Some Light on Yoga Practice (Part II) by Swami Krishnananda

Baba Times Digest© | 17 March 2014 17:19 EST | New York Edition

Some Light on Yoga Practice (Part II)

Divine Life Society Publication: Chapter 6 The Essence of the Aitareya and Taittiriya Upanishads by Swami Krishnananda

 “Yoga is union with the ultimate state of things, not with things as they appear.”

(Click here to read Part I)

If The Absolute is everything, what am I withdrawing myself from?

Sometimes doubts arise in the mind. “From what am I withdrawing the mind? If Brahman is everywhere, if the Absolute is everything, whatever I think in the mind is the Absolute only. So what is it that I am withdrawing myself from? If I think of some object, it is a shape of the Absolute. It is a form taken by Brahman. So am I withdrawing the mind from Brahman itself, while my intention is the realization of Brahman? What is self-control?” These doubts may come to the mind of even experienced sadhakas or seekers.

It is true that the Absolute is everything. The Supreme Being is manifest as all these things. The Absolute, or Brahman, is the Atman; it is not a vishaya, or an object of sense. So when we look upon this wall as an object outside, it has ceased to be the Absolute, though it is true that ultimately, in its essence, it is that. The mistake is not in the substance of the object as such, or the astitva or existence of the object, but in the nama and the rupa, the name and the form of the object, which is the effect of the externalization or the separation of the object from our consciousness.

Name and form

Name and form have to be distinguished from the existence, or pure being, of the object. This shape of mine has risen on account of the space and time factors interfering with the being that I am. When I say there is a vessel or a pot, what I actually speak of is the shape which the substance has taken; it is not the substance itself that I am referring to, because that substance is elsewhere also, not only here. This particular shape, pot, is the space-time factor involved in that substance we call clay. So the entire problem is due to space-time. It is not due to the substance as such.

Thus, the interference of the so-called factors of space-time in the substance of the Absolute is the cause of the manifestation we call this vast universe. Therefore, self-control, control of the senses, mind control, yoga practice, whatever it is, is not a withdrawal of the mind from the substance of the object, which is the selfhood of things, but from the name and the form which are the external characters of the object.


Space and time are part and parcel of our experience itself and, therefore, we cannot say anything about them. They are expressional habits of the mind, they are the factors which pull consciousness in a particular direction called externality, and yoga practice is nothing but the subdual of the character of the mind from its movement in terms of space and time.

So the control of the mind, or withdrawal of the senses, is a very difficult task. We are always told by religions that we have to renounce things and the world in order to reach God. But we renounce the substance itself, together with the name and the form. This is a mistake arising on account of the incapacity of the mind to distinguish between the name and form, and the existence as such.

It is not the world that we have to reject. The worldness in the object, the externality in the object, and the non-selfhood, anatmatva, in things have to be thrown off. We think that to leave the house and to go to a forest is renunciation. Even in the forest, we are in the world; the world has not gone out of us. The idea that there is a world outside us is to be abrogated. A little closing of the eyes, a little japa and a little breathing will not make us a yogi. The intellect is a terrible hindrance; it will never allow us to grasp the truth of things.

Yoga proper is an internal psychological technique

It is the most difficult of things to conceive because the mind thinks of an object even in the act of rejecting the object. The objectness does not leave us, just as when we love a person or thing, we think of that person; and when we hate that person also we think of him. Merely because we hate a thing, it does not mean that it has gone out of our mind. So, even renunciation may be a bondage. The problems are not outside. They are not in the world; they are not caused by people; we are our problems.

This habit of thinking in terms of non-self, anatman, externality, space and time has to be removed. Then the world becomes something not intended to be rejected but absorbed into our Self, because the astitva, or the being of the world, is the Atman of the Absolute, which is the same as ours.

The ultimate Purusha is supposed to be realized by an internal movement, which is not a movement towards a place or some object. The movement to God does not mean movement in space; it is a conscious transfiguration that is taking place inwardly. It is a universalisation that is taking place gradually, which looks like an inwardness on account of the Atmanhood present there. This is yoga.

Grace of God

We are in a world of great complexities, diversities and misconceptions which sidetrack us every moment of time. Every thought that arises in our mind is a wrong thought. Correct thought very rarely comes to us, because we have no time to think correctly, as we are always moving in the same old groove of traditional thinking. The actual reoriented thinking is unknown to us. We are always busy—and that has engulfed us in such an intensity and to such an extent that we are immersed in it. And in that immersed condition we are crying for God, and He does not come. So it requires ultimately the grace of God Himself.

By some mystery of the workings of nature, as it were, divine hands begin to operate and grace descends, and we are brought in contact with a proper Guru or a teacher. Contact with a proper Guru is really coming in contact with God Himself. This is a great achievement, and again this is the work of God.

Excerpts from:

Some Light on Yoga Practice – Chapter 6 The Essence of the Aitareya and Taittiriya Upanishads by Swami Krishnananda

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