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Raja Yoga

by Swami Sivananda

Mind is a mysterious something which is really nothing but does everything.

It is born of Maya. It is a product of ignorance. It is a compound of Vasana and Sankalpa. It is a mixture of worry and fear. It is a solution of Ahamkara. It is a confection.

Absolute and relative Manifestations.

 

ATMA or SPIRIT

Absolute

INTUITIONAL
WILL
MIND

Plane

PRANA
MATTER

Relative manifestations

Matter, Prana and Mind are the three relative manifestations of the Absolute. Prana is really a modification or manifestation of Mind. Prana is Kriya Sakti or faculty of actions. Matter emanates from Prana. Prana proceeds from mind. Matter is below Prana. Prana is above matter but below mind. Prana is positive to matter but negative to mind. Mind is positive to both Prana and matter but negative to will. Will is the centre of the ego. Will is the General-in-chief which directs the mind and Prana to all parts and in all directions. Intuition is above reason and is the channel of communication between man and spirit. Development of the Will-power by autosuggestion is the basic principle of Raja Yoga or Vedanta. Superconscious Mind is the realm or Spirit of Life.

METAPHYSICS OF THE INNER MAN

The Physical body, the astral body, Prana, intellect or Buddhi, the instinctive mind, the spiritual mind and the spirit are the seven principles of man. Buddhi is pure reason. The seat of Buddhi is just below the crown of the head in the pineal gland of the brain. Buddhi is manifested only in those persons who have developed right intuitive discrimination or Viveka. The ordinary reason of the worldly people is termed practical reason, which is dense and has limitations.

Prana is the vital force, life-energy or Jiva-Sakti. It is the eternal symbol of God or Brahman. It is Hiranyagarbha or Golden Son of God. It is the link between the astral and physical bodies. Prana is divided into physical Prana and psychic Prana. Breathing is external manifestation of physical Prana. All thoughts are due to the vibrations of psychic Prana in the Chitta.

The causal body or Karana Sarira is the support for the astral and physical bodies. Will is Para Sakti. Get this Sakti-you will get Sat or Existence.

Chitta is the subconscious mind. It has two layers. One layer for emotion and the other for passive memory. The instinctive mind is the lower nature of human beings. It is the desire mind or Kama Manas. The Spiritual mind is the higher Manas. The seat of the mind is the heart. The mind connected to the Somachakra of the lowermost portion or undersurface of the brain is termed the organ of understanding. By Manonasa or annihilation of the mind is meant the destruction or dissolution of the lower nature, desire-mind. Sankhya Buddhi or Buddhi in the light of Sankhya philosophy is will and intellect combined. Mind is microcosm. Mind is Maya. Mind occupies an intermediate state between Prakriti and Purusha, matter and Spirit.

TAME THE SIX WILD BEASTS

You have a whole menagerie within, with the lion, the tiger, the serpent, the elephant, the ape, and the peacock. Bring them to subjection. The beauty of the flesh is really due to the life-giving principle Prana. The beauty is attributable to the light that emanates from Atman. The nasty body with oozing discharges from nine gutters is composed of five elements, is Jada-Vastu and Apavitra. Always entertain this idea. Have a clear-cut, well-defined image-picture like this. You will conquer lust by such a mental drill. If you understand the doctrine of unity in variety, if you know there is only one Matter, one Energy, one Mind-substance, one Life, one Existence, Sat, one Reality, and if you entertain always such a thought, you can control Krodha. If you remember that you are only an instrument in the hands of God, that God is everything, God does everything, God is just, then you can get rid of Ahamkara. You can annihilate Dvesha by Pratipaksha Bhavana. Look to the brighter side of persons. Ignore the dark aspect.

Emotion is a motive power like the steam of an engine. It helps you in your evolution. Had it not been for the presence of emotion you would have passed into a state of passivity or inertia. It gives a push for action or motion. It is a blessing. But you must not become a prey to emotions. You must not allow the emotions to rule over you. You must not allow them to bubble out. You must purify and calm the surging emotions. You must allow it to rise slowly and subside quietly from the mind-ocean. You must keep the emotion under perfect control. Do not mistake physical sensations for higher sublime emotions. Do not be carried away by emotions. There are certain people who like to hear some new sensational events just to arouse their emotions. They live on emotions, otherwise they feel quite dull. This is a great weakness. This must be eradicated if they like to have a calm, quiet life.

