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UNDERSTANDING THE YOGA DARSHAN (An exploration of the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali)

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(An exploration of the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali)

Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
The yoga tradition is pan-universal and para-universal in its perspective. In this ancient art and science of right living, reverence is one of the most important qualities required in any sincere aspirant. Without reverence it is difficult to value “that” which we have and “that” which we have been given. It is difficult to understand how blessed we are if we choose not to realize it. The shat darshan are not just mere, philosophical perspectives of the dynamic universe but are a reverential witnessing of the Divine Universal Nature. All aspects of yoga are sacred, not in a limited religious sense but in an unlimited spiritual one. All aspects of yoga need to be respected. It is only when we have such an attitude of respectful love, profound interest, that we can become a yoga bhakta. Then, and then only, will we be fit for these teachings of the highest nature. Any attempt to explore the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patañjali must spring from an attitude of respect, reverence and love for these teachings. If that is absent, then one may as well as be reading any common magazine or newspaper instead. The place, the time and the frame of mind will enable us to develop the right attitude, the universal beatitude towards these elevating teachings. This reverence would be completely lost if we choose to treat them like other mundane information or data. What attitude will you choose? The choice you make determines whether or not the treasure house of the Yoga Sutra opens its doors to you or not!

To order this book and others from ICYEr at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India please visit

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UNDERSTANDING THE YOGA DARSHAN (An exploration of the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali)

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING THE YOGA DARSHAN AN EXPLORATION OF THE YOGA SUTRA OF MAHARISHI PATAÑJALI By Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani MBBS, ADY, DSM, DPC, PGDFH, PGDY, FIAY Chairman, International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) at Ananda Ashram, Puducherry, India.
  2. 2. Dedicated To The Greatest Guru In My Universe THE LION OF PUDUCHERRY Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj (24-07-1907 to 29-12-1993) Who Protected the Purity of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga With His Mighty Roar of Truth
  3. 3. © 2011 By Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani All rights reserved First Edition : Puducherry 2011 Published by : Dhivyananda Creations 44, 1st Cross, Iyyanar Nagar, Puducherry - 13, South India. Tel.: +91-413-2241561 e-mail: Photo credits : Gitananda Ashram (Italy) and Yogacharini Shalini (Czech Republic) Any material reproduced from this book may be done so only with prior permission of the author and with due credit to the source. This is an important aspect of Yogic Culture and we request all readers to follow this request in the true spirit of yama and niyama.
  4. 4. CONTENTS • BLESSINGS From Yogacharya Yogashri T.K.V. Desikachar, Founder, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation ............................................ vii • A NOTE TO THE ASPIRANT........................................................................ ix • PREFACE ....................................................................................................... xi • INVOCATION TO MAHARISHI PATAÑJALI ........................................ xv • THE YOGA SUTRA OF MAHARISHI PATAÑJALI: AN INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................... 1 • SAM£DHIP£DA® ............................................................................... 29 • S£DHANAP£DA®............................................................................. 107 • VIBHµTIP£DA®................................................................................ 215 • KAIVALYAP£DA® ............................................................................ 305 • COMPILING THE TEACHINGS by Yogacharini Dr. Sangeeta .................................................................... 377 • INDEX ......................................................................................................... 381 • ANANDA ASHRAM AT THE ICYER .................................................... 391
  5. 5. BLESSINGS Dr. Ananda is a unique being. Not only is he the son of one of the most significant yogis of our times, but also has to his credit, a modern education through his degree as a doctor. He is also a truly gifted musician, bringing delightful melodies to the crowds. Such a person who has a spiritual heritage, modern education and an artistic flair is rare in today’s contemporary times. His devotion to promote the yoga lineage of his father is unquestioned, and is visible through his work both in Pondicherry, and outside. Both my colleagues and I have had numerous opportunities to meet and interact with him. Each time Ananda’s heart extends out so warmly, and it shows me a sign that he has indeed embraced the real meaning of yoga into his heart. His latest publication on the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali, is a visible testament of this fact. Every reader will not only enjoy this practical translation of the sutra, but also enjoy the contemporary relevance that Ananda brings to this work. I am very happy that through his sharp mind and his poetic words, this endearing text once again will become accessible to the current and future generations of yoga students. I bless Ananda to have a long and purposeful life. And I look forward to many more of his creative endeavours. YogacharyaYogashri T.K.V. Desikachar Founder, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation New No.31 (Old #13), Fourth Cross Street, Rama Krishna Nagar, Mandaveli, Chennai - 600 028, India ~
  6. 6. A Note To The Aspirant The yoga tradition is pan-universal and para-universal in its perspective. In this ancient art and science of right living, reverence is one of the most important qualities required in any sincere aspirant. Without reverence it is difficult to value “that” which we have and “that” which we have been given. It is difficult to understand how blessed we are if we choose not to realize it. The shat darshan are not just mere, philosophical perspectives of the dynamic universe but are a reverential witnessing of the Divine Universal Nature. All aspects of yoga are sacred, not in a limited religious sense but in an unlimited spiritual one. All aspects of yoga need to be respected. It is only when we have such an attitude of respectful love, profound interest, that we can become a yoga bhakta. Then, and then only, will we be fit for these teachings of the highest nature. Any attempt to explore the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patañjali must spring from an attitude of respect, reverence and love for these teachings. If that is absent, then one may as well as be reading any common magazine or newspaper instead. The place, the time and the frame of mind will enable us to develop the right attitude, the universal beatitude towards these elevating teachings. This reverence would be completely lost if we choose to treat them like other mundane information or data. What attitude will you choose? The choice you make determines whether or not the treasure house of the Yoga Sutra opens its doors to you or not!
  7. 7. PREFACE The art and science of yoga is one of the shat darshan, the six reverential perspectives of our universe as codified by the ancient rishi of Bharata Varsha, known better in modern times as India. The codifier of the Yoga Darshan, Yoga Maharishi Patañjali is undoubtedly one of the greatest seers to have ever walked the face of the earth. He must have been a truly humane being, a realized soul of exceptional wisdom who also excelled in numerous fields of human thought and endeavor. If I were given the opportunity to travel back into the past, he would be the one person I would like to meet. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to receive the blessings in person from such a magnificent personality, one who has given us such an amazing road map so that we all can reach that enlightened state of liberation through self-effort? Of course, the very moment we consciously start to love, live and share yoga, he is there with us in our every thought, word and deed. In that way I feel blessed to have this golden opportunity to compile teachings that have occurred through the vehicle of my mind and body in the past few years while sharing the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patañjali with my beloved students in ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Puducherry, India. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that he will put into the wombs of yogini those aspirants who fail to make it in their previous incarnation. I must have done some good in my past lives for I have been truly blessed in this one. I count my blessings with every passing breath and every passing moment, for it is only through the Divine ashirwadam that I have had the good fortune to be born into a family who lives, loves and shares yoga as eternal and conscious awareness. It is only the potent blessings of my beloved Guru-Father, Swamiji, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and my beloved Guru-Mother, Ammaji, Kalaimamani Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, that enable me to do my best at all times. It is truly a God-given opportunity to have been born to such illustrious and yet "down
  8. 8. xii Understanding the Yoga Darshan to earth" loving parents and this realization inspires me to strive every moment to live their legacy through my "life of yoga". This book is the result of a great labour of love by my dear loving student Yogacharini Sangeeta (Dr. Laura Biagi, Ph.D.) of Italy. She is virtually the co-author of this work for she recorded all my sessions on the Yoga Sutra, transcribed them, made corrections to my writings, inserted the Sanskrit and English transliterations and, on top of all of this, kept proding me every now and then to do my dharma in getting the book published at the earliest. I have no hesitation in saying that this book would never have seen the light of day if it had not been for her sincere and dedicated efforts. It is my heartfelt prayer that Swamiji and Ammaji continue to always bless her with the very best in her life. Many thanks to Yogacharya Srikant for his dedicated recordings of my classes during the course of 2008-2009, and to Smt. C. Kaliswari for her precious help in formatting this book. I wish to place on record my heartfelt and deepest appreciation for Yoga Chikitsa Visarada Yogacharya Shri T.K.V. Desikachar, son and successor of the legendary Yogacharya Shri T. Krishnamacharya and Founder of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai. His work on the Yoga Sutra has inspired me tremendously and I humbly express my gratitude to him for his dedication towards the traditional aspects of yoga including the vedic style chanting of the Yoga Sutra. This style is the one I use in my classes and in the CD Chanting the Yoga Sutra: A Learning and Meditative Experience (Geethanjali, Super Audio, Chennai, 2011). I deeply cherish his open-hearted and loving blessings and strive to live up to them at all times. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. B.R. Sharma, Assistant Director of Research, Philosophico-Literary Research in Yoga at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, for his assistance with Sanskrit fonts and typing as well as for his continual encouragement of all my endeavours for the cause of yoga. He is a true humane being, a real yoga sadhaka and I am lucky to have his loving yogic friendship in my life.
  9. 9. Preface xiii I also wish to place on record my deep appreciation to the following authorities for their excellent works that have been a constant source of inspiration, motivation and wisdom for me at all times during this journey. They are path breakers who have created a lovely trail for us to follow and by doing so, have selflessly aided the spiritual evolution of so many sincere aspirants worldwide: • Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, by Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj; • Raja Yoga Sutras, by Swami Jyothirmayananda; • Four Chapters On Freedom, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati; • Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, by Padmabushan B.K.S. Iyengar; • Reflections on Yoga Sutra-s of Patañjali, by T.K.V. Desikachar, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram; • Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, Interpretive Translation, Swami Jnanesvara Bhavati (; • The Science of Yoga, by I.K. Taimni; • Bhagavad Gita, by Swami Chidananda; • The Supreme Yoga: Yoga Vasistha, by Swami Venkatesananda. I thank my beloved Ammaji, Yogacharini Kalaimamani Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani for being the "beacon of my life". To paraphrase Einstein, "generations to come will scarcely believe that such a woman ever walked the face of the earth". She is the inspiration and motivation of my life and never fails to constantly remind me of the purpose of my incarnation. Ammaji, if we must be born again, all I pray for is that I am once again blessed to be your son and student in all those lifetimes. I thank my Dharmapatni, Yogacharini Devasena Bhavanani for being with me every day and in every way. Her constant support, encouragement and stimulation enables me to always do my best and grow in the process. She has indeed enriched my life through the manifestation of our darling
  10. 10. xiv Understanding the Yoga Darshan children Dhivya Priya Bhavanani and Anandraj Bhavanani. They are surely the hope of the future and with the loving guidance of Ammaji, I am sure they will surpass all of us in times to come. The wholistic, life-transforming teachings of classical yoga can bring a breath of fresh air to the stuffy, egoistic, ill-smelling, scandal-ridden "me first thinking" of modern day life. It is my sincere wish that this literary effort will benefit all those who seek to live the Higher Life in harmony with the Divine Spirit. February 3, 2011 Yogacharya Pondicherry, India Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
  11. 11. Invocation to Maharishi Patañjali $ ªÉÉäMÉäxÉ ÊSÉkɺªÉ {ÉnùäxÉ ´ÉÉSÉÉÆ ¨É±ÉôÆ ¶É®úÒ®úºªÉ SÉ ´ÉètEòäxÉ * ªÉÉä%{ÉÉEò®úÉäkÉÆ |É´É®úÆ ¨ÉÖxÉÒxÉÉÆ {ÉiÉVÉ豃 |ÉÉVÉʱɮúÉxÉiÉÉä%κ¨É ** yogena chittasya padena v¤cham ma¥am shar¯rasya cha vaidya kena yo'p¤ karottam pravaram mun¯nam patanja¥im pranja¥ir¤nato'smi He who removes impurity of the mind through yoga (Patañjali) Of speech and body through his exposition of grammar (P¤ºini) and By composing treaties of medicine (Charaka) To the One who has done all this, one of the most exalted sages, To that Patañjali, I bring my hands together in Anjali, salute and bow. AUM
  13. 13. YOGA SUTRA OF MAHARISHI PATAÑJALI: AN INTRODUCTION One of the greatest minds of human history is the sage Maharishi Patañjali, the codifier of the Yoga Darshan (a reverential view of the highest reality through the art and science of yoga). He must have been indeed an amazing man, for he is credited with giving us: • Yoga for the purification of the mind (as Patañjali); • Grammar for the purification of our language and speech (as P¤ºini); and • Ayurveda (ancient Indian medicine) for purification of the gross physical body (as Charaka). These three-pronged aspects of his personality are well brought out in the classical sloka found in Bhoja's commentary on the sutra fully quoted in the Invocation in this book that is addressed to him as follows: yogena chittasya padena v¤cham ma¥am shar¯rasya cha vaidya kena yo'p¤ karottam pravaram mun¯nam patanja¥im pranja¥ir¤nato'smi It boggles our mind to even contemplate this great humane being who lived only for the welfare and spiritual growth of his fellow brethren. Maharishi Patañjali was surely an enlightened soul who had experienced the highest state and yet stayed back because he wanted others to also have that darshan of the Divine and attain the ultimate goal of kaivalya.
  14. 14. 4 Understanding the Yoga Darshan The eternal concepts of the Yoga Darshan have been codified in a nutshell through his Yoga Sutra. These sutra must have been composed and then transmitted by the oral tradition since at least 1000-1500 BC but came into the written form much later in around 500 BC-300 AD that is the commonly quoted date for them. The Patañjala Yoga Sutra, as they are also named, consist of short succinct sutra that run together as though a garland of pearls on a string. This unique method, common to the oral tradition of yoga, helps us to grasp the intricacies of this great science of inner experience that has been defined by Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri as the "mother of all sciences". The sutra were always kept short as they were intended to be learnt, memorized and chanted with reverence and understanding in order to facilitate the development of a deep sense of quiet, inner contemplation. The Yoga Sutra are an efficient tool to help the sincere sadhaka remember and understand the subtleties of the great art and science of yoga and were never meant to be a mere instruction manual. ARRANGEMENT OF THE SUTRA: The 195/196 sutra (the number depends on the two different versions that are available today that defer on the addition of one sutra that is actually an expansion of the idea presented in the previous one) are arranged in a logical form and placed into four pada. The pada may be said to be the main chapter division of the Yoga Sutra, but we must also consider that the term pada refers to the foot and this may indicate the step-by-step approach advocated by Maharishi Patañjali.
  15. 15. Introduction 5 The four pada are: 1. SAMADHI PADA – This chapter is an exploration of the different aspects of samadhi and gives us a clue about the process of introspective contemplation. 2. SADHANA PADA – This chapter lays out the path of yoga sadhana in the form of a bahiranga sadhana through the first five limbs of ashtanga yoga. 3. VIBHUTI PADA – This chapter deals with the antaranga yoga and details the siddhi or psychic accomplishments that may be attained through the practice of samyama on various aspects of the Universe. 4. KAIVALYA PADA – This chapter deals with the attainment of the highest state of kaivalya (liberation) that ensues when we finally go beyond the klesha (afflictions) and karma (action-reaction entwinement) to ultimately become one with the Divine. Maharishi Patañjali has arranged all the sutra in a deductive and logical manner with numerous cross-references to various important concepts such as klesha, karma, antaraya, siddhi, guna, and more. SAMADHI PADA: What is yoga? The answer to this question is given by Maharishi Patañjali at the very beginning of his unparalleled teachings. The Yoga Sutra was never meant to be an instruction manual. A certain level of knowledge and sadhana is expected even before one takes up the study of these teachings. They are not for the novice but for the sincere sadhaka who has already made sufficient progress in sadhana. Before we even begin working on this pada, it is expected that we
  16. 16. 6 Understanding the Yoga Darshan already have a basic idea about the philosophy, psychology and practice of yoga. It is expected that we have tried our best to assimilate the teachings of yoga into our life before embarking on this exploration. All sutra are meant to be worked on under the guidance of a guru, and are definitely not a replacement for one by any stretch of imagination. Sutra I.1 - I.4 deal with the definition of yoga as a process of mental purification. The classical definition of yoga as a discipline to control the whirlpools of the subconscious/unconscious mind (yogah chittavritti nirodah – I.2) is given along with the understanding of the process of oneness with the vritti that occurs in the absence of "control". Sutra I.5 - I.11 deal with the five vritti that are, namely: • Pramana – cognitive process; • Viparyaya – process of misconception; • Vikalpa – illusionary and fantasy-prone states; • Nidra – the state of inert, sleepy dullness; • Smriti – the inner process of memory. Maharishi Patañjali stresses the importance of abhyasa and vairagya in sutra I.12 when he says that the vritti will cease on their own accord once one has perfected the twin arts of abhyasa and vairagya. He goes on to define abhyasa as the uninterrupted, disciplined and dedicated practice done with divine aspiration (I.14). The nature of vairagya as a cultivated nature of dispassionate objectivity, so essential for every scientist – be they either the experimental modern ones or the experiential ancient sages – is dealt with in sutra I.15 and I.16. He gives a cross reference to the highest state of kaivalya (described in the final sutra of Kaivalya Pada) when he states that one must develop dispassionate objectivity even towards the highest state
  17. 17. Introduction 7 (para vairagya) if one is to attain it (I.16). As is often said, if you love something let it go: if it comes back to you it is rightfully yours and if not, it was never yours in the first place! Maharishi Patañjali deals with the concept of samadhi classifying it into numerous levels and sub-levels. The lower state of samprajnata (that which is obtained through cognitive thought) is sub-classified into four levels in I.17 as: • Vitarka – obtained with deep contemplation on gross thought; • Vichara – obtained with deep contemplation on subtle thought; • Ananda – obtained with deep contemplation on inner eternal bliss; • Asmita – obtained with deep contemplation on "that" which defines one's individuality within the Universality. He also states in I.18 that the other (asamprajnata samadhi) deals with the residual impressions (samskara) that surface once the thought process has been dealt with through the previous stages. Sutra I.19 - I.22 deal with the importance of qualities such as shraddha (faithful devotion), veerya (strength of body and mind), smriti (ability to remember and learn from previous experiences) and samadhi prajna (mental competence for the higher states) that are essential for spiritual success. He also classifies the seekers as mridu (dull and incompetent ones), madhya (the average ones) and adimatra (the excellent ones) but then tells us that for the extremely motivated and energetic one who does not give up, the attainment is much easier (teevra samveganam asannah – I.21).
  18. 18. 8 Understanding the Yoga Darshan The concept of the Divine is dealt with by Maharishi Patañjali in sutra I.24 - I.26 where he also stresses the importance of the pranava and its japa. The pranava aum (also known by the term omkara) is rightly given pride of place in all Indian thought as it is the sound vibration that is the closest to the vibration of the Universe itself. Maharishi Patañjali says tasya vachakah pranava – the vibrational sound of the Divine is the pranava (I.27). The pranava consists of the three sacred sounds (nada) that may be expressed as: • The akara nada – the AAA sound representing creation; • The ukara nada – the OOO/UUU sound representing sustenance; • The makara nada – the MMM sound representing dissolution. The potent combination of these three sounds results in the production of the ultimate sacred sound of aum (pranava or omkara nada). There is no mantra higher than the pranava and there is no healing tool higher than the divine power of the Universe! Maharishi Patañjali further states that the pranava japa (repeated utterance of the sound with deep feeling for the meaning – I.28) can eradiate all the obstacles in the yogic path towards attaining the realized oneness with the Divine (I.29). In sutra I.24 - I.26 Maharishi Patañjali defines the Divine Self (ishwara) as a special soul (vishesha purusha) who is beyond the klesha (inherent psychological afflictions) and karma (repercussions of the action-reaction continuum). He also describes ishwara as the eternal teacher (purveshamapi guruh – I.26) who is beyond time itself and is the seed of all wisdom (sarvajna bijam – I.25).
  19. 19. Introduction 9 Maharishi Patañjali is blessed with foresight and cautions the sadhaka that there are many obstacles on the yogic path to kaivalya and offers the solutions to them. In I.30 - I.32 he describes the nine obstacles faced by a sadhaka in their sadhana and enumerates these antaraya or chitta vikshepa (I.30) as: 1. Vyadhi – disease; 2. Styana – dullness; 3. Samshaya – indecision; 4. Pramada – procrastination; 5. Alasya – sloth; 6. Avirati – sensual craving; 7. Bhrantidarshana – fantasy / illusion; 8. Alabdhabhoomikatwa – inability to attain any higher state; 9. Anavasthitatwa – inability to maintain that state that has been attained earlier. He also details the four-fold external manifestations of these internal obstacles (I.31) as: • Duhkha – pain / suffering; • Daurmansya – despair / depression; • Angamejayatwa – tremors; • Swasa-Praswasa – irregular breathing. Maharishi Patañjali then goes on to suggest different methods to stabilize and clear the mind in sutra I.32 - I.39. Focused practice of one principle (ekatatwa abhyasa – I.32) is stated to be the best method to prevent and deal with the obstacles and their manifestations. The modern tendency of running from teacher to teacher and the following of different methods indiscriminately without any depth can never bring any result. Such undertakings are the very opposite of this vital advice.
