PLANNING STAGE –TRAINING OF CHITT
CONCEPT OF PRATYAHAR
ONLY YOG – (केवल योग) THE ENDLESS
ULTIMATE FOR ALL ‘UltimatES’
PLANNING STAGE – CONCEPT OF PRATYAHAR AND TRAINING OF CHITT
The concept of PRATYAHAR (प्रत्याहार) denotes the final stage of training of CHITT and deals with VRITTIS of SENSE group as is evident from the following sutras. Hence the VRITTIS of acceptance (GRAHAN ग्रहण जाति) and rejection (ASMITA अस्मिता जाति) assume importance.
(SUTRA II-54) स्वविषयऽसम्प्रयोगे चित्त स्वरूपाऽनुकार
SWAVISHAY ASAMPRAYOGE CHITT SWARUPANUKAR
“PRATYAHAR (प्रत्याहार) means making selective use of sense VRITTIS by the CHITT in order to achieve its objective.”
(SUTRA II-55) ततः परमावश्यतेंद्रियाणाम्
“It is the most important aspect to know the use of sense VRITTIS.”
Freud tries to analyze the human mind as having three compartments of Id, Super-ego and Ego and human behavior as the result of the tendencies of primordial Id or fear generating social controls of Super-ego OR as a resolution of these two by the Ego. On the other hand Patanjali analyzes the behavior as per LAW OF APARINAMI (अपरिणामी के नियम) as symptoms (LAKSHAN लक्षण) and properties (GUN गुण) of sequential existences (KRAM क्रम) of three stages (AWASTHAEN अवस्थाएँ) of human beings at the mind level (MANOVRITTI AWASTHA मनोवृत्ति अवस्था), SATTVA level (SATTVA AWASTHA सत्त्व अवस्था) and PURUSH level (PURUSH AWASTHA पुरुष अवस्था). In other words he has clearly divided human beings behavior wise into three distinct categories. People at mind level (MANOVRITTI AWASTHA मनोवृत्ति अवस्था) will behave as per unreliable and invalid standards of PRAMAN, VIPARYAYA, VIKALP, NIDRA and SMRITI as discussed earlier and consider it a marvel of their intelligence. These are their symptoms. People at SATTVA stage (सत्त्व अवस्था) will temporarily realize the folly but will come out with new theories again based only on the unreliable standards of PRAMAN etc. People at PURUSH stage alone are capable of understanding the follies of intelligence as they are not under the spell of the VRITTIS like PRAMAN etc. They rather discard these VRITTIS in their schemes of action and make use of the VRITTIS mentioned under YAM (यम) and NIYAM (नियम) of Patanjali YOG. I will discuss these VRITTIS in EXECUTION STAGE under DHARNA (धारणा) and DHYAN (ध्यान). Unlike people at first mentioned two stages who behave as the VRITTIS dictate them, people at PURUSH stage make selective use of the VRITTIS as they know these VRITTIS are the abysmal stores of any kind of power. PRATYAHAR (प्रत्याहार) as a concept of Patanjali YOG deals with developing this ability of making use of these VRITTIS. This can be done by training of senses and it is known as training of CHITT. Patanjali calls it CHITTVRITTI NIRODH (चित्तवृत्ति निरोध). It is the final stage of training, the completion of which ensures that such a CHITT can now embark on any mission. It is the final stage of planning also as the CHITT becomes capable of understanding those actions that are essential to be executed in the next stage of yogic process i.e. EXECUTION STAGE if flawlessness is to be achieved.
GENESIS OF THE CONCEPT OF TRAINING OF CHITT
The importance of training is evident from the fact that Patanjali has put forth this concept in the beginning of the first chapter of his treatise. He addresses training of CHITT as NIRODH (निरोध) and defines YOG as:
(SUTRA I-2) – योगश्चित्तवृत्ति निरोधः
(SUTRA I-2) – YOGASHCH CHITTVRITTI NIRODH
For him YOG is ultimately a concept that is nothing but the process of training of CHITT. The entire philosophy of YOG is based on NIRODH. It has been defined by Patanjali as a method of training and thus developing CHITT:
(SUTRA I-12) – अभ्यास वैराग्याभ्यां तन्निरोधः
(SUTRA I-12) – ABHYAS VAIRAGYABHYAM TANNIRODH
“NIRODH means practice by CHITT of what is to be done i.e. DOS’ (ABHYAS अभ्यास) and practice by CHITT of what is not to be done i.e. DONTS’ (VAIRAGYA वैराग्य)”.
