Kriya yoga


Kriya yoga

According to patanjali, yoga is citta (consciousness) vrtti (fluctuations) nirodhah (cessation)

Without ceasing the fluctuations that arise in our consciousness we can not go on the path of God-realization. As long as we are surrounded by our mundane desires we can not be free from fluctuations. Its very difficult to comprehend the above statement about yoga as in our modern world yoga has its modern adaptations, which indeed take us closer to fluctuations.

Kriya yoga is ancient and filled with wisdom. To understand it you have to approach it through the power of your wisdom. It says that your mind is more powerful than the limitations of your body and the self is eternal, pure and powerful than all powers in the universe.

Patanjali Says, tapas svadhyaya-isvara-pranidhana kriya-yogah which means kriya yoga is about profound practice, self-study (self-analysis, self-reflection, and self-acceptance) and devotion to the almighty god. Nothing can be possible without practice. Even when a child learns walking he falls to the ground many a times before he stands and walks without falling. It is natural to feel restless when results of our karma do not manifest in our expected time frame. Remember at that time what Lord Krishna expounds about Karma. Do your karma as your duty but never be worried about its result. The moment we get worried and restless about results we become vulnerable to mental misery.

Self-study can only be possible when we give up the habit of studying others. Do we spend most of our good time either feeling superior or feeling inferior after studying others?

By self-reflection and analysis we can identify our true self as a pure subject, or as a reflection of divinity.

God can only be seen through the eyes of a devotee who loves God more than any object or subject. Do not we feel tranquil as we surrender all of our negatives or what disturbs our peace?

Do we know he who surrenders his self as a tiny water droplet (the self) of the vast ocean (god) is closer to God?

Kriya yoga (constant practice, self-study and devotion to lord) should bring vairagya (detachment). Without vairagya we can not control the fluctuations that arise in our citta (consciousness). Patanjali explains that without detachment self-realization is not possible. As long as we identify with the fluctuations that arise in our consciousness we are not free. We are afflicted with the ripples of mind which cause pain and sorrow. The true form of the self can not be known when the mind is afflicted or entangled by the lust of the senses.

Is there anyone who is free from affliction while alive? The man who is free from the craving of senses can only eternally free. Being material by nature we most of the time get surrounded by the desires. The inability to detach ourselves from the illusory desires is the cause of the obstacle to enlightenment. As long as we live amidst the mundane affairs of the world, we can not be free from fluctuations which bring dissatisfaction, but as we learn to master the senses yet living in the same world we approach toward enlightenment and then self-realization will become God-realization

Patanjali explains that be a witness to the fluctuations that arise within consciousness but be free from them. By not identifying with the fluctuations of mind one can be free from their afflictions.

Even Buddhist mindfulness has the same philosophy. Tantra has ultimately the same philosophy but most people do not realize their profound aspects. Tantra says fulfill the desires you have in you but be aware of them. By saying be aware of desires, tantra gives an indication that one should follow its doctrines according to his sense of right and wrong. Most people do what they like without being aware of their effects as they are affected by the desires of senses but they do not have any clue of how to be a master of the desires. Most of us are indeed slaves of our mental ripples, fantasies or mental modifications or afflictions.

Just be aware of what arises in your mind and let go of what is not necessary to the sacred soul is perhaps one of the elemental philosophy of Yoga or union and meditation or joining force to this union.

Patanjali further outlines the nine distractions which obstruct our higher consciousness:

Ailment, insipidness, doubt, negligence, lethargy, sense- extravagance or self-indulgence, wrong perception, indecisiveness (failure to reach stable ground), instability.

One who is on the yogic path should be aware of these distractions of consciousness.

When we are afflicted by these distractions we may get us onto emotional turbulence. These distractions take us away from our true sprit or self-consciousness. A yogi who wins over these afflictions of mind achieves splendidly miraculous powers but patanajali further explains that even after getting these powers a true yogi should be detached from them in order to achieve kaivalyam (supreme peace).

