Yoga and its Objective – Sree Aurovindo (1921)
THE YOGA AND ITS OBJECTS – SRI AUROBINDO
Fourth Edition. 1946
ARYA PUBLISHING HOUSE CALCUTTA
THE YOGA AND ITS OBJECTS
The yoga we practise, is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not personal mukti, although mukti is a necessary condition of the yoga, but the libaration and transformation of the human being. It is not personal ānanda, but the bringing down of the divine ānanda—Christ’s kingdom of heaven, our Satyayuga— upon the earth. Of moksa we have no personal need; for the soul is nityamukta and bondage is an illusion. We play at being bound, we are not really bound. We can be free when God wills; for He, our Supreme Self, is the master of the game, and without His grace and permission no soul can leave the game. It is often God’s will in us to take through the mind the bhoga of ignorance, of the dualities, of joy and grief, of pleasure and pain, of virtue and sin, of enjoyment and renunciation: for long ages, in many countries, He never even thinks of the yoga but plays out this play century after century without wearying of it. There is nothing evil in this, nothing which we need condemn or from which we need shrink, ?—it is God’s play- The wise man is he who recognises this truth and knowing his freedom, yet plays out God’s play, waiting for His command to change the methods of the game.
The command is now. God always keeps for himself a chosen country in which the higher knowledge is through all chances and dangers, by the few or the many, continually preserved, and for the present, in this caturyuga at least, that country is India. Whenever He chooses to take the full pleasure of ignorance, of the dualities, of strife and wrath and tears and weakness and selfishness, the tāmasic and rājasic pleasures, of the play of the Kali in short, He dims the knowledge in India and puts her down into weakness and degradation so that she may retire into herself and not interfere with this movement of His līlā. When He wants to rise up from the mud and Narayana in man to become once again mighty and wise and blissful, then He once more pours out the knowledge on India and raises her up so that she may give the knowledge with its necessary consequences of might, wisdom and bliss to the whole world. When there is the contracted movement of knowledge, the yogins in India withdraw from the world and practise yoga for their own liberation and delight or for the liberation of a few disciples; but when the movement of knowledge again expands and the soul of India expands with it, they come forth once more and work in the world and for the world. Yogins like Janaka, Ajātashatru and Kārtavirya once more sit on the thrones of the world and govern the nations.
God’s līlā in man moves always in a circle, from Satyayuga to Kali and through Kali to the Satya, from the age of gold to the age of iron and back again through the iron to the gold. In modern Language the Satyayuga is a period of the world in which a harmony, stable and sufficient, is created and man realises for a time, under certain conditions and limit. at to s, the refection of his being. The harmony exists in its nature. by the force of a settled purity; but afterwards it begins to break down and man upholds it, in the Treta, b force of will, individual an collective; it breaks down further and he attempts to uphold it in the Dvāpara intellectual regu ation an common consent and rule; then in the Kali it finally collapses and is destroyed. But the Kali is not merely evil; in it the necessary conditions are progressively built up for a new Satya, another harmony, a more advanced perfection. In the period of the Kali which has passed, still endures in its effects, but is now at an end, there has been a general destruction of the ancient knowledge and culture. Only a few fragments remain to us in the Vedas, Upanishads and other sacred works and in the world’s confused traditions. But the time is at hand for a first movement upward, the first attempt to build up a new harmony and perfection. That is the reason why so many ideas are abroad for the perfection of human society, knowledge, religion and morals. But the true
“harmony has not yet been found.
It is only India that can discover the harmony, because it is only by a change—not a mere readjustment— of man’s present nature that it can be developed, and such a change is not possible except by yoga. The nature of man and of things is at present a discord, a harmony that has got out of tune. The whole heart and action and mind of man must be changed, but from within, not from ~without, not by political and social institutions, not even by creeds and philosophies, but by realisation of God in ourselves and the world and a remoulding of life by that realisation. This can only be effected by Pur1Ja yoga, a yoga not devoted to a particular purpose, even though that purpose be mukti or ananda, but. to the fulfilment of the divine humanity in ourselves and others. For this purpose the practices of Hatha and Rāja yoga are not sufficient and even the Trimārga will not serve ; we must go higher and resort to the Adhyātma yoga. The principle of Adhyātma yoga is, in knowledge, the realisation of all things that we see or do not see but are aware of,—men, things, ourselves, events, gods, titans, angels,—as one divine Brahman, and in action and attitude, an absolute self-surrender to the Paratpara Purusa, the transcendent, infinite and universal personality who is at once personal and impersonal, finite and infinite, self-limiting and illimitable, one and many, and informs with His being not only the Gods above, but man and the worm and the clod below. The surrender must be complete.
