The ancient treatise „Yogatattva Upanishad” identifies four fundamental groups of yoga systems, which are useful in the Dark Age or Kali Yuga in which humanity currently is. The pattern of these four systems is so universal that all authentic spiritual schools will have to be constructed in a similar way, in order to be able to effectively serve those departing on the return journey. Description of the systems contains simply next stages of learning and practice that must be passed by every soul which will take direction to the world of spirit.
Here’s a secret list of the four basic spiritual paths:
MANTRA YOGA – union by the vibration of sound;
HATHA YOGA – union by the harmony of opposites;
LAYA YOGA – union by the absorption of emanation;
RAJA YOGA – union by the pleasure of duty.
According to the teachings of the ancient Sages (Rishis), every existing Spiritual School must be built according to the order and laws of one of the four systems. So we have four models of the spiritual path. Other patterns and rules in the Kali Yuga simply do not exist and are of no use.
The final goal of any system is the same. In each of the schools it is defined by the same word – SAMADHI. All other forms of yoga are either systems complementary to one of the four above mentioned forms, or other names for any of the four major systems described by the ancient Rishis.
Now we will discuss the first of the four systems, and we will talk about the others on other occasions, in similar publications. In this Dark Age the easiest form of yoga to practice is MANTRA YOGA. This system is the most common and easiest to use for a man of the modern era. Each subsequent of the systems is more difficult, and therefore less useful to society. This makes it easy to understand that Raja Yoga is the most elite, and so rarely encountered. So let’s look at the School of Mantras to understand how the easiest of spiritual paths looks like.
Mantra Yoga is associated with NAMA-RUPA world, the world of names and forms. The word „mantra” means sacred chants, melodic recitations, prayers, and also mystical words like OM – primary mantra in yoga or HU – fundamental vibration in the spiritual school of Sufis. Once we understand that all sacred religious chants and all prayers belong to the system of Mantra Yoga, we will see how widespread this spiritual path actually is!
Sometimes one can meet spiritual fraudsters who prohibit doing mantric exercises. They are in fact forbiding to pray. One can imagine where this ban on prayer leads to! Human mind, or better – psyche, is not able to achieve anything without the help of names and shapes, without the use of names and forms. Mantra Yoga uses this „defect” or rather the limitation of the mind as a virtue and advantage, and by the names (mantra sounds) and shapes (images, symbols) allows the mind to finally achieve what is Nameless and Formless.
Mantra – means 'the protection in sound”, it is speaking and power of the spoken word, as well as Christian activists „specialized” in study of yoga say, „spell”. Well! A prayer spoken neatly brings results. And that is why sometimes it appears to be magic! Jesus, for example, taught his disciples a prayer, which is called the „Lord’s Prayer”. He instructed them to pray these words, which He gave. And today, almost no one knows that beautiful prayer of His. For whom of Christians would like to learn a few phrases in Aramaic? This is the way the power of prayer is getting lost. Mantra in fact, is the power of „the protection in sound.” Naive ones think, that the translation is sufficient, unfortunately, they are only half right. Translation, if correct, gives only as shape (image), and unfortunately it usually does not give vibrations of original names, i.e. power of sound. And in this, very sad way, Christians usually never have anything to do with the prayer known as the „Our Father”. A pity, because it is really beautiful and powerful when it sounds as mantra as Jesus taught it.
The core „Man” of the word „mantra” means a sound, as well as a mind or a human. The second core in this complex word is „Tra” which means liberation, salvation, and getting rid of something. Another important meaning of the word „Tra” is protecting. We can now try to understand the broad scope of the word „Mantra„.
You can understand the mantra as a freeing sound, liberating and protecting, as well as releasing sound – ie causing to get rid of something (meaning impurities and obstacles). You can understand the mantra as liberating the mind (manas), or as saving mind, and finally freeing you out of your mind. You can also understand it as liberation or salvation of man, as well as getting rid of a man. Therefore Mantra performs important work in the area of Manas – the mind, mental human vibration. Probably because of that it is so fundamental practice amid other techniques of Mansa Sadhana (see Hrid. 16).
Classical Yoga by Maharshi Patanjali in its basic, preliminary practice uses sound called PRANAVA. It is an exercise of fundamental importance, without which it is impossible to talk about the beginning of any yoga practice. VERSES from 27 to 29 in the first chapter of Yogasutras explain exactly what Pranava does and how it should be practiced. Trifold sound AUM is defined as the eternal vibration of all forms of energy, as pre-sound. Science of Pranava builds on the science of IŚVARA (verses J.I.21-J.I.26). We need to know that what we achieve in the process of Self-realization (Sampradjnata) is in yoga described exactly as Iśvara. Iśvara is symbolically marked with the name of Pranava: AUM. Iśvara is invoked with AUM sound vibration, which merged into one sound seems to sound for the listener as OM or better as throaty Polish 'Ą’.
