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Bindu Dhyân and Prânayâm
The process of controlling vayu, energy flow in the body, is known as pranayama, by which the movement of vital energy is controlled by a spiritual aspirant. But pranayama should always be associated with bindu dhyana, that is, meditation on a particular point. If not, it will affect self-restraint and pranayama will make the mind restless. Similarly, pratyahara yoga – here the actual English term is “withdrawal” – should always be associated with dharana. The difference between dhyana, meditation and dharana, concentration is that dhyana is something stationary; that is, the object is a stationary one. In the case of dharana, the mind moves along with the object; there is a dynamic force behind dharana. And dhyana, although sentient, has no movement in it. In the arena of spiritual practice, pratyahara has much importance, because in the primordial phase of sadhana, one will have to withdraw one’s mind from the physicalities of the universe.
Now in pratyahara yoga, what do you do after withdrawing all your propensities from the objective world, from the physicalities of the world? To where are these mental propensities to be directed? If the mental propensities are withdrawn, but are not guided to some other point, what will happen? Those withdrawn mental propensities will create internal disturbance in your mind, subconscious and unconscious strata. It is dangerous. Sometimes it so happened in the past, and may happen in the future, that if a spiritual aspirant, without the guidance of a strong guru, tried or tries to practise pratyahara only from reading books, there would be some danger. So whenever you are withdrawing your mental propensities from different objects, you are to guide those collected propensities into some moving object, moving within the realm of your mind.
And what is that moving object? That moving object is your chitta – your objectivated “I” feeling. The chitta is something moving. So these withdrawn propensities stop moving towards external objects, but they start moving towards the internal chitta. That is the thing.
Now this jnana atma, or aham, has also got potentiality, so the mutative principle is very prominent in it. That doer or mutative principle is also a tethering agency. So “one will have to withdraw this jnana atma, this ahamtattva, into the mahattattva.” The mahattattva is the feeling, “I exist.”
Now in this pure “I” feeling there is hardly any movement, because it is a creation of the sentient principle. But although the sentient principle cannot give any specific figure, any boundary line, still it is a sort of bondage, and because there is bondage there is fight within and without.
So the mahattattva is almost free from bondage, but there is still bondage. Suppose a very good man is harshly rebuking an immoral person for having insulted him. Is that unfair? No, it is not. It is called sentient anger. Anger is static; but sometimes it may be sattvika, it may be sentient. And that type of anger is sentient anger – sattvika krodha in Sanskrit.
Now this pure “I” feeling, “I exist” – where all your propensities, along with the chitta, and the ahamtattva, and the mahattattva, form one strong unit of movement – is also to be withdrawn and merged into that Cognitive Principle which is free from all bondage. And that is the Paramagati, that is the supreme goal of human existence.