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The Aim of Yoga : Sage Patanjali

Sage Patanjali begins his treatise by unequivocally stating the objective of yoga practice, as controlling the mind's tendency towards being endlessly active without purpose. A continuum of thoughts drifting through the mind as if by its own volition. It is as if the mind follows the dictate of an alien authority, as if it is not my mind. The fact is that by nature the mind is never at rest. So, the mind needs constant supervision to avoid dissipation. However, the novice is warned not to confuse controlling the mind as being tantamount to emptying the mind of all thoughts. This misconception is rampant in many 'spiritual' circles. A blank mind is an artificial state which cannot be maintained. A mischievous mind with useless thoughts is deluding, whereas a mind absorbed in the spiritual self is liberating. The Sanskrit term used to describe the mind is citta. The correct translation of citta is consciousness, as we will observe as we go along. Citta or consciousness consists of three components, manas, buddhi and ahamkara. Each component must act in tandem with the others to achieve an equipoised state of consciousness. Manas or mind functions as navigator of all the senses.

According to Bhagavad-gita, the human body is equipped with ten senses, five information gathering (ears, tongue, eyes etc.) and five active or performing senses (arms, legs, stomach, genital and anus) with which we carry out all actions. The mind permeates the entire body in our wakeful state and records all external impressions. Buddhi functions as intellect, where the power of discrimination resides and it classifies these impressions, responds to them and takes decision. This faculty is a remarkable quality in humans, which is not available to other life species. The power to discriminate or distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil, and ultimately between mundane illusion and transcendental, absolute Reality is what differentiates a human being from animals. Ahamkara, claims the right to possession of these impressions. It also functions as awareness of our existence, awareness of being, telling us we are here, in the present to perceive the external reality and experience the inner world of thoughts and emotions. Read more about Yoga


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