According to Yogasutras (I.29), practice of Pranava triggers two basic aspects in person aspiring to yoga:
1) it helps to achieve the inner self (cetana), feel the Lord i.e. Iśvara, and that also helps in deep internalization, referring to the internal properties of God, Self, the Ideal.
2) it results in disappearance of obstacles, or distractions of consciousness, which are nine (see J.I.30).
Classically, the whole science of mantra in yoga practice starts from vibrating Pranava – triad AUM. The practice is divided into three stages. In the first phase, the most vital one, one should repeat the syllable, and that repeating is called JAPA! This means both the loud repetition, singing, chanting and whispering. The second phase of work includes contemplation, generation or evocation the phenomenon of AUM in mind. This is so-called BHAVANA. The whole mind reverberates this one thought: AUM. If we think or reflect on something that is the AUM sound. In the third phase the inner sound is being discovered, resounding as vibration AUM. This is called. Anahatnadam – „Song of Return,” which aspirants can hear inside their heart. It reveals the true meaning of Pranava. In this way, the Arthabhavana as a pratice is becoming fulfilled. Listening takes place in the silence of quietness. One should note that subsequent stages of practice should be developed in their respective order, as given before.
Thus we have become familiar with the basics of the classic way of working with mantra and the basis of it, according to the classical teachings of what is AUM vibration. Word MANTRA as such is used in Yogasutras only once – at the beginning of the fourth chapter, discussing the ways of achievement of wonderful powers of God. This means that except for Pranava the Book of Yoga technically does not mention any other mantras. The term „mantra”, however, contains a „Word” in its meaning. This means that the WORD is this mysterious MANTRA. The ancients used to assign great importance to that what we call the way of pronouncing. Mantra Yoga can be best defined by the term: The Art of the Spoken Word. So this Yoga Book as it has been written using WORD is one big mantra, if of course, the words of it are pronounced according to the art of pronouncing words.
According to the science of the spoken word, Mantra affects the human being through the gate of SPEECH, ie. so-called VAK. The sphere or plane of vibration, sound, and also WORD is called Vakum. It is a plane of the attributes of the Supreme. Mantra as a speech, phrase or sound has the power to synchronize two other planes of human consciousness, that is: Kayam – outer shell, body, material plane and the Cittam – the inner layer, awareness and mental plan. In this way, mantra (speech) has the power to make impact on the body and psyche, on the matter and consciousness.
To say more, without the element of VAK, synchronous development and unification of the planes of Kayam and Chittam is not possible! Working with the mantra helps adepts in mastering and controlling both body and consciousness (psyche). Sphere of VAK (speech) is the HEART between what is outer and what is inner. Kayam sphere refers to the abdominal area, Chittam sphere relates to the head, and Vakam to the heart. Thus speech has a wide range of effects on human being. In deep Laya Yoga practices, the technique of working with mantra is explained as Mahamudra and Mahasandhi.
Laya Yoga, like the rest of the great systems of yoga, uses means of working with mantra as an essential part of its practices. The practice is divided into three major stages of work. The first of them is ŚABDHA MANTRA – otherwise Japa, or the loud repetition of word or phrase. That includes the practice of whispering. The second stage is ARTHA MANTRA – mental work of reflection and feeling the meaning and content of the mantra. We say by analogy to the first phase, that it is „remembering” of word or phrase. The third side of this work is PRATYAYANA MANTRA – receiving or feeling the echo of sound and thoughts from the depths of the inside. Otherwise – it is experiencing the energetic echo, the internal effect of repeating and remembering the mantra.
There is an important point related to work with a mantra (a word, phrase) which must be achieved in order to any practice of prayer, confirmation or practice could bring a deeper effect. Śabdha phrase and Artha should be practiced at the same time, once we mastered the two separately, ie one after the other. What does it mean in practice? Nothing special – it might seem – only that we say exactly what we think and think only what we say! And it is done at the same time. It is the practice of major importance, especially if one wants to achieve the miraculous powers on the path of MANTRA YANA – the Vehicle of Word, sound and speech.
The concept called Iśvaratan mantra or short Iśtamantra exists in Laya system. It is a word or phrase explaining and describing some property of Iśvara. It is the word by which we recall this property, we awaken it and nurture so it could blossom and give its fruits. Iśtamantra is practiced in connection with heart centre, because traditionally cardiac centre is considered an abode of Iśvara. Pranava vibration is considered to be a preliminary work to practice with Iśta!
Mantra Yoga as an independent system of yoga practice is realized in the form of a path in sixteen consecutive steps. Probably a lot of people practicing anything will be surprised to discover, that with everything they do, they are on one of the subsequent stages of Mantra yana.
In the world of Nama-Rupa exist all the spiritual and religious ideals and ideas. Therefore believing in anything and in any tradition, we are referring to the world of Nama-Rupa, the plan of archetypes and prototypes of all things. Each name reaches to the plan of Ideas.
Wherever there is action or movement, there always exists a vibration and sound. According to Mantra yana pre-sound or Prańava is a vibration/creative word, a word that creates. It refers to a condition in which there was a perfect balance, when our nature emerged from its original state of balance and when the process of CREATION began. Sounds of word AUM correspond respectively to three gunas – the original creative energies: inertia, activity and harmony. In other words, they correspond to three aspects of divinity: the birth, life and death. Vibration U is the life and activity, is the very heart of Pranava. Sufi tradition uses HU vibration, which is basically the sound 'U’ as the heart of all mantras.
Mantra yana introduces the concept of the primary sounds, also known as a seed sounds. It uses the term BIJA MANTRA. They can also be called: source sounds of nature (prakriti). There is, therefore, the whole world of subtle sounds, vibrations, which have the power to support the whole of our existence. Whereas Pranava corresponds to DIVINITY.
In system of Mantra yana adepts utilize the power of word according to canon of three basic methods:
- Vaćanik – verbal, loud repetition;
- Upanśa – half-verbal way, where only the speech organs vibrate the word, and no sound is audibly pronounced;
- Manasik – a mental, intellectual way, where the word is remembered or, if you prefer, repeated in mind.
Necessary addition to the practice of mantras is practice of so-called material form, imagination, what essentially is a contemplation of some holy form of Deity. Traditionally Mantra yana uses five FORMS. Images of Vishnu, Surya, Devi, Ganesha, Shiva, are used for this purpose. Vishnu figure corresponds to Messiah, Christ, in whole his shape and in inner meaning. Image of Surya corresponds to Sun. Image of Devi is otherwise the Great Mother or Mother of God. Ganeśa form corresponds to the concept: the Lord of Hosts. Idealization of person of Śiva introduces into the consciousness of the Supreme Absolute. Contemplating, visualization and worshiping one of such Forms is called Saguna-Dhyana. Let us remember, that for a fruitful practice of mantras such a technique is essential. The natural tendency of the mind is focusing on shape and form. Divine properties are symbolized by various forms of sacred deities.
It is worth noting that in terms of imagining a form, any teaching guru is Vishnu. Vishnu is the archetype of saviour saving humanity from drowning as a result of their own mistakes and sins. This is a liberating incarnation of God, Avatar – descending of guru who has the power to save. The idea of Vishnu in Vedanta is the same as the figure of Christ-the Messiah in Christianity.
Let us remember, therefore, that Mantra yana is essentially a combination of two techniques to practice: repeating the Word and visualizing the Form! The Name is linked to the Form and the Form to the Name. Whether one is practicing in the School of Yoga, or in the School of Sufi, or in any other, one should always remember that. A full cycle of the practice of mantra contains up to sixteen degrees, levels, through which have to pass those who genuinely and deeply work with the technique of sound, with the Word. Repeating itself, art of vibrating is of primary importance, while concentrating on shape and form is secondary. This does not mean, however, that the Form can be omitted, but only that it is introduced into practice as the second one after the other.
Vacanik – loud repeating, singing, melodic recitations – all this in the Sufi tradition, is referred to as ZIKR (DHIKR), which also means „repeating”. This means that mantra (Sufis call it: wasifa) should be first of all pronounced aloud! Let us remember that, because of that how much we will advance in loud repetition, depends whether we will have the effects of mental work, that is, effects of a technique called Manasik (Sufis call it FIKR – also remembering).
Upanśu – technique of half-verbal, silent repetition, which is quieter than a whisper, is used in Mantra yana for special work with organs of speech. Tongue is located not only in the mouth. Root, the very beginning of that organ is where the breath comes out of the lungs, that is at the height of breastbone and solar plexus. That is why it is said that the sound comes from the heart and is a technique for working with the heart centre. With Upanshu, vibration physically produced by the organs of speech, can more deeply affect the interior of the body and reach deeper into the area of the psyche and spirit. It is intermediate way between repeating and remembering.
Sixteenfold Path of Word
Let’s take a look at an overview of the entire path of Mantra yana, according to the way it used to be introduced by the ancient sages and how it is taught today by its guardians, ie by the lineage incorporating yoga as Mantra – The Power of the Spoken Word.
Sixteen degrees or levels can be divided into Four Circles, or Classes. In every Circle there are four degrees of the path of Vehicle of Mantras that constitute some kind of specific entirety, what we will see discussing the different stages separately, and after every four successive levels, summing up the whole Circle.
Act of worshiping, also act of devotion, fervent act of adoration, love for what we do. The feeling that we call Bhakti is the desire, longing and passion of our hearts. A tendency to devote completely to what we do or the one we are following is also an aspect of worship. Passionate pursuit of this ideal, which is behind the phrase we repeat, can bring us closer to the idea of Bhakti. Often one can hear the term Bhakti Yoga in relation to this first phase of practice which is actually introductory to Mantra Yoga. Bhaktas of different spiritual groups are in a fact adepts barely starting the spiritual journey on the path of Mantra yana, hence probably a great zeal and fervor at the root of faith, so typical for the novitiate. Bhakti is the novitiate on the path of mantra practice, where the zeal and dedication, as well as devotion and worship needs to be nurtured and developed.
