Attaining Yoga or Union:

Attaining Yoga or Union:
Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review of The Science of Yoga

Review of The Science of Yoga,
a book by William J. Broad
Review by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

There is a widespread misunderstanding of the nature of yoga that is well exemplified by William J. Broad in his book “The Science of Yoga”. Broad says in the Introduction that the book is about “postural yoga”, but he never again uses that term. Instead, he subsequently uses the single word “yoga”, implying that yoga and postures (postural yoga) are one and the same, which is the common cultural myth of our times. The degree to which he had done this was not immediately apparent to me; it took several readings to see the problem clearly. 

Broad says that we are now in a period of yoga 2.0 and predicts that in the next two to three hundred years we will see the coming of yoga 3.0 and yoga 4.0. However, he says that his baseline period--yoga 1.0--is the medieval ages, completely ignoring the previous thousands of years of yoga history, which includes the yoga of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Sutras.

Broad says that the yoga of Patanjali (the Yoga Sutra) is “old yoga”, apparently in contrast to his views of “new yoga”. However, this new yoga bears no resemblance to the old yoga (using his term for clarity, not meaning that I agree with him). Broad also uses the phrase “modern yoga” a few times. If Broad’s categories align with today’s common view of yoga, then we can see that the current yoga is “not yoga” compared to the yoga of the ancient sages. There is almost nothing to be found of modern yoga, yoga 2.0, or not yoga in any of these ancient descriptions of yoga that would be part of old yoga. 

We can get a clearer understanding of Broad’s book by mentally inserting the term “postural yoga” wherever he uses only the single word “yoga”. We can also mentally insert “not yoga” or “modern yoga” wherever he used only the single word “yoga”. These three exercises gives a very different feel to the book, making clear Broad’s disregard, if not disdain for the traditional meaning of yoga. In other words, Broad sees yoga only as a physical process dealing with fitness and health/medical treatments, and he writes from that perspective alone.

Once we see that Broad is talking only about the modern devolutions of yoga, it is easy to assess the quality and usefulness of his writing from within that limited scope. He has written an extremely clear and useful book about postural yoga or modern yoga or not yoga, as well as clearly summarizing the risks and benefits of those categories. However, although it is obviously not his intent, he has also done a great job of outlining the devolution of yoga in the past hundred years or so. 

I encountered only one place where Broad uses the term “traditional yoga”, a term I and others have used to contrast the yoga of the sages from modern yoga. However, he uses the term traditional yoga not to refer to the yoga of the sages, but to postural hatha yoga before it was altered/hijacked by the innovators such as Krishnamacharya, Jois, and Iyengar. 

I highly recommend this book. It gives great summaries of the potential dangers of modern postural yoga (not yoga), as well as physical fitness and health benefits, and if you read closely, also maps out the way in which yoga has been distorted in recent years. You may also notice that Broad offers no evidence or research whatsoever showing any danger in practicing the introspective methods of yoga as explained by the practitioners and teachers of old yoga (known simply as yoga). Apparently the dangers he presents only apply to not yoga, the modern distortions of yoga. 

There was not a single example of anybody experiencing any health problems from sitting quietly doing the introspective practices of meditation and contemplation, which are characteristic of yoga done for its original purpose, Self-realization. It would be interesting to see research on the risks and rewards of these meditation and contemplation practices of old yoga, but this is not the subject of Broad’s book. That may be very difficult research since so few people are practicing or interested in this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Real Yoga Will Not Wreck Your Body

Real Yoga Will Not Wreck Your Body
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
January 24, 2012

The New York Times published an article on January 5, 2012 entitled "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body". This article has since spread like wildfire throughout internet. I am writing comments in the 16-page attached article to strongly refute much, if not most of what William J. Broad (the author) has said.

~Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

VIDEO (8:12 min): The Truth about the 10 Reasons for Yoga

NEW VIDEO (8:12 Minutes)

By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

VIDEO is at YouTube:

Yoga Day USA lists "Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga for Life"
on their website

Unfortunately, most of their
reasons have little to do with
authentic, traditional Yoga.

Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on
the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps
to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Related benefits include lowering blood pressure
and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting
the immune system as well as easing symptoms
of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue,
asthma and insomnia.

Most people in the West, and also many in India,
confuse Yoga with Hatha Yoga, the system of
bodily postures. But Yoga is primarily a spiritual
(Paramahansa Yogananda)

Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that
practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a
combination of the two, reduced pain for people
with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis,
auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as
arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic
conditions. Some practitioners report that even
emotional pain can be eased through the practice
of yoga.

Yoga has become the health and fitness system
of choice. This is odd because it is the mind -
not the body - that is the main target of all genuine
Yoga practices .... To regard Yoga primarily as a
set of practices for increasing strength and
flexibility while calming the nervous system is
to mistake the husk for the kernel.
(Pandit Rajmani Tigunait)

Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths.
This helps to improve lung function, trigger the
body's relaxation response and increase the amount
of oxygen available to the body.

Like many arts and sciences that are profound,
beautiful, and powerful, yoga has suffered from
the spiritual poverty of the modern world--it has
been trivialized, watered down, or reduced to
cliches. The deep and eternal essence of yoga
has been misrepresented and packaged for
personal profit by clever people.
(Bhole Prabhu)

Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility,
increasing range of movement and reducing aches
and pains. Many people can't touch their toes during
their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the
correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons
and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making
more poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body
alignment resulting in better posture and helping to
relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.

In ancient times hatha Yoga was practiced for
many years as a preparation for higher states of
consciousness. Now however, the real purpose
of this great science is being altogether forgotten .
The hatha Yoga practices which were designed
by the rishis and sages of old, for the evolution
of mankind, are now being understood and
utilized in a very limited sense.
(Swami Satyananda Saraswati)

Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the
body, helping to increase strength literally from
head to toe. And, while these postures strengthen
the body, they also provide an additional benefit
of helping to relieve muscular tension.

Yoga is not mere acrobatics . Some people suppose
that Yoga is primarily concerned with the
manipulation of the body into various queer
positions, standing on the head, for instance, or
twisting about the spine, or assuming any of the
numerous odd poses which are demonstrated in
the text-books on Yoga. These techniques are
correctly employed in one distinct type of Yoga
practice, but they do not form an integral part of
the most essential type. Physical posture serve
at best as an auxiliary, or a minor form of Yoga.
(Swami Chidananda Saraswati)

Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight
control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels
as well as by burning excess calories and
reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy
eating habits and provides a heightened sense of
well being and self esteem.

Many false and incomplete teachings have been
propagated in its name, it has been subject to
commercial exploitation, and one small aspect
of Yoga is often taken to be all of Yoga. For
instance, many people in the West think it is a
physical and beauty cult, while others think it
is a religion. All of this has obscured the real
meaning of Yoga.
(Swami Rama)

Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result
of various poses, more efficiently moves
oxygenated blood to the body's cells.

Through the discipline of Yoga, both actions and
intelligence go beyond these qualities [gunas] and
the seer comes to experience his own soul with
crystal clarity, free from the relative attributes of
nature and actions. This state of purity is samadhi.
Yoga is thus both the means and the goal. Yoga
is samadhi and samadhi is Yoga.
(B. K. S. Iyengar)

Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardio-vascular
benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing
endurance and improving oxygen uptake during

The main objective of hatha Yoga is to create an
absolute balance of the interacting activities and
processes of the physical body, mind and energy.
When this balance is created, the impulses
generated give a call of awakening to the central
force (sushumna nadi) which is responsible for
the evolution of human consciousness. If hatha
Yoga is not used for this purpose, its true
objective is lost.
(Swami Satyananda Saraswati)

Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become
more aware and to help create mind body health.
It opens the way to improved concentration,
coordination, reaction time and memory.

The goal of Yoga is Yoga itself, union itself, of the
little self and the True Self, a process of awakening
to the preexisting union that is called Yoga.
Yoga has to do with the realization through direct
experience of the preexisting union between Atman
and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, and
Shiva and Shakti, or the realization of Purusha
standing alone as separate from Prakriti.
(Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati)

The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach
a deeper, more spiritual and more satisfying place
in their lives. Many who begin to practice for
other reasons have reported this to be a key reason
that yoga has become an essential part of their
daily lives.
(This finally touches on the real reasons for Yoga
by mentioning that it is for "spiritual" reasons.)

