IV:28-30 Sadhana, the Practice of Yoga…

These verses paint a picture of Yoga sadhana and present us with the kinds of things that happen inside and outside of meditation that prepare the way for the equanimity of union with the Divine. 

Yoga – union.

Sadhana – spiritual practices: ‘the means of obtaining proof and mastery; the means of bringing about fulfillment, completion, perfection.’

28
Physical-material sacrifices, purification, yoga, self-inspection and the study of the scriptures are sacrifices offered by sincere aspirants.

“Sacrifices offered by sincere aspirants” – forms of sadhana performed by determined aspirants.

Physical-material sacrifices. In meditation: spontaneous actions of body, breath and energy. Outside meditation: living simply, selfless service, monetary gifts, food, etc. to the teacher.

Purification. In meditation: spontaneous purification of body, mind and feelings. Outside meditation: attention to diet, the practice of yama and niyama, asana, pranayama.

Any kind of spiritual path taken to the full will involve purification, whether through purification techniques or purification brought on by yoga itself.

Purification is one way to understand the Sanskrit word tapas, the third niyama. Usually translated as ‘austerity’, tapas means ‘to burn, melt down, warm’. This gives us a clue as to the kind of purification that is going to come of yoga itself. Whereas physical purification usually takes place by impurities leaving the body, when purification is achieved through yoga, impurities of all kinds melt away (tapas).

Yoga. In meditation: spontaneous asana, pranayama, pratyahara and union (samyama: concentration, meditation, samadhi). Outside of meditation: asana and pranayama.

Self-inspection and Study. In and out of meditation: contemplation and self-referencing with self-honesty, contemplation on the self and the Self; studying scripture, listening to and reading scriptural teachings, receiving oral teachings, teaching others.

A sincere aspirant will not stop just because he or she is taken out of their comfort zone. To do this is to refuse progress, for progress involves change, and change is rarely comfortable.

29
Other offerings are apana into prana, and prana into apana. Another offering is both prana and apana, restraining the movement of the life energy.

The offering of “apana into prana and prana into apana” is, on the surface, a reference to breathing out and breathing in, which is how some translations are worded. But it is also a specific pranayama (anulomaviloma) in which the breath is taken in through the left nostril (apana), held for a time, and released through the right nostril (prana), then repeated in reverse beginning with the right nostril. This is a very relaxing and balancing breath that anyone can practice.

The offering of “both prana and apana” results in “restraining the movement of the life energy” as the breath is held. Another, deeper way to understand this though, is that kundalini awakens with the marriage of prana and apana; their mutual ‘restraint’ is then understood as kumbhaka. From this point of view, it is a description of how kundalini is awakened and paves the way to the breathless state and samadhi.

30
Also, restraining food or livelihood is an offering of prana into prana. These are sacrifices made by sacrifice-knowers whose stains are diminished or destroyed through their sacrifices.

Stains – The Sanskrit for ‘stains’ refers to karma that has an injurious effect on oneself or others, and nullifies ‘good’ karma.

One of the first ways people try to improve their lives is through diet, which is reflected in this last form of sacrifice. The sacrifice of ‘restraining food’ as an offering of prana into prana, indicates that this sacrifice is made by means of intention, or will. However, with the practice of natural yoga, attention to diet comes about naturally.   

The Sanskrit word for ‘restraining food’ includes ‘livlihood’ and may be interpreted as living simply, which also comes about naturally for one who takes their sadhana to the full. A yogi has no time or interest in working for a living in the fast lane.

______________________

Verses 24-30 tell of different kinds of sacrifices, the various ways people do sadhana to diminish their ‘stains’. This brings more ease into their lives as they enjoy more inspiring meditation experiences, and augment their progress.

Verses 24-30:
24-25 All Is God and So Are You
26-27 Direct Perception

Does everyone who takes up the spiritual journey always run into these same things? In one lifetime or another, yes, and in every lifetime to some degree, all of them. To know what they are is to take aim and score!

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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Pashupata Sutram II:3-7

Asana is a stage of sadhana. A look at the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, will give you a feel for what I mean. With shaktipat diksha, one begins Sahaja Yoga sadhana, Surrender Meditation, and for the serious aspirant, the stage of asana begins fairly soon.

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

Translations are in bold
Comments that follow are my own.

Continuing from chapter two, sutras 1 and 2, “Left of the player”:

II:3    Of most excellent standing, the Best Player

When you achieve ascension, you become a player of high standing. This excellence is natural, but it is not ordinary. You have achieved greatness by having experienced for yourself, the truth about action, and you now have that knowledge, which is also not ordinary but exceptional. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one who knows action in inaction, and inaction in action, is wise among all.

II:4    Rudra (scary)

You have the power to face fear.

Rudra, whose name means “Roarer” or “Howler”, is connotative of fear — “crying, howling, roaring, dreadful, terrific, terrible, horrible”. But Rudra is also “the bestower of strength and power”. This suggests that power can be found in your own fear when it is not suppressed or hidden from yourself. Thus the interpretation, You have the power to face fear.

This scary guy, Rudra, who runs around roaring and “driving away evil”, is also identified as “praiseworthy”, and as “the practitioner”—that’s you when you’re in surrender meditation running around howling, crying, etc., fearlessly facing fear, and the purification of associated patterns, even though the purification invokes fear.

II:5    Impeller of the asana

The impeller refers to what propels you into the asana stage of sadhana. You are propelled by God because that is what you have surrendered to. So asana (seat, position, or disposition; dwelling within) refers to the power of God within your practice, as well as in the effects of your practice. This is possible because of your willingness to surrender enough to face fear.

Asana is a stage of sadhana. A look at the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, will give you a feel for what I mean. With shaktipat diksha, one begins Sahaja Yoga sadhana, Surrender Meditation, and for the serious aspirant, the stage of asana begins fairly soon. This stage is pertinent to the physical body, but not exclusively. The emotional body and the mental body are automatically affected accordingly, for what takes place on the physical plane is immediately accomplished on subtler planes, i.e., emotional and mental. This doesn’t happen in the other direction, from subtle to gross, which is why the physical aspect of spiritual development cannot be skipped or ignored as so many of us would like to believe.

For some reason, we westerners tend to venerate the mind to the point of exclusion of anything else, like feelings (emotions) and the body. It may be that the mind is the ultimate field of sadhana, but this stage can only be reached by getting there—there is no avoiding it, any more than one can avoid the first rungs of the ladder when trying to reach the rooftop. Attempts to skip this stage of development will not succeed. If you find this exasperating, just think of it as a shortcut to success, and read the bold type above, again.

II:6    All that is wished for appears

You discover that what you had wished for has now come to be, and that what you wanted to know has been told.

What you wanted, and even the want itself, was an effect of the practice and determined by God, because that is what you surrendered to.

You are a player who has become a player of excellence. Prana-shakti is ascendant because you surrendered fully and faced fear. The result was that you achieved what you had thought was to be abandoned as inauspicious, but now…

II:7    And here, the inauspicious becomes auspicious.

Now you discover that what you once thought to be inauspicious is actually auspicious, and the very thing that takes you to the goal.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Shaktipat Diksha
Shaktipat Intensives & Remote Shaktipat

Surrender Meditation
Sahaja Yoga, Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga

Sleuthing Scripture – Pashupat Sutras II:1-2

As you may have gathered by now, most of my scripture commentaries are geared to getting you to think things through for yourself, and to help you to go about doing this. Yes, what I am putting forth in my commentaries is valid, but it is always good to see if you can go deeper than I can go with a bunch of letters strung into words that are strung into sentences, in a limited space and time frame. Deeper is always good, but the opposite may also be valid—what might a teaching be if it were less esoteric? It is also interesting to see what happens if you take a sutra literally, whenever possible.

There are undoubtedly many ways to translate and interpret these sutras to address various stages of sadhana. For instance, my own translation of the first sutra in chapter two (vama) is “Left”, but another translator translates this sutra as, “Left Is the name of the Lord,” and yet another says, “Adverse or acting contrary.” Although each of these translations seem so different, they all are correct. But what do they mean?

You may want to contemplate my translation and commentary, and the two other translations, and see what comes closest to applying to you and your own sadhana. If you want to re-work the translation altogether, make sure consistency is maintained throughout in order to be able to assume that you are on a valid course of interpretation.

You have not had my experiences concerning these teachings. You have either had your own experiences, or you have had no experience of these teachings at all. So use your own experience, or use your mind and your intuition, to see what more you can squeeze out of these sutras.

In the hope that you might now be feeling a spirit of adventure, I’d like to provide you with a little something to play with. Look at chapter two, sutras 1 and 2 again, and consider some of the meanings of vama, the Sanskrit word that is sutra number one (definitions are below). Contemplate an idea you have, and ask yourself questions about your idea. Ask yourself questions, and ask yourself questions about your answers, and see what you come up with.

Remember that sutras are cues for remembering more complete teachings, and consider what you think these teachings may be. And remember to maintain consistency: does your interpretation of a sutra agree with the sutras that precede it and follow it? Then decide if you think your conclusion is valid, and whether you think it is or not, write it down somewhere. It may come in handy later.

Have fun, Sherlock!
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Vama
left
Left (proper noun)
the left hand side
situated on the left side
from the left
the left hand
reverse
adverse, unfavorable
any dear or desirable good
hard, cruel, contrary, opposite
acting in the opposite way or differently
in a pleasant or lovely manner
a woman or a wife

Shaktipat Diksha
Shaktipat Intensives & Remote Shaktipat

Surrender Meditation
Sahaja Yoga, Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga