Saturday, November 14, 2020

New Article Series - What is Dharma | Happy Diwali 2020

Wishing You all a Very Happy Deepavali and Dhanteras 2020 

Deepavali Ki Hardik Subhechcha 

Shubh Dhanteras


Namaste,


On the occasion of Diwali, I am happy to share that I have updated the article on Dharma. In future, I wish to include this intro to the article series on Dharma. Updated versions of Website  in word or pdf or ebook format are also available for download. Article is updated on Google drive from where one can download the word and ebook format. In case one is not able to down PDF file, a link on home page and downloads page is given.   

In earlier post, I had shared the information that an article on dharma has been uploaded. 

Since then, there were lots of changes in the article. Now the articles is divided into 5 parts with each part having a dedicated page. 


Page dedicated to Dharma


Topics include 


Explanation of the uses of word 'dharma'
Varna and Ashram Dharma
Gunas are the heart of Dharma
Why do Shastras give importance to dharma

Then comes the three depths Rna-traya and how one can be free from them. Importance of performance of Shradha is also explained.

Since Gunas are at the heart of dharma, a separate page is dedicated to explain daivi and asuri sampitti (divine and demonic i.e lower animal) qualities. as explained in Adhyaya 16 of Bhagavad Gita

Then comes articles on svadharma and why following svadharma is always a better choice than following paradharma is explained.

Following svadharma, one can rise above gunas and dharma (and adharma). Beyond dharma is moksha. Such a person who has risen beyond dharma is known as Jivan Mukta or the liberated one. He or she is already established in the supreme Truth, The Brahman, even while still living in physical body. Such great jivas are very rare, but are worthy of our respect and gratitude. 

Last page is dedicated to explaining the difference between 'Dharma and Mazhab or Religion' and difference between 'Guru and Prophet or Nabi'. Articles explains why it is unwise to use these words interchangeably. 

Reason for Compiling an Article on Dharma


Dharma holds an important place in any society. Dharma is a collection of divine qualities within oneself and it's application. By application, we mean how a person acts. The choices one makes depends upon ones mental makeup and emotional state. It is the gunas which makes our mental, emotional and spiritual makeup. They decide our thinking and so karma. Gunas are the heart of dharma.   

Though one may have been born in a particular varna by birth, but it is the varna by karma that defines the person who he or she is. It is our behaviour within our family, society and nation as a whole that contributes to the well being, maintaining harmony and creating positive environment, open to new ways of thinking. 

Even in medieval period, well known personalities and even communities were known due to their contribution to society and their achievement. Our surnames are the best examples of it. The surnames define the work one does or has achieved.

For example, a surname 'mistry' indicates that ancestors must have been known by community as good carpenters. Another surname is that of honorific title like 'Shastri'. It is the title that is given by scholars or the community. In Puranas and Itihasas, we can see that the names of prominent characters are also given as per their character. In one discourse, I recall from my memory an example of 'name by karma' was given. 'Dushashana' is actually 'Sushasana' meaning good governance. Dushashana means 'bad governance'. No parent will give demonic name to their child as each one of them is precious to the parents. However, they are known by their karmas which are based on gunas that they or their parents or mentors have instilled and nurtured within them. Their karma is not on moral high grounds. Even Ishvara is not spared. Krishna is also known as 'Ranchod', meaning 'one who flees the battleground'. Of course Bhagavad in Gita says that 'Janma karma cha me divyam' meaning 'Mu birth and karma are of divine nature'. It means that his birth is not due to dissatisfied desires, nor does the karmas done by him are due to the triggering of any Gunas as Ishvara is beyond Gunas. However, in order to teach us something good, they act in a particular way. 

Dharma is the Gauge or Weighing Balance of Critics and Rival Sects


The importance of dharma, which is the collection of divine qualities, is so high that even the critics and atheists, fact finders, historians, scholars of rival sampradayas or religion, and those who have lost interest in the religion of their birth and have either turned atheist or embraced a new religion - all of them while finding faults in characters in puranas, historical figures like Kings of Medieval period like Guptas, etc always find moral or ethical wrong doing. 

Many individuals see the rigidity and hypocrisy in the people who claim to practice dharma. It is the double standards which are responsible for a genuine seeker to loose interest in dharma and either ignore it or become and atheist. 

Thus any fault that we see in others is either due to absence of divine positive qualities within ourselves or within others. We all have both positive and negative qualities. However, what matters is which ones do we nurture, give fuel to and which ones are ignored. Just like a fire is neither good or bad. It's goodness i.e. life saving or destructiveness depends upon it's use. Fire can be used to cook food or it can be used to burn a person or property resulting in death or destruction. Same is the case with water. It can quench our thirst or drawn us. 

Faith in God does not Earn you Respect nor does it make you a Good Person 


Faith in God does not make one superior or worthy of respect. Faith in God almighty is just one divine quality. It does not earn you respect in society. Even criminals have faith in God, in fact much stronger than we have, as if they manage to escape casing police, their life and saved, but for police it is just another case. It is our karma that earns respect of others. A believer in God may be a miser and will not donate a single paisa to anybody, while an atheist may build a school or hospital giving free education or treatment to poor people. 