To get detached from the distractions one should be attached to any form of spiritual practice. No specific technique or practice has been stated in patanjali's yoga-sutra but patanjali outlines that we may practice yoga asanas, meditation, and pranayama but nothing specific is specified.

Patanjali further explains that in our ordinary consciousness we are affected by three elements of nature: rajas (action), tamas (ignorance) and sattva (balance). These gunas (nature of mind) affect us from the moment we open up our eyes and send a cry of birth to the world around us. These elements of human nature exist in prakriti (nature) itself, hence we are all affected by these gunas according to the actions of our past life. Patanjali explains that when we are free from the effects of these gunas by being fully aware of their nature we can find a blissful state of mind or the higher state of the self.

Patanjali explains about cognitive absorption (Samadhi) in a very lucid way. It is grossly experienced in two forms: observing or reflecting upon the gross object or subject or experiencing its subtle constituents. The later stage of Samadhi is perhaps not possible without the former state.

Patanjali explains that no Samadhi is possible without knowing the prakrti (nature) in its manifestations and paravairagya (supreme detachment) leads to the highest form of Samadhi.

If we co-relate what patanjali explained about isvara and what lord Krishna explained to Arjuna on the war-field of Mahabharata, is the same. Patanjali explained that isvara is the supreme self or the omnipresent soul, is free from the afflictions of nature (prakrti), karma and its effects.

Krishna told Arjuna that he is omnipresent; he lives in every human as their self. All kind yoga (karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Gyan yoga, dharma yoga, ashtanga yoga or any other form of yoga) starts from him and ends in him. All knowledge and wisdom take birth from him and he is eternal, he is free from the bondages of time, space, nature and karma. All souls come from him and merge in him. Those who surrender their limited ego-consciousness before God can only be free from the afflicted movements of mind. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that gyan yoga is the highest form of yoga. The reason is that a man who is filled with self-knowledge or wisdom knows what is right and what is wrong.

Patanjali explains that mediating on AUM keeps us aware of our true self and shows us a way to the universal self. The entire universe is created by the vibrations of Aum. By chanting Aum regularly we get cleansed from inside and our self becomes aware of its God state.

Without single-point attention yoga or meditation is not possible. It is easier to concentrate upon the gross objects than the formless or subtle. It is better to start from the objects or subjects with form then eventually we can reach a mental state when we can concentrate upon the formless. By concentrating upon Aum we can reach the depths of our sprit which is perhaps bigger than the universe.

Patanjali further goes on to explain how to retain the tranquility of consciousness:

By cultivating the nature of friendship towards the happy ones, compassion toward those in sorrow, rejoicing for the virtuous and even-minded toward the non-virtuous, we remain free from affliction and duhkha. These attitudes retain the serenity of the mind.

As every learned yogi is aware that there is a co-relation between our mind, its intellect, its consciousness and every breath we take. Correct inhalation, retention and exhalation help one to realize cognitive absorption (Samadhi).

Patanjali explains that by feeling the light from within and by retaining the steadiness of the mind we end our sufferings and bring the cognitive state of mind. He further explains that to further retain the intensity of our meditative state or divine state we should visualize upon the great siddhas or souls.

Water has no color and when mixed with some color it changes its color and assumes that color that is mixed in it. Patanjali explains that the mind in its deep cognition can retain the qualities or consciousness of saints, sages or any great soul if it meditates upon them. It is only possible through constant practice of meditation as the difference between the subject and its subject or object of mediation diminishes and eventually the subject reflects the qualities of the object or his subject of meditation. Knowledge of I-am-ness disappears.

Patanjali further explains that in ordinary human consciousness we are nothing but ignorant. Our ignorance causes us to perceive the momentary as eternal, maligned as pure, sorrow as pleasure, self as an object.

Patanjali says, be a seer to the ripples of mind and do not identify with the ripples. When we identify we remain as the emotions, feelings or thoughts. Yoga helps to detach us from the habit of identifying with our false perception. The self can not be identified when its entangled in the objects of ego or lusts of mind.

