Osudrania's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Patanjali Yoga Sutra’

Is Yoga Science or Religion Part X B?

Posted by George on March 26, 2012

Antaranga – Practical Considerations

Dr. O. P. Sudrania

This part has been split into two sections for the ease of the readers:

(1) Section A – Some practical true interesting spiritual accounts

(2) Section B – Some practical tips for beginners to start Meditation



The Secret to Peace of mind is to not identify with anything other than your True Self. -Robert Adams


“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for insects as well as for the stars. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
                                                                                   Albert Einstein

  “Be thankful to the Lord that He gave you Time, as well as action to fill it with. He gave you food, as well as hunger to relish it. But that does not entitle you to engage in action indiscriminately. When you build a house, you install a door in front. What is its purpose? To admit all whom you welcome and to keep out all and sundry, and not let them in as and when they like. So too, select the impulses, the motives, the incentives that enter your mind; keep out the demeaning, the debasing, and the deleterious. Admit the highest wisdom of the scriptures, the ‘wisdom culled out of the crucible of experience’ (anubhava jnaanam). You have meditated too long on riches, status, salary, children, relatives, fame and the standard of living. They are all of momentary value. Fix your focus and urge on God, the Eternal, the Real, the Pure and the Immovable.” – Divine Discourse, Jan 1, 1964.

Mind control is more heroic and beneficial than any other system of control. – Sri Satya Sai Baba


(1) Section A – Some practical true interesting spiritual accounts:

The Picture explained    

The accompanying picture simple and meaningless as it may apparently appear, has profound stories to tell us. Looking at it carefully, one notices that as we look at it, its entrance shows a dark phase. The floor and walls are studded with incongruously inlaid uneven brick work. As we approach the exit end, we see a brightly lit end and everything, i.e. the darkness and all material objects have vanished. There is nothing but a glow of bright light as we get deeper in.

It reminds me here of the well known Vedic verse:


asato maa sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya

Lead me from the asat to the sat.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality.

(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28)

This is true prayer—the seeker’s admission of his sense of limitedness and his heartfelt cry for assistance in transcendence. It is not a prayer for the things of the world. It is not a pray for food, shelter, health, partnership, riches, success, fame, glory or even for heaven. One who recites these three mantras has realized that such things are full of holes, soaked in pain and, even in abundance, will forever leave him wanting. It is in this full understanding that one turns to this prayer. The essence of each of these three mantras is the same: “O, Guru, help me free myself from my sundry misunderstandings regarding myself, the universe and God and bless me with true knowledge.”

It is in this spirit that people throughout the world are regularly chanting these mantras.

The first mantra—asato ma sadgamaya—means, “Lead me from the asat to the sat.” In fact, it is best to not translate sat (nor its negative counterpart asat) for, as with many Sanskrit words, sat has many meanings and not only are most of them applicable here, their deliberate combined import provides a depth that no one of them could hold independently. These equivalent applicable meanings include: existence, reality and truth. (Equivalent applicable meanings for asat being: non-existence, non-reality and untruth.)

We often speak of religion or philosophy as a search for Truth. But only in India’s philosophy of Advaita Vedanta has the concept of “truth” been so meticulously and successfully dissected. According to Advaita, for something to be considered true in the ultimate sense, it must be true not just at one given moment, but always be true—true in all three periods of time: the past, present and future. In fact, Advaita goes one step further. It says if something does not exist in all three periods of time that it does not truly exist, it is not ultimately real. Thus, truth, existence and reality are one and the same. That reality, Vedanta says, is what we call God.

The universe and its things are in a constant state of change. The planets are in constant motion, their positions in relation to each other and the other astral bodies are in continuous flux. The seasons similarly are ever-shifting. Scientifically, we can easily understand that our bodies (and the cells within them) come into existence, are born and then go through periods of growth, sustenance, deterioration, decay and death. In fact these modifications are part-and-parcel of everything in creation. On the level of emotions, we move back and forth between happiness, sorrow and anger. Even our intellectual convictions rarely stay fixed for very long. So, according to Vedanta, we cannot call this world ultimately real. Ultimately, it does not exist. It seems real etc. but it is not. Such a thing is called asat.