Nothing must be reserved, no desire, no demand, no opinion, no idea that this must be, that cannot be, that this should be and that should not be;—all must be given. The heart must be purified of all desire, the intellect of all self-will, every duality must be renounced, the whole world seen and unseen must be recognised as one supreme expression of concealed Wisdom, Power and Bliss, and the entire being given up, as an engine is passive in the hands of the driver, for the divine Love, Might and perfect Intelligence to do its work and fulfil its divine Iīlā. Ahamkāra must be blotted out in order that we may have, as God intends us ultimately to have, the perfect bliss, the perfect calm and knowledge and the perfect activity of the divine existence. If this attitude of perfect self-surrender can be even imperfectly established, all necessity of Yogic kriyā inevitably ceases. For then God Himself in us becomes the sādhaka and the siddha and His divine power works in us, not by our artificial processes, but by a working of Nature which is perfectly informed, all-searching and infallibly efficient. Even the most powerful Rājayogic samyama* the most developed prdndydma, the most strenuous meditation, the most ecstatic bhakti, the most self-denying action, mighty as they are and efficacious, are comparatively weak in their results when set beside this supreme working. For those are all limited to a certain extent by our capacity, but this is illimitable in potency because it is God’s capacity. It- is only limited by His will which knows what is best for the world and for each of us in the world and apart from it.
The first process of the yoga is to make the samkalpa of ātmasamarpana. Put yourself with all your heart and all your strength into God’s hands. Make no conditions, ask for nothing, not even for siddhi in the yoga, for nothing at all except that in you and through you His will may be directly performed. To those who demand from Him, God gives what they demand, but to those who give themselves and demand nothing, He gives everything that they might otherwise have asked or needed and in addition He gives Himself and the spontaneous boons of His love.
The next process is to stand aside and watch the working of the divine power in yourself. This working is often attended with disturbance and trouble in the system, therefore faith is necessary, though perfect faith is not always possible at once; for whatever impurity is in you, harboured openly or secretly lurking, is likely to rise at first and be repeated so long as it is not exhaustively swept out, and doubt in this age is an almost universal impurity. But even when doubt assails, stand by and wait for it to pass, availing yourself if possible of the satsanga of those who are already advanced on the path, but when that is absent, still holding fast to the principle of the yoga, self-surrender. When distressed within or assailed from without, remember the words of the Git a,
Ma chitta savadurgani mat prasadat tariswati
” By giving thyself-up in heart and
mind to Me thou shalt cross over all difficulties and perils by My grace,” and again,
Sarva dharman parityajja mamekam saranam braja…. aham tvam sarva papevhya mokhayaswami ma sucha
” Abandon all dharmas (all law, rule, means and codes of every kind whether formed by previous habit and belief or imposed from outside) and take refuge in Me alone; I will deliver thee from all sin and evil,— do not grieve.” “I will deliver”,— you have not to be troubled or struggle yourself as if the responsibility were yours or the result depended on your efforts, a mightier than you is busy with the matter. Neither disease nor calamity nor the rising of sin and impurity in you should cause any alarm. Hold fast only to Him. “I will deliver thee from all sin and evil.” But the release does not come by a sudden miracle, it comes by a process of purification and these things are a part of the process. They are like the dust that rises in clouds when a room long uncleaned is at last swept out. Though the dust seem to choke you, yet persevere, ma sucah.
In order to stand aside, you must know yourself as the Purusa who merely watches, consents to God’s work, holds up the ādhāra and enjoys the fruits that God gives. The work itself is done by God as Shakti, by Kali, and is offered up by her as a Yajna to Sri Krishna; you are the Yajamdna who sees the sacrifice done, whose presence is necessary to every movement of the sacrifice and who tastes its results.
This separation of yourself, this renunciation of the kartrtva-abhi-māna (the idea of yourself as the doer) is easier if you know what the ādhāra is. Above the buddhi which is the highest function of mind is the higher buddhi, or vijndna, the seat of the satyadharma, truth of knowledge, truth of bhdva, truth of action, and above this ideal faculty is the ānanda or cosmic bliss in which the divine part of you dwells. It is of this vijndna and this ānanda that Christ spoke as the kingdom of God that is within you. We at present are awake, jāgrata, in the lower movements but susupta, fast asleep, in the vijndna and ānanda ; we have to awaken these levels of consciousness within us and their awakening and unmixed activity is the siddhi of the yoga. For when that happens, we gain the condition of being which is called in the Gita dwelling in God, of which Sri Krishna speaks when he says, mayi nivasisy-asyeva, ”verily thou shalt dwell in Me.” Once it is gained we are free and blessed and have everything towards which we strive.
The third process of the yoga is to perceive all things as God. First, as a rule, in the process of knowledge one comes to see pervading all space and time one divine impersonal existence, Sad Atman, without movement, distinction, or feature, sāntam alaksanam, in which all names and forms seem to stand with a very doubtful or a very minor reality. In this realisation the one may seem to be the only reality and everything else Māyā, a purposeless and inexplicable illusion.
But afterwards, if you do not stop short and limit yourself by the impersonal realisation, you will come to see the same Atman not only containing and supporting all created things, but informing and filling them, and eventually you will be able to understand that even the names and forms are Brahman. You will then be able to live more and more in the knowledge which the Upanishads and the Gita hold up as the rule of life; you will see the Self in all existing things and all existing things in the Self, ātmānam sarvabhūtesu sarvabhūtdni cātmani; you will be aware of all things as Brahman, sarvam khalvidam brahma. But the crowning realisation of this yoga is when you become aware of the whole world as the expression, -play or Lilā of an infinite divine personality, when you see in all, not the impersonal Sad Atman which is the basis of manifest existence,—although you do not lose that knowledge, — but Sri Krishna who at once is, bases and transcends all manifest and unmanifest existence, avyakto vyaktāt par ah. For behind the Sad Atman is the silence of the A sat which the Buddhist Nihilists realised as the Sunyam and beyond that silence is the Paratpara Purusa (puruso varenya ādityavarnas tamasah parastat). It is He who has made this world out of His being and is immanent in and sustains it as the infinite-finite Ishwara, ananta and sānta, Shiva and Narayana, Sri Krishna the Līlāmaya who draws all of us to Him by His love, compels all of us by His masteries and plays His eternal play of joy and strength and beauty in the manifold world.
