[Advaita-l] Ramana Yoga Sutras (6)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 22 00:31:13 EDT 2021

(Continued from previous post)
IV. “satata pratyavekshanat” By constant watching (of the breath)
1. There are several methods advocated in the practice
of breath control. The method the Maharshi teaches is a
rare one: if one merely watches the breath and no attempt
to control it is made, the breath of itself slows down almost
to the vanishing point. This is a practical tip and is the
essence of several types of yoga sadhana.
2. Normally in hatha yoga the nostrils are closed and
opened with the fingers for definite intervals. Some say
that if the time taken for inhalation is one unit, the retention
of the breath should be for four units and breathing out for
two units. The sadhaka practicing in this way is fighting a
battle, as it were, with the force of the breath. Were this
battle to be conducted the wrong way, dangers or disasters
might follow, particularly if it were to be lost. Forced effort
may end in various kinds of diseases; it may even cause
madness, and in some cases, if the kundalini or life force
rises uncontrolled, the body gets almost burnt up and death
can result. So this practice needs to be done with great
care and circumspection under the personal supervision of
a Master, adopting easy techniques from time to time and
different restrictions as to diet, time and posture. The
Maharshi bids us strictly to avoid this method of hatha yoga.
Do not fight with the natural flow of the breath. Only
watch it as if you were a witness to a process. This is
called the ‘sakshi bhava’ in philosophical terminology,
3. The advantages of the Maharshi’s method are
many. It automatically turns the thoughts away from the
ideas and objects of the world, effecting a severance of
the world and one’s self. The world of affairs will amount
to zero for the practitioner of this method. All the
tribulations that naturally follow any contact with the world
cease, so that all disturbing factors are brought to an abrupt
end. Not for him are the emotional surges and fits of despair
found in the bhakti marga, nor are the anxieties of the
karma marga present. The dangers of the yoga marga
will never touch him; not even the troubles of the path of
raja yoga will face him. One is almost the Divine, the
kootastha, who is said to be the witness of the three states
of consciousness – jagrat, swapna and sushupti.
4. The result will be the slowing down of the speed at
which thoughts arise; they become slower. In the end, a
thought arises and sinks, an interval ensues, and only then
another thought arises. That means, since the thoughts
arise in consciousness, the thoughts sink back again into
consciousness, and before another thought ensues, there
is only the consciousness free from thought. In reality,
one is that consciousness, in which there is no idea of the
manifested world, either gross or subtle. One is almost in
the state of Divinity. It is the ‘hrid’ state of consciousness,
which is thoughtless. One has reached the highest possible
goal of individual effort in which the little self is not known;
it is almost the attainment of the Atman.
5. The practice of this method needs no niyamas
(observances); differences in time, circumstances, clime,
personality, sex, race and religion are all extinguished. The
moment you begin this practice you are taken away from
the world’s dualities. There, no more sastras, no more
discussions trouble you. Others need not even know that
you are a sadhaka of this sort. Generally people praise a
sadhaka for his consistency, good nature and high spiritual
attainment. This praise is the greatest danger to a sadhaka.
In “Ulladu Narpadu” [Supplement, Verse 37] Bhagavan
has clearly pointed out this danger. In this method, even
the vanity of being a sadhaka is given up.
6. Above, I said, “almost the Divine”. The reason for
this reservation is that the Self, even in this state, is shrouded
by the avarana sakti of Maya. No one can remove this shroud
by their own effort. For when one is in the state of ‘hrid’,
there is no individual left to make any effort for the removal
of this veiling. Then what is the way? Nothing but Divine
Grace can help you now. The state of ‘hrid’ contains in itself
the unmanifested seeds which later manifest. The force of
those seeds is weakened by the efflux of time and by the
experience of their results in various worlds, both subtle and
gross. When the force of those seeds becomes negligible,
the Atman of itself emerges in all its glory. The state of ‘hrid’
is a negative experience. The state of the Atman is a positive
one, entirely dependent upon its own Grace. So say the
Kathopanishad Upanishad: “To him whom It chooses, It
reveals Itself.”
(Continued in next post)

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