This word, derived from the root Yuj (“to join”), is in grammar samadhi, in logic avayavaśakti, or the power of the parts taken together and in its most widely known and present sense the union of the jīva or embodied spirit, with the Paramātmā, or Supreme Spirit, and the practices by which this union may be attained. There is a natural yoga, in which all beings are, for it is only by virtue of this identity in fact that they exist.

‘When his mind, intellect, and self (ahamkara) are under control, freed from restless desire so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes one with Siva. A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a yogi, who controls his mind, intellect, and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect, and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga – a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.

It is of this special yoga, though not in reality more “supernatural” than the first that we here deal. Yoga in its technical sense is the realization of this identity, which exists, though it is not known, by the destruction of the false appearance of separation.

“There is no bond equal in strength to māyā, and no force greater to destroy that bond than yoga. There is no better friend than knowledge (jñāna,) nor worse enemy than egoism (ahaṃkāra). As to learn the Śāstra one must learn the alphabet, so yoga is necessary for the acquirement of tattvajñāna (knowledge of elements).”

Patanjali’s yoga prescribes five exterior methods for the subjugation of the body—namely:

  • Yama, forbearance or self-control, such as sexual continence, avoidance of harm to others (ahiṃsā), kindness, forgiveness, the doing of good without desire for reward, the absence of covetousness, temperance, purity of mind and body, etc.
  • Niyama, religious observances, charity, austerities, reading of the Śāstra and Īśvara Praṇīdhāna, persevering devotion to the Lord.
  • Āsana, seated positions or postures.
  • Prāṇāyāma, regulation of the breath. A yogī renders the vital airs equable, and consciously produces the state of respiration which is favorable for mental concentration, as others do it occasionally and unconsciously
  • Pratyāhāra, restraint of the senses, which follows in the path of the other four processes which deal with the subjugation of the body.

There is then three interior (yogānga) methods for the subjugation of the mind— namely:

  • Dhāraṇā, attention, steadying of the mind, the fixing of the internal organ (citta) in a particular manner indicated in the works on yoga.
  • Dhyāna, the uniform continuous contemplation of the object of thought.
  • Samādhi, Savikalpasāmadhi is a deeper and more intense contemplation on the Self to the exclusion of all other objects, and constituting trance or ecstasy. This ecstasy is perfected to the stage of the removal of the slightest trace of the distinction between subject and object in Nirvikalpasāmadhi in which there is complete union with the Paramātmā or Divine spirit. By vairāgya (dispassion), and keeping the mind in its unmodified state, yoga is attained. This knowledge, AhamBrahmāsmi (“I am the Brahman”), does not produce liberation (mokṣa) but is liberation itself. Whether yoga is spoken of as the union of Kundalini with Paramaśiva, or the union of the individual soul (jīvātmā) with the Supreme Soul (paramātmā), or as the state of mind in which all outward thought is suppressed, or as the controlling or suppression of the thinking faculty (cittavrtti), or as the union of the moon and the sun (Ida and Pingalā), Prāṇā and Apāna or Nāda and Bindu, the meaning and the end are in each case the same.

Yoga, in seeking mental control and concentration, makes use of certain preliminary physical processes (sādhana) such as the sat-karma, āsana, mudrā, and prānāyāma. By these four processes and three mental acts, seven qualities, known as śodhana, dridhatā, sthiratā, dhairya, lāghava, pratyaksa, nirliptatva.

dh

PRELIMINARY: YAMAS AND NIYAMAS

  • Ahimsa: Non-violence. Not causing pain in thought, word or action at any time
  • Satya: Truthfulness. Word and thought are one.
  • Asteya: Non-stealing, non-coveting, non-indebted.
  • Brahmacharya: being constantly aware of the universe, immersed in divinity, divine conduct, continence, celibate when single, faithful when married.
  • Kshama: Patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.
  • Driti: Steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through completion.
  • Daya: Compassion, Agape.
  • Arjava: Honesty, straightforwardness.
  • Mithara: Moderate appetite, neither eating too much or too little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
  • Shaucha: Purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech.

