Kripalu Yoga- Meditation- Samadhi

Shaktipata Kundalini Yoga

The path of Shaktipata Kundalini Yoga practiced through a synthesis of Jnana, Bhakti, Karma: Hatha & Raja Yoga, is based on sage Maharsi Patanjali’s Asthanga Yoga and adheres to the authentic Hindu/Vedic tradition of Sanatana Dharma, a way/system of life that survives forever/everlasting/eternal spiritual truth of human culture.

(The following extract/outline is from ‘Science of Meditation’ by Yogacarya Swami Kripalvanand)

Asthanga Yoga: Eight Limbed, eight-fold steps, eight embodiments of yoga)

  1. 1.Yama- Restraints for moral training, abstention from evil

  2. 2.Niyama- Moral observances including cleanliness

  3. 3.Asana- Yogic postures or poses, numberous

  4. 4.Pranayama- Control of breath or prana

  5. 5.Pratyahara- Withdrawal of the mind from sense objects

  6. 6.Dharana- Focusing or fixing the mind on a single object

  7. 7.Dhyana- Meditation, complete concentration of mind

  8. 8.Samadhi- State of super-consciousness and perfect bliss

First 5 steps/limbs/embodiments fall under Hatha Yoga and the last 3 steps/limbs/embodiments fall under Raja Yoga practiced before ‘Pranatthan’. After this, both Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga practice merges automatically on the path of Shaktipata Kundalini Yoga as established by Master Guru Kriplalu.

Two main aspcts of yoga: The means or techniques of yoga and the manifestations or attainment of yoga.

First five (5) embodiments of yoga are considered ‘external aspects’ of yoga and the last three (3) embodiments of yoga are considered ‘internal aspects’ of yoga.

  1. 1.Yamas (moral restraints):

  2. i) Ahimsa (non-violence), ii) Satya (truth), iii) Asteya (non-stealing), iv) Brahmacarya (celibacy), v) Aparigraha (non-possession), vi) Ksama (forgiveness and forebarance), vii) Dhrti (steadfastness), viii) Daya 9compassion), ix) Arjava (simplicity), x) Mitahara (temperance in eating), xi) Sauca (purification).

  3. 2.Niyamas (moral observances):

  4. i) Sauca (purification), ii) Santosa (contentment), iii) Svadhyaya (self-study), iv) Isvarpranidhana (to dedicate to God all that one does, in body, mind and speech), v) Tapa (penance, mortification or asterity), vi) Astikya (faith), vii) Dana (charity), viii) Isvarapujana (worship of God), ix) Siddantasravana (listening to the doctrines), x) Hri (shame), xi) Mati (will or intelligence, xii) Japa (ncantation).

  5. 3.Asana (Yogic Postures or Poses)

  6. Through regular practice of various ‘Asanas’ (postures), fat is destroyed and the body becomes thin, radiant and healthy. Finally, after all the ‘nadis’ (body passages) get purified, the seeker enters the stage of meditation where he becomes stable. The purification of the body has an impact on the mind, which also in its turn becomes pure.

  7. It says in the Yogadarsana: “By performing various asanas, the seeker is able to arouse the sleeping ‘kundalini sakti’ whose power does not allow the dualities like pleasure, pain, heat-cold, etc. to afflict him”.

  8. It is mentioned in the Gherandasamhita: “There are as many asanas as there are living creatures, small and big in the universe.”

  9. The seekers who already have ‘pranotthana’ (the release of prana or vital air) through the Grace of God or guru, have not to learn any one of the yoga techniques such as asana, mudra, pranayama, pratyahara, etc. These components come to them automatically at the right time in proper measure and in correct form.

  10. The detailed descriptions on the following topics is recommended to read, kundalini (spiritual serpentine power), susumna (median nerve passage), cakras (nerve centers and three granthis (tangle of nerves)- brammagranthi, vishnugranthi, rudragranthi.

  11. Bandhas (locks)

  12. Are physical exercises that ‘bind’ the prana’ energy in certain vital areas of the body. There are three locks: 1) Mool Bandh (the basal lock), 2) Uddiyan Bandh (the stomach lock), 3) Jaalandhar Bandh (the throat lock). Tribandh (the triple lock) is accomplished when all three locks are combined and applied simultaneously.