The world is only a play of His being, knowledge and delight, sat”, cit and ānanda. Matter itself, you will one day realise, is not material, it is not substance but form of consciousness, guna, the result of quality of being perceived by sense-knowledge. Solidity itself is only a combination of the gunas, samhati and dhrti, cohesion and permanence, a state of conscious being, nothing else. Matter, life, mind and what is beyond mind, it is all Sri Krishna the ananta-guna Brahman playing in the world as the Saccid-ānanda. When we have this realisation, when we dwell in it securely and permanently, all possibilities of grief and sin, fear, delusion, internal strife and pain are driven puissantly from our being. We realise in our experience the truth of the Upanishads,
“He who possesses the delight of the Brahman has no fear from anything in the world,” and that other in the Isha Upanishad,
“When all created things become one with a man’s self by his getting the knowledge ( vijñāna), thereafter what bewilderment can he have or what grief, when in all things he sees their oneness ?” The whole world then appears to us in a changed aspect, as an ocean of beauty, good, light, bliss, exultant movement on a basis of eternal strength and peace. We see all things as subha, siva, mangala, āandamaya. We become one in soul with all beings, sarvabhūtātma-’bhūtātmā, and, having steadfastly this experience, are able by contact, by oneness by the reaching out of love, to communicate it to others, so that we become a centre of the radiation of this divine state, bvāhmī sthiti, throughout our world.
It is not only in things animate but in things inanimate also that we must see Narayana, experience Shiva, throw our arms around Shakti. When our eyes that are now blinded by the idea of matter, open to the supreme light, we shall find that nothing is inanimate, but all contains, expressed or unexpressed, involved or evolved, secret or manifest or in course of manifestation, not only that state of involved consciousness which we call annam or matter, but also life, mind, knowledge, bliss, divine force and being, — prāna, manas, vijñāna, ānanda, cit, sat. In all things the self-conscious personality of God broods and takes the delight of His gunas. Flowers, fruits, earth, trees, metals, all things have a joy in them of which you will become aware, because in all Sri Krishna dwells, pravisya, having entered into them, not materially or physically, — because there is no such thing, space and time being only conventions and arrangements of perception, the perspective in God’s creative Art,—but by cit, the divine awareness in His transcendent being.
sa bashyam idam sarvam
“All this world and every object in this world of Prakrti has been created as a habitation for the Lord.” Nor is it enough ‘to see Him in all things and beings, sarvabhūtesu; you must see Him in all events, actions, thoughts, feelings, in yourself and others, throughout the world. For this realisation two things are necessary, first, that you should give up to Him the fruit of all your actions, secondly, that you should give up to Him the actions themselves. Giving up the fruits of action does not mean that you must have the vairāgya for the fruits, turn away from them or refuse to act with a given end before you. It means that you must act, not because you want this or that to happen or think it necessary that this or that should happen and your action needed to bring it about, bat because it is kartavyam, demanded by the Master of your being and must be done with whatever result God is pleased to give. You must put aside what you want and wish to know what God wants; distrust what your heart, your passions or your habitual opinions prefer to hold as right and necessary, and passing beyond them, like Arjuna in the Gita, seek only to know what God has set down as right and necessary. Be strong in the faith that whatever is right and necessary will inevitably happen as the result of your due fulfilment of the kartavyam karma, even if it is not the result that you preferred or expected. The power that governs the world is at least as wise as you and it is not absolutely necessary that you should be consulted or indulged in its management; God is seeing to it.
But what is the kartavyam karma?
It is very difficult to say, —gahana karmano gatih. Most people would translate kartavyam karma by the English word and idea, duty; if asked to define it, they would say it is the right and moral action, what people understand by right and morality, what you yourself conscientiously think to be right or else what the good of society, the nation or mankind demands of you. But the man who remains bound by these personal or social ideas of duty, necessary as they are for the ignorant to restrain and tame their clamorous desires or their personal egoism, will be indeed what is called a good man, but he will never attain to the fulfilment of this yoga. He will only replace the desire for one kind of fruit by the desire for another kind; he” will strive, even more passionately perhaps, for these higher results and be more bitterly grieved by not attaining them. There is no passion so terrible as the passion of the altruist, no egoism so hard to shake as the fixed egoism of virtue, precisely because it is justified in its own eyes and justified in the sight of men and cannot see the necessity for yielding to a higher law. Even if there is no grieving over the results, there will be the labour and strife of the rājasic kartā, struggling and fighting, getting eager and getting exhausted, not trigunātīta, always under bondage to the gunas.