You use the body as a medium to bring the mind
back to the brain. Perfect marriage between body
and mind. Then, you can reach and knock the
door to the spirit....
Yoga is free. It belongs to the earth. It's a god.
(Bikram Choudhury)

Distortion of Yoga Nidra (addendum to the Yoga Nidra article)

Distortion of Yoga Nidra
(addendum to the Yoga Nidra article)

The distortion of the very high practice of Yoga Nidra is so thorough in the world these days that it seems necessary to make very bright titles just to have the point noticed.

Throughout this article (and others linked on this page) you will find explanations that there are THREE levels of consciousness: Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep (plus the "fourth" which is the transcendent state known as Turiya). Yoga Nidra is conscious DEEP SLEEP and Deep Sleep is NOT conscious Dreaming. Yoga Nidra is also NOT the transition between Waking and Dreaming. Those are states to explore, but they are NOT Deep Sleep; if it did have dreams, that would be called Dreaming, and would NOT be called Deep Sleep.

It is utterly obvious that Deep Sleep does NOT have Dreams to explore. It should be self-evident that Dreaming and Not-Dreaming (i.e., Deep Sleep) are two different things. However, books, articles, and CDs keep telling people that Yoga Nidra is a state of Dreaming, or transitioning into Dreaming from Waking. This is just not true. Throughout the ancient writings of the yogis, sages, and rishis there are explanations of these three states of consciousness. Please don't just take my word for it. Read the ancient writings, including Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and others. You will find these states talked about over and over, and over again.

Many people are now practicing all sorts of guided imageries in the name of Yoga Nidra so that they can make money, have better sex, or manipulate other people. There are CDs out which say Yoga Nidra is for "this or that" named disease or other specific desire-based purpose. Yoga Nidra has been made to sound like "The Law of Attraction," whereby you fulfill your desires through meditative techniques.

Yoga Nidra was taught by the ancient sages for the purpose of exploring the deep impressions or samskaras, which drive our actions or karma. They taught this so that sincere seekers can purify the deeper aspect of the mind-field, which is accessed in the formless state of conscious Deep Sleep. If I try to explain the whole process here in this paragraph, I would have to condense the whole article here, which can't be done. You must do this exploration yourself. Read the article. Read the other articles. Read the texts mentioned above.

I'm not writing this here just to complain about other people. The fact is, that Yoga Nidra is a profoundly useful and deep practice for enlightenment at this highest level of that word (enlightenment). The term "Yoga Nidra" has become so watered-down, so distorted that sincere seekers are not likely to see the extremely high value of authentic Yoga Nidra. If you read this, research this yourself, and then do the practices, you'll discover for yourself the very high value of authentic, traditional Yoga Nidra.

I know that all of this can sound like a "sales pitch." Well, we're stuck with that. I'm writing this here so that possibly some few sincere people will move forward with authentic Yoga Nidra. There are a small handful of people out there who can talk to you about this, and guide you. I'm not going to recommend any specific names of people, however. Just explore sincerely; you'll find your way to the real thing of Yoga Nidra.

While you are here, reading this part of the article, please read carefully the rest of the article, as well as some of the other articles about these three levels of consciousness (levels articles), particularly the third level, which is the domain of Deep Sleep. I know it can be a difficult read, but there's great value in understanding these levels of consciousness and how Yoga Nidra is used as a tool for higher experience.

Yoga Nidra is NOT the Dreaming state.
Yoga Nidra IS conscious Deep Sleep.

AUDIO (34 min): Developing Determination for Enlightenment

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

(34:20 minutes)

From a presentation at the Center for Nondualism on February 1, 2009.

