I have been emphasizing all along, that the central core of the kinds of Oriental Philosophy that we are talking about is not theory but experience. And the trouble here is that so long as one attempts to communicate this philosophy in words, we remain in the area of theory and do not necessarily transfer over into experience. It is then for this reason that in addition to the scriptures or verbal teachings of Hinduism, there is a discipline whose object is to enable an individual to realize what the words are about. I would use so strong a word for Realization as sensation, because the Realization of the tat tvam asi, the Upanishadic proposition that you’re it., comes over you if you do have the experience not so much as you feel convinced that the earth goes around the sun, even though you don’t actually see this happen. It’s not so much like that as it is like an immediate sensation of the thing which the proposition tat tvam asi is trying to say. And so this entering into the experience which is the heart of Hinduism is the function of a discipline called Yoga. The word yoga. Y-O-G-A. Don’t say, as many people do yogi. Yogi is one who practices. And a yogini is a female practice of yoga. But yoga is the same word as yoke, Latin ungere, to join. And English, union. The yolk between two oxen may be regarded equally as a discipline and as a joining of the two oxen.
So the basic meaning of yoga is something like Union. The realization, in other words, of the union of what we call the separate individual with the ultimate ground of being, Brahman. We don’t know how early yoga is in India, but there are statues found in Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley dating from at least two thousand B.C.. of figurines in the posture familiarly associated with yoga. The Padmasana, or the full lotus posture, in which all almost all Buddhas are seen to be sitting, with the legs crossed, and these feet up on the thighs, soles upwards. It apparently then is something quite ancient, and was in some way absorbed and assimilated to the Aryan civilization which invaded India from the north somewhere between fifteen and twelve hundred B.C.. Yoga was apparently like everything else in those days, handed down as an oral tradition, and was not committed to any kind of written record, until there appeared a book called The Yoga Sutra. Sutra really means thread, but I suppose through the idea of threaded leaves –ancient manuscripts in India were written on palm leaves–came to mean the scripture or book Sacred Book. And the Yoga Sutra is associated with a gentleman named Patanjali. P. A T. A N. J A L I. And is of uncertain date. It may be as early as two hundred B.C. It may be a bit later. But this is the standard text on the practice of yoga.
There are Chinese forms of yoga which probably originated independently at the same time out of the Taoist way of life, and they subsequently had considerable influence on India as did the Indian ways on the Chinese. Now it’s important to study the Yoga Sutra from its opening, or second to opening phrases second verse. His first verse says now yoga is explained. And the commentators attach particular importance to the word ‘now.’ Because the assumption is that something else has gone before all. In other words, you are expected to be a reasonably sensible rational mature human being before you engage on this particular path. In the same way as I pointed out to you in the last session. That the Hindus have the view that a man should fulfill the duties of the householder before he engages upon the spiritual life. So in the same way, there are certain preparations before you start out on yoga. And those preparations usually involve having mastered whatever the disciplines of your culture may be. The essential disciplines of your culture, so that you know how to handle them, so that if you get into the higher states of consciousness which yoga brings about you won’t run amok. Because not being able to distinguish between good and bad from a social point of view. The next verse says, in Sanskrit, I’ll write it down because it’s, important to look at each word. Yoga-citta-riti-miroba. This means yoga is. Chitta is a very difficult work translated into English because in Sanskrit there are about five words for mind. There are one. Or we have nine we have consciousness we have awareness, thought, but they’re all very vaguely defined and we use them interchangeably Citta is a more precise word. And I would say awareness. Probably. Griti means to come from a root which means to turn. Turn around. And so you get the idea of turbulence. Vicious circling, whirl-pooling, wavering. Anyway going round and round and round. So your goodness awareness. Turbulence. Stopping. There it is, all in one sentence. You can take this sort of analogy which is used by yoga teachers. Take it that awareness is something like a pool. Of water. When the water is quite still, you can see in it the reflection of the sky, and everything in the bottom of the pool. When it’s muddy and turbulent, you can’t. So in the same way, your awareness of the world is like reflecting pool and if it’s turbulent. You don’t see clearly you’re not clearly aware you don’t have a mind like a mirror. You have a mind like a distorting mirror, which keeps wiggling.
