Monday, June 29, 2009

Targeting the Asamprajnata Samadhi

Yoga is said to be esoteric and inaccessible to the uninitiated.

This is not so at all. Consider the case of Yoga Sutras itself; it’s a work on human psychological process rather than a teaching on religion or of philosophy. But this point is missed by many.

So read the following.

Vyasa, the most famous of all commentators on the Yoga sutras, states doubtlessly,

“Yoga, Samadhi sa cha sarvabouma chithasya dharma”

That is, Yoga and Samadhi are common to all states of mind!

Just think of the implications of that sentence. It seems to shake yoga as you know it today to its very foundations.

You might want to know what these states of mind are.

They are classified as follows

1. Kshipta or the restless

2. Muuda or the infatuated

3. Vikshipta or the distracted

4. Ekaagra or the one pointed

5. Nirudha or the suppressed

Even yogis may undergo all these states from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they have a monopoly of it.

The Sutras are describing the general characteristics of human mind than the characteristics of the minds of Yoga practitioners.

This may be hard to believe for some of you, but that’s the truth, and that’s why Vyasa shrewdly stated it so. He had the integrity to do that, while several later day commentators seem confused on this point.

So in every one of those states Yoga occurs, but how?

Well yoga is defined as inhibition of thought waves by the Sutras. But that’s the final destination rather than the first one. You need to pass through different stages before getting there.

In the lower levels there is another kind of yoga, the more general and more widely understood one.

As you know already Yoga means to yoke or join together, and in every one of those states of mind the individual become inseparably bound to the existing state of mind.

That’s a kind of Yoga too, it may not be the YOGA, but it is yoga nevertheless, this yoking needs to be cut asunder to reach the final state.

But then what about Samadhi? Is Samadhi evident in those states also?”

Yes it is!

Samadhi is total absorption. In every one of the states of the mind described above such total absorption occures, that is, you respectively become absorbed in the restless, infatuated, distracted, one pointed and supressed states of mind in exclusion to everything else.

Lets us now go further with Yoga Sutras and Samprajnata Samadhi.

The yoga sutras have described two kinds of Samadhi. Samprajnatha Samadhi (that is, Samadhi –with- object- consciousness) and Asamprajnatha Samadhi (Samadhi –without –object- consciousness).

The terminology may look tough to you. But the gist of the matter is, the Samprajnata is the Samadhi where you have something before your mind, an object of meditation, and you get absorbed in it. We do it all the time. None of the great inventions in the world would have happened otherwise. They all came through this Samadhi.

The Asampranjata Samadhi on the other hand is on the void. It is the one you need to follow if you want to know the secret of life.

Samprajnatha Samadhi is further divided into,

1. Vitharka ( discursive)

In this Samadhi we use the analytical mode of meditation. This is the lower level of meditative state

2. Vichara (thoughtful)

We meditate on the object in exclusion to everything else- This is naturally the next higher step in the meditative process. But note that there is an element of possessiveness in it even then.

3. Aananda (Joyous)

This state of meditative experience is what we call awareness nowadays. We become aware of the object of meditation as it is and is and would be feeling the joy of realizing it in that manner.

- This of course is a still higher state of meditation on an external object.

4. Asmitha (Asmita is the feeling of 'my own' ).

You finally realize your unity with the object of meditation. You are not any different from it. You are the same and hence it becomes your own.

Some have even further divided Samprajnatha Samadhi into:

1. Discursive( Savithrka) and non discursive( Avithrka) -that is analytical and non analytical

You begin with the analytical mode and pass on to the non analytical necessitating the next stage

2. Thoughtful( Savichara) and non thoughtful( Nirvichara)

You start thinking about the object of meditation and move on to a non thoughtful understanding about it. It yields the next stage.

3. Joyous

You reach awareness.


4. with the feeling of my own

You realize the unity of the object of meditation and yourself

This last stage would push you up to the next level of meditation, that of Asamprajnata Samadhi. Real meditation only begins then. You graduate from the total identification with the object of your meditation to the meditation of your true self.

You begin to ask yourself, what is this thing which identifies with everything else, what’s its nature?

That’s where the Sambavi Mudra comes in. All the other practices are only of technical interest to the real seeker of the self.

I have pointed out a way to bypass all of them and concentrate on your own true self, it is the Raja Yoga and there is nothing to surpass it. Only a keen interest and a minimum level of knowledge in the art of concentration is all that is required. There are no strings attached to it.

So be brave and start working on it. I can promise you this, no one is going to teach you any better technique, this is the only technique that there is. Others might lead you on a devious and often interesting route but if they know the truth, they will have to ask you to do this in the end. Why waste precious time.

Go forth and conquer the kingdom of truth.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Isticheit ( isness) of Meister Eckhart

The 13th Century German (Dominican) Mystic, Master Eckhart is after my own mind. He follows the true tradition of the Vedanta though possibly not knowing anything about it.

He took the “I” from the “I am That I am” of the Moses (God is said to have spoken that to him as per Exodus III, 14) and made it a universal spiritual currency. Christianity has always gone the other way. It glorified the God as creator and everything else as created. But Master Eckhart would have none of that.

He maintained “I am what I was, what I will remain. What I am now and ever. In that break through I become so rich that God is no more sufficient”

This was a brave move. I think he was saved from the stakes because of the abstruse nature of his philosophy. He was accused of heresy and was tried by the papal court, but seems to have escaped inquisition by the intervention of his death.

He based his theory on the analysis of three things.

1. Who is real god

2. Who am I

3. What is time?

As I stated before Eckhart believed that a person supersedes god in the trueness of one’s awareness.

To the question of Who am I? He answers one is the uncreated essence and ‘was’ and ‘will be’ eternally.

Eckhart doesn’t deny God in the real sense. He is said to be the ‘Act pure’ which combine all the three dimensions of time into one, the eternal present.

He also comes near the Kena Upanishad statement (Yasyaa matham…etc) that “those who think they know truth remains ignorant and those who think they don’t know it becomes knowledgeable about it” in his following statement.

''a man ought to be empty of his own knowledge, as he was when he did not exist”

May be he was the only one who came near to truth in his times in Europe and perhaps even much much later.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Checking the properties of the inner space

Meditation is the easiest of all practices if you are interested in it.

The best way to meditate is by fixing your mind at the Chidakasa, or the inner space. To do this you close your eyes, and visualize the darkness inside your forehead. I know if nothing happens anyone would become dispirited and stop doing it altogether.

To avoid that let us try some tricks with it.

When you close the eyes and think of the inner space there would only be darkness in front of you. Just forget that you have a body.

Most likely the darkness would be close, that is, you would feel as if you are shut inside a very small dark space.

Let us check its properties.

For this first imagine that you are in the middle of that darkness, as a point if you want. Now push forward, see how far forward you can go like that. Do it for say fifteen minutes.

Now think that you are the center point in that darkness. Look around, below, above towards the back, to the front, towards the sides. Push the darkness away from all the sides till you feel that you are sitting in the middle of a vast sphere.
If you can’t get out of the attachment to any form of divinity, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna or any one, you can try to picture them inside this space and even pray to them.

This is not necessary at all but might help some in remaining concentrated.
While practicing Sambavi Mudra some may become distracted and might not know what they are doing with it.

This is a good way to keep your mind at the inner space for some length of time. That is all needed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dharana to make Sambavi Happen

To me the ‘outer limbs of Yoga’, as Pathanjali called them, are not very important. Real yoga begins at the practice of Dharana, or retention of mind. Dharana turns into Dhyana (meditation) and then dissolves into Samadhi (absorption).

This is not something alien to us. We do the three all the time.

We are reading a story, we become interested in a character, we forget the outer world ( this is Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses from everything else to our chosen object) , the character retains our intense interest ( This is retention of mind or Dharana) we follow everything he or she does, this is a form of Dhyana or meditation, for meditation is the constant flow of attention on something, then slowly we become totally absorbed in the character, his pain becomes ours, his troubles become ours, his happiness becomes realized within us. This is absorption or Samadhi.

Knowledge occurs when these three merges together into one. This is called Samyama by Pathanjali. Everything that we know really well in our lives is the result of this Samyama. It’s difficult to translate the word Samyama. Let us say that at the stage when the Dharana, Dhyna and Samadhi merges together the state called Samyama is reached.

We only need to do these together to reach our real self and our work is done, it is as simple as that. As I have stated again and again the Sambavi Mudra is the only method to reach the state easily and faultlessly.

