Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Purification of Emotions

by Swami Veda Bharati

[Passage has been taken from the booklet The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation, pp 11-14, Ahymsin Publishers, copy printed in 2013.]

To prevent internal disturbances from extraneous thoughts and sentiments arising during meditation one needs to practice purifications such as:

  1. The five yamas: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, abstinence from sensual indulgence, non-possessiveness, and the five niyamas: purity, contentment, practices that lead to purification of body and mind and senses, study that leads to knowledge of the Self and surrender to the ultimate reality.
  2. The four brahma-viharas or right attitudes: friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked. (YS.I.33).
  3. The antidotes to disturbing thoughts, prati-paksha-bhavana (YS.II.33) to ward off the thoughts (vitarkas) opposed to the yamas, niyamas, and brahma-viharas (YS.II.34), and so forth. The practice of these leads to:
    1. ethical behavior
    2. thereby loosening the bonds of karma, and
    3. chitta-pra-sadana, clarity and purification of mind, making the mind pleasant and clear, and thereby
    4. sthiti-ni-bandhana, firming up the physical and mental stability and steadiness in life and during meditation.

It is not as simple as it appears.  For example, the preceptors in the Himalayan tradition state that they are able to sit in one posture for long hours because:

  1. they are emotionally stable and undisturbed, and
  2. they have practiced certain special mantras and tantric concentrations after having been initiated into states energizing the muladhara-chakra. Just reading a scholarly commentary on the Yoga-sutras’ sutra on asana will not help the disciple accomplish such a state; the entire integral system must be followed. For example, if one has mastered a meditation posture through Hatha practices and can keep that posture for some time, this will not prevent him for feeling a sensation of moving and swaying, etc. (YS.I.31) that many meditators suffer.
  3. Another aspect of purification is the conquest of the vikshepas, nine disturbances in the path of concentration: sickness, mental laziness, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, sloth, craving for sense-pleasure, false perception, despair caused by failure to concentrate and unsteadiness in concentration (YS.I.30), and their five accompaniments: grief, despondency, trembling of the body and irregular breathing (YS.I.31).

Without such a conquest one will remain bound to the first three states of mind: turbulent (kshipta), stupefied (mudha), distracted by the vikshepas (vi-kshipta) and will not be able to move to the next ground (bhumi), being one-pointed (ekagra) and then totally controlled (ni-ruddha) in samadhi.

For the conquest of these distractions special methods are employed in the Himalayan oral traditions.  For example, the involuntary physical movement or swaying, or sensation of swaying even without a perceptible movement is overcome by:

  1. purifying the emotions,
  2. certain mantras, and
  3. meditating in the preceptor’s presence which helps steady the sadhaka’s mind.

Editor's Note

For all Swami Veda’s Published works, please visit www.yogapublications.org or email them at [email protected].



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