Author Topic: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path  (Read 1669 times)

Subramanian.R

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(by I.S, Madugula)

The notion of kaivalya (perfection) in Patanjali Yoga Sutras is regarded as being the highest good of yoga philosophy. 
The Yogi's kaivalya is comparable to the Advatiin's concept of mukti or moksha, (liberation, self knowledge, enlightenment)
in terms of meaning as well methodology. These two states of self realization only denote a distinction, not a difference.

The Yoga Sutra define kaivalya in the last aphorism of he last chapter, Yoga Sutra IV.34. It is a spiritual state in which the
power of Pure or Universal Consciousness is established in itself (svarupa pratishtha).  The aspirant, at this point, has cleansed
himself or herself of all mental modifications by recognition and detachment from the unconscious identification with the gunas
(his behavioral attributes).  In computer language, we may say that the practitioner returns to his default mode, which is
absolute freedom or divine solitude.

Apte's Sanskrit Dictionary describes kaivalya as 'perfect isolation, soleness, exclusiveness; individuality; detachment of the soul
from matter, identification with the supreme spirit; final emancipation or beatitude. (V.S. Apte, The Students' Sanskrit English
Dictionary, Delhi).

According to Monier Williams, the term means 'absolute unity; abstraction; detachment from all other connections, detachment
of the soul from the matter or further transmigration, beatitude.  (Monier Williams, Sanskrit English Dictionary, On line edition
2008).

Note that the noun from,kaivalya derives from the adjective kevala, meaning, alone, mere, sole, only, isolated.  Kaivalya
Yogi transforms his her mortality into divinity.           
         
Obviously, the Yoga implied here is not ordinary loneliness or isolation. It is perfect isolation where in human spirit is finally in
its own element in a beatific state and where mundane tribulations vanish.  The Yogi has, with years of practice, sharpened
his body and mind and all his intellectual faculties to a fine degree, taking physical and mental discipline to the ultimate level.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 11:39:42 AM »

continues....

The philosophy of Samkhya Yoga conceives of an eternal dualism of Purusha (Spirit) and Prakriti (Matter), and the yogi,
through various physical and mental practices, unravels his spirit from the shackles of matter and unites it with God.
The premise is that the world is full of sorrow and deprivation to the thinking person, because change, anxiety and desire,
are inherent in it.  The yogi's aim is to improve his human condition, to free himself of all limitations innate to human existence.
(Yoga Sutra II..15)

'The man when freed from all vehicles remains in his own form called Swarupa....'

'But when man is not in his own form (Swarupa), he functions naturally in the lower vehicles... whether it is buddhic, ahamkaric,
or manasic matter.

'The human consciousness, in whatever lower body it may function, is always dual consciousness -- it must be alternately
pleasurable or painful.  Pleasure and pain are the marks of consciousness functioning in chitta (mind or mental modifications).
The swarupa consciousness alone is above all pains.'  (Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, Tr. Rama Prasada, 2000).

The Yoga Sutra lays down very strict and detailed instructions on how to go  from being an ordinary mortal to an accomplished
yogi.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
     

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 09:55:29 AM »
continues....

Patanjali's second aphorism defines Yoga as nirodha (chitta vritti nirodha - restraint, control), a term derived from the
Sanskrit root 'yuj', which includes 'trance' or samadhi among multiple senses.  The popular explanation that Yoga is a
discipline that 'yokes' or unites the human spirit with the Divine is also covered by the root. The main theme of Patanjali's
treatise, as discussed in chapter one (Samadhi Pada), is nirodha - 'restraint of mental modifications'.  The entire practice
consists of nirodha all the way up to the attainment of  kaivalya.

The student learns what the mental modifications and their components are and how they affect the cognition of objects.
He is told that the two major tools he needs to master are Abhyasa (relentless practice) and Vairagya (total detachment)

(The highest form of Vairagya will be attained when one will realize his separateness from Prakritic vehicles -- when he can
say 'I am not the body or desire, or mind or reason or 'I-ness')

Success is proportionate to the effort. But there may be a shortcut to success 'by feeling the omnipresence of God' - Isvara
pranidhana, who is also the teacher of the ancients and whose symbol is the Pranava, Om.

