Friday, April 27, 2007

A consideration of kriyāyogaḥ in the yoga sutras (9)

I have been working very hard to avoid writing more about the Yoga Sutras. First because writing is hard work and TM certainly isn’t about work of any kind. But it is also difficult to avoid the pitfalls of subtle words and shades of meaning that pepper the Sutras. Many a commentator has fallen victim to discoursing upon the clever meanings found in the words like an epicurean ignoramus pouring condiments on a perfectly served meal.

The Sutras depend upon the words, of course. But to be lost in the dazzle of meanings is to miss the meal, to miss the meaning altogether. The second section of the Sutras begins with the words kriyāyogaḥ. This is a significant departure from the first 51 sutras or statements that basically defined what the author was endeavouring to convey: yoga is the nirodha of the vṛtti of the citta – yoga is the extinguishing of the muddle of the mind. The muddle, the conceptualizing, the vṛtti, of the mind is the point of these first 51 sutras.

If this is not understood, becoming sidetracked by the fascinating shades of meaning – shades that are very important, but whose importance only has significance much later – takes over and the path is missed. Kriya, not to be confused with what Yogananda taught, is the “process” or “path” that is undertaken. This section is about kriya, process, actions, method, path. This section is about the method of allowing the mind to be understood while at the same time allowing oneself to be free of the overshadowing vṛtti that conceal it.

II:1 says that the path requires submission (praṇidhāna, profound religious meditation). Praṇdhāna+an+i = “an” makes praṇidhāna masculine and ‘i’ indicates that it is in the Locative sense: thus in the submission to īśvara, (that great antiquity known to be the teacher of the ancients), i.e. mind, citta.

The author lists in addition, svādhyāya. This means study, scrutiny. Mahesh translated this as sva+adhyāya “awareness opening to self”; but this is not correct. This is bending the words to fit a pre-conceived vṛtti or ideology. It will also not work in this sutra. The author then adds tapaḥ which means “burning” or “consuming”.

You may now wonder why I read the sutra from end to beginning. Many times the author lists several ideas and then ends with the kicker, the conditionality that draws them into a single bolus of meaning.

This sutra then becomes: the path of freedom (yoga, mind free of overshadowing notions) [requires] profound contemplation (praṇidhāna) [of one’s own] essence (īśvara), scrutiny and a burning [desire, but in the sense of commitment/application] -OR- a burning/consuming scrutiny.

Scrutiny (svādhyāya) certainly involves one’s own actions. Sva refers to what is one’s own. Scrutiny of what is one’s own. Ādhyāna is to meditate upon, to reflect upon. It is a curious word in that it has the connotation of sorrowful memory. This is interesting because when one is sorrowful, that occupies the mind fully. It is this total-occupation-of-endeavour that is the kind of meditation/reflection that is going on here.

This and this entire section is so far from what Mahesh made of whatever he got/took from Guru Dev, that one can see clearly from this point onwards that TM and Patañjali are simply not related.

Mahesh made no mention, as far as I know, of anything but the third part of the Yoga Sutras. Obviously, this was for no small reason. Effectively, there are only two parts to the Yoga Sutras, Sutras 1 to 51, forming the first part and from this sutra to the end of what is presented as part three. This kriyāyogaḥ of the second part is one continuous teaching from the beginnings of dawning-essential-realization (mind seeing/knowing mind, not just looking at it) through an entirely different approach to what Mahesh calls “sidhi”, bringing realization to perfection (siddhs).


Two things seem apparent. First Mahesh did not understand Patañjali and second he had to do a lot of experimenting to get something people bought into.

Each "Gov" course was THE "Gov" course same as each TTC was THE TTC but people came away from each “Gov” course and TTC with different information and attitudes.

With regard to understanding Patañjali it is clear that the magical and supernormal powers are described as counterproductive and are not recommended. The siddhi that Patañjali describes in part 3 of his Yogasutras is something altogether different that I feel Mahesh either had no understanding of or wished no one ever to know.

Thus when you get a decent teacher who actually understands what s/he is doing (it is my opinion) you discover, as Mahesh DID NOT, that the "third book" has nothing to do with supernormal powers, magical thinking, magical powers or any of the other such thing that Mahesh is so eager for you buy, buy, buy. (And use to rot your brain.)

The "third book" is all about something entirely different. It is only upon understanding the first two books or parts of the Yogasutra that the third book or part becomes clear. These are methods to free mind/citta from obscuration/vritti on a grand scale and become established on an equally grand scale in the purity of one’s own freedom in primordial mind/citta. This cannot be done by repetition of Patañjali’s instructions any more than opening a can of beans can be accomplished by saying open, open, open, open.

Thus I feel very strongly that Mahesh happily advertises himself as a first rate fraud – at least he does so to those who have understood and shared just a little more than he did.

It appears that this and that Gov and citizen course all tell us only about his inability to live up to his self-granted title "big know it all Mahesh united-with-the-universe-one".

The biggest "sidhi" is Mahesh discovering that some people will pay almost anything in order to get something for nothing.

Mahesh Chandra Shrivastava (aka Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) is no different from any other fundamentalist in pursuit of power and authority over others. But, he has taken his time to build his empire and rather than serving fatally poisoned Kool Aid to his faithful he has doled out the poison in very small doses so that his deluded faithful have built up a tolerance. But poison is still poison, no matter how much he praises himself and it.


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