So, yoga then is the art of stilling the mind. There are various schools of thought about what is a still mind is. According to one school of thought, the goal of yoga, is Samadhi. Well, everybody agrees that Samadhi is what it’s all about. What is this word Samadhi? It refers to a state of consciousness which is sam. Don’t say san, that’s different. Sam, related to our word sum. From the Latin, eventually Sanskrit sam. Complete. Total. Also related to the word same. Looking on everything equally, having an equal mind towards all events, Samarasa. In Sanskrit, equanimity, calmness. Having as it,were the same attitude in victory and defeat. Also same, in the sense of the knower and the known are the same. There is no further division between myself on the one now, and what I’m aware of on the other. It’s all one. Samadhi.
In yoga, there are differentiated differentiated two kinds of samadhi. One is called the vikalpa. And the other is called nirvikalpa. The word vikalpa means an idea or concept. So it could be samadhi with an idea of some kind of concept. Nirvikalpa would mean without a concept, or somebody produced by way of the gimmick. The technique and the ideal somebody. Look ma no hands. No gimmick. But some schools, as I was saying, there are different opinions about what this all means. Interpret nirvikalpa samadhi as being a state in which there are is such a degree of absorption, or of trance, that there is no awareness left of the physical world. You are completely, well if a psychologist looked at you he would say you were catatonic. Sitting in that posture, immobile absorbed rat. And this is held by one school of thought to be the highest attainment of the human mind. I don’t agree with this point of view. I follow another school of thought, which has a different idea of Nirvikalpa samadhi. And this, in my view and that of others, it is not the total sensation of sensory input, but simply the sense at the cessation of conceptions. Of thoughts about what you are experiencing. And therefore that the meaning of citta, vridi, naroda. Is not as the other school interprets it getting a perfectly blank mind. But it means two things, in my interpretation: one, a mind that is not going in vicious circle, and two, the mind free from the hypnotic influence exercised by thoughts, ideas, words.
So then let’s consider first of all what is a mind in the group of vicious circles. Well one of the most obvious instances that we all know is the phenomenon of worry. The doctor tells you that you have to have an operation. And that has been set up so that automatically everybody worries about it. But since worrying takes away your appetite and your sleep, it’s not good for you. So the doctor tells you not to worry because he wants you on the operating table in a state of good health. Well rested, etc. But you can’t stop worrying, and therefore you get additionally worried that you are wearing, and therefore will not be in the right shape to be on the operating table. And then furthermore, because that is quite absurd and you are mad at yourself because you do it you are worried because you worry because you worry. That is a vicious circle. Another form a vicious circle is when a person is convinced that they ought to be unselfish. And are so convinced for selfish reasons. I would like to think of myself as an unselfish person. Because that sort of person I’m supposed to be. So therefore, I have a selfish reason for wanting to be unselfish and because of that no amount of effort will ever succeed in making me unselfish but will only succeed in sending me around in circles. I’ll be proud that I’m humbled. Etcetra. That is citta vriti, pretty turnings of the mind, see.
So now, yoga is initially stopping that. Can you allow your mind to be quiet? Isn’t it difficult? Because the mind seems to be like a monkey jumping up and down and jabbering all the time once you’ve learned to think you can’t stop. And an enormous number of people. Devote their lives to keeping their minds busy. And feel extremely uncomfortable with science. When you’re alone., say in a doctor’s waiting room, which may be very uninteresting. Nobody saying anything, there’s nothing to do. This is good this worry this lack of distraction I’m left alone with myself and I want to get away from myself I’m always wanting to get away from myself that’s why I go to the movies that’s why I read mystery stories, that’s why I go after the girls or anything that you do or get drunk or whatever I don’t want to be with myself. I feel queer feel like you know it is when you run your fingernails up a blackout on a cold. Creepy.
