STAGES OF YOGIC METHODOLOGY
ONLY YOG – (केवल योग) THE ENDLESS
ULTIMATE FOR ALL ‘UltimatES’
A) – PREPARATION STAGE – A STEP IN ACCEPTANCE OF PRAGYA (प्रज्ञा)
ऋतंभरा तत्र प्रज्ञा – RITAMBHARA TATRA PRAGYA
Insight means understanding the universal rhythm and inter-dependence
It means equipping oneself with the knowledge of the basics of the composition of entire universe including SELF (ATM GYAN आत्म ज्ञान). Such knowledge in entirety has been addressed as BRAHM GYAN (ब्रह्मज्ञान) in Vedas. It appears to be a very tall order to begin with but Patanjali insistence is only on ACCEPTANCE of basic directive principles responsible for any existence and already encoded in Vedas along with a method of finding out called as YOG, if any worthwhile discovery about BRAHM GYAN (ब्रह्मज्ञान) is to be made. This methodology is further qualified with an exhortation that research has to be a continuous and never ending process because whatever has been found out is nothing and will always remain nothing in comparison to the vast ocean of knowledge (BRAHMGYAN ब्रह्मज्ञान).One has to begin from somewhere to reach somewhere. He, therefore, proceeds to explain those basic directive principles under the concept of ISHWAR in Sutras I-24 to I-26 and already explained in SECOND BLUFF – RELIGION under PRINCIPLES OF EXISTENCE and PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION. In a nutshell these principles indicate the presence of some universal rhythm and rules of inter-dependence of entire existence. From no stretch of imagination the word ISHWAR (ईश्वर) as explained by Patanjali can be understood as some anthropomorphic God as interpreted by the spiritualistic explanations. The word ISHWAR with such precepts can stand for KNOWLEDGE only as borne out with umpteen words in Vedas conveying the same sense. He addresses inculcation of will to ACCEPT these precepts about ISHWAR (ईश्वर) as PRAGYA (प्रज्ञा) formation. So this head can be understood in Patanjali language as a step in PRAGYA FORMATION. By ACCEPTANCE all that Patanjali is asking for is to accept in the beginning of any effort that there are innumerable principles hidden behind any existence and human aim should be to keep on finding them in such a way that it benefits all. And this is nowhere a tall order. As it is we are following it because this is the only way of discovering anything. Then where is the problem? The problems are threefold.
• First the so called civilized and developed world has yet to come to the grips of the Vedic concept of very indulging to discover anything should be for the benefit of all and happiness for all (SARVAJAN HITAYA SARVAJAN SUKHAYA सर्वजन हिताय सर्वजन सुखाय) for the simple reason of knowledge being limitless (NIRATISHAYA निरतिशय), a directive principle of its existence and hence there being no point in giving birth to a rat race. In a way they are completely unaware of it. That’s why the words like patent, copyright, competition, success defined as ‘survival of the fittest’ in money generating abilities only, motivation meaning desire to excel by generally designing means and strategy to outplay others etc. have become their guru mantras of ‘knowledge based economy’ for survival. For them even globalization, another hype, conveys the sense of extending the borders of exploitation only.
• Secondly, we in India the part of so called developing world have been made to believe this economic status of ours by those who for no fault of theirs and historical reasons were born, brought up and groomed in borrowed education and economic systems guided by again borrowed political, legislative, executive and judicial systems. By the passage of time this borrowing has dug its tentacles so deep in our psyche that copying the models even discarded ones from the developed world has become our only way of tackling any problem and armchair solutions are churned out daily without ever caring for ground realities. We are suffering from a kind of inferiority complex and take pleasure in quoting examples from the developed world as our role model. We berate not only our diagonally opposite social system but take pride in the process of forgetting that we have a cultural heritage which in spite of misinterpreted and corrupted form can still be or is still the beacon to the so understood developed world. Anything indigenous is looked down upon. We find it difficult to assimilate that VASUDHEV KUTUMBKAM (वसुधेव कुटुम्बकम) a Vedic concept, is a better and more humane concept than ‘globalization’ as it does not advocate cut throat competition We refuse to accept that the hymns of PURUSH SUKTS (पुरुष सूक्त) of RIGVED (ऋग्वेद) underline the basic principle that there cannot be any economy if it is not knowledge based and knowledge can be and, therefore, should be used in four forms only through the concept of VARN (वर्ण) and it has to be a continuous process till death of an individual as explained under ASHRAM (आश्रम) concept given in YAJURVED (यजुर्वेद). For details refer SECOND BLUFF – RELIGION. The history of last five thousand years can at least warn about the damage that has been done due to misinterpretation of these economic postulates and take necessary precautions. Or is this the turn of entire humanity to face the consequences of misinterpretation? Overall, this borrowing mentality has made our intellect mindless, our governance spineless, our economy bereft of initiative and our comfort providing skills wailing for opportunity. I think only ghost of Macaulay is smiling.