Let us now try to learn how we can bring Dharana into the practice of this Mudra. Close your eyes, try to sit erect and visualize the darkness in your forehead. You will immediately see a point of light appearing and going away, then several things would appear as I stated in my post on Sambavi Mudra. If they come just watch them without intensely concentrating on them and without thinking about them, just be a witness. To some the light may not even appear at first, don’t get agitated, visualize the darkness alone.

Don’t give up.

If the light refuses to appear watch what your mind is doing, it will be constantly shifting thoughts. Soon you will realize there are two parts to your mind, one creating the thoughts or receiving them and one watching this process all along. This is not anything new, you have been always aware of it, though unconsciously. You need to pick on this watching portion of your mind and stay with it. It is the real you. It is the ‘I’ part.

As you stay with it you will feel yourself as awareness. The mind will emptied of thoughts and will starts to feel that you are knowing yourself as ‘I am’ and finally that you are nothing but this ‘I Am’. Even this will pass on to a state of pure ‘Is’ ness, where the ego or “I” would also disperse into your real being.

You will then realize yourself as existence.

At this point a vast, deep black hole might appear before your mind’s eye, covering your entire existence and about to swallow everything in you. If you become frightened at this point you will come out of the deep meditative state you were in. But if you can be brave about it and face it you will be absorbed into Samadhi.

Some might fear that they will never come out of it. Don’t heed to it, what if you never come out of it even? That is the ultimate state of being, that’s the state of bliss as those Rishi’s of yore said.

It is the State of Sat Chit Ananda. Then nothing remains to be attained. But don’t worry you will come out of it. Your physical vehicle would have something to do in the world still.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Following the Nada

Once I had tried to practice concentration through various methods, they were all effective in achieving it more or less.

One of them was following the Nada which is inside you. The technique is quite simple, insert your forefingers into both the ears and block all sounds from outside, close your eyes. And listen, at first you would only be able to hear the chirrup of the crickets, some practitioners say that it is coming from within, but I have my doubts on it. It could also come from outside, their noise being penetrating and persistent.

So seal your ears more closely, if possible think of the chakra called the Mooladhara. You need not visualize it or think about its properties. Think of the base of the spine and continue listening. Soon the noise of the crickets would be replaced by a humming sound as if you were near the sea. This of course is the effect of the blood coursing through your veins in that area.

Continue your effort. Very soon there would be a faint strain of music, just like the music made by the mosquitoes; if you can hear it then you have achieved some progress in your effort at concentration. There would soon be other sounds as well; I used to hear the beating of drums and other instruments inside. If you do it for some time everyday when you are quite and alone you will soon start to hear this inner music clear enough so that you can distinguish it easily from others.

If you continue with the practice you would be able to hear the music going on within you even without closing your ears and at all times by thinking about it. It is said that the AUM resides at the root chakra and is audible to the inner ears of the Yogis, so practicing this technique also may be a way to reach the state of yoga.

I have suggested this as an easy exercise to achieve concentration. Everyone is curious to know what really goes on inside us and would normally be more enthusiastic to check it out.

Listening to the Anahata Sound

There is a variation to this practice. It is aimed at hearing the Anahata Dwani or the pulse coming from the Anahata Chakra or the Heart Chakra. This practice doesn’t involve closing of the ears. Instead it tries to tune in to the Anahata Dwani by doing Nadi Sudhi Pranayanma or making the nerves clean.

I have explained the practice of Nadi Sudhi Pranayama elsewhere I think. If not here is it. Close the right nostril and inhale through the left for say 12 seconds. Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right for twelve seconds. Now inhale through the right as before and exhale through the left. This completes one round of Nadi Sudhi Pranayama. You can keep count by counting one two three if you want.

Some say five rounds like this in morning noon evening and night for three months would enable you to hear a particular sound in the right ear. This is not taken as the Anahata sound but a forerunner of it. If you concentrate on it the sound would appear like that of cricket and then change into that of a humming bee.

With the deepening of the concentration it would change to the sound of a bell or a conch. Also this sound is likely to shift to the back of the head from the right ear and might feel coming from the back bone later. The real source of this sound is said to be the heart or the navel.