All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you control anger, all evil qualities will vanish by themselves.

Ahamkara, Sankalpa, Vasana, Prana have intimate connection with the mind. There cannot be any mind without these four. Prana is the life of the mind. Ahamkara is the root of the mind. Sankalpas are the branches of the tree mind. Vasana is the seed of mind. This deep-rooted tree of Samsara of dire Ajnana which ramifies in various directions with branches full of flowers, tendrils, fruits, etc., has the mind as its root. If this root-mind is destroyed, the tree of Samsara, this tree of birth and death will be destroyed. Cut this root-mind with the axe of Brahma-Jnana. Chop off the branches-the Sankalpas-with the knife of Vichara-Viveka.

The ever-restless mind becomes quiescent when all desires vanish. Desire raises Sankalpas (thoughts). Man performs actions for acquiring the desired objects. Thus he is caught up in the wheel of Samsara. The wheel stops when the Vasanas perish.

Just as there are doors in a bungalow between the outer and inner rooms, so also there are doors between the lower and higher minds. When the mind is purified by the practice of Karma Yoga, Tapas, right conduct or the practice of Yama, Niyama, Japa, meditation, etc., the doors between the lower and the higher mind are opened. Discrimination between the real and the unreal dawns. The eye of intuition is opened. The practitioner gets inspiration, revelation and higher Divine Knowledge.

It is extremely difficult to have a calm and pure mind. But you must have such a mind, if you want to have progress in meditation, if you desire to do Nishkama Karma Yoga. Then only you will have a perfect instrument, a well-controlled mind at your disposal. This is one of the most important qualifications for the aspirant, you will have to struggle hard for a long time with patience and perseverance. Nothing is impossible for a Sadhaka who has iron-will and strong determination.

Just as soap cleanses the physical body so also Japa of a Mantra, Dhyana, Kirtan and practice of Yama cleanse the mind of its impurities.

CHITTA

The subconscious mind is termed "Chitta" in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences, memories-thrown into the background but recoverable.

When you show symptoms of losing your memory, as you grow old, the first symptom is that you find it difficult to remember the names of persons. The reason is not far to seek. All the names are arbitrary. They are like labels. There are no associations along with the names. The mind generally remembers through associations, as the impressions become deep thereby. You can remember in old age some passages that you have read in schools and colleges. But you find it difficult to remember in the evening a passage you have read in the morning. The reason is that the mind has lost its Dharana-Sakti (power of grasping ideas). The cells have been degenerated. Those who overwork mentally, who do not observe the rules of Brahmacharya and who are afflicted with much cares, worries and anxieties, lose their power of memory soon. Even in old age you can remember old events as there are associations with events.

The mental processes are limited to the field of consciousness alone. The field of subconscious mentation is of a much greater extent than that of conscious mentation. Messages when ready, come out like a flash from the subconscious mind or Chitta of the Vedantins. Only ten per cent of mental activities come into the field of the consciousness. At least ninety per cent or our mental life is subconscious. We sit and try to solve a problem, and fail. We look around, try again and again but fail. Suddenly an idea dawns and leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at work.

Sometimes you go to sleep at night with the thought "I must get up very early in the morning to catch a train". This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. Subconscious mind is your constant companion and sincere friend. You repeatedly fail at night to get a solution for a problem in Arithmetic or Geometry. In the morning when you wake up you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the subconscious mind. Even in sleep it works incessantly without any rest. It arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and works out a proper satisfactory solution. This is all due to subconscious mind.

With the help of the subconscious mind you can change your vicious nature by cultivating healthy, virtuous qualities that are opposed to the undesirable ones. If you want to overcome fear mentally deny that you have fear and concentrate your attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When this is developed fear vanishes by itself. The positive always overpowers the negative. This is an infallible law of nature. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana of the Raja Yogins. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new ideals, new ideas and new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by changing the old ones.

