Monday, December 19, 2011



तत्र प्रत्ययैकतानता ध्यानम्

“It means that ability to stick to DHARNA is DHYAN”.

In spite of this clear definition of DHYAN it is one of the highly ill used concepts of YOG by YOGA experts. By translating DHYAN as meditation, innumerable techniques have been put into circulation in the name of Patanjali. Meditation might be having its own value as a different discipline but to promote it as DHYAN of Patanjali is gross misinterpretation as he has not mentioned a single technique of meditation in his treatise. Patanjali mentions even “inability to make an objective (ALABDHBHUMIKATVA अलब्ध भुमिकत्व) and stick to an objective (ANAVSTHITATVA अनव स्थितत्व)” as impediments and sure signs of a disturbed mind (चित्त विक्षेप). Then to make a DHARNA and stick to it have got to be more demanding. Sitting idle in some posture and calling it DHYAN of Patanjali is negating its very effort oriented meaning. It is everyday experience also that there are many slips between lips and cup. Patanjali analyses the reasons for such an inability and lays down the rules for observance (NIYAM नियम) in his methodology. If any of these rules is not observed anytime and any slackness creeps into during the process of achieving any goal, these rules are good pointers of reason as well as prescribed remedial measures for losing sight of the very DHARNA. These are as under:

i. SHAUCH (शौच ) – Cleanliness

ii. TAP (तप) – Hard work, rigor, penance, tenacity

iii. SANTOSH (संतोष ) – Patience for ideal happiness

iv. SWADHYAYA (स्वाध्याय) – Self study

v. ISHWAR PRANIDHAN (ईश्वरप्रणिधान) – Approach towards presence of KNOWLEDGE

All the above rules have been clearly defined by Patanjali as attributes of DHYAN with a view to achieving and restoring steadfastness towards fixed DHARNA and avoiding any misinterpretation. All spiritualistic interpretations are misinterpretations only and have no relevance to what Patanjali has meant as will be borne out under discussions of each rule (NIYAM नियम)
शौचात् स्वांग जुगुप्सा परैरसंसर्गः

Disgust is the natural outcome towards an unclean and dirty physical body of self and others and cleanliness alone can help in overcoming this revulsion.

सत्त्वशुद्धिसौमनस्यैकाग्रयेंद्रियजयाऽऽत्मदर्शन योग्यत्वानि च

Such cleanliness (SATTVA सत्त्व) leads to better concentration (EKAGRATA एकाग्रता) in understanding the various sub-groups of the VRITTIS of SENSES (INDRIYA VRITTI इन्द्रिय वृत्ति) and knowing about self.

Physical cleanliness, a very simple looking concept is the first requirement for sticking to DHARNA. Any kind of dirt evokes nausea. It is everyday experience also for all of us that cleanliness does help in presentation and achievement. In India making use of water for cleansing had been a general practice mainly because of availability in plenty and ideal temperature conditions. The western world was rather ignorant of even taking bath till recently as is evident in their many social practices and literature where a character of G B Shaw takes pride in the fact of his father living for more than hundred years and never taking a bath and thus mocks at the very concept of cleanliness. But today its simplicity and general acceptability is contributing in a very significant way towards the GDP of so defined developed and developing world in the form of dressing and toilet goods alone that cater for cleanliness of physical body. All the tricks of the trade including unhealthy ones are employed by the commercial world with the sole aim of exploitation. All the religions and various sects have also indulged in the same exploitation by giving bizarre and extreme definitions of cleanliness and cleansing processes arbitrarily through giving slogans like ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ on one hand and endorsing orgies on the other to achieve pure enlightenment. In one sect cleanliness has been equated with abstinence from sex for a married female in order to circumvent the condition of celibacy and appreciating it as the highest form of purity and thus providing an avenue to the married females also to become YOGINIS, SADHVIS or saints. In YOGA various processes of cleansing physical body were introduced by HATHYOG and are being sold in the name of Patanjali as healthy practices. The above two sutras of Patanjali explaining cleanliness have also been subjected to such weird explanations by the spiritualists with the sole aim of exploitation by putting on pedestal a practitioner of YOGA who by observing cleanliness (SHAUCHAT शौचात्) happens to develop complete hatred (JUGUPSA जुगुप्सा) towards the parts of his body (SWANG स्वांग) and further develops a feeling of complete absence of contact (असंसर्ग) towards the body of others (परै). I feel they were constrained to explain cleanliness in such a way because they had already explained BRAHMCHARYA (ब्रह्मचर्य) one of the principles of DHARNA (धारणा) formation in a limited sense with the same sole aim of eulogizing a practitioner of YOGA. How else could they explain arriving at a complete anti-thesis of YOG where they consider it is responsible for developing feelings of hatred and disgust towards self and others? How else could they forget that respect (SATKAR सत्कार), friendship (MAITRI मैत्री), joy (MUDITA मुदिता), compassion (KARUNA करुणा) are the cardinal principles of YOG? Had they kept these principles in mind they would have automatically come to the conclusion that Patanjali has a hygienic attitude towards cleanliness and he has hinted it at physical and mental levels in these sutras. Absence of cleanliness leads to nausea and not the other way round as the spiritualistic explanations of these sutras are trying to put it. Just to eulogize a practitioner of YOGA hatred and repulsion in any form cannot become ornamental attributes of YOG. The correct translation of the above mentioned first sutra about SHAUCH should be something on the lines that a mental feeling of disgust is the natural outcome towards an unclean and dirty physical body and cleanliness, therefore, helps in overcoming this revulsion. The second sutra elaborates that such cleanliness (SATTVA सत्त्व) leads to better concentration (EKAGRATA एकाग्रता) in understanding the various sub-groups of the VRITTIS of SENSES (INDRIYA VRITTI इन्द्रिय वृत्ति). These are acceptance (GRAHAN ग्रहण), rejection (ASMITA अस्मिता), structure (SWARUP स्वरुप), function (ANVYA अन्वय) and purpose (अर्थवत्त्व) as discussed earlier This understanding helps in developing the ability of knowing oneself (ATMGYAN आत्मज्ञान) – a basic subject of Vedas and Patanjali YOG. Such an approach will definitely help in sticking to an objective.

