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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi on Jnana-Astanga

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Question: What are the eight limbs of knowledge (jnana-ashtanga)? M: The eight limbs are those which have been already mentioned, viz., yama, niyama, etc. but
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2010
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      Question: What are the eight limbs of knowledge
      (jnana-ashtanga)?

      M: The eight limbs are those which have been
      already mentioned, viz., yama, niyama, etc.
      but differently defined.

      Of these -

      (1) Yama:-This is controlling the aggregate
      of sense-organs, realizing the defects that
      are present in the world consisting of the body, etc.

      (2) Niyama:- This is maintaining a stream of
      mental modes that relate to the Self and rejecting
      the contrary modes. In other words, it means
      love that arises uninterruptedly for the supreme Self.

      (3) Asana:- That with the help of which constant
      meditation on Brahman is made possible with
      ease is asana.

      (4) Pranayama:- Rechaka (exhalation) is removing
      the two unreal aspects of name and form from the
      objects constituting the world, the body etc., puraka
      (inhalation) is grasping the three real aspects,
      existence, consciousness and bliss, which are
      constant in those objects, and kumbhaka is retaining
      those aspects thus grasped.

      (5) Pratyahara:- This is preventing name and form
      which have been removed from re-entering the mind.

      (6) Dharana:- This is making the mind stay in
      the heart, without straying outward, and realizing
      that one is the Self itself which is
      existence-consciousness-bliss.

      (7) Dhyana:- This is meditation of the form
      'I am only pure consciousness'. That is, after
      leaving aside the body which consists of five
      sheaths, one enquires 'Who am I'?, and as a result
      of that, one stays as 'I' which shines as the Self.

      (8) Samadhi:- When the 'I'-manifestation also
      ceases, there is (subtle) direct experience.
      This is samadhi.

      For the pranayama, etc., detailed here, the
      disciplines such as asana, etc., mentioned in
      connection with yoga, are not necessary. The
      limbs of knowledge may be practised at all places
      and at all times. Of yoga and knowledge, one may
      follow whichever is pleasing to one, or both,
      according to circumstances. The great teachers
      say that forgetfulness is the root of all evil,
      and is death for those who seek release*; so one
      should rest the mind in one's Self and should
      never forget the Self : this is the aim. If the
      mind is controlled, all else can be controlled.
      The distinction between yoga with eight limbs and
      knowledge with eight limbs has been set forth
      elaborately in the sacred texts; so only the
      substance of this teaching has been given here.
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