It is said that if Parama Puruśa can be attained through Yoga then what is the place of devotion (Bhakti) in the life of a spiritual sádhaka? Now let us see what is Yoga? “Yogashcittavrtti Nirodhah” – Yoga is the suspension of the propensities (vrttis) of mind. What is Niruddha? It is said that under five circumstances the mind becomes steady – Kśipta, Múŕha, Vikśipta, Ekágra and Nirodha. What is Kśipta? When mind becomes extremely restless because of crude propensities, then the restless mind tends towards only one object. While tending towards one object, it gets itself concentrated (Samádhistha) all of a sudden therein. That absorption of mind into that object is transitory. This state is known as Kśipta. You might have noticed in your personal life that if you come in clash with a person or if you become angry with him, throughout the day the picture of that individual repeatedly comes to your mind and you fail to concentrate your mind on any object other than that individual. This state of mind is Kśipta Samádhi.
The next one is Múŕha. Where there is attachment to or fear from some object (judged minutely fear is included in attachment ), the object even in that case repeatedly creeps into mind. As for instance, a man of Gazipur working in Bombay is repeatedly haunted with the idea that he should have his office just like the one at Gazipur. Gazipur all the time haunts his mind. It means that the object comes to mind very easily, This state is called Múŕha.
The third one is Vikśipta. Vikśipta is Abhávátmiká Samádhi. Suppose the mind is absorbed in one object. The next moment it shifts to another object, then to the next one and so on and so forth till the mind gets exhausted and ceases to function. This is known as Vikśipta Samádhi. You know that in a lullaby the baby is given one picture, the next moment another picture and so on and so forth, till the child’s mind is exhausted and it takes recourse to sleep. This is Vikśipta Samádhi.
The next one is Ekágra. Because of the ideation of a particular object, the mind is concentrated at a particular point. This is known as Ekágra Samádhi.
The fifth one is Nirodha. Nirodha means to withdraw the vibrations (Gati or the propensities of mind) and to direct them to the objectless (Aviśaya) i.e., to withdraw the mind from the objectivities. This is Nirodha.
Thus Yoga is “Yogashcittavrtti Nirodhah” i.e. the Nirodha (channelisation) of all the Vrttis (propensities) of mind.
What is Vrtti? In Saḿskrta Vrtti means livelihood, profession. Here Vrtti means mental pabulum (ábhoga). These Vrttis are many in number. The chief Vrttis (Mukhyá Vrtti) are five in number, all the other Vrttis are dependent on these. These Vrttis are Pramáńa, Viparyaya, Vikalpa, Nidrá and Smrti.
What is Pramáńa? “Pratyakśánumánágamáh Pramáńáni.” Pratyakśa, Ágama and Anumána are known as Pramáńa. Pratyakśa means that which you perceive directly with your eyes. You will advocate the existence of the object you have already seen with your eyes. Prati plus Akśa is Pratyakśa. Akśi means eye; that which is seen with the eyes is Pratyakśa. Suppose you have seen an elephant with your eyes. You now do not bother about the proof of the existence of the elephant. The next is Anumána. In Anumána you don’t see the original object but you see something related (Anusaḿgita) to or associated with the original object. You see the smoke, not the fire, but when you see the smoke you come to infer that there is fire. This is Anumáná – a Pramáńa. The third one is Ágama: that which you cannot see and cannot even infer but you have heard from some authority. The city of London you have not seen nor can you imagine London but you accept its existence as you have read of it, you have studied about it in your Geography. Here one will have to depend upon Agamika Pramańa (authoritative proof). In the absence of any of these three factors (Pratyakśa, Anumána, Ágama) the existence of any object is jeopardized. There was a materialist philosopher named Maharśi Cárváka in India. Cárváka was of the opinion that Pratyakśa Pramáná is the only Pramáńa and no other Pramáńa is to be accepted. He advocated –
Pratyakśaeka pramáńaváditayá anumánáde
– i.e., Pratyakśa alone is a Pramáńa. Did he not accept the existence of air? The air remains invisible to the eyes.
The next one is Vikalpa. “Shabdaguńánupátii Vastushunyah Vikalpah.” Suppose you are going to Varanasi. When you come near Varanasi you say Varanasi has come, but really Varanasi did not come – it continued existing where it was, but you yourself came to Varanasi. Then “Viparyayo. Mithyájiṋánamatadrupaprtiśthám.” You generally say that the house of a particular gentleman is in the heart of a town, Himalaya is at the head of India. Can there be heart of a town of India? Still you speak like that. The mistakes in Vikalpa and Viparyaya are occurring all the time.
The next one is Nidrá, one of the main propensities. “Abhávapratyayá lambaniivrttih Nidra”. Nidra (sleep) is a propensity which brings vacuity in mind. In human beings the propensity that brings forth blankness is itself Nidrá. Suppose, you are resting on your bed. Your eyes are on the watch, you fall sleep, but when you get up, you fail to say at what moment actually you slept. Between sleeping and rising things occurred of which you are ignorant. There was vacuum, neither you were seeing anything nor hearing anything. This state of vacuity is Nidrá.
The last one is Smrti. Smrti is “Anúbhutaviśayásampramośah smrtih.” The inferential vibration (Tánmátrika Spandana) comes to your nerves. Sympathetic vibrations are transmitted to the ectoplasmic stuff which takes the shape of the object. Suppose you are capable of creating an object in your ectoplasmic stuff: that is known as Smrti.
So these are the five main propensities. All the other propensities are dependent on these five propensities. And Yoga is suspension of propensities. Mostly all the Vrttis are Kliśt́á Vrttis. Kliśt́a means that which invariably begets pain. There are four divisions of the Vrttis – Kliśt́á Vrtti, Akliśt́á Vrtti, Kliśt́áKliśt́á Vrtti, and Akliśt́á Kliśt́á Vrtti. Kliśt́á Vrtti is one that begets pain in following it. Its resultant is also painful. Suppose you are going somewhere. If the road is bad you are troubled and if the road leads to a desert the destination is also painful. This is Kliśt́á Vrtti. Take another example. A thief goes out for stealing on a stormy and cold night. While going out he undergoes suffering. Suppose he is caught by the police, the end also is painful. The next one is Akliśt́á Vrtti. This Vrtti neither begets pain at the beginning nor at the end. Take for instance the case of a Sádhaka with devotion. While performing sádhaná he does not get pain and at the end too he gets no pain. This is Akliśt́á Vrtti. The third one is Kliśt́akliśt́á Vrtti. While moving on there is much pain but when you reach your destination there is no pain. While moving on a stony path you feel troubled but when you reach a beautiful park you are quite happy. In sádhaná also there are kinks in which one feels trouble but the result is quite pleasing. It is painful to do some difficult ásanas but when the disease is cured it gives pleasure. The next one is Akliśt́akliśt́á. In the beginning it is pleasing and at the end it is painful. A bribe-taker is quite happy at the beginning but if caught by the anti-corruption department, it is humiliating. Whatever the Vrttis be (Kliśt́á Vrtti, Akliśt́á Vrtti, Kliśt́ákliśt́á Vrtti, and Akliśt́akliśt́á Vrtti), all depend on the nature of a person. Where the goal is Paramátman that Vrtti is very pleasing at the end (Aklesántika). But where the goal is matter the end will definitely be painful (Klesántika). So “Yogashcittavrtti Nirodhah.” If the main propensities are controlled, the subsidiary ones will automatically be controlled.
What is Yoga according to Tantra? Tantra defines Yoga as “Saḿyoga Yoga Ityukto Jiivátmá Paramátmanah”. The unification of Jiivátman with Paramátman is termed Yoga. What is Paramátman and Jiivátman? The moon in the sky is like Paramátman and its reflection in the pond is Jiivátman. How to unify Jiivátman with Paramátman? When the moon in the sky reaches the moon in the pond then there is oneness between the two. The reflection of Paramátman on unit mind is Jiivátman. When the mind reaches Paramátman both Jiivátman and Paramátman become one. This is the explanation of Yoga according to Tantra.