(Yoga Sutra I.23. Pranidhana includes 'application, great effort, energy, profound religious meditation, abstract contemplation,
respectful behavior, renunciation of the fruit of actions.  The last item could mean Surrender. Sri Bhagavan emphasized the principle of surrender as the easiest and readiest approach to Self Knowledge.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
             

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 01:26:01 PM »

continues....

God removes all the obstacles and inculcates an understanding of the Self in the student.  The student should continue to
practice all the moral virtues and be steadfastly established in them.  (Patanjali calls it pratishtha).  He or she will find
breath control also very helpful in steadying the mind and training it in desirelessness. Simpler still, he can just meditate any
way that he wishes.  (Yoga Sutra I.39).  Then, with all its distracting modifications removed the student progresses through
the stages of savitarka, nirvitarka, savichara, nirvichara, and sabija to the ultimate nirbija or samadhi, (seedless absorption).
With continued and unmitigated attention to union with Purusha (Ultimate Reality), the purified individual mind 'inclines towards
discrimination', (i.e. between Purusha and one's material nature) and 'gravitates towards the absolute independence (kaivalya),
(Yoga Sutra IV. 26), after the last lingering layer of residue of mental impressions has been obliterated.

It may be noted that here Bhagavan very often referred to His audience to the Tamizh work Kaivalya Navaneetam, to underscore
the significance of the power of consciousness that is established in itself. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi cites some references
to it. (Talks # 95 etc.,)

The actual eight fold path and its components are enumerated in Chapter II (sadhana pada), which we will now look at from
Adi Sankara's point of view.                 

The tacit acknowledgement of the popularity of Yoga, Sankara discusses its well known steps in a re-interpreted fifteen part
programme, in Aparokshanubhuti, 100 -103. We will briefly summarize here.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
 

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 12:53:09 PM »
continues...

Sankara's programme posits Brahman as the ground to be realized with long practice.  Patanjali's Yama is for Sankara
restraining of all the senses with the thought that 'All this is Brahman'.  The continuous focus on a single thought is said
to be Niyama -- and not as in the case of Patanjali, internal and external purification, commitment and Vedic study.  Then
there is a Tyaga or renunciation of the illusory world. Silence is said to be pursued as a means of delving into the Self,
where it is a natural concomitant. Since we cannot exclusively define even the phenomenal world, (does it exist, really,
and in what sense?), it is best we adopt an attitude of silence towards it, as well.

Brahman also is known as space and time, because it can create the whole universe, in the blink of an eye.  The best asana
(yogic posture) is one where one is most   comfortable in deep meditation.  One particular posture, the mulabandhi, is recommended
because it symbolizes the root of everything, Brahman.  The limbs, where held in equipoise, help in all spiritual practice.
In order to obtain the true vision of wisdom, one should view the world as Brahman, eliminating all distinctions, of the seer,
the sight and the seen.  Pranayama (breath control) is really the process of regarding all mental states as nothing but Brahman.
For example, the exhalation is the negation of the phenomenal world, inhalation is the thought 'I am Brahman' and retention
involves the holding of that thought. Pratyahara ('withdrawal') is the absorption of the mind in the Supreme Consciousness where
one sees the Atman in everything , and which leads one to dharana (one pointed concentration of mind) after continuous practice.
To continuously dwell on the independence of the Self is dhyana.  This thought, when it becomes steady and unchanging results
in Samadhi or pure awareness. (It appears that since the mind is totally annihilated, i.e manonasa has occurred; this state could
be equivalent to Jnana.  see Talks # 275).

He who has gone through these steps as instructed is the king of yogis, even if he does not exactly follow the Patanjali's regimen.
After all, the goal of Yoga is to realize the identity of one's Atman, the individual Self and Brahman, the Universal Self through
annihilation of the distracted mind.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2013, 02:27:40 PM »

continues.....

