What is yoga really?

Panini, the infamous sanskrit grammarian, made the distinction of the root yuj meaning meditative concentration (yuj samadhau) from the root yujir meaning connecting or yoking (yujir yoge).

Another deeper distinction is made in Vacaspati’s Tattva Vai´sharadı, the word “yoga” is derived from the root yuj, to contemplate, and not from the root yujir, in which latter case it would mean conjunction”.

Yoga Bhasya says that practice of the limbs of Yoga destroys unreal cognition and leads to discriminative knowledge. Yoga Bhasya 1.28.

Discriminative knowledge, which distinguishes between materiality and Self nature as consciousness, is essential for liberation. Discriminative knowledge is a higher form of knowledge than ordinary discursive knowledge. Transcending the human condition and appropriating another way of being.

Misery, according to the Yoga sutras is to be prevented
-Yoga Sutra 2.16.

The cause of misery is the conjunction of the Seer and the Seen
-Yoga Sutra 2.17.

Seer or drashtr, drsh “to see” and “Seen” designate the two forms of primordial Being, purusha or consciousness, the true Self, and prakrti or materiality, the experienceable world, including one’s own bodymind. Prakrti exists for the sake of purusha; their conjunction serves the purusha’s recognition of the Self natures of the two powers.
-Yoga Sutra 2.23

Their conjunction ends when it has caused “knowledge of nature of the knower,” which is ultimate spiritual freedom
-Yoga Bhasya 2.23.

This liberation, called kaivalya, is achieved with the individual purusha’s recognition of its Self nature as consciousness, wholly independent of prakrti and all its material evolutes, including the human mind and body, and everything else in the manifest universe.

Ignorance is the source of bondage, liberation requires right knowledge. The importance of knowledge is not limited to problems of epistemology, for in Yoga, knowledge, higher or discriminative knowledge, is itself the remedy for the human condition. Correct judgment which is the production of right knowledge, and incorrect judgment which is the product of wrong knowledge, along with the other mental processes or vrttis, literally turnings  is vrt….to turn, are to be stopped by a series of preliminary and meditative practices.
-Yoga Sutra 1.2

Nirodha, the stopping of those vrttis root word rudh or to stop, to obstruct embodies Yoga.

In nirodha, the Seer is established in its own essential and fundamental nature
-Yoga Sutra 1.3

When not in Self, the Seer identifies only as the vrttis
-Yoga Sutra 1.4

Purusha’s knowing is by means of being reflected in buddhi, the intellect, but then mistaking the buddhi for itself
-TV 1.4.

 

 

 

 

Mouni Amavasya – The Silent New Moon

new_moon_background

Afraid of the dark? Running towards light?

On a new moon, the Sun and the Moon are overlapping and aligned with respect to the Earth, signifying the imbuing of light in the emptiness of the mind and consciousness is revealed. One who meditates during this time is ready for the conception of the light of consciousness having conquered not only the emotional and physical disturbances but also the remaining subtle desires.

Mauni Amavasya Vrata is a unique fast that is done on this day when one is not allowed to utter even a single word or noise. It is very difficult if not impossible for most people to do. Observing a fast that prohibits the speech has some very relevant logics behind. Controlling yourself from speaking useless things and having control over what is expressed through speech. The faith of people in god defines the meaning of Mauni Amavasya from a religious context. Texts state that the name of lord must be taken from heart rather than chanting it loud. The importance of prayers increases to a greater extent when we remember from our heart instead of mouth.

Bathing in holy rivers is considered pious on this day as during the churning of ocean in ancient times, a pot filled with amrita came out and drops of the amrita fell down in the rivers.

imgres-1

In some traditions the new year starts on a new moon known as the mouni amavasya or the new moon of inner silence.