Cultivating purity and purifying the body, mind and place of practicing worship. By preservation of the purity of the place of practice and by preservation of purity of the own being in the form of the body and psyche, we begin to be perfectly prepared to develop the sanctity, which in its essence is purity. Practice of MANTRAS (WASIFAS) is used to thorough cleansing of our person from all the contamination of material nature. If, therefore, we do not show any tendency to maintain cleanliness in the world in which we live, then why do we need purifying practices in the form of Mantras? The purity of the body is the habit of performing ritual washing of the whole body or its parts, also the tendency to eat pure food. The purity of the mind is the purity of intention and motivation, honesty and sincerity towards practice, teachers and path, as well as clean relationships with all the people we meet. The cleanliness of the interior is the foundation on which we build external cleanliness. Even Jesus repeats this commandment of purity, which may be the guiding note for adepts: „Be ye holy, for I am holy.”
The right way to sit, the right posture to perform the practice provided in the Mantra yana. The correct posture is sitting in a cross-legged position with straight back. Yoga calls this posture a sukhasana. The term specifying a seat in the cross-legged position, SUKHA, means pleasure, comfort, happiness, and prosperity. This means that sitting in this body posture is pleasant and comfortable for the practitioner! This posture brings a state of happiness, and also guarantees prosperity. So we have a simple exercise: „Sit with crossed legs, straighten your back, join your hands together and, most importantly, sit comfortably, pleasantly and experience the happiness of your sitting.” The term Sukhasana can be translated as „comfortable sitting”, „happy sitting” or „auspicious sitting”. Asana means not only a way to sit, but also a deeper attitude in the psychological sense. Therefore, cultivating asana means to maintain a posture in life that is comfort, pleasure, happiness and prosperity! This is the asana of the person who correctly practices Mantrayana.
4. PANĆANG SEVAN
After many preparations we have come to the right way of practicing. Everything that you meet here is done by devotees (bhaktas). So we have here practice of the sacred scriptures, we also have the custom of reciting sacred scriptures and singing hymns that adore the Form of the Godhead. However repetition of the holy names, or attributes of divinity, is the most important activity at this stage. SEVA means serving, pure, selfless and devoted work. While cultivating Sevan, we serve the spiritual ideal that embodies the path or ideal that has been set for us as our spiritual goal. Panchang simply means five, five ways of doing something. We serve with the whole body (with all its forces), with all our heart (all feelings) and with the whole mind (all thoughts), with all speech (all words) and with all the soul (with all spiritual powers). As part of the practice of chanting, we can mention that the full path of sound teaches 1008 vibrations of mantras, which are also called the Holy Names of Celestials. Nama-Rupa is at the same time Nama-Deva, or the Name of the Angel. For DEVA, or Celestial, or Deity, is nothing but an Angel. The name (Mantra) conceals the Shape (Rupa).
I. CIRLE OF LEARNING – AUL
The vehicle to cultivate holiness was taken if a person aspiring to the path decided to go out and fulfill all the initial lessons. AUL – means sanctification or cleansing. Bhakta is full of love and praise for God. He is characterized by trust, confidence and constant striving. His Bhakti is the highest respect and devotion at the same time, the total devotion and adoration. In its supreme state Bhakti is an absolute, total devotion (surrendering) to God so that the sense of separation between Bhakta and the Deity fades away. Bhakta and Divinity are becoming one and the same.
The unification of the Bhakti with the purity flowing from the inside, as well as with the right sitting and living posture is good preparation for a pure service as Aul, and finally to fulfill the tasks of the Circle of Learning. Any practice of chanting sutras and gathas, also bhajans – spiritual songs containing mantras, hymns of praise, visualizations of the Deity, reading and studying sacred texts – all of this should be done in the context of Bhakti, Shuddhi (Śuddhi) and Asanas. Such a Bhakta (Devotee) reaches his/her higher level of development, which is also the fulfillment of the first Circle – he/she becomes SEVAKA. You can see the whole of this work as a gradual transformation of a Bhakta into Sevaka.
In the mystical-religious sense, Sevan is serving the Deity or more deeply the God, whom each deity is the embodiment anyway. Sevan is therefore the Service. Promoting spiritual worship, celebrating ritual service, proper way to practice – this is a true internal image of Seva. The whole work, which could be called a pure service of the Deity-God, is an appropriate image of the concept of Seva.
Sometimes one meet Sevan interpretated as social service. Unfortunately, it is not appropriate meaning of the phrase. Serving the community is a spiritual aspect of Sevan as much as it is due to the need of the entirety of spiritual work. Activities such as the organization of social welfare, schools, kindergartens and the like are not the goal in themselves, let alone basis Sevan. They can however sometimes be part of the work of individual servants.
