Be a Yogi (Disciplined), Become Yati (Sanyasi) and Be Blessed to be Liberated Self (Mumukshu) for Ever
(Compilation for a discourse by N.R. Srinivasan, Nashville, TN, USA, August 2016)
Yoga Darsan (Vision of Yoga), one among the six ancient texts, goes deep into the psychology of attention and concentration, and lays down a practical path to liberation by gradual concentration of attention on the nature of the Self, aided by physical culture, moral discipline and meditative and physical exercises. Yoga accepts meditation and reasoning, based on eight limbs—Yama, Niyama, Aasana, Praanaayaama, Pratyaahaara, Dhaarana, Dhyaana and Samaadhi, as the means for union which is the goal of every being. There are many benefits of Yoga if it is treated as a philosophy and not just health and exercise. Yoga gives strength and flexibility, releases stress, keeps mentally and physically healthy, purifies the body and mind, and keeps one on the right track. It increases the ability to reflect on the past and perceive the future, gives courage and resolution to perform rare feats and prepares one to help others. Yoga is looking inwards. With introspection, awareness grows that leads to harmony with others. That way, systematically and surely Yoga leads to final Union with the Absolute God” says Professor Srikant Prasoon.
May I also draw your kind attention to the following advice from Swami Chidananda to prepare yourself spiritually in practical life!
“Gather Yourself, Be a Yogi!
We have enough within us – knowledge, skills, resources, care and love. If we gather what we have, we are yogis. If we fritter them away, we are (almost) rogis (sick)!
Yoga means a state of being united. The verbal root yuj in Sanskrit means ‘to unite, to join’. This yuj goes well with the English ‘yoke’. When we yoke our minutes and hours to the talent that we have, we spend our day wisely. When we yoke our good intentions to the energy we have, we achieve desirable goals. We thus rise when we are ‘connected within us’ and we fall when there is disconnection. Connection is yoga; disconnection is viyoga.
A lot of us, being away from yoga (the state of mind), suffer private failure, which then reflects in our public failure. Our time, in the privacy of our home, goes in conflict and contradictions; no wonder our time then with people at work also lacks clarity of purpose and steadiness of execution.
| tasmaad yogee bhava, Arjuna !
Therefore, Arjuna, be a Yogi! (Gita 6-46)
The advice here is not about some physical posture like the head stand! It is about inner collectedness.
In his beautiful little book, “Silence as Yoga,” Swami Paramananda writes:
“It is not work so much that wears us out; sometimes lack of work may do it. It does not know how to direct ourselves; it does not know how to find that attitude of collectedness and poise. When we are equipped with these qualities, we always have greater power of penetration.”
How do we gather our energy? How do we collect ourselves?
The good news is that new energy is constantly supplied to us by Nature, outside and inside. No matter how tired we were the previous night, don’t we get up with a lot of fresh energy the next morning? (May be some of us, as we get older, need more hours of sleep and we do not get as much energy as we used to in our sunny days! Even then the exhaustion of the previous night and the newness this morning is so different!)
Therefore it is a matter of wisely spending the ‘present’ hours of every day, which enables us to regain our ‘paradise lost’. The American poet Longfellow therefore rightly remarked:
“Act; act in the living present, heart within and God overhead!”
On the highest plateau of Vedanta, it may be said that we are always Pure Awareness but an inexplicable error takes place leading to false identification with the body and the mind. To study, reflect upon and abide by the Self is the ultimate medicine (and the highest yoga). We then are not affected by low energy, poor self-esteem, fear or guilt.