  20. 20. 10 Understanding the Yoga Darshan He advocates the adoption of positive attitudes (I.33) such as maitri (friendliness towards those who are at ease with themselves); karuna (compassion towards the suffering); mudita (cheerfulness towards the virtuous) and upekshanam (avoidance and indifference towards the non-virtuous). Single-minded concentration on the prana (I.34), the sensory experiences (I.35) and the inner light (I.36) are also mentioned while he recommends a detached attitude (I.37) with deepening of one's knowledge through an understanding of the dream (I.38) and meditative states (I.39). Once we stabilize our restless mind, it attains the highest clarity and becomes crystal-like (abhijatasyeva maneh) in its ability to truthfully transmit the highest experiences (I.41). This clarity is attained through different stages that he describes in I.40 - I.51: • Savitarka samadhi / samapattih – mixture of name, meaning and knowledge associated with the object exists (I.42); • Nirvitarka samadhi / samapattih – only the object shines forth (I.43); • Savichara samadhi / samapattih – confusion of subtle aspects (I.44); • Nirvichara samadhi / samapattih – clarity of subtle aspects (I.44); • Nirbija samadhi – objectless mergence of inner contemplation (I.51). Thus, through the Samadhi Pada Maharishi Patañjali helps us to contemplate and understand the working of our mind. We learn about the processes of the inner journey and begin to comprehend the various inner stages on the path of yoga, the science of ultimate union.
  21. 21. Introduction 11 SADHANA PADA: This pada deals with the importance of sadhana, the process of working towards the ultimate goal in a step-by-step approach. Different aspects of sadhana are examined with precision and a detailed exploration of the concepts of kriya yoga and ashtanga yoga is presented for the sincere sadhaka. In this chapter Maharishi Patañjali deals extensively with the first five limbs of ashtanga yoga that are known as the bahiranga yoga. Why did Maharishi Patañjali place Sadhana Pada after Samadhi Pada? Why did he give the goal first and then the means to achieve the goal? The words sat, sadhu and sada are all part of sadhana. They refer to the constant and repeated process of application towards the practice, the one-pointed effort. This implies a focus similar to that of dharana and dhyana, with dhi or buddhi, emphasizing higher intellectual focus. Sadhana may be said to be similar to abhyasa but is of a higher nature, performed without interruption, based on a firm foundation and with a desire for a higher goal. Sadhana is a journey on the path to a higher state. Many are confused and are only concerned with the results, forgetting the means or tools used to achieve the end. These tools, however, are often more important than the end itself. Think of the dual process of life and death. There are two absolute certainties: we have been born and we are going to die. We often look at these two points and mistakenly think that the whole aim of life is to die. We must realize that the end is not as important as how we live our life, for the lesson is in living to the best of our abilities.
  22. 22. 12 Understanding the Yoga Darshan Pujya Swamiji often said: "The whole of life is a preparation for the moment you die". At the moment of death we should be in such a focussed state of mind that the only thing holding us back from freedom is the body. Is it possible to achieve kaivalya as long as we are in the body? The answer may be "no". Despite not being able to attain to this state while in the body, we must get ourselves so perfectly ready for kaivalya that our body itself is the last obstacle. The day on which guru leave their bodies is celebrated for this reason, as for example in the annual guru puja at Sri Kambaliswami Madam in Pondicherry. We need to prepare for that final moment, and sadhana is the preparation for kaivalya. In this pada, the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are elucidated. The path is laid out for purification in body, mind and soul. We become clear as a crystal, ready to reach the state of kaivalya. All the states of samadhi that are internal, described in the previous pada can be reached while one is still in the body. But kaivalya may not be attainable as long as one is still bound to the physical body. The Sadhana Pada starts off with an exploration of the klesha (inborn psychological afflictions) and the methods of their removal. Kriya yoga, the potent combination of tapa, swadhyaya and ishwara pranidhana (II.1) is prescribed as the method to facilitate attainment of samadhi through the elimination of the klesha (II.2). The five types of psychological afflictions (pancha klesha) are enumerated in sutra II.3 and then detailed in sutra II.5 - II.9 as: 1. Avidya – ignorance of the ultimate reality that manifests as the mistaking of the non-eternal to be eternal, the impure to be pure, the suffering to be pleasure and the non-self to be the self (this is stated clearly in II.5);
  23. 23. Introduction 13 2. Asmita – egoism that results from misidentifying the mere instrument of experience (buddhi) as the ultimate Self (II.6); 3. Raga – attractive attachment to that which gives us pleasure (II.7); 4. Dwesha – repulsive aversion to that which gives us pain (II.8); 5. Abhinivesha – the deep rooted survival instinct resulting from fear of death that is present in all living beings irrespective of any amount of knowledge (II.9). Springing from the breeding ground of the mother klesha (avidya), four different stages of the klesha are described (II.4) as follows: 1. Prasupta – the dormant state; 2. Tanu – the attenuated state; 3. Vicchinna – the manifest state; 4. Udaranam – the overpowering state. Maharishi Patañjali describes important methods to sever the karmic link that binds by action-reaction to countless birth-death-birth cycles for eternity. In sutra II.12 - II.25 he describes the process of this gradual disengagement from the karmic bondage (karma bandha). According to Sage Vashishta in the Yoga Vasishtha, atma jnana (knowledge of the self) is the only escape from the clutches of the never-ending cycle of births. Maharishi Patañjali echoes this when he says that only the wise one endowed with viveka (discerning intellect) can see clearly that all worldly experiences are ultimately nothing but suffering and pain (duhkhameva sarvam vivekinah – II.15). Only the highest state of kaivalya is the real bliss (anandam). Anything less than that
  24. 24. 14 Understanding the Yoga Darshan is pain, according to Maharishi Patañjali. This idea is similar to the core belief of Buddhist philosophy that views all life as suffering. Maharishi Patañjali advises us to make efforts to prevent those miseries that are yet to occur (heyam dukham anagatam – II.16). He gives vital clues about the importance of preventive action in avoiding future sorrows. In sutra II.17 he further states that the cause of pain is the union between the seer and the seen. This unyielding bondage that causes all suffering is in fact ultimately due to avidya, ignorance of the reality (tasya hetur avidya – II.24). Maharishi Patañjali describes the three guna that are the constituents of the manifest Universe in sutra II.18 where he mentions them by their qualities of stithi or stable inertness (tamasica guna), kriya or dynamic action (rajasica guna) and prakasha or illumination (sattwica guna). The guna are the core of the entire manifest Universe and play a pivotal role in understanding both the inner and outer nature. The real purpose of yoga sadhana is expressed by Maharishi Patañjali in sutra II.28. He states that sustained practice of the various limbs of yoga destroys impurities, enabling the sadhaka to cultivate the highest wisdom of enlightenment (yoganga anusthand ashuddi kshaye jnana diptir aviveka kyatih – II.28). To this end he enumerates the eight-fold royal path of ashtanga yoga as yama niyama asana pranayama pratyahara dharana dhyana samadhi in II.29. He then goes on to describe the pancha yama and pancha niyama with precision in verses II.30 - II.34. Maharishi Patañjali calls the yama-niyama as great vows (mahavratam) and says that they are not restricted by class, place, time or circumstance (II.31).
  25. 25. Introduction 15 Pujya Swamiji, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, often said that the yoga of Maharishi Patañjali was a "no-option yoga", with a firm insistence on a strong foundation based on yama-niyama being of paramount importance in yoga sadhana. Pancha yama are the five moral restraints that cultivate control over the lower, animal-centric nature thus allowing us to become human. They are: 1. Ahimsa – control of violent tendencies; 2. Satya – control of lying tendencies; 3. Asteya – control of thieving tendencies; 4. Brahmacharya – control of creative energies; 5. Aparigraha – control of possessive tendencies. Pancha niyama are the five ethical observances that cultivate humane qualities and prepare us for the higher, conscious life of yoga. They are: 1. Shaucha – cleanliness at all levels; 2. Santosha – self-contented happiness; 3. Tapa – disciplined efforts; 4. Swadhyaya – introspectional self analysis; 5. Ishwara – the ability to surrender the personal will to pranidhana the higher Divine Will after making the best effort. "Do your best and leave the rest" is another way to express this. Ishwara pranidhana is basically bhakti yoga that is extolled by Yogeshwar Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as well. Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri often expressed this beautifully as atman prasadanam, meaning that one accepts with gratitude the results of action coming back in the form of divine expression.
  26. 26. 16 Understanding the Yoga Darshan He further advises the cultivation of pratipaksha bhavanam, the contrary view, when negative thoughts of a devolutionary nature arise that, left unchecked, cause suffering (II.33). In sutra II.34 Maharishi Patañjali warns about the negativities that may be done directly by us (krita), or committed by others through our causation (karita), or be condoned by us (anumodita). He digs deeper and explains that these negative actions rise due to greed (lobha), anger (krodha) or delusion (moha). The concept of pratipaksha bhavanam is an amazing teaching and must be inculcated in the sadhana of day-to-day living. Even if we cannot replace negative thoughts with emotion-laden positive reinforcements, we must at least make an attempt to stop them in their troublesome track! I have personally found that a strong "STOP" statement works wonders in helping block out the negative thoughts that otherwise lead us into the quick-sand-like cesspool of deeper and greater trouble. In sutra II.35 - II.45 of the Sadhana Pada, Maharishi Patañjali details the siddhi or psychic accomplishments that manifest through attainment of a state of perfection in the respective yama and niyama. These are detailed as follows: Ahimsa – cessation of hostility in the presence of the sadhaka (II.35); Satya – whatever the sadhaka utters will come true (II.36); Asteya – all riches will flow towards the sadhaka (II.37); Brahmacharya – great valour is gained and fear of death is lost (II.38);
  27. 27. Introduction 17 Aparigraha – knowledge of previous and future births is gained (II.39); Shaucha – indifference towards the physical body and non-attachment as well as mental fitness for cheerfulness, one-pointedness, sense control and vision of the inner self (II.40 and II.41); Santosha – attainment of a state of unexcelled happiness (II.42); Tapa – destruction of impurities and perfection of body and senses (II.43); Swadhyaya – union with the desired deity (II.44); Ishwara pranidhana – attainment of samadhi (II.45). I find this last statement in II.45 very interesting for it suggests that Maharishi Patañjali is giving a shortcut to samadhi! It seems to be a "one step leap" to samadhi that is quicker than the normal "eight step approach" of ashtanga yoga. It is even shorter than the "three step approach" to samadhi proposed by Maharishi Patañjali through kriya yoga. He mentions the benefits of kriya yoga (consisting of tapa, swadhyaya and ishwara pranidhana) in sutra II.2 of the Sadhana Pada and says perfection produces samadhi. If we understand the fifth niyama, ishwara pranidhana as the embodiment of bhakti yoga, we can easily understand how the great saints of the past such as Mirabhai and Andal have attained to that ultimate Oneness with the Universe through pure devotion. Both of these magnificent lady saints of India merged with the Divine through the fructification of their pure love. Having given a clear view of yama-niyama as the firm foundation (adikara yoga) of a systematic yoga sadhana, Maharishi Patañjali
  28. 28. 18 Understanding the Yoga Darshan describes the third limb of ashtanga yoga, namely asana as sthira sukham asanam in II.46. This defines asana as a "state" that radiates stability and ease. Such a state may be attained only through regular, disciplined and determined practice. The key to attaining this state is given in II.47 where he advises to practice asana with a relaxation of effort (prayatna shaithilya) and contemplation on the infinite (ananta samapathibyam). Through the practice of asana, one attains a balanced equanimity (described in the Bhagavad Gita as samatwam) that enables one to overcome the dualities (dwandwa anabighata) that normally torment mankind into imbalance of mind, emotions and body (II.48). At the next level Maharishi Patañjali details the concept of pranayama and its benefits in II.49 - II.53. In II.49 he defines pranayama as the "cessation of the processes of inhalation and exhalation". This is similar to the hatha yoga concept of kevala kumbhaka, which is a spontaneous cessation of respiration itself. Such a state of going "beyond the breath" is another example of the genius of Maharishi Patañjali in explaining the higher concepts with simplicity. When faced with something that amazes us, we say, "It took my breath away!" Imagine then, the state of our breath when we are face-to-face with the divine experience itself! In II.50 he describes the different varieties of pranayama such as the external (bahya), internal (antara), and the stupefied (stambhavritti). He also explains that pranayama practice is regulated by the location (desha), season (kala) and rhythm (samkya) making it either deep (dirgha) or subtle (sukshma).