The functions of Chitta are Smriti or Smarana, Dharana (retention) and Anusandhana (inquiry or investigation). When you repeat a Mantra it is the Chitta that does the Smarana. It does a lot of work. It turns out better work than the mind or Buddhi.

All actions, enjoyments and experiences leave their impressions in the subconscious mind in the form of subtle impressions or residual potencies. The Samskaras are the root of causing again Jati, life and experiences of pleasure and pain. Revival of Samskaras induces memory. The Yogi dives deep inside and comes in direct contact with these Samskaras. He directly perceives them through the inner Yogic Vision. By Samyama (concentration, meditation and Samadhi) on these Samskaras, he acquires knowledge of previous lives. By doing Samyama on the Samskaras of others, the Yogi gets the knowledge of their past lives also.

When you desire to remember a thing you will have to make a psychic exertion. You will have to go up and down the depths of the different levels of the subconscious mind and then pick up the right thing from a curious mixture of multifarious irrelevant matter. Just as the mail sorter in the Railway Mail Service takes up the right letter by moving the hand up and down along the different pigeon-holes, so also the sorter in the subconscious mind goes up and down along the pigeon-holes in the subconscious mind and brings the right thing to the level of normal consciousness. The subconscious mind can pick the right thing out from a heap of various matters.

A Samskara of an experience is formed or developed in the Chitta the very moment the mind is experiencing something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of a Samskara in the subconscious mind.

Smriti of memory is the function of Chitta (subconscious mind). It is a separate faculty or category in Vedanta. Sometimes it is Antarangata (comes under the mind). In Sankhya philosophy it is included in Buddhi or Mahat Tattva. The Chitta of Patanjali Rishi's philosophy of Raja Yoga (Yogas Chittavritti-Nirodhah) corresponds to the Antahkarana of Vedanta.

MIND AND ITS MYSTERIES

Just as a busy officer works alone in a room by closing all the doors, so also the busy mind works alone in a dream by shutting out all the doors of the senses.

Mind is a power born of the soul. It is through mind that the Lord manifests Himself as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects.

Mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. Of all thoughts the thought 'I' is the root. Therefore, mind is only the thought "I".

Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras or impressions. It is nothing but a bundle of habits. It is nothing but a collection of desires arising from contact with different objects. It is also a collection of feelings aroused by worldly botherations. It is a collection of ideas gathered from different objects. Now these desires, ideas and feelings constantly change. Some of the old desires are constantly departing from their storehouse of the mind, and new ones are replacing them.

In the waking state, the seat of the mind is the brain; in the dreaming state the seat of the mind is the cerebellum; in the deep sleep state it rests in the heart.

Mind always attaches itself to something objective. It cannot stand by itself. It is only this mind that asserts itself as 'I' in this body.

The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form of substance. Manomatram-Jagat Manah-Kalpitam Jagat. Mind creates. Mind destroys.

The occult phenomena that take place in the mental world are all based on scientific laws. Occultists and Raja Yogins should have a comprehensive intelligent understanding of these laws. Then only will they be able to control the psychic forces easily.

Practice of telepathy, thought-reading, hypnotism, mesmerism, distant healing, psychic healing, etc., clearly proves that mind exists and that a higher developed mind can influence and subjugate the lower minds. From the automatic writing and the experiences of a hypnotised person, we can clearly infer the existence of subconscious mind which operates throughout the twenty-four hours.

If an idea is planted in the mind, it grows at night through the operation of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind never takes any rest. It works vigorously throughout the twenty-four hours. Those who know how to manipulate this subconscious mind can turn out tremendous mental work. All geniuses have control over their subconscious mind. You must understand the ways of extracting work from the subconscious mind. Subconscious mind is a wonderful underground mental factory.

Mind is the greatest force on this earth. He who has controlled his mind is full of powers. He can bring all minds under his influence. All diseases can be cured by psychic healing. One is struck with awe and wonder at the marvellous and mysterious powers of the mind of a man. The source or home or support of this mysterious mind is God or Atman.