The Meaning and Purpose of Yoga

By Bhole Prabhu

Like many arts and sciences that are profound, beautiful, and
powerful, yoga has suffered from the spiritual poverty of the modern
world--it has been trivialized, watered down, or reduced to cliches.
The deep and eternal essence of yoga has been misrepresented and
packaged for personal profit by clever people. At the hands of some,
yoga has been reduced to the status of just another exercise program
available on videotape. In other contexts, yoga has been presented as
a cult religion, aimed at attracting "devotees." Such a haze of
confusion has been created around the clear and pure concept of yoga
that it is now necessary to redefine yoga and clarify its meaning and

Yoga defines itself as a science--that is, as a practical, ethodical,
and systematic discipline or set of techniques that have the lofty
goal of helping human beings to become aware of their deepest nature.
The goal of seeking to experience this deepest potential is not part
of a religious process, but an experiential science of self-study.
Religions seek to define what we should believe, while a practical
science such as meditation is based on the concrete experience of
those teachers and yogis who have previously used these techniques to
experience the deepest Self. Yoga does not contradict or interfere
with any religion, and may be practiced by everyone, whether they
regard themselves as agnostics or members of a particular faith.

Throughout history, yogic techniques have been practiced in both the
East and West, so it would be an error to consider yoga an "Eastern
import." In fact, yoga, with its powerful techniques for creating a
sense of inner peace, harmony, and clarity of mind, is absolutely
relevant to the modern world--both East and West. Given the increasing
pace and conflict present in modern life, with all its resulting
stress, one could say that yoga has become an essential tool for
survival, as well as for expanding the creativity and joy of our lives.


Although yoga does not "belong" to the East, it is easiest to trace
its roots there, because cultural change has not obscured the origins
of the science, and an ongoing tradition of yoga has continued to the
present day. No one person "invented" yoga--yoga is a living
tradition, a set of practices that dates back for centuries. These
practices were codified by a scholar and teacher named Patanjali in
The Yoga Sutras, written about the second century B.C.

The most important teaching of yoga has to do with our nature as human
beings. It states that our "true nature" goes far beyond the limits of
the human mind and personality--that instead, our human potential is
infinite and transcends our individual minds and our sense of self.
The very word "yoga" makes reference to this. The root, "yuj" (meaning
"unity" or "yoke"), indicates that the purpose of yoga is to unite
ourselves with our highest nature. This re-integration is accomplished
through the practices of the various yoga disciplines. Until this
re-integration takes place, we identify ourselves with our
limitations--the limitations of the body, mind, and senses. Thus we
feel incomplete and limited, and are subject to feelings of sorrow,
insecurity, fear, and separation, because we have separated ourselves
from the experience of the whole.

In the modern world we have become quite successful in our external
achievements--we have created powerful technologies and a variety of
products, we are obsessed with accumulating power, wealth, property
and objects--and yet we have not been able to create either individual
or social peace, wisdom, or happiness. We have only to look around and
see the destructiveness of our weapons, the emptiness of our pleasures
and entertainments, the misuse of our material and personal resources,
the disparities between rich and poor, and above all, the loneliness
and violence of our modern world. We see that amid all our success in
the external world, we have accomplished little of lasting value.
These problems will not be solved through new technological
developments. Instead, the resolution to these human problems will
come only when we discover within ourselves that for which all of
mankind is searching--inner peace, tranquility, and wisdom. This
attainment is the goal of yoga, for yoga is the practical science
intended to help human beings become aware of their ultimate nature.


The process of yoga is an ascent into the purity of the absolute
perfection that is the essential state of all human beings. This goal
requires the removal of our enveloping personal impurities, the
stilling of our lower feelings and thoughts, and the establishment of
a state of inner balance and harmony. All the methods of yoga are
based on the perfection of our personalities and may help to create a
new world order.

In the beginning of our work, the greatest problem we experience is
our inherent restlessness of mind. Mind, by its very nature, is
outgoing and unsteady. The highest state of meditation, however,
requires a calm, serene, one-pointed mind, free from negative emotions
and the distractions created by cravings, obsessions, and desires. To
reach the subtler levels of consciousness and awareness, we need
willpower, clarity of mind, and the ability to consciously direct the
mind towards our goal. This is possible only when we turn away from
preoccupation with external acquisition and seek to stop all
inharmonious or negative mental processes. To achieve this, we do not
need to give up our homes and society and retire to a monastery.
Instead, we can achieve a state of peace, harmony, and contentment in
our daily meditation, and thus, go on carrying out our life's duties
and activities with the love and devotion that emerges from our
meditative experience.