Negative qualities have to be controlled and overcome with nurturing of Good Qualities and performing good karmas. It is a path of dharma which each one of us has to walk.

Importance of Dharma in Today's World - Upholding the Moral Values


In today's fast changing materialistic world, where dharma is dying, and corruption, dis-honestly, selfishness and cheating are the new acceptable norms in the corporate world, it is the dire need that dharma is practiced by all of us be it theists or atheists. It is necessary for the good of entire eco system, not just us, humans. A positive mind with high conscience will not try to harm nature to earn profit and get rich. Karma done with positive intention is beneficial to the whole of society, whole eco system and for our future generations. 

All saints and acharyas, be it Lord Buddha or Sri Mahavir Tirthankara, Adi Sankaracharya or Ramanujacharya or Madhvacharya or Mahasiddha Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath (Gorakhnath), all of them stressed on the 'sadachara' meaning good conduct and practice dharma and not just argue over philosophy. An logic or philosophy is dry an shallow without practice, no matter how much impressive it might feel. The evils in the society are all bad conducts and are often reminded in the puranas and itihasas quite often. Bhagavad gita, which is an essence of Upanishads (vedanta) and Upanishads are the essence of Vedas, which are the mother of all Hindu Philosophy, has dedicated two chapters chapter 16 and 17 only Gunas and the types of karmas performed based on divine or demonic qualities. What more needs to be said upon the importance of dharma. 


On the occasion of Diwali, which symbolizes the victory of Light (knowledge) over Darkness (ignorance and bondage) or Victory or dharma over adharma or victory of Ishvara over Ego and symbolizes the destruction of Ego teaches us that a person is not to be continued to be hated after the ego is destroyed. A person with high ego may make wrong decisions, but such a person may have vast knowledge and can become a worthy guru. This is because after the ego is destroyed, one gets the knowledge of true Self and one is immersed in Bliss. Hence Deepavali or  Diwali, which is popularly known as festival of light expresses this state of destruction of ego, followed by the flame of knowledge as fire or light represents knowledge. Ego represent darkness. After light is light in dark room, one feel comfortable, is free from fear and sees things clearly 'as they are'. After destruction of ego there is completeness, there is peace, there is bliss. 

An Episode from Ramayana teaching us dharma


In case of Ramayana, Bhagavad Rama asked Lakshamana to approach King Ravana who was dying and learn 'Raj Niti' or 'art of Governance' from Him. Lakshmana, who has negative views for Ravana didn't expect this instruction , but couldn't disobey orders of his Elder Brother who was also his Ishta Devata. So with biased, pre opiniated mind, he approached to Ravana asked him to teach him. Knowing the mental state of Lakshamana, Ravan Ignored him and Lakshama returned back Rama Explained him that one should approach a guru with all humblness and not stand over his head and ask for knowledge. Go and stand near his feet and humbly request your guru to teach you Niti Shastra. Lakshamana, realised his mistake, changed his heart and now approached Ravana with a proper way a guru should be apporached. Dying Ravana, then taught him the art of Governance. So Ravana was free from Bias, but Lakshamana wasn't. So such instruction like 'be a good guru', 'act like an acharya' etc, was not needed for Ranava. He was already free of Ego. 

Though there is a popular custom that the effigy of ten-headed Ravana is burned, which symbolically represents victory of Knowledge over Ego, has to be though upon second time. The dying person was not the same egoistic Ravana. He was a Guru. He was a great scholar who sung Sama Veda and was profecient in many arts like Governance, Ayurveda, Astrology, Art of Warfare and was a great devotee of Bhagavad Shiva. Even Bhagavan Shiva has accepted his composition 'Shiva Tandava Stotra' and so it has survived centuries. An important lesson is, if a person has an inner Transformation, then one must not keep judging that person based on his or her past deeds, but treat the person upon merit and his or her current mental status.  

Dharma leads to Health and Manifestation of God of Medicine Bhagavan Dhanvantari


I would like to add one more thing. when the mind is positive and the divine qualities or sattvika gunas are predominant, then the mind is peaceful. Such a mind experiences less stress. Less stress means relaxed body. When mind is peaceful, body is relaxed. Immunity increases naturally. When under stress or fear, especially in the current scenario of pandemic,  it is always good to be positive, then to be in fear of uncertainty and reduce our immunity. Be always positive, but not careless, as carelessness is a negative quality. Take necessary precautions and act responsibly, but do not keep fear in mind, it immediately reduces immunity. Scientists agree that mind has great influence on health. 

It is truly said by the wise -

'Health is (the real) Wealth' 

'Be Happy Be Wealthy'

On the day before Diwali, Bhagavan Dhanvantari manifested with a pot of medicines. May we all get his blessings and remain healthy in mind and body. May he heal us of all negativity at all levels physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

On the Occasion of Deepavali, I pray to Maa Sita or Good health of all and for her grace and guidance. 