PURIFICATION: SATKARMA

The first, or cleansing, is effected by the six processes known as the satkarma. Of these, the first is Dhauti, or washing, which is fourfold, or inward washing (antardhauti), cleansing of the teeth, (danta-dhauti), etc., of the “heart” (hrddhauti), and of the rectum (mūladhauti). Antardhauti is also fourfold—namely, vātasāra, by which air is drawn into the belly and then expelled; vārisāra, by which the body is filled with water, which is then evacuated by the anus; vahnisāra, in which the nābigranthi is made to touch the spinal column (Meru): and bahiskrta, in which the belly is by kākinī-mudrā filled with air, which is retained half a jāma and then sent downward. Dantadhauti is fourfold, consisting of the cleansing of the root of the teeth and tongue, the ears and the “hollow of the forehead” (kapāla-randhra). By hṛddhauti phlegm and bile are removed. This is done by a stick (daṇḍa-dhauti) or cloth (vāso-dhauti) pushed into the throat or swallowed, or by vomiting (vamanadhauti).

Mūladhauti is done to cleanse the exit of the apānavāyu either with the middle finger and water or the stalk of a turmeric plant. Vasti, the second of the satkarma, is twofold and is either of the dry (śuṣka) or watery (jala) kind. In the second form the yogī sits in the utkatāsana posture in water up to the navel, and the anus is contracted and expanded by aivini mudrā; or the same is done in the paścimottānāsana, and the abdomen below the navel is gently moved. In neti the nostrils are cleansed with a piece of string. Laulikī is the whirling of the belly from side to side. In trātakā the yogī, without winking, gazes at some minute object until the tears start from his eyes. By this the “celestial vision” (divya-dṛṣṭi) so often referred to in the Tāntrika-upāsanā is acquired. Kapālabhati is a process of the removal of phlegm, and is three-fold—vāta-krama by inhalation and exhalation; vyūtkrama by water drawn through the nostrils and ejected through the mouth; and śitkrama the reverse process. These are the various processes by which the body is cleansed and made pure for the yoga practice to follow.

STRENGTHENING: ĀSANA

Drdhata, or strength or firmness, the acquisition of which is the second of the above-mentioned processes, is attained by āsana. Āsanas are postures of the body. The term is generally described as modes of seating the body. But the posture is not necessarily a sitting one: for some asanas are done on the belly, back, hands, etc. It is said that the āsanas are as numerous as living beings and that there are 8,400,000 of these; 1,600 are declared to be excellent, and out of these thirty-two are auspicious for men, which are described in detail. Two of the commonest of these are Mukta padmasana (“the loosened lotus seat”), the ordinary position for worship, and baddhapadmāsana. Patañjali, on the subject of āsana, merely points out what are good conditions, leaving each one to settle the details for himself according to his own requirements.

There are certain other asanas, which are peculiar to the Tantras, such as mundāsana, citāsana, and śavāsana, in which skulls, the funeral pyre, and a corpse respectively form the seat of the sādhaka. These, though they may have other ritual objects, form part of the discipline for the conquest of fear and the attainment of indifference, which is the quality of a yogī. And so the Tantras prescribe as the scene of such rites the solitary Mountain-top, the lonely empty house and river-side, and the cremation-ground. The interior cremation-ground is there where the kāmik body and its passions are consumed in the fire of knowledge.

STEADYING: MUDRĀS

Sthiratā, or fortitude, is acquired by the practice of the mudras. The mudrās dealt with in works of haṭhayoga are positions of the body. They are gymnastic, health-giving, and destructive of disease and of death, such as the jāladhara and other mudrās. They also preserve from injury by fire, water, or air. Bodily action and the health resulting therefrom react upon the mind, and by the union of a perfect mind and body, Siddhi is by their means attained.

The Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā describes a number of mudrās of which those of importance may be selected. In the celebrated yonimudrā, the yogī in siddhāsana stops with his fingers the ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth. He inhales prāṇāvāyu by kākinī-mudrā, and unites it with apānavāyu. Meditating in their order upon the six chakras, he arouses the sleeping Kuṇḍalinī by the mantra “Hūm ̣Sah,” and raises her to the Sahasrāra; then, deeming himself pervaded with the Śakti, and in blissful union (sangaṃa) with Śiva, he meditates upon himself as, by reason of that union, Bliss itself and the Brahman. Aśvinimudrā consists of the repeated contraction and expansion of the anus for the purpose of śodhana or of contraction to restrain the apāna in ṣaṭcakrabheda. Śakticālana employs the latter mudrā, which is repeated until vāyu manifests in the suṣumnā. The process is accompanied by inhalation and the union of prāṇā and apāna whilst in siddhāsana.

CALMING: PRATYĀHĀRA

Dhairya, or steadiness, is produced by pratyāhāra. Pratyāhāra, is the restraint of the senses, the freeing of the mind from all distractions, and the keeping of it under the control of the Ātmā. The mind is withdrawn from whatsoever direction it may tend by the dominant and directing Self. Pratyāhāra destroys the six sins.

LIGHTNESS: PRĀṆĀYĀMA

From prāṇāyāma arises laghava (lightness). All beings say the ajapā-Gāyatrī, which is the expulsion of the breath by Ham, and its inspiration by Sah, 21,600 times a day. Ordinarily, the breath goes forth a distance of 12 fingers’ breadth, but in singing, eating, walking, sleeping, coition, the distances are 16, 20, 24, 30, and 36 breadths respectively. In violent exercise these distances are exceeded, the greatest distance being 96 breadths. Where the breathing is under the normal distance, life is prolonged. Where it is above that, it is shortened. Pūraka is inspiration, and recaka expiration. Kumbhaka is the retention of the breath between these two movements. Kumbhaka is, according to the Gheraṇḍa-Saṃ hitā, of eight kinds: sahita, sūryabheda, ujjāyi, śītali, bhastrikā, bhrāmari, mūrchchha, and kevalī. Prāṇāyāma similarly varies. Prāṇāyāma is the control of the breath and other vital airs. It awakens śakti, frees from disease, produces detachment from the world, and bliss.

It is of varying values, being the best (uttama) where the measure is 20; middling (madhyama) when at 16 it produces spinal tremour; and inferior (adhama) when at 12 it induces perspiration. It is necessary that the nāḍi should be cleansed, for air does not enter those which are impure. The cleansing of the nāḍi (nāḍiśuddhi) is either samaṇu or nirmaṇu—that is, with or without, the use of bīja. According to the first form, the yogī in padmasana does guru-nyāsa according to the directions of the guru. Meditating on “yaṃ,” he does japa through Iḍa of the bīja 16 times, kumbhaka with japa of bīja 64 times, and then exhalation through the solar nāḍi and japa of bīja 32 times. Fire is raised from maṇipūra and united with pṛthivī. Then follows inhalation by the solar nāḍi with the vahni bīja, 16 times, kumbhaka with 64 japa, followed by exhalation through the lunar nāḍi and japa of the bīja 32 times. He then meditates on the lunar brilliance gazing at the tip of the nose, and inhales Iḍa with japa of the bīja “thaṃ ” 16 times. Kumbhaka is done with the bīja “vaṃ”64 times. He then thinks of himself as flooded by nectar, and considers that the nāḍis have been washed. He exhales by Piṇ galā with 32 japa of the bīja “lam,” and considers himself thereby as strengthened. He then takes his seat on a mat of kuśa-grass, a deerskin, etc., and, facing east or north, does prāṇāyāma. For its exercise there must be, in addition to nāḍi śuddhi, consideration of proper place, time and food. Thus, the place should not be so distant as to induce anxiety, nor in an unprotected place, such as a forest, nor in a city or crowded locality, which induces distraction. The food should be pure, and of a vegetarian character. It should not be too hot or too cold, pungent, sour, salt, or bitter. Fasting, the taking of one meal a day, and the like, are prohibited. On the contrary, the Yogī should not remain without food for more than one jāma (three hours). The food taken should be light and strengthening. Long walks and other violent exercises should be avoided, as also— certainly in the case of beginners—sexual intercourse. The stomach should only be half filled. Yoga should be commenced, it is said, in spring or autumn. As stated, the forms of prāṇāyāma vary. Thus, sahita, which is either with (sagarbha) or without (nirgarbha) bīja, is according to the former form, as follows: The sadhaka meditates on Vidhi (Brahmā), who is full of rajo-guna, red in colour, and the image of akāra. He inhales by Iḍāin six measures (mātrā). Before kumbhaka he does the uḍḍiyānabhandha mudrā. Meditating on Hari (Viṣṇu) as sattvamaya and the black bija ukāra, he does kumbhaka with 64 japa of the bīja; then, meditating on Śiva as tamomaya and his white bīja makāra, he exhales through Piṇ galā with 32 japa of the bīja; then, inhaling by Piṇ galā, he does kumbhaka, and exhales by Iḍa with the same bīja. The process is repeated in the normal and reversed order.