Traditionally, there are some elements of spiritual practice that is worth to know, to know how to transform oneself from a Bhakta to Seva. It is recommended to read or even better to listen to recitations of the holy scriptures as often as possible. In Mantra Yoga it is recommended, preferably on a daily basis, to read chapters of Bhagavad Githa. In particular, Chapter Fifteen as the most important of the entire book and chapter eighteen as the overall summary. The correct intonation of the original text has the same effect as Mantra. Delving into the meaning of a text is a visualization. A similar practice with text of Yogasutras by Patanjali highly recommended.
Prańava is recommended for daily practice in the morning (at dawn), preferably 108 times or at least 21 times. It is often recommended to chant a phrase that is specific to a particular system or a teacher. This is the general nature of japa. It is usually practiced twice a day for about half an hour. Such a special phrase is called the MAHAMANTRA by teachers of different school, as it is the leitmotif for the wchole School.
It is strongly recommended to attend the joint meetings of the group at least once a week. Of course, it would be best to meet daily for a worship. This is how disciples of Jesus worked, as per evidence contained in the Acts of the Apostles. At least once every two weeks devotees should meet together to listen to the teachings, read scriptures, learn chanting and reciting the books and get acquainted with the teachings of authorized readers of the tradition. Such a meeting is usually combined with devotion and it usually takes one and a maximum of two hours. Each aspirant of the Mantra (Wasifa) vehicle should participate at least four times a year, so once a quarter, in a larger group meeting on this practice, meeting which last for few days (at least two or three days to a week). Individual practice of Mantra (Wasifa) if one has been received, should be consulted with the Guide or his assistant at least twice a year (or every six months). Otherwise, progress will be doubtful.
Of course this is not all that could be said, but enough to get acquainted with the basics of the practice. Anyone can become AUL through active implementation of listed guides. All recommendations serve only one purpose: TO SUCCEED IN OUR PRACTICE!!! Welcome, thus, in the second class of study of the Mantra Yoga path, of course with full awareness, that for the time being it is a study about the subject, and not the study of a subject. Let us examine briefly the next steps of Mantras (Wasifas) Vehicle.
5. AĆARA (ACHIARA)
Here we recognize our own spiritual purpose in life, or in other words, we discover our mission, the mission hidden like a treasure in the chamber in depths of soul. The appropriate pattern or way of living appears.. The term Achara means literally the practice in terms of the practical application of something in contact with the world and its problems. Only at this stage of development of practice some form of work for the world and others can be expected from adept, which would result from his authentic spiritual work and a sense of mission, which is be done in life. It arises spontaneously. You can not squeeze that out of the depths of interior earlier, before the soul is not ready to give the fruit… The mission of the two different people can be extremely different from each other, although both of those are within one and the same Spiritual School.
You could say that Mantra (Wasifa) leads a dedicated devotee to the point at which he recognizes from the inside, intuitively, his inner mission, the purpose of which his whole presence on this earth serves. Life in all its form is subordinated to this goal. Here, an important note: this purpose is not accepted as an idea which comes from the outside, as an idea, which we submit to, as fanatical followers of different systems would like us to do. This objective emerges from the inner depths by itself.
In this way we become Aćarya – being who carries the divine mission and, what’s more, being that actively pursues this divine mission in everyday’s life. We may also be good candidates at this time to become Aćari in the sense of a person working for the mission of Spiritual School in which we practice. However, this only is one of the possible aspects of the whole of this work.
We will be also able to spontaneously respond to the challenges posed by our everyday life and all its situations. There is no state of confusion accompanying this. You can call it a spontaneous ability to apply spirituality and spiritual practice in practical way in everyday life, in the objective world.
Acharya may refer to the practical application of spiritual practice in everyday life situations, as well as realization of the inner mission, so that the entire life is subordinated or, if you prefer, dedicated to this goal, which was asleep in you from the beginning of creation.
Any person who follows the path of service and dedication must eventually reach a point where becomes devoted and serves to the inner divinity. But that has nothing to do with satisfying own selfish ambitions.
The next necessery step on the path of the Word is achieving great power of concentration. It is a total focus of the attention on the object of concentration, maintaining awareness of this, what we see, what we eat, what we talk about with total absorbtion on it. We can call it single-pointed mind. In practice, for the purpose of this path one is training the ability to maintain attention lasting for the lenght of twelve heartbeats, then for a period of twelve breaths on one thought. This thought is, of course, the phrase of Mantra kept in mind as a mental practice. The art of single-pointed concentration, focusing attention without interference from the mind, is very important before you begin the next stage of the journey. There is a whole rich set of attention focusing exercises for the purpose of the Path of the Word. A particular method of work is focusing attention on one particular Form of Deity given to practice: Vishnu, Surya, Devi, Ganesha and Shiva. Trataka – the art of staring at such ideal without interference from the mind, and with total absorption of the mind in this Shape and in its Energy is what actually should be practiced as a matter of priority. When we develop the ability to become absolutely focused on the selected object, then we are ready to continue the journey.
A common mistake is to choose to practice with other form than the one advised to the exercise by the teacher. For example, when we practice the Mantra associated with Shiva, a student rather than focusing on a form of Śiva choose Form of Jesus, or when we practice Name of Jesus, student starts to visualize the Form of Buddha. It is according to saying „he has one face to God and another for the devil.” In the first case, God is Shiva, and Jesus the devil. In the second case, Jesus is God, and Buddha the devil. Some adepts have a habit of such mixing Form and Mantras. At best, this leads to the abandonment of the practice, or the confusion of the senses, the mental chaos. We will not describe the worst case scenario in here. The principle of not mixing paths has here its deep meaning and application. One should always practice according to the instruction.
Sometimes a pseudo-religious fanatic is trying to create such mixed combinations when he/she participates in meetings of other spiritual traditions. He/she will reach mental confusion, increase of aversion, anger, pride and the like states, which will be obstacles to progress on the spiritual path. He/she will certainly not contribute in this way to salvation of himself/herself or others. So we should practice strong concentration according to the instructions received from the teachers.
7. DIVYA DEŚA SEVANA
All intermediate measures as well as the one helping in celebration of worship service are hidden in this concept. The soul is developing here its aspects of the priestly vocation. PUJA, or Worship is discovered as the main means of development. Adept becomes a ritualist. Worship is revealing its magical nature, and the connection with Divinity becomes completely objective experience.
Divya indicates completely divine type of person. Desha (Deśa) means a place, area or moment in time. It is also a manual or instruction received from the depths of consciousness of Deity. This level brings knowledge about the means and methods of creating areas of manifestation of person of the divine type. It is the ability to develop mandala sphere – the area of the energy of Deity.
Let us list the types of the means that help in services. During ceremonies we can see fire, water, emblems with symbols, images, sacred figurines, statues of holy teachers, gurus, and also so-called pithas – centres of focusing power and energy, such as the heart, stomach, third eye, and other. Sacrificial Altar, however, above all, does its intermediary function. Indeed altar is the place where are placed vessels with fire, and water, where are statues and paintings, emblems, and venerable teachers sit near it. Facing the altar, we finally practice concentration on selected pitha centers. All these are the most important means of spiritual devotional service and worship. It can be said that the servants of the altar or better the guards of the altar are those who realise their practice in this phase.
8. PRANA KRIYA
It is in its full extent learning to use the power of the Deity with his inner life and power. Adjusting the flow of this energy and its intelligent routing and placing are like two aspects of practice at this stage of the development of the practice of the Vehicle of Mantras / Wasifas. Therefore we distinguish pranayama – as the regulation of the power of life and breathing exercises that can help in pranayama and nyasa – placing prana in different parts of the body in accordance with its five types.
The word prana means „eternal life”, and kriya means the internal operation. So we have: the internal workings of eternal life. Unite in practice with the life of our Divinity, God. Any exercise with internal energy, which is obtained through meditation, belong to this level of work. This means that genuine priests – servants work with energy, which is a living power. The art of breathing helps greatly in the practice of Pranayama, because breath is the channel through which flows the greatest stream of energy. Nevertheless, the digestive tract is placed here in the second position (of importance), so appropriate nutrition for the development of the divine power is worth studying. Overall direction called raw foodism and also veganism in practice can be recommended on a par with longer posts.
The first breathing exercise that can recommended is staring into the idealized Form of the Deity and feeling that we absorb all the energy of the aura as the inhale, and while we exhale we are relaxing completely and allowing this energy to penetrate us and take control over us. With time, we will also learn to also accumulate the energy of Mantra and Form and consciously participate in the spiritual work of this divine aspect here on earth.
Guru Mantra yana teach that deeper achievements in the field of prana kriya depend on what is called a grace of Deity. We have to really show a lot of dedication and passionate service.
Regarding term nyasa we can remember five special directions of the flow of life force:
- APANA – is the exhale stream wandering with all the power of concentration to the lower abdomen, and more precisely to the base of the trunk and the coccyx area. The inhale as a concentrated beam of energy moves along the spine up. This is the first nyasa.
- UDANA – we move the energy flow with the inhale from the top through the skull, and during exhale we move the consciousness very high up. This is done with a feeling of continuous water flow from the top.
- SAMANA – is the exhale stream spreading from the navel to all sides of the body, even the furthest areas of the skin surface. Exhale develops the element of radiance. Inhale is usually a special focus on the element of fire.
- PRANA – is a current running in the area between the heart and the throat, nose and mouth. One works here with the energy of the heart and the soul. Continuity of the flow of energy is of fundamental importance.
- VYANA – is the kind of energy that constantly permeates the whole body. Breath has no direction, but becomes the all-pervading.
Special to each of the five types of energy are wonderful powers that accompany them.
II. ADVANCED CIRCLE OF LEARNING – BAUL
The Second Circle of Learning, as we can see is firm deepening of the work done in the Learning Circle. Who is the Baul? He is any doubt a dedicated devotee, but his practice has already developed a very tangible power, strength and might. You can call it a stage of use of power of Mantras / Wasifas, and a power that is far more powerful than any of expectations and perceptions about it. Baul transforms the human personality in the spiritual, luminous self. He is a man reaching to a place of peace. The human being develops selflessness and impersonality, becomes transcendental. Many paths points to achievement of transcendental consciousness, which is divine. The sense of “I” separate from the essence of God or Deity gradually diminishes.
The faith and trust without any doubts appear, the faith coming from experiencing a higher reality. At this stage, the soul transcendents he form and ritual through its knowledge and fulfillment. Great independence from rites comes. Baul can fit in any form of ritual. Freedom of the ritual is not about the rejection and hostility to religious services and ceremonies. On the contrary, independence from the Form of the Ritual lies in deep understanding of content and in ability to expressing oneself through every ritual ceremony.
Baul on his way gradually loses all convictions, opinions, judgments, prejudices, evaluations, beliefs, loses even point of view. There is a holistic perception of all the paths, methods and systems.
The largest obstacle on Baul’s development path is pride. In the form of a tendency to mutiny and opposing taking a form of proud and haughty vaunt, also as arrogance, PRIDE is a true demon that hinders progress. Especially dangerous if directed against the spiritual guides and teachers.
Humility is the real lesson to be worked in this phase of training on path of Mantras and Wasifas. Only the humble are able to rise high before the throne of spiritual Ideal also called Idam. From here they can start the next part of the journey.
So welcome at the threshold of the Third Class of Vehicle of Mantras and Wasifas. Four successive stages of practice contain a discussion of Mudra, Yajnya, Daan and Tapas, which is perhaps the most well-known in yoga circles concept from this Circle. So one by one …
Working with the gesture on a very sophisticated level. It is used to achieve complete knowledge of the psyche and the whole consciousness. It means above all a gesture of hand, but in a broader sense, it is a posture or attitude, also the power of the mood. The posture of Mudra is a symbolism of arrangement of whole arms, and the essence is a gesture of the hand. The whole posture is the background for mudra. You could say that mudra incorporates asana in itself.
Mudra means a seal of body and heart, and is a synonym for female partner of yogi or male Deity. Mudra stimulates pure energy of divine consciousness, which is called Kundalini and is considered a female partner of practiting sacrificer.
The basic physical form of Mudra is a gesture of bowing. This mudra means offering of oneself, devotion, greeting, and worship. BOW is a Mudra of humility and losing the self, or to say it better, it expresses the annihilation of illusion of being which is separate from God’s being.
Mudra as stamp expresses the whole spiritual achievement and allows through the channel of body to send power of this achievement to the whole plane of physical and astral-mental existence. There are many other gestures – seals giving the mood. Traditionally twenty four classic gestures representing the entire course Mudra are thaught. In this phase of the work one unites Mantra, Form and Mudra. This sophisticated vehicle of practice is called Mahamudra.
A common way to cultivate the practice of Mudras is holy DANCE, which is a called Kirtan or Sankirtana. It is understood as reciting or singing praise and worship to God with full faith in His grace. It is entirely focused contemplating the glory of God in the Form appearing as a Deity. This means that the sacred dance of Mudras accompanying Mantra is very sophisticated and advanced practice of devotees.
We can mention here the Dance of Shiva Mahadeva! Shiva is also worth remembering as standing long on one leg or sitting in position called the Cow (Gomukhasana). All of these are practices of Mudras.Through these practices the total control over the mind and the psyche develops.
Sacrificial Ritual, Devotion, celebrated according to the rhythm of cycles of nature, in harmony with the terms of the cosmos and nature. The main means assisting in carrying out this ritual is the burning flame of sacrificial fire, which burns wood, herbs, clarified butter, rice grains and other additives. The ritual is usually connected with the sacred singing, dancing, with bows or other practices. This ceremony is often the initiation dimension. The practitioner, however, at this stage holds up to three times a day ceremonies and rituals as one’s deep spiritual practice.
A sense of holiness, humility and deep gratitude mood are maintained during the ritual. The power of words and the sound are used with full awareness for the worship of God and His emanation in the Deity Form. In this way, Yajna (pronounced yajnya) is a deep spiritual exercise and an act of sacrifice.
The inner intention guiding Ritual is self-sacrifice, the rejection of all evil tendencies and inclinations, by throwing them into the sacrificial fire. Such intention always accompanies practice and is called the term Yagnam, which is also called the burning of filthiness of the world.
Yajnya, written also Yajna is often celebrated by the Sacrificer in Gomukhasana position as a means of ritual seating specifically designated for this type of Sacrificial Ritual.
Practicing Compassion and Grace. Commonly understood as Charity or Alms. We have here the sacrifice of worldly possessions, investments made for the cause of God or for the human race. It is never, however, pseudo-charity which consists in satisfying anyone’s selfish motives, desires and aspirations. When we’re ready to sacrifice any owned material goods for the sake of spiritual community, guru, God and still make so without regret, and with great inspiration, perhaps we’re ready to practice Daan. This can be called the Great Renunciation. Such attitude was of the disciples of Jesus, the apostles, who gave up everything completely surrendered to Him.
Benefaction has also its aspect of offering temporal goods for the use of the needy. However, there is a rule showing how to take care of the needy and who in particular. Feed the hungry, give drink to thirsty, clothe the naked, and give shelter to the homeless. This practice, however, rule out giving money to people begging. It does not apply to people who willingly choose idleness and vagrancy as a style of their life, and begging treat as a way of making a living. The exception is to care for the old and infirm persons. And here also applies to people genuinely needy. Charitable work is also about the teaching how to work, resourcefulness in life and honesty at the same time.
Creating charity homes, where one can get food, drink, clothing, and above all, a roof over a head is a sign of activity of great souls. Help of users of this services is however of paramount importance, and the work in exchange for help is the condition of use of such institutions, except of course those not able to work by way of a very severe disability. In this way, the blessing of God is flowing.
Great work, the Daan aspect, is also supporting or better arranging the creation of new places of spiritual worship, building temples, and protection of ancient sacred sites and promotion of religious and spiritual movements. Many students at this stage of practice develops this aspect of work dedicating for this purpose all of their energy and resources…
Here the person reaches the plane of divine discipline and development of power of will, which is beyond the limits of human understanding. Enormous self-discipline and self-restraint, extreme renunciation and total self-sacrifice are winning the grace of God. The heat of self-restraint worthily defines the activities of students in every field of their human existence. It is a phase of development, in which are often described adepts of Vehicle of Mantras, but usually without this important comment that this happens at stage closer to the end of the path than its beginning.
Tapas is a divine delight for soul grown up to the Divine and it is agony for human, who wants to prove others that is someone whom he in a fact is not yet. Tapas occurs naturally during development of the practice in the Third Circle of this vehicle of yoga.
The world of heat is however to pass. The burning of the whole tank of seeds of karma is the ultimate fruit, of which emerges a world of absolute freedom and salvation. All the seeds of suffering and anguish are defeated. But it is nothing else but a special form of worship and ritual sacrifice. It’s just that the whole field of life is engaged in this work, at every moment …
III. HIGHER LEARNING CIRCLE – SAMNYASIN
The Third Circle of Learning as we could see, is such a period in the life of students, in which they abandon all desires and are firmly striving for God. Any temptations from the world of the senses are easily rejected. The choice is easy and pleasing, and determination is unwavering. Sufi call such person a Dervish, a being who having broken all ties with the world, raised in the areas of divine perfection. All the bonds of karma are burned, all the old desires and concerns that determine the destiny are dissolved or burned. Total joy of the contemplation of the Deity at any time and at any time is reached. All the factors that could determine the fate of man cease to exist. Freedom is achieved. Such training looks like a life-long isolation. Souls practicing samnyasa show great independence and great detachment. Freedom and Bliss accompany these great and mature spiritual beings.
Proper action flowing from the heart, or rather from the depths of the soul, this may be the best picture describing the basis for the practice of the last cycle. Every action is from God and in God. In this lies the whole point of the sacrifices made from acts and actions. God’s action is that because you are no longer acting. There is no „you”. It is God who works. There is not even any Deity. And His – Deity’s – consciousness finally melts and what remains is the VERY essence of God. Burning of Ego’s karma leads to the point where the only remaining is Action of God. This is the deepest meaning of the word KARMA.
Studying the nature of the self, recognising the true self, merging in the light of the soul (purusha) and lighting of the flame of the self in the heart – are a few attributes that describe the last of five consecutive phases of pious ritual. This summary is a sacrifice of the soul – the individual – which gets burnt in God. Studying the knowledge of God, when one IS Him, is a kind of ritual in the temple of the body on the altar of the heart.
Continuity of the flow of consciousness as pure light. Unceasing holding of the existence which is God. Continuous revelation of God’s essence emerging as the depth of you. Divinity totally reaching its eternal source.
The final stage in the development of practice, when that what is performing practices becomes its own goal. Complete identification, a total transformation in the most important essence, in the Perfection of God. In terms of methods of Mantras we will say it is absorbtion in God – in the essence of the Deity represented by the Sound – the Word. You are the Word-God… Ecstasy of Love, Light, Truth, and Power.
IV. INNER CIRCLE OF LEARNING – SAI/N
The fourth circle is called sanctifying and unifying. It fulfills the highest goal, about which not much can be said, but it probably seems to be the most interesting of all to everyone. Here is „Perfection of God.” If there were any aspirations and goals at the beginning, here everything has been completed and achieved.
These are the words of Jesus: „I and my Father are one.” It is enough to say that the vehicle of chanting of the holy names, devotion and worship is recommended in the dark ages as the best path to liberation, to salvation. Hum!
Aćarya Lalit Mohan G.K.