  13. Mudras are the developed forms of asanas. In the asanas, bodily organs have the primary place and ‘prana’ takes a subsidiary one. In ‘mudras’ it is quite the opposite, ‘prana’ has the primary place and the bodily organs have the subsidiary one. One mudra can be practices in serval asanas. This proves that asana is subsidiary and mudra with its subtle process of prana is primary. There are countless asanas and mudras, yet the ancient teachings have given predominence to only ten. They are: mulabandha, uddiyanabandha, janlandharabandha, mahamudra, mahavedha, mahabandha, viparitakarani, vajroli, sakticalana and khecari. These ten mudras are the immortal experiences of Kriya Yoga. A true yogi will certainly realize them through proper ‘yoga sadhana’.

  14. ‘The seeker who practices these mudras daily and regularly will not have any fear of old age, death, fire, water or wind.” As per Gherandasamhita, III, Verse 9.

  15. Satkarmas (six cleansing processes or acts of purification)

  16. Many teachers of yoga are of the opinion that the seeker who is congested with phlegm and fat must cary out these acts of purification (satkarmas). These cleaning processes also can occur as an action of ‘prana’ automatically in meditation. Thes six main ‘satkarmas’ and their functions are: 1) Dhanti- to rid the body of phlegm and fat, 2) Basti- for purgation of lower intestines, 3) Neti- to cleanse the nostrils and air passages, 4) Trataka- to strengthen the eyes, 5) Nauli- for abdominal purification, 6) Kapalabhati- for clearing the breathing passages.

  17. 4.Pranayama (control of breath or prana):

  18. When the soul departs from the body, breath aslo departs simultaneously. Soul and breath have a very deep friendship. Wherever yoga is being practiced ‘pranayama’ is also being practiced, directly or indirectly. Without the practice of ‘ pranayama’ the developme of man, the attainment of God, soul, happiness, peace, knowledge or joy is impossible. ‘Pranayama’ is the soul of ‘yoga’. It is ‘yoga’ itself.

  19. There are many kinds of ‘pranayama’ but because of the differences of individual natures they are not of equal use to everyone. One which is useful to all is the ‘anuloma viloma pranayama’ (alternate nostril breathing). It is the pranayama for purifiying the nadis there are eight other major pranayamas: 1) Surya Bhedana, 2) Ujjayi, 3) Sitkari, 4) Sitali, 5) Bhastricka, 6) Bhramari, 7) Murcha, 8) Plavini.

  20. The Vayus (vital air):

  21. The yoga scriptures mention five pranas:

  22. 1)‘Prana’ resides in the heart, the anahata cakra. It is yellow in color and itoperates the breathing mechanism

  23. 2)‘Apana’ stays in the sphere of the anus, the ‘muladhara’ and ‘svadhisthana’ cakras. It is red-orange in color and it operates the excretury and generative systems.

  24. 3)‘Samana’ is located in the naval, the ‘manipura cakra’. It is green in color and operates the digestive system.

  25. 4)‘Udana’ is situated in the throat, the ‘visuddha cakra’. Its color is blue-violet. It helps the digestive system and attends to the work of swallowing.

  26. 5)‘Vyana’ provides the whole body. Its center is in the ‘svadhisthana cakra’. It is pink in color and operates the system of blood circulation.

  27. There are also five ‘sub-pranas’: 1) Naga-opens and closes the wind pipe, 2) kurma- closes and opens the eyes, 3) krkkala- activates hunger and thirst, 4) Devadatta- induces yawning and seperates the body from its subtle form, 5) dhananjaya- breaks up or decomposes.

  28. 5.Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from sense objects) through pranic activity:

  29. There is the co-existence of five elements- the body, the senses, prana, the mind, and the soul. Out of these five, the body, the senses and the mind are on one side, while prana and the atman (soul) are on the other side. Thus prana is nearer to or has a closer link with atman.

  1. Witnessing the activities of prana generates introversion of mind and sense organs, which in turn is the entry to pratyahara. A seeker lifts the control of prana, which usually acts as a middle link between the mind and the sense organs. This, in fact, is the release of prana energy from the control of the mind (pranotthana). Once prana is given this freedom to conrol the sense organs, it gradually makes them introvert. Thus there is no other way to seek entry in the stage of pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from the senses) except through ‘pranotthana’ or the release of prana.

