Although Patanjali is considered the father of Yoga, he did not invent the scientific system of thought and practice. What he did do though was to correlate it into a masterly set of aphorisms, some of which are only one or two lines long.
The truths of Yoga have been kept by a long line of yogis who through experimentation and experiences can verify the science of yoga to be just that , scientific. This kind of verification has been going on for millennia. For instance in such a simple thing as the beginning stages of meditation called Dharana and Dhyana, the same scientific occurrence happens to every one who is capable of lifting their consciousness into the alpha state - they will see a long deep blue tunnel with a light at the end of it.
Mixing alka seltzer with water to produce a foam is no more scientific. It happens every time unless of course the seltzer is stale. With the proper application of some techniques of meditation this tunnel is duly observed. What is at the end of that tunnel, I shall not divulge here as it may give way to self hypnosis, thus making an argument for self induced hallucination.
There are certain stages I take my students through and each step of the way being scientific, I can then determine what the next stage of instruction will be.
Although many have written for the more simple and mundane aspects of Yoga, the Hatha asanas, I will still nurture those students also, as one day they may develop a more deeper interest in the serious side of Yoga. These studies of the Hatha are not harmful at all and will in time do much good for the practitioner.
Stages in Yoga though are many and one of the first and most important aspects of it are to understand the Mayic illusion of this objective world, and also the Philosophy of Klesas. The philosophy of Klesas because while we are attached to this objective reality , it will give a proper understanding from where suffering arises . To get your teeth into Klesas can lead one very quickly to the practice of Pratyahara (withdrawing in of the sense) or Raja Yoga. In this regard the greatest Pranayama technique of Kriya would suffice as the springboard to other and deeper understandings.
The first aspect - Mayic illusion - is to be grasped through the study of Gnana Yoga, the Yog of the intellect - or spiritual discernment - the ability through neti neti (not this -not this) to arrive at, when all else has been removed, your true SELF, the Atman. You do not have two selves - just one. It is without attributes. When, upon awakening, the first personal pronoun arises into activity, the ego and all else that goes with it, arises. It is by the reduction of "all else" that one can, in pure consciousness without attributes, be aware of your birthright. The arousal of the first personal pronoun robs you of that.
Everything in the objective world stems from that "I". How did this happen? It happened because of the most comfortable thing we can lay claim to - attachment - attachment to this and that which grows from the very source of instinctive consciousness, "I need, enjoy, am attached to my Mothers milk" and later, attachments to cars and stereos and food and loves and life itself. It is here that Klesas will be of benefit, because it is the very loss of that which we love the most is what causes us our greatest sorrow.
Well, the earnest Yogi seeks out the serious side of life and learns through dispassion to alleviate his attachments, thus releasing himself from the endless rounds of sorrow which afflict everyone sooner or later.
The very first sutra of Patanjali is this. Four words. Yogas citta vritti nirhodah. There are many translation of the sutras . Some are in contradiction to others , but for the most part all the translations of the Sanskrit amount to much the same thing. Taking the first word Yoga, meaning to unite - to join - but to join what? It is proverbially thought by all sources that it means to join the Jivatma with the universal Overself, the Paramatman. The two are identical, yet remain separate because the attachment of the first personal pronoun has separated itself from the Atman as the Jiva, the ego. The plight of the serious yogi is to unite the two once again.
Citta, means mind, that expansive sponge which is dogged by thoughts and seems to be the repository of endless ideas, worries, desires, needs etc. Chitta is considered the universal medium through which all else in all the worlds we can imagine will become manifest, whereas in western psychology the mind is confined to only thoughts , volition and feelings.
Vritti, is movement - fluctuation. Imagine a still pond having a rock thrown into it and you get ripples. The more thoughts the more fluctuations. The more activity of Chitta, the more restless and attached to those vrittis is the chit. This is the very thing that has created the separation from Paramatman or your true SELF, what Ramana Maharshi calls the double I "II" Vritti comes from the root vrt meaning to exist. Existence has its modifications, states, activities and functions, so that in the control of this one can exist in one modification only, such as in saba or nirvakalp samadhi.
The ultimate aim of course is to inhibit all the modifications of mind, thus I prefer to call vritti , fluctuations.
Nirhodah means control, reigning in, retrained and inhibiting. For a student to attempt meditative techniques without some understanding of what he is up against, inhibiting the fluctuations of his mind will be almost impossible for him, and so there are certain techniques to accommodate him. These are the meditative techniques. Some are much better than others. Those which involve incantation or mantra, or visual concentrations, will only have to be got rid of at a later date, and already they have become so ingrained in the students mind that being self starting, they become like a groove in a record. The needle gets stuck.
A method of meditating is one which you will have no visual with quality or quantity, or for that matter anything identifiable as another fluctuation which to become attached to .
I am enclosing the name of a book, that I would suggest all serious Yogis to read and study. It is a bit dry for the beginner, but it is a masterful reading of the sutras and will engulf you with the raison d'etre of Yoga. It is by I.K Taimni and called the Science of Yoga. It is a Quest book and will be found in any good book store.
You can receive free lessons in Yantra Yoga, some Pranayama and Kriya techniques, the Meditation technique and Hatha Yoga, besides many articles dealing with Yoga. Just enquire. I also issue some chapters from my book, The Portal. Also if you have not read my small article on Klesas , you can send for that too. All questions pertaining to Yoga will be answered personally.
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