Vipassana Research Institute

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Vipassana Research Institute
Yoga--as seen in the light of Vipassana by S. N. Goenka
Vipassana Research Institute

  

April 30, 1990: Kaivalyadham Yoga Academy, Bombay.

   

It is really a matter of great fortune for India that a saint like that of Kaivalyanand was born here 54 years ago and has sown a seed of a plant which has now been developed like a big banyan tree, beneath which not only people of India, but also from abroad, are taking shelter for their welfare. I have been undertaking tours to different countries for the last ten to twelve years for teaching Vipassana and have come into contact with thousands of persons who are practicing yoga. I came into contact with such persons also who were preaching yoga. People from every sect, caste, and colour are related with it. After all, a true religion is always universal. How can it be confined to one particular caste or creed or sect or to a particular colour of a person? Unless it belongs to all alike it can't be termed as true religion.

   

It provides immense pleasure to me to see that India does have something, that is its spirituality to distribute among the people of the world. This very wealth of India cannot be evaluated in any terms of money. Besides this, India has got nothing to offer to this world as it's age-old slavery has left it so poor in all other aspects that it has to beg for several material things from other countries. Materially, India has got nothing to offer to other countries except this costliest wealth of spiritualism. We can raise our head with pride for such a valuable gift to the whole world.

 

Saint Kaivalyananda imagined some half a century ago that the ancient spiritualism of India may again gain the heights it had in the good old golden days of the country. Not only people of India but of the whole world may get benefit out of it. It is a universal knowledge not pertaining to any particular sect. It does not require your initiation into a particular sect. People may remain attached to their own sect even then they take advantage of it. It was really an idea of human welfare as a whole that arose in the mind of Saint Kaivalyananda. I became very happy to see people having so much devotion and attachment towards yoga on one hand and on the other I had a sense of remorse also to think as to how people could not understand yoga as referred to by dear Krishna. Did Swami Kaivalyanand envisage yoga as a set of certain asanas or pranayama to remove diseases or a particular disease? If it was as such it did not refer to that valuable spiritual knowledge of India.

 

It meant something very common very ordinary. It is just a way of curing diseases or a medicine for a disease. There are certain diseases, which, if not cured through a medicine can be tried with some asanas or pranayama for their treatment. It has become just a therapy. It has got no concern with spiritualism. It is not even distantly related with that. If we feel pride on these therapeutic exercises and term it as spiritualism, it is a psycophancy. We should come out of this falsehood. It is happening alike with Vipassana also which is otherwise a par-excellence spiritual technique for human emancipation and has been so distorted that now it is used as acupuncture and acupressure technique in several countries. These therapies are the distorted versions of Vipassana itself. What a gross misuse of such a highly spiritual technique that it is used for curing diseases by exerting some pressure on a particular point or puncturing another point of body. It is a great devaluation of the importance of Vipassana. I personally feel that the same has happened with yoga also. We will have to take it out from its primary stages i.e. its more spiritual aspects are to be highlighted and it should not be allowed merely to remain as a system of health improvement or a therapy that preaches about asanas and pranayamas only.

   

Does Yoga have nothing more to provide to the mankind? It becomes more pathetic to note that all this is done in the name of a great sage like that of Patanjali. How the status of a great sage has been reduced to such an extent? It would have been accepted if it was done on the basis of Hathayogapradipika or Gherandasamhita. In that case these two books would have remained in prominence for the therapeutic aspect of yoga. But doing it in the name of Patanjali is quite objectionable as he has given a very meagre importance to asana and pranayama in his treatise named as Patanjali Yoga Sutra. One will hardly find not even five sentences on asanas and pranayamas in the whole treatise. The rest of about 200 sutras have been forgotten. No importance is being ascribed to these sutras.

   

Patanjali has defined asana just by one phrase i.e. the posture in which one can sit for a long time, steadily and with ease. Only this very statement of Patanjali about asana has been elaborated up to 84 types of tiresome postures and all of them are now preached in his name. Poor Patanjali has been reduced to the status of circus trainer and he, who preaches to become aware of the inhalation and exhalation of natural breath, the intermittent stage between the two its elongation and its contraction, has been wrongly associated with the attempted and rigorous breathing exercise of pranayama. Breathing exercise too is not bad. It has got its own advantages but the same should not be ascribed to the name of Patanjali. Likewise different yogic postures too have got very good healthy impact over our body, but the same should also not be said as prescribed by Patanjali in his famous treatise. A sage who bestowed our country with a highly spiritual knowledge of yoga should in no way be allowed to be depicted as a kindergarten P.T. teacher who teaches asana or pranayama.

   

Thus we have lost our ancient treasure contained in Patanjali Yoga Sutra by treating it as a mere compendium of asanas and pranayama. What else one will understand about Patanjali Yoga Sutra if we do are describing about it as a book on asana and pranayama. Unfortunately, Patanjali Yoga Sutra fell into the hands of such commentators who were ignorant about the real technique of yoga contained in it and they rendered arbitrary interpretations in the name of commentary. One may go on making tremendous efforts to interpret Patanjali Yoga Sutra but cannot become successful in reality unless he practices Vipassana.

 

The practice of Vipassana will reveal the real meaning of each and every word of Patanjali Yoga Sutra to the practitioner. This is the only way to understand Patanjali. Yogasutra is not a subject of mental entertainment or sermons or debate or means to establish a particular philosophical doctrine. It is a way of personal experience and to realize the truth. It is a way to attain immaculate wisdom i.e. "rt". We have now forgotten as to what does "rt" mean. We have lost the basic concept of religion. Rt means universal truth or omnipresent reality. If someone speaks the truth it is not universal. It is relative and individual truth expressed through one's speech. It has got no relationship with rt. Rt is an eternal reality always in existence without any limitations of time and space. It is law of nature that always exists. It has got no relationship with a Hindu or Jain or Buddhist or Christian religion etc. a law of nature which was prevailing say some 50 million years ago and even now do exist undeterred and shall exist after 50 million years too alike.

 

For example fire is an element and to burn is its intrinsic nature. This is a natural law. It is in application since antiquity and will remain applicable in posterity too so long as the fire is in existence. Such a reality was termed as Dharma or Rt or religion in ancient India. Religion can never be Hindu or Jain or Buddhist or Christian etc. These all are different sects or groups or societies. One may adopt a particular dress or a way of life or celebrate a particular festival. One may call oneself a Hindu or a Sikh or a Jain or Christian or Muslim. It hardly matters so far as true religion is concerned. One may prescribe oneself a particular diet or may follow a particular philosophical doctrine. That hardly matters when considered from a true religion's point of view. True religion or Dharma or Rt (as it is called in ancient India) is above board of all these things. It is universal, eternal and free from the boundaries of land.

   

Patanjali never preached about a religion confined to a particular way of life or sect or philosophical doctrine. He prophesied a religion of wisdom (panna) of true knowledge based on one's own experience. He didn't talk about knowledge acquired through scriptures or sermons or through philosophical discussions or inferred through one's own imaginations. Such a knowledge will not confer real welfare. Only that knowledge will lead us to our real welfare which is based on our own experience. That will take us away from the bondage of suffering. When the law of nature will be proved on the basis of our experience it will lead us towards emancipation. If such and such happens such a result is bound to appear. This principle was true a million years ago, is true today and will remain true a million years ahead. Its reverse will also be true in all the three times as mentioned above. Such a principle was termed a rt.

   

It was very unfortunate that all the above knowledge along with the knowledge of Vipassana disappeared from India. More unfortunate thing was the disappearance of Buddha's teachings (Buddha vani) from our country. But we are fortunate to some extent in the sense that Vipassana technique was preserved in the purest form in our neighbouring country i.e. Burma. He who practices Vipassana and who has learnt each and every thing mentioned about Vipassana in scriptures by way of one's own experience will learn and understand each and every word of Patanjali. Whole of every word of Patanjali. Whole of Patanjali Yoga Sutra is full of Buddha vani. If we discrete just ten or 15 sutras out of 155 sutras of Patanjali's treatise, the remaining sutras narrate about pure Vipassana and nothing else. It is possible that these 10 or 15 sutras might have been added afterwards. It is also possible that Patanjali might have himself added these sutras just to appease people following other traditions. Who knows the reality, only future researchers may bring out some facts about that.

   

But it is sure that barring the 10 or 15 sutras as referred to above, the rest of Patanjali's treatise speaks about nothing else than Vipassana which is a universal thing. Patanjali too proclaims like Buddha that there exists nothing in this world except suffering (dukkha). Anybody practicing Vipassana too start realizing this universal existence of suffering within a very short period and that too not on the basis of inference or scriptures or sermons but through one's own experience. Suffering is an apparent reality. If we have become sick it is suffering. If something disagreeable has happened to us we feel miserable. It is suffering. If something agreeable to us doesn't happen we feel sorry for that. That too is suffering. All these are an example of apparent suffering. Now on the contrary we find a person having immense money, fame, luxuries, admiration etc. too is unhappy although all the above attainments are apparent cause of happiness. Why? The answer will be available when one starts practice Vipassana i.e. inner visualization{?}

 

One may accumulate lots of money but as soon as something disagreeable happens to him, he will be unhappy. In respect of tremendous wealth one such disagreeable thing is the anxiety about the safety of the accumulated wealth. A very rich person will become tense about the security of his wealth. He will always think my wealth may not be stolen by others. So the suffering starts immediately side by side with the accumulation of money which is otherwise considered to be an apparent source of happiness. In the same way a beautiful wife and an obedient son too are the source of suffering. Husband of a beautiful wife will always be worried about the loss of his wife's beauty or her passing away. In the same way father of an obedient son will always be worried for the welfare of his son. A person having high respect in the society will always be worried for maintaining it. A person living a luxurious life will always think about not to be deprived of those. Thus through Vipassana we come to know that the apparent sources of happiness too carry with them the tilt of suffering.

 

Those who do not have material prosperity are worried to get them while others who possess them are worried to catch hold of them. Thus strong attraction or attachment towards one's belongings too causes suffering. Vipassana teaches its practitioner that whatever he possesses in the form of wife, son, money, prestige, health, luxuries etc. are not eternal. They all are changing every moment. It is bound to change today or tomorrow. It is law of nature. That which will change tomorrow or in near future is causing anxieties to its possessor today. What will happen when it actually changes. All these facts are realized be Vipassana practitioner through his own experience.

   

Patanjali preaches the same thing in his treatise. His concept of rtambhara prajna (a knowledge based on rt, that is the law of nature acquired through one's own experience) is identical to the experiences of a Vipassana practitioner. Whatever a Vipassana practitioner experiences becomes his own truth and that is law of nature i.e. rt. If he feels attachment towards his wife or husband or son or material belongings or prestige or luxuries, he experiences it and finds that the moment attachment arises on his psychic level, suffering accompanies it. As the fear of loss related to the belongings creates suffering. Attachment causes tension.

 

When one starts visualizing these realities into his own inner consciousness through Vipassana, they become crystal clear. Right now you are knowing about them through the sermons or scriptures but after practicing Vipassana you will experience them yourself. Without such an inner experience we do not understand how the object of attachment causes suffering. We think today we are happy with our attachment towards our belongings and suffering will arise when we will be deprived of that. But without the practice of Vipassana we cannot realize how suffering follows attachment in the same moment it arises at our psychic level. In fact our inner consciousness is always in tension which we do not know. Only the upper level of our consciousness gets satisfied for some time with the satisfaction of our desires. We try to suppress our inner tension by persuading our upper level of consciousness through some entertainment like with playing games, visualizing something like TV, cinema, or listening to some sermons. This technique works and we feel contented for some time. But very soon the tension accumulated on the subtlest level of consciousness again raises its head and that momentary pleasure goes away. That's why Patanjali proclaims about the universal existence of suffering.

The same proclamation was made by Lord Buddha "There is suffering." Experience this fact and you will know its cause. This knowledge will not remain confined to the surface of our psychic level. For example someone abuses me and I have become sorry. Something disagreeable happened and I have become uneasy. Something agreeable has not happened and I feel melancholy. If we leave our search for truth on this very level then we couldn't attain Dhamma. Even if we became successful in changing one of our disagreeable happenings into an agreeable one through tremendous efforts, it does not mean that another disagreeable happening is not going to happen to me. It is there in the womb of the future. It is bound to occur and we are destined to suffer on account of that.

 

In the same way after some time something agreeable will happen and we feel momentary pleasure as the agreeable too is not going to last forever. It too will change and we will suffer due to it. What type of life is it? If it is so painful, there must be a cause for that. If you will have a look inside the depth of you subconscious mind that reason will appear before your perception. If you can manage elimination of that cause the effect that is, suffering too will vanish. Suppose there is a man suffering from some disease. If he could explore the cause of his disease he will try to remove that cause itself and not merely the symptoms of the disease. The moment the root cause of disease is eliminated, disease too will be automatically cured.

This process is symbolically termed in yogic philosophy as heya, i.e. suffering, hetu, i.e. craving, hana, i.e. the way to eliminate the root cause. So if the cause is eliminated the disease will vanish. Reasonably if suffering is there and its cause i.e. craving is there, definitely the way to remove it must also be in existence. That remedy is Vipassana. The wisdom filled with knowledge i.e., rtambhara prajna and Vipassana are synonyms to each other. So in Patanjali Yoga Sutra the term samprajnana samadhi is used. Several scholars who come to attend Vipassana camps discuss at length as to what the term samprajna samadhi means? Even then they are not in agreement over its real meaning. They are not aware of the fact that 2500 years ago, Vipassana, Vidarsana, Vivekakhyati, rtambhara Prajna, Samprajnana all were identical terms and used in the same generic sense of Vipassana in this country.