The seeker giving voice to this prayer has come to understand the finite nature of all the objects of the world, and he wants the Guru to guide him from the asat to the sat. He is fed up with depending on things that are not real. Why? Because just as the sandcastle is always washed away by the tide, dependence on the asat always ends in pain. Sat is our True Self—the blissful consciousness that ever was, is and ever will be. Being beyond time, this consciousness can never be washed away by the time’s tides. In fact, sat is there as the essential part of all of the asat objects. It is a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were. This calls for our true knowledge of the fact “I Am That” and is the ultimate answer to “Who Am I”? I made it a central theme from the beginning for its very fundamental importance.

When speaking about the ultimate reality, Sages say it is of the nature of sat-chit-ananda: pure existence, pure consciousness and pure bliss.

The second mantra—tamaso ma jyotirgamaya—means “Lead me from darkness to light.” When the Vedas refer to darkness and light, they mean ignorance and knowledge, respectfully. This is so because ignorance, like darkness, obscures true understanding. And in the same way that the only remedy for darkness is light, like the only remedy for ignorance is knowledge. The knowledge spoken of here is again the knowledge of one’s true nature i.e. knowing your own self.

Currently, in the darkness of our ignorance, we believe ourselves to be bound and limited (otherwise we would not be reciting these mantras in the first place). But the Guru and the scriptures are telling us that, in truth, we are not, never will be and never have been bound. Eternally we are sat-chit-ananda. The only thing that can remove our ignorance regarding our true nature is a spiritual education at the hands of a True Master like Amma or any such evolved Master who has experienced the “True Self”. At the culmination of such an education, light floods the room, as it were; darkness vanishes.

The final mantra—mrtyorma amrtam gamaya—means: “Lead me from death to immortality.” This should not be taken as a prayer to live endless years in heaven or on earth. It is a prayer to the Guru for assistance in realizing the truth that “I was never born, nor can ever die, as I am not the body, mind and intellect, but the eternal, blissful consciousness that serves as the substratum of all creation.”

It is important to remember that, with all these mantras, the leading is not a physical leading. The Atma is not something far away that we have to make a pilgrimage to, nor is it something we need to transform ourselves into. Atma means “Self.” We don’t need to transform our self into our self. Nor do we need to travel to it. We are it. The journey is a journey of knowledge. It is journey from what we misunderstand to be our self to what truly is our self. What the mantras really means is “Lead me to the understanding that I am not the limited body, mind and intellect, but am, was and always will be that eternal, absolute, blissful consciousness that serves as their substratum.”

Once, when discussing these mantras, Amma said the first step in attaining the knowledge for which one is praying when they chant these mantras is satsang: listening to spiritual talks, reading spiritual books and being in the company of spiritual seekers and, of most importantly, spiritual masters. “We need to continuously be fed the knowledge that our true nature is the Atma and not the body mind and intellect,” Amma said. Through satsang, our attachment to the asat gradually lessens. “Slowly as you understand that everything in the world—all worldly relationship, all worldly things—are ever-changing an impermanent, evanescent, your attitude towards the world changes. We gain detachment.” As we become more and more detached, our desires also naturally decrease, because we know that the things of the world are impermanent, fleeting and cannot bring us lasting happiness. As the desires decrease, the mind becomes less and less agitated. It obtains serenity, stillness, peace. Then, with this stilled, subtle, penetrating mind we can finally come to realize our true nature. This is the main purport of the last three limbs of the “Ashtanga Yoga – Antarangas” through Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.


In Vedanta, heaven—or rather heavens—are accepted as part of the lower reality. Unlike in other religions, going to heaven is not professed to be the ultimate goal of life i.e. ‘Soul’. According to Vedanta, heaven can be likened to a vacation resort. After death, if one has done enough good deeds in life, one can go to heaven for a very long time. But eventually he will have to return to the earthly plane. Thus even though one may be in heaven, he is still bound and mired in ignorance to his true nature.

