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Thread: The Practice

  1. #1

    The Practice

    Request all to shed light on actual practice of self-introspection and jnana yoga. I find that most treatements available commercially are not concrete about the practice. I get a feeling that very few hindu sadhaks practice self-introspection as a formal practice...Is this true? If not what are concrete ways to go about it? Please refer and link to any teachings by any guru or master.

    The reason I pick this up is, hindu's do speak lots of words about jnana yoga and self introspection~but very very little in terms of actual concrete practice.

    In comparisson buddhist direct method of Vipassana and Chittanupasana are extremely concrete meditation techniques. Chittanupasana is observing our own mind~very close to jnana yoga in theory (except again on the abstrat point of self, no-self there is a disagreement). But practical concrete resourses in theravada buddhist sites are abundant and are of great help.

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    Self Introspection:

    I believe in reading and I do. As many books as possible and as many ideas as possible. I try to read same religious text with different commentaries and in different prespectives.

    After much I came across a simple phrase that supports my idea of keep reading:

    Katopanishad: It just says this "ananya prokte gathi athranaasti" - Self education will lead no where.

    Keep reading and accumulate information, but if try seeking wisdom, nay, it cannot be self given. I treat meditation in similar fashion. It is nothing but seeking for yourself what things are. This could be an adventure but results no one is sure of

    Once you are ready things will be revealed to you, once you start you will feel things move in your favour, once you move you know you are moving much faster than you expect

    Only god knows what you deserve and will give you at appropriate time. People who has reached this level teach others what has been given to them but not what is in store for others.

    Hence keep your options open and try accumulating knowledge. Wisdom will follow sooner or later

    Jai shree krishna

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    Namaste Singhi,

    Ekam Sat ~ Truth is One

    Tat Sat ~ That is Truth

    Tat Tvam Asi ~ Thou art That

    Nivrtti-Marga asserts that true Self-Knowledge (Atma-J˝ana) can not be the effect of any pious Karma (Action), but is attainable through removing all Karma, and its effects, through the experience of the Šternally actionless, changeless, relationless, sorrowless, blissful nature of the Self.

    The J˝ani (Philosopher) emphasizes metaphysical reflexion and intellectual refinement, whereas the Yogi (Saint) places great importance in the practical discipline of the body, senses, vital system, and mind, and the regular practice of Dhyana.

    For Yoga, the body and mind have to be disciplined and purified and illumined in a systematic way so that the ultimate transcendent nature of the Self may be revealed to the tranquil consciousness.

    The joy of the soul in liberation, however, can only be known by experience, and is beyond words; and most advocates of Yoga retire from society.

    The Upanishads are substantially a record of the J˝ana-Kanda.

    The inactive Atharvan Brahman creates through Tapas, a self-generated Fire of Life that is wielded internally rather than in the external actions of Yaj˝a and the Soma-oblation.

    The inner spiritual effort of Tapasya is the creative Power (Shakti) of Brahman, and it is the Heat that burns away Karma.

    The negation of actions in renunciation and self-limitation was recognized as a powerful method for attaining Atma-J˝ana and Moksha, which the Yogi considers as available to all men ~ even within this life-time.

    The method of this Yoga was simply explained:

    In a quiet, sheltered place, level and clean, beautiful, and with the sounds of water; with upright body, neck, and head; remain in silent steadiness and breathe through the nostrils in a peaceful rhythm; lead the mind into the heart and still the senses.

    In silent adoration, meditate on the Pranava ~ Omkara ~ AUM.

    Unite in an harmony of peace, purity, love, and joy, the supreme consciousness that illuminates the transcendent and immanent Spirit, whose existence must be known in the silence of contemplation and faith.

    There are two ways of meditation: in sound, and in silence.

    The end of AUM is silence.

    Supremely radiant, yet invisible, it is infinite and Šternal, dwelling in the secret place of the heart, all that is (was and will be) and all that is not, the One, the All, the Universe throughout and beyond time, the beginning, the end, and the life of all creation, the creative power itself, the universal Mind, ultimate Truth and Wisdom, existence, non-existence, and all Joy.

    Beyond thought, this supreme unity admits of no duality, and is above distinction.

    Beyond words, the joy of the Soul in liberation can only be known by experience.

    When the Spirit feels ĹI am Allĺ, desires, sorrow, and fear, disappear.

    Know that this pure light is the Self.

    In union with this Self of All, one knows God, and becomes God.

    There are not many, but only One.

    That is Reality ~ That is Truth ~ Thou art That.

    The ritual of self-control in meditation leads to peace, and the truth of its wisdom engenders humanity.

    With J˝ana, the Truth is revealed.

    Sometimes we may laugh, or sometimes we may cry; it is all the same, except that laughing makes the body feel better than crying does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singhi Kaya
    The reason I pick this up is, hindu's do speak lots of words about jnana yoga and self introspection~but very very little in terms of actual concrete practice.
    In comparisson buddhist direct method of Vipassana and Chittanupasana are extremely concrete meditation techniques. Chittanupasana is observing our own mind~very close to jnana yoga in theory (except again on the abstrat point of self, no-self there is a disagreement). But practical concrete resourses in theravada buddhist sites are abundant and are of great help.
    Namaste,

    I would suggest U to study Vijnana-bhairava which has very precise descriptions of meditation techniques of all three upayas, Shambhava, Shakta and Anava.
    It is available in english translation by Jaidev Singh and perhaps some other also.

