Dhyana and Yoga (Part 1)

(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)(Part 5)(Part 6)

Introduction and Three Fold perception and Worship


Article from "Four Essays in Suddha Raja Yoga" - Published by Sri Janardana, The Third initiatory Authority of Suddha Dharma Mandalam

Whatever may be the kind of Yoga in which one is engaged whether the Prakrita, having for its object the achievement of material ends, or Atmeea, in which the aim is exclusively confined to the realization of that deep-most spiritual principle in man known as Atman, or Suddha, wherein, one’s aspiration is turned towards those superior levels of an endless approximation to that Eternal Transcendence - Suddha Brahm, which, even while so abiding, envisages simultaneously its Atmic or spiritual and Prakritic or material manifestations in the light of those profound dictums - Vasudevam sarvam - all this is Vasudeva, and sarvam tat Kalvidam Brahm - all this is verily Brahm, Dhyana otherwise known as meditation constitutes the only and the most efficient means, by which the exquisite auspiciousness and beatitudes – vibhooties-, pertaining to these three main Yogas (Prakrita, Atmeea and Suddha) are realized by men. Quite obviously, its implications are to be understood fully, not resting content in smug satisfaction, that, at the moment, it is rendered into its English equivalent - meditation, everything about it is known. No, it cannot be because, unless one knows the process of it, the area in which it is conducted, the various aims associated with it, the objects towards which it is directed, the resulting benefits thereof, and such other factors that conduce to its exact, proper, and complete knowledge, so as to acquire the necessary efficiency and dexterity in its exercise, meditation can hardly be understood, least of all practiced.

Dhyana or meditation is the technical name given to that mental process, exercised for the purpose of contacting the Divinity in its transcend most aspect of Suddha Brahm, known as Suddhatman or Paramatman. This technical name is not applicable, strictly speaking, except as a matter of courtesy off usage, even either to the spiritual aspect of the said transcendent Divinity, usually termed Atman, or Kevalatman or Nirgunatman or Sakshi - witness, or to its material or form full aspects going by the name of Sagunatman or Samsaratman, initiating the innumerable world processes. These two aspects Spiritual and Material or Nirguna and Saguna are those actually associated with the cosmic working and termed asuddha; the transcendent Brahm being Suddham or Suddhatman furnishing the necessary life thereof eternally, and as such the highest goal of human destiny and aspiration.

The three kinds of Yoga above-mentioned have for their respective bearing this Transcendent Divinity in its fundamental threefold aspect. So that the formulation of the three main Yogas is not empirical, in that, it conforms to the inherent threefold mode of perception or dhrishti as it is called, of every individual soul - Jiva, setting out to function in the evolutionary wheel of the world-process - Samsara; and to achieve the realization of the results of such perception, the Divinity in its three main aspects is worshipped by the Jiva through those three main channels. What is termed as perception or dhrishti, herein, has reference to knowledge - Gnana. All knowledge are for action only - phalam hi ghanayogasya karmeti hi nigadyate; and all actions are ever associated, with one kind of results or the other. Where there is the dominance of the egoistic I-ness swartha, in the association with results by the Jiva, it just becomes asuric leading to bondage and death, and when this is eliminated, it generates satvic qualities leading to freedom and immortality.

1. Three-fold Perception and Worship

The three modes of perception or dhrishti, spoken of by the names of: (1) Guna-para, (2) Atma-para, and (3) Brahma-para. In the course of the four main stages of growth of man, from infancy to youth, then to manhood, and, then to old age, these perceptions are developed, and of which, what is known as Guna-para is the foremost.