With the Grace of Maa Sita, who is Maya herself, may we all walk on the path of dharma and finally rise beyond dharma and attain moksha.

जानकि त्वां नमस्यामि सर्वपापप्रणाशिनीम् 

Hanumanji said: 1.1: O Devi Janaki, I salute You; You are the destroyer of all Sins

दारिद्र्यरणसंहर्त्रीं भक्तानाभिष्टदायिनीम् ।
विदेहराजतनयां राघवानन्दकारिणीम् ॥२॥

2.2: (I Salute You) You are the daughter of Videha Raja (King Janaka), and cause of Joy of Raghava (Sri Rama),

May Bhagavan Hanuman Bless us with Faith, Surrender, with Courage, with one-pointed devotion and steadiness of monkey mind. 

May the grace of Bhagavad Rama always be upon us. May we all Experience Rama-Tatva.

 
Hari OM

Shri Hanumate Namah
Shri Rama Ramaya Namah

Friday, August 28, 2020

What is Dharma - New Article on Sanatan Dharma Website


Namaste,

I have uploaded new article 'What is Dharma' on my website www.sanatan-dharma.in

Please find the link below


The article attempts to explain different uses of the word 'Dharma' including varṇa dharma and āśrama dharma. It goes on to explain our spiritual journey and importance of dharma to progress on spiritual path.

The Article also explains that guṇas are at the heart of dharma. From individual level, following dharma leads to development of divine qualities within ourselves and helps us purify our heart and mind. Character building, emotional, mental and spiritual nourishment which is often neglected today is the main motto of practicing dharma. 

Article further explains how our śāstras give the meaning of dharma. Article further goes beyond dharma and adharma towards moksha.

It explains three types of debts (Ṝṇa-traya) and how can a person be free by following the prescribed dharma. 

Article also explains difference between dharma and religion or mazhab and Prophet and Guru. It also emphases on the uniqueness of our tradition to reason before accepting anything and freedom to challenge the basic concepts of Nyāya school.

I hope you will enjoy the article. 

Hari OM

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Śrī Rāma - Significance of his birth and Rāma Janmabhūmī Mandira Bhūmī Pūjana – 5th August 2020



|| OM Śrī Gaṇeśāya Namaḥ ||
|| OM Śrī Hanumate Namaḥ ||




Maryādā Purūśottama Rāma is the name that vibrates in the heart of every Hindu, and probably every Indian. Recalling the name immediately fills one with the bhāva to stand for dharma, the  righteousness. Rāma also represents alertness and most importantly Parampuruśa, the supreme Godhead who can grant us moksha. Rāma can be seen without Sita, Lakshmaṇa or even Hanumāna, but Rāma cannot be imagined without his bow. Rāma is shown as always holding his bow in an alert position and not resting on his shoulders. Even as a child, we image him holding Bow and Arrow.

His bow represents alertness or better ‘awareness’. Rāma is constantly aware. Aware of what? From absolute standpoint or top most point of view, Śrī Rāma is aware of his own true nature, infact he is the Real Self, the consciousness itself or Brahman. From Dual perspective, Śrī Rāma, as a person, is aware of everything that is not ‘Self’. Rāma is aware of mind, body and intellect or antaḥkaraṇa which represents four functions – mana , buddhi, chitta and ahaṁkāra (mind, intellect, recitation power or memory and ego). He is also aware of panch kosha. In brief, Śrī Rāma is aware of all that is anātmāṇ or that which is ‘not Self’. By being constantly aware or by being a witness, one experiences detachment. This detachment helps one understand that it is the mind that is the cause of bondage and moksha. It is both friend and foe. Detachment is the solution of most of the problems practically faced by sādhakas. Only by being detached one can understand the vrittis – the tendencies of mind, thoughts and emotions. Detachment makes one experience how emotions and external objects pull the mind outward and keep the mind trapped in the body consciousness. Detachment makes one understand that bonding is bondage.

Unless and until one is detached, one never knows that one was attached. Laymen does not know what is attachment and how one gets attached to an object or person. Rāma represents this consciousness which helps us detach and is at it's core it is our very own Self. One must always stay alert that no negativity enters into our mind and try to avoid it as much as possible. We all face situation in life when we get angry or feel frustration growing within us. We, the laymen, always look towards an ideal whom we can depend upon and can walk the path prescribed by him. We need direction and clarity. Rāma is one such ideal. He is also Īśvara and Parabrahman. So Rāma, who is always vigilant, always aware, and always detached is the one who can lead us beyond our bondage.  It is ‘our bondage’ as our mind has created it. It is also known as Jīva sṛṣṭi – samsāra (world) created by jīva. Īśvara sṛṣṭi like mountain, river, sea, stars, etc does not hinder spiritual progress, so there is no special effort needed to detach from it. What attaches one is one’s own mind. It is the mind that makes one object, person or place valuable and selectively gives importance to one over other. 