Merely becoming a Yogi in practical life one will not attain liberation in this very life. Of course! It makes him a Bhogi (healthy mentally and physically) to enjoy life. He has to be spiritually engaged all the time and be a Yati and then move forward. That calls for Tyaaga or renunciation. To get at the know-how, we have to go deep into Veda mantras contained in Mahanarayana Upanishad (MNU) which are again just repeated in Kaivalya Upanishad and echoed in Bhagavad Gita as follows:
Tapasvibhyah adhiko yogee Jnaanibhyopi mato adhikah |
Karmibhyascha adhiko yogee tasmaad yogee bhavaarjuna||
Yoginaam api sarveshaam madgatenaantar aatmanaa |
Sraddhaawaan bhajate yo maam sa me yuktatamo matah ||
Even among those who have yoked themselves to the discipline of harmonious growth of body, mind and spirit (Yogi), the one with faith who allows himself to be absorbed by the Supreme Spirit and partakes of the nature of the Supreme Spirit (Yati), he is the most integrated (yoked himself best to the discipline).
[Mere austerities and penance will neither achieve the final goal of life; nor book learning and intellectual acquisitions and exercises devoid of the direct knowledge of the Supreme spirit.]
Yogee yunjeeta satatam aatmaanam rahasi sthitah |
Ekaakee yatachittaatmaa niraaseera-parigrahah || 6- 10 ||
The Yogi with his mind and body subjugated, free from desire, destitute and living alone in solitude (Yati), should constantly engage his mind in meditation.
Yogayukto visuddhaatmaa vijitaatmaa jitendriyah |
Sarvabhoota-aatma-bhootaatmaa kurvannapi na lipyatay || 5-7 ||
He, who is united with the Self in Yoga, who is pure at heart, whose body and senses are under his control, who realizes his own Self as the Self in all beings (aatmavat sarvabhooteshu), he is not tainted by actions, while he functions.
Ritualism and Vedic studies are indeed good for the pursuit of spiritual growth, and are surely good for maintaining self-discipline and self-purification as enlightened by Swami Chidananda. The prescribed rituals in Sastras (scriptures) have been written by the sages who were guided by the wisdom of Vedas. That is why Gita says “tasmaat saastram pramaanam te kaaryaakaaryau vyavasthitau”—therefore consider scriptures as the authority or final arbiter in determining what action should or should not be performed.” The reason why Gita announces supremacy of Yati (Sanyasi) over Yogi is because until and unless one learns to live in the consciousness of the Divine, it is natural for anyone to slip from the path of spiritual advancement. Gita makes it clear that the Yogi who worships the Supreme Being with his mind totally being focused on Him, is definitely considered to be the best among all kinds of Yoga practitioners. The Yoga with devotion transcends all the other methods and it is superior to all penances, scriptural knowledge and performance of religious acts.
Bhagavad Gita emphasizes the fact that nobody should ever renounce the performance of good deeds. The merits of good deeds and yogic practice are never wasted. Whenever it is earned by the individual, it goes to the spiritual bank and always remains under the custody of the Supreme. It is possible it may stay dormant for a while but never wasted. Every individual should always respect and uphold Dharma under all situations of life. Merits of good work never go unrewarded and always helpful in yoga practices eventually.
The above slokas in Gita are not based on battle field discussions but based on the Upanishad Mantras contained in Katha Upanishad, Mahanaryana Upanishad (MNU) and again in the later Kaivalya Upanishad which just repeats the mantras contained in MNU.
Katha Upanishad on which Bhagavad Gita heavily leans for its teachings gives a brief account of Yoga as self-control and concentration by which Brahman is realized by a Sanyasi or Yati (recluse).
Yoga to a student of Vedanta starts with and is continued in self-control. To him the extreme development of his powers of concentration through successful achievement in the control of his sense-organs is the greatest of Tapas-Austerity (Aikaargryam paramo tapah).
Control of the sense organs does not mean merely the negative idea of taking over our sense-organs away from their sense-objects (yoga). This is only half the battle. Success can be achieved in self-control only when our minds are fixed firmly in steady concentration by renunciation (tyaaga) and meditation upon Brahman—sanyaasa-yoga.
