Monday, June 15, 2015

Pathanjali Yoga Sutra - Introduction

Pathanjali Yoga sutra  :-  Introduction :-
The Hindu Scriptural literature is so vast and comprehensive that there is no branch of knowledge left uninvestigated by the great seers of this Country – India.

What is Hinduism :-

Let us see what swamy Vivekananda has to say about our religion.

Concept of Sanaathana Dharma :-

What is “VEDA” ?
The Sanskrit word “VEDA” comes from the root “VID” to know. Veda is literally the book of knowledge – knowledge of the changeless and Supreme reality.
The vast knowledge of the Veda was as a single source without any classification in the first part of the Dwapara Yugam (more than 6000 years ago). Later, Maharishi Veda Vyasa classified it into many divisions and subdivisions for the benefit of all to understand. He divided the Veda into 4, wrote Mahabharata, 18 Mahapuranas and Vedanta.

I am presenting the classification of the Knowledge gained and accumulated by our great Rishis over a period of thousands of years in a series of slides.
Those who want to seriously know about our religion are requested to save these slides for further reference.
You will be surprised that all the knowledge in today’s world of Science & Technology, Medicine, Architecture, Literature and all have their roots in one of these classifications.

Smritis in detail :-

Here I am expanding a part of the full classification of knowledge (Vedas).  That is the Smritis part which contains knowledge about all aspects of material knowledge for living.  Whereas Srutis deal with spiritual aspects.  A complete knowledge of the various aspects of Smritis gives a clear idea of living a good life style.
Pathanjali’s Yoga which we are going to deal with is a part of Veda Upangas, which in turn is a part of Smritis and which in turn is a part of the Vedas.


Yoga sutra

Even before Pathanjali’s Yoga Sutra, Yoga practices and spiritual disciplines and techniques of Meditation which enable a man to achieve unitive knowledge of the Supreme God are found in the Katha Upanishad, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, Maitrayani Upanishad etc., So we can say that the Yoga knowledge has been handed down to us from Pre-Historic times.  

“Sutra” :-  the word Sutra means “thread”.  Literally meaning, the bare thread of an exposition, the absolute minimum that is necessary to hold it together.  Sutras were composed at a period when there were no books.  The entire work had to be memorized and hence were kept as short as possible.  Pathanjali’s Yoga sutras like all other sutras, were intended to be expanded and explained.

Comparison of Yoga & Meditation with the modern Western Psychology :-
Many such comparisons have been made in the past amd some interesting points of similarity and dissimilarity in theory and technique have been noticed.  But the comparison itself seems neither fair nor valid. 

Yoga & Meditation Psychology is a finished product.  
Western Psychology is still developing and along several divergent lines; continually producing new theories and discarding old ones.    

However, one statement can be easily made……..
The majority of western Psychothepists do not, as yet, recognize the existence of the Atman, and do not therefore, attempt to help their patients achieve the union of perfect Yoga.  As for those Psychotherapists, who take a serious interest in Yoga, many of them would state their position somewhat as follows: “ We can help our patients to a certain point – to an adequate degree of adjustment on the psychological level. Beyond that, we are not ready to go.  We recognize the possibility of higher, spiritual integration.  But we prefer not to make it a part of our therapy, because we believe that the two should be kept separate. If a patient wants spiritual integration, we can only send him to a Yoga teacher. Where we leave off, “YOGA begins”.

Pathanjali Yoga Sutra - Ch-1 - V-1

The study of “Pathanjali Yoga Sutra” is not complete without reading directly from the Sanskrit texts, hence let us take the slokas one by one and analyse it.  

Pathanjali Yoga Sutra consists of 51 slokas in Chapter-1.  
Chapter-1 : sloka-1:
अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥ ।१।
“Here is the beginning of instruction in Yoga.”
The word “Yoga” means “Union”, a method of spiritual union. Yoga is a method by which an individual may become united with the Supreme God or the Supreme Reality of this Universe.
In the words of Bhoja, the word Yoga is an effort to separate the Atman (Reality) from the non-Atman (the apparent).  One who practices Yoga is Yogi.

Pathanjali Yoga Sutra - Ch-1 - V-2

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-2 :-
योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोध: ॥ ।२।
”Yoga is the control of thought waves in mind”.  But actually the meaning for the word निरोध: nirodhaha according to dictionary is Prevention, suppression. So it should actually be Prevention or suppression of thought waves in the mind.
According to Pathanjali the mind चित्ता ‘chitta’ is made up of three components namely मनस् ‘manas’, बुद्धि ‘buddhi’ and अहम्कारा ‘ahamkaara’. 

