ADVAITA SAMKHYA
Non-Dual Yoga

The Goal of Non-Dual Yoga

[Lotus Flower]
Figure 41: Lotus Rising Above the Mud

A Different Approach

Yoga is the practical portion of Samkhya.  Dual Yoga (Dvaita Yoga) is defined by the Yoga Sutras. [1]  While Non-dual Yoga (Advaita Yoga) is defined by the Advaita Yoga Sutras [2] as found in The Art of Non-Dual Yoga [3].  Their practice (sadhana) is similar, but they have different goals (sadhyas).  The main difference being their approach to “vrittis,” [4] which are “thoughts” or more widely, “modifications.

The goal of Dvaita Yoga is “cessation of the thoughts of the mind-field” (chitta vritti nirodha). [5]  Then the seer (drashta) is abiding (avasthana) in its true nature (svarupa). [6]  Otherwise, there is conformity (sarupya) with thoughts. [7]  This approach implies that the seer is bound (baddha).  Moreover, it doesn’t differentiate between different types of thoughts.  Hence, it asks us to stop thinking altogether.  This leaves us perpetually in a mindless state.

On the other hand, the goal of Advaita Yoga is “cessation of afflicted modifications” (klishta vritti nirodha). [8]  Then the seen (drishya) is abiding in its true nature. [9]  Otherwise, there is conformity with the afflictions (kleshas). [10]  This approach implies that the seer is free (mukta), and that the seen is bound.  Moreover, it specifically targets afflicted modifications.  Hence, it allows us to continue thinking.  The afflictions [11] being the real problem.

The Afflictions

Ignorance is unequal vision (vishamadrishti) of the seer and the seen [12].  It’s the field (kshetra) of the subsequent afflictions (uttara kleshas). [13][14]  Egoism is the false nature (asvarupa) of the seen. [15]  Attachment and aversion are the thrill (mada) of the seen. [16]  Inertia is the binding (bandha) of the seen. [17]

Afflicted and Unafflicted Modifications

Modifications are twelvefold (dvadashataya) and either unafflicted or afflicted (aklishta or klishta). [18]  Afflicted modifications (klishta vrittis) are unlawful and inauspicious (adharma and papa); unafflicted modifications (aklishta vrittis) are lawful and auspicious (dharma and punya). [19]  The co-arising of suffering (samudaya of duhkha) is afflicted modifications; the co-arising of happiness (sukha) is unafflicted modfications. [20]  Without restraint and without observance (ayama and aniyama), modifications become afflicted during rebirth (bhava). [21]

Unafflicted modifications attain reabsorption (pralaya) after rebirth; afflicted modifications remain dormant (prasupta) in their abodes (ashayas). [22]  These abodes are mind, emotion, and physics (sattva, rajas, and tamas). [23]  They’re afflicted by egoism (asmita), attachment and aversion (ragadvesha), and inertia (abhinivesha), respectively.  Dormant modifications (prasupta vrittis) become active (udarana) during future births (adrishta janmas). [24]  This suffering yet to come (duhkha anagata) is to be avoided through practice (heya through sadhana). [25]

The Practice of Non-Dual Yoga

[Eight Limbs]
Figure 42: The Eight Limbs

The Essence of Practice

The practical path (sadhanamarga) is the repetition (abhyasa) of threefold wisdom (vidya traya). [26]  Widsom (vidya) is equal vision (samadrishti) of the seer and the seen (drashta and drishya). [27]  It’s the field (kshetra) of the other remedies (uttara bheshajas). [28]  Discernment (viveka) is distinguishing (vichchedana) one’s true nature (svarupa) from egoism (asmita). [29]  Non-attachment (vairagya) is lack of desire (vaitrishnya) for attachment and aversion (ragadvesha). [30]  Seeking liberation (mumukshutva) is overcoming inertia (jayana abhinivesha).  [31]  And repetition is steady effort (sthita yatna). [32]  When followed continually (sevita nairantarya) for a long time (dirgha kala) with reverence (satkara), there is a stable foundation (dridha bhumi). [33]