Rāma represents ‘supreme consciousness’ or ‘Brahman’.  The birth of Rāma signifies the birth of our ability to be a witness. It is an important milestone in spirituality. This is achieved by few sādhakas after many years of sadhana and by the grace of guru and Īśvara. By the grace of Rāma, one can achieve this separation of oneself i.e. ‘I’ with the body, mind and intellect and be a witness of all of them. By being detached and being rooted or surrendered to supreme consciousness, which is Rāma, one can achieve the fruit of detachment by the grace of Rāma. 

Rāma, who is also an Īśvara, is an object of worship.  He is also destination. He is also the one who shows us to stay detached and has showed us how to live an ideal life. So Rāma is the path too. 

Detachment arises due to abhyāsa and vairagya. Rāma not only represents ‘awareness’ or ‘being witness’ or just ‘Īśvara’, being an avatāra, he has shown us the way to live i.e. what should be the mental conditioning when passing through a bad phase. Rāma has taught us to stay in ‘maryādā’, which means ‘to never cross the moral and ethical boundary’. From spiritual standpoint, 'maryādā’ would mean to not let ‘mind’ get swayed away by thoughts and emotions. ‘Maryādā’ means to control mind and never let it slip. The quality of ‘maryādā’ helps one not to react impulsively and this control is possible by being a witness. Rāma, who is the very embodiment of 'maryādā' is the guru, the path and the destination. He is everything. By surrendering and walking the path shown by Bhagavāna Rāma, with abhyāsa and vairagya, one can attain the state of sākshi bhāva (being a witness) and one can surrender to him. So vairāgya and Īśvarapridhāna (facing or focusing towards Īśvara) – both important qualifies needed for Self Realisation and Īśvara darshana can be attained by the grace of Rāma.

On 5th August 2020, there will be a stone laying ceremony at Ayodhyā. A + yuddha = Ayodhyā. ‘yuddhə means ‘war’. ‘Ayodhyā’ means means a place where there is no war. Our thoughts itself are disturbance and the internal struggle which is a kind of silent war and the art of attacking oneself without attacking (by being a witness) leads one to the place where Śrī Rāma lives – Ayodhyā. So Ayodhyā is where Rāma is. There is no difference between the two. It is eternal peace where there is no sorrow, no duality, no fear, eternal and is full of bliss. Sat-chit-ānanda Brahman is indeed Rāma.

On the auspicious occasion of Bhūmi Pūjana, which indicates the beginning of construction of Temple, where the prāṇa pratiṣṭhā (consecration) of the first brick of Rāma Mandira at the birth place of Bhagavāna Śrī Rāma is done, let us pray that Bhagavān Rāma or the qualities of Rāma enter into our heart. May we all walk on the path taught by Rāma, may we always be surrendered to Rāma and be the witness of anātmān and may we all attain Rāma who is Supreme Brahman and stay merged in Sat-Chit-Ānanda Rāma, the supreme consciousness.




|| Śrī Rāmaparabrahmāpaṇamastu ||
|| Jai Śrī Rāma ||   || Jai Jai Śrī Rāma || || Jai Sīyā Rāma ||


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Shubh Deepavali and Prosperous New Year - 2019 - [An Article on Raja Yoga]

Shubh Deepavali and New Year 2019


On the Auspicious Occasion of Dhanteras, Deepavali, and New Year we pray to
The Supreme God for Holistic Progress
Dhanvantari Deva for better health
Maa Laxmi for Prosperity and
Kuber Deva for sufficient wealth
Hanuman ji to Protect & Grant us courage & Faith
May Bhagavan Krsna & holy Govardhan Parvat and Bhagavan Rama Bless us with uprooting of ego and grant us protection

|| Hari OM ||



Both Dhanvantari and Maa Laxmi manifested during Samudra manthan.


Dhanvantari is the God of medicines. He is worshipped for good health. Maa Laxmi represents prosperity. Prosperity does not mean only having money. It can be our spiritual qualities. Prosperity may also mean ‘saruddhi’. There is difference between being ‘dhanvaan’ (rich) has samruddha. A dhanvaan may not be samruddha but samruddha is always dhanvaan. He has spiritual qualities like satisfaction, faith, devotion, etc as his assets.

Kalash is also worshipped. Kalash puja is done as during saumdra manthan, the amrut that was churned out was poured into kalash by Bhagavan Vishnu. It is said that after amrut was consumed by devas, they refused to accept kalash. This made kalash unhappy. So Bhagavan Blessed Kalash and gave him important place in puja. The water kept in Kalash, Sriphala i.e. cconut and Asolpalav leaves (leave of Ashoka tree) are all blessed. Water kept in kalash is highly potent full of divine energy with blessings of Ishvara or devi (during Navaratri).

Kubera deva is also worshipped during Dhanteras and on New Year before resuming business.

