From Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

24. Ishvara is the soul, untouched by limitation, free from karma, and desire.

Free from Karma. Through knowledge of the law he has adjusted all his karma, paid all his debts, cancelled all his obligations, settled all claims against him, and through his subjective realization has entered consciously into the world of causes. The world of effects is left behind, in so far as the three worlds are concerned. Thus he no longer (blindly and through ignorance) sets in motion conditions which must produce evil effects. He works ever with the law and every demonstration of energy (the spoken word and the initiated action) is undertaken with a full knowledge of the result to be attained. Thus nothing he does produces evil results and no karma is thereby entailed. Average men deal with effects and blindly work their way through them. The Master deals with causes, and the effects He produces, through the wielding of the law, do not limit or hold him.

3. Nirvana, that condition into which the adept passes when the three lower worlds are no longer “attached” to him through his inclinations or karma, and which he experiences after he has:

a. Taken certain initiations,

b. Freed himself from the three worlds,

c. Organized his Christ body.

12. Karma itself has its root in these five hindrances and must come to fruition in this life or in some later life. It might be pointed out that if we divide the human torso into three departments it might be stated that:

1. Karma Yoga resulted in the awakening of the four centers below the diaphragm,

2. Bhakti Yoga resulted in their transmutation and transference into the two centers above the diaphragm, yet in the torso, the heart and the throat.

3. Raja Yoga synthesizes all the forces of the body in the head and from there distributes and controls them.

2. The aim of these three is to bring about soul vision and to eliminate obstructions.

It is interesting to note here that the words “soul vision” precede the thought of the eliminated hindrances or obstructions, showing that the vision is possible even to those who have not yet perfected themselves. The vision comes in those moments of exaltation and high aspiration to which most of the sons of men are susceptible and provides the incentive needed to produce that determination and perseverance which the elimination of the obstruction necessitates. The words “elimination of the obstructions” or the “alteration of the hindrances” (as it is sometimes  translated), is a large and generic expression and Hindu commentators point out that it involves even the eradication of the seeds of those hindrances, and their total destruction as by fire; that just as a burnt, dried up seed is no longer capable of propagation and becomes unfertile, producing no growth, so the seeds of the obstructions to the life of the Spirit are similarly rendered unfertile. These seeds are found in three groups, each producing a large crop of hindrances or obstructions on the three planes of man’s evolution—the seeds latent in the physical body, those producing the obstructions of the astral body, and the seeds latent in the mental body. They are of three kinds in each case, making literally nine types or kinds of seeds:

1. Seeds brought over from previous lives,

2. Seeds sown in this life,

3. Seeds brought into the field of one’s life from the family or race with which one is allied.

It is these seeds which produce the obstructions or hindrances to soul vision and the free play of spiritual energy and Patanjali says they are of five kinds and proceeds to deal with them specifically. By some commentators the word is translated distractions, and all three terms are equally correct and any of them can be used. It may perhaps be pointed out that:

1. The word “obstruction” is more technically correct when applied to the physical plane,

2. The word “hindrance” is more illuminating when applied to those things which, through the medium of the astral body, prevent soul vision,

3. The word “distraction” has more specific reference to the difficulties which assail the man who seeks to quiet the mind and so achieve soul vision.

3. These are the difficulty producing hindrances: + avidya (ignorance), and the sense of personality, desire, hate and the sense of attachment.

These are the five wrong ideas or concepts which for aeons of time and throughout many lives, prevent the sons of men from realizing that they are sons of God. It is these concepts which lead men to identify themselves with that which is lower and material, and to forget the divine realities. It is these misconceptions which make a prodigal son of the divine Monad, and which send him forth into the far country to eat of the husks of mortal existence. It is these which must be overcome and eliminated before a man can “lift up his eyes” and see again the vision of the Father and the Father’s Home and so be enabled to tread consciously the Path of return.

It might be pointed out that two of the hindrances, avidya and sense of personality, relate to man, the synthesis upon the physical plane, that desire has relation to his astral body or vehicle of feeling, and that hate and a sense of attachment are products of the sense of egoism (the ahamkara principle) which animate the mental body. Thus the threefold personality is the field for the seeds and in the soil of the personal life in the three worlds do these seeds propagate and flourish and grow up to obstruct and hinder the real man. These seeds must be destroyed, and in their destruction three things eventuate:

