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Four Means and Six Virtues (Jnana Yoga / Vedanta)

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: http://swamij.com/sadhana-chatushtaya-shatsampat.htm FOUR MEANS AND SIX VIRTUES Sadhana Chatshtaya / Shatsampat Four Means of practice (sadhana
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 20, 2008
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      Sadhana Chatshtaya / Shatsampat

      Four Means of practice (sadhana chatushtaya), which include Six
      Virtues (shatsampat), are cultivated on the path of Self-Realization
      by the school of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga. These allow a clear, steady
      foundation for the three stages of the practices of listening to the
      teachings (sravana), reflecting on those teachings (manana), and deep
      contemplative meditation on those principles (niddhidhyasana).

      I. DISCRIMINATION (viveka): The first of the four means is that of
      discrimination. It is the gradual unfolding of the ability to explore
      and discern the difference between the real and the unreal (sat and
      asat), the permanent and the temporary (nitya and anitya), self and
      not-self (atman and anatman). Discrimination (viveka) is also a
      foundation principle of the Yoga Sutras, and is included in Sutras
      2.26-2.29, 3.53-3.56, 4.22-4.26, and 4.29.The forms of
      misunderstanding (avidya) mentioned here have also been described in
      Yoga Sutra 2.5.

      II. NON-ATTACHMENT (vairagya): As a natural byproduct of
      discrimination, there is an decrease in attraction to the objects of
      the world and the inner desires for those worldly fruits. It is a
      process of gently reducing the coloring of attractions and aversions
      in the inner field of mind. This dispassion does not mean abandoning
      ones responsibilities to other people or to fulfilling of ones duties
      to society at large. One who has successfully cultivated non-
      attachment is actually more effective in the world, as well as more
      prepared for the subtleties of seeking Truth. Non-attachment is also
      a major foundation of Yoga, and is described in Yoga Sutras 1.12-

      III. SIX VIRTUES (shat sampat): Six virtues, areas of mental
      training, and attitudes are cultivated so as to stabilize the mind
      and emotions, allowing the deep practice of contemplative meditation
      to be performed.

      1) TRANQUILITY (shama): Intentional cultivating an inner attitude of
      tranquility, peace of mind, or contentment is a foundation on which
      the other practices can rest.

      2) TRAINING (dama): Training of the senses (indriyas) means the
      responsible use of the senses in positive, useful directions, both in
      our actions in the world and the nature of inner thoughts we

      3) WITHDRAWAL (uparati): With a proper inner attitude of tranquility,
      and the training of the senses, there also comes a sense of satiety,
      or natural sense of completeness, as if no more of the sensory
      experience need be sought.

      4) FORBEARANCE (titiksha): Forbearance and tolerance of external
      situations allow one to be free from the onslaught of the sensory
      stimuli and pressures from others to participate in actions, speech,
      or thoughts that one knows to be going in a not-useful direction.

      5) FAITH (shraddha): An intense sense of certainty about the
      direction one is going keeps one going in the right direction,
      persisting in following the teachings and practices that have been
      examined and seen to be productive, useful, and fruit bearing.

      6) FOCUS (samadhana): Resolute focus towards harmonizing and
      balancing of mind, its thoughts, and emotions, along with the other
      virtues, brings a freedom to pursue the depth of inner exploration
      and realization.

      IV. LONGING (mumukshutva): An intense, passionate, longing or desire
      for enlightenment and liberation from the levels of suffering that
      comes from the repeated cycles of suffering and delusion. It is a
      longing that is so strong that it gradually swallows up all of the
      other, smaller desires.

      THREE STAGES OF PRACTICE: Built on an increasingly solid foundation
      from these Four Means and Six Virtues, one is ever more able to
      follow the three stage practices of: 1) listening to the teachings
      (sravana), 2) reflecting on those teachings (manana), and 3) deep
      contemplative meditation on those principles (niddhidhyasana). For
      contemplative meditation, one might deeply absorb and merge with the
      wisdom of the great contemplations or mahavakyas, or reflect and
      meditate on the deepest meanings of the OM Mantra.
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