Yoga Sutra 1.40: How to know when the mind is under control
- Yoga Sutras: Yoga Sutra 1.40:
How to know when the mind is under control
YOGA SUTRA 1.40: When, through such practices (as previously
described in 1.33-1.39), the mind develops the power of becoming
stable on the smallest size object as well as on the largest, then
the mind truly comes under control.
(parma-anu parama-mahattva antah asya vashikarah)
PARMA-ANU = from the minutest (parma = most; anu = minutest,
PARAMA-MAHATTVA = ultimate magnitude (parama = ultimate, maximum;
mahattva = infinity, largeness magnitude)
ANTAH = end, extending to
ASYA = of this, of his or hers (who has
VASHIKARAH = mastery, power
MIND UNDER CONTROL BECOMES A TOOL: When the mind is under control
(vashikara), then that mind can be used as an instrument to explore
the subtler components of the mind field, including the samskaras
themselves, which are the deep impressions driving karma (actions).
This control, this ability to focus on the smallest or largest is not
the goal in itself. It is not a matter that some power has come that
inherently means you have attained some final goal. Rather, it is
clear evidence of having trained the instrument of mind. Then that
mind is used as a tool, in ways unimaginable previously.
See also the article:
Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra
Exercise: Meditation on the Smallest
EXERCISE: MEDITATION ON THE SMALLEST: This exercise gives a feeling
of what it is like to have the awareness focus on a very small space
as compared to a larger. The smallest point used in this exercise is
not the Bindu itself, but is a small point, the size of a mustard
seed. Cultivating the skill of focusing in this way is quite useful
in being able to do the concentration that eventually reveals the
actual Bindu. In the exercise, attention is brought to the first of
those nine meditations from Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39 described above.
Then attention is brought to a mustard seed size point in the space
of the heart center. One after the other, attention is brought to
each of those nine practices from Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39 and that
mustard seed size point.
The lengthy descriptions might make these exercises sound difficult
or complex. They are not. They are really quite simple and
straightforward; it just takes understanding what to do, and this
comes by reading and experimenting. Then, the insights come.
FIRST: Sit comfortably, with your head, neck and trunk aligned, with
your eyes closed, as if prepared for your regular meditation.
FRIENDLINESS AND LOVE: Think of some person you know who is very
friendly and loving. Allow your own feelings of friendliness and love
towards this person to be there in the field of mind. Allow your love
for this one person to expand to a feeling of universal love itself.
Do this for a minute or so.
MUSTARD SEED: Then shift your attention to the space of the emotional
heart, the space between the breasts, letting go of the meditation
above. Allow your attention to be on a very small point, which is the
size of a mustard seed. You may or may not see this with your inner
eye. As the memory of the person fades, concentration intensifies on
this point. Allow the sound of OM to silently drift through the inner
mind, with the silence (symbolized by the Bindu) after the A, U, and
M, merging into the point.
COMPASSION: Gently let go of the point and allow attention to expand,
remembering some person who is not feeling well, such as one who is
physically ill. Hold that person in your mind, and intentionally
allow feelings of compassion to arise. Meditate on that feeling of
compassion itself, expanding beyond the one person. Do this for a
minute, or as long as it takes to get absorbed in the experience.
MUSTARD SEED: Gently let go of that feeling and return to the mustard
seed sized space in the heart center. Meditate on that point for a
while, in the silence after the OM.
BENEFICENCE AND GLADNESS: Again expand attention, but now to a person
who is virtuous or benevolent. Cultivate and meditate on your own
feelings of beneficence and gladness for that person. Meditate on
that feeling or attitude in an expansive, universal way.
MUSTARD SEED: Again return gently to the heart, noticing how it feels
to concentrate on that point once again, allowing the silence after
OM to merge into the point.
ACCEPTANCE OR NEUTRALITY: Similarly imagine a person you think of as
bad or evil, and meditate on your own feelings of acceptance or
neutrality (accepting the reality, not approving of the behavior).
Allow this to expand to a broader spirit of acceptance, meditating on
MUSTARD SEED: Return to the point at the heart, with OM merging into
BREATH: Be aware of the feel of the flow of breath in the nostrils,
and how that breath expands and contracts. Especially allow the
exhalation to be a little slower than usual. Do this for a minute or
MUSTARD SEED: Return to the point at the heart, allowing OM to go to
SENSING: Meditate on the process of sensation, collectively on the
ability itself to see with the inner eye, to hear within, to smell,
to taste, and to touch. It does not matter whether you actually,
literally experience these. It is the effort that is important to the
MUSTARD SEED: Gently bring attention once again to the point at the
LUMINOSITY: Imagine a luminosity in the inner realm, whether in the
mind field, the space of the heart, or pervasively in that inner
field. Whether or not you literally see is not so important. Allow
this luminosity to expand to the whole of the universe, to whatever
limit your mind is able to hold that.
MUSTARD SEED: Return to the point at the heart, noticing the feel of
shift to concentration on the mustard size point at the heart.
STEADY MIND: Return to the field of mind and imagine that your mind
is a very stable, steady mind, like the mind of some great meditation
master you may know of. Imagine that your mind is like his or her
mind in its steadiness.
MUSTARD SEED: Return to the point at the heart.
STREAM OF THE MIND: Again be aware of the field of mind, as if you
were a completely non-attached witness to whatever objects come
before the mind. Like watching a flowing stream, all thoughts are
allowed to come and go.
MUSTARD SEED: Once again, return to the point at the heart.
MEDITATION ON A POINT: If it feels comfortable, and if you want,
continue to meditate on this mustard size point in the inner chamber
of the heart, as if that meditation would lead you through the point,
on to the actual Bindu, and then to the highest Truth.
This exercise is meant as that, an exercise. This sequence, in its
entirety is not meant here to be a permanent meditation. You may find
that one of the meditations feels particularly resonant for you, and
that may be a core meditation for you for some time, but that is your
personal choice. Again, this exercise is suggested here so that you
can get a better feel of what it is like to meditate on the smallest,
as described in Yoga Sutra 1.40. This, in turn, gives some insight
into the nature of meditation on Bindu, although the actual Bindu is
much deeper and comes when meditation advances.