Both, the external illusion [the false identification of
with the psycho-mental fluctuations] and theinternal source of illusion have to be conquered and destroyed. The yoga technique shows the practical wayin which the entire human potential, both physical and psycho-mental is brought under control [‘yoked’] inorder to attain the liberation of
The ultimate goal of yoga, therefore, is a SPIRITUAL one
THE EIGHT STAGES OF YOGA
first two stages
of Patanjali’s yoga,
(social discipline/ external control) and
(individual/internal) consist of five restraints and five observances, the don’ts and dos of right living, together known asthe ‘Ten Commandments of the yogi’.
[YS 2, 30] recommends the observance of
(non-indulgence in sexual activity) and
(purity in body and mind), seeking
(scriptural study) and
(imitation of Ishvara). [This is not devotion to god,because Ishvara is nothing more than an impersonal macro-
[YS 1, 24] and there cannot exist anypersonal relationship between Ishvara and man.
(right posture) instructs how the body should be prepared for meditation [YS 2, 46].It is the first stage of physical ascetism. Its aim is to immobilize the body with the only goal of helpingconcentration.
Their purpose is NOT, as is commonly believed, to confer health, fitness and relaxation to thebody but to be a physical support for meditation.
has a fundamental purpose.
(the lotus posture) for instance, ensures that the spiritual cord, the
, is in a verticalposition to facilitate the upward movement of the subtle female
] awakened in the
at the base of the spine, through five other psychic energy centres to unite with the malepower centre [
] located in the forehead
climaxing in the
or crown chakra at the top of one’s head in a cosmic orgasm.Each
[lit. wheel] or spinning energy centre corresponds to a Hindu guardian deity and is associatedwith its mantra and governing cosmogonical element as elaborated here [Chakra/ Guardian deity/ Mantra/Cosmogonical element]:
reaches the last
, it returns to its primordial union with the impersonal Ultimate Reality.
The fourth stage
[YS 2, 49-51] means the ‘refusal of breath’ following the ‘refusal of movement’ by performing the
. Breathing is an involuntary action and pranayama seeks to control itas a voluntary action.Ancient Hindu seers believed that just as psycho-mental tension affects the rhythm of breath, the stilling of breath can contribute to stilling the “modifications of the mind” and that by controlling the activity of breathing, they would also
control the flow of
[universal force or subtle energy] thatsupposedly gives life to the human body
.As psycho-mental activity is itself generated by
, and breathing is the main channel for the influx of
into the body, it has to be strictly controlled in order to attain control over the mind.
(elimination) are the five aspects of the
, by controlling which the yogis seek to operate froma higher level of consciousness.‘Senses control’ follows ‘breathing control’.
Plenty on Pranayama in my report on
“SURYA NAMASKARAND YOGA…”Stage five
,‘withdrawal of the senses’ from external objects and thoughts and becomingcompletely engrossed within [YS 2, 54-55]. At this stage the senses do not disturb the mind anymore, so itbecomes shut down from all outside impressions.Once this is achieved,
the sixth stage
or concentration of the mind [YS 3, 1] on one singlepurpose becomes feasible. It is a slowing down of mental activity by focusing it on a particular object of meditation.
YOGA IS: BECOMING ONE WITH BRAHMAN
, unbound by time and space becomes
,contemplation or meditation, which is an“uninterrupted flow of the mind towards the object of meditation” [YS 3, 2]. This leads to
the final stage
of yoga which is
or Self-realisation, therealisation that the self is the Self; the sense of identity of the self is lost, and the yogi has attained a unitive