Gyan-yoga is considered by lord Krishna as the highest form of yoga. Without wisdom our mind can not discriminate the self from non-self, violence and non-violence, divinity and profanity, ignorance from wisdom.



We are vulnerable to impurities of thoughts, feelings and actions around us or what goes inside the mind. To retain the balance of the mind one has to be aware of the eight limbs of yoga:

Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi constitute the eight limbs of yoga. He further explains that to live up to the eight major elements of yoga one has to observe ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacarya (sexual abstinence),aparigrahah (renunciation) and yamah (restraint).

To observe the niyamas one has to observe sauce (purity of the self), samtosa (content attitude), tapas (intense practice), svadhyaya (self-reflection) and surrender to the supreme self.

When negative thoughts or feelings touch the mind, incited by lobha (greed), krodha (anger) or moha (illusion) we should try to promote their opposite characteristic thoughts.

Patanjali explains that from truthfulness one remains free of fear and enjoys its results. From non-stealing one manifest riches, from chastity of thoughts and actions one gains vigor, from non-violence one attains peace of mind. He explains that as one gets completely detached from lust or greed or when one does not identify with lust or greed he comes know all the subconscious impressions form the past or he understands the reason of his birth. He further explains that one's body has to be pure and the purity of the body can only be retained when it is constantly detached from others (other bodies).

When our very life-form is pure, mind is joyful; concentration is focused (ekagrya), as we gain mastery over the senses (indriyajaya), atmadarsana (as we realize the true vision of the self) we become suitable for yoga (self-realization).

He further adds that supreme joy (anuttamh sukha) can be gained from samtosad (contentment). Siddhi can be gained through tapa and through removing the impurities of the senses of the body.

Lord Krishna told Arjuna that he who always thinks about him and remains in communion with him can not be affected by sorrow as Krishna lives in every jiva (living being) or prana (life-form) in the form of atman (self). Hence those who realize their self indeed realize Krishna-consciousness (self-consciousness). When the chetana (consciousness) of the self (atman) is in jagrat state one can find the lord within.

Likewise patanjali explains that self-reflection comes from within when one remains in communion with his istadevata (personal god or deity). He then explains that Samadhi (cognitive absorption) and siddhi (attainment of power or wisdom) is possible by bhakti (devotion) and surrender to lord.

Krishna explains Arjuna that there are two types of people in the earth: the ones who are inwardly directed (self) and the ones who are outwardly directed (matter). Those who are inwardly directed finds God from within them and their chance of remaining in communion with the lord is bright.

As long as the body is full in vigor the self is prepared for self-realization through cognitive absorption and this can only be possible when the body is free from disease, dullness or lethargy. To strengthen the body patanjali advices to practice asana (yoga posture) but do not specify which asanas are useful. To study and practice more about asanas one has to study hatha yoga (an ancient yogic form of yoga practice) and even one can practice any form of martial art which can train the body in such a way that it ultimately achieves self-realization.

Breath-control (pranayama) is specially emphasized by patanjali as a kriya of preparing the mind to a state where it can enter into cognitive absorption. As the breaths we take have the effect over the mind, length of our inhalation, exhalation and the interval in between them determines the cognitive state of our mind. As a result of such pranayama kriya the veil over the self which covers its light gets withdrawn and pure light emanates from the self and the mind is prepared for long hours of concentration. Yogis always watch their breath as they believe that one whose breath is controlled and regulate properly and in perfect harmony with the nature can control the senses and ultimately attain siddhi. He explains to detach or disunite the mind from the senses and their objects or subjects in order to retain the stillness of mind.

He explains that dharana (self-study) is about attaching the consciousness (chitta) to a place. In the cognitive state of mind when the consciousness is deeply absorbed either in the object or subject with form or in the formless, one looses him in the ocean of the self. At this state the difference between the self and any other object or subject of concentration disappears. In this sate on experiences only the self and nothing else. This state may be called the state of godliness.

