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 How Mind Works? For seekers of Raja Yoga
 
Date Sent: March 10, 2013

Many seekers (those doing efforts to attain the God) follow the path of Raja Yoga (meditative Yoga). While doing that very few realize value of Bhakti Yoga while following Raja Yoga.

I personally am a follower and advocate of Siddha Yoga (one form of meditative Yoga). But I rarely, suggest Siddha Yoga for others. In fact, I discourage people from following Siddha Yoga (not Raja Yoga though). Why? Simply for two reasons: 1) It is difficult to find the right Shaktipat Guru and 2) most important being an average individual (including me) do not have ability to identify a “Jivanmukta” (realized soul).

…and even if one finds a “Jivanmukta” as their Guru, the progress fully depends on individual seeker’s own Samskaras (Karma impressions from past several lives). If the Karma impressions have formed a solid blockage in the Nadi system of the seeker (72,000 subtle energy channels carrying Prana), then even the “Jivanmukta” cannot initiate immediate Kriyas (divine experiences) within the Sadhak.

For the seekers of Raja Yoga:

Always try to remember, Bhakti Yoga is the absolutely supreme Yoga. But, if your mind is still tilted towards the meditative Yoga Sadhana (spiritual practice) then understanding how the mind works is absolutely essential for spiritual progress. It is not required in Bhakti Yoga (but it helps).

It is the mind that keeps you away from God and it is the mind that will take you to the God!

If you are one of those seekers who try to do Dayana (meditation) must have realized by now - the Mind “Does not concentrate”. Many feel it is a toy that can be managed in few weeks, months or years, but realize later that they cannot concentrate even after efforts of several decades, if ever they last on the path long enough. Most of the seekers give up Raja Yoga after few weeks, months or years.

The monster called Mind

Please understand: Mind is NOT what you think it is. In fact most of the people do not think about mind, it is the mind that makes them think…all the times.

The reality is: Mind is an absolutely marvelous machine that controls you. It is the 800 pound Gorilla that dictates you every moment. You have absolutely no control over the mind. That is why we cannot attain the God!

Mind is nothing smaller than a monster. We, as individuals, DO NOT have ability to control or concentrate the mind. It is the mind that WILL controls us – ALWAYS. We are the slave of that mind. Mind is carrying “Samskaras” (Karma impressions) from past several lives. It takes several decades to wipe out those impressions (even if one is able to do it with meditative / spiritual efforts).

Am I trying to discourage people away from meditative Yoga? Not at all! But I do it about Siddha Yoga though Smiley Face What I am trying to say is: please try to understand the depth and breadth of the ocean you are trying to swim across. Once you have the understanding of that depth, the efforts become relatively easy and effortless. If not, it is a painful journey.

So, always try to take help of Bhakti Yoga even if you are a follower of Raja Yoga (meditative Yoga). One will progress much faster if Raja Yoga is combined with Bhakti Yoga.

Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of body, mind and soul. Everyone should follow one Yoga as their primary Yoga (based on their character). Then we must combine Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyan Yoga. This “Yoga Synthesis” will lead one to the God.

So, the bottom line is. If you are the follower of Raja Yoga, please try to understand the mind. The following message from Swami Sivananda will help you realize the depth of the mind - for few seconds until Maya captures the mind again Smiley Face

If you do not want to study the mind, then please follow the Bhakti Yoga because your efforts of concentrating the mind will never succeed until you have understood the marvelous machine called MIND! When you understand the functioning of this machine you will realize how small function together to generate thought waves in your mind lake. Understanding of this process will reduce anxiety about the concentration itself. This will help further concentrate the mind.

Here is how Swami Sivananda explains functioning of the mind

How mind Works?

