DHYAN / MEDITATION IN THE YOGDARSHAN OF PATANJALI
Maharishi Patanjali, the great enunciator of the philosophy of yog has been an eminent sage.
He defines yog as – अथ योगानुशासनम् / ‘atha yogānuśāsanam’ – which means yog is discipline.
What to discipline? In the next maxim he answers – योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः/ ‘yogaḥ cittavṛtti nirodhaḥ’ –
Yog is the regulation or disciplining the modifications of mind. Modifications are endless and they command speed also.
Mind moves faster than even wind. Regulation of its movement is Nirodh (restrain). We have to keep this nature of mind in control, under discipline. Suppose through arduous efforts we succeed in disciplining them, then what do we get of it?
Maharishi says – तदा द्रष्टु: स्वरुपेSवस्थानम्/
‘tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe avasthānam’ – the soul then gets established.
in the pristine form of Parmatman (God).
Now the question arises – was the soul defiled before its restoration to the Swaroop?
Maharishi answers – वृत्तिसारूप्यम् इतरत्र/ ‘vṛtti sārūpyam itaratra’
– as the Vrittis are so the soul becomes.
What are Vrittis?
The enunciator of the maxim explains their nature –
वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाSक्लिष्टा:/ “vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā akliṣṭāḥ”.
The modifications cause pain and miseries. They are of five kinds and every Vritti has two species. Sometimes they lead to distress, generating cycles of birth and death.
but at times they relieve also from them.
The Vrittis are endless but are cognisable as criterion/ correct or right knowledge (pramāṇa), metathesis/ misconception, incorrect knowledge (viparyaya), option/verbal delusion, imagination (vikalpa), Sleep (nidrā ) and memory (smṛiti ).
Thus, they are of five kinds.
The problem is how to regulate them? How to discipline them?
अभ्यासवैराग्याभ्यां तन्निरोधः/ “abhyāsa vairāgyābhyāṁ tannirodhaḥ” – through practice and renunciation
the modifications of mind are subjected and restrained.
What is renunciation? How to start? Where the mind is to be centered?
क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्ट: पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः/ “kleśa karma vipāka āśayaiḥ aparāmṛṣṭaḥ puruṣaviśeṣaḥ Īśvaraḥ” – Ignorance (Avidya), I-ness, ego sense (Asmita), attachment (Raga), Aversion (Dvesha) and Fear of death, clinging to life (Abhinivesah) are the five causes of afflictions of human beings. He who is above the outcome of good or bad actions, he who is unrelated to their accumulations, is a special individual and may be called Purush Ishwara. They had no doubt their impact on this Purush prior to his spiritual attainments. But now he is free from it.
Had the Vrittis not any relation with the individual how the idea of God being above.
their impact could be entertained.
Such a one is Ishwara (God Himself).
Time has no effect on Him.
It can neither add nor subtract God.
Time has no access there. He is the Guru of Gurus; in other words, he is Sadguru.
because he incorporates supreme Truth.
तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः/ “tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ” – He is called by the name – ‘Omkar’.
So, chant His name OM and meditate on its gist – form (Arthswaroop).
You would cross the hurdles as a result of it.
The sage has made it here very clear that you have not to meditate on anyone and everyone,
you have to meditate on only the supreme Lord and chant only His name.
In the second chapter of Yog – Darshan entitled ‘Sadhanpad’ Maharishi tells us from where the Yog starts.
तपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः/ “tapaḥ svādhyāya Īśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyāyogaḥ” – Austerity (tapaḥ), Self-Study (svādhyāya) and īśvarapraṇidhānāni Profound meditation on the Supreme God/ Sharnagati (īśvarapraṇidhānāni) is the dyanamic kriya yoga practice (Kriya- yog). This yog has eight parts – yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, samādhayaḥ.
Yam is of five kinds. ahiṁsā, satya, asteya, brahmacarya, aparigrahāḥ.
Niyam also is of five kinds – śauca, saṅtoṣa, tapaḥ, svādhyāya, īśvarapraṇidhānāni.
śauca means Cleanliness of the conscience.
saṅtoṣa connotes balance of desire,
tapaḥ means the mortification of mind and senses through austerity as per the will of the Isht (adored God). svādhyāya suggests the study of the self or self-evaluation.
as how much the mind is devoted to Bhajan,
how much it depends on God.
Out of all these tapaḥ, svādhyāya and īśvarapraṇidhānāni (the three) are Kriya Yog.
As soon as the three are translated into action, Bhajan starts (Yog begins).
ahiṁsā, satya, asteya, brahmacarya, aparigrahāḥ would follow by degrees.
Thereafter śauca and saṅtoṣa step in.
After Yam and Niyam, the third part of Yog is Aasan (posture).
स्थिरसुखम् आसनम्/ sthira sukham āsanam . “Aasan means stable and comfortable sitting posture.
A trader sits from dawn to dusk on his seat, is it the import of the word Aasan?
No, when does the Aasan become accomplished?