If you want to follow this practice you need to close the eyes and sit erect while following the Nada.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The acquisition of Mental Culture ( Samskaras)

(I need to update my notes on Pathanjali’s Yoga Sutras, but I am finding it difficult to kick myself into gear after the month long break. So here are some general thoughts on meditation)

The world has changed and our awareness has changed drastically. There is no mystery connected with spirituality any longer. The atheist talks about spirituality more warmly than the believer. Our life has entered a subtler plane than it had ever before in the human evolution. None finds things like meditation and Yoga esoteric now. These have become a part of life to most people. Most of you must be doing something to keep mentally and bodily fit and that is a sort of yoga too.

But real meditation is a little different. It aims at the almost impossible, of knowing the truth. The seekers of truth are truly brave people; they step over Maya with determination, not an easy thing to do under any circumstances. Those who have done that would not mince words.

Bodhidharma who introduced Zen in China must have shocked most of his Chinese contemporaries by the irreverence with which he held many things. The Chinese are great sticklers for form. This man had none of that. The Chinese seemed to have tried to ‘civilly’ end his life by poisoning him thrice because of their chagrin over his conduct. But he survived.

They thought that doing something for the world would reserve them a place in the heaven. May be it would or may be it wouldn’t. But to a true seeker the show the world puts up would feel like a charade, insignificant and worthless. External tools can only do so much. Penances, charity, humility, compassion for the suffering, service etc are a means to an end rather than the end itself.

The end is to find yourself. You do not have to run around the world to do it. You are always available to yourself are you not? But the problem is, none of us wants to face ourselves. Don’t take this lightly; it’s behind most of the failures in the practice of meditation.

The actual practice (that is if you are doing the Sambavi Mudra) is very simple. You only have to keep the mind at one place for some length of time. But there are mental obstacles to it.

There are fears that you can’t speak of and there are things that you don’t care about, within you. There are phantoms inside you that you would rather not acknowledge. These may come up hindering your progress.

But stop worrying, everyone is like that. Everyone has sinned so to speak, with mind and body. It’s nothing new, also it is nothing important. These sins and good deeds are the products of your mind and environment; they have nothing constant in them. They hold nothing against the practice of meditation.

The technique I speak of would liberate even the devil. The only need is application. If you can keep a constant flow of consciousness on the place described, you are there. To some it may occur within no time to some who can’t be constant to that extent it would take a little bit more time. But it would come, once you enter this path there is no turning back.

You will be brought back to it by the mental culture ( Samskara) you have acquired during your practice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I mentioned two of the Maha Vakyas (Master sentences) of Vedanta in my last post.

Aham Brahmasmi (I am the absolute)


Tat Tvam Asi ( You are that)

But there are two more such sentences which lead you towards light.

Sarvam Khalidhwam Brahma ( All that you see is truth)

Ayamatma Brahma ( That or this soul is truth)

To a Vedantin the instruction begins in this fashion. First he approaches a person who has realized the self and seeks his help.

That person has to be certain of his realization. As I said in the last post he should be able to declare without the least bit of doubt the he is the truth.

Aham Brahmasmi. I am the absolute. It’s only this knowledge that qualifies him as a teacher of others. Such unflinching belief in his knowledge is what the disciples seek in him. Once they become aware of this they are ready to learn at the feat of the master.

Then as I mentioned the master can advice them that they are nothing but the truth.

Tat Tvam Asi.

But all the same this is terribly difficult to realize. Some may realize it intellectually, but may not be able to go further inwards to experience it. Unless one experience what reality is in its full there is no liberation.

So the Master advises them further making clear what he has said.

He points to everything in nature and tells them “ Sarvam Khalidhwam Brahma” . All that you see in the nature ( both internal and external ) is the truth. Even this may appear vague to the disciples. So he further elucidates the point.

Ayamatma Brahma.

The soul that you witness in yourself and that which you see in the cosmic is nothing but the truth.

It’s a step by step course of instruction. It begins with the most inner’ Aham Brahmasmi ( I am the absolute) and spreads out till it reaches everything in the universe and includes them in its compass. The disciple has to follow this line back to the final most truth of his own absoluteness. This cannot be accomplished by mere intellectual understanding.

So to make it possible meditation is prescribed.

To me this is the only practice that is real. All the others are just steps leading to it.