Guna-para means pertaining to gunas or qualities; that is to say, objectively turned. All form, full objects are qualitative in their very nature. The individual soul starts with guna-para dhrishti - objective perception, from its infancy, normally. What is termed as guna or quality is the well known three-fold - Satwa or light or intelligence, Rajas or external activity, and Tamas or darkness or inertia or ignorance or perversion. The entirety of sentient form, the full creation without any exception whatsoever, whether Devas or men is subject to the influence of these three gunas - na tadasti pritivyam va divi deveshu va punaha, satwam prakritijirmuktam yadebhihi syattribhirgunihi - there is not anything on earth or among the Devas in heaven, which is free from the influence of these three gunas, engendered by prakriti (matter). Through millions of combinations of various degrees, these three gunas project through the multiple objects in the world, creating endless fascinations - Moha, and the individual soul, whose primary gaze is objectively turned, seeks them for qualitative fulfillment in material things external. The knowledge and the method of such fulfillment constitute the subject matter of what are known as Vedas, mainly dealing with these qualitative factors, their adjustments and realization - trigunya vishaya Veda. Towards the realization of these trigunic objects, the worship of formal aspects of the Divinity – Saguna, is resorted to. Early worship of Saguna forms were elementals such as Mitra, Varuna, Vayu, Agni etc., then, it took the forms of Devas like Indra, and with the increase of perception, it took the forms of the images of Avatara Purushas or divine incarnations. In this mode of worship the Deity is ideated as full of all the excellent qualities one is able to visualize, the best forms of such Saguna worship being stated thus: Rama in association with his brother Lakshmana, Sri Krishna, and Siva with his consort Parvati or Uma.

What is known, as Atma-para perception is spiritual even as Guna-para is material. The deep-most Spiritual Principle in man known as Atman that is free from the trigunic disturbances - Nirguna, and living in the hearth cave of one and all in the form of one's own thumb angushtamatra purusha, is sought after to be contacted by those of this spiritual perception. This contact is the fruition of Samnyasa, which does not mean taking to orange robes merely, but the performance of all necessary actions free from swartha-dosha or egoistic I-ness and as a result of which, Moksha - freedom from liability to birth and death helplessly, is achieved. As a preliminary to such contact, an inquiry into the status of the said Atman.- Atma vichara - is resorted to, and the Vedantic study helps such enquiry with corresponding understanding. Vedanta means end of Vedas, and as such is declared to be a treatise on Moksha dharma, the fourth Purushartha or aim of. Man, even as the study of Vedas leads to the realization of the three previous Purusharthas - dharma or protector ship, Kama or enjoyment, and Artha or knowledge of the lower sciences or Aparavidya. The Upanishads is the theme of Para-vidya or higher science, and constitute of Moksha dharma the subject matter of Vedantic study. But, a mere study of Vedanta does not by itself lead to the contacting of the Nirguna or Kevalatman, since it mainly generates an intellectual conception of the said Atmic principle. What are known as Brahma-vidyas, thirty-two in numbers, hold out the various methods and disciplines by which this Atmic principle is contacted in its manifold aspects. This practice with attainment is denominated yoga-garbhatva or having Yoga in its womb and not Yoga proper.

Those of Brahma-para perception are the true Yogis, since their gaze is directed towards Suddhatman or Paramatman, which is at once Saguna and Nirguna - nirgunam gunabhoktrucha, even as It abides eternally transcendent - Tureeya as Satyam Gnanam Anantam Brahm. Endowed with the eightfold Atmic qualities such as Anasuya or non-envious, Daya or compassion Kshanti or tranquility, Aspruha or non-grasping, Chowcha or purity, Akarpanya or selflessness, Anayasa or tirelessness, and Mangala or prayer for the well-being of all, they resort to the study of the Synthetic Science of the Absolute - Yoga Brahma Vidya, which is the thirty-third Mahavidya, and as a result of their endeavor they realize the all-pervasive Synthetic-Principle – Antaryami Paramatma or Satchidanandaroopa in the highest regions of their own heart. This Vidya is known as Parama Vidya or the superior aspect of the higher science or Para Vidya referred to, even as the Upanishads are termed as the Aparama-Vidya or inferior, Herein, the discipline of Tyaga or complete self-surrender gets associated with Samnyasa for such realization; and Sri Bhagavad Gita which is the text, book on Yoga-Brahma-Vidya generates the necessary Sama ganna or synthetic perception leading to Yoga Samatwam yoga uchyate; which is Suddhatmic or Paramatmic contacting in the fourth plane- Tureeya.