Hanuman Puja is on 28-Oct-2019. It is done to ward off the influence of negative elements like bhutas and pishachas and to remove negative energy from our selves and our home.

On 28-Oct-2019 Govardhan Puja is done. It symbolizes uprooting of ego and protection offered by Krishna Bhagavan to his devotees.

Deepavali or Diwali is connected with Bhagavan Rama. It marks his return to his kingdom Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana. A-yuddha means place where there is no ‘yudda’ i.e. war. This peaceful place is nothing but Bhagavan’s own kingdom or simply Bhagavad himself. This is known as Paramdham or Parampada.    



On this holy occasion, let us understand Raja Yoga as said by shastras.


Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga often translated as the ‘Royal Path’ is a misleading translation. This is due to the literal translation of the word ‘Raja’ meaning ‘Royal’ and ‘Yoga’ is taken in generic sense. Let us try to understand in brief, Raja Yoga as described in shastras. The word ‘Raja Yoga’ is found in Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

In Bhagavad Gita, an entire chapter #9 is dedicated to the teaching of Raja Yoga. It titled ‘Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga. Hatha Yoga Pradipika also mentions the word ‘Raja Yoga’more than once in almost all four chapters. In Chapter 4 titled ‘Samadhi’sloka 4, it is implied that Raja yoga just another name for Samadhi, Turya Avastha, Sahaj, Param pada, Jivan Mukti, etc. It means that if these words are to be used interchangeability, then their meaning has to be same. Other words are mentioned and these states are described in shastras. Jivan mukti is not just entering into Samadhi, but it is complete destruction of mind and permanently staying in the state of communion with God Consciousness.

It conveys that Raja Yoga is the highest spiritual state. It explains this state to seeker as –

As salt being dissolved in water becomes one with it, so when Âtmâ and mind become one, it is called Samâdhi.

When the Prâa becomes lean (vigourless) and the mind becomes absorbed, then their becoming equal is called Samâdhi.

Note: Prana becomes slow due to shallow and slow breathing. It’s force decreases and losing mobility, it becomes steady.

This equality and oneness of the jivatman and the Paramatman, when all Sakalpas (thoughts and desires i.e. vasanas) cease to exist, is called Samâdhi.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika thus describes three paths in these sloka-s. First one is dissolving of jiva into Ishvara (bhakti), second one is attaining this state by pranarodh i.e. breath control and stopping of Prana flow (Yoga). And the third one is destruction of desires (Jnana)

It further says, Nada is the best and easiest way to achieve Raja Yoga. Here, Nada means Anahat Nada, which is heard as a sound in right ear. Anahat means ‘heart’. Here it means ‘source’. So Anahat Nada means ‘Sound originating from Source’ It also means that this sound also terminates in it’s source which is heart which is Paramatman. Since Nada originates from Paramatman, it is not to be chanted or uttered but has to be listened.

The method of achieving Raja Yoga through Anahat Nada described in this text is as described by the great Natha Yogi Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanath. Raja Yoga is the laya of mind. Mind is absorbed in Turya through nada. Again, laya has to be taken as destruction and not temporary state of thoughtlessness as Raja Yoga is another name for Jivan Mukti. So this laya has to be natural and permanent and not temporary.

For proper understanding chapter 4 has to be read fully. In brief, the method is to control mind through breath and prana. Sloka 4.29 says, ‘Mind is the master of the senses, and the breath is the master of the mind. The breath in its turn is subordinate to the laya (absorption of mind in Paramatman), and that laya depends on the nâda’.
Mind, which is master of senses is controlled by breath. By controlling breath, prana is controlled. When Prana flow is slow and mind is still and focused, there is heightened sense of awareness. In this state, a yogi hears anahat nada. Seeking the origin of anahat nada results into the laya of mind in the source of nada. This is samadhi.

To explain further, by controlling breath, prana is also controlled. Prana is then channelled through Sushunma Nadi which activates Kundalini and it rises upto Sahasrara chakra. Nada is heard by concentrated, focused and alert mind. When nada merges in mind and mind is absorbed in Bliss, it transcends duality. This is laya. This is Raja Yoga. To achieve this blissful state, mudras are often used. Bandhas are also used.


Different Texts on Yoga

Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Geranda Samhita are the two Classical texts that give details about asanas, bandhas and mudras. Siva SamhitA can also be referred.

Yoga Yajnavalkya also describes certain mudras, but focuses more on Pranayama then bandhas. It explains position of different nadis and vayus (both major and minor). It was revived by Sri T. Krishnamacharya who is called as 'father of modern Yoga' who taught vinyoga i.e. yogic practices like asanas and Pranayama are different for different people. He was the of Popular Yogis like A G Mohan (his disciple for 18 years) and Rukmi devi and B. K. S Iyengar, his brother-in-Law. 

T Krishnamacharya in his work Yoga Makaranda for Yoga mentions various Yogic Text he studied.