  1. There is no entry into meditation without pratyahara. The release of prana leads the seeker to pratyahara, the gateway to meditation or yoga. Once the seeker enters into the stage of pratyahara, the rest of the components of yoga (asana, pranayama, dharana, dhyana and samadhi) are unfolded automatically in due course. That is why pratyahara is considered to be the point of entry into meditation or yoga.

  1. The five types of pratyahara:

  2. The organs of action are five: tongue, hands, feet, genitals, and anus. First of all, one has to attain control over them by causing them to be withdrawn from all activity. In order to withdraw them from activity, one has to put them under the direct control of prana, instead of keeping them under the mind control. As the organs of action are withdrawn from activities, the mind also is withdrawn from the senses. This process of withdrawal of the mind from the senses is called he stage of pratyahara in yoga. Without mastering this stage of pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind), even the stages of dharana (focusing of the mind) and Dhyana (concentration of the mind) are also impossible to attain, let alone the state of samadhi.

  1. When prana, having become powerful, tries to establish its control over the organs of action and the sense organs, the process of pratyahara sets in automatically and the mind, having become introvert, begins to withdraw from the senses.

  2. There are five senses of perception: a. ears- hearing, b. skin- touch, c. eyes- sight, d. tongue- taste, e. nose-smell.

  3. An ordinary seeker should not practice this types of pratyahara willfully. They should occur spontaneously after progressing well in meditation.

  4. 6.Dharana (focusing or fixing the mind on a single object)

  5. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are the internal aspects of yoga, and these alone enable one to enter into the important spheres of yoga. However, only through the mastery of the technique of yoga is the mind fit for the attainment of yoga. The body is the medium for asana, pranayama, and pratyahara, while the mind is the medium for dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Only after the purification of the body does the purification of the mind really begins. In goraksa-padhati it is said, “A seeker should practice dharana only after mastering asana, pranayama, and pratyahara”.

  6. Concept of Dharana

  7. The yogadarsana, Patanjali describes dharana thus: “When the pure mind is kept focussed in the desired ‘desa’ (region) by the seeker, it is called dharana”.

  8. One must meditate in order to decrease the fluctuations of the mind, which result in ignorance, inability, and misery. Through meditation, one can attain knowledge, ability, and happiness. However, just as there cannot be a tree without a seed, so there cannot be meditation without dharana. In order to meditate one must first practice dharana.

  9. A seeker practices ‘dharana’ in order to focus many divergent thoughts towards a single region of contemplation. Out of the trio of meditator, meditation, and the object or the goal of meditation, the last one can be called the region of dharana. The seeker must focus his mind on such an object or goal.

  10. There are three regions of dharana: Adhibhautika (relating to matter), Adhyatmika (relating to spirit), and adhidaivika (relating to celestial objects- sun moon, etc.). The seeker may choose any one of these regions on which to focus his mind in the initial stages of ‘pranatthana’ (release of prana), prana moves very quikly. As a result, it is not able to remain stable in any cakra or nerve center for long. Real stability is attained only when one is firmly established in the stage of ‘pratyahara’, which itself assumes the form of ‘dharana’. Thereafter it becomes stabilized in any region which it chooses for purification. The mind is automatically attracted towards the region in which the prana is localized. Hence, ‘dharana’ begins to occur automatically in the center where the prana has become stable.

  11. ‘Dharana’ is considered to have been mastered when one’s mental focus remains steady for two hours. It is through ‘dharana’ that one conquers the mind and becomes fit to practice dhyana, or real meditation. Moreover, it is only through ‘dharana’ that the ‘cakras’ and the ‘granthis’ are penetrated and various ‘siddhis’ (miraculous powers) are attained.

  12. The detailed descriptions on the following topics is recommended to read: 1) initial stages of ‘dharana’ in various cakras, 2) various elemental ‘dharana’, 3) obstacles arising during initial states of ‘dharana’, 4) the menace of kundalini during ‘dharana’, 5) the obstacle of sensuality, 6) encountering diseases, 7) the obstacle of illusions, 8) viparyaya vrtti or illusory thoughts.