So well, why do you want to run away from yourself? What’s so bad about it? Why do you want to get this, why you want to become absorbed? Because you are addicted to thoughts. This is a drug will dangerous one. Compulsive thinking going on and on and on all the time. It’s a habit. Cause you keep telling yourself where you are, who you are, what’s going on, how good it is, how bad it is. Reading the newspaper of your mind you know a lot of people they get hold of a newspaper and the newspaper reads them they don’t read it. Newspapers designed to read you type of rivers the layout people very carefully calculated how to carry your eye from one end of it to another. So there’s a difficulty about stopping. That activity and you really have to stop it if you want to be sane. Because, if I talk all the time, I don’t hear what anyone else has to say. And then I’ll end up in the situation of having nothing to talk about that my own talking. Or so, in exactly the same way, if I think all the time, I won’t have anything to think about except thoughts. And that’s the academic fallacy. See when you add words to the library, the great many of the books that are added to the library of books about books. They’re not necessarily books about life, some of them are, but most of the books especially Ph D. dissertations are books about books about books about books. And that doesn’t really get us very far.
So in order to have something to think about, there are times when you simply must stop thinking. You can learn later on in yoga. How to be in the state of samadhi and think at the same time. But first of all you have to learn how to stop thinking. Well how do do that? The first rule is don’t try to, because if you do, you will be like someone trying to make rough water smooth with a flat iron. And all that will do will stir it up. So, in the same way as a muddy turbulent pool quiets itself when left alone. You have to know how to leave your mind alone. It will quiet itself.
There are certain things however which help. And the yogis tend to use two techniques for assisting their minds to become calm. One is breathing. That is called pranayama. Prana means breath or the vital force of the body, pranayama, the discipline of breath. And the other is called mantra It’s all, it’s connected with pranayama, with breathing but it’s chanting, chanting sounds. And both of these have a slightly auto hypnotic effect which helps one to quiet thoughts. These days many hippies go around wearing beads. Any of you got beads on? What do you wear beads for? If you know why you are you know what beads are for? Beads are for yoga. This is a Tibetan rosary has been blessed by the Dalai Lama. And they wear them on their hands rather, they carry them around the neck, but they usually use them in the hand. And they will do for time you got your yoga practice. Of the day and so many rounds of the beads will time you. And either you use the beads for breathing in-ut on one bead. in out on the next bead, in out on the next, and so. Now they have essentially the breathing in yoga is not forced, you don’t do the kind of breathing exercises in a forced way. You have first of all, to find out how your lungs want to breathe. Let them do that, and count your breath, with your fingers, rather than using numbers try and keep away from concepts and numbers are concepts that’s why you use your fingers on the beats instead and for every in breath and out breath you use one bead. Just experiencing breathing and experiencing the sensation of the beads passing your fingers. Don’t think about it, don’t try not to think about it, but the bead and the breathing will distract you from thinking. And you will find that in due course the breath will automatically become slower and slower and slower with great ease, until it seems that you are hardly breathing at all, it’s so slow.
Now for some people that is not so easy to concentrate on. So it makes it easier to concentrate if you add to the breathing a mantra. And so, the mantra means, the chanting of certain syllables. Which, although they do have a meaning in the end they are maybe the names of the divinity. They very soon cease to have a meaning as you use them. So, the Tibetans use such a mantra as ommmanipadmeuhm. Or Hindus use sometimes those would be “RamRamRamRam…”. More complicated ones “OmRama Srirama…” ormany varieties of these mantras. And if you keep doing that, you find you’re getting into another state of consciousness. You’re not thinking in the ordinary way. As the Word says take any English word. Take the word yes. We know we think we don’t yes means we means yes, I will. It’s a set up. yes yes yes yes striking we use that funny noise yes yes yes yes yes yes and after a while it stops meaning anything has become synonymous. That’s the way you through using thought symbols, you free the mind from thought. It’s like using a thorn, to pick out a thorn that’s stuck in the skin. And so yoga uses those and breathing to help the mind to become quite still.
