Dhyana and Yoga (Part 3)

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The Nature of the Subjecive Realm where Dhyana is Conduced


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

That Dhyana is, from what has been explained so far, a mental act, goes without saying. Memory - smriti - is said to be increased thereby. Though these two processes belong to the category of Mind, yet they are different functioning, in that, they belong to two distinct planes therein. What is termed as "Mind" in the western philosophical connotation, is that which seeks to convey (express, communicate), an idea of the sum-total of the phenomena that take place within the subjective regions of man, unfolding all those series of thinking, reasoning, feeling, emotions, willing and other faculties, a confused medley of exactness and otherwise whose workings have the dominant objective sphere in external expressions termed life. But the yogic denomination of the subjective workings of the mind comes under two distinctive heads - cognitional and, the former unfolding all the features pertaining to knowledge – Gnana - and termed the plane of Mahat, while the latter known as Manas is that in which the operations of desire - Iccha - obtain their full force. The plane of Mahat is characterized by what is known as Chetana or consciousness, while Manas, by those dual qualities such as likes and dislikes - iccha-dwesha, pleasure and pain - sukha-dukha etc. The former is deemed subtler than the latter, being capable of influencing it, and also is termed Adi or the highest or the first plane, while prayerfulness or prarthana constitutes the essence of Manas. Mahat, literally means big, and is associated with deep insight and broad outlook, while Manas constricts and scope of these to one's own little personality and surroundings, being the main seat of the I-ness of man - Ahamkara.

These two planes - Mahat and Manas commonly termed Tatwakutas - faculty-groups, and endowed as they are with certain definite characteristics of their own, are entirely different, though overlapping on each other, and can be recognized as such only, by the release of certain qualitative forces - shakties, when acted upon. That, which activates the said Mahat and Manas, and that are by themselves inanimate, being matter formations – Prakriti -, and by virtue of such activation the said forces are released, is no doubt the, individual soul - Jiva; which, when these forces appear, seizes and exercises them according to its nature, achieving thereby the results it wants. Out of the Mahat plane, so activated are thus projected six shakties: - (1) Buddhi or discriminating intelligence, (2) Pragna or awareness, (3) Upalabadhi or understanding, (4) kyati or eulogizing sense or adoration (5) Dhriti or gathering or collecting or uniting, and (6) Smriti or memory or remembering. Thus, it may be seen, that Smriti, which Dhyana seeks to enliven, belongs to Mahat or cognitive faculty; and Smriti or memory it is that tones up Buddhi or discriminative intelligence through which man functions in life. In the absence of memory, Buddhi does not properly function and life ends in disaster, even as the Lord has declared, in the sloka quoted already.

These forces or shakties have two general directions, one objectively turned - pravritti, and the other reverse wise nivritti. On the six shakties, buddhi, pragna, and upalabdhi are turned exterior wise, while the other three; kyati, dhriti and smriti are subjectively turned. Buddhi, the primary Shakti, is that which enables an intelligent functioning in the multiplicities through selection, while Dhriti seeks to get at the essential unity behind the manifoldness, and hence it is named Yogashakti dhritya yaya dharayate managa pranendriya kriyaha yogena avyabhicharinya dhritissa partha satwiki. Buddhi, functioning in the multiplicities, is also endowed with five prime auxiliary features to enable its working and they are (1) ishtanishta vipatti, or likes and dislikes, (2) vyavasaya or functioning, (3} samadhita or examining by abstraction, (4) samsaya or doubt, and (5) pratipatti or application. With these, the buddhi of the Jiva starts out in its pravritti-marga or objective path its gaze being so directed.

It was stated already that the dominant characteristic of Manas is iccha-dwesha or likes and dislikes or hatred. One of the features of buddhi is also termed ishtanishtha vipatti or the calamity of likes and dislikes. The attribute vipatti - calamity, going along with likes and dislikes, the dual phenomena, obtains, in so far it is only out of these dualities are generated the disastrous opposites and conflicting many ness, and becoming subject to their baneful influences and unable to get free, the individual soul - Jiva struggles in Samsara through a series of births and deaths. Says the Lord – Iccha dwesha samattena dwandwa mohena bharata, sarvabhootani samoham sargeyan ti parantapa - O Bharata, associated with the dual phenomena generated by likes and dislikes Oh Paramtapa, all beings set out in creation, their vision obscured (about the singleness of Atmic essence).Thus it may be easily recognized, that Manas is only modified Buddhi and endowed with the latter especial characteristics of likes and dislikes, for the obvious purpose of multiplying the manyness. But this dual characteristic is not true since is a mere modification of the one, and hence, without understanding it as such, when man come under its influence, unable to get out of the idea of opposing two ness, then he said to swayed by “dwandwa-moha” leading men to ignorance and death.