As it says in the Bhagavad-Gita: 8:16

abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate

Synonyms (word by word)

abrahma–up to the Brahmaloka planet; bhuvanat–from the planetary systems; lokah–planets; punah–again; avartinah–returning; arjuna–O Arjuna; mam–unto Me; upetya–arriving; tu–but; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; punah janma–rebirth; na–never; vidyate–takes to.


From Brahma Loka (the highest abode) to the lowest world, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place O Arjuna. But one who comes to me (My abode), O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.

Hindu philosophy relates every aspects of life to Divinity and Soul Realisation. The human goal according Vedanta is Self-realization. The Atma is the ultimate reality. When one realizes his true nature, he attains spiritual fulfillment in this life itself. Then, upon death, he does not go to any heavenly abode but simply merges into the supreme reality.



It will be fascinating to divert into some very real interesting stories of people having near death experiences (NDEs) and seeing the same great lights and encounter highly inexplicable experiences that are inconceivable. Let us peruse the following two very captivating true accounts of NDEs.


Walking in the Garden of a Loving God

Christian Andréason’s near-death experience


An excerpt from his NDEs:

“…Then, toward the end of my experience, I stood in the wonderful presence of a great Being of brightness and knew with my whole heart that I was in the midst of my Creator, who is a being of unconditional Love and infinite Light. Many of you will not yet remember, but you too have stood in the very presence of God! I saw that before each of us are sent forth into our various missions; we are brought into a vast Cathedral of Light known as, “the Throne Room of God.” In this room resides the very essence of all Creation, the Being those of us who are Jewish or Christian know and call Father God. This Being is the author of all that exists and he is tremendously pleased with all that has come forth from his Light. Because our Souls are covered by what is known as a “veil of forgetfulness,” we are made to seek God out in ways that hopefully has us seeking him in each other. Each of us carries the Light of the Creator within us and it is through this experience we call “life in a flesh” that helps us to better understand the Creator and develop the inner Light he placed within us by practicing Love….”

For more details, peruse:



Mellen-Thomas Benedict’s

Near-Death Experience

Some excerpts as this NDE is rather revealing:


The Light of God

I remember waking up one morning at home about 4:30 am, and I just knew that this was it. This was the day I was going to die. So I called a few friends and said goodbye. I woke up my hospice caretaker and told her. I had a private agreement with her that she would leave my dead body alone for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember is the beginning of a typical near-death experience. Suddenly I was fully aware and I was standing up, but my body was in the bed. There was this darkness around me.  Being out of my body was even more vivid than ordinary experience. It was so vivid that I could see every room in the house, I could see the top of the house, I could see around the house, I could see under the house.

There was this light shining. I turned toward the light. The light was very similar to what many other people have described in their near-death experiences. It was so magnificent. It is tangible; you can feel it. It is alluring; you want to go to it like you would want to go to your ideal mother’s or father’s arms. 

As I began to move toward the light, I knew intuitively that if I went to the light, I would be dead. 

So as I was moving toward the light I said, “Please wait a minute, just hold on a second here. I want to think about this; I would like to talk to you before I go.” 

To my surprise, the entire experience halted at that point. You are indeed in control of your near-death experience. You are not on a roller coaster ride.  So my request was honored and I had some conversations with the light. The light kept changing into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, mandalas, archetypal images and signs. 

Link for mandalas: http://www.mellen-thomas.com/darshom.htm


It continues on…


The Light of Love

ImageAs I rode the stream on and on, I could eventually see a huge light coming. I knew it was the first light; the Higher Self light matrix of our solar system. Then the entire solar system appeared in the light, accompanied by one of those velvet booms.

I saw that the solar system we live in is our larger, local body. This is our local body and we are much bigger than we imagine. I saw that the solar system is our body. I am a part of this, and the Earth is this great created being that we are, and we are the part of it that knows that it is…

I could see all the energy that this solar system generates, and it is an incredible light show! I could hear the music of the spheres. Our solar system, as do all celestial bodies, generates a unique matrix of light, sound and vibratory energies. Advanced civilizations from other star systems can spot life as we know it in the universe by the vibratory or energy matrix imprint. It is child’s play. The Earth’s wonder child (human beings) makes an abundance of sound right now, like children playing in the backyard of the universe.