Now those who see are not the vikalpa in that they are gimmicks. So through breathing and mantras and so on you get samadhi and it’s samdhi, samadhi, samadhi, with gimmicks. And that means that you have a crutch. For your religion, it depends on some kind of an extraneous device, but the ideal of yoga is called of the natural state. Which in Sanskrit is sahaja. To be in the state of realization without having any religious gimmickry. What’s Spiegel of Stanford used to call the religion of no religion. Again, it’s ‘Look ma no hands.’ So that you don’t need to do anything special or to think any special thought or to say any special prayer out or have any particular ritual. On which YOU to pad for getting into the realize state of consciousness but you’re in it naturally all the time that’s nirviKalpa Samadhi And this means then, that you could seem to the outsider as living a perfectly normal life. That you eat when you’re hungry, and sleep when you’re tired. And you go about your business. And nobody can tell you from just anyone else, unless they know you very well. And that’s considered in all Hindu and Buddhist thinking very, very fine achievement. It’s compared with a bird flying through the sky and leaving no tracks. Or with geese flying over a lake. And although they are reflected in the lake they don’t disturb the water. They leave no trace.
So, one might say that the ideal of yoga, is to go through religion and get rid of religion. Because religion is a medicine. And it should not be a diet. That you see is a fundamental difference between physicians and clergymen. A physician tries to get rid of his patients. He gives them medicine in the hope that they will go away and not come back. But unfortunately, the clergyman tries to get you hooked on the medicine so that you’ll come to church every Sunday and pay your contribution. To pay off the mortgage. That’s a very serious problem with churches. The investment in buildings and such liabilities. But the doctor you see, although they have these hospitals, they hope that the turnover will be big enough. To pay for it. And they can’t get a big turnover, unless they’re successful in getting rid of patients but the patients who have been successfully got rid of gone recommend this doctor to other patients and so they keep coming through because they’re always sick people. And the Hindu in a way and especially the Buddhist take very much this view of religion. Religion is not something to get hooked up on. A person hung up on religion or hung up on yoga is felt to be still in bondage. So yoga is to get rid of yoga. And come to the final state here called Nirvikalpa samadhi, where you are in the realized state naturally. Now of course, the doctrine of you Upanishads is that everybody is in the State of Union of yoga of union with Brahman, whether you know it or whether you don’t. And so, trying to have that state naturally, is really and truly doing something redundant. You are trying to be where you are to become what you are. But that’s because you don’t know you’re there. And we can see if we go back why you don’t know that you’re there. Because if you are the Brahman, you in the beginning of things, deliberately pretended you weren’t. Only you did it so well that by now you’ve forgotten you did. And so to wake up again, you have to press on trying to get back although that’s unnecessary. You will only learn that it’s unnecessary to trying to get there. Sort of making a fool of yourself. Trying to get what you already have. So that in a way, I’ve been told that there are idiots who sit in padded cells trying to catch their thumb. You know, you put your hand around your thumb like this, here’s your thumb we’re going like that and then you say we’re still trying to capture one that went away. Nope, see you can’t catch it. Because of course it’s the thing you’re trying to catch is the catch up.
So in the same way when you set out to realize that you are the ground of be the Brahman you’re doing just that. You’re trying to catch your own thumb, see. And it doesn’t work. And you think. Oh dear this is becoming a very difficult task. I must ask my teacher about it. I must be sure he’s a good teacher, because I’ve set myself this very very tough problem. But it’s a silly problem, only it in most cases it takes years of sweating at it to see how silly it is. That’s all it amounts to. Basically.
