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The Goal of Yoga Darshana - Swami Rama

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    http://www.swamij.com/swami-rama-darshana.htm From Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom Volume One of Yoga the Sacred Science (Lectures on the Yoga Sutras) By
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2007
      From Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom
      Volume One of Yoga the Sacred Science
      (Lectures on the Yoga Sutras)
      By Swami Rama
      ISBN 8188157015
      Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
      Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
      Swami Rama Foundation

      (Sankhya Philosophy and the Yoga Sutras)
      Swami Rama

      Yoga darshana is one of the most ancient darshanas. The word darshana
      comes from the root drishyate anena which means, "that through which
      you can see." That particular system through which you can see
      Reality is called darshana. Just as you can see yourself in the
      mirror, so also, through yoga darshana, the yoga sutras, can you see
      the Self. Darshana is not the same thing as philosophy. Philosophy is
      a compound word meaning "love for knowledge." Darshana is not a mere
      love for knowledge. This is one difference between oriental and
      occidental philosophy: the ultimate goal of darshana is to see

      Yoga science is based on Samkhya philosophy, which is the very basis
      of all sciences. Samkhya (samyag akhyate) means, "that which explains
      the whole." Samkhya embraces the whole universe—how the universe came
      into existence, and all relationships within the universe. It
      explains human life on all levels—our relationship with the universe,
      our relationship with the creator who created the universe (if there
      is any), our relationships with our own mind and our inner being, our
      relationship with the center of consciousness, and our very
      existence. Even if a person is agnostic or atheist, they will get
      something from Samkhya philosophy.

      See also the article on Samkhya philosophy:

      The Samkhya philosophy gave birth to mathematics. If there were no
      mathematics, no one would understand science. All the sciences would
      crumble if mathematics were removed because science is based on
      mathematics. Samkhya philosophy is the very basis of yoga science. I
      am teaching you what I was taught in the monastery by a great swami,
      Chakravarti, who was a great Indian mathematician. He taught me by
      drawing triangles, lines, and dots in the sand.

      Samkhya philosophy defines the whole process of understanding that
      which is real and that which is not real. Here the word Reality is
      not used as you use it in the external world. Let us consider the
      blackboard I am using. Is it real? According to Samkhya philosophy,
      the blackboard is not real because Reality is that which is not
      subject to change, death, and decay. It is true that it has a
      material reality, but the blackboard itself is not real because its
      form and name can change at any time. If an object's form and name
      can change, it is not Absolute Reality. According to Samkhya,
      Reality, or Truth, is that which exists in all three times—the past,
      present, and future. In the material world, a man of flesh and bones
      is real, but in Samkhya philosophy, Reality means that which is
      everlasting, exists in all times, and is not subject to change,
      death, and decay. The world appears to exist; it appears to be real,
      but actually it is not because it exists on the existence of
      something else. Those who do not know Reality, think that the world
      is real. To those who know Samkhya, the world is not real.

      When yoga science was taught to us in the monastery, they always
      taught Karika, a classical text of Buddhism, and Samkhya along with
      it so it could be more easily understood. Karika, Samkhya, and yoga
      are very closely related to each other. If you want to understand the
      systems of Indian philosophy, including Buddhism and Jainism, you
      should study the Karika. The Karika does not say that one should try
      to understand God or talk about heaven and hell; it is very
      practical. The first sutra of the Karika is: dukha-traya-
      abhighatat: "Oh man, be aware of the pain that arises from three
      levels—pain coming from within, pain coming from outside, and pain
      coming from nature. First gain your freedom from these three sets of

      The science of yoga is thousands of years old. Man has always
      searched for ways to make life happier in the external world. Though
      he was partially successful, he was not yet truly happy. Then he
      started searching for an internal way of organizing the internal
      states. The great sages, with the help of meditation techniques,
      dived deep into the inner realms of their being and experienced the
      unspoken great words of wisdom. Some five thousand years ago, when
      there were no printing presses, the teachings were imparted to
      students orally in a very compact form called sutras so they could be
      easily remembered. Through practices and experience, the truths given
      by the teachers could be verified.