The word “Yoga” is derived from the root verb “Yuj” and suffix “Ghaiṋ”. In Saḿskrta there are two similar root-verbs – one “Yuj” and another: “Yunj”. “Yuj” means to unite, “Yunj” means to unify. Arithmetical addition, mixing sugar with sand is unity, but the mixture of sugar with water is unification. Where there is unification both the entities merge into one and they cannot be separated.
Now what is the role of devotion in Yoga? Yoga means “Cittavrttinirodha” or merger of Jiivátman into Paramátman. Where propensities are controlled the nerves are made to stop their functioning by forced physical energy. Not only the nerve fibres but also the nerve cells are made to stop their functioning. When the function is stopped there is no ectoplasmic vibration. If this is done the mind stops its functions. When the mental actions are stopped there is temporary control of the propensities. This forced control is known as Hat́ha Yoga. Hat́ha means Balena – by force. Therefore that is not actually Vrttinirodha. Really speaking, the workings of nerve cells, nerve fibres being stopped, the working of mind is also stopped. This is what happens when one becomes senseless. Therefore that is not Yoga – Hat́ha Yoga is not Yoga. In Yoga one has to do Vrtti nirodha, and for Vrtti nirodha one has to withdraw one’s mind from the crude objects and direct it towards Paramátman, then only suspension of propensities is possible. There has to be a goal without which suspension is not possible. In the Tántrik definition it is quite clear, “Saḿyoga Yogo Ityukto Jiivátmá-Paramátmanah” – the Jiivátman has to be merged into Paramátman. The goal has been fixed here.
In the practice of yoga Sádhakas elevate Jaevii Shakti Kula Kuńd́alini (coiled serpentine) and merge it into Paramátmá. As the Kula Kuńd́alinii crosses various plexii the spiritual aspirant achieves Siddhis at the various stages of Yoga. The kula kuńd́alini can be raised only when the Sádhaka has a longing for Paramátman. When humans will desire to merge Jiiva Shakti (unit consciousness) with Shiva Shakti (Cosmic Consciousness) the Kula Kuńd́alinii will be elevated. Only when the longing to be one with Paramátman is intense will the Kula Kuńd́alinii rise up. When the Kundalinii is in the crudest stage it is in the Múládhára plexus. When by dint of Sádhaná the Kula Kuńd́alini comes to Svádhiśt́hana Cakra, the Sádhaka feels that he himself and Paramátman are in the same world. “Though He is far, yet He is visible. One day I will reach Him.” This is Sálokya Samádhi. When the Kuńdálinii will rise up in Sálokya Samádhi how can it be effected in the absence of devotion? In the absence of devotion it is not possible to take Jiivátman to Paramátman. Even the awakening (Nidrátyága) of Kula Kuńd́alinii is not possible in absence of devotion. Knowledge, education, learning – all will fail if devotion is not there. Futile will become the Yoga of a Yogi who is devoid of Bhakti. When Bhakti is there even if one is devoid of knowledge and learning, one will be a Maháyogii as he will be established in Yoga.
When devotion develops still more Kula Kuńd́alini reaches Mańipura Cakra. This state is known as Sámiipya Samádhi. The Sádhaka who has attained this stage will have a feeling that Paramátman is near him. Where there is no devotion there cannot be the elevation of Kulakúńdalinii to this stage. They may be Hátha yogiis but they will not achieve Paramátman.
When devotion will increase still more there will be Sáyujya Samádhi. Such Sádhakas will feel that they are close to Paramátman. How is this possible without devotion? Without devotion one cannot go to Paramátman as one does not want to go to Paramátman. What to speak of this, if devotion is not there, one will not go to Paramátman even if called for by Him i.e., without devotion nothing is possible.