• Thirdly we have been drugged to shun knowledge and believe that we can discover foolishly also through BHAKTI (भक्ति), ASTHA (आस्था), POOJA (पूजा) blind faith in iconic gods and rituals, and such spiritualistic jargons that Patanjali has not used anywhere. In other words we have been lulled into complete inaction and still rejoicing in self given titles of complete, higher and perfect human beings. We are so much over awed by the self created icons of our worship that we have created a niche in every home for a temple. We fail to assess the most probable reason of the presence of only one temple of BRAHMA the so revered as creator - the senior most of the trinity, could be the absence of very thought process of temple worshipping when BRAHMA (ब्रह्मा) was imaginarily created by spiritualistic manipulations from the scientific concept of Vedic BRAHM (ब्रह्म) and when iconic worship was instituted BRAHMA (ब्रह्मा) in all probability was no more in vogue. It was VISHNU temple that came to be constructed first I quote from the book AGAM KOSH (आगम कोष) by PROF.S.K.RAMCHANDRA RAO – “It has been ascertained that the worship of VISHNU in public shrines (of which there are epigraphical or other evidences ) dates back to a couple of centuries before the Christian era. The earliest monumental temples in India appear to have been for VISHNU--------It is not surprising, because the cult of devotion (BHAKTI) which, in fact occasioned the temple culture in our country, was the consequence of the BHAGVATA movement (with its emphasis on the worship of VISHNU) which is mentioned in great epic MAHABHARATA, and which is illustrated by the celebrated text BHAGVADGITA”. The third god SHIV (शिव) with its temples came into existence much later in twelfth century when SHAIV cult was founded by GORAKSHNATH. We have thus become victims of a cult of very recent origin and getting entrapped in whimsical practices by creating a new god and a new temple everyday. I am convinced that Patanjali is a non-spiritualist and he knows these are bluffs that just cannot lead to any research / discovery except a stunted and hopelessly unrecoverable mental state that he aptly calls as VYUTHAN (व्युत्थान) meaning ‘deranged’. Nowhere his insistence on ACCEPTANCE does take the form of a spiritualistic ordinance that must be followed without understanding and any type of questioning. It is always in the form of pure logic where a directive principle forms the basis for any subject of enquiry and is open to any scrutiny and experimentation for arriving at ultimate proof. He considers understanding and accepting of PRAGYA (प्रज्ञा) formation by an individual absolutely necessary for the simple reason that the existence of entire universe including self without chaos can be possible only due to some laws of rhythmic functioning alone that lead to perfect balance. And he calls this rhythmic functioning as PRAGYA (प्रज्ञा) and trying to understand is wisdom (VIVEK विवेक).
Let me also now borrow and try to understand this stage by a modern quote of a western soldier:-
“If you do not know about the enemy you will suffer defeat but if you do not know about yourself, you will suffer disaster”. – General Clausewitz
The Preparation stage follows the spirit of the above quote. Why do we behave in a particular way? Are we handicapped? Or, we are endowed with excellent, effective ammunition and armory and we just don’t know how to use it. This stage therefore, entails thorough understanding of what all we are endowed with. In one sentence we are immersed in an ocean of, are endowed with, and are nothing but a bundle of millions of VRITTIS (वृत्ति) inside out and a CHITT (चित्त) that is again a kind of VRITTI only. And all these VRITTIS function so rhythmically that these appear to be bound by some law. Preparation means equipping oneself with the basic knowledge of these by going through the following concepts:
a) Concept of VRITTI (वृत्ति)
b) Laws of operation of VRITTI (वृत्ति)
c) VRITTIS (वृत्ति) operating in nature and influencing the human beings.
d) VRITTIS (वृत्ति) operating in human beings
e) Rules of presence of VRITTIS (वृत्ति)
f) Concept of CHITT (चित्त) and Comparison with VRITTI (वृत्ति)
If we neglect the information given under above heads we are bound to suffer disaster.
B) – PLANNING STAGE – A STEP IN DEVELOPMENT OF (विवेक)
ज्ञानदीप्तिराविवेक ख्यातेः – GYANDIPTIRAVIVEK KHYATE
Knowledge alone develops discretion and is the key to any planning.