The thumb rule for DONTS’ (VAIRAGYA वैराग्य) is to not to take up any action either by seeing or hearing evidence. It is easier said than done. At MANOVRITTI level we indulge into any action by either ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’ only. To arrive at CHITT level from MANOVRITTI level one has to CONTINUOUSLY PRACTICE of repeating to oneself that “no action will be done by either seeing or hearing”. Then how is it to be done? After having established oneself in DONTS’ (VAIRAGYA वैराग्य)” one has to establish oneself in some DOS’ i.e. ABHYAS (अभ्यास) by again indulging in CONTINUOUS PRACTICE of DOS’- the details of which will be discussed under DHARNA (धारणा) of EXECUTION STAGE of yogic methodology. Establishing oneself in DOS’ and DONTS’ means achieving STABILITY having the ingredients of “every time”, “long time” and “respect” as discussed under ASAN (आसन). In both cases, it is the CONTINUOUS PRACTICE that is EKTATTVA ABHYAS (एकतत्त्व अभ्यास) alone as mentioned earlier under REMOVAL OF IMPEDIMENTS that emerges as the cardinal principle behind any action. A further deliberation on the emergence of the principle of continuous practice is relevant here and it may help in understanding some hitherto misapplied notions.
EMERGENCE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF CONTINUOUS REPETITION
The dynamics of the emergence of the principle of continuous repetition as explained in Patanjali YOG helps us in understanding that:
• YOG IS NOT AND CANNOT BE A GROUP EFFORT. IT HAS TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT THAT IS NOT MUTABLE GENETICALLY.
The corollary of this statement is that the offspring of a YOGI will not be YOGI just because the parents were YOGI. Since YOG is inculcation of wisdom (VIVEK विवेक) through a regimen of continuous efforts of DOS’ and DONTS’ known as PURUSHARTH (पुरुषार्थ), the children of YOGI also have to achieve wisdom through PURUSHARTH (पुरुषार्थ) only. The wisdom does not run in lineage. It is not a paternal property. Paternally we are all born as human beings with unreliable traits of mind already discussed as MANOVRITTI (मनोवृत्ति) and going into the state of CHITTVIKSHEP (चित्त विक्षेप) every now and then. Anyone can become a YOGI anytime one decides so. There cannot be any ordinance to remain an unmarried celibate if you want to achieve wisdom. This is just an aberration introduced by spiritualistic thought. KRISHN (कृष्ण), the ideal and final word for a YOGI was a many times married man.
• SANSKAR IS COMPULSIVE OBSESSION AND GENETICALLY MUTABLE VRITTI.
The word SANSKAR (संस्कार) is widely understood in India as a term having connotations of generally good but as well as bad upbringing. Patanjali considers very classification into good and bad as unwanted because it gives birth to AVIDYA, an inability to distinguish between good and bad. He, therefore, considers SANSKAR as a human VRITTI that has a definite mechanics of mutability and hence responsible for entire human behavior generation after generation. It is born out of MEMORY (SMRITI स्मृति). How does it happen?
MEMORY (SMRITI स्मृति) BECOMES SANSKAR
MEMORY (SMRITI स्मृति) is a well defined human VRITTI (MANOVRITTI मनोवृत्ति) wherein we don’t let anything experienced go away and store it in SMRITI compartment of our mind. We experience anything first by either seeing or hearing which gives birth to desire (TRISHNA तृष्णा). A continuous repetition of desire gives birth to avidity (VASNA वासना). The continuous repetition of VASNA gives birth to a kind of compulsive obsession that acquires the property of genetic mutation and Patanjali calls it SANSKAR. So, a genetic tendency capable of mutation resulting into consistent human behavior generation after generation involves in-depth deliberations on the following areas if the genesis of the concept of YOG is to be understood:-
• For mutation there must be a compendium of VRITTIS of mind (MANOVRITTI मनोवृत्ति) in the form of MEMORY (SMRITI स्मृति)
• For mutation there must be birth of VRITTI of desire due to sense VRITTIS of either seeing or hearing
• For mutation there must be continuous repetition of desire (TRISHNA तृष्णा) giving birth to more and more desire ultimately leading to incurable AVIDITY (VASNA वासना) changing into SANSKAR.
If continuous repetition of DESIRE alone happens to formation of a VRITTI that becomes capable of genetic mutation and DESIRE is always born out of GRAHAN VRITTIS of either seeing or hearing something then why not to have continuous repetition of NON INDULGENCE also into any action by either seeing or hearing. Thus “continuous repetition” emerged as the key word for further exploration and the concept of NIRODH (निरोध), the basic methodology of YOG was born. Two subjects of “continuous repetition” of what is to be done (ABHYAS अभ्यास) and “continuous repetition” of what is not to be done (VAIRAGYA वैराग्य) thus became the only essential principles of training of CHITT. It is obvious that YOG being an individual effort of “continuous repetition” it has to be an individual and not a group practice as has been or being sold out these days.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VRITTI OF DESIRE
From the above discussion about DESIRE (TRISHNA तृष्णा), the following interesting corollaries emerge:
• DESIRE IS THE ONLY HUMAN VRITTI THAT BECOMES CAPABLE OF MUTATION AFTER GETTING CONVERTED INTO SANSKAR.
• THERE IS NO OTHER HUMAN VRITTI THAT CAN BECOME CAPABLE OF MUTATION.
For such conclusions the existential stage (AWASTHA अवस्था) of the VRITTI of DESIRE as per LAW OF APARINAMI (अपरिणामी) must have the property (GUN गुण) and symptom (LAKSHAN लक्षण) of repeating itself automatically and never getting satisfied and such a thing should be absent in any other stage of any other VRITTI. This is our routine experience also that DESIRE keeps on repeating itself continuously and we conclude that we should be very proud of it because this is the only reason of progress of human civilization as it kick starts our imagination, motivation and ambition. However, the authors of the Vedas concluded quite differently. They found that:
• It is the DESIRE only that does not permit human beings to come out of unreliable and thus primitive reasoning of MANOVRITTI stage. So DESIRE must be made inoperative.
• If the presence of the property of ‘automatic continuous repetition’ in DESIRE (TRISHNA तृष्णा) can change it into mutable SANSKAR then ‘CONTINUOUS REPETITION’ is the key to any change.
• Since no other VRITTI has the property of automatic continuous repetition it can never become mutable. But the key of ‘continuous repetition’ of some found out VRITTIS by an agency present in the human beings and designated as CHITT can make CHITT immune to the process of automation of DESIRE and such a CHITT will not have the tendency to fall prey to the VRITTI it is working with. Such immunized CHITT works on the lines completely opposed to DESIRE and still achieves the constructive results of progress of human civilization. These results are bound to be constructive as these are the willful efforts of CHITT and not the automatic outcome of some DESIRE that functions automatically and where the nature of the results is neither trustworthy nor necessarily constructive.
• Constructiveness can be achieved by a two pronged approach of NIRODH and a complete science of YOG was born.
Training of CHITT on the lines of DOS’ and DONTS’ also indicated the importance of making CHITT capable of selecting VRITTIS for an objective. Instead of falling victim to the VRITTIS by losing its identity and becoming a hand maid it must be trained to understand them and use them for fulfillment of DHARNA. Such an approach also destroys the myth spread by spiritualistic thought that VRITTIS can either be destroyed or controlled by some expert who practices celibacy. A trained CHITT understands the enormous power and indestructible nature of VRITTIS and makes their selective use as he knows that in nature VRITTIS are also functioning under the same principle of selection by existing in rampant (UDAR), dormant (PRASUPT), scattered (VICHCHHINN) and mild (TANU) forms as per rules of existence for a defined purpose. The genesis of this principle of selective use is in nature only. Nature also does not use all the VRITTIS (वृत्ति) for any existence / creation / activity though it permits the existence in all the four forms. It is like inventing some vaccination and administering it in such a way that virulence is checked without disturbing the structure. That is why Patanjali lays stress on practice and only practice (EKTATTVA ABHYAS एकतत्त्वअभ्यास) of NIRODH (निरोध). PRATYAHAR is the final stage of the training of CHITT. The practice of DOS’ and DONTS’ inculcates PRATYAHAR an ability of CHITT to make the selective use of VRITTIS.