      Patanjali was a great sage who systematized and organized the study
      and teachings of yoga. He was not the first teacher of yoga, nor is
      he considered to be the originator of yoga science. There is a saying
      in Sanskrit, "One who was born first, the first who came into
      manifestation, was the first teacher of yoga." Patanjali was only the
      codifier of yoga science. His approach is very practical; he was not
      a simple religious preacher or priest, but a scientist and a great
      philosopher who understood life with its currents and crosscurrents.
      He was a great yogi who practiced, who knew, and who made
      experiments. Patanjali was an enlightened being, a sage, who has
      given us yoga science for the benefit of all human beings.

      After doing his own experiments for a long time, Patanjali organized
      the study of the internal states into one hundred ninety-six sutras.
      These sutras are called yoga darshana. The word sutra means "a
      string," and the yoga sutras are connected with each other like the
      beads of a mala. Patanjali sometimes used several sutras to express
      the same idea if one sutra was not adequate to completely explain a
      particular subject. If more than one sutra is used for explaining a
      particular concept, it means that concept is very essential and
      should be thoroughly understood.

      The Yoga Sutras is a very important classical text. I want to give
      you a glimpse of the whole text. All three schools of Buddhism—
      Mahayana, Hinayana, and Nirvayana—and the Jain teachings have
      borrowed from this text. The Upanishads are replete with the
      teachings of yoga science. Every religion in the world includes
      something about yoga, yet yoga is not a religion.

      Every word of the sutras has meaning, so you need to understand each
      word properly in order to understand the whole sutra. Sutras are
      similar to aphorisms in English, but they are not mere aphorisms.
      They are compact, concise, abstruse sentences that cannot be
      understood without expansion and explanation. I studied the sutras
      many times in my childhood, yet I still did not really know much
      about them. The yoga sutras are not actually meant for students to
      study because they will drive you crazy! They are really meant as an
      outline for the teachers. If you study only the sutra as it is, you
      will not understand what it means. Patanjali intended for the
      teachers to practice the sutras and to expand on them for students.
      Understanding has nothing to do with how learned you are. If someone
      is a very learned person and is knowledgeable about the scriptures
      but does not practice, it will be very difficult for that person to
      comprehend the entire concept, philosophy, psychology, and practical
      aspects of Patanjali. If you do not practice the yoga sutras, you
      cannot explain them, no matter how much you study, and you will make
      serious mistakes. Only when you practice the sutras will you
      understand them very clearly. Only those teachers who are competent,
      who have studied the tradition from their competent teachers, and who
      have practiced and applied the truths therein, have the right to
      teach the yoga sutras. In ancient times only those who were adept
      taught the sutras. No one would study them from anyone who was not a
      perfect yogi. Only someone who has practiced this science with mind,
      action, and speech, and who has traditionally studied this science,
      can explain and impart the knowledge to those students who are

      The first four sutras are very important. They are the cornerstones
      of the architecture of yoga science. Patanjali explains the first
      four sutras of the first chapter in the entire one hundred ninety-six
      sutras. These four sutras are the nucleus; the rest of the sutras are
      the explanation.

      1) The four basic sutras are:

      2) Now yoga science is being expounded.

      3) By gaining control over mind and its modifications one can attain
      highest state of wisdom or samadhi.

      4) When you come to realize your essential nature, you get freedom.

      You are constantly identifying yourself with the objects of the
      world. That is why you are suffering.

      Patanjali did not write these sutras for swamis or renunciates; he
      meant them for the people of the world so that one can live in the
      world yet remain unaffected and undisturbed, enjoying peace,
      happiness, and bliss. Students often ask their teacher for that
      happiness they can attain themselves by simple methods, by simple
      ways in life. Don't tell yourself that you cannot have happiness and
      bliss; you can do that. Don't believe that the external world or the
      objects of the world can give you peace, happiness, and bliss. Many
      people are rushing here and there, worrying, and being tossed by the
      objects of the world. To gain happiness you do not have to run around
      or go here and there. It is all at your disposal and within your
      reach. Peace is within you.

