Monday, August 27, 2007

Tracts on Yogin and Yogic Methodology

When Consciousness delimits itself in knowledge and form, it gives rise to the drama of the world. The prologue of this drama is formed by the veiling of Its essential nature.

In the prologue, it undergoes the process of involution to the extent of assuming the form of matter. This is the arc of descent.

At the acme of this descent, begins the process of evolution resulting eventually in the emergence of the principles of life and mind.

Having thus got evolved, man questions about his being and gets to know himself in his true nature. This marks the arc of ascent or evolution. Herein lies the relevance of yogic methodology.

The factor responsible for delimiting consciousness from its infinitude is maya, in view of Vedic seers, including particularly Patanga and Garga Bharadvaja.

Out of the three facets of maya, the principle of creativity, the first one is the limitation of consciousness from its infinite plenitude to an atomic point preparing thus the ground for the emergence of the individual.

Loss of plenitude results in the loss of freedom on the part of the individual. Thus, there is the loss of consciousness of one’s freedom and freedom of one’s consciousness.

The second one lies in the division of consciousness into the subject and the object staring face to face at each other.

The network of the duality of subject and object created thus, proves entangling for consciousness.

The third is the factor of action on account of which the individual consciousness suffers the consequence of its actions both evil and good.

The threefold trap of limitation, dichotomisation and causal efficacy results in oblivion of one’s true nature.

Thus, the individual remains confined just to the modes of his psychic apparatus while his desires make him entangled in the pleasures of sense objects.

Put under this confinement, he loses much in his power of discernment and is reduced to limited doership. The objects of senses become fascinating to him due to utter limitation brought to the range of his consciousness.

He becomes emotionally charged by the desire for particular things and comes to develop organs of action and sense so as to enjoy those objects by way of their utilisation, no matter, even just cognitively.

These vibrations and reflexes conceal the experient’s real nature resulting in his indulgence in ignorance. Ignorance lies not in the object but in the subject and that also due to limitation in its self-dynamism.

For the sake of recovery of one’s true nature, Yoga has devised three methods depending on the degree of loss.

The first one of these methods concerns lower and grosser forms of practice which work at the individual level and have their centre in the individualised consciousness.

This method is devised to free consciousness from the constraints imposed on it by fluxes due to which it is subject to duality and is forced to face the play of its thought constructs.

Methods such as sthana kalpana consisting in dharana on particular objects, are meant for the consciousness of the individual so as to enable him to attain the state of physical quiescence and facilitate his entry into higher states of consciousness.

The second method is one of self-inquiry, suddha vikalpa, wherein attempt is made to rise from the stage of knowledge of duality to that of unity through meditation. It brings about mental quiescence and is akin to the state of sleep.

In the third method there is no involvement of body, prana, manas and buddhi nor is there any kind of vikalpa or self-inquiry.

It is the subtlest of all, inasmuch it leads directly to the attainment of pure consciousness through a sudden and total merger of individual consciousness into pure consciousness by an immediate realisation of their oneness.

It is the path of integral knowledge of one’s true nature where the world of commonsense experiences loses its definiteness and is rendered kindred to the state which immediately precedes the state of dreamless sleep and is marked by the presence of only vague ideas.

These three approaches are not separate but are interlinked with one another insofar as they all culminate in getting the individual re-established in his true nature.

These are helpful in the suspension of the physical, mental and volitional activities respectively.


Under the first method, the aspirant of yoga takes up a certain aspect of his personality such as body, senses, sensations, manas, buddhi, prana, or some object in the world outside for the start of his practice.

Here the sense of psychophysical complexes, that are mostly considered to be the true nature, is utilised.

The techniques in this approach start from the standpoint of limited psychological and empirical self.

Consciousness is fixed on something different from it.

As such, this approach is called bhedopaya, that is, a technique under which the object of meditation is considered as different from the essential self.

Due to involvement of kriya or action in the course of meditation under this method, it is known as kriya yoga.

The various ways employed in course of the sadhana under this method are: mudras, pranasandhana (gross and subtle), pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, kundalini and cakras, etc.

The aspirant’s meditation here aims at assimilating the entire world including his own body, senses, vitality, mind, intellect, etc., successively to his consciousness.

He does so by meditating on the object of knowledge, the knower and the knowledge itself in a unified way without distinction, leading to expansion of consciousness.

Having withdrawn his sense-organs from their involvement in objects outside, he reaches their original source which is his own nature of undivided consciousness.