It was under the domination of these ideas of personal virtue and social duty that Arjuna refused to fight. Against his reasonings Sri Krishna sets two different ideas, one inferior for the use of the man bound but seeking liberation, another superior for the liberated man, the sāstra and surrender not only of the fruits of the work but of the work itself to God. The virtue of the sāstra is that it sets up a standard outside ourselves, different from our personal desires, reasonings, passions and prejudices, outside our selfishness and self-will, by living up to which in the right spirit we can not only acquire self-control but by reducing even the sāttvic ahamkāra to a minimum prepare ourselves for liberation. In the old days the sāstra was the Vedic dharma based upon a profound knowledge of man’s psychology and the laws of the world, revealing man to himself and showing him how to live according to his nature; afterwards it was the law of the Smritis which tried to do the same thing more roughly by classifying men according to the general classes of which the Vedas speak, the Cātur-varnya; today it is little more than blind mechanical custom and habitual social observance, a thing not sāttvic but tdmasic, not a preparatory discipline for liberation, but a mere bondage.
Even the highest sāstra can be misused for the purposes of egoism, the egoism of virtue and the egoism of prejudice and personal opinion. At its best it is a great means towards the preparation of liberation. It is Sabda Brahma. But we must not be satisfied with mere preparation, we must, as soon as our eyes are opened, hasten on to actual freedom. The liberated soul and the sādhaka of liberation who Has surrendered even his actions to God, gets beyond the highest sāstra, sabdabrahmāti-vartate.
The best foundation for the surrender of action is the realisation that Prakrti is doing all our actions at God’s command and God through our svabhāva determines the action. From that moment the action belongs to Him, it is not yours nor the responsibility yours; there is indeed no responsibility, no bondage of Karma, for God has no responsibility, but is in every way master and free. Our actions become not only like the Shastric man’s svabhāvaniyata, regulated by nature, and therefore dharma, but the svabhāva itself is controlled like a machine by God. It is not easy for us, full as we are of the samskāras of ignorance, to arrive at this stage of knowledge, but there are three stages by which it can be rapidly done. The first is to live in the spirit of the sloka,—
” According as I am appointed by Thee, O Hrishikesha! seated in my heart, so I act.” When this has entered into your daily life, it will be easier to accomplish the second stage and live in the knowledge of the Gita-
“God standeth in the heart of all beings, whirling round all as on a wheel by the Māyā of the three gunas.” You will then be able to perceive the action of the three gunas, in you and watch the machinery at its work, no longer saying, tatha karomi, I do, but guna vartanta eva, it is merely the gunas that work. One great difficulty in these stages, specially before you can distinguish the action of the gunas, is the perception of the impurity of the svabhāva, the haunting idea of sin and virtue. You must always remember that since you have put yourself in God’s hands, He will work out the impurities and you have only to be careful, as you cannot be attached either to papa or puny a, sin or virtue. For He has repeatedly given the abhaya vacana, the assurance of safety. “Pratijānīhi,” He says in the Gita, “na me bhaktah pranasyati, he who is devoted to Me cannot perish.”
The third stage comes out of the second, by full realisation of God or of itself by the grace of God. Not only will the Purusa stand apart and be trigunātīta, beyond the three gunas. but the Prakrti, though using the gunas, will be free from their bondage. Sattva, as we know it, will disappear into pure prakāsa and jyoti, and the nature will live in a pure, free and infinite self-existing illumination. Tamas, as we know it, will disappear into pure sama or sānti, and the nature will take its firm stand on an infinite and ineffable rest and peace. Rajas, as we know it, will disappear into pure tap as, and the nature will flow in a free and infinite ocean of divine force. On that foundation of calm and in that heaven of light, action will occur as the spontaneous objective expression of God’s knowledge, which is one with God’s will. This is the condition of infinity, ānantya, in which this struggle of bound and limited sattva, rajas and tamas is replaced by a mighty harmony of free prakāsa, tapas and sama. And even before you reach that condition, on the way to it, you will find that some mighty force not your own, not situated in your body though possessing and occupying it, is thinking for you, feeling for you, acting for you, your very body as well as your mind and heart being moved by that force and not by yourself. You will enjoy that thought, feeling, action, but will neither possess nor be possessed by it,—karmāni firavilīyante, your actions will disappear without leaving in you mark or trace, as a wave disappears from the surface of the sea, as water falls from the lotus leaf. Your mind, heart, body will not be yours, but God’s; you yourself will be only a centre of being, knowledge and bliss through which God works in that ādhāra. This is the condition in which one is utterly taccittah, given up in all his conscious being to God, in which there is utter fulfilment of the description,
“One whose state of being is free from egoism and whose understanding receives no stain.” This is the surrender of action to which Sri Krishna gives so much importance.
