Peace Of Mind And Selfcontrol

What are we to do when we are in the midst of these opposing forces Many methods are prescribed, but the first one mentioned in the Yoga texts is what the patient does when he falls ill. He does not start analyzing his body, but goes to the doctor. It is better for the student to go to the Guru and take the advice of his superior wisdom. Ekatattva-Abhyasa is a famous recipe of Patanjali. Ekatattva means 'one reality', 'one objective', 'one target'. Abhyasa is 'practice'. So, his prescription is...

Pratyahara Or Abstraction

We are still in the outer court of Yoga. Asana and Pranayama form the exterior of Yoga proper. The internal limbs are further onwards, which form its inner court. Pratyahara or the withdrawal of the sense-powers is where this inner circle begins. As Asana is a help in Pranayama, so is Pranayama a help in Pratyahara. Asana is steady physical posture Pranayama is the harmony or regularization of the energy within by proper manipulation of the breath. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the powers of...

The Moral Restraints

If Pramana, Viparyaya, Vikalpa, Nidra and Smriti may be called the painless functions of the Antahkarana, which are studied in general psychology, the other functions, viz. Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesha and Abhinivesa may be regarded as the painful ones, because it is these that cause the unhappiness of all beings, and these form the contents of abnormal psychology. The painful functions create pain not only to oneself but to others as well, because we have a tendency to transfer our pain to...

Dhyana Or Meditation

The pinnacle of Yoga is the absorption of the mind in the object of its concentration. The whole technique borders upon an attunement of the subjective consciousness, in its wholeness, to the structure of the object of concentration. Normally, the object is severed from consciousness so that it exists as an independent, material something, totally incapable of reconciliation with the nature of consciousness. However, under the scheme of the Samkhya, it does not appear that in the perception of...

Psychological Presuppositions

It is necessary, at the outset, to clear certain misconceptions in regard to Yoga, prevalent especially among some sections in the West. Yoga is not magic or a feat of any kind, physical or mental. Yoga is based on a sound philosophy and deep psychology. It is an educational process by which the human mind is trained to become more and more natural and weaned from the unnatural conditions of life. Yoga has particular concern with psychology, and, as a study of the 'self', it transcends both...

Pranayama Or Regulation Of The Vital Energy

Simultaneously with the practice of Asanas, there should be effort towards the regulation of the Prana. So, Asana and Pranayama go together. There is an intimate relation between the activity of the physical body and that of the Prana. The Prana is the total energy which pervades the entire physical system and acts as a medium between the body and mind. The Prana is subtler than the body but grosser than the mind. The Prana can act but cannot think. The Prana is not merely the breath. The...

The Aim Of Objective Analysis

As all thoughts can be reduced to five types of internal function, all objects can be reduced to five Bhutas or elements. The five great elements are called Pancha-Maha-bhutas, and they are (1) Ether (Akasa), (2) Air (Vayu), (3) Fire (Agni), (4) Water (Apas) and (5) Earth (Prithivi). The subtlety of these elements is in the ascending order of this arrangement, the succeeding one being grosser than the preceding. Also the preceding element is the cause of the succeeding, so that Ether may be...

Asana Or Posture

Asana is the third rung in the ladder of the practice of Yoga. If the Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation of Yoga, Asana may be regarded as its threshold. 'Asana', literally, means a seat. Here 'seat' does not mean a cushion or some such thing that is spread on the ground. Asana is a pose of the body or the posture which it assumes at the commencement of the practice. It is called a 'seat', because it is a posture of sitting and not standing. While there exist many Asanas, such as the...

Dharana Or Concentration

Now comes Yoga in its essential essence, and now also begins the last stroke that the Yogi deals, which decides his fate. This is the stage of Dharana or concentration of the whole of one's psychic being (Chitta). A perennial flow of Dharana is called Dhyana or meditation. If Dharana is the drop,. Dhyana is the river. Many concentrations make a meditation. Qualitatively they are non-different, but functionally there is a distinction between them. In his work, 'Concentration and Meditation', Sri...

Depth Psychology

Avidya represents a condition in which one forgets reality and is unconscious of its existence. We have somehow forgotten the real nature of our selves, viz. the universality of our true being. This is the primary function of ignorance. But it has more serious consequences. For it also makes one mistake the non-eternal Anitya for the eternal Nitya , the impure Asuchi for the pure Suchi , pain Duhkha for pleasure Sukha and the not-Self Anatman for the Self Atman . It is obvious that the world...