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Involution, Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Shum Technique


The philosophical meaning of involution. Turning within on itself the primary constituents of nature, prakriti, until the world is gone in the state of permanent attainment, liberation, kaivalya. Then only purusha exists. Yogaswami terms the state of nirvikalpa samadhi as that of Supreme Silence, Summa Iru. Involution in Shum, Gurudeva's language of meditation, takes the concepts of the physical, the emotional, the mental on into the subsuperconscious and the superconscious regions, working our way back from gross to subtle until we get the Unmanifest, the ultimate pratyahara, [the dissolution of the organs of five senses and five actions]

Unedited Transcript:

Looking at the concept of involution. What's that? In looking at it in a few different contexts. First context is just the definition of involution in terms of a philosophical meaning, the scientific meanings which are different than the philosophical meaning.

"Involution occurs when a process or object is ontologically 'turned in' upon itself."

Turning within on itself, the idea.

In the Yoga Sutras, the word that, the Sanskrit word for involution is 'pratiprasava' which is the sign that's counterflow.

"In classical yoga the involution of the primary constituents of nature."

So in our terminology that would mean the tattvas. Going backwards that's through the tattvas.

"Prasava signifies the steaming forth of the ultimate building blocks of nature into the multiple forms of the universe in all its dimensions. Pratiprasava, on the other hand, denotes the process of dissolution of those forms relative to the microcosm of the adept who is about to win liberation (kaivalya). In classical yoga, which subscribes to the ideal disembodied liberation (videha mukti), this coincides with the psychophysical death of the individual."

That doesn't sound good does it? Maybe you could say that about [130sec..??]. But it means, means the dropping off of those sheaths, the physical sheath and the mental sheath and just being, being the inner sheath that's within the mental and the physical, that would be a more positive way to say it. So this word appears a number of times in the Yoga Sutras but the one I'm quoting is the last verse which he's talking about kaivalya or liberation in the Yoga Sutras' terminology.

"The involution of the gunas, which are now devoid of purpose for the purusha, is what is called kaivalya or the establishment of the power of awareness in its essential nature."

In other words, awareness isn't going to take on future [195sec...??] in our physical body, it's just there. So the Sanskrit words for that are very interesting. Establishment is pratishtha just like prana pratishtha. The murthi gets prana pratishtha, same word. Establishment.

Power of awareness is chit-shakti in it's essential nature is swarupa. So it's very interesting terms. So if you read that part it's: "kaivalya swarupa pratistha va chiti shakti iti." So it's the finding kaivalia.

Very nice, and then my commentary, though we really need to add one more phrase to it.

It's saying the gunas are devoid of purpose. So gunas in this case means the world. So, what is the purpose of the gunas? So that's what my commentary starts out with.

The purpose of the gunas is two-fold. To provide experience and finally liberation to the purusha. It's Patanjali's concept. We're here on Earth to gain experience and finally liberation. In kaivalya, prakriti, meaning the world, is permanently gone. Only purusha exists turned in on itself. As stated at the beginning of Chapter 1: "When mental activity is restrained, the soul's faculty that witnesses thoughts, naturally turns in on itself." However, this is temporary and only lasts until thoughts again arise. Whereas in kaivalya, the power of awareness is permanently established in itself. So it's a permanent attainment.

What started me on this was Yogaswami. We published some of the translations of Yogaswami's diaries in the back of the last Innersearch study guide. Sharing with everyone. And the notes were taken by Ma Navaratnam and as he, rendered to us by Ma Navaratnam's neice Jayanti. She was here recently and we met her, Jayanti. There's three nieces, the daughters of Ma Navaratnam, just that live in Toronto. So she is working on this project so lots of interesting statements by Yogaswami that have never been shared before. And we're working on getting them written up and shared. I was reading this one where he's talking about a person.

"What he performs with his mental faculties are termed 'odungal' in honor of. And odungal is the Tamil word for involution. So 'arulai' is grace.

"The whole (This is Yogaswami). "The whole understanding is contained by the term involution, odungal. It is unmanifested and has potential energy and from it flows grace. It is a state of Supreme Silence. Nirvikalpa samadhi. Be still. Summa Iru. From this alone can emanate the fountain of grace. Everyone is seeking panacea only. Grace is vouchsafed to one and all but is only in the degree of grace enjoyed by each one and the measure of grace that each one sees different. It is for grace and still more grace that each one, no matter what creed he belongs to should pray for and supplicate. It is the key to God Realization and mukti. Grace flows out of His boundless love. By His grace one worships His Feet."

And he comments on that.

"It is the same coin with the inverse or obverse side of the coin turned up or down. The obverse side is when man performs his act of grace, "arulal", after the "odungal" involution state in which he is God, "Avanai Thannai" - "Thou Art That". On the inverse side of the coin is the projection of God granting grace. It is Self Realization and God Realization in one and the same act of grace."

Well this is a bit hard to understand but it needs to smoothed out but hopefully you get the idea that he's saying, basically making a statement on monistic theism. He's saying, this coin has two sides. One side is called monism or the experience of Parasiva. And the other side is called theism or the experience of grace. So, the grace comes out of the monism, the experience of Parasiva, which is ultimate route. Very interesting statement of Monistic Theism.

I'm sure if we look at the original Tamil we could polish it up a bit.

And we have one more example of involution, something you're more familiar with, the Shum language. You get the involution in Shum.

Well we have a series of words, but anyone not familiar with this type of series, the series of words is: kashum, nikashum, shumnikashum, bishumnikashum, aybishumnikashum, and hayaybishumnikashum. There's the series.

So it's taking a concept of the physical, the emotional mental and then on into the subsuperconscious and the superconscious regions. So it's taking it through what we call the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh dimensions.

So it starts in the second dimension with a physical object:

Kashum: Guha. The cave-like chamber where swamis, yogis and sadhakas meditate, study and sleep.

So you've all seen our guhas out there, the block structures.

Nikashum: The art of withdrawing the energy into the spine through the use of pranayama. Names the process of drawing the magnetic energy from the subtle nerve fibers (nadis) which surround the body into the spine. When a devotee enters meditation, the energy is drawn from the conscious mind into its subconscious. Then the energy of the subconscious is drawn into the superconscious. (Right?) Then the energy of the subconscious is drawn into the subsuperconscious. When this happens the devotee becomes conscious in the inner states of mind.

Shumnikashum: Feeling the psychic heat while withdrawing prana into the ajna chakra.

Bishumnikashum: Withdrawing prana into the refined realms of the sahasrara chakra through the use of pranayama. An advanced stage of pratyahara [the dissolution of the organs of five senses and five actions, jnanaindriya and karmaindriya]

Aybishumnikashum: Withdrawing all odic prana into the actinic energy.

Hayaybishumnikashum: Withdrawing the actinic prana into the Self. The ultimate pratyahara.

So, same idea, that's involution. Working our way back from gross to subtle till we get the unmanifest.

Have a wonderful day.

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When guests come, they must be given hospitality, at least a mat to sit on and a glass of water to drink. These are obligatory gifts. You must never leave your guest standing, and you must never leave your guest thirsty.
—Gurudeva