(For convenience, texts are not presented in the Original Order as given in Yoga Makaranda)


Classic Hatha Yoga Texts

1. Hathayoga Pradipika - by a Nath Yogi Muktatma
2. Siva Samhita
3. Gheranda Samhita by geraNDa munI

Classical Yoga Texts
4. Patanjala Yogadarshanam (Patanjali Yoga Sutras)
5. Yogayajnavalkyam (Yoga Yajnavalkya)

Yoga Upanishads
6. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad
7. Chandilya Upanishad (Sandilya Upanishad)
8. Yoga Shika Upanishad
9. Yoga Kundalya Upanishad (Yoga Kundalini Upanishad)
10. Nada Bindu Upanishad
11. Amrita Bindu Upanishad
12. Garbha Upanishad



Other Texts
13. Rajayoga Ratnakaram
14. Yoga Taravalli of Adi Shankaracharya ji (Gloss on Patanjali Yoga Sutra)
15. Yoga Balaprathipikai
16. Ravana Nadi (Nadi Pariksa of Ravana)
17. Bhairava Kalpam
18. Sri Tattvanidhi
19. Yoga Ratnakarandam
20. Mano Narayaneeyam
21. Rudrayameelam (Rudrayamalam)
22. Brahmayameelam
23. Atharvana Rahasyam
24. Kapilasutram
25. Narada Pancharatra Samhita - Sri Vaishnava Text
26. Satvata Samhita
27. Ahir Buddhniya Samhita


Patanjali Yoga sutras along with Vyasa’s commentary is highly revered Classical text on Yoga.

Siva Sutras too are important for a yogi giving concise way to reach Shiva-tatva or the formless Siva.

Since the knowledge and awareness of kundalini, chakras, nadis and prana is necessary to walk on this path, it is very important to practice Yoga under the strict guidance and grace of guru.


Raja Yoga as explained in Bhagavad Gita

Raja Yoga is explained in Chapter 9 of Bhagavad Gita. It does not mention, nada, chakras or kundalini. Gita describes the qualities of Brahman, its nature and Supreme Authority and detachment from it’s own creation. It then describes various paths to reach it. These paths are Vedic Karma Kand (rights, rituals and Yajnas), devotion to Lord Krishna (form of God, Saguna Brahman) or through jnana. While those performing karma kand do return back, his devotees and those whipping him as formless Brahman, do not return back.  Bhagavan says one should always surrender whatever one is doing to him which in turn will free one from the bondage of samsara.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an important text. It is also known as Ashtanga Yoga as it lists the path of yogi into eight parts (asta-anga). The word ‘8 limbs of Yoga’ does not give clear picture, as it is literal translation of word ‘ashtanga’. Eight parts are practices, disciplines and mental states. They are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances, disciplines, following rules and regulations), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption of mind into Paramatman or Union of Jiva and Paramatman). Patanjali Yoga Sutras talk about Samadhi and way to reach it, but, the path described is like a general guideline presented in the form of sutra meaning in concise form with no specific mention of any asana, mudra, bandha, kriya, kundalini or any mantra or devotion to any form of Ishvara. For example it does not prescribe any mudra or any breathing pattern or a mantra to control mind. It only states that pranayama helps control mind. Hence Vyasa’s Bhashya is often referred to for proper understanding. On the other hand, Hatha Yoga does describe a path of Kundalini awakening through controlling of Prana and directing it in sushumna. It also describes that purified yogis hear sound i.e. nada in right ear which results in merging of mind is supreme consciousness which is beyond prakriti and so is above duality. Thirumandirum is devoted to Bhagavad Siva is another important Yogic text.


Control of Mind and the three paths

All shastras give high importance on control of Mind, as mind controls senses and it is the senses that distract a yogi and makes it extrovert. For layman, five senses drag the mind and keeps it extrovert which is not desirable for a yogi. Senses needs to be controlled and they can be controlled by mind only. Mind can be controlled by three ways –


Jnana Yoga

Easiest way to control mind is through Breath control or prana control. Jnana Yogis control mind directly, however, it is very difficult process, as acknowledged by Arjuna in Gita to which Bhagavad replies, it is indeed difficult, but with ‘abhyAsa’ and ‘vairAgya’ (Practice of meditation and dispassion) it is possible to control mind. ‘Direct control of mind’ means controlling it via thoughts that direct one’s mind’s energy and focus on Brahman i.e. turn it introvert and be aware of thought. This process of logical reasoning and being witness to the origin of thoughts is known as ‘Nidhidhysana’, the path of neti-neti i.e. negation of all that is Anatman i.e. Detachment from all which is not Self or Atman or Brahman or ‘I’. One can also turn mind towards it’s source through Sri Ramana Maharshi’s ‘Self Enquiry’ which is also mentioned in ‘Ribhu Gita’ of ‘Siva Rahsya Purana’. By searching for the source of thoughts, even thoughts about Self Enquiry dissolve leaving behind pure consciousness, which is fullness, indescribable, where there is no second thing to be experienced as a separate identity.  Detachment comes from dispassion, one of the pillars of Advaita Vedantin’s chitta.