So, what happens in the yoga is that you get a set of hurdles disciplined hurdles to go through. And I’m only giving you a very, very sketchy account of this because I could go into all kinds of technicalities. But you can read those in the books. All about the chakras up the spine, and the complicated ways of breathing to awaken the different chakras, or levels of consciousness and all that jazz. But all that is Jazz over certain fundamental principles. What I want to be sure of is that you get the fundamental principles. That in other words, you have lost your sense of harmonious coherence with the whole domain of being. And you’re puzzled as to what’s the right thing to do, what’s the wrong thing to do, how I ought to be, how to control my mind how to do this that and the other. And everybody has contradictory advice for you. He who hesitates is lost. Look before you leap, many hands make work light, too many cooks spoil the broth. New Religion everything wisdom is full of contradictory advice. So they say to you in the end, ahh but you see it, it takes a wise man to know when to do which. Well they say you say how do you become wise. Well it’s a matter of experience. Like you apply for a job and they say “Well how much experience do you have?” You say, well I haven’t had a job before. “Well you must get one and then we can give you one to him that hath should be given. And that’s the same way all these people talk. You ask a question, and the Guru answers “When you know the answer you want to ask the question.” That’s pretty obvious. All this frustration. But you see the real meaning ins. The question you’re asking is a false problem. You’re asking, in other words, why do people inquire into religions, why do they go to teachers, why do they want spiritual exercises and practices? Because they feel unhappy. Because they feel they’re not really because they feel, because they think. When you feel unhappy, that’s one thing. But when you think you feel unhappy that’s much more of a problem. Because you keep repeating over and over and over to yourself “Gee, I feel depressed. I feel just so put down.” And you wrap your tongue around that like you know when you’ve got a filling out of a tooth you can your tooth keeps wandering into the heart I mean your tongue keeps wandering into the hollow left by the filling and you fuss with it. The same piece you get an itch or something you keep scratching it. Some people if they get a pain in a certain part of the body keep moving it’s of the pain is there. They want to still there and they cannot do it.
So in this way we talk ourselves into problems. And so all this kind of thing starts up. But actually, the problem is an attempt to solve an impossible conundrum. That’s the most frustrating problem of all see all sensible questions have sensible answers. How do you cook swordfish state, problem. Well someone could tell you, it’s quite simple. How do I draw a square circle? The question doesn’t mean anything so naturally there’s no answer to it. So how can I get myself into a state where I’m always happy. How can we arrange things in this room so that they’re all up? Silly question, so was the other one. How can I attain peace of mind? Was a Zen story about that, where the master says “Bring out your mind and I’ll pacify it.” And the questioner says, “But when I look for my mind I can’t find it. He said there, it’s pacified.” And so that’s the sort of thing that’s going on in yoga you know you think you’re a problem to yourself and so the guru says, find you.
There was this great sage in India Sri Ramana Maharshi. And people used to– with he lived in modern times– it’s not the same as the Mahrishi which you know about from recent times. ramón. He was a wonderful man the most beautiful big humorous eyes and always sat half naked with a little loin cloth around him, and he would sit in a kind of patio or compound, and read the newspaper. And sometimes he’d meditate, sometimes he’d sleep, and sometimes he would answer questions and throngs of people came from all over the world and sat in this compound just to watch and the chickens around scratching and mothers feeding their babies and dogs and so on and you took very little notice of it all they just wanted to sit in his presence. And they would come to him and say oh Maharshi, “Who was I in my past life?” And he’d come back and say “Who wants to know?” Maharshi, “How many years will it take me to attain liberation?” He will say “Who wants to attain liberation?” Always he had so every question back on the source of the question. “Who are you?” But that something is you can’t get hold of. That’s this thing City Wow Well I can’t get it. So the yoga teacher sets you to doing this as fast as you can get you go as ruthless that is really that who are you find out when you breathe what is Green find out what you know what is know you Get to the root of the matter! Ask, ask, ask, and enquire, enquire, enquire. And one day, it all becomes clear. And it’s so simple, that it’s the most difficult thing in the world explained. It’s like, you just see, well this is it, this is the way it is. There is no problem about it. Death. Suffering. These aren’t problems. They’re awful, if they are problems, the worst kind of suffering is that if you think there might be a way out of. When you know there isn’t it is easier to bear. So, in this sense of it all being perfectly clear and simple and transparent. This experience now that you’re having at this moment is what it’s about. This is the beatific vision, this is cosmic consciousness, this is where it’s at it. And it just becomes clear like that. But you see when you say that to someone or may not have had such an experience, they say, mmm, so what? Do you mean it’s just it’s just what’s going on now? I would say why do you use the word just for what’s going on now. Because that means you’re only half awake. If awake at all. You are bolting your life, like some people both the food, and you think you’ve experience now. What you say I have now after now after now after now after now I’ll look up in the dump book that was done book that goes down but that was not the still feel hungry I want a good one I hope that somewhere down on the end of the line in the future it’s going to be a sudden now experience which will be noowwwwww, that’s the thing I wanted! But tomorrow never comes.