Tam yogamiti manyante sthiraam-indriya-dhaaranam |
Apramattaastada bhavati Yogoee hi prabhavaapyayau || 6-11 ||
Those who know Brahaman (Yati) consider the state of steady concentration of the sense organs as Yoga. Then one should be vigilant as Yogi is indeed origination of all good and cessation of all undesirables.
Such a Yogi is indeed a Sanyasa-Yogi or Yati. The supreme state which is of the form of concentration of the external and internal sense organs, which is described in the following Mantra is considered as Sanyasia-yoga or Yati Status described in MNU later.
Yadaa panchaava-tishthante jnaanaani manasaa saha |
Buddhischa na vicheshteta taamaahuh pramaam gatim || 6-10 ||
When the five sense organs along with the mind come to rest and the intellect does not move, that state the knowers of Brahman call the highest (refer to Gita above).
During moments of God-consciousness, the individual transcends his mind and intellect, to reach the land of the Eternal Consciousness which often Upanishads explain as Fourth State or Tureeya without offering any explanation—may be that condition is beyond any human explanation (Brahmaanandam).
MN Upanishad says: That immortality which the sages (yatis or sanyasins) attain, that immortality which is stationed in Supreme Spirit (Parama Vyoman) which is above heaven—is not attainable by rites, nor by progeny nor by wealth, but is gained by some only through renunciation or self- surrender (nyaasa or saranaagati). [Immortality is not attainable by Karmas or rites performed for gaining various results. It is neither gained by progeny which may satisfy the Pitrus nor gained by attainment of wealth.]
The hermits (Sanyasins) who are endowed with the decisive knowledge (of Taatva, Hita and Purushartha) that is derived from Upanishads, whose minds are purified on account of self-surrender (prapatti) at the feet of the Lord, become freed from all bondages, by attaining Supreme Spirit (Parmaatman) in the abode of Supreme spirit, after the fall of their final body.
Na karmanaa na prajayaa dhanena tyaage-naike amritatvam-aanasuh |
Parena naakam nihitam guhaayaam vibhraajate yad yatayoe visanti || 1 ||
Vedaanta-vijnaana-sunischitaarthaah sanyaasa-yogaad-yatayah suddha-sattvaah |
Te brahmalokeshu paraanta-kaale paraamritaat-parimuchyanti sarve || 2 ||
--Mantras from MNU
These mantras are repeated word by word in Kaivalya Upanishad:
“By liquidating our identification with the body, mind and intellect alone we can reach ‘the still moment of meditation’ and therein alone we can awaken ourselves to the Universal Truth and enter the plane of God-consciousness, transcending even the state of sleep (no pain).”—1. “Those who are pure in mind, striving through the path of renunciation, come to ascertain clearly the deeper imports of the Knowledge, which is the theme of the Vedanta; they in the end, gain the World of Brahma (Brahmaloka), and liberating themselves from everything gain the Highest Immortality.” --2. (Chinmaya Mission)
Mantra two explains how a Yogi can become a Yati (hermit). MNU and Kaivalya Upanishad say; “Sanyaasa-Yogaat Yatayah parimuchyanti”—by practicing Sanyaasa Yoga Yatis (hermits or Sanyasins) get liberated. Sanyaasa or Nyaasa implies renouncing worldly and religious work (tyaagaa) and preferring to remain forever steadfastly in the consciousness of Brahman. Sanyaasa transcends all other means of Liberation. “Nihitam Guhaayaam bibhraajate yatayah visanti” -- The Yatis (sanyanis or hermits enter brilliantly the Ether of the Heart; “tyaagena amritatvam aanasuh” –who have attained immortality by sacrificing all things.
