The purpose of yoga. Ashtanga Yoga Patanjali (part 3)
Knowing yourself, you can also learn to understand other people, see what prevents them from being truly happy. This work is even more energetically powerful and more subtle than pranayama, as it affects the causes of the formation of personality, human ego. Therefore, one can engage in pratyahara only under the guidance of an experienced teacher who specializes specifically in working with the human ego.
Traps on the way. Trap Three – 5th Step, Pratyahara
People who are professionally engaged in the problems of egoism are very necessary and very important in our society, especially now. Unfortunately, such people are VERY few, and egoism has become a universal disease of mankind. Everyone is affected by this disease – from rulers to beggars, from beginning practitioners, to adherents of any religions and spiritual trends. Envy, pride, false weakness, arrogance, greed, cunning – all these qualities are known to everyone, there are so many of them that you can’t list them all. The ego can be rude and arrogant, or it can be so subtle that at first you will not see it. The ego is what separates a person from inner integrity, this is the very split within the soul of a person that has affirmed that sense of a false “I” that separates us from the rest of the world and makes us lonely and miserable. It is the false ego that divides the world into friends and foes, mine and foe. Many adherents fell on this path. History knows many cases of the most disgusting manifestation of the spiritual ego – all these wars and murders “in the name of God and faith.” Therefore, if you meet a person who has outstanding, in your opinion, qualities but is at the same time selfish, do not flatter yourself that this is a guru. Through practice, many extraordinary abilities can be achieved, but they are worthless if a person does not possess truly human qualities.
The next step is concentration training. Concentration is a long retention of attention at one point. Where our attention is directed, human energy is directed there. In fact, all the toys of society are reduced to one thing – by all means and means to attract the attention of a person (advertising, TV, sex, pop and rock music, etc.) – all this disperses the energy of a person. But if you collect all the energy together and direct it to one thing, then this effect will be very powerful. Concentration allows you to learn how to collect all the energy released by previous practices and direct it to one thing. It is by mastering the concentration that a person begins to be like the Creator – because this ability allows you to CREATE, CREATE. To master the concentration, it is important to learn to consciously free your mind from thoughts and emotions, to make it completely pure. Matter is condensed energy. And thoughts and emotions are material, they only consist of finer matter than the objects we see. By disconnecting the perception of our senses from external objects, then purifying our consciousness from internal thoughts and emotions, a person generates tremendous energy. The direction of this energy to one thing is called meditation.
Concentration and meditation are an inextricable process. One does not exist without the other. There are two types of meditation – on the object and on God, the Highest principle, infinite and formless (Buddhists meditate on emptiness, calling such a shamatha meditation). Meditation on the object gives the meditator an understanding of the inner essence of this object. Meditation on the Highest Principle, on God, allows a person to experience the unity of his inner nature and the nature of God from his own experience. A person who has survived such an experience recalls his true nature, becomes integral, united with the whole world, with the space around. It is this experience that is called Samadhi in the Indian tradition, and shamatha in the Buddhist tradition.
Traps on the Way. The fourth trap – 6 and 7 steps, concentration and meditation.
On these higher stages of yoga, traps also exist. A person can go astray for the reasons listed above – not observing the divine rules of the pit and niyama and selfishness. Where a person directs his attention, that is what he becomes. When you watch an interesting film, you are so immersed in the plot that you forget about yourself, about where you are, you completely merge with the experiences of the heroes of the film. When you fall in love, you feel the object of your love at any distance. The practice of purifying consciousness and directing it to a Higher, Divine principle is based on the same principle – a complete shift of attention to God. If a person who practices spiritual practices is selfish, then all the colossal energy he has accumulated is spent on bad thoughts and actions. And thoughts, as we all already know, are material and can be realized. Bad actions and actions create a lot of problems for a person, bad karma, as the yogis say. That is why the practice of yoga was previously practiced only in monasteries and only in the presence of a teacher.
It can also be called a safety technique, because a person, until he is enlightened, does not see his own egoism and needs treatment from his own negative qualities. He is like an unconscious child who plays with fire, which can burn him if he is mismanaged.
I described in an accessible and understandable language all the stages of yoga, so that you can understand that yoga is a serious system, worked out for centuries, which works with the thinnest tool – with human consciousness. If you decide to practice yoga, you must understand what you have to face. You may need to rethink your whole life and completely change yourself. The practice of yoga has gone from monasteries to society – the time has come when it became necessary for us here in the cities. People get sick and this disease is called egoism. People themselves do not even suspect about their illness, but the corrupted and perverted egoism of man has reached its climax. This universal human disease destroys our planet, destroys nature, destroys life itself. Humanity is committing a slow suicide. And only a global change in people’s consciousness can help us survive.