Sunday, 1 October 2017

प्रत्यय pratyaya (State of Mind) - October 2017 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—

In September 2017 I taught an extended weekend program on Samkhya Karika at Chicago Yoga Center.


I will be teaching a text योग याज्ञवल्क्य
yoga yājñavalkya next September at Chicago Yoga Center.

I am planning to go to India towards the end of this year and stay there for a few months. I am scheduled to teach Samkhya Karika for 5 days at Yoga Vahini in Chennai between Jan 3 to Jan 7 in 2018 and then 100 hr Teacher Training program in Vinyasakrama yoga (60 hrs Vinyasakrama asanas 20 hr pranayama and yoga for Internal Organs and 20 hrs yoga sutras) from Feb 15th for 15 days again at Yoga Vahini Chennai. I will also be teaching Bhagavatgita for 10 days (50hrs) at Om Yoga at Vasanth Vihar in New Delhi from March 6, 2018. The links for details and registration are available in my website


I am also likely to do a weekend program in Germany, May 2018 to be confirmed.


*****

Summer 2015 I taught a 25 hr Bhagavat gita program in Los Angeles during which I covered about 10 of the 18 chapters. It was organized by my yoga friends Sara Mata and Arun Deva. The whole program was video-graphed by my friends Lisa Leeman, Kija Manhare and Neerad Reddy. Now my friend and yoga teacher Jacquelin Sonderling has painstakingly edited and produced two videos of the II chapter running for about three hours total. I was able to add it to my You Tube Playlist and here are the links


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प्रत्यय pratyaya (state of mind)

The term pratyaya is found in Patanjali's yoga sutra in sutras I-10,I-18,I-19, II-20,III-2, III-12,III-17, III-19 and III-35,IV-27 . Pratyaya or pratyayam is prati + ayam or ayam prati pratyayam. While prati itself has different shades of meaning it is here 'to' or 'towards' and ayam is 'this'. Since this word is used in the context of the mind or citta many scholars refer to pratyaya as a state of citta or mental state at a given moment. Some scholars relate pratyaya to cittavritti itself. In YS II-20 referred to above, while describing purusha or drashta the consciousness/Self, Patanjali explains it as prataya anupasyah or one who completely sees the pratyaya. We know purusha or cit follows the cittavritti. According to Patanjali the innumerable cittavrittis are grouped into five. However a detailed interpretation of pratyaya can be found in Samkhya especially samkhyakarika. Samkhya is a sibling (philosophy) of yoga and both are said to derive their inspiration from the vedas. Samkhya is a thorough and unique evidence based philosophical system and yoga develops on the samkhya framework.

Let us see what the Samkhyas have to say about pratyaya. We must recognize that the classification of pratyayas by Samkhyas is to help recognizing those favorable pratyayas that help to understand the whole samkhya tatvas (25 panca vimsati) especially the important purusha or jnaH, which is the means of overcoming the three types of grief (duhkha) referred to by both yogis and samkhyas. The pratyayas according to Samkhyas as enunciated by Iswarakrishna in his Samkhya Karika are 50 in number ( as against the five groups of cittavritis of Patanjali) which itself is grouped into 4 categories. Again out of the 4 categories only one is favorable to the spiritual aspirant like samkhyas and yogis. What are the 4 categories?

First of all is the group known as viparyaya pratyayas. Viparyaya as is known from patanjala yoga is believing falsehood as true, a la believing fake news as factual or the classic mistake that the body mind complex is the self -- a universal misconception berated by samkhyas, yogis and vedantins-- and not the consciousness/purusha. . Viparyayas are klesas as avidya and its four off shoots, asmita (I -feeling with the body mind complex) raga (intense attachment) dvesha (enmity) and then abhinivesa (fear especially of death). The five viparyayas are explained differently by other darsanas and scholars as tamas (darkness 8 shades), moha (delusion 8 shades), mahamoha (intense delusion 10) , tamisra (gloom 18 fold) andhatamisra (panic also 18).

The next group of pratyayas is known as tushti. It is a state of complacence, compromise or a mental state of 'rising with the tide and rolling with the punches'. Even having heard of the nature of the Self by listening to samkhya yoga or vedanta one may not be proactive. That state of mind or pratyaya is of nine types, four internal and five with external objects. Having a second hand knowledge of the self (paroksha) one may make no further efforts to know directly (aparoksha) through appropriate efforts like antaranga sadhana as in Rajayoga. The attitude that I have heard about the nature of prakriti and purusha and prakriti will bring about kaivalya in due course is called prakriti tushti. This can be extrapolated to mundane activities. as well. The second tushti is called upadana or trying to pay attention only to the external means for kaivalya. Having understood that the external universe is full of pain as mentioned by samkhya yoga and vedanta, one may decide to become a renunciate or a bairagi (vairagi) taking on the life of a sanyasi. Here there is no further attempt to get to know the atman by antaranga yoga but following the niyamas of a recluse like wearing orange or other color robes, leaving home and becoming a nomad, and showing other external signs as having a staff, shaving the head (mundi) or the other opposite, having long matted hair (jati) or having a tuft (shikhi). The belief that merely becoming a recluse and following the niyamas will somehow get one to kaivalya is the second internal complacency. Next is the complacency that kaivalya will happen in due course. “Time will solve all the problems”. With this tushti pratyaya one may remain content. The fourth adhyatma tushti (internal contentment) is depending on luck or bhagya. If I am lucky I will get Kaivalya, one day I will hit the spiritual jackpot.