Often chanting of ‘OM’ is done by Advait Vedantins as it is easier to take help of a mantra then practising neti-neti. Source of OM is Brahman or Paramantman.


Bhakti Yoga

Another way in which mind gets controlled by itself is through bhakti. Strong devotion and unconditional surrender to one’s IshTa devatA makes mind naturally focused on Ishvara leaving behind samsAra.  However, developing dispassion towards samsAra is considered as foundational teaching. Developing strong devotion and dedicating entire life to his/her Ishtadeva is also difficult for layman.


Mantra Yoga

Mantra chanting is often done to progress on the path of bhakti. Any bija mantra dedicated to any form of Ishvara is considered as very potent. ‘OM Sri rAma rAmAy namaH’ and ‘OM namo bhagavate vAsudevAya’ are bija mantras. Puranic mantra like ‘Sri Rama Jai Rama, Jai Jai Rama’ or ‘Sri Krishna Sharanam mama’ is often used. Chanting mantra is sometimes referred as ‘mantra yoga’. A separate path which focusses only on mantra chanting and not any ritualistic worship or going to pilgrimage. Japa, when devoutly done, helps control mind. This upAsanA is called as pratika upAsanA as mantra is ‘pratika’ or symbol or representative of Ishvara. OM chanting is also Pratik upAsanA as OM in it’s fourth state ‘turiya’ represents Brahman.


Yoga, Mental Conditioning and Goal of Life

Third way to make mind steady and stay focussed is known as path of Yoga, which Maharshi Patanjali gives high importance as he opens his sutras with the sutra ‘Yoga is Chitta Vritti Nirodha’ meaning ‘Yoga is to negate the tendencies that arise in mind’. Tendencies are any thoughts, emotions, feelings or vibrations that one may feel. These let one astray from the path. Even the feeling of Bliss might astray a yogi from his / her path, as one may get attached to this bliss and will wish to feel it again and again each time one sits for meditation. All that arises in mind is of temporary nature and so changes with the change in mental state. Mind cannot stay in one state for long time.

Coming back to mind control, by directly controlling mind (which is done by advanced yogis), one regulates the flow of breath by one’s will and later being aware of it (breath). This in turn will automatically regulate the flow of prana within one’s body. Breath, prana and mind are all connected. Controlling one helps control the other with mind being at the top of both breath and prana meaning when mind is controlled, breath automatically slows down and so does Prana (due to slowing of breath). Prana can also be controlled directly. For beginners, controlling breath is easier than controlling prana. Slowing mind by slowing breath, helps one become aware of Prana which is present in subtle bodies like prANamaya kosha and manomaya kosha and later vigyAna and Ananadamaya kosha-s. In the beginning days, most yogic practitioners are aware of prANamaya kosha.

However, controlling breath does not mean one can direct prANa where one wants it to be. Yogic or tAntrIka practice is to willingly direct Prana in nADI-s like IdA (moon, soma, hot) and pingalA (sun, surya, hot) and later in suShumNA nADI. Certain mUdra-s have been listed in haTha yoga and geraNDa samhitA and are known to alter the flow of prANa. Various bandha-s also help control prANa. Asana-s help strengthen internal  muscles and are helpful practising bandha-s and sitting in one posture for a long period of time. They also help discipline the mind which is helpful in meditation.

So, it is the combination of Breath, Prana, Mudras and Bandha that help one progress on the path of Yoga. But this is not enough. One must change the perception of this samsAra. All these processes are done to control the mind and purify it. Any kriya or process indicates that it has to be done willingly as it is a kind of ‘action that needs to be performed’, whereas samAdhi is not due to any Kriya, it should be a natural state of mind for which one does not need to meditate to achieve it.

Here, conditioning of mind comes into play. That is why Maharshi Patanjali describes Yoga as negation of tendencies that originate in mind. Without devotion to Ishvara, be it sAkAra or nirAkAra, one cannot progress spiritually. Maharshi Patanjali also gives importance to devotion to Ishvara but does not specify Ishvara’s form. Maharshi Patanjali also gives importance to making mind introvert by changing perception towards samsAra.  To begin with, anything you do must have a goal. Here it is Yoga meaning ‘Union with Paramatman’. Without purifying mind, one cannot stay on this path.

Without goal, one has no destination, without devotion, there is no attraction and urge to move ahead to merge in Ishvara, the source of everything. All activities and kriya-s become mechanical and meaningless without devotion. Without discipline, and controlling of mind, mind cannot meditate on Ishvara. Knowing how to meditate and knowledge of the highest spiritual state through shastras and by experiences is also important to keep one on track and move in right direction. Hence all are needed to be practised. Yogi practises them all, keeps the body fit to stay in one position in meditation, strengthens internal muscles to increase effectivity of bandh-s, controls Prana-s directly or through Breath, conditions mind and turn it introvert, surrenders to Ishvara or Paramatman.

