From Mind to No Mind - Samadhi (Nirvana)

Earthly Life
The life of man in this universe is characterized by  experiences which he does not like, experiences which are painful, experiences  which he seeks to avoid but discovers by the time he approaches the end of his  life that they are unavoidable. These are part and parcel of what we call earthly  life.

Pain, sorrows and sufferings of various kinds seem  inevitable and yet man all over the world tries to avoid suffering and sorrow,  pain and misery, and tries to obtain, somehow or the other, a state of joy, of  happiness. In this, man has failed ever since the dawn of creation. Not so much because this state of absolute transcending of sorrow and experience of  absolute bliss does not exist, but merely because he searches for it in the wrong direction. He looks for it in the outer world, in objects.

No wonder he fails to find the perfect and absolute  experience of joy there, because finite things, changeful things, perishable things,  imperfect in their very nature, have a beginning and an end; they are  conditioned in time and space. These things naturally cannot give perfect  experience, because these things are fragmentary. Everything is relative.  Everything is one of a pair of opposites. And our relationship, our contact,  with all things is also short-lived. All coming together ends in going apart,  and over and above this, that very instrument through which man has to relate  himself to all things here is characterized by much imperfection.

What is that instrument through which man relates himself  to this external world? The body with the five senses is that instrument. And  that primary instrument through which the dweller within has to contact and  perceive this phenomenal world is itself defective. It has a birth and  ultimately goes to oblivion in death; all the five senses through which it  perceives the universe gradually fail when disease comes and gradually destroys  them.

Then there are those other afflictions which are man-made  and also coming from various kinds of external sources and as though these  miseries are not enough, from within one’s own nature there arise factors that  torment and destroy the peace of the human individual. Anger, hatred, jealousy,  envy, frustration, disappointment, failure to achieve one’s objective, fierce  passion in the form of lust and greed—these fires inflame the human mind,  torment his heart and disturb his peace.

The various agitating conditions upon which he has no  control, the various cravings, desires, ambitions and urges constantly keep the  mind in a state of turmoil. All these elements afflict man in addition to the  inevitable fate of the body. Thus, real happiness or joy seems to be more a  mirage than a reality. Thus, man’s quest for escaping, avoiding or overcoming  pain and suffering and entering into a state of joy seems to be a wild-goose  chase, and a futile pursuit doomed to failure ab initio.

Crux of the Problem
No wonder, endowed with these tendencies in the mind, we  are totally deprived from the experience of the Self, the indweller in our  body. Because, the Self or consciousness is the very innermost centre of our  being which the mind constantly draws out.. Moreover, the Self is not an object  of perception. It is the perceiver of all that is perceived. It is the Seer of  all things that are seen. It is the Supreme Subject. It is that, that which is  connoted by ‘I’, not of this or that. Mind, therefore, catching the  consciousness of our human interior draws it forth outside. It rotates and  scatters it among various sensory objects for pursuing so called happiness.  Thus it effectively prevents the consciousness from moving within and resting  in its original state as the unaffected, untouched, impartial Seer who is free  from all distractions.

Fourfold solution to the  Problem
  In order to rectify the mistake of having taken up a  wrong road to reach our destination, we have to turn away from the finite, from  the imperfect, the temporary, the passing and enter into a conscious connection  with the Eternal, with the Divine. This way of reorientation of direction is  called Yoga.

The next question will be ‘Is there only one way or are  there many ways’? The answer to this is both. There is only one way in the  sense that all Yoga is movement towards the Divine, movement towards the  Infinite, movement of the personal towards the Impersonal, of the individual  towards the Universal, movement of man towards God. So, there is only one Yoga.

But then, this movement can be accomplished through  several levels of the human personality. This movement towards God, movement  towards the Divine may be initiated and carried out through one or more of the  powers, of the capacities, of the faculties that we possess. And depending upon  which one of the faculty we make use of as a medium for bringing about the movement towards the Reality, Yoga assumes a  particular pattern and derives a particular name.

If this movement is done through philosophical  speculation, we make use of our intellect and our power of reasoning as the  medium of attaining the knowledge and experience of that Reality by diverting  our consciousness as expressed through intelligence. Then we are a philosopher  and the Yoga becomes what is known as Jnana Yoga, Jnana Yoga of the Vedanta  Philosophy.

Instead of the intellect, if we make use of our feeling,  our love potential, our ability to love, to exercise affection, devotion,  sentiment and emotion as our medium, then it becomes what is known as the Yoga  of devotion or the path of love or Bhakti Yoga.

If we make use of the power of our thought, power of the  mind, will to urge our entire inner being to resolutely move towards God or the  Universal Consciousness, determined that we will not allow our mind to be  divested or distracted in any way, then we become a Raja Yogin or the mystic  who treads the path of contemplation, concentration and meditation.

If we make use of our physical prowess and perform all  our actions in the spirit of offering to God and without expecting any personal  reward for the actions so performed we will be resorting to Karma Yoga.

But in all these methods, though they make use of one or  the other faculties that man is endowed with, they seek to work out the  self-same process, the one identical movement which is towards the One absolute  only. Therefore, Yoga is one in spite of being different according to the  medium of our movement.

These different paths are based upon certain original  source scriptures, certain definite authority, scriptures that were brought  into being by those who had experienced the Reality. They were people who had  not only experienced the Reality, but had become established in that Reality  Consciousness. They were perfect beings, the Masters of Wisdom. And they have  left for the benefit of posterity, their Wisdom and hints about the methods in  brief aphorisms. They are just hints and pointers. These aphoristic teachings  have a certain logical unity. So, they formed one successive logical field of  utterances making up one whole system. Therefore, they are called Sutras. Sutra  is a thread that tied together, linked together. So they are not haphazard.

Methodology of Solution
 The purpose of Raja Yoga is to try to restore to man his  pristine state of perfect bliss; and this it does by liberating the human  individual from his involvement in body, senses and mind. This involvement  itself is the prime cause for keeping him away from itself, is the greatest  obstacle to his attainment of that experience which the Yoga science says lies  right here, present at this moment. To become liberated from the bondage of  pain, thus bringing to an end the union of man’s nature with pain, is Yoga.

Raja Yoga emphatically declares that despite the  deplorable fact that sorrow is the nature of this temporary earthly existence,  the destiny of man is supreme joy. This supreme joy or perfect state of bliss  is not to be a post-mortem attainment, is not to be an after-death state of  being, but it is something that is capable of being attained here and now - in  this life itself.

This cessation of pain is brought about by uniting the  consciousness with that which is of the nature of Bliss. That factor which is  of the nature of pure bliss is called the Self; is called Brahman; is called  God, is called Isvara. It is the Universal Soul, the Cosmic Reality, the  Eternal Divine Principle which is the Alpha and Omega of all beings, which is  the origin and fulfillment of all that exist. To bring into a state of oneness  with it, relate oneself to it and achieve a perfection of relationship with it,  is Yoga.

And to achieve this end, one will have to carefully  withdraw ones involvement in the passing, the finite, the limited, the  non-eternal. This is a condition, is a prerequisite. Yoga teaches both, one how  to sever our connection to the non-eternal and two, how to enter into that  connection to the eternal, the all-perfect, the infinite.

Yoga teaches that both these aspects are two in one, that  is, to unite with the Divine and thus attain the Bliss which we seek in vain in  finite, earthly objects. The process of Yoga is the turning away from that  which is characterized by sorrow, by pain and which is perishable, destructible  in its nature and go towards that which is full of Bliss or Ananda.

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