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.
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.