Sunday, April 17, 2005

Yoga Sutras Introduction + Chapter 1

Sutra means thread - each section/chapter has a thread of particular significance running through it.

Chapter 1 = For pupil whose mind is relatively focused - one whose mind is at the maximum level of competence
Chapter 2 = discussion of how to get to Chapter 1 - ie discussion of Kriya Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga
Chapter 3 = description of the siddhis that arise from following yogic path
Chapter 4 = discussion of absolute state or kaivalya and the possibilities of this state

Chapter 1

1.1

Atha - now - immediately

1.23 - Isvarapranidhanadva - to surrender and offer all actions to God, without attachment to the fruits of our action, one of the niyamas and a component of kriya yoga

Offering regular prayers to God with a feeling of submission to His power, surely enables the State of Yoga to develop

If one does all activities in a state of surrender/submission to God you are freed of interruptions along the way.

You can act with isvanapranidhanadva - with reverence for God in all that you do.


1.23 - 1.30 Discussion of isvara

1.29 - The Nine obstacles to Self-realization

The 9 obstacles/interruptions to the State of Yoga:

1. illness
2. mental stagnation
3. doubt
4. lack of foresight
5. fatigue
6. over-indulgence
7. illusions about one's true state of mind
8. Lack of perserverance
9. regression


1.31 All these interruptions produce one or more of the following symptoms

1. mental discomfort/deep feeling of restraint/ - duhkham
2. negative thinking/confusion - (at monomayam level (mental level))
3. inability to be at ease in different body postures - angamejaya
4. difficulty in controlling one's breath - svasup

These 4 symptoms shall be manifest across the 5 levels of existence:
ie 1. - made by food 2. monomayam 3. 4.mahatomayam 5. anandamayam

The Ramayana is the story of how Ravana - a great King of Sri Lanka abducts Sita - the wife of Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu). Ravana was very strong. He could lift Mount Kailash (the home of Shiva and Parvatti). He was also a learned man - he had read all the Vedas. Still he is overcome by viksepa - that is his mind enters into an agitated state. Viksepa can come to people in a good/strong state of mind to.

Ravana is depicted as having 10 heads - 1 is ego - the other nine represent the 9 interruptions described above.

Rama is depicted as having one head - as he is in a state of unity and focused on God.

When viksepa occurs - the above symptoms are inevitable.

Ravana sends his son Atreya to fight. Atryea means "that which does not die." Hanuman, the monkey God kills Atreya. Symbollically this marks Ravana's loss of identity in the Self - because of his agitated mind state/ his viksepa.

Then Ravana sent his brother - - which symbolised loosing control over his body.

Then he sent Indrigit - his other son - we have 10 Indras. Indragit controls the ego. The loss of this son represents the loss of mental clarity/capacity to operate in the world intelligently.

Then he himself went to fight and was killed. Hence he lost his prana - his life force.

The opposite is seen in the case of Rama. When Sita (his wife was abducted) he was alone in the forest without any help. But because he was in a state of Isvarapranidhanadva everything he needed came to his aid (instead of loosing everything he needed for peace of mind and equanimity - as was the case of Ravana).

First Hanuman comes to him and pledges his loyalty and help. Hanuman represents the monkey mind - the primitive mind - that which is always wandering and restless (when not focused on a noble or higher purpose) - that which is dissipated and the source of mischief and problems without wisdom to guide it (Rama represents the wisdom here). So Prana (life force) comes to the rescue, in the form of Hanuman - as Rama is in a one-pointed state of devotion to Isvara (ie isvarapranidhanadva).

The head General of Hanuman's army was Sukreva - su = auspicious, kreva = head
So mentally Rama's side that opposed Ravana (whom represented distraction and viksepa - mental agitation) was fully prepared (with qualities that completely opposed the other side).

Rama was in the highest state of Vairagyam - ie detatchment

Isvanapranaidhana can be helpful to us - as only Isvara is, was and always will be beyond avidya.

In yoga a kind respect develops - gradually yogis begin to accept a sense of something that is higher than we are. We cannot make to devotion to Isvara a prerequisite to yoga studies. To be open is essential in yoga. Everything is real, but everything changes.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY - EVERYTHING IS GIVEN TO A MAN WHO HAS COMPLETE FAITH IN GOD - WHO IS COMPLETELY ABSORBED BY HIS DEVOTION TO GOD...
NOTHING IS LOST, EVEN THOUGH THINGS MAY APPEAR LACKING ON THE SURFACE, EVERTHING WILL BE PROVIDED - IN GOD WE TRUST IS THE ESSENCE OF THE RELIGOUS LIFE.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND THE MAN WHOSE LIFE IS NOT FIRMLY INVESTED IN GOD NOTHING IS POSSIBLE NO MATTER HOW MUCH LEARNING HE MIGHT HAVE, NO MATTER HOW MANY WISE ADVISERS, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY OR POWER HE MIGHT HAVE...ALL OF THAT CAN BE LOST OR WASTED - AS IS THE CASE WITH RAVANA - EVERYTHING MUST BE DEDICATED/SURRENDERED TO GOD OR NOTHING IS POSSIBLE.

THIS IS THE ESSENCE BEING TRANSMITTED IN THE STORY OF RAVANA AND RAMA IN THE RAMAYANA.

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