  13. 7.Dhyana (meditation, complete concentration of mind)

  14. Various Mental States in Meditation

  15. Broadly speaking there are four major states of the mind through which a seeker passes before reaching the final state of ‘nirvikalpa samadhi’, or the state of non-mind. These states are ‘tandra’ (drowsiness), ‘nidra’ (sleep), ‘murcha’ (swoon), and ‘samadhi (super consciousness).

  16. The detailed descriptions on the following topics is recommended to read: 1) Tandra, 2) Nidra, 3) difference between ordinary sleep and meditation, 4) murcha, 5) samadhi, 6) murcha mistaken for samadhi, 7) categories of murcha, 8) changing states of mind, 9) jada (static) samadhi, 10) breathing during nidra, murcha and samadhi.

  17. Super-Consciousness through the constraint of the mind

  18. Dharanais the seed, ‘dhyanais the tree andsamadhiis the fruit. These three are inseparable, constituting an integral whole. Sage Patanjali has termed this trio sainyama (constraint). Sainyama is the direct means in the practice of yoga, while the preceding five steps, including yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara are the indirect means. However, in comparison with the highest state ofnirbija samadhi’, even sainyama is considered to be an indirect means for mastering yoga.

  19. Having withdrawn the mind from the sense organs, the seeker, through sainyama has to focus his attention on an objet of contemplation and concentrate his mind on a presented idea so that nothing but that exists in his consciousness during the practice ofsainyama’, the seekers mind passes through various states before reaching the state ofdhyanaor perfect concentration, and finally attaining perfect knowledge throughsamadhior super-consciousness.

  20. The detailed descriptions on the following topics is recommended to read: 1) knowledge is dependent on mind, 2) mind and nature, 3) dhyana is the process of physical and mental purification, 4) the mind is the cuase of bondage and liberation, 5) techniques of body purification, 6) the riddle of action and inaction, 7) one knowing action and inaction knows yoga, 8) actions do not bind one who has mastered the ‘self’.

  21. 8.Samadhi- state of super-consciousness and perfect bliss

  22. The great sageGheranda says, there is no yoga without samadhi.In hatha yoga pradipika it is said, “As salt dissolves in water, so the mind dissolves into the soul and becomes one with it.” This unity of soul and mind is called samadhi yogi Yajnavalkya says, “The union of jivatman (soul) with paramatman (God) is known as samadhi. The state in which the jivatman establishes itself in the paramatman is the state of samadhi.”

  23. Sage Patanjali says, “That stage of meditation in which one realizes the goal, and forms dissolve from the mind, is the state of samadhi”.

  24. After intense practice, when meditation is no longer meditation, but becomes identified with or merged into the goal, this is called samadhi.

  25. Samadhi means union with God. The union of the one who has mastered samadhi is never disturbed. The states of waking, dreaming, or sleeping are, therefore, not hindrances. The seeker remains continuously conscious that he is ‘Atman’ and not the body. As a big hall is seen after breaking down, the walls standing between four rooms the ‘yogi’ experiences only ‘samadhi’ after the differences between the aforesaid states vanish. This is called sahajavastha (the natural state).

  26. As such, ‘samadhi’ is only one, but it has two stages: the first is called samprajnata savikalpa, shaja, or cetana samadhi, the other is asamprajnata, nirvikalpa, nirbija or acenina samadhi. The difference between these two stages is very clear. The mind exists in the first samadhi, but not in the second. The second stage can also be called atimansa (super-mind).

  27. The detailed descriptions on the following topics is recommended to read:

  28. 1.The first stages of samadhi: seperation of body and mind

  29. 2.The four sampattis (states of meditation)

  30. There are four stages of meditation through which a seeker has to pass before reaching sabija or samprajnata samadhi. These stages are called savitarka (deliberative), savicara (reflective), sananda (joyful), and sasmita (self-realized), samapattis (states of meditation).

  31. 3.Samapattis, qualities of nature, and the sense of non-attachment

  32. 4.Ups and downs in the mental state during samapatti

  33. 5.Pratyahara through the samapattis

  34. 6.The second stage of samadhi: desolation of mind

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