The contentment with the outside universe is of five types. Once the bookish knowledge of the atman and prakriti takes place in an individual one may become complacent with the activities to be done. Different scholars explain these differently. One approach is to look at the duhkha the external world produces to the individual and deciding to put up with it, grin and bear it. One example given is this. Finding that earning the means of livelihood like money and possession is strenuous one may stop working to earn money and decide to live in poverty. (arjane duhkham) Then even if you earn and save, protecting it is duhkha (rakshnae duhkham). Once you save and start using it it becomes depleted and that also is a source of sorrow (jirne duhkham) Wastage or loss due to theft or taxes is another duhkha and finally acquisition usually causes injury to other beings. Some scholars refer to the five senses and developing dispassion towards the objects of the five senses as they do not produce permanent satisfaction and require more and more efforts for the same satisfaction. These nine pratyayas called tushti pratyaya do not per se lead to the ultimate goal of kaivalya state where the three types of duhkha (adhyatmika aadhi daivika and aadhi bhoutika) are permanently and definitively removed. These tushti pratyayas are impediments to achieving the goal- spiritual or even mundane.

The next set of pratyayas are the favourable ones to remove the three groups of pain or sorrow. There are called siddhi pratyaya or those mental states conducive to leading one to kaivalya or freedom from three types of duhkha definitively and for ever. Yogis are familiar with Siddhi and Patanjali explains a number of siddhis in his yoga sutras. The mother of all siddhis however is the direct perception (yougika pratyaksha) of the unwavering consciousness the Purusha or self. Here also siddhis refer to the mental states that lead to that kaivalya and also the very state of the mind in kaivalya. So the eight siddhis are divided into the principal (mukhya) and contributory (gaunya). The principal ones are three the state of kaivalya in which the three duhkhas—duhkhas due to one's body/mind, those due to other creatures and then those caused by acts of god. The means of attaining everlasting freedom are according to samkhyas five more. One is 'uha' or reasoning and contemplation. This would also include the whole group of internal practises the yogis are familiar with. Once an aspirant gets all the information, one has to thoroughly analyze and internalize. There is the classical example of Bhrugu the son of Varuna in the Taittiriya upanishad which contains the pancha kosa vidya which again yogis are familiar with. Bhrugu who came to know about the Brahman the ultimate reality sought his father's help to completely understand it, know it, directly experience it. The father gives a leading definition of Brahman as the one from which everything is created by which everything is sustained and finally into which everything merges. This is called tatasta lakshna or path showing instruction. Here the father, Varuna acted truly as an Acharya or one who is showing the path rather than carrying his son/disciple on his shoulders. The well known story is that Bhrugu in five steps realizes the true nature of Brahman by rejecting the five layers of the physical self of body, prana, mind (indriyas), intellect and emotion as not the real self. Thus it could be seen that the individual yogic mental effort called 'uha' by the Samkhyas is absolutely necessary to reach the ultimate sorrow free state of kaivalya. It may be said that the mental states of complete individual efforts, independent reasoning—sometimes not even found in texts-- would come under Uha. The other helpful mental states in this direction would be sabda or basically hearing the exposition of texts like Samkhya. Adhyayana is study of the vedas especially the philosophical portions like the upanishads and texts like samkhya . Dana is paying appropriate guru dakshina and studying with a competent teacher. Suhrit prapti is the right samkhya knowledge obtained from friends including family tradition. These nine pratyayas are favorable pratyayas or mental states for the one who is looking for a way to overcome the three types of perennial pain that the samkhyas yogis and vedantis urge one to permanently and definitively eradicate within one's lifetime.

The remaining 28 pratyayas are termed asakti or depravity / weakness pratyayas. Of these, pertaining to indriyas are 11. Since the weakness or impairment of indriyas also affect the intellect or state of the mind these are considered 11 weakness pratyayas of the mind or states of mind. If the mind is not in a state of tushti (nine as detailed earlier) or sidhhi (eight listed above) they are also considered to be weakness of the mind. So in all we have 42 states of mind --5 viparyayas ( faulty understanding), 28 asaktis (infirmities) and 9 tushtis (complacent) which are considered unfavorable states of mind or pratyayas and considered impediments (ankusa) for the development of pratyayas that are favorable to removing the three fold miseries which have been described as siddhi pratyayas.

As mentioned earlier Patanjali uses the term pratyaya in his yogasutras. He defines the purusha or the 'subject' as drashta or seer who merely sees (drisimatrah), suddha is untarnished by any of the gunas
द्रष्टा दृशिमात्रः शुद्धोपि प्रत्ययानुपश्यः
draṣṭā dṛśimātraḥ śuddhopi pratyayānupaśyaḥ

And then it always sees the object in the form of pratyaya or mental state. We consider the physical person as the self and the outsides things as objects. But according to Patanjali the subject is not the body mind complex but the unchanging consciousness called purusha and the object is one pratyaya at a time, one of the 50 states of the mind (No object of the outside world is known directly. Everything is reduced to a pratyaya or cittavritti which is overseen by the subject purusha). Of these 8, the siddhi pratyayas or mental states are favourable (from the viewpoint of samkhyas and yogis). The other 42 pratyayas made up of 5 viparyaya (incorrect understanding), 9 tushtis (complacency) and 28 asaktis (infirmities) are impediments for spiritual pursuits..even for mundane pursuits.
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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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