PERCEPTION: DHYĀNA

Through dhyāna is gained the third quality of realization or pratyakṣa. Dhyāna, or meditation, is of three kinds: (1) sthūla, or gross; (2) jyotih; (3) sūkṣma, or subtle. In the first the form of the Devatā is brought before the mind. One form of dhyāna for this purpose is as follows: Let the sādhaka think of the great ocean of nectar in his heart. In the middle of that ocean is the island of gems, the shores of which are made of powdered gems. The island is clothed with a kadamba forest in yellow blossom. This forest is surrounded by Mālati, Campaka, Pārijāta, and other fragrant trees. In the midst of the Kadamba forest there rises the beautiful Kalpa tree, laden with fresh blossom and fruit. Amidst its leaves the black bees hum and the koel birds make love. Its four branches are the four Vedas. Under the tree there is a great maṇḍapa of precious stones, and within it a beautiful bed, on which let him picture to himself his Iṣṭadevatā. The Guru will direct him as to the form, raiment, vāhana, and the title of the Devatā. Jyotirdhyāna is the infusion of fire and life (tejas) into the form so imagined. In the mūlādhāra lies the snakelike Kuṇḍalinī. There the jivatma, as it were the tapering flame of a candle, dwells. The Sādhaka then meditates upon the tejomaya Brahman, or, alternatively, between the eyebrows on praṇavātmaka, the flame emitting its luster0. Sūkṣma-dhyāna is the meditation on Kuṇḍalinī with śāmbhavī-mudrā after She has been roused. By this yoga, the ātmā is revealed (ātmā-sākṣātkāra).

ISOLATION: SAMĀDHI

Lastly, through samadhi the quality of nirliptatva, or detachment, and thereafter mukti (liberation) is attained. Samādhi considered as a process is intense mental concentration, with freedom from all Sankalpa, and attachment to the world, and all sense of “mineness,” or self-interest (Mamata). Considered as the result of such process it is the union of Jīva with the Paramātmā.

The nectar which flows from such union floods the kṣhūdrabrāhmaṇḍa or human body. It is then that the sādhaka, forgetful of all in this world, is immersed in ineffable bliss.

FOUR AIMS OF BEING

There is but one thing which all seek—happiness—though it is of differing kinds and sought in different ways. All forms, whether sensual, intellectual, or spiritual, are from the Brahman, who is Itself the Source and Essence of all Bliss, and Bliss itself. Though issuing from the same source, pleasure differs in its forms in being higher and lower, transitory or durable, or permanent.

Dharma. We all have a unique dharma or path in life. Dharma can be translated to mean “one’s purpose.” Purpose is much more than simply what a person does…it’s how, and why, they do it. Living in alignment with dharma means living with clarity of perception and action, and being true to oneself.

Artha. Artha includes all of the resources one needs to live in alignment with their dharma. This includes money but is not limited to financial resources. Our housing, transportation, nourishing food, a phone and computer─a

This word, derived from the root Yuj (“to join”), is in grammar samadhi, in logic avayavaśakti, or the power of the parts taken together and in its most widely known and present sense the union of the jīva or embodied spirit, with the Paramātmā, or Supreme Spirit, and the practices by which this union may be attained. There is a natural yoga, in which all beings are, for it is only by virtue of this identity in fact that they exist.

‘When his mind, intellect, and self (ahamkara) are under control, freed from restless desire so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes one with Siva. A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a yogi, who controls his mind, intellect, and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect, and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga – a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.