 

Vipassana means to experience the truth in its ultimate reality. Truth is what we experience individually and not what we accept collectively without experience. So Vipassana means to experience the truth part by part, piece by piece, analyzing it from all the possible angles going deep into its subtlest form. Thus one can reveal the truth into its ultimate form on the basis of one's own experience. Truth in its gross form creates illusion. It is conventional truth. When it is analysed, breaking it piece by piece and part by part into its subtlest form it reveals its absolute reality before the seer. Truth experienced through such a process is called as rationalized truth.

So Vipassana can be defined as "Vivekena pasyatiti vipasyana". That means to see the truth with a rational outlook. In this context "rational" means to see the reality or rather to experience the reality analytically breaking it into its subtlest form. This is Vipassana. Thus the truth which is manifested on the level of experience after viewing it analytically is termed as "Vivekakhyati", i.e. reality revealed through the rationalized application of mind. But we do not know how to analyse the reality. We have never tried to peep inside the depth of our mind, what to talk of analyzing the reality coming out of it? It is because we have lost the technique to do so which was propogated by Lord Buddha some 2500 years ago. This technique is called Vipassana. The absolute reality reveals itself before the practitioner of Vipassana. Without applying this technique one cannot explore absolute reality. Apparently we can experience only conventional truth i.e. the truth which appears before us. This is translucent. When conventional truth is viewed through Vipassana, absolute truth appears.

 

Vipassana was a technique of meditation evolved in India. Later on its purity was polluted by vested interests. In the beginning so long it existed in its purest form it too provided tremendous benefits to its practitioners in the country for a long span of time say up to 500 years since its evolution by Lord Buddha. After attainment of enlightenment, Buddha described the different levels of attainment that he crossed during the course of austerity. Unfortunately that literature no more exists in our country in any of the modern Indian languages. That is why several myths and distorted forms of meditation prevail in our country nowadays. Fortunately in the neighbouring country of Burma the purest form of Vipassana was retained through tradition in practice and in scriptures. Although this very tradition too has got limited followers.

 

In this tradition accounts of Buddha's pursuit for truth are available. There Lord Buddha had told as to how he wandered a lot in search of real spiritual knowledge after leaving his home. He was earnestly looking for the way that leads towards the aim of final emancipation of sufferings. He had clearly visualized by that time the real nature of this mundane existence where the cycle of death and rebirth was constantly moving on and people were unknowingly busy to seek pleasure in the ocean of sufferings. They were in search of eternal pleasure in the cycle of impermanence where virtually nothing exists. Such a cycle of impermanence provided a logical proof to Buddha's thinking that there must be an existence which is eternal. Where elixir of life exists. I must explore that level of existence. He tried to search the way to attain that level.

 

He had already acquired knowledge of all the philosophical traditions of the time while he was a prince. But philosophy is sheer entertainment of intellect. It has got no relationship with practical experience. In India philosophy is termed as darsana means "revelation of truth." But in real practice it has lost its relationship with revelation of truth. In the beginning while naming it as such it might have got its relation with revelation of truth, but that exists no more in modern times. Now it is a sheer pleasure of intellectual exercise based on logic. That is why different logical traditions of Indian philosophy exist having different and separate hypothesis attached with each.

   

The same situation existed 2500 years ago too when Buddha traversed for a way to seek real spiritual knowledge out of such a hypothetical ambition(?) of the Indian philosophy prevailing at that time. When Buddha couldn't get satisfaction for his desire at home he left it and started his search in different corners of the country. He tried different practices but to no use. He met Alar Kalam--a noted yogi of his time. Buddha learnt the art of meditation in his guidance. Alar Kalam was a master of seven types of meditation. Buddha mastered all of them within a span of a few days and asked about the next. Alar Kalam replied, "Do you think that attainment of seven successive meditation levels is something not praiseworthy? It is something meagre. Only a few can reach that."

 

Buddha was not satisfied with his attainment in this regard. So he insisted his master Alar Kalam to tell any other higher practice than what he had already learnt. Alar Kalam at last told him about another yogi of that time named as Uddak Ramputta who was having knowledge of the seventh stage of meditation. But he did not accept any disciple to teach that art. Alar Kalam advised Buddha to try his luck with him. Buddha approached Uddaka Ramputta with the request to teach the technique of attaining the eighth stage of meditation. Uddaka Ramputta found in Buddha an able disciple worthy of having knowledge of the eighth stage of meditation and acceded to his request. The level of eighth meditation is a very high stage of mind. Having learnt it Buddha saw that even attainment of the eighth meditation did not make him free of the fetters lying in the form of defilements over his psychic level.

 

People of today's India may not be knowing even as to what fetters (anusaya kilesa) means. Several people who come to attend Vipassana camp do not know its meaning. The word anusaya is a compound of two words anu + saya, wherein anu means follow and saya means "into dormant situation." Thus etymologically, anusaya signifies those defilements which are lying dormant on our unnoticed part of psychic level i.e. unconscious mind and go on flowing along with it without any knowledge to us. They remain as such along with us even after our death and in successive births. The practice of all the above eight meditations bury them so deep that it becomes difficult to be even aware of them. But they are just like volcanoes dormant at present but bound to erupt as and when conducive circumstances exist, whether the same are available today or after several rebirths.

   

So Buddha thought that so long as anusayas (fetters) were in existence at my psychic level, emancipation was a far cry. So he asked Uddaka Ramputta to tell some way to eliminate fetters from the psychic level. Uddaka Ramputta having no knowledge of any such method, replied in the negative. Rather, he scolded Buddha with the words, "You have attained proficiency in the eighth stage of meditation which will enable you to have existence on a level where immense bliss flows and you will remain there for eons and eons together. Is it something less important? Buddha said, " So what if I have attained proficiency in the eighth stage of meditation and got my place of next existence at a level where immense bliss flows and I can stay there for eons and eons together but I have to take rebirth again in this mundane level so long as fetters are not removed. So if you know the art of eliminating them, please tell me otherwise I don't consider myself as enlightened." Uddaka Ramputta had no knowledge of any such technique to eliminate fetters.

 

So Buddha went ahead and evolved a technique known as Vipassana today which is quite capable of eliminating the fetters from our psychic level and make us pure and enlightened and an emancipated being. Before we move further in this context, let us have a bird's-eye view over the eight types of meditations referred to above.