“A VRITTI IS A 'WHIRLPOOL' IN THE MIND-LAKE

Vrtti literally means a whirlpool. It is a thought-wave in the lake of citta. Citta is the mind-stuff or mental substance. It takes various forms. These forms constitute Vrttis. It gets transformed or modified (parinama). These transformations and modifications are the thought-waves, whirlpools or Vrttis. If the citta thinks of a mango, the Vrtti of a mango is formed in the lake of citta. This will subside and another Vrtti will be formed when it thinks of milk (milk-Vrtti). Countless Vrttis are rising and subsiding in the ocean of citta. These Vrttis cause restlessness of mind. Why do Vrttis arise from citta? Because of samskaras (habits) and vasanas (desires). If you annihilate all desires, all Vrttis will subside by themselves. When a Vrtti subsides it leaves a definite impression in the subconscious mind. It is known as samskara or latent impression. The sum-total of all samskaras is known as karmasaya (receptacle of works). This is sancita karma (accumulated work). When a man leaves the physical body, he carries with him his astral body of seventeen tatvas and the karmasaya as well to the mental plane. This karmasaya is burnt by the highest knowledge obtained through Asamprajnata Samadhi.

Modification is a Vrtti in the mind. When the Vrtti subsides it assumes the subtle state of potency or samskara in the citta or subconscious mind. This potency again becomes a Vrtti under suitable conditions, when the mind comes in contact with sensual objects or through memory of objects from stimulus within. There are degrees in the Vrttis or modifications that arise from the mind. You can check or control the lower Vrtti with the help of higher Vrttis or transformations. For instance, anger is a lower Vrtti or a Vrtti of a lower degree. Ksama (forgiveness) is a Vrtti of a higher degree. With the help of ksama you can control the lower Vrtti, anger. You can become a yogarudha (one who is established in yoga) by controlling all the Vrttis of the mind. The yogi does not annihilate himself by controlling all the Vrttis or modifications of the mind. By suppressing the transformations of the mind he acquires great powers. He becomes an (adept or perfect being) siddha.

Although the mind is one, it passes into many conditions or states, as it is made up of three qualities (gunas) satva, rajas and tamas. All these qualities enter into a variety of combinations. The modifications or Vrttis of the mind are also various. Peace of mind is a satvic Vrtti. Lust is a rajasic Vrtti. Laziness is a tamasic Vrtti.

By destroying the Vrttis one by one, you gain more and more mental strength (manasic bala) and spiritual strength (atma bala). Do the practice and feel the strength yourself. The annihilation of even one Vrtti will give you strength to destroy the second Vrtti that is tormenting you. Patience, perseverance and persistent Sadhana are necessary. How difficult is it to get the M.A. degree? How much more difficult should it be, if you want to attain the state of immortality and absolute freedom? Just as you remove a small pebble that causes irritation to your feet, so also you should then and there remove every Vrtti that torments the mind. Unless and until you are able to do so, you have not gained any real mental strength or spiritual power. Just as you extract a tooth and then chuck it away, so also you should extract a disturbing Vrtti and cast it aside. Raja yoga teaches how to extract or root out the disturbing thoughts. You will have to pay a heavy price for mastering this yoga.

Ignorant people identify themselves with the body, mind and the Vrttis of the mind. The mind and the body are instruments only. The real man is behind the mind. If you become one with the mind, body and Vrtti, you get various sorts of miseries and sufferings. The whole universe is created by the Vrttis of the mind only. If these mental waves or thought-waves subside, you can attain the absolute state. Just as you can clearly see the bottom of a lake when the ripples and waves subside, so also you can cognize your real Self when the Vrttis that agitate your mind subside.”

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How Mind Works? For seekers of Raja Yoga Topics: Meditation, Dhyana

Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of body, mind and soul. Everyone should follow one Yoga as their primary Yoga (based on their character). Then we must combine Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyan Yoga. This “Yoga Synthesis” will lead one to the God.
    
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Kundalini Yoga is also known by the names: Siddha Yoga, Sahaj Yoga, Shaktipat Yoga, Maha Yoga, Shakti Yoga or Kriya Yoga