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PROUD HINDU DHARMA: What is Ashtanga Yoga? What does this mean? Why are we doing this? Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pra'na'ya'ma, Pratya'ha'ra, Dha'rana, Dhya'na (Meditation), Sama'dhi

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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

What is Ashtanga Yoga? What does this mean? Why are we doing this? Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pra'na'ya'ma, Pratya'ha'ra, Dha'rana, Dhya'na (Meditation), Sama'dhi

There are 2 ways to reach moksha. They are: 
1. Bhakti Yoga (thru' devotion)
2. Saranagathi (thru' surrender)
Here, those who seek to go on the path of "Bhakti Yoga" (devotion), must pass 8 levels as defined by Yoga Sastra.




What are the 8 levels (parts) of Bhakti Yoga to reach Moksha? 
8 levels are :
  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. A'sana   (A' should be spelled as "aa")
  4. Pra'na'ya'ma'  (breathing control)
  5. Pratya'ha'ra'
  6. Dha'rana
  7. Dhya'na
  8. Sama'dhi

It is generally termed as "Ashta'nga Yoga"  (8 parts of Yoga (goodness))
Our Continent is referred as Bha'rata Varsha (which covers INDIA, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afganistan).
Specifically, Our India (twisted name given by Greek, Persian and Christian Englishmen) was earlier referred as "Bharata" Kanta.  

The Name "Bharata" was given to this holy land to honor the Great Bharat Yogi who lived in this holy land.
Being a King (Raja), he gaveup his throne and gave up all his world desires and wanted to achieve moksha thru' Bhakti Yoga.
He took the Ashta'nga Yoga Path and achieved the great Success in his life.

He was able to pass till 7th level (i.e., Dhyana).  
Before he could achieve Samadhi which liberates the soul to moksha, he fall in love with deer and was extremely affectionate to that deer. 
He died "thinking of that deer" instead of paramathma Narayan (Vishnu).

He could not get Moksha. He had to born again because he still had a materialistic desire in the form of deer. 
Next birth he himself born as Deer.   
Because he have already achieved till Dhyana, he could recollect his previous birth as Bharata Yogi and stayed away from other deers and spent the life near a ashram silently till the last breath.
On his next birth, he born as Jada Bharata.  
From day 1, he born, he went to Samadhi sthithi. 
He never shown a pinch of interest to this material world. He did not even had interest to drink milk from his mother. 
He does not want to fool himself to get affectionate with anyone in this life.

With great success, as Jada Bharata, he could achieve samadhi and finally reached Moksha.

Such Yogi, Mahatama continously born in this holy land to achieve moksha. Hence, our country was proudly referred as "Bharat".  
(India is a twisted Name.  This should be corrected to a meaningful name called "Bharat")

Now, Let us understand what are these 8 levels (parts) of Bhakti Yoga? 
Now, Let us understand what are the great Qualities of Bharat Yogi by understanding these 8 levels of Bhakti Yoga.

1. Yama:
To achieve moksha, we should not have even a drop of materialistic desire in any form.  
Even if there is a little interest on wealth, fame, love on perishable things, anger, jealous, we have to born again. 

In the path of Bhakti Yoga, thru ashta'nga Yoga way, 1st expectation is control of senses. 

Yama guides us the way to control our 5 senses. 

We have 5 senses which creates attraction towards this materialistic world. 
5 senses are "see, smell, hear, taste, touch". 
These 5 senses are triggered by this organs in our body itself. 
Eyes helps to see things and create attraction.
Ear helps to hear things and create attraction.
Nose helps to smell things and create attraction.
Skin helps to feel the touch and create attraction.
Tongue helps to taste things and create attraction.

A blind person don't get attracted to beauty around him.  
A deaf person don't get attracted to musics and sounds around him.
A dumb person who don't have tongue can't taste anything and for him everything is same.




In Reality, Defects is also a blessing in disguise to move us faster to moksha path. 

How to control our senses?