  29. 29. Introduction 19 He further says that pranayama enables the mind to attain fitness for the higher aspects of yoga that begin with dharana (dharanasu cha yogyata manasah – II.53). It also facilitates a reverential vision of the Divine Light by destroying the veil of ignorance preventing this Divine Vision (tatah kshiyate prakashavaranam – II.52). Having described pranayama as a bridge between the external and internal worlds, he goes on to define pratyahara in II.54 and in II.55 as the "withdrawing of the mind from the sensory engagements". Just as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, the senses cease to function as soon as the mind (the main energy source for sensory function) starts the journey inwards. No wonder the mind is called the super-sense or the ekendriya (the "one sense"). At this stage of sadhana, the sincere sadhaka is finally ready for the onward, inner journey and so Maharishi Patañjali ends the Sadhana Pada keeping us "in suspense" about the forth-coming Vibhuti Pada that will deal with attainment of powers through practice of the inner, antaranga yoga. VIBHUTI PADA: Vibhuti refers to both the accomplished siddhi or powers attained through sadhana, and to that which remains once everything that is "not us" is burned away. When sadhana is pursued deeply, impurities are burnt away, turned into ash. Lord Shiva turning Kama (Cupid) into ash is the metaphoric imagery of this process. Impurities are burnt until the pure sattwa alone remains. When that purity equals that of purusha, kaivalya occurs.
  30. 30. 20 Understanding the Yoga Darshan In this pada, Maharishi Patañjali begins with an exposition of dharana or concentration, which is the last practice that we can actually do as from this point onwards, the rest is a natural flow that occurs on its own once dharana is perfected and the process begins. People tend to say that Maharishi Patañjali divided the eight steps of ashtanga yoga into the first five as external (bahiranga), and the last three as internal (antaranga). This idea is mainly based on the fact that the first five steps are described in the Sadhana Pada and the next three in the Vibhuti Pada. But as we have seen earlier, the internal journey actually starts with pratyahara. Pranayama is the bridge between the external and internal practices. We do not really know if Maharishi Patañjali divided the pada in this manner or whether such a division came later. It is more likely that the padas were all one continuous teaching, with no separation between the limbs of the yoganga. Maharishi Patañjali begins the third pada giving definitions of the three internal aspects (antaranga) of yoga, namely dharana, dhyana and samadhi. He defines dharana as the process of binding consciousness to a point, place, region or object (desha bandhah chittasya dharana – III.1). He further defines dhyana as the state when there is a steady and continuous flow of attention and concentration on a point, place, region or object (tatra pratyaya ekatanata dhyanam – III.2). The state of absorptive super-consciousness (samadhi) is expressed by Maharishi Patañjali as an omnipresent state when the mind loses itself and the object alone shines without differentiation (tadeva arthamatra nirbhasyam swarupa shunyamiva samadhi – III.3).
  31. 31. Introduction 21 These three internal limbs comprise the practice of antaranga yoga. They are known as samyama (flowing together seamlessly) in III.4 when he says trayam ekatwa samyama. He then describes in III.17 - III.37 and again in III.39 to III.49 the special experiences and powers (siddhi) that result from performing samyama on various gross and subtle objects. Some examples of these siddhi are given below. In sutra III.17 he gives a logical explanation of how the samyama on distinction between name, object and existence gives the ability to understand sounds (speech) of all beings (sarvabhuta rutajnanam). When this distinction is understood, any language becomes understandable as all languages are based on this combination of name, form and experience. He further says in III.18 that the practice of samyama on samskara (inherent tendencies that manifest as habit patterns) enables understanding previous incarnations. This is logical for these patterns flowing from lifetime to lifetime have a clear association. Once such an association is understood, the cause-effect relationship can be realized by an analytical process. In a similar manner he describes many other such siddhi that include: • Mind reading (III.19); • Invisibility (III.21); • Going beyond the senses (III.22); • Fore-knowledge of time of death (III.23); • Great strength (III.24); • Elephantine strength (III.25); • Clairvoyance (III.26); • Subtle knowledge (III.27); • Knowledge of the inner stars (III.28);
  32. 32. 22 Understanding the Yoga Darshan • Knowledge of the movement of stars (III.29); • Knowledge of the arrangement of body systems (III.30); • Power to go beyond hunger and thirst (III.31); • Power of great steadiness (III.32); • Vision of the various siddha (III.33); • Knowledge of everything (III.34); • Knowledge of mind (III.35); • Knowledge of pure consciousness (III.36); • Divine sensations (III.37); • Transmigration (III.39); • Levitation (III.40); • Great effulgence (III.41); • Divine hearing (III.42); • Extreme lightness of body (III.43); • Removal of the veil of ignorance (III.44); • Mastery over the five manifest elements (III.45); • Attainment of anima and the other seven siddhi (III.46); • Perfection of body (III.47); • Perfection of sensory apparatus (III.48); • Mastery over the primal cause itself (III.49). It is pertinent to note the existence of sutra III.38 where he warns us that the siddhi obtained by the practice of samyama on different objects is both an attainment as well as an obstacle to spiritual progress! Many sadhaka have lost their way after getting caught up in the magic lure of the siddhi. This causes loss of their spiritual merit for many lifetimes. It is with regard to sutra III.22 that the different versions end up having either 195 or 196 sutra. Sutra III.21 deals with the concept of developing the siddhi of invisibility by blocking the rays of light
  33. 33. Introduction 23 that cause vision of objects to occur. In fact this also shows us that Maharishi Patañjali was an excellent physicist who understood the laws of light! In this exploration, I am using the version with 195 sutra excluding the sutra that expands this concept to include the other senses as well, indicating that we develop the siddhi of not being heard, smelt, etc. The detached attitude towards the manifest world is important in yoga sadhana, but we are taught by Maharishi Patañjali that it is only through the process of renunciation that the ultimate state of kaivalya (liberation) may be attained (III.50). He tells us that we must give up even the desire for that highest state, if that state is to occur. This idea has a cross reference in the beginning of the Samadhi Pada where he says that one must develop dispassionate objectivity towards even the highest state (para vairagya) if one is to attain it (I.16). The importance of this para vairagya that destroys the seed of the impurities, thus blessing us with liberation, is described in III.51 as tad vairagyaapi dosabijakshye kaivalyam. He concludes the Vibhuti Pada by telling us that it is only the equality between buddhi and purusha that brings about liberation (sattwapurushayoh shuddhisamye kaivalyam – III.56). Such a state can only happen if we ourselves become a pure medium for the crystal-clear transmission of the divine universal impulses. Purity of thought, word and deed is of paramount importance if we are to become the purest vehicles of the Divine Grace. KAIVALYA PADA: In the final chapter, which is the shortest of the four (only 34 sutra), Maharishi Patañjali gives us an insight into that highest state of
  34. 34. 24 Understanding the Yoga Darshan liberation known as kaivalya. Though this is the shortest of the four pada in the Yoga Sutra, it is also the most difficult. I say this because the concepts in this pada are of such spiritual heights that they truly defy our ability to even think about them, let alone describe them in mere words. In addition to that, I must confess that I will be trying my best to explain concepts of states that I have myself not yet experienced. When I know something, I will say that I do and when I don't, I will frankly tell you that I do not. I console myself by saying, "We will do our best and leave the rest". At the very beginning Maharishi Patañjali explains how siddhi (that are mere milestones of progress on the spiritual path) may be obtained by different methods (IV.1) such as: • Janma – blessed with the siddhi as a result of birth; • Aushadi – attaining siddhi through the use of herbs; • Mantra – attaining siddhi through the use of incantations; • Tapah – attainment of siddhi through disciplined and austere efforts; • Samadhi – attainment of siddhi through deep contemplation. In sutra IV.4 Maharishi Patañjali says, nirmana chitta asmita matra meaning thereby that the mind emerges from the sense of "I-ness" (asmita). He goes on to advise that it is only the mind born of meditation that can help become free of karma (IV.6). That is due to the three-fold actions that result in latent impressions known as vasana (IV.8). These later fructify into karma. He deals with the concept of karma and describes the relationship between action-reaction in sutra IV.7 and IV.8. Maharishi Patañjali says that for the common person, karma may be either white (pure)
  35. 35. Introduction 25 or black (impure) or of the third nature, but for the yogi it is neither white nor black (ashukla akrishnam yoginah – IV.7). He discusses the concept of reincarnation in sutra IV.9 when he states that the deep habit patterns (samskara) have an unbroken continuity and play out from lifetime to lifetime by giving rise to the different types of incarnations (jati), locations (desha), and time frames (kala). He also says that they exist because of the eternal nature of the will to live (ashisah nityatvat – IV.10). Maharishi Patañjali gives an excellent concept of the three-fold nature of time (trikala) when he says that the past and future both exist in the present reality, but appear different only because of their different characteristics and forms. This implies that by knowing the present reality one can also gain the knowledge of the past and future, thus becoming a trikala jnani (one who knows all the three aspects of time – IV.12). Maharishi Patañjali helps us understand the guna by explaining that they are the backbone of all that manifests (vyakta) as well as that which is at subtle planes (sukshma) of existence (IV.13). He tells us how the same object may be perceived differently by the different minds because they manifest differently (IV.15 - IV.17). No wonder everyone seems to have a personal view of the world! Each mind is different and so naturally each perception of the manifest Universe will be different. At this point, we can understand others better and we realize there can never be "just one view". A beautiful statement by Maharishi Patañjali is found in the Kaivalya Pada when he says, "No object depends upon only one mind" (nacha ekachitta tantram – IV.16). Many think that the whole Universe would collapse if they were not there to keep it going! This is a clear-cut