The term “Moha” attributed to "dwandwa” or two-ness, although it may be translated as fascination or delusion, is primarily intended to indicate the influence of the Shakti of transformation, famously known as Maya or Yoga Maya, which converts the one into many. With its firm foothold on the vehicle of Manas of man, it works for havoc (confusion, chaos) or good according to his understanding of its all powerful and unquestionable influence. It leaves no one free, whether man, Deva or even Ishwara. In the Ishwara it abides as Devi Maya or Devi-Shakti for creating innumerable world-processes; in the Devas and the Hierarchs who descend as Avataras, it goes by the name of Esha-maya or Esha-shakti, endowed with which they promulgate auspicious eras for the well-being of the world; and associated with man it is known as Gunamayee-maya or shakti, undergoing as it does a further three fold modification as Gunas – Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, mention of which was already made. The Lord characterizes the influence of this three-fold Maya as unsurpassable – Deivi hyesha Gunamayee mama maya dhuratyaya.

The vehicle of Manas in man, by its very nature objectively turned, being a modified form of the objectively turned buddhi - pravritta buddhi, with Its definite dual characteristic of likes and dislikes, and as such the seat of Moha, when influenced by Gunamayee-shakti - Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, gives rise to the innumerable multiplicities of forms. Out of this dual Manas, operated by the Jiva, at first project forth (forward) six modifications similar to those of Mahat, but of a grosser kind, to facilitate the multiple- physical working, and they are: (1) Kama or wish – Intensity, (2) Iccha or desire, (3) Sankhalpa or resolution, (4) Chinta or reflection, (5,) Dhyana or meditation, (6) Bhakti or devotion. It should, be clear as such that Dhyana is one of the features of Manas vehicle.

Just as it is in the case of Mahat, in the naturally outward going Manas, Kama, Iccha, and., Sankhalpa have a further leaning towards external objects, working vigorously in that direction – pravritti; and the other three - Chinta, Dhyana, and Bhakti are inward turned - nivritti. Of the objectively, turned three forces, it is Kama, or wish-intensity that causes the materialization of concrete forms as bodies constituting a composite of those main five elements of which the physical bodies are created viz. Prithivi, Ap, Tejas, Vayu, and Akhasa - Prithivi or earth forming the external physical body with its characteristic smell, Ap or wat facilitating blood formation, Tejas or fire, helping: digestive working and facilitating sight, Vayu or air, causing breathing and its regulation, and Akhasa or ether, generating sound and hearing.

It should be borne in mind, in this connection, that the Swaroopa or the physical feature of a particular individual soul is determined by the nature of Kama or wish intensity that characterizes the manas, and as such it is the agent for the formation or particular physical forms. Hence every individual soul in the world is denominated a Karma-roopa soul a form of intense wish, the physical body being so shaped as it is born to fulfill the object of such wishes, It should never be deemed, however, that Kama is wicked in general since it means that every one in the world is bad. - It is wicked when becoming passionate, under influence of dushta-ahankara, himsa or cruelty, anruta or false-hood, swartha or selfishness, and parigraha or grasping and yearning solely, after material objects at the cost of others, constitute the nature of individual. Such persons are deemed Asuras, about whom the Gita says - dhambho darpo abhimanascha krodhara parushyamevacha agnanam chapi jatasya , partha sampadmasureem - O Partha, pride, arrogance; self-conceit, wrath, cruelty and ignorance of the Life Principle, these are the heritage of the asuric, or self seeking man. These persons, due to their ignorance of the nature of the Life Principle, consider the bodily existence itself as the be all and end all of cyclic life and as such do not realize the evolutionary and involutionary course of the said life Principle or Atman, which takes various bodies as Jivas for its own purposes of fulfillment - pravrittimcha nivirittimcha janaana vidhuasuraha. the Asuras do not know the implications of objective and subjective functioning (by the soul). In so far the wish intensity - Kama - becomes a passionate grasping of' material objects, in the case of Asuras influenced by selfishness, Kama is deemed wicked. But the wish intensity is a necessity, being a driving force, and is deemed divine when it is in consonance with the transcendental laws of cosmic existence – Sanatana Dharma hence the Gita dictum dharmaviruddho bhooteshu kasmosmi bharatarshabha - O first of Bharatas, I am wish intensity not inconsistent with dharma. Persons who are propelled by such Kama are termed dharma-kamaha, or daivic men. As such Kama has two phases, one leading upward and the other going down and in both, the extent of intensity according, to dharma or otherwise determines its good and evil nature respectively

The Asuras of passionate nature, whose actions are governed only on the physical body basis, and not knowing the implications of Pravritti and Nivritti of the soul, can hard1y be expected to interest themselves in Dhyana, which is a process of Nivritti or desistence or contraction, having for its hypothesis an unseen power – Ishwara. They may resort to thinking to attain their own objects of passion. They may perhaps, even believe in a God of their own frightful imagination, to which are attributed their own qualities of likes and dislikes, and may offer prayer and worship to it externally with great pomp for their self-glorification. But that is not Dhyana; that so that is only those of the daivic order of human beings, that can take up to Dhyana naturally, since in them is present the motive to recover the lost memory of the unity in the multiplicities; and also to establish a contact with the Divine Principle, the nature of which the had learnt in accordance with the teachings of a Sat-Guru or Divine Preceptor.