1. Karma is worked off,

2. Liberation is achieved,

3. The vision of the soul is perfected.

12. Karma itself has its root in these five hindrances and must come to fruition in this life or in some later life.

Just as long as man on the physical plane is subject to, or governed by these hindrances, just so long will he initiate those activities which will produce inevitable effects, and just so long will he be tied to the wheel of rebirth and be condemned to form-taking. The student should carefully note that these five hindrances are the cause of all the activities of the lower personality or the lower man. Everything he does is based on one or other of them and there is no action of the average man in the three worlds which is not the outcome of ignorance and its accompanying erroneous identifications and reactions. As the hindrances are overcome and ignorance, the field of them all, is superseded by divine wisdom, there are fewer and fewer effects to work out on the physical plane, and the chains which link a man to the great wheel of physical manifestation are severed one by one. These chains are triple just as the field of ignorance is triple, being the three great planes of consciousness which are the field of human evolution. When the field of ignorance becomes the field of conscious experience and when the chains are felt to be fetters and limitations, the would be chela has made a tremendous step forward in the liberating process. When he can carry the struggle inward into what Ganganatha Jha calls “the unmanifested life” and which we frequently call “the subtler planes” he is entering the Hall of Learning and is severing those fetters which kama (or desire) and the wrong use of the mind have so subtly forged. Later he will enter the Hall of Wisdom and be taught certain esoteric and occult methods of hastening the liberating process.

13. So long as the roots (or samkaras) exist, their fruition will be birth, life, and experiences resulting in pleasure or pain.

The predominant work of the occult student is the manipulation of force, and the entering of that world wherein forces are actively set in motion which result in phenomenal effects. He has to study and comprehend practically and intelligently the working of the law of Cause and Effect, and he leaves off dealing with effects and centres his attention on their producing causes. In relation to himself, he comes to realise that the primary cause of the phenomenon of his objective existence in the three worlds is the ego itself, and that the secondary causes are the aggregate of those fundamental egoic impulses which have led to the development of response to sense contacts on the three planes. These impulses have produced effects which (being under the law) must work out into objectivity on the physical plane. Therefore there is much importance attached to the necessity for establishing direct egoic contact, via the thread or sutratma, for only in this way can the aspirant ascertain the causes lying back of the present manifestations of his life, or begin to deal with the samkaras or seeds of his future activities. These seeds are kama-manasic (or partially emotional and partially mental) in nature, for desire is potent in its effects and produces the physical vehicle in its two aspects.

a. Lower manas, or concrete mind is the basic factor in the production of the etheric body.

b. Kama, or desire is the prime factor in calling the dense physical vehicle into being.

The two together are responsible for manifested existence.

It is well known that the tree of life is depicted with the roots above and the flowering leaves downwards. In the tiny tree of life of the ego the same symbolic presentation holds true. The roots are found on the mental plane. The flowering forth into objectivity and fruition is to be seen on the physical plane. Therefore it is necessary for the aspirant to lay the axe to the root of the tree, or to deal with the thoughts and desires which produce the physical body. He must enter the subjective realm if he wants to deal with that which will continue to keep him on the wheel of rebirth. When the seeds are eradicated, fruition is not possible. When the root is separated from its externalities on any of the three planes, then the life-energy no longer flows downwards. The three words birth, life and experience sum up human existence, its object, method and goal and with them we need not deal. The whole subject of karma (or the law of Cause and Effect) is dealt with in this sutra, and is of too vast a subject to be enlarged upon here. Suffice it to say that, from the standpoint of the Yoga Sutras, karma is of three kinds:

1. Latent Karma. Those seeds and causes which are yet undeveloped and inactive and must work out to fruition in some part of the present or subsequent lives.

2. Active Karma. Those seeds or causes which are in process of fruition and for which the present life is intended to provide the needed soil for the flowering forth.

3. New Karma. Those seeds or causes which are being produced in this life, and which must inevitably govern the circumstances of some future life.

The beginner in this science of yoga can begin dealing with his active karma, interpreting each life-event and every circumstance as providing conditions wherein he can work off a certain specified series of effects. He can endeavor so to watch his thoughts that new seeds are not sown so that no future karma can be brought to fruition in some later life. The seeds of latent karma are more difficult for the neophyte to work with and it is here that his Master can help him—manipulating his circumstances and dealing with his surroundings in the three worlds in order that this type of karma may more quickly work out and be done with.

If the above was actually taught in American Yoga to its depth instead of the focus being upon exercise, what do you think the outcome would be like? This speaks to the level that is being taught as well as the level of the teachers.

There is a paradox. This paradox is one that we are all in this together, we are all one…. yet we are individuals. When we live the paradigm of yoga, we are straddling the interconnectedness of everything and the individual paradoxically at the same time. Seeing of the other as the other is embodied. Being able to see the other that is different is had as well. Reciprocity is the outcome.

I am the oppressor. I am the oppressed. I am Bikram Choudary. I am Jaffa-Bodden.




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