I rode the stream directly into the center of the light. I felt embraced by the light as it took me in with its breath again, followed by another soft sonic boom. 

I was in this great light of love with the stream of life flowing through me. I have to say again, it is the most loving, non-judgmental light. It is the ideal parent for this wonder child.


The light explained to me that there is no death; we are immortal beings. We have already been alive forever! I realized that we are part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly. I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen.

I don’t know how long I was with the light, in human time. But there came a moment when I realized that all my questions had been answered and my return was near. When I say that all my questions were answered on the other side, I mean to say just that. All my questions have been answered. Every human has a different life and set of questions to explore. …. We are literally God exploring God’s Self in an infinite Dance of Life. Your uniqueness enhances all of life.

It continues further and peruse for more information:



Thus the profound underlying relevant meaning of the picture is very evident and revealing. We all are that part of the realm that the “Great Light” consists of and we are all contained in.

Ultimately through the process of “Meditation”, the whole aim of attainment is this “Great Light” that we all constitute a part and parcel of. Once one attains that ever effulging “Bright Light” and become the light itself, nothing else remains to be. That is the end of the “Meditation” for everyone.


Mellen-Thomas Benedict’s NDEs are highly fascinating. He mentions,” Advanced civilizations from other star systems can spot life as we know it in the universe by the vibratory or energy matrix imprint. It is child’s play.” This in fact may also explain the mystery of “UFOs” also where these kind of some souls keep wandering to oversee our existence and then return. It is just possible that these super souls come quietly to keep an eye on us.


As per Hindu Mythology, each one of us are always watched and guarded by these “Great Souls” which works upon us as per our “Karmas”. Then these same Souls hover over especially at the late night times till dawn and keep an eye on everything on the planet. They do it in their invisible Soul status. They can see everything but no one can see them. They live in especially dangerous places to guard us, if one falls in a perilous situation. I can very well testify it as I have great personal experiences of them.


Swami Rama (SR) and his Grandmaster

Swami Rama’s grandmaster lived in Tibet and he wanted to meet him as advised by hiss master to learn some especial higher spiritual techniques from him. SR came to Darjeeling and wanted to cross over into Lhasa via Kalimpong. But the British political officer wouldn’t trust him to do so thinking him a spy of Indian National Congress and confined him in house arrest for over two months when SR ultimately escaped by duping the drunken night guard and left for Lhasa and reached his grandmaster. After staying for a few months, one day after SR’s work was finished; his grandmaster wanted him to go back to India. Quote, “…Then he (grandmaster) said, “My blessings are with you. Now I want you to go to Lhasa and from there you should return to India.”

I (SR) said, “It is not possible for me to return to India. I will be arrested.”

He replied, “India will soon have independence. If you delay, the heavy snow and glaciers will prevent you from returning to India this year.” Unquote.

It was sometime in June 1947 that SR left for Lhasa and when SR reached India, the Britishers had already left three days before his arrival.

This makes one wonder, “How come this old grandmaster could predict the events about which he is not supposed to have any idea or access to such events. Those were days when the means of communications were very meagre to know them. This shows that these evolved Masters can forecast events long before they even happen. This makes them knower of the even future events of everything. For such realised masters, anything is possible.


With this prologue, now getting back to the practical aspects of the practice of Antarangas (Sanyama), it is important that one has diligently followed and practiced (not just read and memorised) the Bahirangas as sincerely as possible. Without doing so, it may be futile to expect any kind of worthwhile result.


(2) Section B – Some practical tips for beginners to start Meditation:


Preparing for samyama or Sanyama (Self Control)-Antaranga:

Meditation posture, regulation of prana, and withdrawal of the senses collectively set the stage for the higher practices of concentration (3.1), contemplation (3.2), and meditation or samadhi (3.3), i.e. Antaranga which are together also called samyama (3.4). Samyama is the finer tool of the inner journey, and is the reason for doing the first five rungs based upon the aim of the sadhak or disciple.