Even though the word 'yoga' is used in the Bhagavad Gita profusely, subsuming the whole gamut of spiritual practices,
including renunciation, 'yogi' is used somewhat sparingly.  Understandably, the maximum usage of the word occurs in
Chapter VI (Atmasamyama yoga.  In Sri S. Radhakrishnan's translation, a yogi is:

1. He who does the work which he ought to do without seeking its fruit, is the Sannyasin, he is the yogin....(VI.10)...
2 no one becomes a yogin who has not renounced his (selfish) purpose....(VI 2);
3. The ascetic (yogi).....who is unchanging and master of his senses, to whom a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold are the same....
    (VI 8).
4. Let the yogin try constantly to concentrate his mind (on the Supreme Self), remaining in solitude, and alone, self controlled....
    (VI 10).
5. .....supreme happiness comes to the yogin.... who is stainless and has become one with the God.  (VI 27).
6. The yogin is greater than the ascetic; he is considered to be greater than the man of knowledge (This is only a tentative
statement and not the final verdict). He is considered to be greater than the man of ritual works...(VI 46).

In respect of kaivalya, while it is end result of successful yoga practice, the Advaitin begins his practice with the conviction that
all consciousness is Brahman (prajnanam brahman) and that his own Atman is Brahman. (Aparokshanubhuti, 134).  This seems
to be a distinct advantage that the advatin enjoys over his yogic counterpart.  (Bhagavan says in Talks #17: Concentration of the
mind is in a way common to both Knowledge and Yoga. Yoga aims at union of the individual with the universal, the Reality.
This Reality cannot be new.  It must exist even now, and it does exist. Talks # 211:  Yoga implies a prior division and it means
a later union of one with another. Who is to be united with whom?  You are the seeker, seeking union with something.  That is something apart from you.  Your Self is intimate to you.  You are aware of the Self. Seek it and be it.  That will expand as the
Infinite.  Then there will be no question of Yoga....)       
         
Although the Bhagavad Gita is supposed to be a predominantly Samkhya work, the ultimate advantage of the Jnani over
the other types of seekers is clearly noted.  e.g:  Of these the wise one, who is ever in constant union with the Divine,
whose devotion is single minded, is the best.  For I am supremely dear to him and he is dear to me.  VII.17.

CONTD.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2013, 01:19:57 PM »

continues...

This observation should not however, be taken to mean that yoga is in any way inferior to other efforts at self realization --
far from it.  In all philosophical systems which share the same ultimate goal, different methods have been devised to meet
the needs of a diverse practitioner community with a wide range of abilities.

We indicated above that the desire for total freedom or kaivalya is innate in all human beings.  We are just not happy with
the way life treats us, even when it treats us well.  According to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan:

'Perfection at the human level is a task to be accomplished by conscious behavior.  The image of God operating in us produces
a sense of insufficiency.  Man has a haunting sense of the vanity, the transience and the precariousness of all human happiness.
Those who live on the surface of life may not feel the distress, the laceration of the spirit, and may not feel any urge to seek
their own good. They are purusha pasu (human animals)...But those who realize their dignity as human beings are acutely
aware of the discord and seek a princple of harmony and peace.'  (S. Radhakrishnan, Commentary on Bhagavad Gita).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Concept of Kaivalya in Yoga - Jan.-Mar. 2013 Mountain Path
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 10:51:48 AM »

continues.....

The Bhagavad Gita addresses this urgent need of humanity through a synthesis of the major approaches to self realization,
from simple surrender (XVIII 66) to the most complex yogic practice.  We hinted above that Sutra I. 23 (Isvara pranidhanadva)
may suggest surrender to the Lord, who is also the Guru and the Self, the object of our spiritual quest. Until we accomplish
this goal, no matter what else we achieve or possess, we have to ask, like Sankara, tatah kim, tatah kim, tatah kim, so what?

Again, when you have been there and done it all, what is left?  The only logical answer has to be: You. There are moments
of utter solitude -- however few and far between -- when we are on the verge of the realization that we are our own selves.
That sense of absolute freedom is kaivalya, and that state of pure awareness is moksha.  The trick of course is to learn to
persist and remain in that state.

The concept of kaivalya is a highly charged one.  It is unique, loaded term denoting the highest stage of evolution which a
human being can attain.  There is something lofty and noble about it, with myriad connotations of total release, absoluteness,
and a fullness of existence, 'that passeth understanding'.  It has an air of exclusivity  to it, signifying our final destiny.  (Sankara
describes this in Vivekachudamani, Verses 393, 418 and 427 this state.)

concluded.


Arunachala Siva.