Saturday, 22 October 2016

The threefold exercise in jnana yoga.

The  threefold  exercise in  jnana yoga.

                        The  threefold exercise  in  jnana  yoga  are  Sravanam, Mananam  and Nidhidhyasanam .   Sravanam  is  receiving the  scriptural  teachings  from  a  competent  Guru. . It  involves  a  systematic  and  continuous  study  of  the  scriptures  for  a  length  of  time  ,during  which  time  ,the  student  does  not  ask  any  questions  . Sravanam  is  not  just  hearing  but  listening  attentively  to  the  teachings  . The  seeker  has  to  thereupon  do   independent  reflections  on  the  lessons  he  has  listened  from  the  master.  He  is  allowed  to  ask  questions  to  clear  all  his  doubts  ,so  that  his  knowledge becomes  doubt  free. . He  should  become  completely  free  of  all  doubts   and  get  convinced  of  the  facts  presented  by  the  scriptures. . Mananam  is  an  intellectual  process  . Sravanam  removes  ignorance  of  the  scriptural  teachings  , Mananam  makes  his  knowledge  doubt  free   and  Nidhidhyasanam  is  contemplating  on  the  Truths  presented  to  him  by  the  scriptures. 

              Nidhidhyasanam  is  the  process  of  assimilation  or  internalisation  of  the  teaching  ,so  that  the  the  Truths  become  our  own  . We  have  to  a  great  extent  raga,  dwesha,  likes  and  dislikes  ,  kama  and  krodha  ,  lobha moha,  mada  and  matsaryam   and  fear  of  the  unknown  ,of  the  future. . If  we  continue  to  have  these  emotional  problems  even  after  the  three  exercises  , it  only  means  that  this  knowledge  has  not  been  assimilated  and   made  our  own.  . The  Guru  of  course  helps  us  in  this  process  ,yet  we do  need  sometime  to  allow  the  transformation  to  take  place. . As  seekers  we  should  keep  in touch  with  saints  and  great  masters  to  keep  ourselves  connected  to  the  sastras. . We  should  also  lead  an  alert  life  monitoring  all  our  responses   and  make  sure  that  all  our  responses  to  every  situation  is  governed  by  the  new  teaching  . These  three  exercises  will  give  self-knowledge  and  that  in  turn  will  help  us  attain  moksha. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Jnana yoga -continued...

Jnana  yoga .
              When  I  attain  Self-knowledge  , I  come  to  acquire  courage  to  face  life's  ups  and  downs,  I  develop  the  tolerance  to  accept  all  situations  in  my  life  cheerfully   and  I  also  show  discretion  in  choosing  the  good  over  the  pleasant. . So  the  question  we  are  now  faced  with  is  as  to  how  to  attain  Self  -knowledge  , what  are  the  means  that  I  follow  which  will  help  me  to  attain  Self-knowledge  in  this  very  life,  in the  here  and  now  ?

          Self- knowledge  can  be  attained  only  through  the  right  pramanams  .   Scriptures  accept  five  instruments  of  knowledge  and  they  are  a.  perception,  we  get  knowledge  through  the  five  sense  organs  . This  is  called  pratyaksha  pramanam. . b,  Inference  -anumanam  ,  c,  postulate  or  arthapattihi,  d,  comparison  or  upamanam   and  non-cognition  or  anupalabdihi. .  For  all  practical  purposes  ,the  above  five  can  be  reduced  to  two  -that  of  perception  and  inference. .  I  find  that  these  pramanams  do not  help  me  to  know  my  Self  ,  as  they  are  all  extroverted  in  nature.  and  hence  do  not  help  me  in  knowing  the  'I  '. 

            So  Scriptures  introduce  a  sixth  pramanam  ,which  serves  as  a  mirror  for  gaining  Self-  knowledge. . The  sixth  pramanam  is  called  Sastra  pramanam  or  Sabda  pramanam. . Through  the  scriptural  study  ,  we  can  come  to  understand  the  Atma,  the  Self. .  Scriptures  recommend  that  a  seeker  should  approach  a  competent  Guru  with  shraddha  in  the  scriptures,  in  the  Guru's  words    and  receive  the  teaching  through  him.   Jnana  yoga  consists  of  a  threefold  exercise  called  Sravanam,  Mananam  and  Nidhidhyasanam.
              We  shall  see  the  details  about  these  threefold  exercise  in  the  next  pages. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Jnana yoga

Jnana  yoga.

