Yogas Tattva-Jnana-Rtha – Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of Truth.
All beings are seeking happiness and attempting to avoid unhappiness, and so we engage in activities to gain something that appears favourable to us and activities to avoid what we don’t want. These activities do not lead to any lasting results or permanent happiness. The Vedic Seers observed that people are only happy for 1/16th of the time and decided it would be best to seek a permanent solution to this situation. This approach is called Dukkha Nivritti, the ending of suffering, and is found in the philosophy of Kapila and Patanjali. Buddha also proclaimed, “I teach suffering and its end.”
The worldly way to obtain happiness is to keep on changing external things to try and get happiness; so I change my vocation, my location or my partner. When this does not work the religious answer is to make efforts to go to a happier world (loka) and so religions are full of promises of heaven. The Seers observed that neither of these solutions is sure or permanent so sought a solution. The philosophy of Samhkya gives the framework for understanding and Yoga provides the practical method of attainment. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that what we consider to be the self is not correct; this is what needs to be understood. But this is uncomfortable as we do not have this view, we hold a different view. This incorrect view is Avidya, the fundamental mistake of identifying mind/body as the self and not Atman. So we have to take some time to understand what the Sages say without bringing in our own opinion.
At the moment we take our mind/body as the subject and the rest of the world as the objects. First we have to understand the Atman is the subject and the mind/body/world is the object. So we have to study to understand this and meditate to realise it. What shall we study? Samkhya will give us World knowledge, Yoga will give us Soul knowledge and Vedanta will give us knowledge of Ultimate reality, Brahman. The texts that give this knowledge are Samhkya Karika, Yoga Sutras and Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
The transformation in Samhkya is to our understanding; in Yoga the mind is transformed by practice leading to realisation. The impurities of the mind are known as the five klesha and these klesha prevent us from seeing the distinction between the Atman and the body/mind. So it is said that Yoga leads to a two-fold effect, “disjunction from impurity” (klesha) and” knowledge of the difference” (viveka-khyati). The practice of the eight limbs of Yoga will deliver these results. The destruction of impurity results in the arising of the light of knowledge. The result of remaining in this state is that the Yogin becomes omnipotent and omniscient, YS 3:49.
“This perfection described is Beyond Sorrow, and when he has attained it, the omniscient Yogin whose taints and bonds have been thinned away, disports himself as a Master.” Shankara
Then by finally renouncing this state, the final freedom Transcendental Aloneness (Kaivalya) takes place.
Patanjali says that life presents itself to us and we only have two choices about how to proceed, bhoga –to run after more and more experiences, or Yoga – to make the effort to attain liberation, Moksa/Kaivalya.
Srivatsa Ramaswami, my teacher, says that, “Yogic activities are distinctly different to other ordinary activities.”
We will need to apply some regular time to this and stay close to the teachings to avoid getting distracted.
May you find the freedom Beyond Sorrow.