It is of this special yoga, though not in reality more “supernatural” than the first that we here deal. Yoga in its technical sense is the realization of this identity, which exists, though it is not known, by the destruction of the false appearance of separation.

“There is no bond equal in strength to māyā, and no force greater to destroy that bond than yoga. There is no better friend than knowledge (jñāna,) nor worse enemy than egoism (ahaṃkāra). As to learn the Śāstra one must learn the alphabet, so yoga is necessary for the acquirement of tattvajñāna (knowledge of elements).”

Patanjali’s yoga prescribes five exterior methods for the subjugation of the body—namely:

  • Yama, forbearance or self-control, such as sexual continence, avoidance of harm to others (ahiṃsā), kindness, forgiveness, the doing of good without desire for reward, the absence of covetousness, temperance, purity of mind and body, etc.
  • Niyama, religious observances, charity, austerities, reading of the Śāstra and Īśvara Praṇīdhāna, persevering devotion to the Lord.
  • Āsana, seated positions or postures.
  • Prāṇāyāma, regulation of the breath. A yogī renders the vital airs equable, and consciously produces the state of respiration which is favorable for mental concentration, as others do it occasionally and unconsciously
  • Pratyāhāra, restraint of the senses, which follows in the path of the other four processes which deal with the subjugation of the body.

There is then three interior (yogānga) methods for the subjugation of the mind— namely:

  • Dhāraṇā, attention, steadying of the mind, the fixing of the internal organ (citta) in a particular manner indicated in the works on yoga.
  • Dhyāna, the uniform continuous contemplation of the object of thought.
  • Samādhi, Savikalpasāmadhi is a deeper and more intense contemplation on the Self to the exclusion of all other objects, and constituting trance or ecstasy. This ecstasy is perfected to the stage of the removal of the slightest trace of the distinction between subject and object in Nirvikalpasāmadhi in which there is complete union with the Paramātmā or Divine spirit. By vairāgya (dispassion), and keeping the mind in its unmodified state, yoga is attained. This knowledge, AhamBrahmāsmi (“I am the Brahman”), does not produce liberation (mokṣa) but is liberation itself. Whether yoga is spoken of as the union of Kundalini with Paramaśiva, or the union of the individual soul (jīvātmā) with the Supreme Soul (paramātmā), or as the state of mind in which all outward thought is suppressed, or as the controlling or suppression of the thinking faculty (cittavrtti), or as the union of the moon and the sun (Ida and Pingalā), Prāṇā and Apāna or Nāda and Bindu, the meaning and the end are in each case the same.

Yoga, in seeking mental control and concentration, makes use of certain preliminary physical processes (sādhana) such as the sat-karma, āsana, mudrā, and prānāyāma. By these four processes and three mental acts, seven qualities, known as śodhana, dridhatā, sthiratā, dhairya, lāghava, pratyaksa, nirliptatva.

dh

PRELIMINARY: YAMAS AND NIYAMAS

  • Ahimsa: Non-violence. Not causing pain in thought, word or action at any time
  • Satya: Truthfulness. Word and thought are one.
  • Asteya: Non-stealing, non-coveting, non-indebted.
  • Brahmacharya: being constantly aware of the universe, immersed in divinity, divine conduct, continence, celibate when single, faithful when married.
  • Kshama: Patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.
  • Driti: Steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through completion.
  • Daya: Compassion, Agape.
  • Arjava: Honesty, straightforwardness.
  • Mithara: Moderate appetite, neither eating too much or too little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
  • Shaucha: Purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech.

PURIFICATION: SATKARMA

The first, or cleansing, is effected by the six processes known as the satkarma. Of these, the first is Dhauti, or washing, which is fourfold, or inward washing (antardhauti), cleansing of the teeth, (danta-dhauti), etc., of the “heart” (hrddhauti), and of the rectum (mūladhauti). Antardhauti is also fourfold—namely, vātasāra, by which air is drawn into the belly and then expelled; vārisāra, by which the body is filled with water, which is then evacuated by the anus; vahnisāra, in which the nābigranthi is made to touch the spinal column (Meru): and bahiskrta, in which the belly is by kākinī-mudrā filled with air, which is retained half a jāma and then sent downward. Dantadhauti is fourfold, consisting of the cleansing of the root of the teeth and tongue, the ears and the “hollow of the forehead” (kapāla-randhra). By hṛddhauti phlegm and bile are removed. This is done by a stick (daṇḍa-dhauti) or cloth (vāso-dhauti) pushed into the throat or swallowed, or by vomiting (vamanadhauti).