The Eight Limbs

The eight limbs (ashtanga) of practice are the restraints (yamas), the observances (niyamas), sitting (asana), energy extension (pranayama), withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption (samadhi). [34][35]

Outer Yoga: Limbs 1-5

The restraints, the observances, sitting, energy extension, and withdrawal are action, devotion, and knowledge (karma, bhakti, and jnana). [36]  In other words, these five limbs are reducible to the three classical yogas (yoga traya). [37]  And these three together (traya ekatra) are outer yoga (bahiryoga), which is material and active (prakrita and sakriya). [38] 

1) The Restraints

The restraints are fivefold and consist of non-harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), non-stealing (asteya), non-wasting (brahmacharya), and non-possessiveness (aparigraha). [39]  They’re the moral injunctions, or “don’ts,” of Yoga.  Non-harming is the path of least harm (patha of avara himsa). [40]  Non-lying is verifiable speech (prameya vach). [41]  Non-stealing is taking only (adana eva) what is freely given (svairakam datta). [42]  Non-wasting is preservation of energy (rakshana of prana). [43]  Non-possessiveness is renunciation of unnecessary objects (tyaga of nishkarana arthas). [44]

2) The Observances

The observances are also fivefold and consist of purification (shaucha), contentment (samtosha), self-discipline (tapas), self-study (svadhyaya), and surrender to the oversoul (ishvarapranidhana). [45]  They’re the moral recommendations, or “do’s,” of Yoga.  Purification is clearing the elements (bhutashuddhi). [46]  Contentment is unwavering inner peace (avyathya antahshanti). [47]  Self-discipline is reining in the senses (pragrahana the indriyas). [48]  Self-study is self-inquiry (atmavichara). [49]  Surrender to the oversoul is emulating it (anuvritti ishvara). [50]

3) Sitting

Sitting is the still, comfortable position (sthira, sukha sthana) of meditation (dhyana). [51]  Its purpose is to position the body so that it remains comfortably alert during meditation.  The spine must be erect in the upright position.  The legs should be crossed at the knees or ankles if possible.  The hands should rest upon the knees or be clasped together if possible.  One may sit in a chair or upon the ground.  Extraneous movements should be kept to a minimum.  With relaxation of continued exertion (shaithilya of prayatna), the gross body (sthulasharira) merges into the energy sheath (pranamayakosha). [52]  Then one is untroubled (anabhighata) by that pair of opposites (dvamdva). [53]  This confers a sense of becoming infinite (ananta). [54]  Then one is ready for energy extension (pranayama).

4) Energy Extension

Being seated (asita), energy extension begins with the interruption of the procession (vichcheda of the gati) of the inhalation and exhalation (shvasa and prashvasa). [55]  The term “pranayama” consists of “prana” + “ayama.”  Exoterically, it means “breath control,” but esoterically it means “energy extension.”  The three activities (vritti traya) of energy extension are external, internal, and the pause between (bahya, abhyantara, and stambha). [56]  They are slowly and subtly directed (dirgham and sukshmam paridrishta) by place, time, and number (desha, kala, and samkhya). [57]  The fourth activity (chaturtha vritti) is transcending the previous three (akshepin the purva traya) by offering (juhvana) the downward breath to the upward breath (apana to prana) and the upward breath to the downward breath. [58]  Thus, the veil (avarana) over the light (prakasha) is destroyed (kshina). [59]  In other words, when we enter the “breathless state,” the fear of death (abhinivesha) is removed.

5) Withdrawal

Withdrawal is the dissociation of the senses (asamprayoga of the indriyas) from their objects (vishayas). [60]  Specifically, it’s the withdrawal of the senses from the subtle elements and gross elements (tanmatras and mahabhutas).  This doesn’t mean turning the senses off but turning them within rather.  Then they’re under the highest control (parama vashyata). [61]  And there is fitness for concentration (yogyata for dharana). [62]

Inner Yoga: Limbs 6-8

Concentration, meditation, and absorption together are inner yoga (antaryoga), which is spiritual and inactive (paurusha and nishkriya). [63]  It’s still an activity (vritti), but it’s impersonal and effortless.

6) Concentration

Concentration is the binding of the conscious nature (bandha of the chitta) on a modification (vritti). [64]  This isn’t fighting or suppressing stray thoughts.  That’s distraction, which is the opposite of concentration.  Instead, it’s focussing on one point and allowing the others fade to the background.  Concentration occurs in the witness state (sakshi avastha) [65], which is beyond the mind.  In this state, the seer (drashta) slightly predominates over the seen (drishya).  Yet there remains a clear distinction between them.

7) Meditation

Meditation is the continuation (ekatanata) of that modification in the causal nature (karanata). [66]  Meditation occurs in the divine state (daiva avastha), and is associated with bliss (ananda). [65]  In this state, the seer further predominates over the seen.  Here, the seen reflects the seer, like a transparent crystal reflects the colors and shapes of its environment.  So, meditation is more internal (antar) than concentration.

8) Absorption

Absorption is the appearance (nirbhasa) of that modification in the atomic nature (anuta). [67]  Absorption occurs in the order state (rita avastha). [65]  This is the subtlest level of manifested existence.  In this state, the seer fully predominates over the seen.  Here, the seen disappears into the seer.  So, absorption is more internal than meditation.

Royal Yoga: Limbs 1-8

It’s common for yogis to pick their favorite yoga and ignore the rest.  For instance, many practice action yoga, devotion yoga, or knowledge yoga (karmayoga, bhaktiyoga, or jnanayoga) exclusively, considering the others to be of lesser value.  On the other hand, there’s a harmonizing approach which suggests that any one of the yogas alone possesses the necessary saving power to end suffering (duhkha) [68].  But to have true harmony, all the notes of a chord must be played together.  Hence, the importance of royal yoga (rajayoga), which is inner yoga and outer yoga together (antaryoga and bahiryoga ekatra). [69]  After all, practice (sadhana) must be complete (samyanch) to receive its full benefits.  So, we must take an integral approach.

The Practitioner of Non-Dual Yoga

[Axes of Awakening]
Figure 43: Axes of Awakening

Self-knowledge (atmajnana) is the ultimate knowledge (jnana).  Practice (sadhana) gradually leads us toward it.  But to finally reach it, we must transcend all techniques and become the practice.  This is mastery.

The adept path (sadhakamarga) is one-pointed surrender to the oversoul (ekagra ishvarapranidhana). [70]  The oversoul (ishvara) is the individualized spirit (purusha-vishesha) untouched (aparamrishta) by the afflictions (kleshas). [71]  It is the unsurpassed seed (niratishaya bija) of all knowledge (sarvajnana). [72]  Undivided by time (anavachcheda by kala), it is the first teacher (adiguru). [73]

It is the reciter of om (vachaka of pranava), which is the first instruction (adishasana). [74]  It is repeated (japita) with contemplation (bhavana) of its meaning (artha). [75]  From that, comes the destruction (abhava) of the obstacles (antarayas) to the attainment of inner consciousness (adhigama of pratyakchetana). [76]  Thus, the sound-current (shabda-srota) is entered (apanna). [77]  The ascent (udaya) through the stream (srota) is the experience of “this, that” (anubhava of iti iti). [78]

Equal vision is applied (samadrishti is viniyukta) to the spiritual and material triads (paurusha and prakrita trayas). [79]  Then the deep sleep state (sushupti avastha) is awakened (buddha). [80]  And the dependent moments (pratiyogi kshanas) of the wheel of time (kalachakra) reach the final end of succession (aparanta of krama). [81]  Thus, the silent current (nihshabda srota) is entered. [82]

Equal vision is applied to spirit and nature (purusha and prakriti). [83]  Thus, the great ocean of absolute unity (mahasagara of kaivalya) is entered. [84]  Thou art that (tat tvam asi). [85][86]

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