The above mantras do not outright condemn that work, progeny and gift of wealth as futility which are needed for Pravritti marga (material progress) about which we have discussed in detail. Its purpose however is to stress the supreme importance of renunciation for the attainment of divine knowledge which is the goal of two-fold path of Pravritti and Nivritti. The one focuses on preparedness while the other focusses on reaching the final goal of Liberation or Mumukhshattva. It does not dismiss the initial needs of debt to ancestors (pitru rina), rishis debt to Rishis (Rishi rina) and debt to Gods (deva rina). The Supreme Being is realized in the highest abode of Brahmaloka as well as in one’s own heart, which is a pre-requisite for the other. Supreme Being is attained by those who study the Vedas, understand their import, perform duties laid down by them, habitually control their senses and constantly meditate on the Supreme. They surrender the fruits of their actions to the Supreme Being; consequently they are not bound by the actions they do (padmapatramivaabasa), like the lotus leaf is not touched by the dirty water.
The goal of Vedanta is self-realization (Brahmajnaana). The central theme of the last mantra is that this realization is attained through inner-purity gained by resorting to Yoga (Discipline) and Sannyasa (Renunciation or Tyaaga). Sanyasi status (becoming Yati) calls for renouncing worldly and religious pursuits and opting to remain forever steadfastly (Sthitaprajnya) in the Consciousness of Brahman about which we have talked about before. Those who perpetually strive to this spiritual state are called Yatis. A rare few can attain that state in this very birth. Wisdom of Vedas leads to Vedanta. The soul that is illumined by the wisdom of Vedanta takes its last birth and consequently it meets with its Para-antakaala, final goal of merging with the source. Ignorant people are not liberated even at the time of their final dissolution, while those who have knowledge of Brahman (Brahmajnnana) are liberated at the fall of their body.
“Know that all this, whatever moves in this moving world, is enveloped by God. Therefore find your Ananda (bliss) or Tureeya State in Renunciation; do not covet what belongs to others”—Easaavasyopanishad.
Ishaavaasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyaam jagat |
tena tyaktena bhunjeethaa maa gridhah kasya svid dhanam ||
tena tyaktena bhunjeethaa maa gridhah kasya svid dhanam ||
MNU concludes that if a person, meditating on Brahman dies, during (Uttarayana) the period of the sun’s movement towards northern direction, he attains the greatness of Gods and attains Saayujya or similarity in the characteristics of the sun (The Universal Light). On the other hand he who dies during the period of the sun’s movement towards the southern direction (Dakshinayana) gets only the greatness of the pitrus or manes and attains similarity with the moon. A meditator who is a Sanyasi (Brahmopasaka) gains the glory of the sun and the moon. Attainment of greatness of moon by a sanyasi is merely to rest there for a while. Only those who are not Brahmajnas attain the moon through pitruyaana and return to this world by thy same way. But a Brahmajna, if he happens to die in Dakshinayana, rests for a while in the moon and then proceeds further from the moon to Brahman.
“…Yanmaranam-tadvabhritha etadvai jaraamarya magnihotra(ga)m satram ya evam vidwaanudagayane prameeyate devaanaameva mahimaanam gatvaadityasya saayujyam gacchatyatha yo dakshine prameeyate pitrunaameva mahimaanam gatvaa chandramasah saayujyam gacchatyetau vai sooryachandramasormahimaanau braahmano vidwaanabhijayati tasmaad brahmano mahimaanamaapnoti tasmaad brahmano mahimaanam…’
Brahman is the only Reality. All belongs to Brahman. Rejoice in Brahman through Renunciation (Nyaasa). Covet Nothing. Thus practice Sanyaasa-Yoga. Samsaara Vriksha is the tree with the root above and the branches below like Aswattha. This root is Brahman!
Yoga in Spiritual Quadruplets from Yoga Darsan
Yoga is an Indian Darsan, a way of seeing,
A precise and classical path of inside moving.
Yoga is a tangible Metaphysical Methodology;
Yoga is ultimately the Self’s and Supremes’ meeting.
Yoga makes one see oneself with greater clarity,
Full of life and spirit, Yoga gives enough velocity,
By yoking and joining Individual Self to Universal Spirit;
Yoga keeps shapely, checks slimness and obesity.