For those who want to follow the path of yoga towards peace and
evolution, there are a few prerequisites. We need good health, a calm
mind, sincerity, and a burning desire to rise above our human
imperfections. Our health is maintained by a simple and well-
regulated diet, adequate sleep, some physical exercise, and
relaxation. Imbalance or excesses in food, exercise, sleep, or our
personal relationships produce physical and emotional disruptions that
disturb the practice of yoga and meditation.

If the aspects of our daily lives are well balanced, then certainly we
can make progress in yoga in the modern world. Regardless of where we
live or what we do, we can create a life conducive to yoga.


As we indicated earlier, there is much confusion about exactly what
yoga is, especially since there seem to be so many approaches, all
described by the name "yoga." A mountain climber may take a variety of
routes to reach the top of a mountain. From the plain at the base of
the mountain, all these paths seem distinct and different, but from
the mountain summit, the view is always the same! The same is true of
the seeming diversity of the yogic paths. These different paths are
not mutually exclusive or conflicting, but are intended to accommodate
the various inclinations, personalities, and temperaments of
individual students, and yet they all have the same goal. These
various paths of yoga include:

1) Hatha yoga, which deals mostly with body and breathing exercises
that help the student to become aware of his or her internal states.
Hatha yoga exercises help to make the body a healthy and strong
resource for the student.

2) Karma yoga, which means "the yoga of action." This path teaches us
to do our own duties in life skillfully and selflessly, dedicating the
results of our actions to humanity. Practicing this aspect of yoga
helps us to live unselfishly and successfully in the world without
being burdened or distressed.

3) Jnana yoga is the path of knowledge and wisdom. This path involves
intense mental discipline. Knowledge dawns as we learn to discriminate
between the real and the unreal, between the transient and the
everlasting, between the finite and the infinite. This path is meant
for only a fortunate few, who are aware of the higher and subtler
realities of life.

4) Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. This path is the way of love
and devotion. It is the path of self-surrender, of devoting and
dedicating all human resources to attaining the ultimate reality.

5) Kundalini yoga is a highly technical science. The guidance of a
competent teacher is required to learn methods for awakening the
serpent-like vital force that remains dormant and asleep in every
human body.

6) Mantra yoga, which involves meditation and the use of certain
sounds called "mantras," which are traditionally transmitted to the
student, and are used as objects of concentration. Mantras help the
student in self-purification, concentration, and meditation. These
mantras were discovered in deep meditation by highly advanced sages
and teachers.

Finally, there is raja yoga, the "royal path" which is very scientific
and thorough. By following this path methodically, we learn to refine
our desires, emotions, and thoughts, as well as the subtle impressions
and thoughts that lie dormant in the unconscious mind. Raja yoga helps
us to experience the inner reality by using an eight-runged ladder.
The ultimate goal is for the aspirant to attain the eighth rung, samadhi.


Raja yoga encompasses teachings from all the different paths. Because
of its variety it can be practiced by people of many backgrounds and
temperaments. It involves all three dimensions of human interaction--
physical, mental, and spiritual. Through this path, we achieve balance
and harmony of all three levels and then attain full realization of
the Self.

Raja yoga is a scientific discipline that does not impose
unquestioning faith, but encourages healthy examination. Certain
practices are prescribed and the benefits derived from them are
described so that this path can be scientifically verified by anyone
who experiments with the methods. Because of this, raja yoga is
ideally suited to the modern world, in which scientific skepticism is
so prominent.

Raja yoga is also called astanga yoga, or "the eight-fold path,"
because its eight steps create an orderly process of self-
transformation beginning on the level of the physical body, and
eventually involving the subtler levels of life. The eight steps are
yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.


The first four rungs or steps--yama, niyama, asana, and pranayama,
comprise the path of hatha yoga, which is preparatory to the last four
stages of raja yoga.

Yama and niyama are ten commitments of attitude and behavior. One set
of disciplines (niyama) is meant to improve the human personality and
the other (yama) is meant to guide our relationships and interactions
with other beings in the world. Thus yoga is an education for both
internal and external growth.

The five yamas, or restraints, are nonviolence, truthfulness,
nonstealing, sensual moderation, and non- possessiveness. Their
practice leads to changes in behavior and emotions, in which all
negative emotions are replaced by positive ones. The five niyamas, or
observances, are cleanliness (both external and internal),
contentment, practices which bring about perfection of body and senses
(tapas), study of the scriptures, and surrender to the ultimate
reality. The niyamas lead to the control of our behavior and
eventually are extremely positive factors in developing the personality.

In the beginning we should not be discouraged by the challenge of
these first two steps. For example, even before we have succeeded in
developing the trait of nonviolence completely, we will see increasing
peace in our lives and meditation as a result of attempting to
practice this yama.

Usually, when hatha yoga is taught in the modern world, only asanas
(physical postures) and certain breathing practices are taught. Yama
and niyama often are ignored. Because of this, hatha yoga has become
somewhat superficial, sometimes emphasizing only physical beauty or
egoism about skill and strength in postures. Certainly asanas and
breathing exercises create physical health and harmony, but only when
our minds are free from violent emotions can we achieve a calm,
creative, and tranquil mental state.

Actually, there are two types of asanas--meditative postures and
postures that ensure physical well-being. A stable meditative posture
helps us create a serene breath and calm mind. A good meditative
posture should be comfortable and stable, ensuring that the head,
neck, and trunk are erect and in a straight line. If the body is
uncomfortable, it makes the mind agitated and distracted. The second
kind of postures are practiced to perfect the body, making it limber
and free from disease. These postures stimulate specific muscles and
nerves and have very beneficial effects.

The fourth step of raja yoga is pranayama. Prana is the vital energy
that sustains body and mind. The grossest manifestation of prana is
the breath, so pranayama is also called the "science of breath." These
exercises lead to calming and concentration.


The four steps of hatha yoga prepare the student for the four internal
practices of raja yoga. These internal practices are pratyahara,
dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

The fifth step of raja yoga is pratyahara or withdrawal and control of
the senses. While we are awake, the mind becomes involved with the
events, experiences, and objects of the external world through the
five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. The mind
constantly gathers sensations from the external world through these
senses and our mind reacts to them. To attain inner calmness, the
student of yoga will want to develop the ability to voluntarily remove
the distractions of the world outside. This is not a physical process
but a voluntary, mental process of letting go of our involvement with
external sensations.

Our sensory impressions distract the mind when we want it to become
aware of serenity within. Thus, it is useful to learn dharana, or
concentration, the sixth step in raja yoga. In concentration, the
scattered power of the mind is coordinated and focused on an object of
concentration through continued voluntary attention. This voluntary
attention uses a conscious effort of the will, and it is developed
through consistent practice. Through concentration, a scattered, weak
mind is focused and made more powerful.

The seventh step in raja yoga is dhyana, or meditation. Meditation is
the result of continued, unbroken concentration. Concentration makes
the mind one-pointed, calm, and serene. Meditation then expands the
one-pointed mind to the superconscious state. Meditation is the
uninterrupted flow of the mind toward one object or concept. When the
mind expands beyond conscious and subconscious levels and assumes this
superconscious flow, then intuitive knowledge dawns. All the methods
of yoga prepare us to eventually reach this stage of meditation and
thus attain peace, perfection, and tranquility.

In our daily lives, meditation can be very helpful in eliminating many
physical and psychological problems. A significant amount of the
disease we experience is actually either directly or indirectly the
result of conflicts, repression, or emotional distress arising in the
conscious or unconscious mind. Meditation helps us to become aware of
these conflicts and to resolve them, establishing tranquility and
peace. In this way, meditation becomes a powerful resource for facing
the challenges of daily life.

If we really consider how we learn in the modern world, we realize
that despite all our emphasis on education, our education is one-
sided and shallow. We may learn to memorize equations and facts, but
we do not really learn to understand and develop our own inner life.
Our minds remain scattered and our emotions persist as negative,
conflicting forces. We are able to use only a small portion of our
mental abilities, because we are preoccupied with confusion, fear, and
inner conflict. Meditation helps us to overcome these limitations; it
helps us to become aware of the subtler and more positive powers
within. In gaining this awareness, we become creative and dynamic.
Abilities such as intuition, which many consider unusual or rare, are
actually within the potential of all human beings who meditate. Such
gifts are available to those who make contact with the deeper aspects
within themselves.

Prolonged and intense meditation leads to the last step of raja yoga--
the state of samadhi, the superconscious state. In this state we
become one with the higher Self and transcend all imperfections and
limitations. The state of samadhi is the fourth state of
consciousness, which transcends the three normal states of waking,
dreaming, and dreamless sleep.

A person who attains samadhi becomes a gift to his or her society. If
humanity is ever to achieve a more evolved civilization, it will be
possible only because of our growth and evolution as human beings. A
person who is established in samadhi lives his or her whole life as a
spontaneous expression of the unhindered flow of supreme
consciousness. This superconscious level is our human essence; it is
universal and transcends all the divisions of culture, creed, gender
or age. When we become aware of this state within, our whole life is
transformed. When we transform ourselves and experience serenity,
peace, and freedom, we also transform our societies and all of human
civilization. This awareness of the infinite consciousness is the
practical and real goal of yoga.


Bhole Prabhu lived in the Himalayas, and was a yogi, poet, and
philosopher renowned as an original thinker.

Yoga, Computers and Four Levels of Consciousness

(The whole article is at this link, along with useful pictures)

By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

I am not the picture on my computer monitor.
I am electricity.

I am not the processing in my microchip.
I am electricity.

I am not the data on my hard drive.
I am electricity.

I am the life in all of these three.
I am the electricity.

A MODEL FOR MEDITATION: The computer can be used as a modern metaphor
for understanding the process of Yoga meditation and the levels of
consciousness through which one journeys. By understanding these
levels or stages, it is much easier to understand how meditation is
not used merely as a means of relaxation or psychic experience, but as
the means for the realization of the ever pure, ever joyful core of
our being, by whatever name you choose to call that center.


1. Peripherals/Conscious: The ten senses and means of expression
(indriyas), along with the conscious mind, allow the inner person to
communicate and act in the external world, like the peripherals of a
computer system, including monitor, keyboard, speakers, and microphone.
Four functions of mind: Throughout the conscious, unconscious, and
subconscious levels, the four functions of mind operate ever subtler,
until even they are transcended in the fourth stage, noted below.

2. Microchip/Unconscious: The active unconscious mind processes mostly
out of view, with only a small part of its functioning normally coming
to the surface of the conscious mind, like the microchip of the
computer, which does a tremendous amount of processing, yet presents
only a tiny amount of that to the peripherals.

3. Hard-drive/Subconscious: It is consciousness flowing in or through
the deep impressions of the latent subconscious, which causes them to
stir, just like the otherwise inert binary numbers resident on a
hard-drive, which do nothing until they are energetically brought to
life and spring forth into the microchip.

4. Electricity/Consciousness: The conscious, unconscious, and
subconscious levels of mind all function because of the flow of
consciousness, energy, or life force, just as the peripherals,
microchip, and hard-drive all operate because of the electricity. Both
the consciousness and the electricity are uniform, regardless of what
programs might be running in the moment.


I am not the peripherals!: One explores the peripherals, the waking
state, the conscious mind, and the gross world, moving through them in

I am not the microprocessor!: One explores the microprocessor, the
dreaming state, the unconscious mind, and the subtle plane, moving
through them in meditation.

I am not the hard-drive!: One explores the hard-drive, the deep sleep
state, the subconscious mind, and the causal plane, moving through
them in meditation.

I am the electricity!: Through deep meditation, one pierces the three
layers described above. Ultimately, one comes to resolve the question,
"Who am I?" in direct experience, with the realization of being the
pure consciousness, energy, or life force that is beyond, higher, or
underneath each of the other three levels, stages, or states, which is
the core of our being.