Mūladhauti is done to cleanse the exit of the apānavāyu either with the middle finger and water or the stalk of a turmeric plant. Vasti, the second of the satkarma, is twofold and is either of the dry (śuṣka) or watery (jala) kind. In the second form the yogī sits in the utkatāsana posture in water up to the navel, and the anus is contracted and expanded by aivini mudrā; or the same is done in the paścimottānāsana, and the abdomen below the navel is gently moved. In neti the nostrils are cleansed with a piece of string. Laulikī is the whirling of the belly from side to side. In trātakā the yogī, without winking, gazes at some minute object until the tears start from his eyes. By this the “celestial vision” (divya-dṛṣṭi) so often referred to in the Tāntrika-upāsanā is acquired. Kapālabhati is a process of the removal of phlegm, and is three-fold—vāta-krama by inhalation and exhalation; vyūtkrama by water drawn through the nostrils and ejected through the mouth; and śitkrama the reverse process. These are the various processes by which the body is cleansed and made pure for the yoga practice to follow.

STRENGTHENING: ĀSANA

Drdhata, or strength or firmness, the acquisition of which is the second of the above-mentioned processes, is attained by āsana. Āsanas are postures of the body. The term is generally described as modes of seating the body. But the posture is not necessarily a sitting one: for some asanas are done on the belly, back, hands, etc. It is said that the āsanas are as numerous as living beings and that there are 8,400,000 of these; 1,600 are declared to be excellent, and out of these thirty-two are auspicious for men, which are described in detail. Two of the commonest of these are Mukta padmasana (“the loosened lotus seat”), the ordinary position for worship, and baddhapadmāsana. Patañjali, on the subject of āsana, merely points out what are good conditions, leaving each one to settle the details for himself according to his own requirements.

There are certain other asanas, which are peculiar to the Tantras, such as mundāsana, citāsana, and śavāsana, in which skulls, the funeral pyre, and a corpse respectively form the seat of the sādhaka. These, though they may have other ritual objects, form part of the discipline for the conquest of fear and the attainment of indifference, which is the quality of a yogī. And so the Tantras prescribe as the scene of such rites the solitary Mountain-top, the lonely empty house and river-side, and the cremation-ground. The interior cremation-ground is there where the kāmik body and its passions are consumed in the fire of knowledge.

STEADYING: MUDRĀS

Sthiratā, or fortitude, is acquired by the practice of the mudras. The mudrās dealt with in works of haṭhayoga are positions of the body. They are gymnastic, health-giving, and destructive of disease and of death, such as the jāladhara and other mudrās. They also preserve from injury by fire, water, or air. Bodily action and the health resulting therefrom react upon the mind, and by the union of a perfect mind and body, Siddhi is by their means attained.

The Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā describes a number of mudrās of which those of importance may be selected. In the celebrated yonimudrā, the yogī in siddhāsana stops with his fingers the ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth. He inhales prāṇāvāyu by kākinī-mudrā, and unites it with apānavāyu. Meditating in their order upon the six chakras, he arouses the sleeping Kuṇḍalinī by the mantra “Hūm ̣Sah,” and raises her to the Sahasrāra; then, deeming himself pervaded with the Śakti, and in blissful union (sangaṃa) with Śiva, he meditates upon himself as, by reason of that union, Bliss itself and the Brahman. Aśvinimudrā consists of the repeated contraction and expansion of the anus for the purpose of śodhana or of contraction to restrain the apāna in ṣaṭcakrabheda. Śakticālana employs the latter mudrā, which is repeated until vāyu manifests in the suṣumnā. The process is accompanied by inhalation and the union of prāṇā and apāna whilst in siddhāsana.

