Sunday, June 29, 2008

Positive Yoga


Next to morality, yoga has become the subject on which any kind of
interpretation is correct. If I were allowed, I would prefer to use the
term 'situation-yoga,' like situation ethics. As ethics evolves according
to our need, so does yoga.

One can read something related to yoga in almost every newspaper or magazine
in India these days; not only because yoga is so popular and in demand but,
it has become a fashion to relate every human activity with yoga.

Of course, Swami Nranjananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga has his
own right authority to say, 'Discover Your Potential through Practice of
Yoga'. The Bihar School is one of the rare, well established centres where
yoga is taught seriously and according to the prescribed tradition.
Therefore, my critique is not to challenge his authority and knowledge on
yoga. Compared to him, I am not even on an elementary level in my knowledge
of yoga. I do not practice yoga-viz. asanas, which is wrongly treated as
yoga in itself. All that I know about yoga is with my limited reading on
this subject-not even a proper study.

Well, coming back to the subject, it is encouraging to see what Swamiji says
in his article (The Speaking Tree, The Times of India, Bangalore, Feb. 22,
p. 18), 'If we just revolve around our likes and dislikes, actions and
reactions, desires and rejections all our life, it means we have not learned
the lesson to bring out the positivity', which according to him is the
purpose of yoga. He continues, 'Positivity and acceptance have to be our
focus if we want to succeed in life. If this focus is lost, we cannot claim
to be practitioners of yoga, only practitioners of asana, or meditation.'

To prove his point then he quotes the third sutra of Yoga Sutras of
Patanjali, which, according to him, 'discusses being established in one's
own nature as the seer, the drashta. To be established in one's own nature
means there has to be harmony, a flow in life.' And by practicing yoga
(mainly asana and meditation) if 'we only identify with the inner experience
of happiness, but react externally in our attitudes, behavior, relationships
and communication, then that experience can never be complete. That is the
true meaning of yoga.'

There are so many good points that Swamiji shares in this article. However,
I am not sure is this the main teaching of Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. If
my (limited) understanding is correct, the aim of Patanjali Yoga Sutra is to
teach some eight steps to attain samadhi, which is based on Sankhyan theory;
the purusha can be separated from the prakriti and gets its release from the

At least Patanjali Yoga Sutra cannot be analyzed by separating it from
Sankhya, as they both are two side of the same coin. If Sankhya is theory,
then Yoga is practice. There is nothing wrong in getting some practical
benefit from Yoga Sutra itself, as very few can follow the Sankhya-Yoga
systems in their totality. However, separating a few sutras from the
overall context of the text and giving our own interpretation may serve our
immediate purpose-either to write an article or to teach 'Practical Yoga.'
Nevertheless, considering our nature and need, these principles to attain
positivity in life can be taught independently. But the power of positive
thinking, is not some magic to bring positivity in life without knowing the
reason for 'negativity' that we have within us-as Swamiji himself says in
his introduction, 'Our personality is a combination of both rubbish and
gold, and generally we are affected by the rubbish and we ignore the gold.'

One of my friends in his recent comment on 'Love & Loving' said, 'Patanjali
is the ultimate on the subject with his 4 Sutras of
Maitri-Mudita-Karuna-Upeksha' (loving-kindness, compassion, joy and
equanimity.) However, Patanjali has nothing to with 'Love & Loving';
however, we wish to read such beautiful thoughts in his Sutras.2

My critique is not a 'criticism' of another's view. When some of the human
values can be taught both by words and deeds with our own level of
understanding, why do we need to quote those authorities, about which common
people have no proper understanding as well those authorities who never
taught as we wish to read in their teaching? Quoting some ancient authority
will give some weight to our point, but they may not serve our purpose.


1. Traditionally the Yoga of Patanjali is known as a 'negative' one, in the
sense of it advocating sense suppression through eight fold paths. See the
following comments by P.V.Kane:

...That sutra (Yoga Sutra III.11) states the goal of Yoga viz. the soul that
is seer abides in its own form then (i.e. when the functions of the mind
have been mastered), while in ordinary life the soul appears to assume the
forms of the fluctuations of the mind. The Vrttis are five, some of which
are (p.1409) afflicted by hindrances called klesas and the others are not so
hindered (those that are hindered are to be mastered or eliminated and the
others are to be accepted). The five vrttis are pramaana (means of valid
knowledge), viparyaya (wrong conception), vikalpa (fancy), nidraa (sleep),
smrti (memory). Pramaanas are three, pratyaksa (perception), anumaana
(inference), aagama (verbal testimony). The means for the suppression of
the vrttis are abhyaasa (practice) and vairaagya (passionlessness)
(simultaneously carried on), the first being the effort to secure a calm
flow of the mind free from vrttis, continued for a long time uninterruptedly
and earnestly and the latter (vairaagya) being the consciousness of mastery
over (i.e. freedom from thirst for) seen objects (such as a woman, food and
drink, high position) and objects promised by Revelation (such as heaven,
disembodied existence etc.). Vairaagya is of two kinds apara (described in
Y.S.I.15) and para (highest) described in Y.S.I.16 and bhaasya thereon. In
the highest vairaagya, the yogin (who has reached discrimination between the
self and the gunas, sattva etc.) is free from thirst not only for objects of
sense, but also free from the gunas, attains a stage of undisturbed
consciousness only and leads the yogin to reflect `I have attained what was
to be attained, the klesas (hindrances avidyaa etc.) that have to be
destroyed have been destroyed, the close-knit succession of births and
deaths has been cut off'.... .-P.V. Kane, History of Dharmasastras, Pune,
vol. V, part.II,p.1409-11