This new moon is on the evening of the 7th of Febuary in the USA and on the 8th in India. A meditator who becomes completely absorbed and attains higher realization is known as a muni. This root word transforms into mouni or the great silence of deep meditation. When added with amavasya, denoting the new moon, this word mouni amavasya implies the silence of the great void and a silence attained only through deep meditation whereby all remaining internal chatter and imagery are conquered. The limit of perception is reached after overcoming all thought waves from subtle impressions. This metaphor of darkness is connected with the new moon.

imgres

Practicing continuously with breath brings about an understanding of the entrapments from the experience of the world. Having a daily meditation practice defined by structured techniques manifests the highest purification of internal tendencies and latent impressions lodged in the mind stuff (chitta suddhi). The ultimate knowledge of being that transcends subtle feelings and that thoughtless void can then be held by the purified mind. This journey is outlined clearly in texts. It helps to know that our affirmations become real when we synchronize them closely with what creates time and those coordinates based on a dynamic calendar that is correct instead of making things up or by a time which isn’t actually reality except to one’s ego or a calendar that is not accurate to time in this universe. The spiritual life being lived and daily meditation based on this greater synchronization are actually necessary.

A liberated being has no sense of time to feel bored when anchored in the inner silence. Free beings do not cultivate wishful desire fulfilling thinking or get unnecessarily busy with the world. That is why it is not a coincidence that the new year in many traditions begins at a point of transition based on a new moon. A new moon is symbolic of no mind or no thoughts and no mental images. While prayers and blessings bring about benevolence and boons, it is the right knowledge that is the opposite of ignorance, and removes ignorance. When your voluntary action is guided towards a structured meditation practice, you may obtain liberation in the same birth by way of right knowledge revealed that is rendered pure through meditation.

What is Yoga, as per The Katha Upanisad

The Katha Upanisad provides one of the earliest articulations of yoga, and expresses a central way of conceiving yoga, restraint of the senses, likened to the yoking of the vicious horses of a chariot driver -Kath. Up. 3:5.

In this metaphor, the self, atman, rides in a chariot representing the body. The driver is the intelligence or faculty of discriminating wisdom (buddhi), and mind (manas) is the reins. In this Upanisad the young man Naciketas receives instruction from Yama, Lord of Death, on the means of attaining Brahman and immortality. Yama teaches that the wise one may transcend joy and sorrow by the study of what pertains to the self, “set in the secret place of the heart, dwelling in the depth primeval, by considering him as God” Kath. Up. 2:12

Yama instructs that this self is not slain when the body is slain. This is also repeated in Bhagavadgıta 2:19.20a.

Yama describes yoga thus:
When cease the five senses together with the field of consciousness (manas), And the intelligence (buddhi) stirs not

That is the highest course. This is yoga. The firm holding back of the senses. Then one becomes undistracted. Yoga, truly, is the origin and the end.
Kath. Up. 6:10.11

What is Yoga, as per the Maitraiyani Upanisad

Maitraiyani Upanisad

A six-fold (sadanga) yoga is recommended in the Maitraiyani UpaniÓsad. A description is given of Brahma, the One in the sun, in the cooking fire, and in the heart. Realization of the unity of self with the limitless.

One is attainable by six yogic practices: restraint of the breath pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, tarka, and samadhi [Mait. Up. 6:18].

17. In the beginning Brahman was all this. He was one, and infinite; infinite in the East, infinite in the South, infinite in the West, infinite in the North, above and below and everywhere infinite. East and the other regions do not exist for him, nor across, nor below, nor above. The Highest Self is not to be fixed, he is unlimited, unborn, not to be reasoned about, not to be conceived. He is like the ether (everywhere), and at the destruction of the universe, he alone is awake.

Thus from that ether he wakes all this world, which consists of thought only, and by him alone is all this meditated on, and in him it is dissolved. His is that luminous form which shines in the sun, and the manifold light in the smokeless fire, and the heat which in the stomach digests the food. Thus it is said:

‘He who is in the fire, and he who is in the heart, and he who is in the sun, they are one and the same.’

He who knows this becomes one with the one.