CALMING: PRATYĀHĀRA

Dhairya, or steadiness, is produced by pratyāhāra. Pratyāhāra, is the restraint of the senses, the freeing of the mind from all distractions, and the keeping of it under the control of the Ātmā. The mind is withdrawn from whatsoever direction it may tend by the dominant and directing Self. Pratyāhāra destroys the six sins.

LIGHTNESS: PRĀṆĀYĀMA

From prāṇāyāma arises laghava (lightness). All beings say the ajapā-Gāyatrī, which is the expulsion of the breath by Ham, and its inspiration by Sah, 21,600 times a day. Ordinarily, the breath goes forth a distance of 12 fingers’ breadth, but in singing, eating, walking, sleeping, coition, the distances are 16, 20, 24, 30, and 36 breadths respectively. In violent exercise these distances are exceeded, the greatest distance being 96 breadths. Where the breathing is under the normal distance, life is prolonged. Where it is above that, it is shortened. Pūraka is inspiration, and recaka expiration. Kumbhaka is the retention of the breath between these two movements. Kumbhaka is, according to the Gheraṇḍa-Saṃ hitā, of eight kinds: sahita, sūryabheda, ujjāyi, śītali, bhastrikā, bhrāmari, mūrchchha, and kevalī. Prāṇāyāma similarly varies. Prāṇāyāma is the control of the breath and other vital airs. It awakens śakti, frees from disease, produces detachment from the world, and bliss.

It is of varying values, being the best (uttama) where the measure is 20; middling (madhyama) when at 16 it produces spinal tremour; and inferior (adhama) when at 12 it induces perspiration. It is necessary that the nāḍi should be cleansed, for air does not enter those which are impure. The cleansing of the nāḍi (nāḍiśuddhi) is either samaṇu or nirmaṇu—that is, with or without, the use of bīja. According to the first form, the yogī in padmasana does guru-nyāsa according to the directions of the guru. Meditating on “yaṃ,” he does japa through Iḍa of the bīja 16 times, kumbhaka with japa of bīja 64 times, and then exhalation through the solar nāḍi and japa of bīja 32 times. Fire is raised from maṇipūra and united with pṛthivī. Then follows inhalation by the solar nāḍi with the vahni bīja, 16 times, kumbhaka with 64 japa, followed by exhalation through the lunar nāḍi and japa of the bīja 32 times. He then meditates on the lunar brilliance gazing at the tip of the nose, and inhales Iḍa with japa of the bīja “thaṃ ” 16 times. Kumbhaka is done with the bīja “vaṃ”64 times. He then thinks of himself as flooded by nectar, and considers that the nāḍis have been washed. He exhales by Piṇ galā with 32 japa of the bīja “lam,” and considers himself thereby as strengthened. He then takes his seat on a mat of kuśa-grass, a deerskin, etc., and, facing east or north, does prāṇāyāma. For its exercise there must be, in addition to nāḍi śuddhi, consideration of proper place, time and food. Thus, the place should not be so distant as to induce anxiety, nor in an unprotected place, such as a forest, nor in a city or crowded locality, which induces distraction. The food should be pure, and of a vegetarian character. It should not be too hot or too cold, pungent, sour, salt, or bitter. Fasting, the taking of one meal a day, and the like, are prohibited. On the contrary, the Yogī should not remain without food for more than one jāma (three hours). The food taken should be light and strengthening. Long walks and other violent exercises should be avoided, as also— certainly in the case of beginners—sexual intercourse. The stomach should only be half filled. Yoga should be commenced, it is said, in spring or autumn. As stated, the forms of prāṇāyāma vary. Thus, sahita, which is either with (sagarbha) or without (nirgarbha) bīja, is according to the former form, as follows: The sadhaka meditates on Vidhi (Brahmā), who is full of rajo-guna, red in colour, and the image of akāra. He inhales by Iḍāin six measures (mātrā). Before kumbhaka he does the uḍḍiyānabhandha mudrā. Meditating on Hari (Viṣṇu) as sattvamaya and the black bija ukāra, he does kumbhaka with 64 japa of the bīja; then, meditating on Śiva as tamomaya and his white bīja makāra, he exhales through Piṇ galā with 32 japa of the bīja; then, inhaling by Piṇ galā, he does kumbhaka, and exhales by Iḍa with the same bīja. The process is repeated in the normal and reversed order.