1. Ahimsa :   A person who want to lead a spiritual life, 1st have to adhere ahimsa (non violence).  This is a base qualification expected.  
So killing an animal directly or indirectly and having meat should be avoided.   
kindness is a key quality to move in spiritual path. 
There is no need for meat to live.  
To live, even fruits is enough.  
So, a person who want to lead a spiritual life must adapt Ahimsa in his life. His kindness to other living beings must grow rather being partial to human and dogs alone ! 
2. Sathya (Truth): In Addition to ahimsa, a person who want to lead a spiritual life, must follow truth.  No matter what the circumstance or people around, speaking truth is very essential quality.  Even playful lie should be avoided.  
Making this habit of speaking truth, will slowly makes that person to stay away from wrong doings.  The fear of speaking false, will create a fear of doing wrong things in life.  
3. Brammacharya (Being Virgin):  In Addition to ahimsa, sathya (truth), a person who want to lead a spiritual life, must folllw brammacharya.  Seeing any woman like his mother or young sister is a key essential quality to stay in Brammacharya.    Lust for sex or Lust for attraction is dangerous for a person who want to lead spiritual life and reach moksha.   
Seeing everyone as collection of bones, hair, nerve, blood, muscle, urine and faeces is also a way to avoid any kind of attraction and stay in brammacharya. 
Seeing everyone as soul and respecting others also a way to stay in brammacharya.

4. Kshama (forgiveness):  In Addition to above qualities, it is very essential to forgive mistakes done by others and move on.  A person with an eye to grow himself in spiritual path, should not waste his time and energy to revenge. Just ignoring all kind of disturbance made by others is one of they key qualities expected in Yama.

5. Dhaya (mercy):  In Addition to above qualities gathered, it is also very essential to have mercy on everyone.  This is an essential quality which is linked to Ahimsa (non violence). Being mercy on everyone who are running towards materialistics desires, Being mercy on everyone who are struggling is a key essential quality. 
6. Tolerance : In Addition to above qualities gathered, it is very essential to be tolerant on any given circumstance.  Most of the Yogi, Mahatma, Sadhus have shown tremendous tolerance when they were in practice of Yama. 
if you are having tremendous forgiveness nature, mercy, always speak truth, stay in brammacharya and following ahimsa, it is very much bound to hear people laughing at you as useless, foolish, crazy idiot.  If you don't have huge tolerance level to digest these shame, you can't even pass the Level 1 (Yama).

By following this 6 practices (Ahimsa, Satya, Brammacharya, Kshama, Dhaya, Tolerance), you will be surprised to see yourself that your senses stay in control.

Even if delicious food is kept in front of you, you eyes, nose will not provoke you.
Even if beautiful woman looks at you or even touch you, your eyes and skin won't get provoked of any desire.

Thus Yama helps to control these 5 senses.  

The great Bharata Yogi, has practiced all was able to achieve success in yama. 
A great Salute to Bharata Yogi.

Those who have controlled these 5 senses are considered to be in Yama. 

2. Niyama:
Those who have achieved controlling their 5 senses (Yama), they enter the phase called "Niyama".
Yama gives control of senses (see, smell, hear, touch, taste).
Niyama ensures 5 organs which gets provoked by these senses are protected by other activities which deviates its attention towards spiritual world. 

In Niyama, 5 organs (eyes, nose, ear, skin, tongue) gets engaged 24x7 towards spiritual activities so that even if senses tried to entice, it finds no time to fall in.

Due to this, Niyama expects those who want to grow spiritually 
- to wake up daily at 4AM and have bath in cold water.
- to do pooja least thrice a day (morning, noon and evening) and engage hands, eyes, words in offering flowers, bhajan (devotional songs), reciting mantras, reciting bhagavatham, bhagavath gita and so on.
- to practice fasting for twice a month atleast (on ekadesi days) which creates a toughness in mind to control hunger and thirst.

By engaging the 5 organs (whole human body) 24x7 to engage in spiritual activity, makes a person grow spiritually faster to next level. 
A person who is engaged himself in pooja, reciting bhajans and listening spiritual discourse and reading bhagavath gita 24x7, 
finds no time to chit-chat with friends, 
finds no time to watch television, 
finds no time to do gossips, 
finds no time to create enemies..

To help this better, spiritual inclined person sometimes don't shave their heads or some shave their heads completely.  
These kind of appearance is also practiced to alienate themselves from other humans who have materialistic desires.