   

The first type of meditation is endowed with vitakka (leaning of mind towards an object through respective sense organ), vicara (sustenance of mind into the object through the respective sense organ), piti (rapture), sukha (pleasure) and ekagatta (concentration). In this context we will have to consider these words with reference to the meanings ascribed to them in the Indian society of 2500 years ago. Today, vitakka means discussion or arguments. But at that time in the religious terminology it used to mean leaning of mind towards an object through the

 respective sense organ. Let us consider these terms through a parable:

 

A honey bee finds a beautiful lotus flower ahead and flies towards it. Since there is a contact between the visual object "flower" and sense organ "eye" of the bee, it flies in the direction of the flower in search of honey. So the flying of the bee towards the beautiful flower is just like vitakka. Now in the next step the bee reaches up to the flower and sits over it, searches the source of honey with a hum sound. This is just like vicara. The honey bee very soon finds out the centre of honey in the flower which generates a feeling of pleasure in her as now she is hopeful of tasting the sweetness of honey. This is piti (rapture). A step further, the bee penetrates its nozzles into the centre of honey and has the first taste of honey drop. Thus she gets real pleasure of tasting the honey. This is just like sukha (pleasure). Now in the next step the bee is so indulged in enjoying the taste of honey that all its activities like hum sound etc. are stopped and she is fully unaware of all other surroundings , so much so that if the flower closes its petals at sunset, the bee doesn't take notice of that and remains confined in it for the whole night. Such a state of bee's mind can be compared with the state of ekagatta (concentration).

 

These different stages of meditation are attained gradually as the practice gets accelerated. The first meditation order is as under:

   

1st meditation: vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha, ekagatta

   

2nd meditation: piti, sukha, ekagatta (vitakka and vicara dropped).

 

3rd meditation: sukha, ekagatta (piti dropped).

 

4th meditation: upekkhaggata. (Sukha is replaced by uppekha, i.e. equanimity).

 

So when mind is concentrated, attainment of the fourth stage of meditation is completed. In such a state of mind, the practitioner feels a unique feeling of pleasure not known to him before, when mind was fickle. Further concentration over such a feeling of pleasure generated through concentration of mind over a single object eliminates the feeling of pleasure also and only the feeling of equanimity remains. But this is not the ultimate stage to stop.

 

The practitioner has to proceed ahead. Then he observes that the concentrated mind is a part and parcel of our body. From first to the fourth stage of meditation, the practitioner has observed gradual elimination of vitakka, vicara, piti, and sukha as mentioned above. Now at the fourth stage, mind is active. The sense organs have stopped their respective functions.

When a Vipassana practitioner observes all these four states of meditation as a witness without projecting anything out of his own mind, he finds himself into a deep feeling of immense pleasure, i.e. sukha. 2500 years ago the language was quite different to that of ours today. Some words have got their meaning changed. Some have got new meanings, while the others have been ascribed meanings quite different to that of the ancient language of philosophy. Hence, to judge sayings of that old time with the parameter of our modern language creates confusion. For example, 2500 years ago, the term sukha (pleasure) was used for a very high state of meditative trance. In the modern terminology it does not signify that degree of immense pleasure. At that time, sukha was related to the pleasurable state of mind attained at the fourth meditation level. Beyond that, on the material plane of the human existence, the type of so-called pleasurable feelings was virtually an illusion. As has been said: "Kemi haso kim anando nicce pajalita sati." That is, a Vipassana seeker used to find the whole of material existence burning with the devilish fire of craving, wherein the beings are pursuing desires either related to greed or avarice. Thus, they are not at all in the state of bliss but always suffering to fulfill their desires. Thus that false state of pleasure was considered as bliss at that time. Nowadays, on the contrary, bliss is considered to be a higher state of mind obtained in trance, while the pleasure is associated with the material attainments.

   

Thus, after attainment of the fourth jhana, only the mind is active and all the sense organs cease to function. The yogi now moves ahead and projects his mind in the entire universe and finds on the basis of imagination that so far , limited mind confined to his body alone was in fact an all-pervading entity and thus infinite. Prior to the attainment of the fifth meditative state, mind was confirmed to the place of heart in the body. Patanjali has given this term to the seat of mind in the body.

 

In the fifth state of meditation, the mind appears to be infinite like space. All the gross material objects are converted into different types of vibrations. At this state, the mind perceives vibration and vibrations alone. At this stage, the practitioner again concentrates himself to find out the reality of this infinite space. Having concentrated on this object of meditation, the practitioner tries to feel as to who is perceiving this infinity to the space. In those good old days, that element of mind which used to perceive the infinity of space at that higher level of meditative trance was termed as vinnana. This term to some extent corresponds with modern English term consciousness. Although the Hindi term vigyana is nowadays translated as science. In fact, consciousness is the volition which works at our psychic level. It cognizes the objects.

Thus the cognizing part of our mind when concentrates itself over the infinite space another higher state of trance termed as sixth jhana in the ancient philosophical terminology of India is attained. At this level only super-consciousness exists which is cognized by the mind. The practitioner does not stop even at this level and makes an analysis of this super consciousness level which is although not gross, but even than a solidified state of vibrations. When this state is analysed by the practitioner , even the vibrations are eliminated and the practitioner lands at a state of voidness. This is theseventh state of trance. At this state only voidness prevails. At this seventh stage of trance, the practitioner further analyses his own existence with reference to the all-pervading voidness.

   

Then he comes to the conclusion as to which part of the mind is realizing this state of voidness. The part which realizes this state was termed as "vedana" in those old days. The word vedana corresponds with the word sensation, which means just feeling. In modern language the term vedana is used for pain only, that is, the disagreeable feeling. Thus, the terminology used by Patanjali at that time was completely distorted by the modern commentators by applying the modern meaning of those old concepts which were having a different meaning at that time when Patanjali used them in his treatise. Again returning to the original subject, we find that at the stage of seventh jhana there exists not only vedana but sanna (sangya) also which demarcates the different objects of mind at different levels of trance like infinite space, infinite consciousness, voidness, etc. In this process the practitioner finds that the same part of mind is functioning as sanna and vedana. It means on one hand it is feeling the object in the form of vedana i.e. sensation and on the other hand it is evaluating the object as good or bad, agreeable or disagreeable in the form of perception i.e. sanna.

   

As the concentration goes ahead on this very phenomenon also analysing it to perceive its reality, the practitioner finds himself landing in a realm where the perception in one moment exists while in the other it does not exist. Such a state of trance is technically called in the old philosophical language "Neva sanna na sanna yatana." That is, in this state of trance the perception has become so feeble that sometimes it is cognized, while on the other its cognition is not possible. It is called as the eighth meditative state. The person who attained Buddhahood attained all these eight states of meditation before his final attempt for enlightenment. By that time all his defilements were removed leaving only the roots at the psychic level. Even the roots in the subtlest form were a great hurdle in the path of enlightenment.