  36. 36. 26 Understanding the Yoga Darshan message from the great sage that the Universe can do quite well without us! Maharishi Patañjali then discusses the illumination of the mind. He says that the activities of the mind are always known by the pure-consciousness, as it is the support and source of the mind itself (IV.18). The mind is not self-illuminating (IV.19) and so it cannot experience the process of illumination as well as cognize itself simultaneously (IV.20). This is thankfully so, for otherwise there would be great confusion due to an absurd progression of cognitions dealing with what is seeing what, who is perceiving what, what is perceiving whom, and so on (IV.21). This is why he also states that the mind field affected by perceptions of both seer and seen (subject and object), has the potential to perceive all (IV.23). He further guarantees that once we "witness" the Absolute Reality, the distinction between seer and the subtlest mind, the "false" identities and even the curiosity about our own nature disappears on its own accord (IV.25). As we gradually grow into the higher states, there occurs the dawning of higher discrimination (vivekanimnam). When this occurs, the mind begins to gravitate towards absolute liberation from all experiences that otherwise result due to the interaction between the seer and the seen (tada vivekanimnam kaivalya pragbharam chittam – IV.26). We are pulled into that highest state once we get close to it through our self-effort. Maharishi Patañjali warns against complacency for at this highest level we must be careful or samskara of the deepest unconscious nature will stall our spiritual progress (IV.27). These deep residual
  37. 37. Introduction 27 impressions must be dealt with by aum japa, prana dharana and other practices mentioned earlier to remove the klesha (IV.28). With the final frontier being conquered, dharma megha samadhi can manifest, thus removing the klesha and karma once and for all (tatah kleshakarma nivrittih – IV.30). Dharma megha refers to the potent rain cloud of virtue which blesses with eternal freedom. The torrential rainfall from this cloud of the highest nature washes away the arrogant, ignorant impurities which keep us from attainment of the highest state of ultimate realization. It is at this point (IV.30) that Maharishi Patañjali implies that we become the Divine Itself in the state of kaivalya. He had earlier defined purusha as a special soul who is beyond klesha and karma (I.24). We become the Divine by losing our sense of individuality in order to gain the sense of absolute Universality. Once this state occurs, the guna automatically recede back into their own essence having fulfilled their purpose (II.18) of giving both enjoyment (bhoga) as well as having stimulated us towards the attainment of emancipation (apavarga). We actually even go beyond time itself (akala) at this point. There are no more ramifications of the past or the future. They have disappeared completely. We finally exist in the Enlightened Now (IV.33). Maharishi Patañjali concludes the Kaivalya Pada by saying that once we reach this point in our spiritual journey, pure consciousness becomes established in its own true nature (purushartha shunyanam gunanam parti prasavati kaivalyam swarupa pratishtava chiti shaktih iti – IV.34).
  38. 38. 28 Understanding the Yoga Darshan With the attainment of this absolute and most dynamic state of being, our evolutionary journey ends. We have reached the pinnacle by attaining our true essence where division of any kind ceases. All Indian philosophical thought reiterates over and over that man's essential, true nature is sat-chit-anandam (absolute reality, consciousness and bliss). Maharishi Patañjali gives an amazing, crystal-clear road map towards kaivalya through his sutra. Yet the onus lies entirely upon us to follow this path with the twin spiritual arts of abhyasa and vairagya. That is the only way that we can attain the goal of absolute liberation. We must remember always the warning of the sage that we must not stop when the siddhi appear for they are mere milestones on the path. The siddhi are not the destination. We must continue onward on the evolutionary journey from a mere mortal to merge into the Ultimate Divine Existence. abahu purushakaram shankha chakrasi dharinam sahasra shirasam shwetam pranamami Patañjalim I offer my deepest heartfelt salutation to the great Maharishi Patañjali, the incarnation of the thousand-headed Adishesha, armed with the conch, discus and mace. May he bless us all in our spiritual search for that highest state of kaivalya! Hari Om Tat Sat – May That Be The Supreme Reality!
  39. 39. 1 +lÉ ºÉ¨ÉÉÊvÉ{ÉÉnù: Atha Sam¤dhip¤daÇ We now start the exposition of the dynamic state of absorption
  40. 40. I:1 +lÉ ªÉÉäMÉÉxÉÖ¶ÉɺÉxɨÉ * atha yog¤nu½¤sanam We now commence the discipline of re-integration. In the first sutra of the Samadhi Pada, we start the journey of integration, reintegration, of union and reunion. This is a journey of harmony, a journey that helps put together all the pieces blown into chaos as a result of ignorance. It is ignorance, avidya, that explodes individuals into infinite pieces and yoga is both the process of reintegration as well as the final goal of re-union with the essence: the Divine. A sort of communion is occurring at all stages of the journey. Our guru, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, many decades ago sent a friend to study with his guru, Yogamaharishi Swami Kanakananda Brighu. After spending some time with the great guru, the friend wrote back to our Swamiji saying "Your guru has blown me into pieces. What should I do now?" Swamiji candidly replied: "Pick up the pieces you wish to keep and put yourself back together again". This is the process of yoga. We pick up the important pieces and put ourselves back together, once again. When Maharishi Patañjali says atha yoganushasanam he hints at the beginning of an experiential journey, a path of inner and outer discipline. People sometimes confuse anushasanam and abhyasa believing them to be one and the same. However, there is a subtle difference. In anushasanam there is an experiential change occurring at the inner level. This is the change of transformation (parinama), a
  41. 41. 32 Understanding the Yoga Darshan change of an experiential nature. On the contrary, in abhyasa there is more of "doing" as compared to the "being" that is implied in the word anushasanam. We shall be delving into the concept of abhyasa in more detail at a later stage. Atha refers to the now, this auspicious moment in which we start our journey back home, "OM sweet OM"! This can refer to both the microcosmic "now", the minutest moments in time, and the macrocosmic now that can encompass our entire lifetime. This word, atha, is of very auspicious nature so Maharishi Patañjali starts the Yoga Darshan with a most positive word. Anushasanam requires intense preparation and training built up in a step-by-step manner. Anushasanam is not merely the study or practice of yoga. It implies an experiential inner journey through intense practice based on a regime of strict discipline. Without discipline there cannot be integration, as it is only through the strong adhesive of discipline that all the scattered pieces can come back together to re-form the whole. This is not the discipline that rises from a sense of fear. It must come from within, and may only occur when we realize what a great opportunity we have to regain our real state of completeness. At a later stage, Maharishi Patañjali again mentions anushasanam in the form of anushthana when he begins the exposition on the eight limbs of yoga.
  42. 42. Sam¤dhip¤daÇ 33 I:2 ªÉÉäMÉ: ÎSÉkÉ´ÉÞÊkÉÊxÉ®úÉävÉ: * yogaÇ cittavÁttinirodhaÇ Yoga is the cessation of the whirlpools of the subconscious mind. This is one of the most often quoted definitions of yoga and the only one really given by Maharishi Patañjali. Chittavritti are the fluctuations of the mind-field (a real mine field!). Swamiji Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj is one of the few to point out that the chittavritti are not only the fluctuations and modifications of the conscious mind, but are mainly of the subconscious and unconscious levels of mind. We can deal with the conscious mind but the subconscious mind, on the other hand, is like a volcano on the verge of eruption. We do not really know when this eruption will happen, but placing a cap on the volcano will not do the trick. We need constant awareness so that when this eruption does happen, when the chittavritti emerge from the subconscious mind, we are prepared to tackle them. In the ancient mythological history of India, there is a story that contains a similar concept. The great sage Agasthya who came to the southern region of India from the north, was asked to drink up the ocean at Puducherry (then Vedapuri) so that asura (demons) hiding beneath the waters could be vanquished by the deva (divinities). The asura normally lived under the water and came out at night when they were at the height of their powers. The deva who were sun worshippers (sura) were unable to defeat them in battle. When sage Agasthya, through his remarkable ability (siddhi), drank up the ocean, the asura were exposed to light and the deva could defeat the
  43. 43. 34 Understanding the Yoga Darshan negative forces. In the same way, as long as subconscious activities are underground, we cannot deal with them. The enemy needs to be brought out of its comfort zone if it is to be defeated. Whenever the conscious mind tries to deal with the subconscious mind, we are sucked under – this is why Swamiji explains the chittavritti as the "whirlpools of the subconscious mind". Before we know it, we are pulled down to the bottom of the ocean. The process of yoga is the method of bringing these subconscious and unconscious activities up to the conscious level. Then, actively and consciously they may be dealt with. This is not covering up or hiding as understood by many seekers who just sweep their psychic under the carpet until they create a flying carpet full of troubles. This is a process of unveiling, understanding and letting go. This conscious process occurs minute by minute, through the entire lifetime, until a cessation of these activities through consciousness occurs. Both the process and the state of cessation are yoga.
  44. 44. Sam¤dhip¤daÇ 35 I:3 iÉnùÉ pù¹]Öõ: º´É°ü{Éä%´ÉºlÉÉxɨÉ * tad¤ dra¿·uÇ svar¶pe'vasth¤nam Then the seer is established in the form of its real Being. The seer or witness to this whole process is the atman, the Self, that aspect of the Divine that is the witness to all that is experienced, the sakshi. When the whirlpools have subsided, the seer may finally dwell in its own essential form. In this state, the clouding or distorting factors do not exist anymore. There is inner clarity. Avasthanam here means a niche, a spot. Until we see who we are, we cannot understand ourselves. It is like a pond with the best of diamonds at the bottom, but with an uneven surface due to waves. One cannot see what lies under the water. The same can be said of our mind-fields. We have a great treasure, a nidi, as Swamiji used to call this invaluable gift that lies within all of us. What is a greater treasure than the knowledge that we are the Divine? Yet most people around the world are running behind money, name, fame and more. We have to lose our sense of a smaller and unreal self if we are to gain the realization of the Self. Swarupe avasthanam, the niche of one's Essential Form, is in a dynamic and constant state of change. It is not a place to reach and live happily ever after. The only way to establish oneself in it is through consciousness. This requires a constant awareness in the present moment. The ego exists mainly in the past and future: in the past in the form of memories, and in the future in the form of
  45. 45. 36 Understanding the Yoga Darshan projections. In the real present, however, there is no ego, only the Experiential Being. Maharishi Patañjali thus gives in these first few sutra, a frame work to be developed, as we progress on the path. What is yoga, what is its process and what do we gain by it? In the first sutra, he has introduced yoga as a disciplined and experiential pathway. In the second he has explained the need to control the fluctuations of the mind-stuff. In the third sutra he has explained that when the whirlpools are controlled, one discovers the treasure of one's own Essential Nature.
