Freedom, Death And Immortality : The Vedic Yoga Perspective — VIII

The seventh part of this series spoke of life and liberation of the individual self when it rises out of its inertia, exhausts itself of its vital drives and steers itself on the path of dharma, in its world, and reorients itself towards the Truth Value in its own origin : Bliss Infinite and Witness Consciousness Pure. The nature of liberation, in the context of individual self, is to transcend the ignorance and karma repository associated with its adjunct that inscrutably veil its truth.

Its a long haul, during which the self must discover those myriad pins that attach it to its own spiritual ignorance, loosening them at first one by one, and pulling them all out together for its liberation absolute.

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Yet, no matter how intense the urgency, one can only start from where one personally is on the evolution scale. There is an invisible circular cause-and-effect hard link between the individual karma repository and its compulsive object orientation, qualified by tamas (dark), rajas (desiring) and sattva (light) natures, evident in the senses, vital surges of attachment, mental preoccupations and irresistible inclinations of the self. The two, karma repository and individual compulsions, feed off each other, fattening one and intensifying the other with each exercise of choice of the slave and every cave-in act that reinforces the individual’s identity in its abject object relatedness. That is where the breakthrough must happen.

Very broadly, in the conclusive perception of yours truly, the four Vedas engage the individual self by its identity subtexts in the body, vitality, mind and intellect, the Substratum and the Godhead.

The RigVeda meditatively draws the self, mind and intellect to one or other cosmic form or presence self-evident to the senses and the mind, in truth, and engage the body and vitality to self effacing prayers or self gathering rites.

The SamaVeda hymns are sung, engaging the vitality, mind and the senses to self created notes and suggested metres, subsuming the spirit in the fullness of sounds harmonised within while the self frees itself through trial and perfection and soars expansively to universal domains, where the bliss of the Godhead is translucently sensed.

The YajurVeda engages the mind, vitality and body combine to manifest divinity in plants and trees, their relatedness to the body and mind, and the self within. It leads the practitioner to replicating the cosmic presence on the ground, in creating the fire altars for prescribed rites, and to concerted chanting to invoke the cosmic beings while the rites are initiated, carried to their fullness and brought to close with thanks, gratitude and reverence.

The AtharvaVeda includes mystical avenues for movement of the self between its world, community, mind and intellect, the Substratum and the Godhead. Its hymns serially anoints people’s kings, prays and blesses the house before the man departs for business and trade, mends broken hearts of both men and women, directs the self to itself sheathed within, to the Godhead and the Great Mother, and to diverse cosmic powers that connect with our individual being. The ease, transparence and immediacy evident in the hymns, by design, is both overwhelming and astounding.

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Later Vedic works — Sutras, Upanishads, Epics and the BhagvadGita — are more specialised, focused, organised and explicit compilations that present detailed charts of several paths the individual could embark on to reach its singular destiny through Nescience and the Godhead. Much of the prayers, advisories and rites prescribed in the Vedas, and by their elucidatory Brahmana texts, are collectively organised events or immersing epiphanous individual  would generally start up with the Epics and Puranas, both of which class of texts are easy to read or hear and at once serve to fill the mind with love for the Godhead and the intellect with dharma.

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The Sutras broadly cater to four individual aptitudes : Yoga, Devotion, Knowledge and Karma. The first and last are common denominational paths that everyone can benefit from; even those who are intellectually disadvantaged or Tamas natured can take to them, as an aside to their mundane occupations. Of the two, Karma Yoga has little doctrinal dimension. It requires that 1) people honestly engage in permissible actions by resolves true to their will, with their whole heart, mindfulness, and best of their ability; and 2) restrict goal consciousness or result expectation to the moment or period during which the effort is made and not carried beyond, leaving the mind free and the self unburdened of anticipation about what happens after,  of anxiety or worry about the fruit of one’s action.

Yoga aims at mergence of the self in its own true nature : that is, in Bliss-Witness-Consciousness-Pure. The journey starts with cleansing and detoxing the body and purifying the karma repository with honesty of intent, goodwill, moderate conduct and compassionate behaviour. The entire process rests on an overarching vow to practise exercise of discrimination over the entire being stretched between the world of objects and the self, and the body, senses and vitality, and mind domains in between, along with practised disinterest in reaching for low hanging fruits of indulgence, in spirit of renunciation.

With that for base, yoga practice continues on a comfortable seat, body still and spine straight, head lowered a little with eyes meditatively half closed and directed at the ground before the junction of crossed legs. Stillness of body is a prelude to calming the vitality, starting with deep and easy flow of breath, facilitating soothe pumping of the heart, open but content sense organs and harmonious rise and ebb of vital flow in eased muscles, organs and cells.

Calm vitality is a precursor to gathered mind and mindful self, aware and watching its own inclination to habitual sensory pursuits and think of objects it is attached or memory of its experience in past, the mind released into vital surges on account of thought or memory, the vitality orient the drive through sense organs and spur the organs of action to motion, and the body pleased to hold the entire throb of ignorance, with pleasure potent in associating with objects in its familiar worldly zone. But the witnessing yogi disallows the dissipation, brings the senses back to their respective seats, quells the release of drive into action, restrains the object orientation of the mind, while the determined self waits for its disinterestedness to prevail over the entire series of domains to its being.

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It is during the seeming interminable wait that it practises controlled release of the gathered mind, first over gross objects (vitarka), taken strictly one by one, followed by concentrating on suble objects (vichara), again restricting focus on one before taking up the next. There are endless series of failure to retain its state of settled stillness and inaction in every domain of its being, when it knowledge of the object in focus varies, erroneously, on account of mutating meanings the object is held by its relatedness to the self marked by pleasure or pain. Through the long, apparently endless repeat of disturbed poise, the self learns of the habitual ignorance programmed in its identity and naturing adjuncts, drawing from the karma repository retaining impressions reinforced since its hoary past. The constant practise of restraining the release of drive and thought both purifies the karma bank, of this habitual relatedness and meanings the object(s) are held with, and loosens the pins that nail the self to its pre programmed adjuncts.

Freedom descends on the self at end of its long, tiring and frustrating haul, when the individual karma repository is wholly purified and the self discovers its own unpinned reality while the object-in-itself gloriously shines with its own majestic independence in denatured mind adjunct. It is the samadhi, fullness of the self, filled with its truth value dense of bliss and immortality, in the total absence of attachments anchoring the self to body, vitality and mind domains, purified or delinked from their karmic bondages. It is then no longer the self that is played about by its own ignorance, transmuting from one mutable being floating from one configuration of meaning and relatedness, and consequent object orientation, to another.

Similar processes through practice of yoga in respect of subtle objects, ranging from individual substratum to Nescience associated with the Godhead, result in progressively manifold fullness of the truth value which subsumes the self, accompanied with immersive reservoirs of bliss, freedom and immortality, memory in the wake of which inundates the karma repository, emptying it of its impressions from past, and wipes the substratum clean of its hunger, survival, procreational, recreational, and identity adjunct generating programs. The penultimate attainment along the fullness series identifies the self with the Godhead, free of karma and filled with the memory of its true being as Consciousness Pure, sans even a trace of identity as oneself. As that, Being Bliss Consciousness Infinite, the self witnesses the universe reflecting as dream in Nescience until even that presence disappears and eternity flows over.

“Then even nothingness was not, nor existence…

“Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there then the torch of night and day.

“The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other.

“At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness…

“The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not.

“And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below…

“But, after all, who knows, and who can say whence it all came, and how creation happened ?

“Whence all creation had its origin, he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows – or maybe even he does not know.”

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