“The willingness or unwillingness to withdraw attention (Pratyahara) from sensory experiences is a significant dividing line between those who want to experience true meditation and those who experience only physical relaxation” by mere practice of Asanas only. This is important as it marks a watershed between the real goals of Yoga practice. The choice is on individual concerned.


The whole world has the same breath, (Prana), and if we all breathed in our Rhythm, and didn’t disturb other’s breath, there would be Peace and Ahimsa. Things done in Silence generate Love, and whatever you pray for will happen, and one will know things that one didn’t learn, as long as you see all as One! Just take a ‘Step Within’!

Starting the meditation session:

Senses at meditation time:

At meditation time, you naturally work with the ten senses in a systematic way. Before meditation it is best to empty the bladder and the bowels, and to set aside the expression through the organs of reproduction. If one has excitatory sexual system, I recommend them strongly to practice Moola Bandh regularly at home or even in the starting of the meditation session. I give a brief account here for my needy practitioners as a ready reckoner.

Moola Bandha deals with the rectum, anus, and control lock by breath control either in exhalation or inhalation, with retention of breath i.e. after you exhale you retain or after you inhale you retain. Moola Bandha can be practiced in both options, but in Sukshma Vyayama, it is practiced only in the inhalation option, i.e. you inhale and pull up your rectum and anus after pulling up the buttocks, thighs and legs. In traditional Hatha Yoga, however, the same Moola Bandha is performed in Padmasana or any other suitable asanas both in the inhalation retention mode or exhalation retention mode.



To keep these senses in order, Asanas and Pranayama alongwith Yamas and Niyamas are sincerely and diligently practiced to tune up the ‘Body’ for the preparation of Antarangas. This is important because any disturbances of stomach or other systems will interfere in the undisturbed uninterrupted continuous practice of meditation. A small build up of gas in tummy or a bladder full of urine etc will disturb and prevent the hard earned Dhyana (contemplation) to tumble into much desired Sadhana (meditation). Hence it is important that the karmendriyas are taken care of before starting the Meditation session. It also requires a good regular vegetarian deit preferably, with supplementation of non-vegetarian items, if need be, can be taken in moderation to keep the body and stomach in fit condition.

Similarly one should neither be completely on empty stomach nor had a full heavy meal. But it is important that one should have had a light meal that will sustain for a couple of hours and be fairly light and easily digestible that will not create gas formation or any other problem. This is very important and I stress on it strongly.

To sit for meditation:

Mat: One must have a proper mat made of a non-conductor material e.g. deer skin, a woolen piece, or a mat made of dried grass etc. It should be preferably covered with a suitable piece of cotton cover to make it comfortable. The size of mat should be large enough that one can comfortably sit on it leaving six inches of rim all around vacant. It will shield one effectively from touching the ground so that the energy gained during the process of meditation is not conducted into earth and dissipated, making the entire process worthless.

Time and place: Then one must select a proper time and it is important that once it is done, it must be adhered to.

Next comes the selection of place. It should be fairly ventilated to allow for some fresh air and must not be changed as far as possible. One should sit facing either north or east. Once the time and place selected, must be kept constant as the divine cosmic energy flow has a direct bearing to it. It is a question of law of natural selection and habituation. The great cosmic energy once it gets used to your routine, it tries to maintain it for you. Hence regulation in its routine is very important.

Sitting: This should be undertaken depending upon the physical condition of the disciple. Preferably, comfortably sitting on the floor in any Asana that is suits to individual concerned should be adopted. Many people suggest Padmasana or Sukhasana etc but it is not necessary. One can devise an asana by modifying the existing asanas to suit his/her condition. Once selected, it is essential to keep it as permanent posture. Secondly once selected, it is important to keep the two hands on the knees with palms facing upwards. The index finger and thumb touching their tips to each other irrespective of the sitting pose adopted.. The thumb represents the super soul while the index finger represents the individual soul. Thus by touching the tips of the two during the meditation, one is trying to unite one’s soul to the super soul. 