Moving back from gross elements constituting the physical body to pure sensation, senses and mind, etc. to their real source, the yogin rises from his embodied subjectivity of the waking state to the Fourth State where he experiences himself as one with the all-pervading creative consciousness.

It is also achieved through a technique known as the fire of consciousness.

In this method, consciousness is made to traverse the body with a view to visualising the entire cosmos as lying compressed in it.

The aspirant focuses his consciousness on the toe of the right foot and visualises the fire rising upward from it.

This meditation transforms the physical body into the fire of consciousness with the sublimation of the individuality into the universality.

Besides the above technique, an individual can utilise other techniques such those of prana, body, pratyahara, dharana, sthana kalpana, etc. to realise his or her true nature.

No matter, whatever technique the aspirant employs under the kriya yoga, its final aim is to attain undivided consciousness through dissolution of the individuality.

This method is not necessary for those who are already oriented to spirituality.


On account of being vitiated by vikalpas, the aspirant, though oriented to spirituality, is unable to reach the goal automatically.

This is due to the vikalpas which are responsible for misconception about oneself resulting in bondage.
Basically, these are ideas and beliefs on account of which one considers one’s psychophysical organism itself as one’s true nature.

Suddha vikalpa or correct attitude or such as aham brahmasmi, I am the Transcendental, the universe is an expression of my power, etc. are utilised here for getting rid of these vikalpas.

Citta’s main product is vikalpa, thought-construct, which is projected on the screen of mind and acts as a barrier not allowing one’s real nature to shine forth.

It is only when the vikalpas are dissolved that the true nature of oneself reveals itself.

This reality of one’s nature is something not to be achieved all anew but just to get uncovered.

Herein lies the utility of mantra sadhana, sutarka (right reasoning) and suddha vikalpa (right attitude).

Mantra sadhana, sutarka and suddha vikalpas are basically vikalpas, useful in eliminating the asuddha vikalpas (improper attitudes).

Here citta or the individual consciousness is not fixed or steadied on any particular object, nor is there concentration or meditation on anything. Only the source of one’s being is sought to get unveiled.

When citta or the individual consciousness constantly uses the mantra devoted to a particular deity as a single vikalpa, it gets identified with it and dissolves leading to transformation of it into cit, integral consciousness, which is one’s true nature.

The secret of mantra lies in the union of the individual consciousness with the Consciousness which is inclusive of the universe in its essence.

Mantra sadhana is liable to give rise to occult powers also. These powers are considered as obstacles on the path of self-realisation.

If a yogi becomes satisfied with only acquisition of these powers, he is considered to have fallen from the high ideal of the mantra sadhana.

He, therefore, is advised to ignore them through the exercise of detachment so as to get liberated through self-realisation.

He is supposed to offer his body, bonds of karma, etc., to the Fire of Consciousness which he has lit up by being at one with the mantra.

On being used as an oblation, his body becomes divine and, as such, an abode of the integral consciousness.

In the course of his worldly life when he happens to reside on the plane of corporeality, he acts as an actor.

In this frame of experience, the contact of his senses with their respective objects is felt as getting dipped in the nectar of self-awareness.

Having had deposited all these blissful experiences in the honeycomb of his self, like a honeybee, he becomes free from all cravings.

For such an awakened yogi, the previous experience about the world becomes attenuated into something like a dream.

Sutarka also facilitates the march towards self-realisation.

It lies in learning from a genuine guru or scriptures that the essential nature of oneself is pure consciousness and not the psychophysical formation, which ordinarily he mistakes for his total self.

Here one reflects and brings reinforcement to the continuity of ideas kindred to the suddha vikalpa.

Via bhavana, creative contemplation, it leads finally to vidya which by and by results in the realisation of one’s total being as purely consciousness.

Through this vidya, the object of knowledge gets coincided with the knowledge while the knowledge turns eventually into the knower himself.

Finally, the knower is displaced by pure consciousness in which the distinction between the knowledge, object of knowledge and the knower totally disappears.

This yogic method also provides for the dissolution of the vikalpas through the knowledge of Reality.

Only if an aspirant is able to develop the art of grasping the spanda or dynamic throb in the interval of two thoughts, his thoughts cease to crop up and his true nature becomes revealed.

For such a yogin established in pure consciousness, the whole life becomes yoga.

Even the commonplace conversation of such a yogin is a pious act of japa as never does he lose his hold over the integral consciousness even while chatting with others.

He is constantly mindful of the ajapa mantra known as Hamsa which he is supposed to repeat automatically 21,600 times by way of breathing as many times in course of every twenty-four hour of his daily life.

Dissemination of the knowledge of the self to others on his part amounts to his act of dana, benefaction to them.