Having understood the basics of VRITTIS Patanjali exhorts to understand this stage as efforts put in for development of discretion (VIVEK विवेक). It is the insight that is capable of discriminating not between virtue and vice as spiritualists put it but between what is to be made use of and what is to be discarded on our way to realization of a set goal. No amount of planning can suffice if the set goal of flawlessness with all its parameters is not grasped thoroughly. This stage, therefore, entails understanding of those steps that we intend climbing, making use and ensures smooth functioning by removing the hurdles already existing and providing for eventualities that may crop up en-route. It involves understanding and application of the following concepts
a) Concept of flawlessness (NIRGUN निर्गुण)
b) Concept of ASAN (आसन)
c) Concept of impediments (चित्तविक्षेप)
d) Concept of PRANAYAM (प्राणायाम)
e) Training of CHITT (चित्त) and Concept of PRATYAHAR (प्रत्याहार )
C) – EXECUTION STAGE – STAGE OF SANYAM (संयम)
त्रयमेकत्र संयम – TRAYAMEKATRA SANYAM
Three aspects are essential for any execution.
तज्जयात् प्रज्ञाऽऽलोकः – TAJJYAT PRAGYA ALOK
Then only emerges the awareness of a principle
Patanjali defines this stage as SANYAM (संयम) that consists of three aspects viz DHARNA (धारणा), DHYAN (ध्यान) and SAMADHI (समाधि). These are highly technical words and do not have any English equivalents and thus have to be assimilated as such. For him execution, therefore, is a wholesome process consisting three aspects of forming an objective (DHARNA), sticking to an objective (DHYAN) and putting single minded efforts (SAMADHI). Any execution is bound to fail if there is no clarity in goal fixation. It will also fail if the goal is lost sight of anywhere en-route due to any reason. Lastly, no realization of goal is possible if the efforts are slackened anytime. For ensuring smooth execution and ensuring FLAWLESSNESS Patanjali has provided such a simple technique through the following steps that the task is not only achieved with mechanical ease but each step has check back and rectification mechanism that stands for reason as well as symptom if the process encounters any problem
a) Determination of the area of engagement from
i. BRAHM GYAN (ब्रह्म ज्ञान) – that Patanjali calls information about elements (BHOOT / TATTVA (भूत / तत्त्व)
ii. ATM GYAN (आत्म ज्ञान) – that Patanjali calls information about senses (INDRIYA GROUP इन्द्रिय जाति )
b) Formation of DHARNA (धारणा) – essential ingredients
c) Sticking to DHARNA - (DHYAN ध्यान) – essential ingredients
d) Efforts put in for realization of DHARNA – (SAMADHI समाधि )
The concepts mentioned above have been subjected to utter misuse by spiritualistic explanations so grossly and widely in spite of clear definitions by Patanjali that one must first discard any scientific interpretation as inferior knowledge and then proceed further. This dictum of spiritualism goes against the very ethos of Vedas and Patanjali YOGSHASTRA wherein such compartmentalization of knowledge as superior or inferior is considered a figment of unreliable imagination (AVIDYA अविद्या). Going through the above stages will invariably lead to the insight of that principle which confirms the presence of rhythmical sequence that we had accepted in the PREPARATION stage as PRAGYA (प्रज्ञा). Every time we embark upon a mission (DHARNA धारणा) an insight into a new principle will emerge and there is no limit to human DHARNAS and thus no limit to the emergence of principles.
D) – IMPLEMENTATION STAGE – STAGE OF VINIYOG (विनियोग)
तस्य भूमिषु विनियोगः – TASYA BHUMISHU VINIYOG
A discovered principle can now be applied to any branch of knowledge.
प्रयत्नशैथिल्यानन्तसमापत्तिभ्याम – PRAYATNA SHAITHILYA NANTA SAMAPATTIBHYAM
Stability in efforts leads to innumerable possibilities.
As per YOGIC concept; the search for knowledge does not end at SAMADHI (समाधिः), the last mentioned aspect of SANYAM stage or the EXECUTION STAGE. Rather it begins here and there is no end to it. The principle thus known should be tested for its efficacy by applying it to various branches of knowledge. Continuous efforts in repetition of a process will always lead to innumerable possibilities of finding, further revising already found principles. Application of a principle will always result in inventions and further need to explore more principles as brought out in THIRD BLUFF – YOGA followed by explanations of various bluffs perpetrated by the spiritualists in the name of Patanjali by quoting third chapter of his treatise as chapter of boons (VIBHUTI PAD विभूति पाद). To make these inventions and search for further principles free from flaws Patanjali advocates the following steps that put the entire process in a never ending cyclic mode – the prime model for any activity of nature and thus in tune with natural process
a) Application of achievement
b) Determination of the area of engagement
i. Information having potential of further fructification – that Patanjali calls SABIJ GYAN (सबीज ज्ञान)
ii. Information having termination potential – that Patanjali calls NIRBIJ GYAN (निर्बीज ज्ञान)
c) Following the stages mentioned at A,B and C above