Any action that is done by the physical body is the outcome of a preconceived idea. The mind thinks, plans and schemes at first. Then the action manifests itself. He who invented a watch at first had all ideas in his mind about the construction of the lever, various wheels, dial, minute-hand, second-hand, hour-hand, etc. These ideas materialised later on into actuality.

A spark of light presents the appearance of a continuous circle of light if it is made to rotate quickly. Even so, though the mind can attend but to one thing at a time, either hearing or smelling, though it can admit of but one kind of sensation at a time, we are led to believe that it does several actions at a time, because it moves from one object to another with tremendous velocity, so rapidly that its successive attention and preception appear as a simultaneous activity.

The best philosophers and seers (Rishis and sages) are unanimously agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but it only appears to be doing so when it is shifting with prodigious rapidity backward and forward from one end to the other.

Change of thought, relaxation of mind by dwelling on thoughts of pleasant objects, cheerfulness, Sattvic food, mental recreation of Sattvic nature are necessary for mental health.

The mind assumes the shape of any object it intently thinks of. If it thinks of an orange it assumes the shape of an orange. If it thinks of Lord Jesus on the Cross it assumes the shape of Lord Jesus on the Cross. You must train the mind properly and give it proper pure food for assimilation. Have a Divine background of thought or mental image.

If all the thoughts are eliminated, then there remains nothing which can be called mind. So thoughts are the mind. Again there is no such thing as world, independent of and apart from thoughts. Two thoughts, however, closely related to one another, cannot exist at the same time.

The mind becomes that on which it dwells. This is an immutable psychological law. If you begin to think about the Dosha or defects of a man, for the time being at least your mind dwells on the bad qualities and becomes charged with these qualities, whether the man possesses these bad qualities or not. This may be your vain imagination only through your wrong thinking, wrong Samskaras or wrong (bad) habits of the mind. He may not possess even a bit of the bad qualities which you have superimposed on him through ill-will or some form of jealousy or petty-mindedness or habitual Dosha-Drishti or fault-finding nature. Therefore, give up the dangerous habit of censuring others and finding fault in others. Praise others. Develop the power or vision of finding only good in others. Do not bark like a wild dog about the bad qualities of others. Glorify others. You will grow spiritually. You will be liked, honoured and respected by others.

Deep sleep (Sushupti) is not merely a state of inactivity or passive repose. It has deep philosophical significance. Vedantins study this state very deeply and carefully. It gives the clue for non-dual philosophers to trace, search and find out the hidden, silent witness.

Atman is ever awake, although all the minds are at rest. Mother of this world, Rajesvari, takes the Jivas back to Her and Her Lord during deep sleep, hugs them to Her bosom, bestows on them refreshing peace, new vigour, vitality and strength and makes them quite fit for the ensuing battle of life on the following day. But for this sleep, life would have been absolutely impossible in this physical plane when miseries, diseases, cares, worries, fears and anxieties of various kinds trouble men every second. If a man does not get sound sleep even for one night, if he loses his sleep one night for three hours by keeping watch over a sick patient or attending the cinema, how miserable, gloomy, depressed he feels the next day!

Mind is atomic according to the Indian school of logic. It is all-pervading according to Raja Yoga school of Patanjali Maharshi; it is of the middling size (same size as that of the body) according to the Vedantic school.

Mind is material. Mind is made up of subtle matter. This discrimination is made on the principle that the soul is the only source of intelligence: it is self-evident; it shines by its own light. Mind is formed out of the subtlest portion of the food.

Mind can be compared to water. Water exists in four states, viz., causal state, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen; subtle state, in the form of water; gross state, in the form of ice: and gaseous state, in the form of vaporised steam. Even so the mind is in a gross state during Jagrat state when it enjoys sensual objects, is in a subtle state when it functions in the dream state, is in a causal state when it gets involved into its cause, Mula-Avidya, during deep sleep and it evaporates as gas when it melts or dissolves in Brahman during Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Just as the physical body is composed of solid, liquid and gaseous matter, so also the mind is made up of subtle matter of various grades of density with different rates of vibration. A Raja Yogi penetrates through the different layers of the mind by intense practice.