PERCEPTION: DHYĀNA

Through dhyāna is gained the third quality of realization or pratyakṣa. Dhyāna, or meditation, is of three kinds: (1) sthūla, or gross; (2) jyotih; (3) sūkṣma, or subtle. In the first the form of the Devatā is brought before the mind. One form of dhyāna for this purpose is as follows: Let the sādhaka think of the great ocean of nectar in his heart. In the middle of that ocean is the island of gems, the shores of which are made of powdered gems. The island is clothed with a kadamba forest in yellow blossom. This forest is surrounded by Mālati, Campaka, Pārijāta, and other fragrant trees. In the midst of the Kadamba forest there rises the beautiful Kalpa tree, laden with fresh blossom and fruit. Amidst its leaves the black bees hum and the koel birds make love. Its four branches are the four Vedas. Under the tree there is a great maṇḍapa of precious stones, and within it a beautiful bed, on which let him picture to himself his Iṣṭadevatā. The Guru will direct him as to the form, raiment, vāhana, and the title of the Devatā. Jyotirdhyāna is the infusion of fire and life (tejas) into the form so imagined. In the mūlādhāra lies the snakelike Kuṇḍalinī. There the jivatma, as it were the tapering flame of a candle, dwells. The Sādhaka then meditates upon the tejomaya Brahman, or, alternatively, between the eyebrows on praṇavātmaka, the flame emitting its luster0. Sūkṣma-dhyāna is the meditation on Kuṇḍalinī with śāmbhavī-mudrā after She has been roused. By this yoga, the ātmā is revealed (ātmā-sākṣātkāra).

ISOLATION: SAMĀDHI

Lastly, through samadhi the quality of nirliptatva, or detachment, and thereafter mukti (liberation) is attained. Samādhi considered as a process is intense mental concentration, with freedom from all Sankalpa, and attachment to the world, and all sense of “mineness,” or self-interest (Mamata). Considered as the result of such process it is the union of Jīva with the Paramātmā.

The nectar which flows from such union floods the kṣhūdrabrāhmaṇḍa or human body. It is then that the sādhaka, forgetful of all in this world, is immersed in ineffable bliss.

FOUR AIMS OF BEING

There is but one thing which all seek—happiness—though it is of differing kinds and sought in different ways. All forms, whether sensual, intellectual, or spiritual, are from the Brahman, who is Itself the Source and Essence of all Bliss, and Bliss itself. Though issuing from the same source, pleasure differs in its forms in being higher and lower, transitory or durable, or permanent.

Dharma. We all have a unique dharma or path in life. Dharma can be translated to mean “one’s purpose.” Purpose is much more than simply what a person does…it’s how, and why, they do it. Living in alignment with dharma means living with clarity of perception and action, and being true to oneself.

Artha. Artha includes all of the resources one needs to live in alignment with their dharma. This includes money but is not limited to financial resources. Our housing, transportation, nourishing food, a phone and computer─any tools you need to do your work are a part of artha.

Kama. Kama can be translated to mean “pleasure.” But it also means “surrendering to what is.” Through the fulfillment of the positive needs of life, we can go beyond desire. In essense, kama involves finding pleasure in the simple things of life as opposed to chasing our desires.

Moksha. Moksha means “liberation.” Perfect freedom, self-realization, and enlightenment can be attained through a state of choiceless, passive, moment-to-moment awareness in our daily life.

ny tools you need to do your work are a part of artha.

Kama. Kama can be translated to mean “pleasure.” But it also means “surrendering to what is.” Through the fulfillment of the positive needs of life, we can go beyond desire. In essense, kama involves finding pleasure in the simple things of life as opposed to chasing our desires.

Moksha. Moksha means “liberation.” Perfect freedom, self-realization, and enlightenment can be attained through a state of choiceless, passive, moment-to-moment awareness in our daily life.

Published by Saurav Saha