The Maharishi says:
प्रयत्नशैथिल्यानन्तसमापत्तिभ्याम् /”prayatna śaithilya ananta samāpattibhyām”
(When the efforts of practicing yam and niyam become natural relaxed,
and the mind gets fixed completely, then the Aasna is accomplished).
If aasan means sitting at some external place, where is the need of tying the mind with the Infinite?
Had it been so what would have been the use and meaning of phrase – relaxation of efforts?
Actually, Aasan does not mean any seat or sitting posture,
it means the stability of the mind which tends to race hurriedly and wander untiringly.
In fact, Aasan becomes perfect only when the efforts made for attaining Ahimsha, truth, celebacy etc.
turn natural, automatic or effortless and the mind gets established in the Supreme Being.
As soon as the Aasan is accomplished –
तस्मिन्सति श्वासप्रश्वासयोर्गतिविच्छेदः प्राणायामः/ “tasmin satiśvāsa praśvāsayoḥ gativicchedaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ”
(The inhalation and exhalation of breath stop, and this cessation is called Pranayam.
Pranayam occurs when neither the thoughts of external world nor of internal world germinate in the mind, when there is no commotion of feelings, this state is known as Pranayam.
The operation of the breath ceases, the breath flows only in single direction).
Thus, it is clear that the Pranayam is not any form of practice.
Practice is done for penance, study of self and surrender to one God.
Practice has to be made for non- violence, truth and keeping away from hoarding etc.
After regular practice postures become easy, mind becomes stable.
The moment Asan is accomplished, Pranayam occurs.
This is the result of the observance of the rules of Yam – Niyam and other steps.
For attaining this state one has to pass through four stages –
बाह्याभ्यन्तरस्तम्भवृत्तिर्देशकालसंख्याभिः परिदृष्टो दीर्घसूक्ष्मः/
“bāhya ābhyantara stambha vṛttiḥ deśa kāla
saṁkhyābhiḥ paridṛṣṭah dīrgha sūkṣmaḥ”.
External thoughts, internal reflections and stable thinking should be properly examined through.
Time, Place and numbers. As a result of it Pranayam gradually becomes long and subtle and then turns stable. External thoughts generate either attachment or hatred, likes or dislikes, endless desires.
Such passionwrapped inclinations throw us in the whirlpool of worldliness.
On the other hand, there are desires and inclinations which are internal and endowed with Reason (Vivek), Renunciation (Vairagya) Penance (Tap), Self-study (Swadhyay) and contemplation of God.
One should watch and examine in which area of conciousness
(in the area of greed or attachmenet or desires)
the mind was wandering, how much time it moved there, one should count the duration in numbers (because the clock or watch by that time was not invented).
At times this mind which wanders in the external world starts introspection
and analysis of its ways of self-control and rules thereof.
It is found moving sometimes in the area of renunciation (vairagya) or in the field of continence (Brahmcharya), or in that of self-study.
But this too is in fact a wave rising on the surface of conciousness.
By counting in numbers, a constant watch has to be kept on mind to know how much time.
it stayed in the particular field.
Then it should be pulled back to stand unwavering.
One should try to control its speed and turn it to subtle unwavering state of motionlessness.
Our revered Guru Maharajji used to say –
“Ho! Guard your mind with concious alert thoughts. Only then the Bhajan is possible”.
When the breath is observed step by step thoroughly, it becomes long, subtle and stable.
Then the state of Pranayam comes naturally.
बाह्याभ्यन्तरविषयाक्षेपी चतुर्थः/ ‘bāhya ābhyantara viṣaya ākṣepī caturthaḥ’.
This is the fourth stage which comes naturally after the renunciation of external and internal contact of thoughts. Pumping in air, causing to swell the belly, then propelling it out and holding it there like the bellows of ironsmith, is only the perverted form of Pranayam.
It is misleading but it masquerades today as the real one.
What wrong your poor breath has done?
It infact invigorates power, if it stops, we will die. The rise and fall of five afflictions (Kleshas) like Ignorance, self-identity (Asmita) does not affect physical body, it affects the movement of thoughts. Such thoughts are to be restrained, desires are to be controlled, not the natural flow of breath.
As soon as the thoughts, the ideas emanating through breathing cease,
ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम्/ “tataḥ kṣīyate prakāśa āvaraṇam ” the veil of light becomes thin and Pranayam is accomplished. The veil of Sanskaras which separates you from the soul becomes flimsy.
धारणासु च योग्यता मनसः/ dhāraṇāsu ca yogyatā manasaḥ –
the mind develops the power of retention.
The Maharishi delineates the nature of dhāraṇā (retention) in the first maxim of ‘Vibhutipad’:
देशबन्धश्चित्तस्य धारणा / ‘deśa bandhaḥ cittasya dhāraṇā – Fixing the mind to some area or something is dhāraṇā ,
Maharishi has already described two areas or locations for dhāraṇā – firstly the Chanting (Jap) of OM
and secondly meditation of God.
In the beginning despite efforts the form of God eludes contemplation. Mind starts chanting OM but soon deviates and disgresses, it starts roaming or thinking about senseless things. But when the Pranayam is mastered, the mind acquires the power of retention (dhāraṇā)
and the grasp of swaroop (Self) becomes possible.
तत्र प्रत्ययैकतानता ध्यानम् / ‘tatra pratyaya ekatānatā dhyānam‘- Where the mind is fixed, there the consciousness continuously flows, and it is known as dhyāna. Dhyan is the fruit of such practices; it is never the beginning. Dhyan camps are useful for teaching how to restrain the senses? How to know? On whom to meditate?
Camps for learning the methodology may be organised but they should not be called meditation camps.
“dhyāna” is simply the result of the correct spiritual practices.
When Dhyan becomes matured–
तदेवार्थमात्रनिर्भासं स्वरूपशून्यमिव समाधिः/ ‘tadeva arthamātranirbhāsaṁ svarūpaśūnyam iva samādhiḥ’ –
when the aimed object alone remains in sight, when the mind dissolves, when the person who meditates loses the consciousness of his separate identity, it turns into samādhayaḥ. “Sam-Aadi – Sa Samadhih” – the state which gives equanimity with the phenomenon which has no beginning, no end and which is the ultimate truth,
the Supreme God, is Samadhi.
Even consciousness dissolves here.
‘Man, Mara Maya Mari, Hansa Beparvah, Jako Kachhoo Na Chahiye Soi Shahanshah’ –
The surface of mind which bears the imprint of illusion (Maya) is now lost. So where would Maya now stand.
The separate entity of the witness no more exists, it has merged with the self.
That is the ultimate aim of Yog.
According to Maharishi Patanjali, one should meditate on the Sadguru and chant Pranav (OM).
Sadguru is he who is free from impact of pain and pleasure, who is not separate from God,
who lives like the Akal Purush (Supreme Being who is not subject to Time).
Such a guru is the guru of gurus. Manas says– ‘Balak Roop Ram Kar Dhyana’– The child form of God can be meditated upon. Our revered Maharaj Ji used to say that a child and an accomplished saint are similar, live on the same plane. Such a saint may physically look grown, but his nature is childlike.
In the Geeta (11/43) Lord Shri Krishna has been addressed as “gururgarīyān” which means greater than gurus. Maharishi Patanjali’s words like “Poorveyshamapi guru” have been used bearing the same meaning what Manas says – ‘Tum Tribhuwan Gurudeo Bakhana’. Such is the nature, state and quality of a Sadguru.
If you do not get such a genuine guru, do not be in hurry to accept any one as such. Till you get an exalted, self-realised Guru, you should serve saints, live close to them, chant the name and pray. There are lots of Sanskaras (imprints) accumulated through different cycles of births and deaths and they are like dirt and dross, acting like sheath or envelop between you and your soul.
The moment they are washed away God would guide your soul like a charioteer. He would instruct you what to do and what not to do. He would tell you also – “Look! There is your Sadguru”.
Our revered Gurudeo was informed by God Himself that his guru was present in a particular temple. Maharaj Ji told us that he had seen that gentleman several times earlier also but could not identify him. People used to take him to be a lunatic and like them he also took him to be so. But it was God Himself who through Aakashwani (Divine Voice) informed him that it was he who was his Gurudeo.
He could recognise him only when God told him. If you want to do Bhajan, do it at a secluded, sequestered place, do it like a lunatic. If you show off, you cannot perform Bhajan. All the great saints who stand as milestones, looked like lunatics. Ram Krishna Paramhansh, Jada Bharat, Lord Mahavir, Kakbhushundi all looked during their period of Sadhana like lunatics. Our Gurudeo and his Gurudeo Maharaj too were taken as such during their period of penance.
He used to say – “Wherever I went, people took me to be a mad man, street urchins pelted gravels and pebbles at me but when they happened to hear my words, they used to cling to me and say O! Maharaj Ji! How wrong ideas we had about you, astonisingly you came out to be such a great saint.
Actually, the great seers perform Bhajan in disguise. When a man is absorbed in his industry, he has no time for general beahviour and common courtesies. Those who read daily newspapers are found many a time so engrossed in reading that they are not aware of the passersby. If it is so with such persons, you can imagine of a man who performs Bhajan and gets deeply absorbed in it. He does not know what goes on in the outer world. Bhajan is performed in a concealed way. Even the neighbouring person fails to know that the Bhajan was being performed. Thus, sadgurudeo is a hard nut to crack but it is very easy to find him out – only know the method of Sadhana and engage yourself in it.
Go on chanting the name, praying God and serving faithfully the saints and seers.
God would Himself show the path – “Sant Vishuddh Milahin Pari Tehin, Ram Kripa Kari Chitwahin Jeyhin.”– Once the Lord graciously happens to cast his glance at anyone, the genuine saint (Sadguru) meets like a windfall. After you meet a sadguru, nothing remains to be achieved. After this Dhyan comes as the next step. But Dhyan is never the beginning stage. When the sadguru gives the clue of Sadhana, gradually the state of Dhyan is attained. The spiritual clues cannot be found in books.
as they cannot be put in black and white.
Only by an accomplished sage, it is kindled in the conscience of a devotee.
~Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans. ©