“Laying down all actions upon Me, with your whole conscious being in adhyātma yoga become free from desire and the sense of belongings; fight, let the fever of thy soul pass from thee.” For this great and complete liberation it is necessary that you should be nihsprha, nirdvandva and nirahamkāra, without the longing and reaching after things, free from the samskāra of the dualities and free from egoism; for these three things are the chief enemies of self-surrender. If you are nirdvandva, you can be nihsprha, but hardly otherwise, for every dvandva creates in the mind by the very nature of the mind some form of rāgddvesa, like and dislike, attraction and repulsion, whether they are the lowest dualities that appeal to the mind through the body, hunger and thirst, heat and cold, physical pleasure and pain, or the middle sorts that appeal to it through the feelings and desires, success and failure, victory and defeat, fortune and misfortune, pleasure and displeasure, joy and grief, hate and love, or the highest which appeal to the mind through the discriminating buddhi, virtue and sin, reason and unreason, error and truth. These things can only be put under our feet by complete knowledge, the knowledge that sees God in all things and thus comes to understand the relations of things to each other in His great cosmic purpose, by complete bhakti which accepts all things with joy,—thus abolishing the dvandvas,—because they come from the beloved or by perfect action offering up all works as a sacrifice to God with an entire indifference to all these dualities of success, failure, honour, disgrace, etc., which usually pursue all karma. Such knowledge, such bhakti, such karma come inevitably as the eventual result of the samkalpa of self-surrender and the practice of it.
But it is ahamkāra that by making the relation and effect of things on ourselves or on things connected with us the standard of life, makes the dvandvas a chain for our bondage. Ahamkāra in its action on our life and sādhand will be seen to be of three kinds, rājasic, tdmasic £md sāttvic. Rajas binds by desire and the craving in the nature for occupation and activity, it is always reaching after action and the fruit of action ; it is in order that we may be free from the rājasic ahamkāra that we have the command, “Do not do works from the desire of fruit,” mā karma-phala-hetur bhūh, and the command to give up our actions to God. Tamas binds by weakness and the craving in the nature for ease and inaction; it is always sinking into idleness, depression, confusion of mind, fear, disappointment, despondency and despair ; it is in order that we may get rid of the tāmasic ahamkāra that we are given the command, ” Let there be no attachment to inaction,” and the instruction to pursue the yoga always, whether we seem to advance or seem to be standing still or seem even to be going back, always with a calm faith and patient and cheerful perseverance, anirvinnacetasd. Sattva binds by knowledge and pleasure ; it is always attaching itself to some imperfect realisation, to the idea of one’s own virtue, the correctness of one’s own opinions and principles or at its highest, as in the case of Arjuna, opposing some personal idea of altruism, justice or virtue against the surrender of our will that God demands of us. It is for the escape from the sāttvic ahamkāra that we have to pass beyond the attachment to the duality “of virtue and sin, ubhe sukrtaduskrte.
Each of the gunas working on the ahamkāra has its particular danger for the sādhaka who has made the samkalpa of self-surrender, but has not yet attained to the full accomplishment of the surrender. The danger of the rajoguna is when the sādhaka is assailed by the pride that thinks, “I am a great sādhaka, I have advanced so far, I am a great instrument in God’s hands,” and similar ideas, or when he attaches himself to the work as God’s work which must be carried out, putting himself into it and troubling himself about it as if he had more interest in God’s work than God Himself and could manage it better. Many, while they are acting all the while in the spirit of rājasic ahamkāra, persuade themselves that God is working through them and they have no part in the action. This is because they are satisfied with the mere intellectual assent to the idea without waiting for the whole system and life to be full of it. A continual remembrance of God in others and renunciation of individual eagerness (sprhā) is needed and a careful watching of our inner activities until God by the full light of self-knowledge jñānadīpena bhās-vatā, dispels all further chance of self-delusion.
The danger of tamoguna is twofold, first, when the Purusa thinks, identifying himself with the tamas in him, “I am weak, sinful, miserable, ignorant, good-for-nothing, inferior to this man and inferior to that man, adhama, what will God do through me?”—as if God were limited by the temporary capacities or incapacities of His instruments and it were not true that He can make the dumb to talk and the lame to cross the hills, mūkam karoti vācālam pangum langhayate girim,—and again when the sādhaka tastes the relief, the tremendous relief of a negative sānti and, feeling himself delivered from all troubles and in possession of peace, turns away from life and action and becomes attached to the peace and ease of inaction. Remember always that you too are Brahman and the divine Shakti is working in you; reach out always to the realisation of God’s omnipotence and His delight in the lilā. He bids Arjuna work lokasamgrahārthāya, for keeping the world together, for He does not wish the world to sink back into Prakrti, but insists on your acting as He acts, Utsīdeyur ime lokā na kuryām karma ced aham, these worlds would be overpowered by tamas and sink into Prakrti if I did not do actions. To be attached to inaction is to give up our action not to God but to our tāmasic ahamkāra.
The danger of the sattva guna is when the sādhaka becomes attached to any one-sided conclusion of his reason, to some particular kriyā or movement of the sādhand, to the joy of any particular siddhi of the yoga, perhaps the sense of purity or the possession of some particular power or the ānanda of the contact with God or the sense of freedom and hungers after it, becomes attached to that only and would have nothing else. Remember that the yoga is not for yourself; for these things7though they are part of the siddhi, are not the object of the siddhi, for you have decided at the beginning to make no claim upon God but take what He gives you freely and, as for the ānanda, the self-less soul will even forego the joy of God’s presence, when that is God’s will. You must be free even from the highest sāttvic ahamkāra, even from the subtle ignorance of mumuksutva, the desire of liberation, and take all joy and delight without attachment. You will then be the siddha or perfect man of the Git a.
