Dhayna-Yogah/Topic of Meditation(Chapter 6… continued)
Krishna gives the third definition of yoga in this chapter.
Tam vidyad dukhasamyogaviyogam yogasamjnitam
Sa nischayena yoktavyo yogo nirvinnacetasa (verse 23)
May one know that dissociation from association with sorrow to be what is called as yoga. That yoga should be pursued with clarity of purpose with a mind that is not discouraged
He says that what I have taught you here as meditation is dhukha samyogah viyogah…. This separation from dukha is yoga.
We have often heard the meaning of yoga as ‘yuj‘, to join. This is the dhatu (root) meaning of the word `yoga’. Some English writers use the definition of `religion’, which has come from the word `religare’ i.e is to re-bind yourself with God, for the word `yoga’. That is why they say that yuj is to join and, therefore, `yoga’ is `to join yourself with God’. As we have seen earlier, neither Patanjali nor Krishna use this definition of yoga, only some modern writers use it in that sense.
In the Gita, Krishna says that it is not joining that is yoga, it is separation that is yoga. He says we have a natural association with pain. If you are a human being you are vulnerable, there is an unwept sorrow in every human heart. I have elaborated it in my introductory posts that this is how the Bhagavad Gita started. As a human being, I am not a fulfilled person, and the cause of my sorrow is the fact that I have taken my body, mind etc as myself. In meditation, I am dropping all these roles and seeing myself as independent of the body and mind. Once I see myself as independent of the body and mind, there is no reason for me to be sorrowful. Therefore, there is a natural dissociation from my association with sorrow, from my association with finite entities which leads to sorrow.
[pullquote]I mean that my joy is full, that nothing can take anything away from it and nothing can be added to it. Whether I am roaring with laughter or empathising with someone with grief, I am still ananda[/pullquote]
Summing up, he gives a very beautiful definition of what yoga is. He says, `Yoga is freeing yourself from association with finite things’. Freeing yourself is not a physical process, it is the ability to see oneself as independent. This is done experientially (or rather validating a cognition) when we practice sakshi bhava or centering meditation by centering ourselves on what we really are and we see ourselves as independent of the body etc. The ‘I’ that is aware of everything does not have a reason for grief– that’s how Krishna started the whole Gita. In the beginning of the second chapter, he says there is no room for grief. He emphasizes this by saying that if you are centered on what you really are, then there is no room for grief because the self is free from grief.
Once one has reached this stage in meditation, one should recall the essence of the teaching. When you bring into mind the essence of the teaching, the fact that I am existence-awareness without any sense of limits, that I am not a finite entity, then ananda is my natural state. I am refusing to translate `ananda’ as `bliss’, I will use the word `fullness’ instead for better communication.
What do I mean by `fullness’? I mean that my joy is full, that nothing can take anything away from it and nothing can be added to it. Whether I am roaring with laughter or empathising with someone with grief, I am still ananda. That discovery takes place when I am learning from a teacher, when I am listening to the unfoldment of the truth and owning it up in meditation (nidhidhyasanam). The second post on meditation dealt elaborately on `owning up meditation’ or ‘nidhidhyasanam’ where I gave the example of the poor-rich man. That idea is being highlighted some more over here. First, I center on what I am and then I bring into my mind what I am, and in this process the truth is `owned up’ i.e it becomes a fact in my daily life. Then I live in joy and fulfillment and then meditation is not necessary.
This reminds me of an interesting anecdote. I studied from a great mahatma in Rishikesh, Hariharatirtha, who is no more. A lady asked him: `Swamiji, how many hours do you meditate?’ He replied, `Beti, why are you putting this disturbance called meditation in my mind?’ and roared with laughter. From his laughter it was clear that he was already a fulfilled person and did not require meditation.
Some verses on the results of meditation are similar to the `signs of a wise person’ in the second chapter. How do you know that you don’t need meditation? The answer to that is, `If you can see the self everywhere and everything as the self, then you don’t need meditation.’
Yo mam pashyati sarvatra sarvam ca mayi pasyati
Tasyaham na pranasyami sa ca me na pranasyati ( verse 30 )
The one who sees Me in all beings and sees all beings in Me , for him (or her) I am not remote and he (or she) is not remote from Me.
Arjuna asks, `This is difficult to practice because the mind is difficult to control’. Krishna replies: Of course, it is difficult to control the mind, nothing comes easy in life. But it’s possible if you are willing to spend time in practice and if you have a sense of objectivity towards life. If I don’t have objectivity, if I view everything from a subjective standpoint, my mind will be chasing things and getting involved in them. My mind is dependent in those things for its happiness. Objectivity is when I can appreciate what something give me and what it cannot. Then my mind is more independent. Cultivate objectivity and practice regularly and you will see meditation becoming natural.
Arjuna then asks a question which is very pertinent to all of us. What happens to me, he asks, if I have started on this path and I die before I reach my goal? What if I have not yet become rooted in this knowledge , what if I die before understanding it completely?… Am I not lost? He compares it to a cloud which wants to go to the Himalayas, a small cloud which later leaves the big mass of clouds and moves ahead and the wind scatters it. Now there is no cloud, it doesn’t exist, it’s been scattered by the wind. Will I not become like that?Krishna answers Arjuna with a promise.
prapya punyakrtam lokan usitva sasvatih samah
sucinam srimatam gehe yogabhrasto ‘bhijayate (verse 41)
Having gained the worlds belonging to those who do good actions (and) having lived for countless years, the one who did not suceed in yoga is born in the home of wealthy (and cultured) people who are committed to dhrama
You have to take it as a promise, he says, because there is no way to prove it. He says there are two possibilities: a person on the spiritual path, a good person, will go to a higher dimension where he will get a nice break from the worldly life and struggle. Having refreshed himself, he will be born into a home where, he says, `suchinam srimatam gehe…….’ meaning he will be born in a home which is reasonably financially comfortable. Once he becomes a teenager, he will remember the essence of the spiritual learning and will take to it like a duck taking to water. That’s why you see some young people walk the spiritual path at a very early age because they are picking up the threads from their previous lifetime.
It is also possible, Krishna continues, that this person will be born into a family of realised souls. That type of birth, however, is rare maybe Shuka who was the son of Vyasa got such a birth. To sum up, what Krishna is saying is that nothing is lost. All of us who have come to the Bhagavad Gita today have dabbled in it in our previous lifetime. That, of course, doesn’t mean that we keep postponing it to another lifetime. You could get it in one lifetime itself, and even if you have started too late it’s not a question of time. The teacher is available, you are available, your mind is ready, why should you not know the truth? There is no reason you should not get it in the present lifetime itself, and if by chance you don’t and death overtakes us there is still nothing to worry about you because you will get it in a future lifetime.
Swamiji, what if I don’t believe in another lifetime?
Yes, rebirth is logical though not scientifically provable. Dr. Brian Weiss has done some work on it. Before him Dr. Tom Moody too has done a lot of work. These offer some support to the idea of rebirth stated in the Veda and other oriental religions. If you don’t want to accept rebirth then focus all your time and energies in getting this knowledge in this life time itself.
(Two posts in the near future will feature Q & A sessions with Swamiji. Please do send in any questions you may have pertaining to chapter 1 to chapter 6)
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