The Vedanta advices an easy posture for meditation. Sit erect in any comfortable pose and place your mind at the Trikut or at the middle of the forehead. Though the Vedanta asks you to repeat Aham Brahmasmi while meditating, I don’t think it is required. As a very witty acharya said once. When you are drinking port, you don’t have to repeat to yourself that “I am drinking port ” to make the experience any more sweeter.

To me the only thing needed is to place your mind at the abode of truth within you and you will become so as your absorption grows.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mastering the feeling of mastery.

My kind friend AlekSandra told me that she wants to be her own Guru and asked me whether I think it is possible for her to be so.

I have little doubt on the subject; it’s the honest truth that everyone is their own Guru as long as they exist as conscious entities and there is also no other mode of existence.

No one can teach you anything that you do not know already. But you need to realize that you are that.

May be someone can just point the way to it.

Thus the one who know the truth has to first assert that they are nothing but the truth.

“Aham Brahmaasmi.”

I am the absolute.

If he cannot say so who can? As some mistakenly believe, there is no ego in the statement. It’s a statement of fact. It’s not usurping the power of God; it is going beyond that.

It’s becoming the truth itself, even the god’s bow before those who can say so.

Then if the knower wants he can tell others that they are that too.

Tat Tvam Asi

You Are That.

If it falls to the ears of one who is ready for it, it will be realized.

Anyway realizing your own guruness could also be the realization of guruness of others. I will relate an amusing but nonetheless true parable instead of being dry and esoteric to make it clear to you.

A guru taught his disciples that they are nothing but the final truth and everything else in the universe is so too.

One disciple was returning home afterwards and an elephant in a very bad mood was coming that way knocking everything down in its path. The mahout on its back was yelling at everyone to get out of its way. But our man in the freshness of his knowledge thought, my guru has told me that everything is Brahma (The Absolute truth). So I am truth and the elephant is truth, what has the truth to fear from the truth?

So he stood his way and the elephant knocked him over.

Later when the guru visited him at the hospital he complained bitterly to the guru.

It’s because of you that I am in this state. I believed every word you taught me. You told me that everything in the universe is nothing but the truth, and one has nothing to be fear from anything because they are the same as you. You see what that has led me into, an elephant knocked me over, and I am lying here with broken bones. You should never teach something which can’t be proved practically.

The Guru was not displeased. He asked.

Was the elephant coming alone or were there other people around it or were there any mahouts around?

The disciple said grumblingly.

There was a mahout sitting on the elephant. But what has it to do with your teaching and my condition?

The guru smiled.

Wait a second, was the mahout saying something the while?

The disciple was not pleased at this useless discussion but nonetheless replied grudgingly.

I remember now, he was shouting at the people to move away from the path.

The guru shook his head.

Why did you not move away when the mahout was shouting at you to do so? You only included the elephant in your conception of the truth. Was not the mahout truth too? Did I teach you to exclude him from truth? Wasn’t he directly telling you to what to do and what not to do in the situation? Why didn’t you heed his advice? Wasn’t he the expert around there? If you had heeded it you would not be in this state now.

That finally opened the eyes of the poor disciple.

The point of the story is easily obvious. Realizing truth in you is realizing truth in everything else. The knowledge doesn’t inflate your ego and lead you into blunders, but it technically erases the ego completely. Thus to the knower of the truth everything becomes his guru, and he in turn becomes a guru to everything, if they seek his help.

Real mastery is not the wielding of the absolute power; it’s the mastery of mastery itself.

And it is also useful to remember that there is no use in reciting the gospel into the ear of a beast which is out to attack you. If you can’t get out of its way, you have to restrain it so that it won’t harm itself, you and others.

In such cases you may need to show your mastery after all(Wink). You see, the spiritual is not always the ‘not practical’ as some suppose it to be.

It’s something to meditate on, isn’t it?

(This tale belongs to the Vedanta tradition of enquiry. But you may want to know that it also prescribes meditating on the third eye (middle of forehead and not the pineal gland) for realization after the initial instruction)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

About updating etc

I have been neglectful in updating the blog. I might do it in the near future. But there is little time to do so now.

In the meantime Aleksa has been nice to join the blog. Well Aleksa, you are very welcome to my blog.

I liked those words I saw in your profile when your name appeared in my blog.
They were touching and beautiful.

As you said one could call it a poem.