      Have you determined to find peace, happiness, and bliss? Have you
      decided to do that? Or are you still searching for someone else who
      will give you peace, happiness, and bliss? The scriptures say that no
      one in the world will ever find these goals in any relationship.
      Peace and happiness are within you, beyond your body, breath, senses,
      and mind. You can attain that peace by learning how to direct your
      energies within toward the deeper aspects of your being. To attain
      that you do not have to retire from the world. You do not have to
      shun your relationships or abstain from your duties. You only need to
      discipline yourself. Discipline means not allowing yourself to be
      dissipated mentally by your thoughts, actions, or speech. Patanjali,
      the codifier of yoga science, taught that all human beings can attain
      the goal of human life by understanding the yoga sutras, practicing
      them, and applying them in daily life.

      Yoga is a science, a philosophy, and a psychology. Yoga science deals
      with the subtleties of life. It offers a practical side to philosophy
      and provides a variety of techniques. Yoga psychology teaches how to
      apply yoga science to know yourself. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are
      the foundation of ancient psychology, including the Buddhist, Zen,
      Jain, and other psychology systems that support the seven systems of
      Indian philosophy. There is no real distinction between Eastern and
      Western psychology. The actual distinction is between the ancient and
      modern psychologies. There are many branches of ancient psychology.

      The word psychology means "the science of mental life," but modern
      psychology has not developed to the extent where it can truly say
      that it knows how to study mental life. When you study mind as a
      subject you are merely collecting the information and opinions of
      others and trying to study what it is. I never met anyone who could
      really study my mind, even though I went to well-known psychics. They
      made various predictions that I did not believe. I said, "Tell me
      what is going on now in my mind and what has happened with me in the
      past, then I will believe what is going to happen with me in the

      Modern psychology has really studied only behaviorism. That is not
      the study of the mind, but only aspects of the mind. Behaviorism is
      an incomplete science. Very little of the mind is expressed through
      behavior. Therefore, by studying behavior you cannot understand the
      totality of the mind. Historically, modern psychology is based on the
      study of the behavior of mentally abnormal people. Patanjali did not
      base his science on abnormal behavior, even though he was fully aware
      of that particular category of mind. Modern psychology was born out
      of the study of misery, out of trying to understand mental problems
      that could not be handled by medicines. Modern psychology teaches
      that we cannot fully understand anyone's thinking process because we
      cannot really know how someone is thinking. Patanjali studied and
      analyzed the normal mind in its totality, with all its functions and
      modifications. Yoga psychology evolved from the prime necessity of
      attaining realization.

      Modern psychology is not yet a finished product. It reaches certain
      conclusions today, and tomorrow those conclusions are discarded.
      Besides behaviorism there was another branch of psychology in which
      such great psychologists as Freud, James, Williams, and Jung tried to
      understand the deeper aspects of the mind, but they did not
      thoroughly accomplish this. They did begin to study hypnosis, but did
      not really go far in their studies of the mind using hypnosis. Self-
      hypnosis and autosuggestions can help people with problems up to a
      certain extent, but they cannot lead you to know the deeper levels of
      life. At this point, the ancient or yoga psychology begins its study.

      Ancient psychology explains that the human mind has an immense
      capacity. If the mind can be prevented from distractions and
      dissipation, it can be disciplined and directed in the right
      direction. Yoga psychology is a complete science. Yoga psychology is
      very deep and can be understood only by practicing it, not by
      memorizing the yoga sutras. Patanjali's method is subtle, exact, and
      profound. If modern psychologists fully understood Patanjali's subtle
      methods, they could do tremendous good for society. But modern
      psychologists are usually not taught to go beyond the conscious and
      unconscious fields of the mind, or to become aware of the soul, which
      is the very goal of human life.

      Psychology deals with mental life, both the conscious and
      unconscious. With the help of analysis and therapy, that which is in
      the unconscious is brought into the conscious mind, where it can be
      addressed. Modern psychology often deals with behavior, but yoga
      science goes to the very core of the soul, from where springs mind
      and its modifications. Unless you know your own sva-rupa, your own
      real Self, you cannot have perfect control over your mind and its

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