कायेंद्रिय शुद्धिरशुद्धि क्षयात्तपसः

“TAP (तप) means cleansing the body and mind by destroying the impediments”.

This is the second essential requirement for sticking to an objective. But all the simple synonyms conveying diligence and the meanings as given by the definition above were ignored by the spiritualistic manipulations when TAP (तप) was converted into TAPASYA (तपस्या) which meant achieving the aims of penance by sitting, standing and lying in various body postures for years. Belief in such practices was further reinforced when the physical angle of ASAN (आसन) and the various cleansing practices were introduced by HATHYOG as part of YOG. However, this interpretation was reserved for practitioners known as RISHIS (ऋषि) and MUNIS (मुनि) and they were revered and people were in awe for great penance that they had performed in jungles and were thereby supposed to have become proficient in certain so believed miracles of either granting boons or cursing someone. It appears that the words like JUNGLE and RISHI were misinterpreted that way. Originally the fear generating jungles might have been the centers of learning where ARANYAKS etc were written and RISHIS must have been the awe inspiring teachers engaged in teaching, learning and research. By the passage of time such enlightened souls have now descended upon posh environments of city life and the lay men hover around them to get some miraculous blessings. These people have not only substituted for common man various kinds of rituals but involve themselves actively in propagating these as great efforts considered equivalent to TAPASYA – great penance. The rituals being followed are POOJA (पूजा), ARTI (आरती), lighting of incense candles, sounding of bells, repeating loudly or silently a MANTRA for so many times, keeping fast for so many Mondays or any week day, keeping quiet on a day or for so many days, taking holy dips in rivers on some declared auspicious days, undertaking pilgrimages and umpteen number of ludicrous self designed or recommended practices for the gullible. The proficiency is supposed to be achieved by statistics. Even the idea of keeping one’s body and senses always clean, alert and responsive was lost in such practices and objectives were reduced to fulfillment of mundane desires asked from the imaginary gods created for different purposes. With such a context explanation of TAP as a process of entire cleansing of body and mind by destroying the impurities like laziness, idleness, carelessness etc. through continuous practice involving hard work alone was lost in the mumble jumble of MANTRAS and so the idea that an objective is lost sight of if the efforts are slackened for any reason

संतोषादानुत्तम सुख लाभः

“SANTOSH means achievement of ideal happiness”.

How does it achieve ideal happiness? How is it essential for DHYAN or sticking to an objective? For answers we must know happiness first. It is generally understood as an achievement. But result or achievement is the automatic by-product of any effort and awareness of it is TRUTH as per definition given earlier. But spiritualistic definitions insist that RESULT of an action is not in our hands. Then why one should feel happy about an automatic happening which is beyond one’s control and which may give quite a range of feelings also. So happiness must be redefined and it should be understood as an outcome of a desired achievement instead of any achievement. Accepting this definition opens a Pandora box of questions and the conclusion is exactly the same. The desired achievement may range from partial to full and so the range of happiness. Even full achievement may give birth to another desire of ‘it could have been better’. There is nothing wrong if the things could have been better. But there is everything wrong if the very happiness is sacrificed. So happiness is practically never achieved with such definitions that exhort achievement. That is exactly what Patanjali means by happiness and, therefore, talks about ideal (ANUTTAM अनुत्तम) happiness and equates it with SANTOSH which is attainable only when it is not achievement oriented but effort oriented. Achievement oriented happiness is MANOVRITTI oriented behavior and it is bound to be pleasant / unpleasant (KLISHT क्लिष्ट / AKLISHT अक्लिष्ट) and Patanjali considers such HAPPINESS (SUKH सुख) as ignorance (KLESH क्लेश). While effort (TAP तप) oriented happiness is CHITT oriented as the DHARNA (धारणा) has been made by CHITT and not mind and the efforts are being made to stick to it with the help of five rules (NIYAM नियम) that exhort the reasons and varieties of EFFORT only. The rule SANTOSH has been equated with IDEAL happiness and not happiness. Sticking to an objective is not possible if it is ultimately measured by the range of happiness born out of achievements or desired achievements which always lead to floating objectives. In other words the very objective is lost and it is replaced by sweet sounding variables like contentment and satisfaction and nobody can stick to floating objectives while anybody can stick to experimenting with innumerable efforts. Ideal happiness i.e. SANTOSH is having the PATIENCE to experiment and not the urgency to achieve satisfaction or contentment. Urgency is always the outcome of anger, greed or attachment and the ‘sense of urgency’, satisfaction and contentment in achievements etc. are the sure signs of perverted logic (VITARK वितर्क) that come in the way of understanding ideal happiness as a parallel argument (PRATIPAKSH BHAVNAM प्रतिपक्ष भावनम) that is hidden in patience to experiment with efforts. The need for this kind of patience is further explained under another rule ISHWAR PRANIDHAN.

स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवता सम्प्रयोगः

“One who indulges in self study (SWADHYAYA स्वाध्याय) is always in contact with somebody from where one always gains something automatically”.

How does it happen? Bertrand Russell, the eminent philosopher of the last century mentions in his autobiography that initially he could not proceed beyond a couple of lines when he decided to write down something. Then he made self study his habit by indulging into it every now and then and he suddenly found that he was bubbling with ideas and he couldn’t help writing. The principle behind modern concept of in-service training also revolves round the idea of continuous improvement through self study. Keeping oneself abreast with the latest in one’s field is an admirable passion and is the GURU MANTRA – a kind of talisman for any effort oriented venture in any field. Patanjali calls it SWADHYAYA (स्वाध्याय) and considers it absolutely essential rule of observance - NIYAM (नियम) if DHYAN (ध्यान) that is steadfastness in sticking to DHARNA (धारणा) is to be achieved. In order to illustrate the concept of SWADHYAY, Patanjali uses the choicest symbols ISHT DEVTA (इष्ट देवता) and SAMPRAYOG (सम्प्रयोग) in the definition given above. The term DEVTA in Vedas has been alluded frequently to a PERSON or a THING that gives something and never expects anything in return as it is their inbuilt nature (DHARM धर्म). HE, SHE and IT are GIVERS and they give something that enlightens or helps in sustenance and survival of all. As PERSONS they are mother, father, teacher and a guest as depicted in the following oft quoted aphorisms that have become part of our culture:-
• MATRA DEVO BHAV (मातृ देवो भव)
• PITRA DEVO BHAV (पितृ देवो भव)
• GURU DEVO BHAV (गुरु देवो भव)
• ATITHI DEVO BHAV (अतिथि देवो भव)
As THINGS these are limitless in number (NETI NETI नेति नेति) and thus include any conceivable thing in environment and beyond. The Vedic exhortations for human beings are only twofold. First keep on finding out what thing gives what because it is its property (DHARM धर्म) to give and secondly, ensure not to disturb their function and let these be at peace. That’s why we have the culture of the terms like god and goddess for even mundane things like water, fire, air, earth, sun, moon, rivers, and plants and so on and so forth. With such a limitless list of DEVTAS and the Vedic exhortation of finding out; one has to delimit and clearly define the choice. For such choice Patanjali uses the term ISHT (इष्ट) and, therefore, the term ISHT DEVTA (इष्ट देवता) in the sutra means the “chosen subject of study”.The second symbolic term in the sutra is SAMPRAYOG (सम्प्रयोग) that stands for a kind of constant contact that is achieved through reading and experimenting. The person who is interested in finding out about his chosen subject of study has to be always in contact of it. Patanjali says that this contact can be achieved through self study SWADHYAY (स्वाध्याय). By indulging in self study one comes in contact of those findings of the persons (DEVTA देवता) who have already made efforts in the field. He also comes in contact of those things that give something to help in experimentation about his chosen subject of study. That way SWADHYAYA becomes en essential ingredient of sticking to a DHARNA. No DHYAN is possible without SWADHYAYA.

These words have been translated differently by the spiritualistic explanations. For them ISHT DEVTA means one’s favorite worshiped god and SAMPRAYOG means visualization (DARSHAN दर्शन / SAKSHATKAR साक्षात्कार) of that god in form of a person. It is in tune with their so propagated cherished concepts of innumerable personalized gods and it serves well the purpose of spreading and maintaining the bluff of interpreting SWADHYAY as reading and chanting of prescribed religious books, songs and mantras only and convincing people that such practice will ultimately force their favorite gods to appear in person in front of them and grant them the desired boon. That’s why we find people chanting HANUMAN CHALISA, MRITYUNJAY mantra, MATA KA JAGRAN etc. Such an exercise is adulated as great effort (TAPASYA तपस्या) as already discussed under TAP (तप) with the authority of Patanjali and Vedas. The very idea of research given in Vedic exhortation has thus been negated completely. Nothing could be more misleading.


समाधि सिद्धिरीश्वरप्रणीधानात्

ISHWAR PRANIDHAN helps in putting in efforts for realization of DHARNA. Final efforts for such execution are known as SAMADHI.

ISHWAR PRANIDHAN is a compound word formed by the combination of ISHWAR (ईश्वर) and PRANIDHAN (प्रणिधान). If something does really exist then only one is convinced and one can put in efforts to find it. That real existence is ISHWAR meaning knowledge and getting convinced and putting efforts to find it is PRANIDHAN. That is the literal meaning of the word ISHWAR PRANIDHAN. If that something happens to be a huge bank of unlimited useful information and unexplained data, it is bound to instill admiration for its unending vastness. If that something happens to be eternally present in that unchangeable form (APARINAMI अपरिणामी) it is bound to instill confidence of always gaining something whatsoever amount of hard work and patience is required for it. If this bank happens to be inexhaustible even if each member of the entire population keeps on taking something daily from it throughout the life span, it is bound to inspire non-stealing (ASTEYA अस्तेय), non-hoarding (APRIGRAH अपरिग्रह), in fact all the above discussed YAMS (यम) – the requirements of any DHARNA (धारणा) formation. Overall understanding this NIYAM alone can trigger cleanliness (SHAUCH), hard work (TAP), patience for ideal happiness (SANTOSH) and the habit of self study (SWADHYAYA). Such an approach is bound to lead to fulfillment of any aim. But all these meanings of ISHWAR PRANIDHAN were twisted to mean a kind of absolute faith in some anthropomorphic god and a new word ASTHA (आस्था) meaning devotion to observance of some meaningless rituals was coined to illustrate this concept. These rituals are so elastic that anyone can add any new observance anytime in the name of ASTHA. Patanjali has not used the word ASTHA (आस्था) anywhere in his YOG SHASTRA. Such an over simplification of a highly effort oriented concept resulted into a drugged lethargy and a complete anti-thesis of YOG. The irony is that this lethargy was eulogized as highest form of effort and explained as SAMADHI – a word taken from Patanjali Yog only. As per Patanjali the conclusion of considering ISHWAR PRANIDHAN as ASTHA leading to SAMADHI is possible only due to perverted logic (VITARK वितर्क) that stems from anger, greed and attachment and thus blurs the judgment. Only a perverted mind can think that whatever is there is so limited that it must be looted by him and now only particularly when the methodology of looting has been designed to be so sluggish and effortless as recommended by ASTHA techniques, like worshipping through POOJA (पूजा), ARTI (आरती), lighting of incense candles, chanting of songs and mantras and meaningless rituals.

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