Do you know that our original state is that of bliss (Ananda)?
In that pure original state, we are the embodiment of intelligence, love and bliss. However, many of us have forgotten this original state and we seek many other things in life such as material possessions, name and fame and power which only lead us in the wrong direction filled with intense suffering. It is our ignorance which is responsible for all of our powerlessness and sufferings. We already have enough energy and power, what we lack is knowledge (Gnana).
Time and again, the enlightened masters, sages and rishis, who happened on planet earth, constantly remind us to the truths that we need to evolve our body-mind to realise our original state of being. Patanjali, the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras, warned us of the deeper truths about ignorance. He said that “Ignorance is the cause of unawareness of purusha (consciousness) about its real nature. Ignorance is the cause of identification of consciousness as matter, matter as consciousness and responsible for all the sufferings we have in our lives.”
Fundamentally, man’s elevation to his highest possibility depends mainly on his mind. Therefore, his prime duty is to improve the mind. All his thoughts should be centred on his rise to the highest possibility. We need to understand that it is the mind which aids the soul in accumulation of its experiences. However, the problem with the human mind is that it has a natural tendency to occupy itself with matters of the world, undergoing in the process all the cares and worries incidental to obtaining worldly pleasures and possessions. You have a complete freedom to, either, use the mind to climb up to great heights and let you see yourself as the embodiment of love and benevolence or use it to descend into the deepest pit wherein you experience unutterable pain and distress. That’s the choice life presents itself to all of us.
Hence, it is man’s duty to evolve his body-mind to reach the state of independence, powerfulness, all knowing, benevolence and pure bliss. The science of Yoga aids him in attaining this goal. All forms of Yoga have the same eight limbs or preparatory subservient. They are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These 8 limbs form a map for any aspirant of Yoga and are to be practiced simultaneously.
- YAMA: Yama is not just the law, it is the energy that makes the law into reality. Both law and law enforcement energy both are called Yama. When you realised the source of Yama, you don’t need to practice because Yama will happen naturally. When we evolve through yoga, the 5 expressions of Yama will just become the very quality we radiate. The 5 expressions are – Ahimsa (non-violence to all living creatures, violence against someone is wasting one’s life); Satya (truthfulness); Asteya (non-greedy); Bramacharya (living like God without the need to depend on another body for pleasure) and Aparigrahah (living with minimal things). The 5 Yama are not moral codes as many think at a superficial level, they are the universal truths, a conscious wealth which gives us freedom and liberation from the universal laws. The practice of Yama requires high level of integrity and a state of completion (poornatva).
- NIYAMA: Niyama is about creating the highest possible coherence in our body. Niyama comprises 5 austerities such as Saucha (establishing yourself in purity by performing internal and external purificatory actions), Tapas (methods and techniques through which your bio memory falls in tune with the all-knowing, all powerful and intelligent Self); Santosha (from contentment, one experiences supreme bliss); Swadhaya (constant strengthening of the highest coherence through faith, charity, study of the scriptures; mantras) and Ishwara Pranidhanani (through the sacrificing of all to Ishwara – the ultimate experience expressing in the plane one can relate, comes Samadhi). The practice of Niyama leads to renunciation arising from the knowledge of the real and the ephemeral, which enables us to fix our mind on the Source. Living the Niyama requires authenticity i.e. constantly stretching one self to its highest possibility.
- ASANAS: For evolution of the mind, it is absolutely necessary to keep the body fit and make it invulnerable to death and decay. The physical frame cannot be disregarded with impunity as the soul and the Divine energy dwell within it. Asanas are postures in which we tune ourselves to the Cosmos. The practice of asanas using the body assists in Pranayama and help to produce mental equilibrium and form part of the discipline for the conquest of fear and the attainment of indifference. They not only give health but they also destroy diseases and death.
- PRANAYAMA: Pranayama is the control and regulation of breath. The air which is breathed is material air (known as sthula vayu). Breathing is a manifestation of a vitalising force called prana vayu (subtle air). By control over the sthula vayu, the prana vayu is controlled. This process is called Pranayama whereby the ordinary and comparatively slight manifestation of prana is lengthened and strengthened and developed. This takes place firstly in the prana as it courses in 2 nadis (energy channels) called Ida and Pingala, and then by its transference to the central energy channel called Sushumna when it blooms or displays itself in its fullness. The prana enters Sushumna, and if retained sufficiently long after the piercing of the 7 Chakras (energy centres), it goes to the Brahmarandhra (the dwelling of human soul). Thus Pranayama is the making of the prana enter Sushumna and then become laya (mental quietude) in the Sahasrara after Kundalini shakti (inner potential energy) has pierced the intervening chakras. The process of Pranayama consists of three stages: Puraka (Inspriration): Rechaka (expiration); Kumbhaka (the retention of breath between these two movements). Pranayama awakens Kundalini Shakti and produces detachment from the world and the experience of bliss.
- PRATHYAHARA: Prathyahara means withdrawing from the 5 senses. It is the restraint and subjection of the senses to the mind, which is thereby steadied. The mind is withdrawn from the objects of the senses. The mind is, by nature unsteady, for it is at every moment affected by sight, sounds, and so forth of external objects which it perceives through the agency of the senses. It must, therefore, be detached from the objects of the senses, withdrawn from whatsoever direction it may happen to tend, be freed from all distractions and kept under the control of the dominant self. Steadiness, therefore, is the aim and result of Prathyahara.
- DHARANA: Dharana (means holding the mind on certain object) is the Yoga when the mind, having freed itself of its propensity towards worldly pleasures, is centred unshakably on the Absolute Being who is pure intelligence. It is a state when the mind, already confident, trained, controlled and regulated, is devoid of all consciousness other than its contemplation of the Kundalini in the Brahmarandhra, of the Divine Cosmic energy which resides within and which pervades the limitless expanse of space.
- DHYANA: Dhyana means raising the frequency to a certain level such that the object on which the meditation is happening and the meditator, both lose their boundaries and becoming one. The yogi’s mind is unceasingly aware of its quest. As this uninterrupted attachment centers round a specific purpose, one experiences Yoga with the Source. The Source or Supreme Consciousness, without a beginning and an end, who performs all His functions for the benefit of souls; who causes the world to come into existence so that the souls might by experience get rid of their illusions. He is the flame divine within all of us. If one can see this flame at the Sushumna, one can reach Him. See Him within, do not seek in vain elsewhere. Remember that if you cannot see Him within, you can see Him nowhere else. Sit down and sit straight; direct your eyes to the tip of your nose and concentrate on Him. You can see Him. When He becomes your solid experience, you have no fear of death. You will drink the bliss, you will hear the cosmic sound (Nada), you will see the Shakti (energy) from which Nada emanates and into which it ultimately dissolves.
- SAMADHI: Samadhi means falling in tune (Sama) with the original source (Aadhi) i.e. one is vibrating in the same frequency of the origin, from which we originated. The state of Samadhi is attained when Dhyana intensifies and when consciousness and Kundalini energy are united. The mind ceases to exist and dissolves within itself. Samadhi itself then becomes superfluous, for it is a state of nothingness (Sunya).
In essence, the Science of Yoga provides us with a practical guide to evolve the body-mind through knowledge of Self so that we can get back to our original state of pure bliss. From my own experience, this process of evolution is possible when one’s seeking becomes intense on the path of enlightenment. The intensity will eventually bring the meeting of the aspirant and his Gnana Guru, a living enlightened master who is already established in the pure state of bliss. The role of a Guru is to dispel the darkness of ignorance and light the Being through knowledge, the right techniques and initiations which aid in the ultimate transmission of the lamp. Namaste. 🙂