The evolution of consciousness – part 6
Last month, in Part 5, KAMLESH D. PATEL explored the spectrum of consciousness in more detail and introduced the role of Yoga in this process. In this issue, he explains more about the vastness that is Yoga.
THE SCIENCE OF SPIRITUALITY
Yoga is all about personal experience. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the three bodies of a human being – the physical body or sthool sharir, the subtle body or sookshma sharir, and the causal body or karan sharir. Yoga developed as a practical method to help us refine all these three bodies, to achieve our purpose of human evolution. The experience of the finer states generated in yogic practice is for the benefit of all humanity.
Many people these days associate the word ‘Yoga’ with a set of techniques for physical and mental well-being: asanas, breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. But this is not a comprehensive understanding of Yoga. In the traditional yogic literature there are thirty-five different principles and methods that make up Yoga, and they form an integrated whole. What are these thirty-five? And how can we really benefits from the techniques Yoga has to offer in the 21st century?
The Four Elements
Yoga as a discipline has developed over thousands of years to nourish and refine our physical, subtle and causal bodies. The purpose: the expansion of consciousness to its ultimate potential so that we become one with the ultimate state of all existence. All thirty-five elements contribute to that purpose; they are not designed to be independent practices, even though each one contains a vast field of knowledge within itself. Asanas are not meant to be practiced in isolation, and neither is dhyana, meditation. The thirty-five fall within four main elements known as sadhana chatusthaya.
Viveka – discernment and wisdom in making choices
The first of the four practices is called viveka, meaning the awareness of what is good and what is not good for your evolution; what is the cause versus what is the effect; what is harmful versus what is beneficial; and what is necessary versus what is not. To cultivate this capacity, you need to learn to listen to your heart, the source of your conscience. How to do this?
In earlier articles of this series, we touched upon the need to purify the subtle body in order to really listen to a true heart. In addition, we explored the role meditation and prayer play in regulating the mind so that it is able to observe within and connect with the Source of our being.
Vairagya – detachment and renunciation
The second of the four practices, vairagya, is the state in which we let go of worldly attachments. For example, when we are fed up with worldly things after indulging in them to our heart’s content, we develop an aversion to them. Our attention turns towards noble ideals and we crave something higher. Also, when we have been deeply pained by the treachery and faithlessness of the world, we feel disillusioned and averse to worldly things. Dissatisfaction and detachment also develop when we grieve the loss of a dear one.
But vairagya created under such circumstances is more of a glimpse than it is lasting. It can easily disappear with a change in circumstances, because the seed of desire still lies buried deep within the heart and may sprout again as soon as it finds a congenial atmosphere. True renunciation develops after thorough cleaning of the subtle body.
Viveka and vairagya are not practices in themselves; they result automatically by doing other yogic practices, e.g. meditation, cleaning and prayer. Viveka develops when the senses are thoroughly purified. This happens when the mind is regulated and disciplined, and when the ego is pure. Vairagya is the result of viveka. They are really the elementary stages of attainment in Yoga rather than the means of attainment.
Yogic practice is not useful unless it naturally leads to viveka and vairagya. In real viveka you begin to realize your own defects and shortcomings and feel a deep urge within your heart to change for the better.
Shat Sampatti – the six forms of attainment
The practical tools of Yoga are to be found within the third of the four sadhanas, known as the shat sampatti, the six spiritual attainments. The first of these, shama, is the peaceful condition of a regulated mind that leads to calmness and tranquility. When this inner calm is achieved through practice, viveka and vairagya follow automatically.
This proper moulding and regulation of the mind is easily accomplished with the aid of Yogic Transmission or pranahuti.
The second shat sampatti is dama, control of the senses, which results from learning to focus the mind on one thing alone in meditation, ignoring all others. Most yoga aspirants follow this course, while a few attempt sham through karma, action, or bhakti, devotion. Still others proceed through the medium of jnana, knowledge.
In Heartfulness, regulation of the mind and control of the senses are taken up together through meditation practice, automatically creating discernment and renunciation in the true sense.
The third sampatti is uparati. In this state you are free of all desires, not charmed by anything in this world, nor the next, as your mind is centered on Reality. It is a more refined state than vairagya in the sense that vairagya produces a feeling of aversion for worldly objects while in uparati the feelings of attraction and repulsion are both absent. At this stage your subtle body is completely purified.
The fourth sampatti is titiksha, the state of fortitude. At this stage you are perfectly satisfied with whatever comes your way, with no feeling of injury, insult, prejudice or appreciation.
The fifth sampatti is shraddha, true faith. This is a very high attainment and an unspeakable virtue. It is the dauntless courage which leads you to success. It makes your journey smooth and solves the problem of life.
The last of the shat sampatti is samadhana, a state of self-settledness without even being conscious of it, in total surrender.
Mumukshutva – the craving for liberation
The fourth of the four practices is mumukshutva. It was so highly regarded in the past, but now we know that it is in fact just the beginning of the real journey, as there is so much more in Yoga beyond liberation. What remains now is to develop a close association with the ultimate Reality and become one with that state.
…now we know that it is in fact
just the beginning of the real journey,
as there is so much more in Yoga beyond liberation.
What remains now is to develop a close association
with the ultimate Reality and
become one with that state.
The importance of practice
If you explore shama, you will discover that this is where all the practices of Yoga are to be found – whether through the Ashtanga Yoga tradition of Patanjali, the more specialized streams of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, etc., or the modern approach to Yoga through Heartfulness.
Patanjali’s system took care of the physical, subtle and causal bodies of the human being, for example through asana and pranayama for physical well-being, yama and niyama for human qualities and refinement of character, and the other four to refine the subtle body to discover the Ultimate state. Patanjali presented his practical approach to the world a few thousand years ago, as the eightfold path:
But just as specialization has crept into modern medicine over the years, the same thing has developed in the field of Yoga, probably because each individual practice or principle required so much focus for self-mastery in the past. Perhaps that is why today so many people focus on the asanas for physical well-being. It is symptomatic of our times that the main focus of Yoga is now on physical development, when it has so much to offer all the three bodies.
Yoga provides us with a vast potential for personal evolution and collective human evolution. Heartfulness provides a way of integrating all thirty-five elements of Yoga, without having to take up each step individually. Asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are taken up through the practices of relaxation, meditation, cleaning of the subtle body, and connecting with the Source through prayer. Yama and niyama are also a by-product of these practices but are taken up as well through character refinement, conscious living and the development of noble inner qualities with the help of sankalpa. It is a complete package that provides simple practices for anyone who aspires to evolve.
…so many people focus on
the asanas for physical well-being.
It is symptomatic of our times
that the main focus of Yoga is now
on physical development,
when it has so much to offer all the three bodies.
In part 5 of this series, I mentioned that with the aid of Yogic Transmission consciousness can expand to experience the full three-hundred-and-sixty-degree vision of sahaj samadhi. And this is the culmination of Yoga. It is how the soul is nourished and enriched. The most exalted samadhi is possible when Yogic Transmission guides our consciousness during meditation.
So why be satisfied with a small plate of hors d’oeuvres when you can experience the full meal? There has never been a better time in human history to experience the pure essence of Yoga, supported by Yogic Transmission and Yogic Cleaning. And what is the outcome? Oneness with the Source of all existence. What better way to create a hopeful future for our children and our children’s children – in oneness and unity.
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Article by KAMLESH D. PATEL
November 01, 2017
November 01, 2017
November 01, 2017