Pratyahara – Never the Same

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

When you make food, you put condiments in it to give it taste. Salt is one kind, turmeric is one kind, jeera is one kind. The masalas are add-ons that you put in the food to bring out a taste or to create a taste.

In the same manner, obser­vation of the mind and elimin­ation of stuff from the mind is known as pratyahara. If you are observing the thoughts as in antar mouna, it is part of pratyahara. If you are observing the daily routine as in the Review of the Day, it is part of pratyahara. If you are relaxing as in yoga nidra, it is part of pratyahara. Whatever practice you are doing, it is part of pratyahara.

Observation of the daily routine is not the same as antar mouna, for the focus is different. The focus of antar mouna is clearing your thoughts, whereas the focus of observation in the Review of the Day is to recognize where you have succeeded and failed.

The intention is different, the process may be similar, for they all belong to the same category of pratyahara, however the focus and intent of each practice is always different, never the same.

—24 April 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger