Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi about limbs of yoga(Yama,Niyama..)  (Read 888 times)


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Ramana Maharshi about limbs of yoga(Yama,Niyama..)
« on: March 17, 2010, 01:04:03 PM »
A new translation by DR T. M. P. MAHADEVAN, M.A., Ph.D. from the original Tamil

D: Although I have listened to the explanation of the characteristics of enquiry in such great detail,my mind has not gained even a little peace. What is the reason for this?

M: The reason is the absence of strength or one-pointedness of the mind.

D: Of the means for mind-control, which is the most important?

M: Breath-control is the means for mind-control.

D: How is breath to be controlled?

M: Breath can be controlled either by absolute retention of breath (kevala-kumbhaka) or by regulation of breath (pranayama).

D: What are the limbs of yoga?

M: Yama, niyama, asana, ,pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Of these -

(1) Yama:- this stands, for the cultivation of such principles of good conduct as non-violence (ahimsa), truth (satya), non-stealing (asteya), celibacy (brahmacharya), and non-possession (apari-graha).

(2) Niyama:- this stands for the observance of such rules of good conduct as purity (saucha),contentment (santosha), austerity (tapas), study of the sacred texts (svadhyaya), and devotion to God (Isvara-pranidhana).

(3) Asana:- Of the different postures, eighty-four are the main ones. Of these, again, four, viz.,simha, bhadra, padma, and siddha are said to be excellent. Of these too, it is only siddha, that is the most excellent. Thus the yoga-texts declare.

(4) Pranayama:- According to the measures prescribed in the sacred texts, exhaling the vital air is rechaka, inhaling is puraka and retaining it in the heart is kumbhaka. As regards ‘measure’,some texts say that rechaka and puraka should be equal in measure, and kumbhaka twice that measure, while other texts say that if rechaka is one measure, puraka should be of two measures,and kumbhaka of four. By ‘measure’ what is meant is the time that would be taken for the utterance

(5) Pratyahara:- This is regulating the mind by preventing it from flowing towards the external names and forms. The mind, which had been till then distracted, now becomes controlled. The aids in this respect are (1) meditation on the pranava, (2) fixing the attention betwixt the eyebrows,(3) looking at the tip of the nose, and (4) reflection on the nada. The mind that has thus become one-pointed will be fit to stay in one place. After this, dharana should be practised.

(6) Dharana:- This is fixing the mind in a locus which is fit for meditation. The loci that are eminently fit for meditation are the heart and Brahma-randhra (aperture in the crown of the head). One should think that in the middle of the eight-petalled lotus6 that is at this place there shines, like a flame, the Deity which is the Self, i.e. Brahman, and fix the mind therein. After this, one should meditate.

(7) Dhyana:- This is meditation, through the ‘I am He’ thought, that one is not different from the nature of the aforesaid flame. Even, thus, if one makes the enquiry ‘Who am I?’, then, as the Scripture declares, “The Brahman which is everywhere shines in the heart as the Self that is the witness of the intellect”, one would realize that is the Divine Self that shines in the heart as ‘I-I’.
This mode of reflection is the best meditation.

(8) Samadhi:- As a result of the fruition of the aforesaid meditation, the mind gets resolved in the object of meditation without harbouring the ideas ‘I am such and such; I am doing this and this’.This subtle state in which even the thought ‘I-I’ disappears is samadhi. If one practises this every day, seeing to it that sleep does not supervene, God will soon confer on one the supreme state of quiescence of mind.

D: By practising the disciplines taught above, one may get rid of the obstacles that are in the mind,viz. ignorance, doubt, error, etc., and thereby attain quiescence of mind. Yet, there is one last doubt. After the mind has been resolved in the heart, there is only consciousness shining as the plenary reality. When thus the mind has assumed the form of the Self, who is there to enquire? Such enquiry would result in self-worship. It would be like the story of the shepherd searching for the sheep that was all the time on his shoulders!

M: The jiva itself is Shiva; Shiva Himself is the jiva. It is true that the jiva is no other than Shiva.When the grain is hidden inside the husk, it is called paddy; when it is de-husked, it is called rice.Similarly, so long as one is bound by karma one remains a jiva; when the bond of ignorance is broken, one shines as Shiva, the Deity. Thus declares a scriptural text. Accordingly, the jiva which is mind is in reality the pure Self; but, forgetting this truth, it imagines itself to be an individual soul and gets bound in the shape of mind. So its search for the Self, which is itself, is like the search for the sheep by the shepherd. But still, the jiva which has forgotten its self will not become the Self through mere mediate knowledge. By the impediment caused by the residual impressions gathered in previous births, the jiva forgets again and again its identity with the Self, and gets deceived, identifying itself with the body, etc. Will a person become a high officer by merely looking at him? Is it not by steady effort in that direction that he could become a highly placed officer? Similarly, the jiva, which is in bondage through mental identification with the body, etc.,should put forth effort in the form of reflection on the Self, in a gradual and sustained manner; and when thus the mind gets destroyed, the jiva would become the Self.

The reflection on the Self which is thus practised constantly will destroy the mind, and thereafter will destroy itself like the stick that is used to kindle the cinders burning a corpse. It is this state that is called release.

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