2. The principal virtues of universal friendship, universal compassion,
etc., to which reference has already been made, were appreciated early in
Buddhism and also in the yoga of Patanjali. But it may well be argued that
there was scarcely any place for the active manifestation of universal
friendship or universal compassion in a scheme of life which was decidedly
individualistic. No one who sought the absolute (p.98) freedom of his own
self, or the extinction of his whole personality like the extinguishing of a
flame, and who sought the cessation of his own rebirths and sorrow as the
only goal and the only ambition to be realized, could have much scope for
any active manifestation of universal friendship. The altruistic ideal can
therefore at best be merely a disposition, and can manifest itself merely in
a negative way, e.g., in non-injury to any being. But a person who holds
such an individualistic notion of salvation cannot, in his scheme of life,
have any leisure or opportunity for the doing of active good to others.-
S.N. Dasgupta, HINDU MYSTICISM, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, (1927), 1992,

Mathigiri, February 22, 2007, 11.30 am.

Meaningless Ritual


Ideology is the intellectual articulation of some serious reflection on a
concept by the elitists. But common people, living on an existential level
have different, practical-oriented approaches to the same concept. The main
difference is that while the elitists are criticizing the common approach to
reality by the commoners, the commoners are neither aware of such
intellectual ideologies nor bother to learn from them to survive.

In answer to the question, "Are rituals a way to become peaceful or are they
a solution to life?" Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says:

You can derive some benefits from ritual, if it has some element of science
in it. However, rituals were popularly practiced when most people were

When intellect is sufficiently evolved in society, the practice of
performing rituals begins to slowly recede because this is just like old
technology. We should use other methods that can easily transform a person.
Rituals have now become a source of exploitation. There could be something
to ritual, but it is overly exaggerated. If you want to be peaceful, there
are some simple things that you can do with yourself. If you invest just a
few minutes a day to yourself, remaining peaceful through the day is easy.
(Shun Meaningless Ritual, Get A Hold On Yourself, The Speaking Tree, The
Times of India, Bangalore, May 31, 2007, p. 16)

Then after pointing out the vanity of performing of ritual to avert
earthquakes at Andhra and financial problems in Tamilnadu, the Sadhguruji
explains the genuine and natural way to handle those problems. Again
pointing out the need to address the poverty seriously, he concludes:

You must be in a condition that you won't crack up and break down when
situations demand exertion from you. So it is important that you do some
inner engineering, strengthen and stabilize yourself before setting out to
face challenges.

Of course every reasonable person will welcome such sober advice, which is
the need of everyone. However, we need to question the statement that
'rituals were popularly practiced when most people were ignorant.' Because
down the centuries, if we observe Hinduism (or any other religion), rituals
need not be practiced all the time with ignorance. If we call the rituals
of common people as ignorant ones, then they can say our way of finding
peace without performing any outward ritual, but only through the so-called
scientific methods of 'meditation,' 'contemplation,' 'yoga' etc. are nothing
but different kinds of rituals in their eyes. We may think that such
practices are not rituals. However, these are the same old methods of
interiorizing the outward forms (of rituals) that are recommended in
Aranyakas. In Aranyakas, the vanaprastas (forest dwellers) were advised to
abandon all kinds of outward rituals and perform them mentally.

Inner transformation never comes so easily. Performing 'simple things' by
oneself will never bring peace easily. Whether we choose some inner
engineering or outward (old) technology of rituals, when it comes to
attaining peace, there are not 'simple things' alone involved.

Of course, all kinds rituals, performed with ignorance or mechanically need
to be improved. However, considering our nature, even these so called
'simple things' of scientific inner engineering could themselves become mere
routine and mechanical. Then performing such practices becomes another kind
of ritual, only gaining certain sophisticated terms like 'meditation',
'contemplation' or 'yoga'.

Dayanand Bharati,
Mathigiri, May 31, 2007.

Ten Vaishnavite Oaths

Ten Vaishnavite Oaths.