Also shaving heads or having tuft (shikha) also helps spiritually inclined persons to distant himself from the materialistic inclined people and for his own protection.

Hence, 
By engaging his 5 organs in spiritual activities, we can pass "Niyama".  
The Person who have cleared "Niyama", will not just have control of senses, but have very strong determination to achieve their target irrespective of circumstance.



3. A'sana:

Those who have achieved Yama and Niyama, they enter the 3rd phase called "A'sana" (Aasana).



Yama gives control of senses (see, smell, hear, touch, taste).

Niyama ensures 5 organs which gets provoked by these senses are protected by other activities which deviates its attention towards spiritual world. 
A'sana, is a practice given to this whole body to stay still and firm. 
You would have heard, People relate "Mind with Waves".  
When one Wave appear, before it disappears, simultaneously another wave jumps in.
That's the nature of Wave.
Like Waves, Mind is also a Wave which flows inside our human body. 

Waves are created due to little movement caused by ocean.  
If Ocean moves faster, it creates Tsunami and waves can destroy the whole world in split seconds.

Similarly, Mind (Wave) also gets excited by the movement of this human body.  

Even if the human body does not move, still there is movement of blood and nerves inside us. Even this movement excites our mind waves. 
The more we move, laugh, run, speak, jump, dance, the mind waves gets ignited by these movements and gets more disturbed.  
So, 
A'sana is key practice to this human body to keep the body at one position for a long period.
Yoga A'sana is world famous today.  Everyone is interested in Yoga due to this.
The benefit of Yoga is to slow down the mind waves. 
More the mind waves moves slowly, More the peace we get. 

So, in this 3rd Phase, a person who want to move in spiritual ladder and achieve moksha, 1st have to gain some peace within himself. 
To achieve peace, his mind should be made calm.   
To achieve calmness, A'sana was essential.  




Physical exercise is applicable to body only. 
It creates strength and agility to the body.

But, 
Yoga A'sana is applicable to body and mind.  
So if Yoga A'sana is practiced just like an exercise, it won't slow down the mind waves.  It gives only physical agility and good health. 

Yoga A'sana must be done very slowly. 
The more you stay in one Yoga Position for a long time, the more the benefit you will receive. 
The more your body don't move, lesser the mind wave and more the benefit you will get to achieve peace within you.
By sitting in Padma A'sana or Swastik A'sana or Siddha A'sana for an hour without any physical movement, itself gives tremendous health benefit + peace of mind.

Doing this Yoga Asana, makes your physic very strong and get ready for next toughest phases towards Moksha.

A person who have achieved great success in A'sana (Yoga) will have tremendous energy and excellent steady blood flow. 
They have very strong hips and bone marrow due to tremendous practice of A'sana. 

Having Strong Hips and Bone-Marrow is key qualifications to get ready for next toughest phases towards moksha.

Bharata Yogi have achieved the pinnacle of A'sana as well in his life. 

4. Pra'na'ya'ma':
Those who have achieved Yama, Niyama, A'sana, they enter the 4th phase called "Pra'na'ya'ma'" (praanaayaamaa)
The person who achieved success in Yama, Niyama, A'sana itself considered as Yogi.  They get respected all over the world.  They have their own disciples.

Some Yogi gets struck in these phases due to fame, respect they gather. 
Some Yogi voluntarily involves themselves in social awakening.

Very few Yogi ignores such things and move further to next steps of Bhakti Yoga to reach Moksha (liberation from Birth-death cycle).

By Practicing Yoga A'sana, person gets tremendous energy and physical strength. 
With this strength, Yogi starts practicing Pra'na'ya'ma' to move himself to next level. 

By keeping the body standstill at one position for hours, Yogi gathers a way to slow down his mind flow.
Yoga A'sana slows down the mind, but does not bring "steadiness" in mind. 

A person with Steady mind, become a good student. 
To go up the Spiritual Ladder towards Moksha from here, it requires a good student who is ready to learn new experiences but never fall in...

A Person who is an expert in Yoga A'sana is not considered a Good Student yet to the path of Moksha.  He is just an expert to slow down his thoughts (mind) at his will.  

An Angry person inhales and exhales air faster than a normal person. 
A person in deep sleep, enjoys steady mind (no thinking, no dream at this stage). If you notice them, they breath steadily.

By doing Pranayaama, the inhale and exhale of air is controlled and streamlined.  There are so many pranayama techniques available to achieve good health, good heart, to raise kundalini sakthi (energy) and raise 7 chakras towards moksha.




Pranayama constitute 3 parts: 
1. pooragam -  Inhale
2. kumbagam - hold
3. reychagam - Exhale

By practicing Pranayama in below fashion for 6 months (daily 2 hrs each morning, noon and evening), you will start hear the clear sound of "Om" (a u m).

1. Inhale continously and slowly while Chanting "Rama Rama Rama" 16 times thru one side of nose (left)
2. Exhale continously and slowly while chanting "Rama Rama Rama" 32 times thru' other side of nose (right).
3. Inhale continously and slowly while Chanting "Rama Rama Rama" 16 times thru one side of nose (right)
4. Exhale continously and slowly while chanting "Rama Rama Rama" 32 times thru' other side of nose (left).
This is 1 count. Do this for 1 hr at morning, noon and evening.

This is the 1st step.. More you practice, the kundalini Sakthi (energy) will start to flow upwards, which can bring magical experience and divine experience and celestial experience) till you reach last chakra which gives you moksha (liberation).

By Doing Pra'na'ya'ma', air starts flowing inside our body smoothly. In turn, Our mind will be in a state of mesmerized state. 

Mind will behave like a extremely obedient student for those who is an expert in Breath control (Pranayama). 
If you say, go and study this book without any break, mind will be obedient and behave like a good student and read that book. 
A person who identifies that his mind is is mesmerized state thru' pranayama (like a snake mesmerized by charmer) gets ready to move to next level called Prathyahara.



5. Prathya'ha'ra':
Those who have achieved Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pranayama, they enter the 5th phase called "Prathya'ha'ra'" (prathyaahaaraa)

After Pranayama, when the mind is in mesmerized state, the person (yogi) slowly advises the mind to think about Paramatma (Supreme God Narayana) in specific form like Narasimha, Vamana, Vasudeva, Vishnu. 
He instructs the mind like a friend that, you are supposed to help me (Jeevatma) to reach that Paramatma (Narayana, creator of everything).
During this time, visiting temple and seeing deity will create an attraction to mind. Mind will start thinking about Krishna, Rama, Shiva everytime..

In Prathyahara, Yogi introduces his supreme god (Narayana) to this mind.  
The mesmerized mind will start to recognize the supreme god and start to think about him (Supreme god).

After Prathyahara, Yogi moves to an very important phases called "Dha'rana"


6. Dha'rana:

Those who have achieved Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pranayama, Prathyaahaara, they enter the 6th phase called Dha'rana (Dhaarana).



Dharana is the beautiful phase, where Yogi evenif he wishes to disturb his mind in worldly things, it retrieves back and fall back to Supreme God (Narayana) feet. 


It is like a tremendous love affair. 
Just like a woman who is in love, irrespective of her daily activities, thinks about her love, the yogi's mind voluntarily falls to the feet of Krishna. 
This divine love is eternal and goes till moksha and stays forever.  
The person who achieved this Dhaarana will be in a state of lover. His mind is filled with joy because his mind always thinks about his lovable Supreme God (Narayana) irrespective of way he lives.  

A person in this state, will create divine songs, devotional songs which will become eternal for million of years.

Seeing such Soul itself will make others blissful and drag everyone to devotion (Bhakti).

Meera, Jayadeva, Purandara Das, Azhwar, Nayanmar are such great souls who lived in this land in this state. 





7. Dhya'na (Meditation):
Those who have achieved Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pranayama, Prathyaahaara, Dharana, they enter the 7th phase called Dhya'na (Dhyaana).

Bharat Yogi reached till Dhyana in his life time itself. 

In Dha'rana, the mind sticks to Supreme God (Narayana).

In Dhyana, Yogi forgets the world while the mind sticks to Supreme God (Narayana).

