitions, words reflects what we are deep inside and when we polish ourselves through steadiness they also become devoid of all the colors and become clear like crystals. 

We are able to see things as they are without adding anything to them. In Savitarka samadhi there are some thoughts that come and go but they do not disturb the peace of mind and harmony. 

When the mind, soul, the object of senses and memory through which the object of senses are held are in harmony the samadhi happens.

The goal of Samadhi is physical and mental silence, knowledge dawns on us that is beyond the learning's of our limited mind. 

You do not need to study the scriptures the knowledge and the wisdom filled with truth and awareness comes to you~ Rtambhara Prajna makes a yogi Jivan Mukta ~ the one who lives with liberation and without personal attachment.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Contemplation and Compilation ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1:12- 1:20

For any practice to become firmly established and successful in our lives it needs to be done ~

Continuously, without any gaps, with patience, honor, respect, faith, gratefulness, enthusiasm and without any attachment or personal desires. 

Mere practicing for a long time is not sufficient. Some people practice for a long time and they still stay bound, unsettled, restless, disappointed and disturbed. The reason is that they stay attached and result oriented in their practices which makes them anxious and impatient. They lack honor and respect which when practiced brings quality, stability and steadiness.

It is our constant craving and desire to be happy all the time that makes us miserable. Happiness is our nature but wanting to be happy is a creation of misery.

Our mind is continuously gathering things to satisfy its desires through our senses and it also has a tendency to stick and remember only negative things experiences and words. The wisdom is to learn to discriminate what is good for us or what is not and to learn to apply restraint before the mind goes and grasp as it wants. 

Practicing dispassion or non attachment (vairagya) helps us understand this pattern and helps to put an end to this vicious cycle of misery by bringing heightened awareness, stability and  steadiness that helps us be more peaceful and centered amidst the emotional turmoil and storms. 

Dispassion helps us be free from the regrets of the past and anxieties of the future and lets us be completely centered and 100 percent in the present moment. 

Detachment of mind from its desires and enjoyment is vairagya which is on the sensory level and detachment of mind from memory, past impressions and sanskaras is param vairagya which comes after we learn to repose and rejoice in our true self. 

Samadhi is the steadiness in prana, state of equanimity and a process of going inwards which can be achieved by being completely aware and present in the moment. There are 2 kinds of samadhi

  • Samprajnata or Sabeeja samadhi or Savikalpa samadhi 
Samadhi which you can experience during an activity. We have often done this as child, looking with depth and becoming one with the object. The depth in our eyes indicates the steadiness and stability in our soul. In sabeeja samadhi we are totally relaxed and happy with heightened awareness and sharp intellect. 
The past impressions, thoughts, memories and  sanskaras are still buried on our mind in this state and can pull us in the worldly experiences through thoughts.  The practice of Vairagya, non attachment helps to dive deeper into the experience.

Guided meditation is an example of sabeeja or samprajnata samadhi.

4 stages of Samprajnata samadhi

1   Savitarka ~ accompanied by reasoning - In this samadhi mind contemplates on the gross object, sound, or a mantra. The contemplation on single object makes mind steady, focused, quiet and relaxed. 
2.  Savichara ~ accompanied by reflection - In this samadhi mind moves from outer layer of object to the inner realms and contemplates. You experience Tanmatras and through practice gain great control over Tanmatras. Example of Tanmatras are seeing lights, divine, hearing chants, or other extraordinary experiences while meditation. They key is not to get attached to the Tanmatras and observing them as just an experience on the path of Samadhi. Many people get entangled at this stage. Vairagya or non attachment is needed here to achieve the next stage.  
3.  Sa-ananda ~ accompanied by rejoicing or ecstasy
4.  Sa-asmita ~ accompanied by contemplation on I-ness, you are there and you are aware of nothing else. Prakriti Leya 
  • Asamprajnata or Nirbeeja samadhi or Nirvikalpa or Nirvichara 
After mastering the 4 stages of Samprajnata samadhi one can get into Asamprajnata samadhi, Param Vairagya where no impressions and no feeling of I-ness exists. The one who has attained this state is called Jivan Mukta, the one who lives but at the same time is liberated.

We have existed before and we will exist after, when we practice meditation we are not only bringing harmony within ourselves but influencing all the subtle layers at different levels of existence in the creation in the present birth and future births.

Mokshabhekso Bandah ~ Even the desire of liberation is a bondage in itself! 

The minds nature is to desire then how do we get over this bondage?- Turn your desires into greater causes. Think, how can you contribute and be useful to society and planet, what is the purpose of your life and how can you be of service. Any desire that does not have a personal or selfish motive will never bind us but will help us channelize our energy. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Contemplation and Compilation ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1:1-11

Introduction - 1:1-11 

Our soul is like a seer, and the nature of seer is pure joy, ecstasy, bliss and happiness. 

Our mind is generally content but It is the desiring mind, the manas that gets attracted to the outside worldly things through 5 senses and disturbs the peace of the mind.

There are 5 vrittis or modulations or activities or thought forms our chitta or mind gets stuck in and disturbs our inner peace. When we are lost and stuck in the loop of the modulations, it only brings us pain, misery and suffering.
  • Pramana - the mind is continuously engaged in arguments of wanting proof or trying to analyze and verify the right knowledge 
There are 3 types of Pramanas

1. Pratyaksha - direct perception, when you understand by seeing or experiencing something yourself.
when you are experiencing something yourself and you do not have a doubt. 

2. Anumana- inference or assuming - you see smoke and assume there is a fire, its not obvious but you guess from your past understanding, knowledge and experiences.

3. Aagamana - We believe in something because a reliable authority or scriptures tell it or state it.

Our mind is continuously looking for proof. Truth can not be understood through proof. What can be proved can also be disproved. 

  • Viparyaya - mind gets stuck in misconception or incorrect knowledge or false understanding and thinking that is the truth. When our mind is stuck in Viparyaya all logic fails and only wrong knowledge prevails.
  • Vikalpa - baseless fears, joyful or pleasurable fantasies, paranoia, imagination or hallucination or a verbal delusion - you form an opinion about someone or something  from what you have heard but there is no truth or reality in that, you are creating impressions in mind that are not true based on someones perception or ideas.
  • Nidra - sleep or impression left in mind upon waking up of an experience of deep sleep or nothingness in sleep
  • Smriti - memory, experiences create impressions on our mind that surface when we want them in form of day dreams or when we do not want them as dreams.

If only we can learn to gain a control over our senses and mind there is nothing in the world that can bind us.

Through the practice of yoga and self study we can learn to become aware and befriend our mind and understand the thought forms its stuck in.

How do we control our mind when our mind seems to be controlling us all the time?

When we realize that we want more control and understanding of self that is when the anushasan or the self discipline of yoga begins. 

The extraordinary experience we gain by controlling the thought forms or modulations of mind is Yoga and it teaches us - 

  • Vairagya, dispassion which helps us bring our mind skillfully back to self, honoring all the object of senses and not blaming them.
  • Abhyasa, the continuous practice of becoming aware when our mind is getting stuck in modulations and bringing it back to the present moment again and again.
Yoga Chitta Vriti Nirodah~
Gently observe the fluctuations and plays of mind, don't become them! One has reached the goal of Yoga if this restraint is achieved!