These then are the processes of the yoga, (i) the samkalpa of ātmasamarpana, (2) the standing apart from the ādhāra by self-knowledge, (3) the vision of God e very where and in al things and in all happenings, the surrende of the fruits of action and action itself to God, and the freedom thereby from ignorance, from ahamkāra, from the dvandvas, from desire, so that you arc suddha, mukta, siddha, full of ānanda, pure, free, perfect and blissful in your being. But the processes will be worked out, once the samkalpa is made, by God’s sakti, by a mighty process of nature. All that iindispensable on your part is the anumati and smrti. Anumati is consent, you must give a temporary consent to the movements of the yoga, to all that happens inside or outside you a part of the circumstances of the sādhanā, n t exulting at the good, not fretting at the evil, not struggling in your heart to keep the one or get rid of the other, but always keeping in mind and giving a permanent assent to that which has to be finally effected. The temporary consent is passive submission to the methods and not positive acceptance of the results. The permanent consent is an anticipatory acceptance of the results, a sort of effortless and desire less exercise of will. It is the constant exercise of this desire less will, an intent aspiration and constant remembrance of the path and its goal which are the dhrti and utsāha needed, the necessary steadfastness and zeal of the sādhaka; vyākulatā or excited, passionate eagerness is more intense, but less widely powerful, and it is disturbing and -exhausting, giving intense pleasure and pain in the pursuit but not so vast a bliss in the acquisition. The followers of this path must be like the men of the early yugas, dhīrah, the great word of praise in the Upanishads. In the remembrance, the smrti or smarana, you must be apramatta, free from negligence. It is by the loss of the smrti owing to the rush and onset of the gunas that the yogin becomes bhrasta, falls from his firm seat, wanders from his path. But you need not be distressed when the pramāda comes and the state of fall or clouded condition seems to* persist, for there is no fear for you of a permanent fall since God Himself has taken entire charge of you and if you stumble, it is because it is best for you to stumble, as a child by frequent stumbling and falling learns to walk. The necessity of apramattatdā disappears when you can replace the memory of the yoga aud its objects by the continual remembrance of God in all things and happenings, the nitya anusmarana of the Gita. For those who can make the full surrender from the beginning there is no question; their path is utterly swift and easy.
It is said in the “Sanatsujatiya” that four things are necessary for siddhi—sāstra, utsāha, guru and kola — the teaching of the path, zeal in following it, the guru and time. Your path is that I am pointing out, the utsāha needed is this anumati and this nitya smarana, the guru is God Himself and for the rest only time is needed. That God Himself is the Guru, you will find when knowledge comes to you; you will see how every little circumstance within you and without you has been subtly planned and brought about by infinite wisdom to carry out the natural process of the yoga, how the internal and external movements are arranged and brought together to work on each other, so as to work out the imperfection and work in the perfection. An almighty love and wisdom are at work for your uplifting. Therefore never be troubled by the time that is being taken, even if it seems very long, but when imperfections and obstructions arise, be apramatta, dhīrah, have the utsāha, and leave God to do the rest. Time is necessary. It is a tremendous work that is being done in you, the alteration of your whole human nature into a divine nature, the crowding of centuries of evolution into a few years. You ought not to grudge the time. There are other paths that offer more immediate results or at any rate, by offering you some definite kriyā you can work at yourself, give your ahamkāra the satisfaction of feeling that you are doing something, so many more prāndyāmas today, so much longer a time for the āsana, so many more repetitions of the japa, so much done, so much definite progress marked. But once you have chosen this path, you must cleave to it. Those are human methods, not the way that the infinite Shakti works, which moves silently, sometimes imperceptibly to its goal, advances here, seems to pause there, then mightily and triumphantly reveals the grandiose thing that it has done. Artificial paths are like canals hewn by the intelligence of man; you travel easily, safely, surely, but from one given place to another. This path is the broad and trackless ocean by which you can travel widely to all parts of the world and are admitted to the freedom of the infinite. All that you need are the ship, the steering wheel, the compass, the motive power and a skilful captain. Your ship is the Brahma-vidyā, faith is your steering wheel, self-surrender your compass, the motive power is She who makes, directs and destroys the worlds at God’s command and God Himself is your captain. But He has His own way of working and His own time for everything. Watch His way and wait for His time. Understand also the importance of accepting the sāstra and submitting to the guru and do not do like the Europeans who insist on the freedom of the individual intellect to follow its own fancies and preferences which it calls reasonings, even before it is trained to discern or fit to reason. It is much the fashion now-a-days to indulge in metaphysical discussions and philosophical subtleties about Maya and Advaita and put them in the forefront, making them take the place of spiritual experience. Do not follow that fashion or confuse yourself and waste time on the way by questionings which will be amply and luminously answered when the divine knowledge of the vijñāna awakes in you. Metaphysical knowledge has its place, but as a handmaid to spiritual experience, showing it the way sometimes but much more dependent on it and living upon its bounty. By itself it is mere pānditya, a dry and barren thing and more often a stumbling-block than a help. Having accepted this path, follow its sāstra without unnecessary doubt and questioning, keeping the mind plastic to the light of the higher knowledge, gripping firmly what is experienced, waiting for light where things are dark to you, taking without pride what help you can from the living guides who had already trod the path, always patient, never hastening to narrow conclusions, but waiting for a more complete experience and a fuller light, relying on the Jagad Guru who helps you from within.
