Attenuating Obstacles, Meditation
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2015-02-20
Understanding keys to the mind and transformation. Kriya, the yoga of action, comprised of tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranayama. Living in the soul nature; attenuating the kleshas. Detaching from the world. Giving up attractions and aversions, limitations, clinging to life, wanting to be finite and ignorant. Ignorance is thrown off when we stop looking outside. Warming up to the idea of being omnipresent and all knowing.
Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 4.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
This is from today's lesson. Sloka 4 from Dancing with Siva.
"How Can We Learn to Dance with Siva?
"Dance is movement, and the most exquisite dance is the most disciplined dance. Hindu spiritual disciplines lead to oneness with God through self-reflection, surrender, personal transformation and the many yogas. Aum.
"To progress on the path, we study the Vedas, other scriptures and our guru's teachings and make every effort to apply these philosophical truths to daily experience. We strive to understand the mind in its fourfold nature: chitta, consciousness; manas, instinctive mind; buddhi, intellectual mind; and ahamkara, ego or I-maker. We perform japa, meditation and yoga each day. Such spiritual discipline is known as sadhana. It is the mystical, mental, physical and devotional exercise that enables us to dance with Siva by bringing inner advancement, changes in perception and improvements in character. Sadhana allows us to live in the refined and cultured soul nature, rather than in the outer, instinctive or intellectual spheres. For consistent progress, sadhana should be performed regularly, without fail, at the same time each day, preferably in the hours before dawn. The most important sadhanas are the challenges and practices given by one's guru. The Vedas caution, 'The Self cannot be attained by the weak, nor by the careless, nor through aimless disciplines. But if one who knows, strives by right means, his soul enters the abode of God.' Aum Namah Sivaya."
What's struck me in reading that this morning was it's so comprehensive. There's so much packed into one bhashya it's just amazing. In terms of the spiritual path of practice and transformation. Giving a list of these basic practices and what do they do that they "...allow us to live in the refined and cultured soul nature, rather than the outer, instinctive or intellectual spheres."
It's also talking about the importance of understanding the mind. And as Gurudeva says, you know: "Understanding is fifty percent of control." Remember? So if we understand it we're half way there.
The other point that struck me was the parallel to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It's a thought I'll just mention a little bit about. It's hard to follow when you're not reading it.
Patanjali, to me is amazing and how long ago it was written, some two thousand years ago. Some date it 2000 B.C, some date it 2000 A.D. So it's somewhere in there. We date it 2000 B.C.
What's he talking about? He's talking about the mind. So, 2000 years ago he's talking about the mind. It's pretty advanced you know, for religion to be talking about the mind 2000 years ago. Religion's just gotten around to talking about the mind in the last few centuries. So Patanjali's talking about it 2000 years ago and giving us all these keys about the mind. And one of them he gives us, in the second chapter, which is called "Sadhana-pada" which relates of course to perform sadhana, which is this verse from Dancing with Siva.
And it presents something you may not know was there called kriya yoga. And not the kriya yoga in the sense that it means today. Most commonly kriya yoga a term in use today is that's a pranayama. A type of pranayama. But this just means the yoga of action. Kriya means action.
So the yoga of action comprised of tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranayama. Which are also three of the niyamas. But he's pulled them out to give them special importance. So tapas of course austerity. Svadhyaya is self-study which has the idea of scriptural study and japa. In this tradition they don't have a separate one for japa. So it includes both scriptural study and japa and devotion to Ishvara. Well, it's very much devotional oriented and of course, no one tracks down how that relates to the Saiva Siddhanta term kriya which means the same thing almost. But they're very similar.
So Patanjali says: [Verse II.2] "This yoga has the purpose of achieving samadhi and attenuating the kleshas." (Or lessening.)
Which is his way of saying the same thing that Gurudeva says, or, living in the soul nature. Not living in the instinctive mind or the intellectual mind.
So this process, tapas, which purifies, self-study, scripture and japa which fills the mind with religious samskaras.And devoting to Ishvara which brings us closer to God. All of that helps move us from the instinctive and the intellectual mind into the soul nature. Which his terminology is we "...attenuate the kleshas."
So what are the kleshas? There are five of them. Ignorance which is avidya. Identification with "I-am-ness," attraction, aversion, and clinging to life.
So he says: [Verse II.4] Ignorance is the field where the other kleshas germinate, whether dormant, attenuated, intercepted, or activated."
And he defines it: [Verse II.5] "Ignorance (avidya) is seeing that which is impermanent, impure, sorrowful, or not self as permanent, pure, joyful and as self. "
So this is like Gurudeva's statement: [Cognizantability] "The seed of desire is a false concept in relationship to corresponding objects." Remember that one?
That we keep falling into this idea that outer experience is going to give us a permanent satisfaction. That there must be something out there that's going to satisfy us. There must be something out there that's permanent, pure and joyful and self. But, of course, nothing is. The only thing that's permanent, pure joyful and self is inside us.
So, finally we catch onto that. And that's when ignorance is thrown off. When we stop looking outside.
So it's a beautiful verse: "Ignorance is seeing that which is impermanent, impure, sorrowful, or not self as permanent, pure, joyful and as self."
[Verse II.6] "I-am-ness" is the identification as it were of the powers of vision and visioner."
So that's, in Gurudeva's terminology, that's when awareness identifies with consciousness. When pure awareness of the soul thinks it's a person. Thinks it's a limited person.
[Verse II.7] "Attraction is that which rests on pleasant experiences."
Raga-attraction. So of course that's what we're talking about. We get attracted to pleasant experiences in hopes that they'll give us something permanent. But the other one which we might not think about is aversion.
[Verse II.8] "Aversion is that which rests on sorrowful experiences."
In other words, we don't just become attached to that which is pleasurable; we become attached to that which is painful. Well, what does that mean? Well we keep mulling over things that happened when growing up, resentments about one or both parents. That's aversion. We're attached to something which is painful.
So we have to both give up attachment to that which is pleasurable and give up attachment to that which is painful. That's what he's pointing out because both are attachments. And we want, we have to be detached from the world.
[Verse II.9] "In clinging to life, flowing along by its own momentum, is rooted thus even in sages."
So that's what we were talking about on Sivaratri. Warming up to the idea of being omnipresent and all knowing. We tend to want to be finite and ignorant. We're clinging to life as we know it. We want to be a person; we enjoy being finite. We enjoy not knowing very much. We cling to that. Even though we think we don't. We cling to being individuated with limitations. So giving that up is also part of what is needed.
So, I thought you'd find that interesting. That Gurudeva's kind of packed all of Patanjali into one verse in Dancing with Siva, in a very condensed form.
Have a wonderful day.
Aum Namah Sivaya.