On Consiousness-Related Phenomena and Their Restraining (Sutra I, 5-11) (5)

Now let us proceed with the study of the first anga, i. e. class in the studies of yoga. It is going to be a path containing verses or aphorisms from the fifth to the eleventh, inclusive of the last one. We will get to know the basic concepts of literature relating to yoga and we will try to probe into them and experience what messages they convey…

VṚTTI are phenomena, activities or materials which belong to our consciousness, i. e. to the mind or the psyche in the broad meaning of these terms. Fundamentally, the riches of what we call the psyche, character or personality – these are the very materials or phenomena called VṚTTI – the waves of personality.

The phenomena or materials pertaining to consciousness are of a quintuple nature. These five types of phenomena may appear in their burdensome form (KLISHTA), or the unburdensome form (AKLISHTA). The burdensome phenomena are a source of pain, suffering, all things that are unpleasant, antipathy, misery, dissatisfaction, or aversion. The unburdensome phenomena are a source of pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, liking, bliss, beauty, etc.

Consciousness (CHITTAM) categorises everything in a dual way by recording various sensations, by perceiving and experiencing them. This introduces us into a dualistic world. This function which exists in a relatively changeable world, may be known to You from experience as the sensation of cold and hot, good and evil, as well as all other dualisms, the ambivalence of thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Yoga divides all consciousness-related phenomena into five types or categories, and each of these categories may become a source of either the burdensome or the unburdensome state.

Sometimes Sanskrit indicates some hardly noticeable nuances, which from the mystical and psychological point of view may clarify a lot. These two states of phenomena or consciousness-related materials, i.e. klishta and aklishta suggest that materials (VṚTTI) tend to generate the burdensome state. The word klishta is elemental, while the word aklishta is derived from that word. Both perfecting and contradicting the burdensome state mean non-existence of the burdensome state. It illustrates the whole path of mankind from suffering to happiness, from evil to goodness. It is an ordinary and at the same time profound worldly wisdom, attained in the melting pot of changeability.

This is our PANCHAVRITTA list, i. e. the list of five kinds of phenomena (materials, activities) of consciousness:

  1. PRAMANA – true cognition, the cognitive measure, the means to achieve true knowledge, as well as the Eternal Wisdom and real knowledge.
  2. VIPARYAYA – cognitive mistake, distortion, improper knowledge, false way of thinking.
  3. VIKALPA – day-dreaming, utopian thinking, false images.
  4. NIDRA – deep sleep without any dreams, or dreams which have no connection with reality.
  5. SMṚTI- recollections, memory, past experiences, reminiscences and patterns from the past. Let us quote the fifth and the sixth verse from „Yogasutras” in the original version in order to achieve a clear and comprehensive picture of what has been discussed so far. Of course the text appears in transcription:„VṚTTAYAH PANĆHATAYYAH KLISHTAKLISHTAH |
    Deep analysis of these verses also indicates that consciousness-related phenomena may be burdensome or unburdensome, but for the sublime purposes of yoga these qualities must cease to be perceived as dualisms and become something intrinsically united. Therefore, Rishi Patanjali applies the expression: KLISHTAKLISHTAH (I usually use the English spelling, which allows one to read the text phonetically). This term suggests that there is no way in which only one of these states could exist, instead, they come in pairs. In the process of yoga the phenomena (materials, activities) of consciousness, which generate these changeable states of joy and sorrow, suffering and pleasure, pain and alleviation, become restrained.Not only do readings in mysticism and knowledge radiating from the following aphorism inform us that there exist five kinds of phenomena and that they ensue from one another. As a result of the creation of the first one the second one originates, so experience is the original cause of all consciousness-related phenomena. It also teaches us how to free ourselves from these traps set by our mind (psyche).By reversing the direction we discard the burden of memory and reminiscences, of everything which appears as an obsession or merely as an innocent association. Our memory must become as hollow as a dream, without any illusive projections. Then the fantasies of utopian thinking and cognitive mistakes disappear, together with the hitherto existing cognitive measure, as we shall be judged according to the same measure that we use for judging others.Christian teachings contained in the Bible mention that the whole suffering of mankind began the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What can the fruit from the tree of good and evil be? Exactly, the very EXPERIENCE – Enjoy your meal! On the other hand, thanks to having eaten that fruit man allows the divine element in his nature to evolve. He is just like God. We will discuss these teachings on the Paradise on a different occasion.From the point of view of yoga teachings, if yoga is essentially the effort to restrain consciousness-related phenomena and quieten the chaotic mind, then even the process of real cognition which leads to attaining the meaningful goal must become restrained. As a rule, when we truly experience something, we categorise phenomena, from the worst ones to the best ones. We state it in nice terms by saying that we estimate the level of difficulty, or that we evaluate something fairly. However, at such moments Jesus also says that we should cease categorising which generates certain states in our life, drawing on the activity of our minds. This is the principle of non-judgement.It points to the fact that even pure perception and gaining insight into the Utmost and the Truest Wisdom requires sensible and sparing use of the function of our reason which is called the ability to judge, i.e. categorisation. On the one hand, in our human world there always appears an opportunity, and even a necessity to do so. Yet, on the other hand, those who practise yoga need deeper involvement into quietening the mind, which squanders this function away. Be this as it may, VIPARYAYA, i.e. the cognitive mistake that leads to utopian thinking named VIKALPA, and even to „sophisticated” delusions, originates from the very „real” knowledge and cognitive measure.Now let us have a closer look at each of the Five Kinds of Consciousness-related Phenomena- Pańćhavrytti.PRAMANA – i. e. the true, eternal knowledge or the proper cognitive measure, has three principal sources, which at the same time are three means of achieving that which is worshipped as Eternal Wisdom. Christians call it the Spirit of Wisdom or the Gift of Wisdom. Yoga teachers regularly refer to these subsequent sources of true knowledge, as three progressively more perfect stages leading to truth and true cognition. Pranama may be called the correct perception.
    1. PRATYAKSHA is conspicuousness, direct cognition by means of senses and sensory organs, perception.
    2. ANUMANA is indirect, intellectual cognition, it is experiencing by means of internal senses. An internal sense which enables cognition to work through contemplation and feelings is called Anthakarana. Sufis call this the knowledge of the heart or spontaneously born knowledge.
    3. AGAMA is the acquisition of true cognition from another person, the words of awakened beings listened to directly. Holy Scriptures which contain the manifested knowledge.
    Thus, we have three means of attaining true knowledge and proper, or correct cognition. I hope that you will contemplate on each of these PRANAMA attributes as well as stages of advancement in the exploration of the DEPTHS of one’s self.The development of this triple Pramana leads to harmonious and complete outlook. DRASHTA, i. e. the Spectator and the Witness, or in other words, the Observer (Your Real Self) perceives a True Picture, which lets one focus on one’s proper shape. Each type of cognition may be employed here. Applying only one of these stages leads rapidly to the state of phenomena called Viparyaya, i. e. to cognitive madness.Those who rely only on their own experience by making use of the sense of smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing, become materialists. They may measure and explore, but the outcome will only testify to what is a recognisable object in terms of sensory perception. Past experiences recreated from subconscious strata of memory effectively introduce mistakes in these recognitions and measurements. The observer shapes the outcome of his observation. The cognitive ability of a sensory organ (e.g. eye) considerably reduces the range of exploration and causes serious mistakes.If someone relies only on his reasoning ability and only on his own heart, it