Yogaschitta vrtti Nirodhaha

Yogaschitta vrtti Nirodhaha

Every individual has a state of mind which is called his or her Parinama, or Vrtthi. Vrttis can be one of three possible types: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas Vrttis. Sattva Sattva is the quality of Truth, of Wholesomeness. It is a state to be desired and to be achieved by the practice of Yoga. This is a state of balance in the mind and body that occurs when the boy is strong, resilient and the mind quiet and calm. Rajas The Rajasic State is one of hyperactivity. This describes the modern man, who is constantly engaged in some activity or the other, often without purpose or significant result. It is important to understand that a Rajasic state is at times necessary, such as when waking up from sleep. If we are devoid of Rajas, we cannot get up from bed and begin to function on a daily basis. But having got up, we should lapse into the state of Completeness of Sattva, so that we can interact with the rest of humanity with kindness and compassion. Therefore, Rajas is necessary merely to convert from the sleep state to the state of wakefulness so that we can function. Tamas The Tamasic State is one of dullness of body and intellect. This is the state we are in on weekends and holidays, when we feel we deserve to “vegetate”. Again, the Tamasic state is necessary to fall asleep at the appropriate time so that we are not awake into the night, counting sheep to try and fall asleep! But it is important not to be lethargic, such as sleeping during the...
Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga

Before I start, I would like to declare that every blog on Yoga that follows is what I have learned from the many lectures and teachings of my Guru Swami Sri Dayananda Saraswati and his disciples. “Om Sri Gurubhyo Namaha” – My salutations to the Guru. There is a Guru-Shishya Parampara (“Guru” – the one who clears the darkness of ignorance and reveals the truth; “Shishya” – the disciple; “Parampara” – the tradition). The importance of understanding this concept is that, though the information is available in the Pramanas (the Vedas and Upanishads), it cannot be completely imbibed without being taught by the Guru. This is an Oral Tradition, starting long before writing was conceived. It is passed on orally from one generation to the next. “Ashta” – Eight, “Anga” – Limbs/Branches. Yoga existed before the time of Patanjali. This saint was the first one to formalize yoga into a discipline, to be practiced in the pursuit of self-realization. What we call yoga in the Western world is just Asanas (postures), one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Before we discuss the eight limbs, let us elaborate on the introduction that Patanjali presents. This introduction is in the form of 3 sentences or statements. Atha Yoganushasanam. Yogaschittha vrtti nirodhaha Atha Drshtuhu Swarupe Avasthanam. The first statement is Atha Yoganushasanam. The word ‘Atha’ is equivalent to the word ‘Om’. Both are sacred words. These are interchangeably the words that the Lord is said to have uttered when he was ready to manifest as the world. World as a manifestation The world is a manifestation, not a creation. The pot maker...
Creation and the Creator.

Creation and the Creator.

In creating something, there must be two causes: the Material with which it is created, and the Efficient cause who created it. Let us take the example of a piece of gold jewelry. Gold is the material and goldsmith is the efficient cause. The efficient cause should have the knowledge of what he is creating and the purpose for which it is being created. Hence the efficient cause, the creator, must have the knowledge to create it and the skill to create it. But also understand that the material cause, the gold, is intrinsically in the effect, which is the jewelry. In other words, you cannot take away the gold and have the jewelry! The cause and the effect are therefore one. A piece of gold jewelry cannot exist without the gold. The world as a creation. When we look at the world we find that it is an intelligent creation. We cannot deny that there is intelligence in the universe. It would not be possible to create something intelligent without the knowledge to create it. Therefore, we have one part of the equation for creating the world, namely the efficient cause or intelligence. What about the other cause, the material? If an Intelligent Being created the world, where did the material come from? The vision of the Vedas. The Vedas give a few examples in trying to understand the Maker and the Material. One of the examples is the spider. This spider weaves a gossamer web. The spider is therefore the efficient cause of the web. The web itself comes from a secretion from within the spider. Therefore,...
What is the Truth?

What is the Truth?

What is not subject to negation is Truth. This is the definition of Truth. Any object that we define can be defined differently by another person. Thus there can be various definitions of any object. But when it comes to the Absolute Truth, we cannot negate it. Is there such a thing as Truth? Is there one thing that fits the definition of Truth? If so, what is it? The Vedas and Upanishads say that it is YOU! You are the only truth. Let us test this assertion by the Vedas. Are you the truth, and the only truth? The only way we can decide this is by attempting to negate the truth. If we negate you, you cannot be the Truth. Can you negate yourself? Let us find out. “You are the only truth.” Am I the Truth? I exist. I know that I exist. I do not need any proof for my existence. In fact, my existence is self-revealing in the sense that no one else nor anything else needs to confirm that I exist. I am the eternal subject and, as the subject, I objectify everything else in the world. We have established that if I am the eternal subject, the only way to negate that would be another subject which denies my existence, in which case I become the object. An object is subject to negation but how can we negate the subject? It is not possible. I, the subject, alone AM. Everything else around me is known to me and become the objects. Everything else around me therefore IS. The world is, the sky...
A Clear Way to Understanding Awareness

A Clear Way to Understanding Awareness

“All of this is so confusing, Dr. Gopal! Is there a clear way of explaining or understanding it?” Confusion is bound to arise in trying to understand something as profound as the Self or Atman. Let us take it in steps: 1. What/Who am I? We have established that I am neither the body, the mind nor the senses. Since we can objectify all of these, and since the subject is always different from the object, I am none of these. Equally obviously, I am the witness that objectifies the body, mind and senses as well as everything else in the universe. 2. Awareness Let us take the example of a pot. When I see the pot, there is “pot-consciousness”. The light from the pot enters my retina and creates an image. This image is sent to the mind/brain where, because of previous Samskara/knowledge, I recognize the pot. It does not stop with the mind, however, since there is awareness even in sleep when the mind is not working. Therefore, behind the mind is Awareness. This Awareness is working even when the mind is absent. It is in the Awareness that the knowledge of the pot finally registers. 3. I am. It is common for us to think of ourselves as “I am a father, a son, a sister or brother or a spouse.” In other words we have a tendency to embellish “I am” with a race, a color, a sex, or a relationship. And yet, “I” am none of those things. In fact, I cannot be any of those things, because anything that I add to “I...
I am not this body!

I am not this body!

In this physical body of mine, I have the “I” sense. In everything else other than the physical body, I have the “this” or “that” sense. It is clear that “I” am separate from “this” or “that”. Indeed, I never identify myself with any “this” or “that”, because I am the subject and anything which is “this” or “that” is an object. When I am looking at a tree, I know it to be a tree and I never mistake myself for the tree. The tree is the other. What this means is that anything that I see, feel, touch or know is not “I” and is not me. Thus, the body that I see and touch, the mind of which I am aware, and the senses that I appreciate, cannot be me. I am not my mind nor my intellect! Experimentally, I am restless when my mind is restless. When my mind is quiet, I am quiet. Therefore it would appear that my mind and I are identical. But if I can make the statement that my mind is restless, indicating that the mind is another object or “not I”, it means that I am not the mind. This is a powerful logic, though it is often overlooked. The problem is that we are so invested in this body, mind and senses that when the body is in pain we say that we are in pain, when the mind is restless, we say that we are restless. When you cannot see, you say that you are blind instead of saying that your eyes cannot see. Similarly, you say...