                Jnana  yoga  is  a  course  of  disciplines  meant  for  gaining  knowledge  of  the  Self  ,  the  Self  which  is  the  real  'I'    called  the  Atma. . The  purpose  of  gaining  Self-knowledge  is  to  accomplish  the  highest  goal  of  our  life which  is  Moksha  ,  freedom  from  samsara. . Moksha  is  freedom  from  bondage  or  dependence. . Bondage  is  of  two  types   . The  first  is  when  any  object  ,  being  or  relationship  by  its  presence  creates  tension  and  stress  in  the  mind. . The  second  is  when  some  objects,  or  beings  or  relationships   by  their  mere  absence  create  a  different  kind  of  problem  ,  that  of  loneliness  or  emptiness  .

              By  saying  that  I  am  free  from  dependence  or  bondage  ,  I  mean  that  the  presence  or  absence  of  things  , beings  or  relationships  do not  trouble  me  . I  am  happy  with  or  without  them  .. There  is  total  acceptance  of  whatever  happens  in  my  life,  of  whatever  situations  I  face  in  my  life. Nothing  troubles  me. . I  am  also  able  to  face  life's  problems  with  courage  .  I  also  have  enough  discrimination  to  judge  things  with   proper  perspectives .  The  three  virtues  of  courage,  acceptance  and  discrimination  ,  I  come  to  have  when  I  get  Self  -knowledge. 

        And  ,tomorrow , we  shall  see  how  this  knowledge  of  the  Self  can  be  gained  

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Upasana yoga .

  Upasana  yoga. 

             Upasana  literally  means  worship  ,  sitting  near  to  someone  or  waiting  on  someone  with  reverence.   Upasana  is  translated  as  meditation  and  worship  ,depending  on the  context. .  In  the  Kathopanishad  , our  personality  is  compared  to  a  vehicle  for  reaching  our  goals. . There  are  three  layers  in our  personality   and  the  first  layer  is  kayikam,  from  the  standpoint  of  the  physical  body. . The  physical  body  is  the  vehicle   through  which  only  we  experience  everything  in our  life  and  through  which  only  we  can  accomplish  everything  in  our  life  , whether  material  or  spiritual. . Maintaining  good  health  is  very  important  .  The  second  layer  of  personality  is  vachikam  . It  is  important  that  we  talk  that  which  is  harmless  to  others   and  does  not  hurt  anyone. Secondly  it  is  important  to  see  that  what  we  talk  is  truthful  . Satyam  happens  to  be  one  of  the  three  important  values  in our  life. . Each  lie  that  we  speak  takes  as  away  from  God  . And  thirdly  ,  speak  only  that  which  is  agreeable  and  beneficial  to  the  listener. 

          The  third  layer  of  our  personality  is  manasikam  . All  types  of  meditations  come  under  upasana  yoga. Meditation  is  a  state  of  concentration  where  the  differences  between  the  meditator,  the  meditated   and  the  process of  meditation  all  disappear   . There  is  no  triputi  anymore. . Different  kinds  of  meditation  can  be  practiced  . Relaxation  meditation  to  relax  the  mind. and  the  body  ,  concentration  meditation  to  contemplate  on  the  idol  of  our  worship  ,  or   on  OM  ,  expansion  meditation  to  visualise  the  totality  of  creation. ,  transformation  meditation  is  contemplating  on  positive  virtues  like  truth,  compassion  love  and  so  on. .Upasana  generally  means  mental  disciplines   and  japa  and  meditation  help  in  quietening  the  mind  making  it  free  from  agitations.  The  regular  practice  of  upasana  yoga  is  a  means  of  integrating  all  the  three  layers  of  our  personality. . Our  body  ,  mind  and  speech  must  work  in  co-ordination.