Just as you nourish the physical body with food, so also will you have to give food for the mind and spiritual food for the soul.

When your business fails, or when you are in heavy grief by the death of your only son, you get emaciation of body even though you eat nourishing, substantial food. You feel tremendous internal weakness. This clearly proves that mind exists and cheerfulness is a good mental food.

When a lady is deeply engaged in the management of the affairs of her daughter's marriage, she forgets to take her food. She is always happy. Her heart is full of joy. The joy and cheerfulness are powerful tonics for her mind. She gets inner mental strength although she does not take any food.

CONTROL OF MIND

Life in this physical plane is a mere preparation for the eternal life of everlasting sunshine and joy which is to come when one gets knowledge of the Self through intense and constant meditation after purifying the mind. This immortal life of supreme joy is described as the 'Kingdom of Heaven' in the Bible. That Kingdom of Heaven is within you, in your heart. Realise this Immortal Life, O Susil! by controlling the mind, and enjoy the Supreme Bliss of the Self.

The secrets of Yoga Sastra can only be imparted to that student who is Jita-Indriya and Abhyasa-sura, who has devotion to Guru, who has Vairagya, discrimination, who is firm in his determination and who has strong conviction in the existence of God.

The mind is single, but it appears dual in dreaming state as the perceiver and the perceived, through the power of Maya or illusion. The mind itself takes the forms of rose, mountain, elephant, rivers, ocean, enemy, etc. Just as heat is inseparable from fire, so also fluctuation is inseparable from mind. It makes the mind restless. The fluctuation is caused by the power of Rajas. It is the fluctuation that causes Asanti (absence of peace of mind). The Bhaktas remove this tossing by Japa, Upasana and worship of Ishtadevata.

The power of fluctuation is itself the mind. This fluctuating mind alone is this world. The mind becomes no mind if fluctuation disappears. The mind ceases to exist, if it becomes destitute of this fluctuation. What is called Maya is this fluctuating potency of the mind. Mind does havocs through the power of fluctuation. Fluctuation is Mara or Satan or Vasana or Eshana or Trishna. It was this fluctuation that tempted Visvamitra. It is this fluctuation that brings about the downfall of a struggling aspirant. Destroy this fluctuation through strong Viveka, constant meditation and ceaseless Brahma-Vichara.

As soon as fluctuation manifests itself various sorts of imaginations crop up. Imagination co-exists with fluctuation. Imagination is as much dangerous as fluctuation. Fluctuation moves the mind. Imagination fattens the mind. Mind minus fluctuation and imagination is a mere zero. Fluctuation and imagination are the two wings of the mind-bird. Cut the right wing through Atmic enquiry and the left wing through the practice of thoughtlessness. The great bird-mind-will fall dead on the spot immediately.

The one dividing wall between the soul and body is mind. If this wall is broken by ceaseless Atmic enquiry, then the Jiva mixes with the Supreme Soul just as the river mixes with the ocean.

Close your eyes. Meditate. Open your heart to the inflow of the invisible power. You will find in the Bible "Empty thyself, I will fill thee". Then you will have abundant, superintuitional knowledge which is beyond the reach of intellect. Just as water freely flows when the tap is turned so also Divine Wisdom will flow freely when the obstacles of ignorance that stand in the way of knowledge are removed. You will get flashes, glimpses of the Divine inspiration, revelation and intuition. You will have to put yourself in a state of quietude by silencing all bubbling thoughts and emotions and connect the mind with the source by withdrawing the mind from sensual objects, just as you do in telephone by turning the switch off and connecting the two persons who want to speak.

All duality is of mind. The whole of duality is caused by the imagination of the mind. If all imaginations are withdrawn into the mind itself by constant practice of discrimination, Vairagya (dispassion), Sama, Dama, and Samadhana, you will not experience the dual universe. The mind will become no mind. As it has nothing to cognise, it will rest in the source, the Atman.

"My mind was elsewhere, I did not see". "My mind was elsewhere, I did not hear"; for a man sees with his mind and hears with his mind.

The attraction for objects and the ties of various sorts make the man bound to this world. Renunciation of all attractions for objects and breaking up the ties constitute real Sannyasa. That Sannyasi or Yogi who is free from attraction and ties enjoys the infinite bliss, supreme joy and eternal bliss.

The mind should be absorbed in the word Om (Pranava). That Yogi or Jnani whose mind is absorbed in Om has no fear whatever. He has reached the goal of life.

The fire of meditation rapidly consumes all evils and sins. Then there follows that knowledge of Truth which confers perfections, everlasting peace and immortality.

Stop the Vrittis through constant and steady practice. The mind will become no mind. You will attain Yogarudha State (the Absolute state). The seeds of Avidya in the form of potential tendencies which are embedded in the mind are all burnt to ashes when the mind rests in the Truth during Samadhi. The fire that burns is the fire of knowledge of Atman (Jnana-Agni, Yoga-Agni).

When the Yogi has attained the last stage of meditation, when he has entered into Asamprajnata Samadhi, he becomes a Jivanmukta in this very life.

The fire of Yogic Samadhi burns all Samskaras in toto. There are now no seeds for rebirth.

SIDDHIS

A powerful occultist hypnotises the whole audience collectively through his power of concentration and will, and performs the rope-trick. He throws a red rope in the air, gives the suggestion to the onlookers that he will climb in the air through this rope and disappears from the platform, in the twinkling of an eye. But, when a photograph is taken, nothing is recorded.

Yogins of olden times, like Sri Jnana Deva, Bhartrihari, Patanjali Maharshi, used to send and receive messages to and from distant persons through mind-telepathy and thought-transference. Telepathy was the first wireless telegraph and telephone service in the world. Even now there are Yogins who are versed in telepathy. Thought travels with tremendous velocity through space. Thought moves. Thought is as much a solid matter as a piece of stone is. It can hit a man against whom it is directed.

Understand and realise the powers of the mind. Unfold the hidden powers or occult faculties. Close the eyes. Concentrate. Explore the higher regions of the mind. You can see distant objects, hear distant voices, send messages to distant parts, heal persons who are at a distance, and move about to a distant place in the twinkling of an eye. Believe in the powers of the mind. If you have interest, attention, will-power, faith you are bound to succeed. The source for the mind is Atman or the Higher Self. This mind is born of Atman through His Maya or illusory power. Cosmic mind is universal mind. Cosmic mind is the sum total of all individual minds. Cosmic mind is the Hiranyagarbha or Ishvara or Karya-Brahman. Man's mind is just a fragment of the universal mind. A Raja Yogi becomes one with the cosmic mind and knows the workings of all minds. The Yogi gets omniscience through the cosmic mind. The Yogi experiences cosmic consciousness through the cosmic mind.

Tap the universal mind. You will get higher supersensuous knowledge. You will experience cosmic consciousness. You will get knowledge of the past, present and future. You will acquire knowledge of the Tanmatras (root elements) and mental plane. You will experience clairvoyance and clairaudience. You can know what is going on in the minds of others. You will get Divine Aisvarya or Vibhutis of God. There are scientific means to tap this universal mind. Purity, concentration, dispassion, right living, right thinking, right conduct, right action, devotion, moderation in eating and sleeping, purity in food, truthfulness, continence, non-injury, austerities have to be regularly practised for a protracted time.

Look at the marvels of mind! One is struck with awe and wonder when he witnesses a hypnotised person in trance and hears his narratives. The hypnotised person narrates very lucidly the life-history and incidents of a person whom he has not seen in his life.

A maid servant (a Jew) who was attending on a Hebrew Priest used to hear the Hebrew verses during her service. She suddenly developed a double-personality when she was sick in the hospital and repeated Hebrew verses. She did not know the Hebrew language. All the Samskaras (of hearing from the priest) were in the subconscious mind, and she repeated the verses. No Samskaras are lost. They are indelibly recorded in the gramophonic machine of Chitta.

A priest used to forget his old personality and assume a new personality, a new name, a new avocation for six months. When he developed a double-personality he could leave his old house, entirely forget all about his old life and would return to his native place after six months and would entirely forget all about the second personality he assumed for six months.


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