 One must bear in mind that s/he will have to maintain that posture for a long period at last. Initially one may start with shorter sessions to tune up the body e.g. even for a few minutes like two to five minutes. There is nothing wrong in doing so. Gradually increase by smaller pulses to longer periods. The longer you sustain, the better results can be expected. In one session, maximum of one to one and half hours is enough; or good enough. Never be over zealous to unduly strain your body. If it starts causing pain, stop it immediately and may restart after a pause. It will cause more harm and you will ultimately even give up the whole practice out of frustration. Nothing could be worse than this. Remember, “Slow and steady wins the race”.

Once you have attained expertise in it and have developed a taste and interest in it, even longer hours of Meditation can be continued. The great masters keeep in it whole day immersed in it and enjoy the ecstasy and beauty of it. 

Someone selects a chair to sit if her knees or back etc are bad, then use a chair with a hard seat preferably or with a very this cushioned seat. It will be helpful in adopting and maintaining the erect sitting posture. It is good for your spine also. Ensure that your feet rests firmly on the floor which again must be covered with the type of mat suggested earlier.

Posture: If one has bad knees and sits in a chair with feet firmly on the ground in a steady position, the actual sitting must be on the buttocks with spine in erect position and head in a state with chin in horizontal condition and gaze fixed forward. Breath should be normal and comfortable. Keeping the spine erect with head in horizontal position is important. It is said that the Divine Cosmic Energy lies at the root of the spine. During the process of Meditation, it ascends up to reach the vertex. It ascends through or along the spine. Being an energy source, it tends to ascend up in straight line. Hence if the spine is kept erect, it creates two important conditions. One that it facilitates the easy ascension of the primordial energy and if the spine is erect, there will be no damage to spine in the process.

Concentration to Meditation: This is the seed and root of the entire exercise. Once you have taken the position as above and start concentration, sit for some time and let the mind run on. The mind is bubbling up all the time. It is like the monkey jumping about. Let the monkey jump as much as it can; you simply wait and watch. Knowledge is power, says the proverb, and that is true. Until you know what the mind is doing you cannot control it. Give it a half free rein; many hideous thoughts may come into it; you will be astonished that it was possible for you to dwell on such thoughts. But you will find that each day the mind’s vagaries are becoming less and less violent, that each day it is becoming calmer. In the first few months you will find that the mind will have a great many thoughts, later you will find that they have somewhat decreased, and in a few more months they will be fewer and fewer, until at last the mind will be under perfect control; but we must patiently practice every day.

During this process one must be careful that while the mind wanders away like a wild animal and after a few moments of free passage, one should try to bring or drag it back to the object of concentration. It will again try to run away. Let it but keeping in mind that after a few minutes or seconds, try to bring it back to the object of meditation. This way, gradually over the period, as the mind is domesticated, its wanton wanderings automatically become less and less. It will be noticed that the concentration period increases as one enjoys the objective side of concentration; which ultimately progresses to Samadhi or Meditation. The interesting thing is that one would hardly ever know the progress of the whole practice from concentration to Samadhi. It is so spontaneous. Hence one should continue the process endlessly until one merges with the Divine light and the light becomes you and you become the light. When it happens, you will be a completely changed person. It is difficult to describe it in words but the experience itself is all. Others may notice that you as an enlightened soul is different person who is least interested in the worldly or material things. You are just “You”.

It appears a simple task while one reads this account but it is not difficult either. It certainly requires incessant continuous practice without break as far as possible. It is just practice; no amount of theory is needed. In fact, too much of theory can make one argumentative, dangerous and harmful. Just practice, practice and practice; keeping in mind the basic requirements as detailed above. Nothing will replace the practice. The experience one gains is indescribable and inexplicable. It will make one completely calm and live in the glory of the “Supreme”, call by any names you like. It must be remembered that the experience is something very personal and cannot be shared by dividing. It may be equally hard to put it in words as well.


This concludes the series on Yoga based on the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This last section should interest all those who are seriously interested in the Meditation and Self Realisation. I have enjoyed researching, collating and presenting before you all in all my sincerity. I hope my readers will and have enjoyed them just as I did. God bless.

(Dr. O. P. Sudrania is a senior retired teacher in surgery and a medico-legal counsellor; now also engaged in research of spiritual and socio-political analytical science as a part of service to humanity.)


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »