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Yoga & Meditation -  Short daily meditations | Raja Yoga - Control of the mind – The Science of Religion: - Contents |  An Introduction to Raja Yoga:  Introduction to Raja Yoga | The first steps in Raja Yoga – Swarmini Vivekananda: First steps in Raja Yoga The control of energy or Prana by Pranayama: Raga Yoga & the power of Prana |  The next step is Pratyahara.to concentrate the mind: Pratyahara & Dharana |  Samadhi the state of super-consciousness: Dhyana & SamadhiAn explanation of what Raja Yoga is: Raja Yoga in brief translated from the Kurma Purana | Listern and relax to -  Meditation Radio

PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA. - 6:

~ Mediation and Thoughts by Swarmi Vivekanada ~

THE next step is called Pratyahara. What is this? You know how perceptions come. First of all there are the external instruments, then the internal organs, acting in the body through the brain centres, and there is the mind. When these come together, and attach themselves to some external thing, then we perceive that thing. At the same time it is a very difficult thing to concentrate the mind and attach it to one organ only; the mind is a slave. We hear “be good” and “be good” and “be good” taught all over the world. There is hardly a child, born in any country in the world, who has not been told “do not steal,” “do not tell a lie,” but nobody tells the child how he can help it. Talking will never do it. Why should he not become a thief? We do not teach him how not to steal; we simply tell him “do not steal.” Only when we teach him to control his mind do we really help him. All actions, internal and external, occur when the mind joins itself to certain centres, which centres are called the organs. Willingly or unwillingly it is drawn to join itself to the centres, and that is why people do foolish deeds and feel misery, which, if the mind were under control, they would not do. What would be the result of controlling the mind? It then would not join itself to the centres of perception, and, naturally, feeling and willing would be under control. It is clear so far. Is it possible? It is perfectly possible. You see it in modern times; the faith-healers teach people to deny misery and pain and evil. Their philosophy is rather roundabout, but it is a part of Yoga into which they have somehow stumbled. In those cases where they succeed in making a person throw off suffering by denything it they have really taught a part of Pratyahara, as they have made the mind of the person taught strong enough to refuse to take up the record of the senses.The hypnotists in a similar manner, by their suggestion, excite in the patient a sort of morbid Pratyahara for the time being. The so-called hypnotic suggestion can only act upon a diseased body and a clouded mind. And until the operator, by means of fixed gaze or otherwise, has succeeded inputting the mind of the subject in a sort of passive, morbid condition, his suggestions never work.

 

Now the control of the centres which is established in a hypnotic patient or the patient of faith-healing, for a time, is utterly reprehensible, because it leads to ultimate ruin. It is not really controlling the brain centres by the power of one’s own will, but is, as it were, stunning the patient’s mind for a time by sudden blows which another’s will delivers to it. It is not checking by means of reins and muscular strength the mad career of a fiery team, but rather by asking another to deliver heavy blows on the heads of the horses, to stun them for a time into gentleness. At each one of these processes the man operated upon loses a part of his mental energies, and, at last, the mind, instead of gaining the power of perfect control, becomes a shapeless, powerless mass, and the only goal of the patient is the lunatic asylum. Every attempt at control which is not voluntary, not with the controller’s own mind, is not only disastrous, but it defeats the end. The goal of each soul is freedom, mastery, freedom from slavery of matter and thought, mastery of external and internal nature. Instead of leading towards that, every will current from another, in whatever form it comes to men, either as direct control of my organs, or as forcing me to control them while under a morbid condition, only rivets one link more to the already existing heavy chain of bondage of past thoughts, past superstition. Therefore, beware how you allow yourselves to be acted upon by others. Beware how you unknowingly lead another to ruin. True, some succeed in doing good to many for a time, by giving a new trend to their propensities, but at the same time, they bring ruin to millions by the unconscious hypnotic suggestions they throw around, rousing in men and woman that morbid, passive, hypnotic condition which makes them almost soulless at last. Whosoever, therefore, asks anyone to believe blindly, or drags mankind behind him through controlling it by his superior will is an injurer to humanity, though he may not have intended it. Therefore use your own minds, control body and mind yourselves, remember that until you are a diseased person, no extraneous will can work upon you, and avoid everyone, however great and good he may be, who asks you to blindly believe. All over the world there have been dancing, and jumping, and howling sects who spread like infections when they begin to sing and dance and preach; they also come under this heading. They exercise a singular control for the time being over sensitive persons, alas, often, in the long run, to degenerate whole races. Aye, it is healthier for the individual or the race to remain wicked than to be made apparently good by such morbid extraneous control. One’s heart sinks to think of the amount of injury done to humanity by such irresponsible, yet well-meaning religious fanatics. They little know that the minds which attain to sudden spiritual upheaval under their suggestions, with music and prayers, are simply making themselves passive, morbid, and powerless, and opening themselves to any other suggestion, be it ever so evil. Little do those ignorant, deluded persons dream that whilst they are congratulating themselves upon their miraculous power to transform human hearts, which power they think was poured upon them by some Being above the cloud, they are sowing the seeds of some future decay, of crime, of lunacy, and of death.    

RAJA YOGA PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA

 Therefore, beware of everything that takes away your freedom. Know that it in dangerous, and avoid it by all the means in your power. He who has succeeded in attaching or detaching his mind to or from the centres at will has succeeded in Pratyahara, which means “gathering towards,” checking the outgoing powers of the mind, freeing it from the thraldom of the senses. When we can do this we really possess a character, then alone shall we have made a long step towards freedom; before that we are mere machines. How hard it is to control the mind! Well has it been compared to the maddened monkey. There was a monkey, restless by his own nature, as all monkeys are. As if that were not enough, someone made him drink freely of wine, so that he became still more restless. Then a scorpion stung him. When a man is stung by a scorpion he jumps about for a whole day, so the poor monkey found his condition worse than ever. To complete his misery a demon entered into him. What language can describe the uncontrollable restlessness of that monkey? The human mind is like that monkey; incessantly active by its own nature, then it becomes drunk with the wine of desire, thus increasing its turbulence. After desire takes possession comes the sting of the scorpion of jealously of others whose desires meet with fulfilment, and last of all the demon of pride takes possession of the mind, making it think itself of all importance. How hard to control such a mind!


RAJA YOGA PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA


The first lesson, then, is to sit for some time and let the mind run on. The mind is bubbling up all the time. It is like that monkey jumping about. Let the monkey jump as much as he can; you simply wait and watch. Knowledge is power says the proverb, and that is true. Until you know what the mind is doing you cannot control it. Give it the full length of the reins; many most hideous thoughts may come into it; you will be astonished that it was possible for you to think such thoughts. But you will find that each day the mind’s vagaries are becoming less and less violent, that each day it is becoming calmer. In the first few months you will find that the mind will have a thousand thoughts, later you will find that it is toned down to perhaps seven hundred, and after a few more months it will have fewer and fewer, until at last it will be under perfect control, but we must patiently practice every day. As soon as the stream is turned on the engine must run, and as soon as things are before us we must perceive; so a man, to prove that he is not a machine, must demonstrate that he is under the control of nothing. This controlling of the mind, and not allowing it to join itself to the centres, is Pratyahara. How is this practices. It is a long work, not to be done in a day. Only after a patient, continous struggle for years can we succeed. The next lesson depends on this. After you have practiced the Pratyahara for a time, take the next step, the Dharana, holding the mind to certain points. What is meant by holding the mind to certain points? Forcing the mind to feel certain parts of the body to the exclusion of others. For instance, try to feel only the hand, to the exclusion of other parts of the body. When the Chitta, or mind-stuff, is confined and limited to a certain place, this is called Dharana. This Dharana is of various sorts, and along with it, it is better to have a little play of the imagination. For instance, the mind should be made to think of one point in the heart. That is very difficult; an easier way is to imagine a lotus there. That lotus is full of light, effulgent light. Put the mind there. Or think of the lotus in the brain as full of light, or of the different centres in the Susumna mentioned before. The Yogi must always practice. He should try to live alone; the companionship of different sorts of people distracts his mind; he should not speak much because to speak distracts the mind; nor work much, because too much work distracts the mind; the mind cannot be controlled after a whole day’s hard work. One with such a determination becomes a Yogi. Such is the power of good that even the least done will bring a great amount of benefit. It will not hurt anyone, but will benefit everyone. First of all it will tone down nervous excitement, bring calmness, enable us to see things more clearly. The temperament will be better, and the health will be better. Sound health will be one of the first signs, and a beautiful voice. Defects in the voice will be changed. This will be among the first of the many effects that will come. Those who practice hard will get many other signs. Sometimes there will be sounds, as a peal of bells heard at a dist`nce, #ommingling, and falliNg on the ear as one continuots sound. Sometimes things will be seen, little specks of light floatine and becoming bigger and bigger, and when these things come, know dhat you are progressing very fast Those who want to be Yogis, and practice tery hard, must take a littl% care of their diet at first. Those who want to Make very rapid progress, if they can livd on milk alone for some monthc, and cereals, will find it an advantage. But for those who want only a little practice for every day business sort of life, let them not eat too much, but otherwise they may eat whatever they please. For those who want to make faster progress, and to practice hard, a strict diet is absolutely necessary. As the organisation becomes finer and finer, at first you will find that the least things throws you out of balance. One bit of food more or less will disturb the whole system, and then you will be able to eat whatever you like. You will find that when you are beginning to concentrate, the dropping of a pin will seem like a thunderbolt going through your brain. The organs get finer, and the perceptions get finer. These are the stages through which we have to pass, and all those who persevere will succeed. Give up all argumentation and other distractions. Is there anything in this dry intellectual jargon? It only throws the mind off its balance and disturbs it. These things have to be realised. Will talking do that? So give up all vain talk. Read only those books which have been written by persons who have had realisation. Be like the pearl oyster. There is a pretty Indian fable to the effect that if it rains when the star Svati is in the ascendant, and a drop of rain falls into an oyster, that drop will become a pearl. The oysters know this, so they come to the surface when that star shines, and wait to catch the precious rain-drop. When one falls into the shell, quickly the oyster closes it and dives down to the bottom of the sea, there to patiently develop the drop into the pearl. We should be like that. First hear, then understand, and then, leaving all distractions, shut our minds to outside influences, and devote ourselves to developing the truth within us. There is the danger of frittering away our energies by taking up an idea only for its novelty, and then giving it up for another that is newer. Take one thing up and do it, and see the end of it, and before our have seen the end, do not give it up. He who can become mad upon an idea, he alone will see light. Those that only take a nibble here and there will never attain anything. They may tittilate their nerves for a moment, but there it will end. They will be slaves in the hands of nature, and will never get beyond the senses.

RAJA YOGA PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA

Those who really want to be Yogis must give up, once for all, this nibbling at things. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giant are produced. Others are mere talking machines. If we really want to be blessed, and make others blessed, we must go deeper, and, for the first step, do not disturb the mind, and do not associate with persons whose ideas are disturbing. All of you know that certain persons, certain places, certain foods, repel you. Avoid them; and those who want to go to the highest, must avoid all company, good or bad. Practice hard; whether you live or die it does not matter. You have to plunge in and work, without thinking of the result. If you are brave enough, in six months you will be a perfect Yogi. But, for others, those who take up just a bit of it, a little of everything, they get no higher. It is of no use to simply take a course of lessons. Those who are full of Tamas, ignorant and dull, those whose minds never get fixed on any idea, who only crave for something to entertain them—religion and philosophy are simply entertainments to them. They come to religion as to an entertainment, and get that little bit of entertainment. These are the unpersevering. They hear a talk, think it very nice, and then go home and forget all about it. To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. “I will drink the ocean,” says the persevering soul. “At my will mountains will crumble up.” Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.

PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA. - 6:

~ Mediation and Thoughts by Swarmi Vivekanada ~

Yoga & Meditation -  Short daily meditations | Raja Yoga - Control of the mind – The Science of Religion: - Contents |  An Introduction to Raja Yoga:  Introduction to Raja Yoga | The first steps in Raja Yoga – Swarmini Vivekananda: First steps in Raja Yoga The control of energy or Prana by Pranayama: Raga Yoga & the power of Prana |  The next step is Pratyahara.to concentrate the mind: Pratyahara & Dharana |  Samadhi the state of super-consciousness: Dhyana & SamadhiAn explanation of what Raja Yoga is: Raja Yoga in brief translated from the Kurma Purana | Listern and relax to -  Meditation Radio