   

Now Siddattha Gotama was worried to root out these seeds of defilement existing at the psychic level. But apparently at that time no such practice was available beyond the 8th state of meditation. Hence, Siddattha Gotama tried the path of utmost penance prevailing at that time with a false notion that suffering caused to the body will wash out all the defilements. Siddattha tried this method also and after causing the peak of suffering to his body by way of penance he found that the roots of defilements were still present. Now, Siddattha gave a second thought to his way of practice and added sampajanna to his way of life leaving all other methods of austerity.

   

In English, no corresponding word to sampajanna can be coined. Its mere explanation is that in sampajanna, one learns to be witness of each and every phenomenon appearing before him without projecting any explanation to it on the basis of his imagination. It means whatever sensation appears at the level of pure body is to be witnessed without evaluating it as good or bad. That is the law of nature when a sensation appears you watch the pattern of you breathing only. If the respiration is long, be watchful about it that is long. If it is short, be watchful, just watchful, that is short. This practice in Pali words has been described as "Digham va assasanto digham assasaniti pajanato." That means if inhaling of breath is deep, the practitioner just feels it and if it is not very deep or deep at all that to is just witnessed by the practitioner.

   

Patanjali also states about the same practice of observing one's natural breath. When the difference between the inhaling and exhaling of natural breath is extended, our thoughts are gradually pacified and a sort of trance emerges. It is to be noteworthy in this context that this interval between the inhaling and exhaling of natural breath is technically termed as kumbhaka, i.e. retention of breath, in Patanjali Yoga Sutra. By the observance of the natural breath, the retention of breath takes place automatically without any effort whatsoever.

   

Nowadays people try to bring this stage by a forceful effort retaining the breath inside or outside of the body. This is the distorted version or practice of the kumbhaka which Patanjali never preached. Those relished the idea of enjoying thoughtlessness of mind by retention of breath forcefully are thus in utter confusion because such a forceful projection of kumbhaka or retention of breath keeps a practitioner thoughtless and the situation immediately reverses when such kumbhaka is removed.

   

While on the contrary if the stage of kumbhake emerges out of impersonal observance of the natural breathing, the period of kumbhaka will automatically be elongated and at the stage of fourth jhana, the breath will be completely seized and in the fourth jhana breathing is impossible for such a kumbhaka goes on for hours together and the practitioner never dies. Although it is beyond perception of an ordinary man to live without respiration for hours together. But a Vipassana meditator comes across this situation as much as his practice attains the higher dimensions of meditation.

 

So those who attempt for an artificial kumbhaka or retention of breath in the name of spirituality has misunderstood Patanjali and his Yoga Sutra and are pursuing a wrong path. Such a practice may be beneficial for the removal of physical diseases but it is absolutely useless for removing the roots of defilements out of one's psychic level. So when sampajanna i.e., simultaneous awareness, is associated with the observance of natural breath, one observes this phenomenon with a feeling of a witness without projecting anything of his own. In such a practice one observes inhaling and exhaling of breath as it is. There is no association of one's individuality in this act either as a doer or as an enjoyer of the resultant. So long as one enjoys the resultant of one's action he cannot attain the status of witness. One is bound to surrender both the feelings i.e. of a doer and an enjoyer of resultants. One is required to just witness the happenings. In this way one who becomes witness in association with simultaneous awareness, he gradually starts attaining first, second, and third jhanas as elucidated earlier with a gradual decrease of meditational components, i.e. vittaka, vicara, piti, sukha and ekkagata. But in these stages, simultaneous awareness always accompanies.

 

In this way the practitioner attains panna or wisdom of his own for the first time. This wisdom is technically called as rtambhara prajna i.e. the wisdom attained on account of one's own experiences and not merely by listening its accounts for somebody else or through reading a book or by listening a sermon.The moment simultaneous awareness emerges inside the practitioner he starts experimenting the laws of nature. These laws are technically called as rt. He starts recognizing the reality from the first jhana by first observing his respiration in its natural way.

 

Here one is cautioned not to associate one's respiration either with chanting of the mantra or reciting any holy sacred word. If such a mistake or folly is committed the practitioner will be devoid rt (i.e. laws of nature). Buddha has preached to witness rt as also Patanjali desired the same thing in his treatise, both of these are trying to take away the practitioner towards the realizing of rt only, on the contrary we are following a path which does not lead towards rita. It is strange that all this is being done in the name of Buddha and Patanjali. We go on associating our respiration with chanting of mantra (hymns) or some sacred words. Although it too concentrates our mind but it cannot clear the roots of defilements. We cannot attain rita anbhara prajna through it. That's why for spiritual attainment only natural respiration is to be watched with equanimity.

 

The Hindi synonym for equanimity is Tatastha which means one who is situated on the bank of a river. A person who is situated on the bank cannot interfere in the business of river i.e., if it is flowing in a particular direction cannot turn the flow of direction, if waves present in the river flow he cannot stop the formation of waves etc. In the same way observance of the natural breath is to be maintained.

 

Respiration is not merely a body process. It is not merely a need for the lungs but it is closely associated with your mind. We start closely observing our respiration a stage comes when we find that flow of respiration is directly associated with the type of mental thought flowing in our mind. If there is a thought of anger or avarice flowing in our mind we will find that the flow of our respiration is increased. On the contrary if we are calm and composed at our mental level we will find the flow of our respiration too is very subtle and stable.

   

Such an experience is the first step towards the knowledge of rtambhara prajna. This experience is not based on the knowledge of any book or sermon or the experience of someone else. Since it is based on our own experience this is rtambhara prajna otherwise it can be sruta prajna (wisdom acquired by inference). Prajna other than rtambhara may increase our knowledge about others or add some more memory to our intellectual level but it cannot lead to emancipation. Without rtambhara prajna we may go on boasting that we have gone through all the literature about Buddha, we can precisely decide the place of his birth or the place of his wife's parents etc. etc., but we cannot really attain what Buddha attained in his life.

   

Likewise without personally experiencing the truth we can go on boasting that we have fully understood Patanjali and can deliver lectures upon his philosophy or write many books commenting upon it. But mind it that all this is going to benefit in the path of real spiritual attainment. There is no use of such literal knowledge without experiencing it on its own. Such an individual experience was termed by Lord Buddha as Bhavanamaya prajna. This is also called as rtambhara prajna as it reveals to the practitioner on the basis of his own experience. It reveals before him the laws of nature. Practising in this way when a practitioner attains the state of third jhana, sampajanna is so much associated with it that it can no more be separated. Buddha termed it with the phrase: "sampajanna na rincati". That means now sampajanna is present at all times, in all the human activities of this spectrum like sleeping, walking, eating, drinking, etc.

So such a practitioner attains such a state where at night when he is sleeping he properly knows that he is sleeping. Even in sleep he is aware of his surroundings and actions. One cannot say that one was at state of dreams at that time. Rather this state is above to the state of awakening and dreams which is termed as the state of turiya. In such a state the practitioner is quite aware of each and every action of his body where the process of creation and destruction is continuously going on. So, he fully understands the impermanent nature of his mind, body and the universe surrounding him. Such a knowledge of impermanence attained on the basis of one's own experience is in another words called as samprajnata samadhi. But this is not the ultimate goal to realize.

   

The practitioner has to travel ahead towards the direction of fourth jhana. When he attains the trance at the state of fourth jhana all his defilements are eliminated. He has become completely pure. The sampajanna has driven out all the defilements out of his psyche hence it is no more needed. Such a trance of fourth state of meditation is therefore termed as asampajanna samadhi. As it is beyond sampajanna it is called as such. This samadhi is the samadhi of emancipation or nibbana or kaivalya. It is a state which is beyond our consciousness. After attainment of asampajanna samadhi the practice of remaining four jhanas becomes optional. One may practice them or may not. It means when asampajanna is associated only four jhanas are sufficient for realizing emancipation.

 

When commentators of Patanjali Yoga Sutra explains about asampajanna samadhi as the last stage of attainment, it becomes beyond understanding. Of course the ultimate trance of fourth jhanas is without sampajanna so it should have been termed as a trance beyond sampajanna wherein, the same has been transcended. Asampajanna is the state of ignorance where one is not aware of the impermanent nature of this universe. Such a state of human psyche can be termed as the stage of asamprajnani. When one has realized fully the impermanent nature of his own identity as well as of the universe by way of sampajanna, how he can be termed as asamprajnani, or a trance attained at that state can be termed as asamprajnata samadhi? In fact that should have been rightly termed as a samadhi beyond sampajanna. It is because sampajanna is needed till one does not fully realize the impermanence on the basis one's own experience. When such an experience is individually attained, sampajanna is no more required.

Trance with sampajanna reveals before the practitioner the mutual interaction of consciousness and body, the psychosomatic interdependent nature of human existence as also the process through which one goes on accumulating defilements and thus adding to one's own miseries, which ultimately provides energy to the movement of the cycle of birth and rebirth. This whole mechanism becomes understandable through sampajanna only. When the impermanence is fully understood on the basis of one's own experience, sampajanna is no more required. It is useful so long as impermanence is being experienced. Beyond that is the state of emancipation, salvation, nibbana, moksa etc. There sampajanna is not at all needed. Such a state can be attained through the gradual attainment of meditation.

 

It is pertinent to note in this context that when the real practice is stopped the terminology related to it is also misinterpreted. And this vicious cycle goes on defiling the pure practice itself. In this way it is astonishing to note that Patanjali, who has explained Vipassana with such a minute detail, has added ten or twelve sutras in his treatise which are anti-Vipassana. Or is it possible that someone else might have added these sutras in this treatise? But it is certain that if these sutras were added by Patanjali himself, then he might have done it keeping in his mind the fact that for a real Vipassana practitioner, these sutras are in vain, and one who is not a practitioner and would study his treatise only with an academic point of view, it hardly matters.

The real meaning of Vipassana is to realize the truth piece by piece, part by part, on the basis of one's own experience. By adopting such a method a state appears before a Vipassana meditator when he himself experiences the most subtle realities of nature and witness them in a very equanimous way. Such a state in Patanjali Yoga Sutra is termed as Asmita. This is associated with concentration and while examining the truths the practitioner feels as "I am realizing" or these experiences are appearing before me. The practitioner feels this is vitakka "I realize it". This is pleasure "I experience it" or "I feel it". This is the first state of mind on the path of practice.

   

Later on as the practice makes progress gradually at a higher stage the practitioner comes to realize the truth that the feeling of my-ness was false. He experiences at the core of his heart that his so-called ego was a sheer imagination and ultimately that is finally dissolved. Patanjali preaches this fact with the words that on the higher stages of Yoga practice the seer of truth is dissolved and only the seen exists, and at the ultimate stage even the seen is dissolved, only the act of seeing remains. This is a very high and pure state of consciousness that is not easy to attain. Buddha himself has preached about this state as under:

 

"Ditthe ditthamatam bhavissati

sutte sutamatam bhavissati

mute mutamatam bhavissati

vinnate vinnatamatam bhavissati"

 

This is the purest state of mind wherein, the action only remains and the doer's personality is changed into that of a witness. In such a state every phenomenon happens and doer remains absent. Of course attainment of such a state is not an easy job, only gradual practice of Vipassana performs it during a course of time. The more defilements are eradicated the degree of purity increases accordingly. The state wherein, all the defilements are permanently eradicated is termed as shudhopi, that means although the purification of consciousness has been attained yet there remains something else to do. That is the work of visualizing by way of Vipassana, the mutual relationship or interdependence of phenomena technically termed as pratyayoh nupashyana. Patanjali prescribes it as part of Vipassana. Here the word anupashyana denotes continuous awareness as a witness towards the automatic happening of phenomena.

The same thing is described in the Satipatthana Sutta in old traditional language of Buddhism as

"Kaye kayanupassana, vedanasu vedenanupassana, citte cittanupassana, dhamme dhammanupassnan". In the same sense Patanjali uses the phrase pratyyo-nupashyana. When we think this concept Patanjali in the light of Vipassana meditation, we find that a practitioner of Vipassana observes the suo-moto happening of phenomena with such a subtlety and depth of the mind that he starts personally experiencing the root cause of all the happenings related to his own mind, body and its relationship with the surrounding universe. This relationship reveals before both type of practitioner whether he has practiced the Yoga path of Patanjali or the Vipassana path of Buddha. But due care is to be taken of those ten or twelve sutras of Patanjali Yoga Sutra which speaks in the anti-Vipassana tone. The rest of Patanjali Yoga Sutra do talks about rtambhara prajna as ultimate goal of the practitioner in the same way as Vipassana meditation talks about attainment of panºa on the basis of one's own experience. In other words it is the knowledge of the law of nature on the basis of one's own experience, which in traditional language was termed as the attainment of dharmaniyamata. This dharmaniyamata is set to be attained by way of observing the phenomena "as they exist".

 

When people started deviating from this genuine path the matter took a lead towards utter confusion. Such persons demanded acceptance of certain concepts like soul, God, etc., prior to the practice of Vipassana or Yoga, without any experience of these elements on the basis of personal experience. Such a situation completely changed the purpose of Yoga or Vipassana from right direction to a wrong one. Now, the Yoga or Vipassana was purposefully practiced not experience reality "as it is" but to prove the preconceived notions of soul and God. Thus the genuine method of Vipassana and Yoga was polluted and a big empire of several theologians, philosophers was erected in the name of Yoga and Vipassana.

 

Some traditions of philosophy started proclaiming the size of soul like that of a person's body, while another started proclaiming as the size of one's own thumb. Thus the concentration of mind was mis-directed towards the realization of the pre-conceived notions of soul and God. This was nothing but a sheer projection of one's own imagination and strengthening with the power of the concentration of the conscious mind. Thus the very aim of Patanjali's Yoga and Buddhist Vipassana was defeated, which was meant to experience the reality "as it is".

   

If in the purest form Yoga of Patanjali or Vipassana of Buddha is practiced identical results are bound to be attained i.e., the gradual melting of false notions and increasing revelation of pure reality is to be revealed to the practitioner. One is bound to attain the ultimate truth. In ten days of Vipassana courses many people are successful in attaining such a reality. It cannot be claimed that all those joining ten-day Vipassana course attain the same result in the very first course. It depends upon the intensity of the concentration one attains during the course of ten-day practice. But it is sure that if the technique is adopted in its purest form one is bound to get a glimpse of realities if not in first ten-days course then in second, third or fourth.

   

The practitioner realizes on the basis of his own experience that the gross body which he used to feel before starting the Vipassana practice gradually is converted into the net of finest particles of atoms which are constantly emerging and vanishing. He will experience that those sub-atomic particles which are the ingredients of his body can be collected in billions and trillions at the point of a needle. In old tradition of India our saints termed them as kalapa. Even they too are not solid. As the Vipassana practice goes into more depth it is revealed to the practitioner that these tiny sub-particles too are nothing but sheer vibrations.

   

It is all together a different that modern scientists have also endorsed this statement of our old sages by the invention of a phenomenon named as quanta. In good old days Indian sages or rishis who were the spiritual scientists of our country proclaimed this fact without any aid of modern sensitive equipment in the words "sabbo pajalito loko, sabbo loko pakampito". That means the whole universe including our body and sense organs is nothing but vibrations and vibrations only. A serious practitioner of Vipassana or Patanjali Yoga will find on the basis of his own experience that all his sense organs and their respective objects are nothing but sheer vibrations. When he concentrates his attention over his own mind and thoughts he finds that the same too are vibrations.

 

He also visualizes in the state of trance the psychosomatic relationship between his mind and body as also the general relationship and interdependence of mind and matter. The practitioner of Vipassana or Patanjali Yoga observes these happenings with spirit of a scientist. He does not take into consideration the so-called different traditional philosophical hypothesis while doing his practice. He depends and trusts what comes true on his own experience. A deep practitioner is also successful in experiencing the reactions of mind and body when the sense objects encounter their respective objects e.g., a visual object while comes in the range of eye the practitioner will find that this contact of eye sense organ with its respective visual object produces a reaction on a particular part of mind which tells that something is present within the range of eye.

 

In good old days this part of mind was termed as eye-consciousness or chakkha vinnanam. Its function was merely to raise an alarm that some visual object is present within the range of eye. Now the another part of mind being activated by the alarm of consciousness recognizes the object into its good or bad qualities. This organ of mind was technically termed as sanna, that is perception. This organ functions into two ways i.e. it recognizes and evaluates the respective object. The evaluation made by this part of mind emits a particular vibration that permeates the whole body. If the evaluation is in favour of the object the vibration thus emitted will be so pleasant and agreeable that it will create a craving for that object. On the contrary if the evaluation is not in the favour of the object it will emit a vibration which in turn generates avarice to the respective objects. Thus the emission of vibration created after the evaluation of the object by the perception was technically termed as sensation or vedena. This process of cognition goes one step further wherein, the good or bad impression of sensation is retained on a particular part of mind termed as sankhara or imprint and the accumulation of such imprint was termed as anusaya.

 

The more such imprints of liking or disliking are deeper the more accumulation goes on indirectly or directly affecting our behaviour as and when conducive circumstances are available. Vipassana provides way to the catharsis of such accumulation by witnessing the sensations with a calm and equanimous mind. Such a purifying function was polluted in the long philosophical tradition of India. People started deliberating sermons or lectures over the above concepts distorting their real meaning and putting out of practice them into their real sense. If Vipassana is practiced in its purified way the chain reaction of forming the imprints of craving or avarice, raga-dvesha is broken and the mind gets purified into its immense depth where the imprints rests into their subtlest form.

   

The practitioner of Vipassana visualizes the concept of impermanence on the basis of his own experience with respect to his own mind, body and universe and thus observes his sensations without any craving or avarice. He perceives that even the consciousness is not permanent as it is generated only when a contact between a sense organ and its respective object is established. Thus every sense object has got its respective consciousness which arises when a contact between the sense organ and object appears and vanished along with the end of the process of generating the imprints. Thus the mind itself along with all its parts is revealed as impermanent to the Vipassana meditator. In Vipassana meditation one has to witness one's agreeable or disagreeable feelings with equanimity. Only then the anusaya of craving and avarice are eradicated.

   

All this work of eradication is done by Vipassana along with sampajanna. And now we have forgotten the real meaning of this word itself. We just talk about sampajanna in our lectures and do not try to know as to what it is and how it is practiced. Although Patanjali and Buddha repeatedly tried to make its meaning clear for practical purposes. A person practicing Vipassana is termed as Vipassi in Buddhist terminology and sampajani or the attainer of vivekhyati in the terminology of Patanjali.

   

At the lower level of Vipassana practice the practitioner experiences different parts of mind and body as impermanent, but at a particular part of mind termed as consciousness, that is vinnanam in Pali terminology, creates a lot of confusion to a practitioner of Vipassana who has not attained the deep penetrating heights of his practice. For him the vinnanam seems to be permanent. And a normal practitioner gets his progress stopped at this point, as his pre-conceived notions of atma etc. produces a resemblance with consciousness. So at this point a practitioner may think that the need for any more practice ceases to exist.

   

But if one goes on visualizing the vinnanam itself in equanimous way he will find that even vinnanam is not permanent and is divided into six parts related to each sense organ respectively. Such a consciousness arises at the time of contact between sense organ and its respective object and cease to exist the moment its function i.e. knowing of an object, is completed. It is also very important very interesting to know that every such consciousness arises in respect of its respective sense organ. For example if eye consciousness has arisen we cannot listen words from our ears. In the same way when ear consciousness arises we cannot see a material object or a visual object. Thus none of the six consciousness process the respective area of each other.

   

When these consciousness are visualized with a feeling of equanimity the practitioner experiences their very nature of impermanence and the illusion of atma etc., gets removed. In Yoga such a practice is termed as pratyanupushyana. In this path of practice the practitioner not only concentrates his attention over the function of sense organ and its respective consciousness, but also on the respective object and finds that the sense organ, respective consciousness and respective object all are sheer vibrations. The whole existence seems to be an accumulation of vibrations only on the basis of practitioners own experience. Attainment of such a state of vibrations is termed as anatta by Lord Buddha. After attainment of this state the practitioner gets free from the feelings of my and mine.