Health and fitness is needed for transcending,
For remaining empty-minded and for meditating,
Still outwardly but moving inside very fast;
It climbs the airy ladder, steadily ascending.
It purifies blood for stronger and durable cells,
To be able to bear life’s values, dales and gales,
It helps in absorbing and storing cosmic energy;
With rhythmic force in inner space, it always sails.
Yoga is mental and physical in equal proportions,
It remakes and gives shape to each distortion.
It urges, makes earnest appeal for complete piety;
For which lays powerful conditions and extortion.
BE A YOGI
1) Creation we are in perfection in divine's loving eyes/.
Wholesome we are in the way we are sculpted now/
A new day is whole rainy or sunny with sun in skies/
Yogi embraces the body mind and soul with self-love/
2) Being alive is always in motion like a scripted dance/.
Whether in Asana or while changing to new a pose/
To be harmonious while holding and changing stance/
Yogi embraces the body mind and soul aligned close/
3) Traveling from unknown to known by looking within/
Awaken will awareness like shining light in darkness/
Shadows of Self will be brightly illuminated wherein/
Yogi travels along in luminous path of consciousness/
4) Weaving blanket of love life blesses along the way/
To endure the troubles that comes every now and then/
Seeking the power beyond to guide us we so often pray/
Yogi spreads the blanket of love with compassion woven/
5) Being the children of the universe like stars and trees/
We try to coexist with nature's many precious creations/
To be serene even when the trails blow away in breeze/
Yogis conquer challenges with their intuitive meditations/
6) Life is not bed of roses it comes with thorns along with it/
Idyllic may be the moments but can also be very arduous/
Dismal it can be even for the brave it can shake the spirit/
Yogi stands up with strength of spirituality, being virtuous/
7) Devotion has no affiliation to any one religious scripture/
Like drops of rain and rays of sunshine which is natural/
Every soul in every heart looks for transcendental rapture/
Yogi finds the path of consecration being divinely prayerful/
8) Everyone seeks contentment every moment in every breath/
Looking all around day and night to live in peace and in serenity/
Ending with discontent in their search for transcendental truth/
Yogi finds content by lighting non flickering flame of tranquility /
9) Yearning souls seek liberation from cycle of birth and death/
Searching for ways and ways to find that elusive deliverance/
Getting confused about the complicated rituals beliefs and faith/
Yogi rises above and beyond mortal ways with true deference/
--Dr. Ram Prasad
Be a yogi and Move Forward (Charaibeti)
Yielding the mind to see within for the light/
Obscuring fallacy of life which warps the sight/
Guiding body and soul to blend with supreme/
Affirming the ways in shadows of divine gleam/
Yacht it is to travel with vision clear as dawn/
Overture to ecstasy which is divinely drawn/
Graceful way to find meaning of self in life/
Acclaiming the presence to hurdle over strife/
Yarns of ways stringed together with new spirit/
Orderly paths to follow each with its own merit/
Glimpse, it gives to the world beyond the earth/
Awareness it brings to separate myth from truth
Yearning it brings for the mind to look beyond/
Over and over it stirs to reach for higher ground/
Gateway for the world beyond the mortal world/
Ascending with mind it reaches the level untold/
--Dr. Ram Prasad
1) Swami Chidananda, Be a Yogi, Private communication, FOWAI Forum.
2) Swami Vimalananda, Mahanarayana Upanishad, Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
3) Ananata Rangacharya, Principal Upanishads, Bengaluru, India.
4) Ramachandra Rao, S.K., Gita Kosha (Trisati), Kalpataru Research Academy, Bengaluru, India.
5) Prabha Duneja, Bhagawad Geeta, GovindramHasanand, Delhi, India
6) Srinivassan, N.R., Discourse on Kaivalya Upanishad, Hindu Reflections<nrsrini.blogspot.com>
7) Swami Chinmayananda, Kathopanishad, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, India.
8) Prof. Srikant Prasoon, Indian Scriptures, Hindology Books, Pustak Mahal, Delhi, India.