often leads to utopia and delusions that contradict normal reality. Correct assumptions may lead to contradictory conclusions and false assumptions may lead to correct and truthful conclusions. The total will be one big distortion. When one resorts only to this one type of cognition it leads to the appearance of divergent points of view and outlooks which their authors believe to be the only right ones. These are viparyayas as the birth of conflicting sects!Disciples pursuing spiritual paths ought to remember that „the only right” outlooks and ideas presented by some churches originate from the cognitive mistake, and the mind with all its outlooks is merely a tool which may prove useful in terms of cognition and orientating oneself to the Spiritual Reality.A frequent mistake of those who make use of the third kind of cognition is snatching excerpts from teachings which are then conveyed in separation from their entire context, as well as depriving the words of Holy Scriptures of their spirit. It brings about a pseudo-spiritual fixation, fanaticism focusing on a given scripture or a Teacher. The more blindly people cling to one Book only, the more narrow-minded maniacs of their delusions they become.In the teachings of Sivaitic yoga, the Right Outlook – the basic pillar of MAHAMUDRA, i. e the „Grand Stance” is attained thanks to balancing these three types of cognition. This means that finding support in only one of these three sources is essentially nothing but warping the ability to attain True Knowledge. Connecting these three stages into one whole, which is harmonious and cohesive, where the sources of cognition do not contradict one another does leads to the realisation of the Right Outlook.Pratyaksha means getting to know through senses and sensory perception. Anumana means getting to know by way of contemplating within one’s mind or one’s heart. If these three types of cognition become interconnected and bear a solid fruit, then we attain Intuitive Insight, i.e. True Cognition, which is a primordial force and an attribute of the Witness, Drashta. It is perception of that, which is the way it is.This means that the rejection of Guru’s authority or Book in favour of Oneself and one’s Own Thoughts is the same mistake as the rejection of what is born inside of man as Self-Knowledge for the benefit of the authority of a Guru or a Book. If we reject perception through the senses, it is also a mistake. Only a synthesis of these three stages is a proper means, called Pramana. The truth emerges thanks to the harmony and agreement of these three sources of perception.VIPARYAYA, i.e. distortion, the cognitive mistake and false cognition that is not based on the nature of reality, all lead to sham and illusive knowledge, which is sheer deviousness. This devious, fabricated knowledge is referred to as MITHYADJNANA.It is the distortion of Eternal Wisdom, i.e. Pramana, which alone, when it is applied in the right way, possesses the force of eradicating distortions. Cognition through tainted senses, the chaotic mind and listetning to false teachers lead to a distortion. In the ancient times not only did one pay attention to whether a Book originated from the Holy Source, but one also checked if the Commentator was associated with the Holy Source. Solely an authorised person could give lectures and comment on the Holy Scriptures. If one adds elements which are not there, such as one’s own fantasies, it only leads to the cognitive mistake. This is what Viparyaya is about.Deviousness, duplicity, speculations fabricated from false data – all this destroys the ability to attain true knowledge.VIKALPA is a flight of the imagination, purely delusive thinking, it is daydreaming and utopian thinking devoid of reality. Vikalpa is hollow and empty talk, which appears as a result of compiling words alone including the elements of cognition (concepts), this is pun which creates false appearances.SHABDADJNANA is a path of creating pointless philosophies full of worthless platitudes, it is a utopia and delusions. The utopian picture is conjured up by words which find no reflection in reality. It seems to be a favourite practice of politicians, jugglers and journalists. In this way Vikalpa becomes a path of deceit and mystifying which take place of mysticism. Acharya is such a kind of guru who can guide one through doubtful fields where mystifying is difficult to tell apart from mysticism.NIDRA is a deep sleep devoid of dreams. Ordinary state of dreaming where a game of illusions with no connection to reality takes place, is called SVAPNA. This shows how much we are entangled in a network of illusions. Nidra is a consciousness-related phenomenon in which we probe very deeply inside ourselves, until we reach formless, untainted void and purity. This is when we establish a connection with our own DEPTHS. The state without dreams is a state of perception or reception from the intuitive plane. An ordinary state of sleeping including dreams is a tiresome one. Nidra brings relaxation, it is revitalising and creative, but it is also a consciousness-related phenomenon that needs to be transcended, so that Drashta – the Spectator, may attain his own Nature and dwell there.SMṚTI, i.e. the memory or the tendency to remember, does not allow for the disappearance of hitherto experienced occurrences. Memory lets us recall past experiences, which become an illusive cognitive measure. In this way we become slaves of our own limitations and patterns from the past. We are dead. We feed on things we are afraid of and on things we are used to: we are slaves of a bottle, just like those in Pavlov’s experiment.A particular variety of illusion and distortiona is a connection of Smṛti and Viparyaya in discovering past incarnations. It leads to a complete engrossment in false images. Hospitals of a specific type are full of Jesuses, Buddhas or Napoleons who have just incarnated. A true insight into past reincarnations is possible, but only after realising the TRUTH. The insight into past reincarnations is an exceptionally rare phenomenon!Transcending SMṚTI means the ability to forget, which is the ability of a Witness (Drashta) to discard the burden of reminiscences from the pictorial memory (the period from the conception till the age of 3-5). This forgetting is essentially nothing but forgiveness, liberation and absolution of sins existing within ourselves. This is a path of liberation from the burden of past karma!God Bless You!
    Acharya Lalit’ Mohan G.K.


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