It is necessary to say something about the Māyāvāda and the modern teachings about the Advaita, because they are much inc the air at the present moment and, penetrated with ideas from European rationalism and agnosticism for which Shah-kara would have been astonished to find himself made responsible, perplex many minds. Remember that one-sided philosophies are always a partial statement of truth. The world, as God has made it, is not a rigid exercise in logic but like a strain of music, an infinite harmony of many diversities, and His own existence, being free and absolute, cannot be logically defined. Just as the best religion is that which admits the truth of all religions, so the best philosophy is that which admits the truth of all philosophies and gives each its right place. Māyā is one realisation, an important one which Shankara over-stressed because it was most vivid to his own experience.
For yourself leave the word for subordinate use and fix rather on the idea of Līlā, a deeper and more penetrating word than Māyā. Līlā includes the idea of Māyā and exceeds it ; nor has it that association of the vanity of all things useless to you who have elected to remain and play with Sri Krishna in Mathura and Brindavan.
God is one but He is not bounded by His unity. We see Him here as one who is always manifesting as many, not because He cannot help it, but because He so wills, and outside manifestation He is anirdesyam, indefinable, and cannot be described as either one or many. That is what the Upanishads and other sacred books consistently teach; He is ekamevādvitīyam, One and there is no other, but also and consequently
He is “this man, yonder woman, that blue-winged bird, this scarlet-eyed.” He is Sīnta, He is Ananta ; the Jiva is He. “I am, the asvattha tree”, says Sri Krishna in the Gita, ” I am death, I am Agni-Vaisvanara, I am the heat that digests food, I am Vyasa, I am Vasudeva, I am Arjuna.” All that is the play of His caitanya in His infinite being, His manifestations, and therefore all are real. Maya means nothing more than the freedom of Brahman from the circumstances through which He expresses Himself. He is in no way limited by that which we see or think about Him. That is the Maya from which we must escape, the Māyā of ignorance which takes things as separately existent and not God, not caitanya, the illimitable for the really limited, the free for the bound. Do you remember the story of Sri Krishna and the Gopis, how Narada found Him differently occupied in each house to which he went, present to each Gopi in a different body, yet always the same Sri Krishna? Apart from the devotional meaning of the story, which you know, it is a good image of His world līlā. He is sarva, everyone, each Purusa with his apparently different Prakrti and action is He, and yet at the same time He is the Purusottatna who is with Radha, the Par a Prakrti, and can withdraw all these into Himself when He wills and put them out again when He wills. From one point of view they are one with Him, from another one yet different, from yet another always different because they always exist, latent in Him or expressed at His pleasure. There is no profit in disputing about these standpoints. Wait until you see -God and know yourself and Him and then debate and discussion will be unnecessary.
The goal marked out for us is not to speculate about these things, but to experience them. The call upon us is to grow into the image of God, to dwell in Him and with Him and be a channel of His joy and might and an instrument of His works. Purified from all that is asubha, transfigured in soul by His touch we have to act in the world as dynamos of that divine electricity and send it thrilling and radiating through mankind, so that wherever one of us stands, hundreds around may become full of His light and force, full of God and full of ānanda. Churches, orders, theologies, philosophies have failed to save mankind because they have busied themselves with intellectual creeds, dogmas, rites and institutions, with ācāra, ‘suddhi and darsana, as if these could save mankind, and have neglected the one thing needful, the power and purification of the soul. We must go back to the one thing needful, take up again Christ’s gospel of the purity and perfection of mankind, Mahomed’s gospel of perfect submission, self-surrender and servitude to God, Chaitanya’s gospel of the perfect love and joy of God in man, Ramakrishna’s gospel of the unity of all religions and the divinity of God in man, and, gathering all these streams into one mighty river, one purifying and redeeming Ganges, pour it over the death-in-life of a materialistic humanity as Bhagiratha led down the Ganges and flooded with it the ashes of his fathers, so that there may be a resurrection of the soul in mankind and the Satyayuga for a while return to the world. Nor is this the whole object of the Līlā or the Yoga; the reason for which the Avatars descend is to raise up man again and again, developing in him a higher and ever-higher humanity, a greater and yet greater development of divine being, bringing more ad more of heaven again and again upon the earth until our toil is done, our work accomplished and Saccidānanda fulfilled in all even here, even in this material universe. Small is his work, even if he succeeds, who labours for his own salvation or the salvation of a few; infinitely great is his even ‘if he fail or succeed only partially or for a season, who lives only to bring about peace of soul, joy, purity and perfection among all mankind.
āeāra — custom, practice, external observance of established rules and laws.
adhama — low, degraded.
ādhāra — the containing system composed of the five sheaths of the five principles constituting the physical, vital, mental, supramental and spiritual being.
advaita—non-dual, absolute and indivisible unity.
ahamkāra—the ego-sense, egoism.
sāttvic ahamkāra—egoism as expressed in the sense of goodness and virtue.
rājasic ahamkāra—dynamic egoism.
tdmasic ahamkāra—egoism as expressed in ignorance and inertia. nirahamkāra—egolessness.