Bharat Yogi, one day he was doing saligrama pooja at early morning. He took a flower to offer to Narayana and said "Dhyaayaami". 
Immediately, he went to Dhyana. 

His heart was filled with Narayana, and lost the presence of the world. 
His Dhyana stayed till evening and kept the flowers in his hand for the whole day.  

He understood that he achieved Dhyana as in Ashtanga Yoga and knew that he is just 1 step away from moksha.  
At this time, Bharat Yogi had little pride about his hard work.  He felt pride about himself.

This pride was tested by Paramatma in the form of Deer. 

One day, Bharat Yogi saw a Deer chased by a lion.  The deer was pregnant that time and with fear, that deer gave birth to a deer on the way and escaped.

Seeing this, Bharat Yogi took that little deer and felt very bad about the situation.
He took that little deer in his ashram and started to take care.
He was little scared whether any wild animals will try to kill this little deer.
So he was extra cautious and spent most of his time with the deer presence. 
He gave food and almost forgot his Aim to reach Moksha. 

Once the deer grow little older, suddenly one day jumped out of the ashram and mingled with other deers and ran away.

Even though the deer left Bharat Yogi, he could not forgot the deer and even worried whether that deer will be hunted by any wild animals. 
This mental worry detoriated his health and left his body by thinking about the deer alone.

Next Birth, Bharat Yogi (who has achieved Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyaahaara, Dharana till Dhyana) born as deer.

Because he had achieved till Dhyana, even as Deer, he still remembered his previous birth and hence stayed away mingling with other deers till his last breath.

Again, he born as Jada Bharata. 
Since he has already achieved till Dhyana as Bharata Yogi, Jada Bharata from his birth stayed in Samadhi which is the final phase of Bhakti Yoga (Ashtaanga Yoga)

8. Samaadhi :
Those who have achieved Yama, Niyama, A'sana, Pranayama, Prathyaahaara, Dharana, Dhyana, they enter the 8th Yoga called Samadhi

In Samadhi, Yogi not just forget the presence of this world, but he himself (Jeevatma) understand that is part of Paramatma (Narayana) and actually there is no difference.   
Its a state of Advaita where Jeevatma understand he looked different because of senses and mind (Maya) but actually he is also part of Paramatma himself. 
Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to this status called "Samadhi" when he visited Vrindavan and while seeing Puri Jagannath (odisha).




Bharat Yogi in his 3rd Birth as "Jada Bharata" stayed in Samadhi from his birth and finally attained moksha.  
He was never even interested to drink mother's milk when he born. He never wanted to do that same mistake which he had done with Deer and falling in love and affection on perishable things. 


We know that, there are 2 ways to reach moksha are: 

1. Bhakti Yoga (thru' devotion)

2. Saranagathi (thru' surrender)


We have seen what is Bhakti Yoga (thru' Ashta'nga Yoga). 

For those who feel following Ashta'nga Yoga seems ok, but practically tough to follow, Supreme God (Narayana) himself showed the way of "Saranagathi".

When Arjuna was listening to all different Dharmic Advices from Sri Krishna during Kurukshetra War, he was in a dilemma what to do next? which dharma to follow?  
He finally asked Sri Krishna with folded hands, 
"Krishna, tell me.. what am i supposed to do?"
Once Arjuna became open minded and asked which is the best option for him to follow, Sri Krishna simply said, "Just surrender to me.. to me alone. I will absolve all your sins and give you moksha with my own wish. Do not worry".

This is called Saranagathi (Surrender).  

You will find only few, could achieve moksha by doing Ashtanga Yoga like Bharata Yogi.
But
You will find many countless sadhus achieved moksha by doing Saranagathi (Surrender) starting from Prahalada, Thyagajar Swami, Tukka Ram, NamDev, Purandara Das, Azhwar, Naayanmar, Meera and so on....
This Bharat Land, produces 1000s of such Great Yogi every decade. Even today, though moving to western culture, still 1000s of Sadhus, Mahatama, Yogi are keep coming.  

This is the beauty of this Bharat Land.  

Proud to born in this holy Land.
Proud to live as HINDU (Vedic Dharma)



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