    The whole body of Pratyabhijna and Spanda Shastras directly deal with Jnana-yoga.
    To begin with, see Shiva-sutras, Spanda-karikas, Vatulanatha-sutras, Paramartha-sara, Tantra-sara, Pratyabhijna-hridayam etc.

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    What is the use of self introspection? That is not going to help anybody other than the highest Yogis.

    If you are talking of Yoga, there is nothing other than an equivalent to Astanga Yoga that would qualify as a practical tool. Theory is all useless. The basic problem with Astanga Yoga is the mastery of Pranayama which is impossible without a suitable guru. Without crossing over Pranayama and the great inner purification and mastery of the senses, you cannot succeed in Dhyana. All talk of meditation without the basics of Pranayama and Pratyahara are not very useful to practice of Yoga. Without Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana cannot be practised in any serious way. Pratyahara leads to complele mastery of senses. A Yogi who has done this can opt not to see with eyes open, and see with eyes closed, because he no llonger needs sense organs. Such control of senses are necessary for Dharana and Dhyana. Nobody can forcibly train the mind to focus - it needs Pranayama and Pratyahara ( or equivalent), else the results will not be as expected. Without become an exponent of Pranayama, and consequently Pratyahara, meditation can at the best lead to some inner happiness and peace of mind, and never to Atma jnana.

    Taking into account the near impossibility of Jnana Yoga in this world, which has very few enlightened masters, Srivaishnavism has virtually distanced itself completely from Jnana Yoga for the last 1000 years. The main emphasis is on Karma Yoga without its auxiliary aspects of Jnana Yoga, and Saranagati, which is a surrender to God to show mercy and show the way. It is beleived that if Karma Yoga is practised correctly, mind is greatly purified - which will lead to God himself directly teaching you Bhakti Yoga of liberation. Bhagavad Gita is right on target here.

    If you find helpless and hopeless spiritually , surrender to God to show you the way, there is no easier way. Never take to Astanga Yoga and all those meditation without direct initiation from the Lord - they are all bound to fail! Until you are purifed enough by regular practice of Bhakti, and also Karma Yoga - you are never fit to qualify for any Yoga. Who can teach you Yoga? Only the Yogeshwara himself, like he taught Arjuna! Wait for that day, by chanting his glorious names day after day!
    Om namO nArAyaNAya
    --------
    srIman nArAyaNa caranau caranam prapadye srImate nArAyaNAya namaha
    --------
    sarva-dharmAn parityajna mAm Ekam saranam vraja
    aham tvan sarva- papebhyo moksayisyAmi ma suchah

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    Rather than the breathing control it might be better to do some meditation that does not require it. The meditation would give the mind time to let spirituality bloom and have a place to grow. As this happens then other parts of spirituality would start to develope. So the first step of the journey would be to do some simple form or meditation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willie
    Rather than the breathing control it might be better to do some meditation that does not require it. The meditation would give the mind time to let spirituality bloom and have a place to grow. As this happens then other parts of spirituality would start to develope. So the first step of the journey would be to do some simple form or meditation.
    Pranayama is not mere breath control, but its mere external phenomenon. What is accomplished is nADi shuddhi which is critical to Astanga Yoga. Infact, all Yogas including Bhakti Yoga are only attempting nADi shuddhi by various means.

    Without attaining nADI shuddhi, senses cannot be controlled, and without controlling the senses, the mind cannot be controlled. Without controlling the mind, ahamkara cannot be controlled. All this hinges on the former, viz, sense control. People can try to practice meditation, but how far they will succeed will depend on their ability to control the senses, and mind. Pranayama bridges this gap considerably by using a well regulated technique.( not hit or miss trials)

    Yama and Niyama, coupled with Pranayama should form the basis for all Jnana Yogas. They can differ after that. People who have advanced well in Yoga in former births maybe able to practice meditation without these.
    Om namO nArAyaNAya
    --------
    srIman nArAyaNa caranau caranam prapadye srImate nArAyaNAya namaha
    --------
    sarva-dharmAn parityajna mAm Ekam saranam vraja
    aham tvan sarva- papebhyo moksayisyAmi ma suchah

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    I have heard that the breathing control has caused some to die while practicing it. That is a great risk and one that most would not want to take.

    What I am saying is that some progress, no matter how small, is better than no progress at all. So perhaps the practice of meditation is meant to awaken some spirituality in the those who try it and not meant to get some super normal powers.

    So anyone has some PET scans of the brains of the better yogis who can do these advanced techniques. Those scans would show what area of the person brain was activated and how much activity it is undergoing.

  9. #9
    Thanks to all for the various replies.

    To Ram and other's-I'm aware that real self introspection make sense in a silent mind which is outcome of yoga. Pranayama is the classic technique which leads to a silent mind as is said. I was just enquiring about any more direct technique is avilable as in buddhism. Pranayama is said to be must for various reasons and not just for a silent mind. Not just pranayama but most of other spiritual sadhanas cannot be done without a guru. In comparison one can start directly in Karma, bhakti or Jnana directly with some guidance. This will only be a start and nothing more than a mental concentration and should not be called yoga at all.

    Anyways I find rudimentary practice of chittanupasana without the associated dogma of non-self in normal hours quite helpful in at least keeping a calm mind, if nothing else. Also another direct and helpful meditation to keep mind free is tha kayakash Dhayana=Kaya + Akash=Body + Sky. Think your body to be spread in the sky. This is very natural as it helps us to easily comprehend the vastness of the mind which is said to be as vast as the sky, Mere looking at star filled mid-night sky easily leads to this feeling. And this is helpful in karma yoga.


    Thanks

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