  46. 46. 106 Understanding the Yoga Darshan I:51 iɺªÉÉÊ{É ÊxÉ®úÉävÉä ºÉ´ÉÇÊxÉ®úÉävÉÉÊzɤÉÔVÉ: ºÉ¨ÉÉÊvÉ: * tasy¤pi nirodhe sarvanirodh¤nnirb¯jaÇ sam¤dhiÇ When even these cease to exist the seedless state of absorption occurs. This is still not enough. We need to go beyond even these positive habits to experience the last and final freedom. When we transcend even these positive samskara, complete cessation of vritti occurs, and nirbija samadhi, the dynamic state of seedless absorption, dawns. Initially the seeds were large and gross. Then these seeds took more subtle aspects becoming even more subtle. The final stage is the total burning out of all the seeds, so they may never sprout again. In the highest stage, even the most positive, evolutionary impressions must cease. It is like a ladder that we need to kick away once we have reached the top. The final possession we must relinquish is the limited individuality. When that is renounced the state of unlimited Universality may occur with the Divine Grace. <ÊiÉ {ÉÉiÉVÉ±É ªÉÉäMÉnù¶ÉÇxÉä ºÉ¨ÉÉÊvÉ{ÉÉnù: iti p¤tañjala yogadarshane sam¤dhip¤daÇ This brings to an end the yogic perspective on samadhi as expounded by Maharishi Patañjali.
  47. 47. 2 +lÉ ºÉÉvÉxÉ{ÉÉnù: Atha S¤dhanap¤daÇ We now start the exposition on the process of self-effort
  48. 48. II:1 iÉ{É:º´ÉÉvªÉɪÉä·É®ú|ÉÊhÉvÉÉxÉÉÊxÉ ÊGòªÉɪÉÉäMÉ: * tapaÇsv¤dhy¤ye½varapraºidh¤n¤ni kriy¤yogaÇ Kriya yoga consists of intensive self-discipline, introspective self-analysis and surrender to the Universal Will after doing one's best. Maharishi Patañjali begins the next pada with kriya yoga, the yoga of action, the yoga of purification, the yoga of cleansing one's own self through the fire of right action. What are these right actions? There are three actions within the ambit of kriya yoga: tapa, swadhyaya and ishwara pranidhana. Tapa is the discipline of one's own self, developing the capability to do the most difficult things, to push beyond one's limits. We must set and reset the limits on a continuous basis. This is tapa manifested as an external discipline. On the other hand swadhyaya is internal discipline, the process of going inward and analyzing our nature. This analysis must be without commiseration. "Analytical self-introspection must be", as Ammaji says "Without justification, identification or condemnation". We must learn to look at ourself with objectivity, vairagya or dispassionate detachment towards our own personality. Ishwara pranidhana is surrender to the higher, universal Divine Will. We must do our best and this must be coupled with a dispassionate attitude of being able to leave the rest. This results in pure and responsible actions. The self-serving ego is sublimated when we offer our actions and aspirations to the Divine Will. But we must never forget that before giving up to the Divine, we must do whatever is possible within the circumstances and our own limitations. This should not be confused
  49. 49. 110 Understanding the Yoga Darshan with escapism. Escapism is tamasica, inert and devolutionary. Ishwara pranidhana is, on the contrary, of the highest, sattwica, evolutionary surrender. It is, to be concise, surrender after utmost effort and release of expectations for any desired results. The Divine is not a sadist. He/She/It will never give us a challenge that is beyond our capacities. The bigger the challenge, the greater will be our capacity to overcome it. Great challenges are actually compliments to our capacities, for life only tests us to the limits of our abilities and not beyond that.
  50. 50. S¤dhanap¤daÇ 111 II:2 ºÉ¨ÉÉÊvɦÉÉ´ÉxÉÉlÉÇ: C±Éä¶ÉiÉxÉÚEò®úhÉÉlÉǶSÉ * sam¤dhibh¤van¤rthaÇ kle½atan¶karaº¤rtha½ca [Kriya yoga enables one] to attenuate the afflictions and attain higher states of absorption. What is the purpose of kriya yoga? To reach the deep state of samadhi and to reduce the effects of the klesha, the psychological afflictions, the coloured filters through which we perceive reality. If we saw life through perfect filters, we would perceive reality as it is. These impurities or klesha distort our perceptions. The klesha need to be attenuated, minimized and reduced (tanukarana). Kriya yoga can be compared to walking on a path in the deep forest. We must constantly move forward but must first clear away the underbrush and stones hindering the journey.
  51. 51. 112 Understanding the Yoga Darshan II:3 +Ê´ÉtÉκ¨ÉiÉÉ®úÉMÉuäù¹ÉÉʦÉÊxÉ´Éä¶ÉÉ: C±Éä¶ÉÉ: * avidy¤smit¤r¤gadve¿¤bhinive½¤Ç kle½¤Ç These afflictions are ignorance, false identity, attraction, repulsion and survival instinct. These klesha are within us right from our birth and keep us from knowing who we are, from realizing our true Self. The klesha are of five types. Although the five types are listed separately, they are all interdependent. They are: avidya, asmita, raga, dwesha and abhinivesha. The first klesha is avidya, ignorance of the true reality. Avidya is the refusal to see, not wanting to know the reality. The first part of the word ignorance is "ignore", the refusal to acknowledge the existence of something. Ignorance is not only an inability but also a refusal to see which rises out of escape mechanisms. If we don't know something, we don't have to do anything about it. This mechanism allows one to be "blissfully ignorant" of the reality, of Sat! Asmita is the ego, the false sense of "Me", "Mine" and "I". I have pondered long on the question as to which is worse, ignorance or the ego. Because of ignorance of true reality ego exists. Once ego arises, it further distorts reality because the I-maker wishes to create reality according to its whims and fancies. As an example: two people have an accident. Both think they are right and that the other person is wrong. This is because they perceive the whole situation in their own way, the perspective which will make them correct and the other
  52. 52. S¤dhanap¤daÇ 113 person wrong. This is the sense of "I" and "mine-ness" which always looks out for "No.1". The ego is clever and cunning. Lord Shiva, the universal power of eternal goodness, is shown with the ego (Muyalagan) under his feet. Sometimes even Lord Shiva gets distracted during his cosmic dance (ananda tandavam). Then the ego, taking advantage of the relaxation of control, sits up, even virtually stands up. The great Lord then must squash it back down to the ground where it belongs! The lesson is that true goodness, evolutionary change and auspiciousness (all qualities associated with Shiva) can only manifest when the ego is subdued. Raga and dwesha are twin faces of the same coin, the likes and dislikes we have collected. Raga and dwesha are attraction and repulsion. Raga and dwesha are equally dangerous as they drag one from the balanced plane of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Some may think that they are balanced, as they like a few things and dislike a few things. However, the likes and dislikes pull and push us off balance, creating total disharmony. Raga and dwesha coexist. When raga is in full flow, dwesha is attenuated and when dwesha is in full flow, raga is attenuated. More often than not, detachment from what we dislike is more important than that from what we like. Vairagya is dispassion towards what one likes but also from what one does not like. This includes dispassion towards oneself, too. Being able to look at one's own personality at all levels with objectivity is difficult, especially when it comes to likes and dislikes. Dispassion must exist internally as well as externally. It is equally dangerous to think or proclaim either "I am the best" or "I am the worst"! Some consider it spiritual to hate or dislike themselves, and call such an
  53. 53. 114 Understanding the Yoga Darshan attitude humility. Self-pity and self-hatred is a big trap, a bottomless pit, into which many an aspirant has fallen. Abhinivesha is the deep instinct to survive at any cost. Clinging to life is glorified in the contemporary world. Abhinivesha rises from a deep rooted fear of death, the fear of a void, the fear of nothingness. This self-preservation instinct is so integral to all beings that even the wisest of people cannot escape its hold. It is engrained over millions of years in genetic material and stored in the most ancient parts of the brain. It is amazing to see what people will do in life-threatening situations. Only the very rare person can transcend this inbuilt survival mechanism. That rare person is the real yogi. Dull tamasica people don't know what to do and hence, are stupefied in the face of death. These are not sattwica people, who are fully aware, and consciously face death with yogic equanimity. Such people have uprooted this ancient instinct and live in fearlessness and bliss.
  54. 54. 3 +lÉ Ê´É¦ÉÚÊiÉ{ÉÉnùù: Atha Vibh¶tip¤daÇ We now start the exposition of the accomplished state
  55. 55. III:1 nùä¶É¤ÉxvÉζSÉkɺªÉ vÉÉ®úhÉÉ * de½abandha½cittasya dh¤raº¤ Binding our mind to one place is concentration. Dharana is the exercise of consciousness, a process of awareness by which the entire mental apparatus is bound to or confined within a place, a point or a thing. The term desha can refer to a point, place or even a vast country. This word is used because the mind is capable of stretching to any extent and can visualize places that are very vast, like a galaxy, or very small, like a miniscule dot. The binding (bandha) of individual consciousness to one place is dharana. Normally, the mind likes to roam here, there and everywhere like a wild animal. The lower, undeveloped mind enjoys every thing but hates to sit still. It will find this or that excuse to avoid being still at any cost. To be able to bind the mind to one spot is an achievement in itself. Very few are capable or willing to do so. There does not appear to be much sensual, emotional or material benefit in being still, so the lower mind believes such an exercise is without value. In some ways keeping still also goes directly against the survival urge, as not moving could jeopardize the very life of an animal. Dharana may be explained by the metaphor of first catching a wild bull, then putting a noose around its neck, and tying it to a point, a pole. This action prevents the bull from wandering. Furthermore, a corral may be built or a fence which keeps the animal confined within one place. The bull, of course, is the wild, way-ward mind and the securing of that bull is the act of dharana.
