Three Points of Concentration, Samyama
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2021-04-29
In meditation, focusing the mind on three facts or points of concentration. Its called samyama in the Yoga Sutras. Concentrate on each individually, then meditate upon them collectively. Thought, meaning and knowledge combined as one. A deep yoga law is discussed here. Prajna-mystical insight. "Through mastery of samyama there ensues the flashing-forth of mystical insight."
Good morning everyone.
One of our devotees brought this 1981statement from Gurudeva to my attention. I thought I'd start with that.
"It's the nature of awareness to wander...(How many of you can vouch for that?) ... In fact awareness wandering in meditation can even be beneficial providing what it wanders to was chosen before you begin. Three points of concentration well chosen can interrelate. For instance meditating on Ardhanarishvara as God seen through and within all things with the other two points of concentration being the images of Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan makes the realization of Satchidananda enjoyable. Do not criticize your self when your awareness wanders. Simply be better prepared with two proper containers to catch it when it wanders."
Meaning, have three points of concentration in mind.
Then a little further down in the same writing Gurudeva explains further:
"...With one point of concentration the mind will wander, with two it will go back and forth, but three holds it in a vice, and you go from one to the next in a fine meditation."
Well that reminded me of our write-up on samyama. Raja yoga practice. Literally means constraint. Our Himalayan Academy Lexicon defines it as:
"Continuous meditation on a single concept to gain revelation on a particular subject or area of consciousness. Cognizantability defines it as focusing the mind on three facts or points about the subject of meditation."
That's Gurudeva's approach to samyama as this three point idea.
Gurudeva explains samyama in more detail in;
"Cognizantability--The Seventy-ninth Aphorism:
"To bring forth a law of the mind or the solution of a problem, three facts or points must be had about the subject in question. Concentrate on each point individually, then meditate upon them collectively. The superconscious, though the subconscious, then will give the law or solution. To hold the law or solution consciously, the three points, which are of the conscious mind and its subconscious, must be remembered in their original logical order.
"Here we are speaking about samyama--thought, meaning and knowledge combined as one..."
I'll mention that again it's very important:. "... thought, meaning and knowledge combined as one."
"...When combined as one, it lifts up the lid of the third eye. What is hidden behind the veil of ignorance is seen. Concentration is an art that once attained leads naturally into meditation, contemplation and samadhi. The three-point concentration spoken of in this aphorism releases the whole of the external from its internal counterpart of the yogi's awareness. A deep yoga law is discussed here."
End of "Cognizantability."
And of course in Yoga Sutras. "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" we have a few different verses on samyama. Just going to read one of them:
"Through mastery of samyama there ensues the flashing-forth of mystical insight."
So, same idea as Gurudeva.
The word for mystical is prajna. Flashes of brilliance is aloka.
So prajna is an important term in Patanjali, it appears a lot. Mystical insight. As Gurudeva would say: "The superconscious working through the subconscious provides mystical insight."
Then we have Foyerstein's definition of samyama:
"The continuous practice of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and contemplation (samadhi) upon the same subject. This technique is the yogi's way of research, since it yields all kinds of suprasensuous knowledge (prajna)."
Nicely said. Yogi's way of research. He's not going to the library.
So, Saiva Siddhanta we have this idea in the padas.
This is the idea of the jnana sub-pada. So jnana in charya, jnana in kriya, jnana in yoga and jnana in jnana. All are referring to this idea of prajna.
The Tamil Lexicon gives the term 'anubhava unarchchi' which has this meaning of superconscious insight.
So Gurudeva gives this beautiful statement about the jnana stage of the four padas:
"The first sadhana, therefore, is to always hold the overview and cling in your memory to the intuitive flashes that come as a result of your practices. These intuitive flashes come from deep within and are the only thing that should be remembered, for this is your jnana, your insightfulness, your own wisdom, breaking through."
That's a really good one.
Then three quotes from Yogaswami to end here.
"The book is within you. Turn over the leaves and study."
"It must come from within. Don't rely on book knowledge. Trust the Self alone."
"Don't read books--It is in you."
Have a wonderful day.