Patanjali explains how important is the role communion with a particular object or subject with form or formless. Prakrti (nature) in its manifested for has to go through changes, hence we are affected by these changes. We know that all living being has to go through the three stages of evolution: birth, growth, decay or death. Patanjali explains that from communion with the three stages of evolution one can know about past and future. As we somewhat know how strong our subconscious impressions are. Even we carry them from birth to birth without having knowledge of each birth. Patanjali explains that when we perceive the subconscious impressions through intuition we can have knowledge of the past births and similarly one can also read the minds of others. He further says by communion on the vigor of elephant, its power can be gained.

By communion with the enlightened senses one can gain knowledge of the subtle, hidden and remote. One who attains this state of communion knows the subtle knowledge of past births and distant places and lands. We in our dreams may find glimpses of the places, faces that we are never come across life but in our waking state we can not see such pictures in the mind. Patanjali says through communion with the subtle enlightened senses we can gain power to see the past, present and future.

He further explains that by communion with the navel- chakra one obtains knowledge of the body's subtle arrangement. By communion on the bright light or aura over the head one can gain the vision of the siddha (perfect being or divine being). He explains that by communion at the center of the heart, knowledge of the citta (consciousness) is obtained.

By gaining mastery over the upward breath one becomes free from water, mud, and thorn and so forth. He also gains the power of levitation. A siddha yogi is free from the effect of water, air and fire. He can become as subtle as the subtlest thing in the earth and as heavy as the heaviest mountain.

By gaining mastery over the life force in the abdominal region of the body one retains the radiance of his physical body. Even the shaolin monks believe that our vital force is stored in the abdominal region once it gets released one gains enormous physical power.

By communion on the relation of the sense of hearing and ether one gains the power of clairaudience. By communion on the relationship between the body and ether or cognitive absorption upon cotton one gains the knowledge of space and astral travel.

Communion is only possible when we are free from the thick layers of emotions, ignorance, sorrow, excitement. One should be free of ego (i-am-ness) and even thoughts should not muddle the calmness of the mind.

Patanjali further explains that by communion on the gross, subtle, their relation, their essence, victory over the senses can be obtained.

Without the perfection of the physical body one can not reach to the sate of enlightenment nor can one reach to the wisdom of truth and cognitive absorption.

He further explains that beauty, grace, strength (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), indestructibility of the body and robustness give perfection to body.

Even Tirumular, the south Indian siddha who is believed to be the contemporary of Patanjali says that if the body dies then the vital life force goes away and the prospect of self-realization becomes impossible, hence he advises to preserve the body through the help of parnayama or breath-control.

All attainments of various powers are due to the result of communion.Patanjali further explains that through the process of attainments of various kinds it is possible that the practitioner or yogi may be attached to the attainments and even celestial beings or demi-gods may distract the yogi's attention. If the yogi falls prey of their allurement or flattery he can not attain the last state of yogic attainment called kaivalya (absolute freedom).

Siddhas who attain the absolute freedom become free from the bondage of Nature and gain the below 8 siddhis (perfections)

Animan (to become as subtle as the subtlest atom)

Mahiman (to become as great as the greatest mountain)

Laghiman (to become as light as vapor)

Prapti (to have the power of transmigration)

Prakamya (to be present in all things)

Isita (omnipotent)

Vasita (omnipresent)

Kamavasayita (to manifest any desire)

 

Absolute freedom should be the main objective of a true yogi. It means detachment from the attainment of powers. Most yogis think that they have got siddha (perfection) once they get some kind of attainment through yoga but they are still ignorant. Absolute freedom is only possible when jiva is united with Siva. When the soul is united with its creator soul will there be any difference between the individual soul and the cosmic soul?

In the state of enlightenment the yogi becomes one with the universe. His consciousness becomes one with God and he becomes unaware of his form and ego as he becomes the self which is pure.

Written BY Dipti Prasad Padhi

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By : | Category : Self-help| Date : June 08,2014

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