1.              Manas मनस् receives information gathered by the senses from environment and stores it.
2.              Buddhi बुद्धि discriminates and classifies these information and reacts. 
3.  Ahamkara अहम्कारा is the ego-sense which owns these information and stores them as individual knowledge.   
आत्मन् - According to the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, Atman is present within all creatures. Patanjali who was a follower of Sankya philosophy, believed in this statement.
(But according to Advaita philosophy, there is no duality and hence, Atman itself is Purusha the Supreme God in all living creatures.)  
Knowledge or perception is a thought wave वृत्ति  in the mind चित्ता. According to Patanjali mind is not the seer, but only an instrument of knowledge. The Atman is the real seer. 
Every perception arouses the अहम्कारा ego-sense, which says, “I have done this…… I know this….. etc.,  But this is the ego speaking and not the Atman.  The ego sense is caused by the identification of the Atman with the mind and senses…… etc., 
If something is perceived by the senses, a thought wave is created in the mind. The अहम्कारा ego-sense identifies itself with this wave. If the wave is pleasant the अहम्कारा ego-sense feels “I am happy”, and if the wave is unpleasent “I am unhappy”.  
“This false identification is the cause of all our misery”.
Thus अहम्कारा ego-sense’s temporary sensation of happiness brings anxiety, and also a desire to cling to the object of pleasure.  
But at the same time, prepares future possibilities of becoming unhappy, when desired object of pleasure is not got. 
The real self – आत्मन्  Atman remains forever outside the power of thought waves.  It is eternally pure, enlightened and free.  The ever unchanging happiness or “Bliss” referred to as आनन्दा Ananda’ by the Upanishads.  
So one can never know the आत्मन् real self as long as the चित्ता ‘chitta’ and the अहम्कारा ego-sense are identified.
So to become enlightened one mush bring the चित्ता ‘chitta’ thought waves under control, prevent, suppress. निरोध:
For an anology we can take the lake.  When there are no waves, the bottom of the lake can be seen clearly, the bottom being Atman.  
Type of mind differs from person to person. Many minds are not yet ready for the higher Yoga practices.  Some minds can be described as “scattered”. They are restless, passionate, and unable to concentrate.  They are lazy, inert minds, incapable of constructive thoughts.  Then there are some energetic minds which can dwell only in pleasure and tries to run away from unpleasent things.  
According to Pathanjali – Every mind no matter what its present nature be, can ultimately be disciplined and transformed to become “one pointed” and fit to attain the state of perfect Yoga.  

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-3

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-3:-
तदा द्रष्टु: स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् ॥ ।३।
When the lake of the mind becomes clear and still, man knows himself as he really is, always was and always will be.  He knows that he is Atman. His “Personality”, his mistaken belief in himself as a separate, unique individual disappears. Such a man is known as a Free, illumined soul.  

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-4

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-4:-
वृत्तिसारूप्यमितरत्र ॥ ।४।
At other times, when he is not in the state of Yoga, man remains identified with the thought waves in the mind.  

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-5

Patanjali Yoga Sutra – Chapter-1 – verse-5:-
वृत्तय: पञ्चतय्य: क्लिष्टाऽक्लिष्टा: ॥  ।५।
“There are five kinds of thought waves – some are painful and others are not painful.”
According to Patanjali “A painful wave” is not necessarily painful when it first arises in the mind:  It is the consecutive wave which brings with it an increased degree of ignorance, addiction and bondage.  A wave which seems “painful” first may be “Not painful”.  
For example a lustful wave may seem pleasurable (not painful) but on the long run it is painful.  The following Bhagavad Gita sloka explains this very beautifully. 
Chapter -2– Saankhya yogam- Verse-62 & 63
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंस: सङ्गस्तेषुपजायते ।
सङ्गात् सञ्जायते काम: कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥ ।६२।
क्रोधाद्भवति संमोह: सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रम:
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥ ।६३।
Meaning of the above sloka - While concentrating on objects of senses a person develops attachment to the sense objects, from attachment desires are born, from desire anger arises.From anger delusion occurs, from delusion bewilderment of memory, after forgetfulness of memory the loss of spiritual intelligence and losing spiritual intelligence one perishes.  
We have to dintinguish between the good and bad thoughts First. On one side we have good thoughts with love, generosity, truth, etc., प्रियम्, दया, सत्यं. On the other han we have bad thoughts with ange, desire, delusion, etc.,  काम क्रोध संमोह:  
In practice of Yoga discipline, we have to subdue the bad waves with the good waves.  And ultimately, try to shed off even the good waves.  Since, even minds with good waves are not calm.