ānanda—spiritual delight, the bliss of the spirit.
ānandamaya—full of ananda.
ānantya—the condition of infinity.
apramatta—without losing oneself.
asat—non-being, as opposite to sat, being, existence, reality.
ātman—the Self or Spirit.
avatāra—descent or Incarnation of God.
bhāva—’State of existence, subjective state or feeling, a realisation in heart or mind.
bhrasta—fallen from the way of yoga.
brahman—the Supreme Reality that is one and indivisible and infinite beside which nothing else really exists.
brahma vidyā—the Science of knowing the Brahman.
brāhmi sthiti—the station or dwelling in the Brahman.
sabda brahman—the Brahman as the primal sound-energy.
cāturvarnya—the four primal divisions or strata of society.
cit—the essential consciousness of the Spirit.
citta—the mind or heart consciousness; especially the emotive mind.
dharma—law of function of the nature: right, moral law.
satya dharma—the Truth-Law.
vedic dharma—the system of Truth
Laws as expounded in the Vedas.
dvandva—duality, pair of opposites.
nirdvandva—beyond the dualities.
guna—quality, the three primal qualities that form the nature of things.
sattva—the quality that illumines, clarity.
rajas—the quality that drives, to action, energy.
tamas—the quality that hides or darkens, inertia. guru—spiritual teacher.
jagad guru—the world-teacher.
isvara—lord ; God, as lord of nature.
jāgrata—the waking state, the phenomenal world.
japa—repetition of a mantra.
jīva—the individual soul.
rāla—time, the time-spirit.
kali—the last of the four ages or cycles when the world decays and evil rages.
kali—the Universal Mother, the Divine Shakti.
karma—action entailing its conseqences.
kartavyam karma—the action that is to be done, duty.
karma—the process of action, practice, rites.
līlā-Play, creation as the play of God. līlāmaya-the divine player.
manas—the sense-mind as opposed to the reason.
māyāvāda—the doctrine that holds that the world is unreal and that it is created by the power of illusion. moksa—liberation from Maya.
mukta—one who is liberated.
nitya-mukta—one who is perpetually in the state of liberation.
mukti—spiritual liberation. mumuksutva—desire for spiritual liberation.
nihspyha—without any hankering.
prakāsa—illumined expression, manifestation.
prakrti (Prakriti),—nature, creative energy. para prakrti—the Higher Nature, as opposed to the Lower Nature of the body, the life-power and the mind.
prāna—vital force generally ; especially, the first of the five pranas, the breath.
Prānāyāma—the Yogic exercise of the control of the vital forces.
purusa (Purusha),—Being or Self as opposed to Prakriti which is Becoming.
parātpara purusa—the Being which is beyond the Supreme Being.
Purushottama—the Supreme Personality.
punya—merit that one acquires through virtue.
rāgadvesa—the duality of attachment and repulsion.
rājasic kartd—the doer who acts with the sense of himself being the sole active agent.
sad atman—the Self as being. See asat. sadhaka—one who practises a system of – Yoga.
sādhanā—a method, system, practice of Yoga.
sakti ( Shakti)—force, energy ; the divine or cosmic Energy.
samhata—collected and firmly held together, compact.
samhati—close combination, assemblage,
massiveness. samkalpa—determination, consent of the will.
samskāra—fundamental tendencies, habitual impulsions.
rājayogic samyama—the method of self-control as practised in the system of spiritual discipline known as Raja Yoga.
sānti—peace, spiritual calm.
sāstra—the scriptures, theory, prescribed rule.
sat—Being, existence, saintly, virtuous, good.
satsanga—the communion with the good. siddha—perfected by Yoga, one perfect in the Yoga.
siva (Shiva)—name of the third god of the Hindu Trinity, who is entrusted with the work of destruction as Brahma and Vishnu are with the creation and preservation. Siva — impersonal Goodness, Eternal Being.
smrti—traditional and man-made laws as distinguished from sruti or revealed laws.
subha—the good or well-being.
ācāra suddhi — purification of the external behaviour or modes of regulating life.
susupta—in the state of sleep.
svabhāva—the nature proper to each being.
taccittah—with the soul merged in That, all-concentrated.
trigunatita— beyond the control of the three gunas or elemental qualities of Nature.
utsāha—perseverance, constant alertness— a quality of the vital will.
vairāgya—distaste for the world and life; cessation of attraction to the objects *” of the mind’s attachment. vijñāna—the higher knowledge, the power above the ordinary logical reason
which gives the direct knowledge.
vyākulatā — eagerness, yearning—a quality of the heart.
yajamāna—one who performs a sacrifice.
Purna Yoga—the integral Yoga.
Hatha Yoga various paths
Trimārga Yoga of Yoga.
Yogic Kriyā — a special process or discipline in Yoga.
Satya yuga—the Age of Truth.
Tretā yuga—the Age in which three parts belong to the Truth and one to untruth.
Dvāpara Yuga—the Age in which Truth and untruth are equal.
Kali Yuga—the Age of Ignorance.
Catur Yuga—the Four Ages.
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