Friday, March 16, 2007

a consideration of the yoga sutras (6)

a consideration of the yoga sutras (1)
a consideration of the yoga sutras (2)
a consideration of the yoga sutras (3)
a consideration of the yoga sutras (4)
a consideration of the yoga sutras (5)

We might think that such words as bīja, jāpa, īśvara and praṇava are extremely meaningful here. That, to no small extent is correct. But the understanding of these words, especially in the context of the sutras previous and those to come is not the same understanding we have if the words are taken out of the context of the Yoga Sutras, the Yoga Darśhana.

We must understand these words in the context of the sutras as a whole. Hence, the very first sutra suggests that NOW the study can begin because all of the sutras have been seen in the light of one another, NOW, the whole that is greater than the parts must be studied. See "a consideration of the yoga sutras (1)".

Of all the significant words we might hit upon, it is most likely that praṇidhāna is the most noteworthy. The root of ṇidhā is dhā, “deposit”. It’s prefix, pra means “in front”, “before” or can also mean “fulfilling”. But in Sanskrit usage, ṇidhāna suggests “putting or laying down, depositing, keeping or preserving”.

praṇidhāna or submitting has a much more profound interpretation in the holistic sense of the sutras: a profound or abstract contemplation. Just how this profound or abstract contemplation is to be undertaken is the subject of the first three books or sections of the collection of sutras. To leap to the conclusion that īśvara-praṇidhāna is profound worship of “god” is to leap to a conclusion not part of the sutras.

Such a conclusion is, however, most certainly part of Mahesh’s thinking. In my notes is a statement he made about īśvara-praṇidhāna:

īśvara-praṇidhāna – GC begins; we know god, maintainer of universe; law of being ‘sold out’ to creation begins. Īśvara is governor, maintainer of universe. Two levels: maintainer of relative and of absolute. Praṇidhāna is completely opening one’s self to finest values of relative and absolute. This is the law that structures unity, YOGA; developing supremely celestial relative values and transcendent value.

We may teach that TM is not a religion, but most assuredly Mahesh is a religious thinker and a religious oriented teacher! No doubt, as was Guru Dev.

There is no science in what Mahesh has said here! Science is not in opposition to religion, science is simply a different language about the same thing.

Yet, I am wholly in agreement with Mahesh here; he has expressed exactly what the yoga sutras is all about! Except, he has done it in the language of religion and this language is simply NOT the language of the yoga sutras.

Patañjali and all of the editors and redactors who have left us these instructions called the yoga sutras, the Yoga Darśana, have not spoken in the language of religion but with the language of religion making one thing perfectly clear in sutra 2. This set of instructions is about MIND, citta. Īśvara, that-most-supreme-thing, is citta. It is obvious that all concepts of god can be dispensed with and life does not change. But one cannot dispense with mind. Lacking “god” in your world, your world goes on. Lacking “mind” you have no world.

(23) [yoga comes about] like this, contemplation of that-most-supreme-thing; (24) that-most-supreme-thing is beyond corruption; (25) that-most-supreme-thing is the source of awareness and omniscience [what can you know or do if you do not have mind]; (26) that-most-supreme-thing has always been there and was the teacher of the ancients; (27) that-most-supreme-thing is that ever-present reverberation [the reverberation of which we are subtly aware speaks of/for that-most-supreme-thing]; (28) by studying that-most-supreme-thing it becomes clear. Sutras 27 and 28 can also be understood as saying that since that-most-supreme-thing is always and ever-present, being aware of that “something” is what speaks for that-most-supreme-thing.

29: then we begin to “recognize” yoga and obstacles to yoga fall away … yoga is citta, that-most-supreme-thing, The suggestion in this section is that īśvara, that-most-supreme-thing, has never-not been present in our own lives and has extended to us from the same experience/awareness had by the ancients. The yoga sutras is about praṇidhāna, the work necessary to recognize that-most-supreme-thing so that the obstacles can fall away.

In a TM lecture once, I said that TM made everything easy. My example was: our lives were kind of like watching TV: eventually we began to feel the picture was not clear. So we call the repairman [obviously Mahesh in this case, working through us, the TM teachers]. The repairman examines the TV very carefully and explains that it is working properly and the station is sending out a strong signal.

What, what, we might exclaim! The picture is not good, any fool can see that.

So the repairman takes out a tissue and wipes away the dust from a tiny corner of the screen. Suddenly everything we must do is perfectly clear. His instructions “reverberate” with your understanding.

I am no longer sure it is such a good TM lecture.

But here, in this case the Repairman is Patañjali and the technique is not to worship the repairman or to worship the repairman’s calling card (that which speaks for or of that-most-supreme-thing) but to listen to the repairman who is telling us that the technique is to search out within our own sense of selves, that reverberation that was the teacher even of the ancients.

Reverberation is not some “vibration” that we can link to Mahesh’s vibration technology! It is not “OM” in this context or anything like it. That is simply NOT what Patañjali is teaching, nor is what Mahesh is teaching what Patañjali is teaching.

Here “reverberation” praṇava is used much in the same way a person might way that this or that political candidate reverberates with his or her own feelings about some issue. A particular fashion of dress reverberates with some and not others.

That which speaks of it (the repairman, Patañjali, all the legitimate gurus through time) is NOT the sacred syllable OM but rather that which reverberates with your own sense of what you are seeking, your own mind.

This is, of course, also the context of “know thyself” in the Western tradition.
Patañjali and the Yoga Darśana are teaching the HOW-TO of not only recognizing that reverberation, but how to merge, meld with that reverberation, how to contemplate one’s own mind so that obstacles to yoga will be no more, will fall away, will, as in sutra 2, nirodha.

Ways to begin weakening the grip of the obstacles, as well as beginning to recognize one’s own mind are expressed in sutras 30 through 41. Here fundamental or rudimentary ways of recognizing what mind is while simultaneously weakening the obstacles are outlined. Again, we notice that there is not one way for everyone, but many ways so that the individual may begin to recognize īśvara, that-most-supreme-thing, and get under way.

Sutras 30 through 41 and 42 through 51 can be much more clearly expressed once this section of discussion and the section before it (5) are taken out of the realm of religious thought and context or TM thinking and simply viewed as matter-of-fact statements about ordinary human life. The sutras or instructions of Patañjali are not religious or other-oriented. They are oriented toward the individual’s experience of his own most profound essence, realizing mind.

a consideration of the yoga sutras (7)

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