In this morning (April 8, 2007) in the National Tamil T.V. channel, one
famous religious speaker (Sri Velukkudi Krishnan, from Vaishnavaite
sampradaya) read out ten oaths to his audience to repeat after him. A few
are along sectarian lines as expected-Ramanuja is the only acharya to be
followed, and Narayana as the only god to be worshipped. But what is
interesting to me is two oaths. In the first he said, 'neither by birth, or
wealth or education we won't consider ourselves as great'. But he never
said 'by birth, or wealth or education we won't consider ourselves as great
but will treat all are equal'. The eleventh one is, 'I will share these
oaths with at least ten persons.'

I wish I could have recorded them and shared all those ten oaths. I don't
want add any of my comments but any one can read their own as per her/his

Dayanand Bharati.



Using people for one's own idealism or religious agenda is a crime against
humanity. Some will never live out their ideals in their personal life, but
expect others to live up to it. I wish those who took effort to bring back
those Hindus back to their community would address their tangible needs,
which forced them to change their religious allegiance. Conversion and
re-conversion (the recent incidents of 150 Convert Christians return to
Hinduism in Himachal Pradesh) are a very easy thing (to fulfill some
religio-political agenda) but involving with the people in their day to day
struggle with active participation is the real testing ground to show how
far one is serious in implementing that idealism/agenda which he sets for
others. It is well said that: No one ever lived above his creed.


March 11, 1.00 am.


Thursday, June 19, 2008



Being a single man, I have great respect for family life. I always insist
that family is the first priority in god's idealism for humanity. So I too
promote the importance of responsibility and commitment towards one's own
family first. However, like a single person, a family too cannot exist and
function independently. Like all other human beings and institutions, its
very identity depends upon its interaction and involvement with the outer
society. So, however the family people are committed to their own home
first, yet they have wider responsibility to the outer society as well.

So, while taking care of all the responsibility in a family, the one
blessing of a family life is that one individual is not indispensable for
the smooth function of the family. What I mean by this is that a person in
a family can find another replacement when s/he has to choose two equally
important commitments. Whereas in a single person's life, s/he has no such

Of course PRIORITY decides even in this. If two commitments are demanding
same attention, then the family person should decide according to the
priority basis. But, when s/he excuses other commitments and responsibility
in the name of family responsibility and commitment, in which s/he can be
replaced by someone else, then it is mere laziness or lack of responsibility
towards the other commitment. Though we can accept other choices and
priorities, if it is going to disturb others, who are also involved, then no
family person should use his family as a scape goat to get rid of her/his
responsibility to which s/he has already committed.

Dayanand Bharati
Mathigiri, July 23, 2007.

The Suffering of the Mind

The suffering of the mind

I am not talking about the suffering 'caused' by the mind, but the suffering
that it faces from human beings. Next to the atman and more than any other
human psyche, the mind suffers the most by the way it needs to be
suppressed, disciplined, controlled, annihilated, eradicated, etc. etc. by
various sadhanas. Some times I feel sorry for the mind itself, as it is
tortured by us-using the very same mind.

Here is another such 'mind torture' again by another spiritual teacher.
However my aim is not to question him or criticize his views or any others
who hold or follow such teachings. But the way the subject is handled
creates some questions-again, sorry to say, in my mind.

'When the mind merges totally in the Truth, it experiences the nirvikalpa
state of spontaneous bliss of uninterrupted Self-knowledge', says Avatar
Meher Baba, whose 113th birth anniversary is celebrated on February 25th,
2007. And to give a lively examples, Baba says, 'This state of union with
God is described by Jesus Christ: "I and my Father are One". (Avatar Meher
Baba, Nirvikalpa Samadhi is Knowledge of The Soul, The Speaking Tree, The
Times of India, Bangalore, February 26, 2007, p.16)

Don't ask whether Jesus meant that when he said that 'I and my Father are
One'. Well let us leave it to the biblical theologians to clarify. For us,
the question is, "Does our bhakti tradition talk about such 'mind'
discipline where 'The mind has to be annihilated through the mind itself'
(as Baba says) so that the soul 'just knows itself to be God through
effortless intuition'?"

If my understanding based on my limited reading of bhakti literature is
correct, then the most simple and final sadhana is total surrender to God
without any reservation-which is termed as 'prapatti' in Vaishnavite
tradition. Of course in this surrender whether the atman becomes 'one' with
god or 'becomes god' itself is a long theological debate in various bhakti
schools of thought. However, just taking some tips from the yoga tradition
and mixing it with bhakti and 'torturing' the mind through various processes
to 'annihilate' it, to make the Soul to 'know itself to be God' makes one to
feel sorry for the mind, as no other psyche suffers this much at the hands
of human. However, as the mind never 'minds' such teaching, it continues to
function as it is-without anyone prescribing right way to handle it.

Mathigiri, March 1, 2007