18. This is the rule for achieving it (viz. concentration of the mind on the object of meditation): restraint of the breath, restraint of the senses, meditation, fixed attention, investigation, absorption, these are called the sixfold Yoga. When beholding by this Yoga, he beholds the gold-coloured maker, the lord, the person, Brahman, the cause, then the sage, leaving behind good and evil, makes everything (breath, organs of sense, body, &c.) to be one in the Highest Indestructible (in the pratyagatman or Brahman). And thus it is said:

‘As birds and deer do not approach a burning mountain, so sins never approach those who know Brahman.’

19. And thus it is said elsewhere: When he who knows has, while he is still Prana (breath), restrained his mind, and placed all objects of the senses far away from himself, then let him remain without any conceptions. And because the living person, called Prana (breath), has been produced here on earth from that which is not Prana (the thinking Self), therefore let this Prana merge the Pratia (himself) in what is called the fourth’. And thus it is said:
‘What is without thought, though placed in the centre of thought, what cannot be thought, the hidden, the highest-let a man merge his thought there: then will this living being be without attachment.’

20. And thus it has been said elsewhere: There is the superior fixed attention (dharana) for him, viz. if he presses the tip of the tongue down the palate and restrains voice, mind, and breath, he sees Brahman by discrimination (tarka). And when, after the cessation of mind, he sees his own Self, smaller than small, and shining, as the Highest Self, then having seen his Self as the Self, he becomes Self-less, and because he is Self-less, he is without limit, without cause, absorbed in thought. This is the highest mystery, viz. final liberation. And thus it is said:

‘Through the serenity of the thought he kills all actions, good or bad; his Self serene, abiding in the Self, obtains imperishable bliss.’

21. And thus it has been said elsewhere: Sushumna, going upwards from the heart to the Brahmarandhra, serving as the passage of the Prana, is divided within the palate. Through that artery, when it has been joined by the breath held in subjection, by the sacred syllable Om, and by the mind absorbed in the contemplation of Brahman, let him proceed upwards, and after turning the tip of the tongue to the palate, without using any of the organs of sense, let greatness perceive greatness. From thence he goes to selflessness, and through selflessness he ceases to be an enjoyer of pleasure and pain, he obtains aloneness…..kevalatva, final deliverance.

And thus it is said:

‘Having successively fixed the breath, after it had been restrained, in the palate, thence having crossed the limit, the life, let him join himself afterwards to the limitless Brahman in the crown of the head.’

India….. A spiritual tourist journey

Is it real??? Seriously. Living in India for 5 years has opened my eyes to alot of things. Number one is that things are really no where what they have been painted to be. Not even close.

As one of my teacher has said to me over and over…. “Do not believe for one minute that that romanticized spiritual idea that the Western world idealizes about India actually exists. That was a different time. It doesn’t exist anymore and hasn’t for a very long time.”

Holy Cow Unholy Violence

Selling the Sacred Cow

Out of six largest meat suppliers in India four are Hindus

India, a large slaughter house for cows

History of cow slaughter in India

Treatment of cows in India

No Sacred Cow

I was told the other day about how Hindu priests and Swamis have been caught going to poor villages and collecting poor families cows (when they can no longer afford to feed the cow) in the statement that they had a go shala (cow shed) that they would take care of the cows and instead they are selling them to the butcher.

So where is the Jasmin gardens with Krishna and Radha walking through them?????

Anyone out there read Srimad Bhagavatam? When did Krishna leave and why?????

 

What is Yoga, as per the Svetasvatara Upanishand

Svetasvatara Upanishand

II-7: Attaining whom thou destroyest the source and art no more troubled by the results of past actions – to that ancient Brahman be thou devoted through the Prime Cause, the Immanent Soul. 

II-8: Placing the body in a straight posture, holding the chest, throat and head erect, and drawing the senses and the mind into the heart, the knowing one should cross over all the fearful currents by means of the raft of Brahman.

II-9: Controlling the senses with an effort, and regulating the activities in the body, one should breathe out through the nostrils when the vital activities become gentle. Then the knowing one, without being in the least distracted, should keep his hold on the mind as on the reins attached to restive horses.