Repeatedly listening to discourses and following instructions of Guru are of utmost importance. Guru has the force to uplift vibrations of his disciple immediately. Without the grace and guidance of guru, one cannot progress on spiritual path, especially path of yoga and jnana. By practising all these together, a Yogi proceeds step by step towards Paramatman. Later, Kundalini reaches sahasrAra and stays there, one has to move beyond it leading into absorption of mind (and so individuality) into totality.  If character building is not done and introvert mindset is not retained, then mind does not remain purified and kundalini falls down again. Yogi falls from the great height s/he had earlier walked after years of practice and hits the ground hard.

From various ways or teachings following which one can attain Samadhi, Raja Yoga by the hearing nada and it’s union with mind and absorption of mind in Paramatman is prescribed by Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanatha.

The nada can only be heard by quiet, focused, aware and purified mind. In the beginning, by closing ears, one can hear sound or nada.


Laya

Laya here means constant absorption of mind naturally in Patamatman. This happens by repeated absorption of mind and repeatedly entering samadhi that karmas of past lives are destroyed. Finally mind is destroyed and the state of samadhi becomes natural. However, some think that attaining laya once is enough. Hence Ramana Maharshi has differentiated ‘mano-laya’ and ‘mano-nasha’ i.e. absorption of mind and destruction of mind. Manonasha results in Atmasthiti as sahaj sthiti.

Yoga also has an element of service.  So in the beginning, one must also serve the society without expectations. Later on when mind becomes steady and introvert, then leave samsAra to Ishvara and continue spiritual practice in isolation.

To control Prana, one can take help of breath, mudras and bandhas. Yoga Yajnavalkya does not put great emphasis on bandhas but on regulation on prana.

Sant Gyaneshwar and Sri Madhusudan Saraswati have written commentary on Bhagavad Gita. In chapter six, which is atma-sayyam yoga meaning, Self-control or control of mind (here self implies mind) have extensively quoted Patanjali Yoga sutras and the commentary on it by Bhagavan Veda Vyasa. They too put great importance of yogic practices to achieve control of mind.


To conclude,

Raja Yoga, as described by Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanath is a path in which nada and mind becomes one in their source, which is Paramatman.

To attain this state, regulation and control of breath is done to control prana until prana can be directly controlled. Various mudras and bandhas are also used by Yogis. Mudras are common, some yogis may not practice bandhas. A Yogi also conditions his / her mind by listening and contemplating on shastras, following instructions of Guru, practicing control of mind by various means as described in shastras, surrendering to Ishvara or Paramatman and keeping moksha or Yoga as the only goal of life.

Raja Yoga as described by Bhagavan Krishna in Bhagavad Gita chapter 9 is the best and the secret teachings i.e. It is the essence of shastras. Bhagavan describes his nature, his all-powerful attribute, and teaches us to always remain surrendered to him and offer all work done or any kriya done to him. Such a devotional person without any selfish motive, whether one surrenders to a form of Ishvara or to Nirakara Brahman or Paramatman, never takes rebirth in this world and attain moksha.

May we all progress on the spiritual path from this Diwali which indicates the celebration (Joy of Jnana) over Ego (individuality). The lamps that we light indicate the flame of knowledge i.e. Atmajyoti or simply Atmagyana or Brahmagyana also indicated by the symbolic returning of Rama and Sita back to their home Ayodhya.

Rama is Paramatman who rescued Sita, the jiva. But before Rama, came Hanuman, symbolising devotion, courage and faith. It is Sri Rama’s ring given by Hanuman to Sita that helps strengthen her faith in Sri Rama that he (Ishvara) will surely come to her rescue (the devoted soul who went astray against the instruction of Lakshmana due to compassion and due to sense of duty to help a Brahmana and give alms not sensing danger).

Hanuman is also known a Pavankumara. Pavan is Vayu. He is the Prana and with the help of only him, one can attain Paramatman. Hence Hanuman PujA is also performed after dhanteras. Dhanteras is the beginning of celebration of festival. It indicates blessings of Maa Lakshmi for prosperity which is chitta shuddi or purification of mind. Kubera deva can be worshipped as one is not completely detached from the world and needs money sufficient enough to sustain oneself and family.

Krishna Bhagavad too removed ego of Indradeva by lifting Govardhan parvat on his little finger and sheltering entire village indicating Ishvara will always protect us and will uproot ego of his devotees so that his devotees can surrender to him and attain moksha. Hence Govardhan Puja is also done in remembrance of this incident and that this mountain was blessed by Krishna as Bhagavad had lifted it for more than a week.
So after inner purification and devotion towards Ishvara and dedicating one’s life for him, ego gets destroyed and Jnana shines by itself.

I humbly and wholeheartedly pray to Ishvara from the core of my heart that, we may all have this blissful, blessed day in this lifetime.

Shubh Deepavali

॥ हरि ॐ ॥

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