If there is further increase in devotion then that stage is known as Sárupya Samádhi. In Sárupya, Samádhi there will be oneness of the Sádhaka with Paramátman. The Sádhaka will feel that he himself is his goal – he and Paramátman are one. When devotion is intense this stage is obtained. If not:
Ásana máre kyáyá huyá yo gayii na mankii ásh
Jav kalu ká balad so gharhii kosh paṋcás.
The ox in the country oil mill moves all day long but does not march forward. It simply revolves round the pillar. Such is the case with a Yogii without devotion. When Kuńd́alini reaches Ájiṋá Cakra with the devotion made stronger, this stage is Sárst́hi Samádhi. This means that the Sádhaka and Paramátman are not two entities but one. Sárst́hi is the zenith point of devotion. The stage where even the “I” feeling is lost (i.e., Bekhudii) is Kaevalya. The supreme status of Yoga is Kaevalya, Nirguńásthiti (non-qualified state). The supreme state of devotion too is the supreme state. This proves that a Yogii cannot move even a step further without devotion. Yoga without devotion is as good as a goldsmith without gold. Unfortunate is the Yogii who is bereft of devotion. You will have to do Sádhaná of Jiṋána and Karma. By doing simply Ásana and Pránáyáma, the Supreme Entity cannot be attained. The most important thing is devotion. One who is completely illiterate can attain God whereas even a triple MA may not.
What is Jiṋána? The effort to feel the presence of Paramátman in all the objects is Jiṋána Sádhaná. People perform spiritual practice to realize that Paramátman exists in all the objects. He is not only in all the objects, rather all the objects are He. The attainment in Jiṋána Sádhana becomes possible when one realizes that all the objects are Paramátman. And what is Karma Sádhaná? In the physical world everybody has the potentiality to work, but rarely a person utilizes his cent-percent potentiality for Karma. Even the greatest reformer utilizes about 10 % of his potentiality and 90% remains unutilized. Only with the utilization of 10% he could become so great, but if he would have utilized all his potentialities one could not have even imagined his greatness. Karma Sádhaná is work done more for others and less for oneself. Generally people remain engaged in their own works and for others they devote only 5 or 10 minutes. This sort of tendency is an animal tendency. One who works only for one’s own self is an animal but one who works for others is really great. When people render no service to themselves but do only for others they are known as Karmasiddha.
So through Jiṋána and Karma, Bhakti is aroused and for the arousal of Bhakti both jiṋána and karma are needed. Bear in mind that the Sadhana of jiṋána and karma are to be done but the sadhana of karma has to be more than that of jiṋána. When jiṋána is obtained more than karma done there is possibility of the arousal of vanity which results in downfall.
Abhimánaḿ surápánaḿ gaoravaḿ raoravaḿ dhruvam
Pratiśt́ha shukariiviśt́há trayaḿ tyaktvá hariḿ bhajet.
When karma is done more than jiṋána, then Bhakti is aroused. When Bhakti is aroused a Yogii can move further towards Paramátman, and not before this. A Yogi depends on Bhakti in toto. Where there is no Bhakti the heart of a Yogi becomes like a barren desert. The heart of a Sadhaka is like soil, Iśtá Mantra the seed and Bhakti water. Where there are no cool showers of Bhakti there is no use sowing seed in a desert. So to be an ideal Yogi is the goal of everyone but one must remember that Bhakti has to be aroused. Where there is no arousal of Bhakti the human life becomes futile. One who has Bhakti at the age of five commands the salutations from a man of eighty without Bhakti. This is because Bhakti is the Supreme. Even a great jiṋánii like Shaḿkarácarya admitted “Mokśakárańasamagryaḿ bhaktireva gariiyasii.” Therefore Bhakti is the best of all the means for attaining Mokśa. Whatever a Sádhaka has to do is to be done for the arousal of Bhakti. He is not the beggar of anything except Bhakti. When one’s Bhakti is once attained one is not a pauper but an emperor.
Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 18