II-10: One should perform one’s exercises in concentration, resorting to caves and such other pure places helpful to its practice – places where the ground is level without pebbles, and the scenery pleasing to the eyes; where there is no wind, dust, fire, dampness and disturbing noises.

II-11: Forms that appear like snow, smoke, sun, wind, fire, fire-fly, lightning, crystal and moon, precede the manifestation of Brahman in Yoga practice.

II-12: When the fivefold perception of Yoga, arising from (concentrating the mind on) earth, water, light, air and ether, have appeared to the Yogin, then he has become possessed of a body made of the fire of Yoga, and he will not be touched by disease, old age or death.

II-13: It is said that the first signs of entering Yoga are lightness of body, health, thirstlessness of mind, clearness of complexion, a beautiful voice, an agreeable odour and scantiness excretions.

II-14: Just as the same metal disc, which was stained by dust before, shines brilliantly when cleaned, so the embodied being, seeing the truth of Atman, realizes oneness, attains the goal and becomes sorrow-less.

II-15: When the Yogin realizes the truth of Brahman, through the perception of the truth of Atman in this body as a self-luminous entity, then, knowing the Divinity as unborn, eternal and free from all the modifications of Prakriti, he is freed from all sins.

In Ayurveda, What to eat? How to eat?

Diet is basically the sum of the food consumed by organisms. It is not something someone goes on when trying to get healthy because of the unbeneficial way they normally eat. All the organisms including humans eat to survive. All disease comes from eating and living unhealthfully but there is so much knowledge to this. We should eat appropriate food to live healthy life at all times.

 

Concept of Diet in Ayurveda

 

Ayurveda has always given immense importance to diet since ones diet is what they eat and what you eat, if it is digested properly, becomes you. Since it determines the health of a person is defined by healthy digestive system and health of the digestive system depends on healthy eating habits, not just eating what is thought to be healthy. The most healthy meal can be the most toxic meal if consumed in the wrong manner, i.e. too much, too fast, too slow, in the wrong order of qualities of the food, etc and etc…

 

There are 8 factors which have to be taken into consideration before consumption of any food or diet.

Basic character of the food
Before consuming any food we should know the basic character of the dietary ingredient. It defines how the food will be digested and assimilated in our body. For example ‘garbanzo beans’ have heavy character hence are difficult to digest. This knowledge takes time to understand. There is no list in general that is written to provide this knowledge because each dietary ingredient may have several different qualities as per the time is is eaten i.e. the ripeness of the food article to the varies species of that food item, i.e. the varied types of meat or varied types of rices (basmati rice is a heavy rice and not for normal consumption where as sona masoori rice is light and can be eaten all the time.

Preparation
These are the various treatments or processes done on the food to change the basic character of the dietary ingredient up to certain extent. These processes include soaking, cooking, frying, roasting, etc. For example, rice grains have basically heavy character but when cooked with water become lighter and easier to digest. A meat soup, which is used in many treatments in Ayurveda can have the meat cooked first then made into a soup making it even lighter and easier to digest yet maintaining its nourishing qualities.

Combination
It is the combination of two or more dietary ingredients. Combinations give rise to properties different from those possessed by individual food items. For example, fish and milk when consumed individually are good for health but when consumed in combination give rise to various disorders mainly of the skin. A book that is readily available and from the Western nutritional library is Food Combining Made Easy although this is not Ayurveda, it gives a general understanding of food combining that is proper and easy to understand. it is also written in the early 1900’s and food combining still has not been brought into the Western nutrition’s compendium of common knowledge.

Quantity
It is the quantity in which the food is consumed. It is measured in two ways
1) Quantity of each dietary ingredient
2) Quantity of total diet consumed at any point of time.
All of which is determined upon ones own agni or digestive capacity at that very time as well as the season and other things listed in this article.

Environment
It includes the region where that particular dietary ingredient is grown as well as the region to which person consuming that dietary ingredient was born and lives presently. It is of extreme importance as the locally produced foods are easily assimilated in the body. The concept of eating local food (slow food movement) which is now very popular in the western was known and practiced since thousands of years in Ayurvedic.

Time
It is with respect to disease state and season. Certain dietary ingredients are benefical in certain disease states and certain seasons while others are not. For example, the consumption of foods with cold character should be forbidden in beginning of summer season and milk should be avoided in acute stage of fever.

Directions of use
These are the rules and regulations which should be followed during food consumption. For example one should not eat before earlier food is digested. This turns both meals into toxic waste or aama and destroys agni or the digestive capacity.

The eater
This is the person who consumes the food. It is perhaps the most important factor since beneficial or non-beneficial effects of diet depend on the individual consuming it.

 
Always eat the food which is fresh and warm. Because fresh and warm food is more palatable and easy to digest. (There is no such things as a raw food ayurvedic diet. This goes directly against all the deeper knowledge of Ayurveda. Reheating food is not healthy. This also makes one more conscious as to the amount of food they are cooking as well as the amount of food one is eating. It also makes one aware of their own agni or digestive capacity to then prepare their own meal of the right quantity.)
One should always eat foods of all the different qualities from chewable to lickable, meaning from hard to soft. Also making sure there is the appropriate amount of oil in some or the other form.
One should always eat in proper quantity that is not too full or too little. To do otherwise destroys the digestion.
One should eat only when earlier meal is digested properly. As stated before, without letting the previous meal digest completely, eating another meal turns all of it into aama which is basically a improperly digested foodstuff that is toxic to the body and is where diseases comes from. It also destroys the agni, the digestive capacity or the fire that is digesting the food.
One should not eat the foods with opposite characters. For example do not eat food with hot and cold character in combination. eg. milk and fish
One should always eat in pleasant and hygienic place with proper cutlery appliances. Any time the mind is disturbed it affects the digestive process. To eat in a calm environment that is conducive to eating food that will turn into you is the beneficial action for health.
One should not eat too quickly or too slowly. Both cause disease. One of the main steps for a person with Irritable Bowel Dysfunction is to simple chew their food and slow down.
One should eat with his or her full concentration. The food that you are about to eat is actually going to turn into you if eaten properly. It will build a healthy you or it will build a dysfunctional and diseased you. To spend time with your meals, with focus on only eating, with no distractions will create health.
One should eat according to his or her constitution, the food which is acceptable by the body which eventually will help in building the health. This rule is blown out of proportion in much of what the West is calling Ayurveda. To eat a diet that is an “anti pitta diet” that is taught in Western ayurveda will destroy the digestion as the foods that create the digestion are all pitta and all the cooling anti pitta foods that one will be following on those lists are going to put out the digestive fire and create aama or toxicity. This does create disease. This is also the same with anti vata and anti kapha diets in their own fashions. A balanced diet contains all the rasas or tastes and is respective in the balancing of them to the time of day, the weather of the day, the balancing of the season, the agni of the eater, and only lastly to one’s own constitution unless one has a disease that then the intake is needing to be based off of to heal the disease. Normally what is seen when one undergoes true Ayurveda panchakarma is that after the excessive doshas are thrown out and the agni is rekindled properly and the individual is rebuilt is that the foods that were too heating for them are now not at all (speaking to anti pitta diets). This brings to question how applicable those anti dosha diets are. Another thing to mention with this is that what was once thought to be ones normal constitution was nothing more than an imbalance and the anti dosha diets were not making them better.
The food which is consumed as per all the above rules is easily digested and assimilated in the body. This ultimately helps keeping one healthy.
The most important part that has to be noted here is that ancient scholars have given equal importance to the things other than food such as the place of eating place and even appropriate use of cutlery and bowls, cups and plate to eat off of which makes the food presentable and boosts person’s interest in eating and affects the digestion which is all very important factor in proper digestion and assimilation of food.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,457 other followers

%d bloggers like this: