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Thread: dhāraṇā-s

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    dhāraṇā-s

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~


    namasté

    Within the practice or sādhana of yoga the are multiple methods or vehicles herein called dhāraṇāḥ1 ( or dhāraṇā-s). For many new arrivals into various practices there is no ‘lay of the land’ on what types of dhāraṇāḥ are possible. I’d like to call out a view in to a suggested grouping I find helpful. For all the dhāraṇā-s they can be with support or without support. This may be new to many as to what is meant by support and I will get to that within the body of the postings that will be offered.

    Yet, the purpose/intent of the dhāraṇā-s is to bring the śiṣya (student, practitioner) to śiṣṭa or cultured, disciplined. What is disciplined? It is buddhi ( intellect) that is without agitation (nistimitām), that is the culturing. This is of great import and we can get into why steadying the intellect is of value, but it will lead me off the path of the current discussion.
    That said let me list out the dhāraṇā-s first, then go into each one just a bit in a future post.

    • prāṇa – or prāṇaśakti as a useful vehicle that plays a most important role within the body-mind relationship.
    • japa – repetition; most know of muttering of mantra-s; yet too can add repetition of behaviors
    • bhāvanā - ~creative~ contemplation
    • śunya - void
    • urvyā – vastness or extensiveness
    • gādhatā – intensity or closeness
    • mudrā-s – this could be a formation or pose many think of, yet too it is a dispostion of thought or idea that works along with bhāvanā-s mentioned above.
    • āsana-s – postures, yet we’re concerned with the ones that compliment and work along with other dhāraṇā-s for their benefit and execution.
    • kṣobha – this means agitation or irritation ; this too is a competent tool that can be employed
    • vikalpa – thought constructs, yet more of a purer (śuddha) format; this within the purer form is again exercising the bhāvanā - ~creative~ contemplation approach (upayā)


    With all these dhāraṇāḥ we look ( as mentioned) to groom the śiṣya (student, practitioner) to śiṣṭa. This is the development of madha-vikāsa or the middle state. The aim of the above dhāraṇāḥ group is this madhya-vikāsa. It is more the recognition then its development because this madha-vikāsa is already there. The dhāraṇā-s are there to help us recognize this perfectly balanced condition.
    Kṣmarāja-ji2 explains that this madhya-vikāsa is none other than saṁvit or Universal Awareness ( Being, pure consciousness) ; that is why these dhāraṇāḥ are highly valued. Hence the intent is the unfoldment/recognition and absorption once again into our own real fullness of SELF.

    श्रीशिवाःपनमस्तु
    śrī śivāḥpanamastu


    1. dhāraṇā-s – we could say practice, yet a more refined definition is the collection of or concentration of the mind; firmness , steadfastness of mind. The more refined name for dhāraṇā-s is nistaraṅga upadeśa or undistracted instruction or practice. Note that nista+raṅga = out of + field of battle , which infers the thrashing of the mind being pulled here-and-there.
    2. Kṣemarāja was abhinavagupta-ji’s disciple/śiṣya.





    Last edited by yajvan; 05 February 2018 at 11:27 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: dhāraṇā-s

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~


    namasté


    but yajvan , I look at the list above and do not see devotion (bhakti) as one on the list, should it not be there?
    Yes, and it would be found under gādhatā – intensity or closeness. One’s intensity to the devatā (divinity) that he/she aligns to.

    ... and what of Self-inquiry (ātma-vicāra) ? That which rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi talked of so often?
    This we would find under vikalpa – thought constructs, yet more of a purer (śuddha) format.

    We will see how this works then.... the list is like the lay of the land and various channels one may pursue. But which one?
    That depends on the person and his/her intensity and readiness/ripeness; yet the one that the wise would offer would be
    īṣat upāya or little means . That approach or method that is most aligned to the person's abilities and that will yield the desired results. 'Little means' infers effectiveness - the least amount, to gain the greatest good.

    श्रीशिवाःपनमस्तु
    śrī śivāḥpanamastu

    Last edited by yajvan; 19 January 2018 at 06:28 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3
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    Re: dhāraṇā-s

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    prāṇa – or prāṇaśakti as a useful vehicle that plays a most important role within the body-mind relationship.

    We are told in the praśna upaniṣad1 :
    prāṇasyedaṃ vaśe sarvaṃ tridive yatpratiṣṭhitam |
    māteva putrānrakśasva śrīśca prajñāṃ ca vidhehi na iti || 13


    all this ( the world) is within ( or under ) the control of prāṇa; all that exists in the 3 worlds is under the control of prāṇa.
    Protect us (prāṇa) like a mother does her son ( or children); grant us knowledge & prosperity.

    And, we are informed in the 3rd chapter of the spanda-kārikās ( 8th kārikā) that the mind is the slayer of the Real. When the slayer ( the mind) is slain, what remains ? The Real.

    Hence a dhāraṇā (holding, keeping, retention, method) of using prāṇa as a vehicle is an effective means to get to the Real. If one manages prāṇa one manages the mind.

    Consider a 4 legged stool; if I pull on just 1 leg the whole stool must follow along. Now what are the 4 legs? It is prāṇa, buddhi (some call cetanā2), mind, & ego ( some like to call jivātmā). So, if I manage just one leg of the stool I manage the whole stool.
    How then does one ~manage~ prāṇa (or prāṇaśakti) ? Via the breath; it is an expression of prāṇaśakti. Who does not breathe ?

    ...to be continued.


    श्रीशिवाःपनमस्तु
    śrī śivāḥpanamastu


    1. this praśnopaniṣat is about praśnaḥ or questions being asked by 6 seekers to the seer pippālāda-ji, a disciple of vyāsya-ji ( compiler of the veda-s for our time); vyāsya-ji assigned the atharva veda to pippālāda-ji. The questions being asked are regarding brahma-vidyā or knowledge of reality.
    2. cetanā is mentioned by śivopādhyāya as buddhi; he is one commentator on the vijñābhairva kārikā-s; the other two are kṣmarāja-ji and bhaṭṭānanda; their insights are throddled down for our use by svāmī lakṣman-jū, jai deva singh, & jayaratha to name a few; hence we are in good company
    Last edited by yajvan; 21 January 2018 at 05:54 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  4. #4
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    Re: dhāraṇā-s

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~

    namasté



    How then does one ~manage~ prāṇa (or prāṇaśakti) ? Via the breath; it is an expression of prāṇaśakti. Who does not breathe?

    We are informed that there are 3 types of prāṇaśakti:
    • prāṇaśakti in general is that breath that goes on automatically – the inward breath named apāna and called jīva ( life-giving) & outward breath called prāṇa. This breath continues day and night and part of the autonomic nervous system’s duties. Even during deep sleep the breath continues.
    • ātmaśakti is the breath that you can control. You can hold or suspend your breath, alter your breathing rhythms, manage it (prāṇayam), etc.
    • prabhuśakti is that breath that is managed by the Lord; this breath occurs in the madhyā-nāḍi, called the ~central vein~.

    The aspirant has then the ability to manage one’s breath (ātmaśakti). Hence within the methods (dhāraṇā-s) and various means (upāyaḥ) then we are exercising our will (iccha) using the breath as a vehicle to apply the various means (upāyaḥ). For prāṇaśakti it is its will (icchayā) that the breath goes on automatically. And for prabhuśakti ? It is His will.
    With this rhythm of breath japa occurs ( this is 2nd in the list above found in the 1st post). The natural mantra that goes on day and night and aligned to the inward and outward breath or haṁsaḥ. It occurs in a natural way for those that know or do not know it is going on.

    For the worldly (paśujana) or ill-informed it is not much use; yet for the sādhu or being taught (śiṣṭa) engaged in practice (dhāraṇaḥ) it acts / or is like yajña or worship equal to advara (sacrifice). This is called out in one śāivāgama (śiva-āgama or sacred works of śivaḥ) offered by kṣemararāja commentary (ṭīkā) on the śiva-sūtras, verse 3.27 and the 155th verse shown further down the post, from the
    vijnānabhairava kārakā-s :

    sakāreṇa bahir yāti hakāreṇa viśet punaḥ |
    haṁsahaṁsety amum mantraṁ jīvo japati nityaśaḥ || 3.27
    commentary (ṭīkā)

    this says,
    the jīvaḥ ( that would be the sādhu or śiṣya\student) breathing out sounds ‘sa’ ( or sakāreṇa) and breathing in sounds ‘ha’ (hakāreṇa) repeatedly (punaḥ1 or again) in this manner the jīvaḥ recites (japati) the mantra (mantraṁ) haṁsa repeatedly (nityaśaḥ) ||

    When this haṁsa is done for some time it becomes ‘sahaṁ’ and by the rules of grammar written as so’haṁ. For the sādhu or śiṣya this is a method (dhāraṇā) and means (upāyaḥ); for the worldly is just breathing that occurs automatically with no special significance other than staying alive.

    So, just with the enlightened means (upāyaḥ) of the breath ātmaśakti one can be doing:

    • prāṇa – or prāṇaśakti as a useful vehicle that plays a most important role within the body-mind relationship.
    • japa – repetition; most know of muttering of mantra-s; yet too can add repetition of behaviors
    • gādhatā – intensity or closeness (devotion or bhakti) & advara (sacrifice).


    Yet the wise (satyavachāh one who speaks truth) informs us that this is the basis of the highest worship ( bhakti), and also :

    • the highest form of ritual bath – snānam
    • the highest form of homaḥ ( fire sacrifice or yajña or havan)
    • the highest form of pūja (worship)
    • the highest form of japaḥ (sacred utterance or muttering)
    • the highest form of dhyāna (meditation)

    All of which leads naturally to the destruction (kṣapaṇa)of sin , code for ignorance.

    It is summed up here:
    asyām anucaran tiṣṭhan mahānanda maye 'dhvare |
    tayā devyā samāviṣṭaḥ param bhairavam āpnuyāt ||
    155
    In that (mayī) supreme devī ( or mahādevī2 ) there is great joy (mahānanda) of sa & ha3 which is like adhvara ( or yajña); immersed or resting in it (anucaran tiṣṭhan) one becomes united (samāviṣṭaḥ) with her (devyā) and union with bhairava (bhairava or śivaḥ).

    So in this verse we have immersed equal to snānam; pūja (equal to adhvara or yajña) and therefore homaḥ; we have sa & ha equal to japaḥ; and due to the uniting with Her we have dhyāna (meditation), and great joy (mahānanda).

    Yet we are also informed there is a marriage that occurs; svāmī lakṣman-jū views samāviṣṭaḥ as ‘marriage’ as he sees samāveśa as ‘union or entering together’ and therefore marriage. And to whom? To param bhairavam or the Supreme.

    ... perhaps one may now look at the breath in a different light.




    ( the swan is called haṁsa )

    श्रीशिवाःपनमस्तु
    śrī śivāḥpanamastu

    1. punaḥ = punar = to go back; to return; to do again. Now the selection of this word is brilliant. The core of this word is puna and it means purifying , cleansing.
    So it is by going back again and again, purification occurs for the user; It fits into the sentence of one using ‘the mantra (mantraṁ) haṁsa repeatedly (nityaśaḥ)’.
    2. mahādevī comes from a previous verse I did not review:
    vrajet prāṇo viśej jīva icchayā kuṭilā kṛtiḥ |
    dīrghātmā sā
    mahādevī para kṣetram parāparā || 154 ||
    3.sa & ha – comes from kṣemararāja’s commentary (ṭīkā) just reviewed : sakāreṇa bahir yāti hakāreṇa
    Last edited by yajvan; 05 February 2018 at 11:24 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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