  56. 56. 218 Understanding the Yoga Darshan Maharishi Patañjali does not say much about the concentrative process. Dharana is the initial phase of the triumvirate samyama. Patañjali perhaps expects that anyone studying his treatise will be already undergoing the necessary sadhana under the expert guidance of a satguru. Previously the sage declared that pranayama makes the mind fit for this stage. By practicing pranayama one attains the necessary mental fitness to bind the mind to one spot. The mental states (chittabhumi) must be understood and simultaneously, evolution must occur. Minds that are dull and inert (mudha) or totally distracted (kshipta) cannot concentrate in the manner required for dharana. That is the main reason one must work through the previous yoganga creating mental fields which are less distracted (vikshipta). Then the one-pointed state of mind (ekagrata) has a chance of manifesting itself. Only much later does the niruddha level of the controlled mind occur. Don't try to use shortcuts on this important journey, for there are no shortcuts! If one tries, one will only end up undercutting one's own growth drastically. The ego, the personal sense of self, which loves the sensation of effort and the reward of accomplishment, success and progress can only go as far as dharana. After that one must be ready to give up to the Divine Flow. Divine Grace is important for success in the inner aspects of yoga and that may be attained only through the blessings of a realized satguru.
  57. 57. 302 Understanding the Yoga Darshan III:55 ºÉk´É{ÉÖ¯û¹ÉªÉÉä: ¶ÉÖÊrùºÉɨªÉä Eòè´É±ªÉ¨É * sattvapuru¿ayoÇ ½uddhis¤mye kaivalyam When the purest form of our mind is as pure as pure consciousness, liberation occurs. Maharishi Patañjali concludes the Vibhuti Pada by saying equality between buddhi and purusha brings liberation. Such a state occurs only when one becomes the purest possible medium for the crystal-clear transmission of the divine universal impulses. Purity of thought, word and deed is of paramount importance. At this most refined purest point, when sattwa (the purest aspect of the mind) absolutely equals that of purusha (pure consciousness), kaivalya occurs. The pure becomes the pure. The dewdrop slips into the shining sea. Kaivalya occurs when the vehicle is crystal clear. Then the light of the Divine shines through without distortion. The klesha and karma bandha prevent one from realizing that one is the Divine Self beyond imperfections as extolled in sutra I:24. Yoga offers a clear road map for the evolutionary journey towards re-synthesizing oneself, to attain an un-limited, un-paralleled, unified state of Oneness. All aspects of the human personality are cultured through the process of yoga. Yoga helps destroy the klesha and eradicates karma bandha. Maharishi Patañjali has given the walking stick, the danda, the support to aid the traveller for this evolutionary journey. Patañjali's aphorisms are potent seeds to produce the mind-set while undertaking the internal
  58. 58. Vibh¶tip¤daÇ 303 and external culturing processes of yoga. These teachings of yoga spring from the antiquity of Indian culture which encourages the loss of the sense of individuality in order to gain a Universality. Yogi wish peace and happiness not only for themselves, but for all living beings. Yogi are not individualists seeking salvation for themselves alone. On the contrary, yogi are Universalists seeking to live life in a conscious evolutionary manner, with care and concern for not only their human family, but also for those beings living on all planes of existence. May all become true yogi as exhorted by Yogeshwar Sri Krishna when he says, "Become thou a yogi, oh Arjuna" (tasmad yogi bhavarjuna – Bhagavad Gita, 6:46). <ÊiÉ {ÉÉiÉVÉ±É ªÉÉäMÉnù¶ÉÇxÉä ʴɦÉÚÊiÉ{ÉÉnù: iti p¤tañjala yogadarshane vibhutip¤daÇ This brings to an end the yogic perspective on vibhuti as expounded by Maharishi Patañjali.
  59. 59. 4 +lÉ Eòè´É±ªÉ{ÉÉnù: Atha Kaivalyap¤daÇ We now begin the exploration of the highest state of liberation
  60. 60. IV:1 VÉx¨ÉÉèä¹ÉÊvɨÉxjÉiÉ{É:ºÉ¨ÉÉÊvÉVÉÉ: ʺÉrùªÉ: * janmau¿adhimantratapaÇsam¤dhij¤Ç siddhayaÇ Siddhi may be attained by birth or through herbs, incantations, austere penance and the process of deep absorption. There is definitely a link between all pada. Maharishi Patañjali begins this one by threading connections to the previous one. This sutra lists the tools that enable one to attain the previously mentioned siddhi. He tells us that we can attain the siddhi through the process of birth (janma), through herbs (aushadi), through powerful incantations (mantra), through austere penance (tapa) and through the deep absorption of samadhi. Some people are born with siddhi. They are the born geniuses who astound the world with their natural talents. This is usually attributed to karma carrying over from previous incarnations. A cursory glance indicates that these gifted persons seem to have done nothing to deserve their powers of music, dance, literature, science, or spirituality. Yet, they deserve them fully for the efforts made in the past incarnations have started to flower now. The danger is, of course, that it is easy to forget that these are not only divine gifts but rewards for work well done. The ego puffs up and believes itself a chosen one, specially favoured, specially honoured. Once the ego raises its obnoxious head, the powers usually disappear or are wasted entirely. It is a blessing to be born human, it is the rare opportunity for conscious evolution. It is a God-given opportunity to strive for
  61. 61. 308 Understanding the Yoga Darshan kaivalya. Each and every one is potentially divine. Each and every one has special talents, sometimes manifest and sometimes latent. The truth is that all are born with some power or the other. This implies that the Divine expects everyone to nourish, cultivate and develop these gifts and thus help all of humanity to evolve as a unit. Yet most, at the end of life, go back to the Divine having misused, disused or abused the powers given at birth. Is that the goal of the human existence? Failure and bitterness? The rishi proclaim loudly that it is not! Some try to attain these powers through the use of herbs and consciousness-enhancing drugs. The Siddha and Natha were known to be alchemists. There are many stories of siddha turning straw into gold. Our param guru Srila Sri Kambaliswamigal is said to have had such powers. Yet, their greatest alchemy was when they were able to transform the mundane consciousness of their disciples into the divine sparkling jewel of exquisite awareness. The tragedy of the human race, however, is that it values non-valuable things, like gold, fame and power, and does not value valuable things like spiritual wisdom and love. When asked about the difference between reaching siddhi with hallucinogens or without them, Swamiji's reply was that such chemicals would have only a temporary effect of the "high". He stressed the fact that after a short while, the person would always fall back into their previous state of consciousness. They would then suffer the "low", making them want the "high" again. This triggers addiction. Swamiji also added that such chemicals altered brain structure in a harmful way. He felt that brains damaged by such chemicals would be rendered unfit for higher conscious experiences in future. There is a world of difference between chemicals producing
  62. 62. Kaivalyap¤daÇ 309 experiences, and experiences producing chemicals. The human body produces its own potent chemicals which facilitate states of altered consciousness. These suffice for higher experiences. Mantra are normally translated as incantations or prayers. They are that too, but most importantly mantra are the means to tune into very powerful vibrations that can raise levels of consciousness. They are potent tools of the mind (man referring to mana or mind and tra referring to a tool). When applied properly, they can bring about miraculous results. The South Indian Shaiva Siddhantha tradition places great importance on proper use of mantra in healing. Many of the Dravidian saints such as Thiru Gnana Sambandar are credited with miracles through their songs in praise of the Lord. The pathigam (ten versed song) sung by Sambandar in Madurai is said to have cured the Pandya king of an incurable disease, while another of his pathigam sung at Mailapore restored the life of a young girl named Poompavai, who had died of snake bite. To my mind, however, the best and safest method to attain siddhi is through tapa and samadhi. Self-effort, intense discipline and deep introspectional analysis enable us to truly earn such powers. When the powers are preceded by methods of tapa and samadhi, the chances of misuse is much less. Power without responsibility is dangerous. Power without effort and skill is unearned. Power without morality and ethics is destructive. Power without consciousness is dangerous. Responsibility comes naturally when one earns the reward through conscious efforts. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Rightly, Patañjali warns us, "Beware of powers".
  63. 63. Kaivalyap¤daÇ 373 IV:34 {ÉÖ¯û¹ÉÉlÉǶÉÚxªÉÉxÉÉÆ MÉÖhÉÉxÉÉÆ |ÉÊiÉ|ɺɴÉ:Eòè´É±ªÉÆ º´É°ü{É|ÉÊiɹ`öÉ ´ÉÉ ÊSÉÊiɶÉÊHòÊ®úÊiÉ * puru¿¤rtha½¶ny¤n¤Æ guº¤n¤Æ pratiprasavaÇkaivalyaÆ svar¶paprati¿·h¤ v¤ citi½aktiriti Having completed the purpose of existence, involution of the guna occurs into nothingness and pure consciousness becomes established in its own true nature. Maharishi Patañjali concludes the Kaivalya Pada by saying that once we reach this point in our spiritual journey, pure consciousness becomes established in its own true nature. The triguna have involutedly disappeared into nothingness and we reside permanently in the eternal now, beyond anything and everything. Ignorant divisions cease. Only oneness remains in kaivalya. We are in fact the Divine Itself, beyond klesha and karma and beyond ramifications of time. We are once and for all established firmly in the absolute power of Pure Consciousness, in our own true nature. Hence we are purusha itself. In sutra 24 of this pada, the chaturvidha purushartha, the four legitimate goals of life were discussed. These purushartha are goals for life, and can be attained in a proper manner. This process is achieved by living in tune with our swadharma to attain artha, kama and finally realize ourselves through moksha. The triguna are intricately linked to purushartha, as they affect every physical, emotional and mental aspect and hence manipulate thoughts, words
  64. 64. 374 Understanding the Yoga Darshan and deeds. Hence, when the journey is complete, the guna can dissolve into void (shunyanam) leaving nothing behind. With the attainment of this absolute and most dynamic state of being, the evolutionary journey ends. We have reached the pinnacle by attaining to our true essence where division of any kind ceases. Indian philosophical thought tells us over and over, again and again, that our essential, true nature is sat-chit-anandam (absolute reality, consciousness and bliss). We are now That, and hence, everything that is not That ceases forever. Such a long, long journey it has been. But our great friend, philosopher and guide Maharishi Patañjali has outlined the path so skillfully for us. We must bow our heads in gratitude to this Mahatma, and pay him tribute by living his teachings every step of the way. <ÊiÉ {ÉÉiÉVÉ±É ªÉÉäMÉnù¶ÉÇxÉä Eòè´É±ªÉ{ÉÉnù: iti p¤tañjala yogadarshane kaivalyap¤daÇ This brings to an end the yogic perspective on kaivalya as expounded by Maharishi Patañjali.
  65. 65. ** ºÉ¨ÉÉ{iÉÆ ªÉÉäMÉnù¶ÉÇxɨÉ ** samaptam yoga dar½anam With this we complete the reverential perspective of the Yoga Darshan.
