For Those Who Dare

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The purpose of raja yoga is chitta vritti nirodhah, not samadhi. People think of samadhi as the goal of yoga, not chitta vritti nirodhah. Anybody who delves into yoga will study Patanjali, but they will always say, “Can I experience samadhi?” Nobody will say, “How do I control my mental behaviour?” Everybody will say, “How do I experience samadhi?” Nobody wants to recognize the shortcomings in their life. Even the most incompetent person who is able to close the eyes for ten minutes will believe they have become a yogi, just by virtue of closing the eyes. There is no working with oneself, whereas the purpose of sadhana is to work with oneself. That is the beginning of the yogic experience, the path that we have embarked upon. Every yoga has defined a goal. What is the goal of hatha yoga? Has anybody experienced it, despite practising yoga in front of full-length mirrors in studios, despite going to retreats and ashrams? Has anybody experienced what hatha yoga tries to develop in the individual? No. They have not experienced it as they have treated hatha yoga as physical exercise. People think hatha yoga means ‘get your body moving, get your body shaking’. That is the common understanding of hatha yoga. However, the real meaning of hatha yoga is ingrained in the term itself, which is made up of the two mantras Ham and Tham. How many people have experienced a balance between Ham and Tham, between the solar and lunar energies in their practice?

Similarly, the purpose of raja yoga is chitta vritti nirodhah, yet nobody cares about that. Everybody wants to meditate without paying heed to their chitta vrittis, therefore meditation is not successful. It creates another distraction in the mind that is already in a distracted state. You are distracted by the world, by stresses, anxieties, worries, problems, finances, family, society. You close your eyes, drop everything, and then what do you do? You try to feel peace, but you don’t observe the mind, you don’t work with your chitta vrittis, you don’t work with your own reactive nature. You always point the finger at somebody else for their reactive nature; you never look at your own self. You are always the pure one who never makes any mistake and does nothing wrong. It is all attributed to everyone else; others are responsible for creating imbalance, disturbance, dissatisfaction and anxiety, and you are flawless. That is the attitude of people, even yogis, and therefore there is no yogic attainment in anybody’s life, despite so many people practising yoga. There may be exceptions, but this is the case in general.

Given this scenario, the training at the Bihar School of Yoga now is not for learning, but rather for experiencing yoga. Be the brave one. Who are the brave people? They are willing to take on challenges and discover new things.

—21 October 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger, Raja Yoga Training - Module 1 (Extract)