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Grace and the Direct Path


This presentation uses two Keys to comment on the Sutras of Pantanjali: Grace and Awareness. Our relationship with Grace is a personal experience that each individual works out for themselves. We must be careful not to distort our experience (relationship) with neurotic or narcissistic fantasies. If a spiritual crisis emerges, we should seek help. Grace manifests within and without and help can sometimes come from a spiritual adviser or mental health professional.

The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali is a Sanskrit text on yoga thought to have been written around the beginning of the common era or earlier.

Explaining the Goal

Sutra 1:23 Isvara pranidhanad va  (or else..through profound devotion..to Isvara)

At an early age we develop a sense of self that is concrete, based on form. We view ourselves and our bodies as subject and everything else as objects that can be seen, heard, touched, tasted or felt. This is the predominant sense of self we process with throughout our life. Approaching adolescence, we develop the ability to realize the abstract as also real. We realize that freedom is real and if taken away we realize the loss, yet we cannot see, hear, touch, taste or feel freedom. We also develop meta cognition. We start to examine what we are thinking. Why am I thinking that? Do I really understand that subject? How can I accomplish my goal? Should I focus more, set a timer, seek information elsewhere to understand better?

Isvara is substratum to our personal mind being Universal Mind. Whereas we experience out personal mind directly, we experience Universal Mind obscured by the personal mind. We sense something different from our personal mind, a feeling of Grace that we do not think is coming from our personal mind.

Pranidhanat means "surrender to." Using our powers of meta cognition and abstraction, we realize that the sutra is asking us to be aware of this abstract feeling of Grace that is obscured by the personal mind. To submit is to realize the Divinity of Grace within Universal Mind. Our other choices are to not be aware of its presence or to think of it as an object belonging only to the personal mind.

Sutra 1:2 Yogaschittavrittinirodhah  (Yoga..is the suppression..of the modification..of mind)

Yogas means mystical union and when referenced with Sutra 1:23 means mystical union with Universal Mind.
Norodhah means to suppress and chitta vritti is a thought process. We are instructed to suppress a thought process.

Sutra 1:3 Tada drashtuh svarupe vasthanam  (Then..there is an abiding..in the essential nature..of the Seer)

Tada means then, drashtuh svarupe means the seer within the true essence, vasthanam means to abide.

Referencing sutra 1:23 together with sutra 1:1 and 1:2 the Goal is:

If we desire to abide in mystical union with Universal Mind, we need to suppress thought processes that enhance individual mind's ability to obscure Universal Mind.

Explaining the Process

The Sutra's were written within the philosophy of Vedanta which can be summarized as follows:

Dualists: Those who believe that Universal Mind is the cause of individual mind but is separate. Individual mind is created out of nature which is eternal by Universal Mind that is outside of nature.

Qualified Non Dualists: Universal Mind is within nature being both the cause and the material of nature. Universal Mind is life eternal of which individual minds are a part.

Non dualists: There is only Universal Mind without parts or attributes, one life, one essence. Individual mind is a reflection of the light within the One True Essence.

Personal mind's suppression of thought processes that obscure awareness of Universal Mind is pertinent to all three Vedantic philosophical positions and can be found within the literature of all major world religions.

Norodah can mean suppress but it can also mean control or master. Unfortunately we will have to use a metaphor to explain this abstract idea in concrete terms. The problem with a metaphor is that it can take away the original meaning if viewed differently.

The entire audio electromagnetic frequency spectrum goes from 1Hz (100) through acoustic, radio, microwave, light, x-rays and gamma rays (1027).

For this metaphor we focus on just the radio wave spectrum as context. The contents within the radio wave spectrum are low, medium and high frequency waves, used for ship to shore and AM radio communication. Very high frequency waves, used for FM radio, television, and aircraft communication. Ultra high frequency waves, used for cellular phone and television communication. Super high frequency waves, used for satellites, military and police radar.

Using the above radio wave spectrum, we develop the metaphor to understand the word Norodah as used in the Sutra. We are not suppressing, controlling or mastering when we try to realize the radio frequency spectrum that makes low, medium, high, very high, ultra and super wave lengths a reality. Instead we are trying to realize the whole radio frequency spectrum as the substratum that makes those individual frequencies possible. Other examples are the space between words, the space between thoughts, the canvas of a painting or the screen a movie is played on. We are taking our attention away from the individual content and realizing the back ground context. It is more toward relaxing then suppressing, controlling or mastering.

Sutra 1:35 Visayavati va pravrttirutpanna manashah sthitinibandhini
                  (or..a higher perception..relating to objects..it emerges..causes..calm..of mind..too)

Sutra 1:3   Tada drashtuh svarupe vasthanam   
                  (Then..there is an abiding..in the essential nature..of the Seer)

Sutra 1:4    Vrttisaruupyyamitaratra 
                  (On other occasions..there is identity..the modifications..mind)

The most valuable gift we possess is our ability to be aware of our existence. This awareness is always present. Objects of perception, sensations, words, feelings, thoughts and imaginations emerge within our awareness and then subside. Our bodies as well as our beliefs and memories change as we age but the awareness that we had in childhood stays ever the same.

Whether in the past or in the future the awareness we have now is the same awareness that was or will be, days, weeks, months or years removed from the present moment.

Sutra 1:35 is a continuation from previous Sutras on how to achieve Peace of mind.

Pravrttih means higher awareness. Visayavati means relating to objects. Utpannal means it emerges. Nibandhini means causes. Sthiti means calm. Manasah means mind.

Sutra 1:4 itaratra means on other occasions sarupyam means there is identity vrtti means modifications of.


The Seer is awareness observing thoughts emerging within awareness and then subsiding. It is not that some thoughts are not important or do not matter: It is that they subside and then another thought emerges within the background or substratum of awareness. It is a relaxing of the individual frequencies and realizing the spectrum that carries the frequencies. This can be extended to beliefs, bodily sensations, objects of perceptions, feelings, words and imaginations. Instead of identifying with the ever-changing modifications of the mind we identify with the awareness that is always with us, never changing.


Explaining the Outcome

Sutra 1:35 is in a series of seven Sutras starting with 1:33 on how to achieve peace of mind. Peace of Mind is the outcome.

The experience of what we today call the Direct Path has can be traced back millenniums. In the twentieth century Ramana Maharshi had a spontaneous experience when a teenager that changed his life. He was embedded within a culture that had the words and philosophy for him to be able to describe and transmit the experience yet, knowing that the experience transcended his culture's words and philosophies. 

Today, during the twenty first century the experience is being communicated in more contemporary terminology transcending specific religious and cultural boundaries. For this website, Transpersonalpsych .com, it is paramount to realize that this is Grace. The love of Grace is not an object belonging to the personal mind but a gift that is given to all of which we can choose to participate in.

References

This presentation utilizes the Sanskrit Translation of Patanjali Yoga Sutras generously translated and provided to the world by www.sanskrit-trikashaivism .com.

Reinterpretation with commentary within the context of the presentation "Grace and the Direct Path" are by Transpersonalpsych .com and are provided as information from one point of reference, trusting in the readers Higher Self to guide.

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