   

While describing this state, Patanjali explains that unless one attains it, emancipation is not possible. Until one's ego is not eliminated emancipation cannot be obtained. So long one gets involved one's ego in possession of articles or as a doer of deeds, one is within the bondage of rebirth. When the falsehood of such an ego is observed through Vipassana, gradually all the illusions of ego are dissolved. Only then one realizes that his name and other belongings were just a way to perform material deeds and were having no real identity of their own. In such a state all the illusions are removed one by one just like the petals of onions which is nothing except accumulation of the petals. Such an observation was termed by Lord Buddha as dhammanupassana.

   

The practice of dhammanupassana reveals all the secrets of law of nature and carries away the practitioner beyond the realm of sense organs. In good old days such state was termed as indriyatita avastha. Up to the state of fourth jhana the consciousness exists but in the state of trance, sense organs, even that is dissolved. In such a state not only the psychic factors but even the consciousness itself ceases to exist. This was the high spiritual knowledge of India practiced in good old days. We have forgotten it now. Now, we just argue and talk about it and that too with a view of different sects like Jains, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., but we have forgotten that ultimate reality has no sects. It is universal. It is like the invention (discovery) of Newton's law of gravitation or Einstein's Law of Relativity which is applicable anywhere on earth and resemblance with the laws of nature.

   

In the same way our sages invented (discovered) that so long anusaya kilesas exist in us, craving and avarice is present on our psychic level, emancipation is a far cry. For emancipation one is bound to pass through sufferings on the basis of one's own experience and to observe into depth the root cause of tendency like avijja or ignorance. Ignorance is the acceptance of miseries as happiness and happiness as miseries. Buddha and Patanjali express identical views on this concept. To accept impermanent as permanent is ignorance. To accept suffering as happiness is ignorance. To accept inauspicious as auspicious is ignorance. To accept clumsy as beautiful is ignorance. All such preconceptions hinder path of our emancipation. We can also intellectually accept that each and every thing in this world is engrossed with suffering, substanceless and impermanence. But all that sheer acceptance of these characteristics on intellectual level is not going to liberate us from our sufferings.

   

In India ninety percent of people accept all this on intellectual level. People here also believe a soul inside the human body which for them is eternal. Followers of both these doctrines accept them on intellectual level only. None of them know on the basis of their own experiences as to what is the reality existing in it. They just accept others saying without testing them on the basis of self experience. They do not know that mere acceptance of realities, does not constitute rtambhara prajna or knowledge acquired on the basis of one's own experience without which we will never be able to understand Buddha or Patanjali in their real context. All those assembled here today if get aggrieved by any point told by me so far, may I be excused for that. But I am bound to bring truth before them about these modern different traditions of knowledge and philosophy existing at present. Followers of these traditions follow them blindly. A follower of vedic tradition will rejoice the hypothesis that all the knowledge of the world i.e. the outcome of Vedas and we the followers of Veda have taught in to all others. Thus, we are superior to them. Our ancestors were the teachers of the whole world.

   

In fact, there is no use of being proud of our ancestors' attainment. Maybe our ancestors were millionaires or billionaires but we are not going to be benefitted from their wealth. If I am a poor fellow my ancestors wealth is not going to make me rich. Similar is the case with India regarding its spiritual wisdom. We just rejoice that our country was the source of invention of such a high spiritual knowledge but we do not ourselves practice it. While practice is the only means to get benefitted out of this knowledge. Whether we see Gita, Buddha or Patanjali's treatises we will find soul stress on attaining rtambhara prajna which means revelation of truth on the basis of one's own experience.

   

I request you all brothers and sisters try to acquire rtambhara prajna on the basis of your own experience. Try to see what Buddha or Patanjali acquired or taught others to acquire. Don't just go on discussing about that just for the sake of discussion or intellectual luxury. This technique is not meant for oral discussions, arguments or sermons. It is just for practice only then its real superiority or advantage could be realized. Howsoever sweet and delicious a food may be but its taste can be relished only when it is consumed. Likewise Patanjali's or Buddha's technique could be really understood the day when it will be put to practice. Only that day India will be realized what heights of spiritual attainment were touched by our ancestors. That day we will be away of these intellectual exercises and really inherit the real spiritual wealth of our country.

I don't condemn practice of asana etc. It is good for physical health. Whether we practice it according to Hatha Yoga pradipika, gheranda samhita or Patanjali Yoga Sutra. This is also our ancient knowledge but it should not be practiced at the cost of real knowledge leading us towards emancipation. Likewise acupuncture and acupressure are good but they should not be practiced in the name of Vipassana. Vipassana is in fact to uproot the defilements. If we use Vipassana for any other purpose with a forgetfulness to its real use, that will be like causing an insult to the Vipassana practice. In the same way, one who is satisfied merely with the practice of asana or pranayama and other yogic practices, he causes an insult to Patanjali. No doubt it is necessary to keep our body healthy but only that is not sufficient for spiritual attainment. It is true that if we don't possess a sound health meditation too is not possible. So we will have to practice asana, pranayama, etc., along with meditation.

   

During the time of Buddha also the same situation was prevailing as we find today. People used to observe different penance or some precepts and used to think that they have rightly followed the path of spiritualism. Lord Buddha preached them that the extreme of a precept or a penance too is a sort of craving that causes hindrance in the path of real attainment. He asked people not to stay on the elementary stage only, but to go ahead further. So he asked people to make effort for the attainment of prajna, and preached the way to attain it.

   

In the same way today we cling to asana and pranayama only, overlooking the real goal of Yoga, that is emancipation not only from our physical defilements, but from our mental defilements too. Nobody has attained emancipation so far by merely observing precepts or penance. Nobody has attained emancipation merely by practicing pranayama neti or dhauti etc. It is not possible at all. Unless mind is not purified of its defilements with the attainment of rtambhara prajna through Vipassana, emancipation is not possible.

   

Those who have assembled here today and are devoted to Patanjali are requested to practice Vipassana at least for once to know what Patanjali really expected from his followers. I don't claim that you will be able to understand each and every thing within one ten-day course of Vipassana. That will be just a beginning. The more you will pursue the path the more closer you will be towards the expectations of Patanjali. You pay just four days to the task of attaining vivekakhyati or sampajanna and get yourself benefitted, get progress on the path of emancipation, be an owner of real Dhamma, be attainer of real peace. Whosoever has come to attend today's assembly of spiritual seekers may be happy and attain emancipation.

 

 


Vipassana Research Institute
Vipassana Research Institute