Awakening a Greater Potential (Part 2)

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

At this point comes what we call tantra. What an abused word tantra is! Expansion of mind and liberation of energy are in the word tantra. What is expansion of mind and what is liberation of energy? This is the subject of tantra and the subject of yoga.

Beyond time and space

Our mind should be able to expand beyond time and space. Time and space are the boundaries. Mind consciousness is within time and space and is not able to transcend beyond that. If you render the mind timeless, if you render the mind spaceless, then mind cannot exist. There is a point where the mind ceases. There is a point where awareness comes to a point of cessation. Beyond that the knowledge of the mind, beyond that the knowledge through the mind does not function.

Does it mean that with the disintegration of mind, cessation of knowledge takes place? No, we do not agree with this. We believe that even when the mind disintegrates, even when the mind does not exist, even when there is no mind, still knowledge takes place. Without senses, indriyas, action can take place. Without mind knowledge can take place and experience can take place, but how? That is the topic of yoga and tantra.

Shiva and Shakti

This liberation of energy is a very important matter. Shiva and Shakti are the two aspects that constitute the whole existence, the whole creation. Shiva plus Shakti is all and when we say 'all' we mean whole, we mean life, we mean you, we mean everybody. And who is this Shiva and Shakti? Are they man and woman? No! They are eternal forces that are interacting with each other, with the existence of man, with the existence of creation.

It has been accepted that the concept of tantra yoga is not union; yoga is separation. What happens in physics? You take an atom and disintegrate it, separate its elements and what remains in the end is nuclear energy. The same thing happens in yoga: the material forces have to be eliminated. Samskaras have to be eliminated, thoughts have to be eliminated and the quantum of mind has to be eliminated. What remains at the end is called Shakti.

In the cosmic dance Shiva and Shakti are embracing each other exclusively for union on this particular plane. In yoga Shiva and Shakti are separated and this separation is between the individual and energy. In hatha yoga you are removing the dross and allowing the energy to be released. It is the same when you sit for meditation, one problem is eliminated, a second thought comes and you eliminate it. All the sensory experiences are being eliminated. So this is how in yoga, a creative intelligence is brought into operation. A greater intelligence is brought to function. One should not be contented with this particular quantum of mind that one has inherited with this physical evolution.

Metamorphosis is possible

If one is satisfied with this mind, with its limitations, then one is doomed to spiritual destruction. That is the fundamental difference between the Indian way of thinking and the rest of the world.

The fundamental difference is here. In India we believe that evolution is constant and there is no point where you can lay your finger and say here is the gap. Other thinkers say that mind is ultimate and that mind cannot undergo a process of metamorphosis, but we say yes, the entire structure of the mind can be completely changed. It can undergo complete metamorphosis, and a time can come when there could be a limited difference between the mind operating here and the universal mind. The difference could be simulated between the mind of Buddha and Mahavira and the mind of Sri Aurobindo. Is there a direct difference? There is a difference in experience and structure of knowledge and a difference in spiritual concepts.

Understanding the awakening

So let us understand yoga with the awakening of a greater potential in man. When kundalini awakens you do not go crazy, or maybe, how can you say that you are not crazy? Maybe we are crazy today.

Once I went to a mental hospital. All the mental patients thought that I was a mental patient. In fact, I had gone there to teach them yoga and make them better. They thought I was a mental patient and they came up to me and said, "What mental problem do you have?" I said, "Yoga is my problem." In the same way people think that the people who have awakened kundalini may be crazy, or maybe we are crazy and they are better. This is the joke that has been going around in the last many years. The illiterate mind of the masses of the country has not been able to understand with this mind the process of awakening. When we go to Indian villages, people can very well understand the awakening and they know that it is possible for a man to apprehend the divine soul with a different mind.

How can we comprehend this awakening? The whole system is known as yoga and comprises bhakti, jnana, karma and raja yoga. If you like jnana yoga or if you want bhakti yoga or karma yoga, you must remember just one thing, that all these forms of yoga must be integrated. You do not just have love for one aspect of yoga. I practise hatha yoga but do not believe in meditation or this or that. That is absolutely an incomplete approach to life. All the yogas include the dynamic, emotional and psychic and rational structure of man.

You are not only psychic. You are not only emotional, you are not only physical or rational. You are a combination of all the four. You must practise yoga in such a way that all the aspects are properly developed in your personality. Not lopsided, one-sided or limited development of the mind, body or emotions. So the practice of asana and pranayama on the one hand and the practice of mudra, bandha followed by the practice of jnana yoga, dhyana and then kriya yoga.

Kriya yoga

Kriya yoga is kundalini yoga and kriya yoga is tantra and kriya yoga is the ultimate aim of all the forms of yoga. Whichever way you go through, either by karma, bhakti or jnana, there is a point where you have to come to kriya yoga. After having controlled the mind and body, after having brought your mind to a point of saturation and concentration, there comes a time when the mind has to be left completely free and you do not deal with the mind.

In the ordinary situation of sadhana you are dealing with the mind. Every day when you do japa, when you do ajapa japa, when you do concentration, with whom are you dealing? You are dealing with your mind. And the mind is dealing with the mind. One vritti is dealing with another vritti of the mind. In kriya yoga, the mind has to be left out.

Kriya yoga is a set of practices which can be found in the tantric texts. When you practise them, an elevation of consciousness is taking place, a beautiful way of feeling. What is that?

Ignore the mind

If you travel in the morning at two or three o' clock and you pass through a village, all the dogs in the street start barking at you. They are watching you. You take stones and throw them at the dogs. When you go they follow you again. Again you stop and throw stones at them and again they follow you and this is how it happens, until the day breaks.

This is how you deal with the mind. Every time you meditate, your mind tells you 'no' and there is a very strong fight. You say 'ok', then you go again and again the mind chases you. How long will you allow yourself to be chased by the mind? Is it not possible to completely ignore all the idiosyncrasies of the mind? Is it not possible to forget the mind? Let it do what it wants.

I am talking to you and I don't care what is happening outside. Why should I worry about things that are taking place outside the auditorium if I am interested in talking to you? In most of us it cannot happen because we are so much tormented by the existence of the mind. We have become over-conscious about the mind's functions. We think too much. Everybody says that when they meditate their mind becomes too restless. How do they know it? They say that they know it, so I say they have become over-conscious. Ignore the mind and you will see the difference. The only sutra that can be told in kriya yoga is 'ignore the mind' and when you ignore the mind transcendence takes place.

Kriya yoga is a set of twenty-one kriyas, very simple ones. In half the kriyas you should keep your eyes open. In the other half you close your eyes and in all the kriyas you change your asanas. You do not remain in the same posture for one and a half hours, but every ten minutes you change the posture. But all the time the mind has to be ignored. You don't care what the mind does. By the end of the kriya you sit down quietly, finally to forget yourself. It is not samadhi. It is total awareness. It is an inner gauge of a higher consciousness. Keeping this point of view, let us practise yoga.

Purpose of yoga

I do agree that we are sick and that we have many ailments in this physical body. I accept that there are limitations, but at the same time I know that yoga should be practised not only to alleviate physical problems. The purpose of yoga is to evolve the individual. This physical body is one. There are more invisible bodies. There are many levels of human consciousness. This is human existence. We have to discover them one by one because that is the purpose of human life.

Man's advent is not to fulfil the dissatisfied animal but it is to discover another man. Man's advent is to discover man behind the man, mind behind the mind, consciousness beyond the consciousness, until he comes to the point of what is called universal evolution and then he is out of it.

When you come to a point of evolution, at one point you go out of that circle, and maybe you become one of them. When you get out of that circle, then you become what we call the junior God.

—27 April 1980, Constitution Hall, Delhi, India