  66. 66. Ananda Ashram at the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) This world famous Yoga Institute has been offering intensive Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Courses from October 2nd through March 25th since 1968, without any break. Thousands of students from all over India and the world have been thoroughly trained in an intensive yoga programme which starts at 4.30 am each morning and concludes only by 9.00 pm each evening. CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA (GITANANDA YOGA) as expounded by the world famous Guru, Yoga Maharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj is taught in carefully graded steps. Swami Gitananda, a Medical Doctor born in India but who spent forty years in the West, taught Classical Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga (Gitananda Yoga) with a scientific, medical basis. The revered Swamiji, considered one of the five leading world experts in Classical Ashtanga Yoga, attained Samadhi in December 29, 1993. Yogic cleansing practices and fasting, diet and nutrition are also basic to the course. More than 108 asana, 44 pranayama and 56 kriya are taught in the six months. Thorough study of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra, Upanishads, Yoga Vasishtha, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Bhagavad Gita and other important yogic texts is made. Training is also given in Carnatic Music, with emphasis on devotional bhajan. Those interested may also study Bharat Natyam and Classical Instrumental Music. Training in Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga techniques are given, including elaborate work with yogic relaxation, concentration and visualization practices. Seats in the course are limited to ten persons annually, who are accepted only after going through preliminary instruction with the Institute’s trained teachers and participation in the 52 Lesson Correspondence Course, Yoga: Step-by-Step, which is the
  67. 67. cccxcii Understanding the Yoga Darshan basic syllabus of the Six Month Course. The Institute has a traditional gurukula setting, in an ideal garden atmosphere, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Students are also introduced to the Indian way of life, festivals, cultural programmes, community activities and Hindu rites and rituals, to cultivate an awareness of the culture from which yoga has sprung. From October 2001, this course has been extended to an additional six months training, for those considered suitable, giving “hands-on” training in yoga teaching and class organization as well as undertaking senior yoga practices. Those eligible for this advanced yoga work will at the end of the one-year training receive a One-Year International Diploma in Yoga Education. ICYER has more than a hundred affiliated yoga centres in twenty-two countries of the world. Thirty books have been published, as well as a monthly magazine, Yoga Life, which has completed more than 40 years of publication for a worldwide audience. The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) is also headquarters for several worldwide organizations, including Vishwa Yoga Samaj, Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International) and the Society for the Preservation of Rishiculture Yoga (SPARC). The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research is also the office headquarters for Sri Kambaliswami Madam, a 135-year-old Samadhi site of the great Ashtanga Yoga Guru Srila Sri Kambaliswamigal at Thattanchavady, Pondicherry. The Samadhi of its founder, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, is also located at Sri Kambaliswami Madam and has become a world famous pilgrimage place. Swami Gitananda left his body in Samadhi at 2.20 am December 29, 1993, Arudhra Darshan Day and the full moon in the Tamil month of Margazhi. Daily puja are conducted at Sri Kambaliswami Madam, with elaborate puja every Sunday morning. Sunday puja are open to public who wish to experience a traditional Hindu puja. Grand puja for the Samadhi of the eight Guru of the lineage are conducted throughout the year, as well as many Carnatic Music Festivals at the Sri Kambaliswami Madam.
  68. 68. Ananda Ashram at the ICYER cccxciii The City Centre of ICYER is called Yoganjali Natyalayam and Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri established it on March 29, 1993. The flourishing Centre of Yoga, Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music with more than 400 actively enrolled students and nearly 10,000 alumni is located in Central Pondicherry, behind the Iyyanar Koil and New Bus Stand. It caters to the needs of the local populace as well as providing special individual and personally tailored lessons for passing tourists and those visiting Pondicherry on a short-term basis. Yoganjali Natyalayam has developed a very popular Bharat Natyam troupe, which specializes in performance of the difficult acrobatic Natya Karanas, which are essentially a form of yoga asana. The Centre presents full length Bharat Natyam Dance Dramas every year in July-August to celebrate the birthday of its visionary founder, while its spectacular Annual Day is held in June-July each year and is a feast of spectacular music, dance and yoga demonstrations. THE FOUNDER: A Master Yogi and great Spiritual Teacher, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri had the unique talent of infusing the mystic insights of the rishi into practical life. The exponent of a Bengali Tantric tradition, which stretches back hundreds of years, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, a medical doctor and scientist, was able to express the abstract ancient insights in practical modern terms. One of the greatest Masters of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga in the twentieth century, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj of Pondicherry, India, was a brilliant and dynamic Guru known affectionately as THE LION OF PONDICHERRY. He taught hundreds of thousands of persons worldwide the intricate and demanding art and science of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, through his books, his magazine articles, his monthly magazine YOGA LIFE, and his nine world tours in which he lectured and taught hundreds of thousands of seeking spirits worldwide. His influence on the modern world of yoga is immense. He was named Madathiapathy of Sri Kambaliswami Madam in 1975 and carried out his religious duties scrupulously. He founded Ananda Ashram (1968) and later, the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (1989) on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, eight kilometers north of Pondicherry.
  69. 69. cccxciv Understanding the Yoga Darshan He also founded in March 1993 a flourishing City Centre, known as Yoganjali Natyalayam, to teach the Indian cultural arts of Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music, as well as Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga to the local populace. Throughout, his approach was scientific, rational and systematic. In 1987 he was awarded the title, “The Father of Modern Scientific Yoga” by Vishwa Unnyanan Samsad of Calcutta. He was also one of the pioneers in bringing the concepts of traditional yoga to the Western mind. On December 20, 1986, Swami Gitananda Giri was awarded the title “YOGA SHIROMANI” by the then President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji, at the World Yoga Conference held in Asian Village, New Delhi. He personally taught an intensive Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course in his Pondicherry Ashram for twenty-five years from 1968. On March 10, 1986, Swami Gitananda was appointed to Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi. He served in this position till his Mahasamadhi. Swami Gitananda cooperated and served as advisor to Government in organizing the First International Yoga Festival in Pondicherry sponsored by Department of Tourism, in January 1993. Since then, the Festival has been held yearly from January 4th to 7th , and Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani continues to act as advisor for this grand event. Her services and that of Swami Gitananda are regularly and publicly appreciated by the Pondicherry Government at this festival. Swami Gitananda was given so many other honors, including the honour of being the First Vice-President of the All India Association of Mutts and Ashrams based in Kancheepuram, Tamilnadu to which he was elected in 1983. The organization was headed by the Presidentship of the Shankaracharya of Kancheepuram. To name Swamiji’s accomplishments would take volumes and indeed, volumes have been written on him. No history of yoga in modern times is complete without reference to his name. He is the author of twenty-two books on yoga, and conducted five World Conferences on Yoga as well as headed an international organization with centres in twenty countries. More than 135 centres of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga are established worldwide, with thousands of Ashtanga Yoga teachers trained by him now actively propagating not only yoga, but also various aspects of Indian culture. He was part of the intellectual community of yoga
  70. 70. Ananda Ashram at the ICYER cccxcv practitioners, and was the Chief Patron of the prestigious Indian Academy of Yoga, centered at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He has done large amounts of scientific research in yoga, and has numerous scientific and semi-scientific papers to his credit. His work is often cited as references in yoga research projects worldwide. The great Yogi attained Mahasamadhi on December 29, 1993, at the age of eighty-seven years. THE DIRECTOR: Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani was born in the United States in 1943 but came to India to study yoga at the age of 25 and fell in love with the country and its culture. She has lived in India ever since, and received Indian citizenship on November 30, 1992, in her own words “the proudest day of my life”. She met her Guru in Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj in 1968, and since that time has devoted her life to his teachings and to institutions founded by him. She has been instrumental in training more than 20,000 village children in the art and science of Yoga and Bharat Natyam since 1975 through the Sri Kambaliswami Yoga and Fine Arts Programme. Hundreds of her students trained in this programme have taken up Yoga and Bharat Natyam teaching as full-time careers. She is a journalist by profession and her articles and essays appear in national and international magazines and newspapers. She has been editor of the international magazine Yoga Life since 1970 and is Managing Editor of the Ashram’s publishing unit Satya Press. She is Director of Studies (Ashram Acharya) for the Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course offered annually at ICYER from October 2nd to March 25th, as well as for the year-long International Diploma in Yoga Education offered from October, 2001 at ICYER. She is a popular Conference and Seminar speaker. She has been Organizing Secretary for five major International Yoga Conferences in Pondicherry. She is a prolific author and has written a dozen books, including two books of poetry. She has been recipient of many National Awards and was awarded the title “YOGAMANI” by the President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji in 1986 at an International Yoga Conference held at the Asian Village, New Delhi. In 1998 she was awarded the National Award, Bhaskar Award by Bharat
  71. 71. cccxcvi Understanding the Yoga Darshan Nirman and Indian Trade Promotion Organization, New Delhi, one of fifty eminent Indians so honored during the 50th year of Indian Independence for their contribution to Indian culture and spirituality. In January 1999, Pondicherry Government recognized her service for the cause of Indian Classical Dance and gave her the Puduvai Kalaimamani Award. She was awarded a Gold Medal by Government of Pondicherry for her work in Bharat Natyam on February 26, 2001. She has received numerous awards such as Outstanding Senior Citizen, Achiever Award, Best Educationist Award, Puduvaikku Pugazh Sertha Pennamani, Sigaram Thotta Magalir, Sri Aurobindo Award and Puduvai Shakthi in recent times. She is an honored patron and advisor to Gitananda Yoga Associations of USA, UK, Italy, Germany, Australia, Czech Republic, Spain, Canada and Switzerland. She has served as an eminent Yoga Expert on the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, under the Health Ministry, Government of India, New Delhi as well as the Finance Committee of this Council in March 2000. She has also been a member of the Academic Council of the Pondicherry University. She is presently an eminent Yoga Expert on numerous committees in the Health, Education and Human Resources ministries of the Central Government of India. She is Director of Yoganjali Natyalayam, a popular City Centre for the propagation of Yoga, Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music and has developed its famous Bharat Natyam troupe. Yoganjali Natyalayam was founded in 1993 as a continuation of the Sri Kambaliswami Yoga and Fine Arts Programme that was begun in 1975. She has worked tirelessly to reinstate the ancient acrobatic Natya Karanas into the Bharat Natyam repertoire and has presented lecture-demonstrations on this topic at the ABHAI dance festivals in Chennai. She has also composed, choreographed and directed more than forty Dance Dramas in the last twenty years, the majority of which are in Tamil, a language she greatly admires. THE CHAIRMAN: Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India. He is also chairman of Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharat