Author Topic: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)  (Read 960 times)

Subramanian.R

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Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:46:41 PM »
YOGA:

Sanskrit - union of jivatma with paramatma, jiva-brahma aikya;  recognition of the oneness of the Self;
absorption of the mind in the Self;  self mastery; integration of personality; aligning of body, mind and
speech in purity and truthfulness.

*

Yoga is a most popular word these days but not necessarily completely understood in its full scope
and depth, partly because of its multiple limbs and partly because it carries many layers of meaning,
unlike Jnana, which has a single meaning, namely enlightenment.  At its highest level, Yoga has the
same connotation as Jnana because the the 'union of jivatma with paramatma' can be only in the form
of seeing the falsehood of individuality (Jiva bodha) in the wake of Self Knowledge, (Siva bodha).  For there are NO two selves to begin with and there is  really no lower self (jivatma) that exists independently, in order
to merge with the higher self (paramatma).   Jiva bodha is merely a spurious notion that has arisen mysteriously from causal ignorance (avidya), and it evaporates in the light of knowledge of one's true
identity following self inquiry.

Yoga comes from the root 'yuj' which means 'to unite'. The English word 'yoke' also derives from Yoga
meaning 'union';  therefore the word 'union' is a metaphor (aupachaarikam)  to represent that enlightenment
which bestows liberation from Samasara (transmigratory existence).

contd.,


Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 10:28:10 AM »
However, this recognition of the oneness of the Self can take place only in a pure and subtle intellect
and this prerequisite alone brings forth in full force the implications of the word Yoga in the stage
of Sadhana for an earnest seeker and its due place in the scheme of things.  The first classical
compilation of Yoga was given by the ancient sage Patanjali in his celebrated treatise, Ashtanga Yoga
Sutra which remains the last word, by virtue of its profound treatment of the subject.  To gain a pure
mind and a subtle intellect capable of undertaking self inquiry, one must necessarily possess a fully
integrated personality. Sri Ramana was equipped with such a competent tool when He undertook mself
inquiry as a 16 year old lad and in a flash His spiritual journey was over in a single leap.

Yoga therefore means 'integration of the personality' and precedes Jnana, which transcends the limited
individuality by seeing its falsity (Mithya Svabhava).  Thus it should be clear that without integrating
the personality in all its aspects, transcending its limitations through knowledge (bodha) will remain an
unrealistic hope, much like a chimera.  This is the rationale behind Sri Krishna's tireless advice to Arjuna
to strive to become a Yogi first, as a preparation to gain Jnana Nishta.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 03:11:21 PM »
Patanjali outlines eight systematc steps towards conquest of mind and achieving self mastery.  The first
two limbs , Yama and Niyama, are the foundations of spiritual life and lay great emphasis on ethical purity,
unselfishness and devotion to God, the guru and scriptural study.  The next two limbs focus on Asana
(body postures) and Pranayama (breath control), which are extremely valuable in improving one's
physical fitness and sense of well being, without which one cannot possibly meditate in depth and for
extended periods.  Pranayama in particular helps achieve nadi shuddi (cleansing of subtle psychic channels
through which the life force is distributed all over the body) and this directly helps to pacify the mind and
enhance the Sattva Guna that is so essential for spiritual advancement.  Bhagavan has spoken highly of the
value pranayama in making the mind one pointed and fit to focus on Atma Vichara. (Upadesa Undiyar
Verses 11-14).

These four steps come under the category of hatha yoga, while the next four steps come under Raja Yoga
proper, as they exclusively deal with directly taming the mind.   These are Pratyahara (withdrawal of the
habitually outgoing mind), and Dharana (concentration and focusing the mind), Dhyana (meditation) and
Samadhi (absorption of the mind in the Self). This leads to eventual recognition of Jiva Brahma Aikya,
the liberating knowledge that unites jiva with Brahman.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 12:24:34 PM »
There is, however, a significant difference in approach between the traditional Patanjali Yoga Marga
and the Vichara Marga espoused by Bhagavan.  This lies in the central role played by will power in the
former, while the latter questions the very reality of the mind, (of which the will is only a part) and
is primarily attention based. Wherever the will is involved, an element of control suggesting a fight or
struggle with the opposing forces of baser nature is invariably present.  Yoga aims at purification of the
mind (Chitta suddhi) and one-pointedness. of the mind as a precursor to Samadhi (absorption of the
mind in the Self) and thus to begin with gives semblance of reality to the mind (or the thought world),
and this persists till all the basic hurdles to meditation are overcome.

In the vichara marga, Bhagavan relentlessly denies reality to the mind right at the outset, and all the
way by questioning every thought as to its source, in the form 'where from arises this thought?' or
'to whom does this occur?'  and thus will based sadhana with all its attendant frustrations  and fatigue
is neatly by passed.  Only a rudimentary element of will (in the form of certain earnestness ) is required
in this path, so that one does not slip into inattention from the state of alert witnessing.  Bhagavan Himself
gives a nuanced criticism of the yoga marga, by comparing it with controlling a rogue bull by the horns
employing full force, whereas the Vichara Marga is like coaxing the unruly bull by showing it luscious
grass for feeding and bringing it round to its abiding resting place with no confrontation or struggle or their
attendant exhaustion.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 12:36:35 PM by Subramanian.R »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 02:53:17 PM »
Another way to put it is that Yoga seeks to control the mind as if it is were a genie and to make it
a slave to do in one bidding;  the danger is that if one is not vigilant enough, the demon can usurp
control and threaten you with unpleasant consequences because it is treated as conscious and independent
entity.  This risk is, however, averted if the intellect is trained in Vedanta so that one sees the conquest of
the mind not as an end in itself but as an essential step towards Jnana where one's identification with the
mind automatically ceases.

Vichara Marga, on the other hand, treats the mind as an inert instrument that is powerful and useful
when Vyavahara (transactional or everyday life) demands it, but is laid aside just like a harmless tool
while one practices Self Attention, which denies it an independent conscious existence. One does not
fight the mind.  Here the whole trick is to cease to identify with the mind, though this is far more easily
said than done.  However, if one succeeds in practicing this way, one abides in the goal already.  This
eventually becomes effortless (Sahaja).  The Bible dictum 'I am the Way and I am the Goal' is apt.

Since this is such a direct path, focusing attention solely on the sense 'I am', it is often called Maha Yoga.
This is indeed valid because in the popular four fold broad classification of Yoga, the unquestioned ego
survives (though progressively attenuated), as the doer (karta) in Karma Yoga, the devotee (bhakta) in
Bhakti Yoga, the knower (pramata) in Jnana Yoga. and as the one who attempts to unite (yogi) in Raja
Yoga.  In contrast,the Vichara Marga lays the axe to root of the ego straightaway and thus subsumes all
the four paths at one stroke, being the mother of all Yogas. For those who lack the subtlety of mind to
directly embark on this Sadhana, it is safe to be guided by Patanjali Yoga.  However the tragedy of modern
times is that many seekers without ripeness of mind required for the Vichara Marga label themselves
conveniently as Jnana Margis and find it fashionable to jettison the primary yoga disciplines meant for integrating the personality and purifying the psyche.

Nowadays it is also unfortunate that yoga has come to be primarily identified with asanas and pranayama,
intended mainly for health benefits and its spiritual purpose relegated to insignificance for the targeted
audience. Instead of being a precious tool for spiritual emancipation, it is promoted as an accessory to
successful worldly life style.  To reduce it to such a purpose as an accessory to a successful worldly lifestyle.
To reduce it to such a purpose is a distortion of Yoga.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       
               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Yoga - Mountain Path, Aradhana 2007 (April - June 2007)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 03:01:59 PM »
In this context, we should understand the role of Yoga in integrating the personality and divinising it.
The conscious mind is under the control of a vast unconscious mind and these two parts are often
incompatible in their movements.  That is why our sincerity is not always true, as it is mixed up with
subtle desires, (samskaras). Yoga begins with purifying the unconscious first and making it compatible
with the conscious mind governed by an enlightened intellect. The Bhagavad Gita defines different aspects
of Yoga as 'skill in action', 'equanimity under all conditions and dyads' and 'dissociation from all sorrow and
pain'  through intelligent and discriminating living.  The ultimate skill lies in the non attachment to any
manifestation of prakriti and total identification with Purusha, the Self or pure spirit.  (Patanjali Yoga
Sutras 15 and 16).  That alone is the goal and the consummation of Yoga in its final essence.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.