On account of being established in pure consciousness, such a yogin does not feel pain or pleasure even in extreme cases of experience this way or that way.

Objectivity and subjectivity get reconciled into one without any contradiction in the integrality of the consciousness of the yogin.

Having reached this state of realisation, he becomes free of attachment even towards his body.

By virtue of his entry into pure consciousness, he leaves behind the lower order of creation, having himself risen to a higher one.

Each stage in the ascent of his consciousness is marked by a transition from one order of experiencing subjectivity to the other.

His rise to the higher order coincides with the assimilation of the lower to its subjectivity resulting in the elimination of the duality.

The end of duality gives rise to a novel kind of experience having its basis in the essentiality of consciousness.

On the completion of this process, the yogin becomes virtually the agent of every action in the universe.

Viewing objects like the body, jar, etc., becomes simply a manifestation of consciousness. This is his vrata, sacred vow.

His quest for the pure consciousness lying beyond the reach of reasoning is his yoga.

The individual consciousness of such a yogin becomes propelled by a force which arises from within wherein his limited consciousness dies to live in pure and universal consciousness. This is called uncovering of one’s nature.

Iccha-sakti upaya or Bhakti upaya:

The third one is the subtlest form of practice, meant for elevating the aspirant directly to pure consciousness.

Only a few individuals are fit to practise this method directly without having to meditate or to take recourse to mantras.

They get automatically absorbed in the highest state of consciousness by virtue of being purified inwardly through involvement of the will-power or iccha-sakti or by an intensive self-awakening.

In this sahaja or spontaneous yoga, identification of the individual consciousness with pure consciousness is achieved by an intensive use of the iccha-sakti reinforced by the jnanasakti.

Under this method, the individual neither accepts nor rejects anything but just seeks to dwell in his essential nature which is pure consciousness.

It is the choiceless awareness or the pathless path.

It is an awareness neither of thought nor of any discipline or practice but of one’s real inner being from moment to moment.

To identify the essentials of this sadhana from amidst these variations, the following statement of the Maitrayani Upanisad may be helpful.

What is unconscious, dwelling in consciousness, unthinkable and full of mystery, therein one should immerse consciousness and the lingam is bereft of any support. (Mait.Up. VI.19)
While one is engaged in one thought, another rises; the junction-point between the two is the unmesa or uncovering or revelation of the true nature of oneself which forms the background of both the thoughts.

When the experience of this sort continues to prevail in the normal course of life, the entire universe appears only as an expansion of the power of Consciousness.

Through intensive awareness of that power, there is realisation of the consciousness in its integrality.

This experience of the inner reality is the experience of the turiya or transcendental consciousness. The yogin, established in this consciousness, gains perfection in what is called as the asana of his consciousness.

He then makes the bliss of this integral consciousness prevail in waking, dream and dreamless sleep also and extends it to the senses, body and finally to the entire cosmos. This is his mutation.

By continuing to remain in this experience of the fourth in all states, the yogin becomes the enjoyer and master of his senses and comes to be known as dhira, fully established in wisdom.

To such a yogi, everything, external or internal, appears as a form of consciousness allowing him, thus, to trace the origin of everything in that consciousness.

By virtue of this realisation, he becomes free of all limitations and can create any sort of body as per his wish.

He, however, becomes shorn of all desires for power, and yet has virtually now become the Lord of all powers.

The dhi or intellect of the common man is either dull or over excited and remains constantly affected by the shifting forms of objects projected on it.

The yogi’s attention, however, remains fixed constantly on the meeting point between moments.

It is from here that the brilliant and unsullied consciousness illumines each scene. It is also from here that he draws the power of his illumined understanding, dhi-sakti.

Finally, yogi requires no practice at all since he always abides in his essential nature, which becomes his real asana.

This adventure of consciousness for the yogin is full of the sense of wonder, illumination, and harmony culminating in wisdom.


Anupaya is another way to realisation of one’s real nature. This, however, is not recognised by the system of yoga because no methods are employed in it on the part of the aspirant.

It lies in the instance of sakti-pata in which a self-realised teacher awakens the consciousness of the disciple by merely a touch, look or word of insight.

Swami Vivekananda’s elevation to the fourth state of consciousness by Paramahamsa Ramakrishna’s sakti-pata is a recent example of it.

The consciousness, thus awakened, is not anything new as it was already embedded in the disciple and needed only a push from below or pull from above.

It is only due to negative influence of his own thought constructs generated by conditioning that he was unable earlier to reflect on it even though it had obviously been there all the time.

No comments: