Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga Kriya Yoga is meant for ordinary seekers who cannot practise samadhi directly, whose mind is still restless, lacks concentration and who are surrounded by Panchakelesha (five afflictions) like Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (ego), Raag (attachment), Dwesh (aversion), Abhinivesh (fear of death). The five afflictions keep living beings tied to the worldly cycle. There are three limbs of Kriya Yoga – Tapa (austerity), svadhyaya (introspection and studying scriptures), and ishwara pranidhan (surrendering to God). Kriya Yoga essentially consists of: Bearing the conflicts like happiness-sadness, honour-disgrace and profit-loss etc. Thinking about oneself and studying salvation texts Dedicating all your work to your Guru without desiring any results.

What is Tapa?

When a yogi practises sadhana (spiritual practices), he is troubled by various kinds of struggles such as cold & heat, hunger & thirst, profit & loss, victory & defeat, happiness & sorrow, honor & insult etc. So, Tapa means to bear all kinds of struggles with ease. That is, not to become overjoyed while experiencing happiness, not to panic after seeing sorrow, not to be proud of receiving lots of respect and not to feel humiliated when insulted. Tapa basically involves keeping oneself calm in both favorable and unfavorable situations. Some people believe that Tapa means causing pain to the body. For example, standing on one leg for several months. But, this is the lower level of Tapa. In the Gita, this kind of painful Tapa is called Tamasic Taph. In Yoga philosophy, it has been said that one should do penance to please the mind (chitta) and not to make it unhappy. Therefore, the true nature of Tapa is to bear struggles effortlessly without showing.

What is Svadhyaya?

Svadhyaya simply means studying or observing oneself and identifying oneself. By studying oneself, the seeker attains the knowledge of what is right and the knowledge of karma (actions). In other words, we can say that through self-study one can attain wisdom. After attaining wisdom, a practitioner should keep searching for his faults.  Svadhyaya involves constant self-searching. Therefore, a person who always studies himself always progresses in life. 

Recommended Courses: Meditation, Yoga & Pranayama

What is Ishwarpranidhan?

Ishwar Pranidhana means to dedicate all one’s good and bad deeds to their Guru (dedicating oneself completely to the teacher/ Guru) and not expect any kind of result in return is called. Devotion to our Guru is the end of all our sorrows and filth. Through Ishwar Pranidhan, our existence begins to disappear and the bliss of samadhi begins.

Purpose and importance of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga gives people the accomplishment of Samadhi and weakens the afflictions. Self-knowledge cannot happen without the complete dissolution of afflictions. The mind becomes stable only when the afflictions subside, by Kriya Yoga, these afflictions begin to subside, and Samadhi can be achieved.

Meaning of Kaivalya

What is Kaivalya?

The ultimate aim of yoga is the attainment of salvation or Kaivalya or Moksha. Kaivalya has been called by many names in all religious texts such as Mukti, Moksh, Kaivalya, Apvarga, Paramgati etc. Moksha is a state where the soul is freed from the cycle of birth and death. After that, the soul attains a state of liberation called Kaivalya. It indicates the disappearance of ego, destiny, karma and samskaras. According to the Samkhya philosophy, Kaivalya is that state of liberation in which a person’s consciousness (purusha) realizes that it is separate from Prakriti. The word Kevalya is used in Jain texts and the liberated soul is called Kevalin. Jain scriptures outline twelve steps by which the soul attains this goal. The soul that has attained the knowledge of Kevala is called Kevalin. According to Jains, only Kevalin can understand things in all their aspects and manifestations. Moksha and Nirvana are one and the same in Jainism. Salvation is the ultimate spiritual goal in Jainism just like in all other philosophies. It defines Moksha as spiritual liberation from all karma.

Kaivalya according to Patanjali

According to Raja Yoga, Kaivalya is the final state of knowledge that a yogi can reach. In this state, the yogi becomes completely fearless and free. It is a state of complete awareness. One who desires to attain Kaivalya must overcome his desires and attachments. A Kevalin is also free from modifications of the mind. As Patanjali says in the Sutras, “The soul ends in freedom, knowledge and Kaivalya. According to Patanjali, when the soul becomes self-realized from the inner soul of the mind, karma is abandoned. Then, the state of the soul moving towards salvation in the consciousness of knowledge is considered Kaivalya. Kaivalya originates from isolation. It is the freedom from ignorance or from the sufferings it causes. Kaivalya is also defined by Patanjali as the return of the origin of qualities (pratiprasava). It’s the establishment of the nature and force of higher awareness (chitta-shakti). In Kaivalya, there is pure seeing. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Kaivalya is realized when the essence of the individual mind reaches a state of purity similar to that of Purusha.

How to attain Kaivalya

The methods of attaining Kaivalya have been outlined in Yoga Darshana. The remedies that Maharishi Patanjali talks about are the devotion of the mind, enthusiasm from happiness, memory from enthusiasm, stability and concentration of the mind from memory and from stability. Through these, one attains the full of wisdom( ritimbhara pragya). According to Patanjali, Abhyas and Vairagya are the first steps to attain Kaivalya. On the way to attaining Kaivalya, the seeker of salvation should also adopt Tap, Swdhaya, Ishwar Pradidhan and Kriya Yoga. The combination of Buddhi and Purush due to the influence of avidya is the Kaivalya of the Drasta. The cause of bondage is Avidya and knowledge is the cause of Kaivalya. Pratiprasava (re-birthless rhythm) of Purush shoonya qualifies as Kaivalya. Therefore, it is considered Kaivalya to establish the power of the mind in its own form. The ordinary man can also attain salvation or Kaivalya. Ishopanishad says that all living beings can attain the state of liberation or moksha if they selflessly dedicate all their deeds to their teacher or guru. In other words, it can be said that a person who performs all their actions with dedication attains the path of liberation.

What is anxiety?

What is anxiety and how is it created?

Everyone has desires. The desire to fulfil them is what keeps us moving forward in life. We set goals, achieve them and then move on to other goals. But, this is easier said than done. In the pursuit of goals, there are many situations where the idea of “what if…” becomes more dominant in one’s mind rather than its accomplishment. The mind becomes more concerned about the obstacles it’s facing or might face instead of finding ways to overcome them. This leads to stress and anxiety. Almost everyone in life deals with this situation and are usually unable to deal with this vicious cycle of stress and anxiety. Anxiety is a state of mind where our desires take control over our analytical minds. When a person is immersed in fulfilling all his desires, he quickly finds himself unable to control everything and everyone around him. The feeling that arises out of this situation is what makes one anxious. It is essentially a state of dissatisfaction where thoughts of obstacles and failure fill one’s mind. This can be felt in the body too. The truth is that it’s not the actual thought that makes us feel anxious. It’s the inability to properly process it and the subsequent thoughts that fuel anxiety in our day to day life.

How does it affect us?

A person dealing with anxiety finds it very difficult to have healthy relationships. The initial impact of being anxious all the time can be seen in relationships. Relationships with family and friends start getting strained since an anxious person never stops complaining. Their negativity spreads directly and indirectly to people around them. They may become anxious too or distance themselves from the person out of aversion. Either scenario is unfavourable.

Our mind affects the body. It is scientifically proven that every feeling and emotion releases chemicals in our brain. When we lose control of our thoughts, it also increases the frequency of thoughts in our mind. Then, our brain starts releasing the stress hormone known as Cortisol. The more the stress, the more the stress hormone is released. Cortisol causes blood vessels to constrict and direct more oxygen to muscles which in turn raises blood pressure. Consequently, the heart starts working harder for a longer period of time which may lead to diseases like hypertension, heart problems, asthma, diabetes etc.

How to overcome anxiety?

First, know and accept that you’re anxious. This is the first step in moving forward and processing it. Through this newfound self-awareness, a new perspective starts to form. You can start to direct your attention towards solutions to your problems instead of ruminating on them. By practising this on a daily basis, a positive change in one’s behaviour is slowly developed. Naturally, yoga and meditation can speed up this process. Eventually, one develops a calm mind, self-understanding, and wisdom that eliminates self-doubt to create a life free from stress and anxiety.

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What is the mind?

What is the mind?

Our mind is the origin and collection of our thoughts, attachments, assumptions, prejudices, emotions and addictions. Since these factors vary from person to person, it’s natural that different people will have unique mindsets which cause them to think and react differently.

How is it formed?

The mind is the connection between our consciousness and the outer world and is formed from the first interaction of the senses with the physical world. Our sensory organs like the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin sense the external world. Then, a thought is formed by our thinking mind.

How does it work?

After this, perceptions are created and we then analyse them on the basis of why, how, when, and where. Based on this, assumptions are made and we form a feeling of like or dislike leading to a creation of a memory by the analysing mind. The choices then made based on the analysis is the function of our intellect or decision-making mind.

Your choices lead to your actions and the cycle goes on. With the repetition of these thoughts and actions, they become stronger, habitual and patterns are formed. These habits form the basis of your mind and your daily life. The more the mind interacts with the outer world, the more patterns and desires are created.

How does it cause misery?

We spend our lives in our minds anxiously chasing these desires. We experience fleeting happiness when we obtain the object of our desire and experience sorrow when not achieved. Even after fulfilling a desire, new desires are constantly being generated by the mind leading to a vicious cycle.

To add to this, our mind doesn’t let us see reality for what it truly is. Since our minds are moulded by our individual experiences and highly subjective, we perceive events from the narrow lens of our individual mindset. We fail to see the bigger picture and lose perspective on what truly matters.

 

How can yoga help?

The great yogis of the past have delved into the mind and decoded its inner workings and mysteries. They realized the potential it has to cause misery in one’s life and developed spiritual practices to tame the mind. In fact, bringing the mind under control and purifying it is seen as the first step towards achieving lasting happiness, contentment and even enlightenment. This can be achieved via yoga asanas (physical yoga), pranayama (meditation) or through knowledge. Of course, practising all three methods simultaneously yields faster results.

How can Vigyan Yoga help?

At Vigyan Yoga, we can help you in your chosen path. We offer yoga, meditation and in-depth yogic theory classes right from the comfort and safety of your home through our e-learning platform. We also organize regular yoga retreats for a full-fledged experience of the yogic life under the guidance of our Guru and co-founder Acharya Kaushal Kumar and his disciple and co-founder Jai Singhania.

Recommended Courses: Meditation, Yoga & Pranayama

What is Ego?

What is ego?

How does a person introduce himself? They usually mention their name’, place of work and designation etc. This is a reasonable manner to define one’s identity. But when one starts believing in all these identities as himself and acts according to them, then we call it ‘ego’.

There is no limit to our conscious form because it is so subtle that we cannot bound it in the limits of our name, gender, religion, etc. But since most of us do, the decisions made from this perspective are bound to bring sorrow in one’s life.

Through the ego, we start binding ourselves to the limits of this body, and every material thing connected to it. It’s a prejudice that makes us assume everything as our own. The ego makes us believe in something we are not. In other words, when we consider the ‘temporary’ as ‘permanent’, then it is ego.

What kind of problems arise out of ego?

In the first place, most of the problems that people face nowadays are the result of their ego. Many people get stressed just because they think they don’t look good. Here, the lack of understanding of self causes this stress. When we believe that our physical features define us then this is what limits our ability to see our true ‘self’.

Stress, tension, anxiety, and all forms of mental diseases are caused due to false identification. They occur because we assess ourselves incorrectly. When things don’t seem to match our beliefs, we start creating differences between people. As we have already falsely identified ourselves, we see others in the same light. We identify them as good or bad and based on the differences and we either get attached to some people or start disliking others. Attachment and aversion are the main causes of ego.

How to differentiate between ego and self?

Knowing and understanding the fact that everything and everyone in this world is temporary helps to overcome the delusion of ego. The world is temporary and nothing lasts long.

The root cause of all the miseries people are facing in today’s world is that they misinterpret the material world as lasting forever.

Through meditation and understanding yogic knowledge, one is able to peel away the layers of the ego and start to discern his true self. They would then realize that their identity is beyond their appearance, social standing, and material possessions. In time, they will establish themselves fully in their new identity and further cement their spiritual growth.

Recommended Courses: Meditation, Yoga & Pranayama