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Yoga Practice

We should distinguish the Yoga ideal of trance which can only take place in the ekagra and the final nirodha stages of the mind from the trances of the other stages in that the former presupposes a very high degree of moral perfection, which is not a necessary desideratum of the other stages. It is when the Yogin has by a high degree of moral perfection become passionless towards objective pleasures that he begins gradually to establish himself in the trance state. The Yogin is not satisfied only to transcend the objective world, but he wants to transcend the limits of his mind as well. The miraculous powers attained by the practicing of the Yogin are useful to a person bent upon the Yoga ways in securing and strengthening his faith. Once he has become apathetic to all the attractions of pleasure and begun to travel in the road of Yoga, the states of trance through which he has to travel, will discover the true path for him; Yoga is itself the teacher for those that take to Yoga.

The objects on which such a Yogin should at the beginning of his practice concentrate his attention have ordinarily no limits, and we find that the Yogin could meditate upon the passionless souls of many saints, upon dream consciousness, sleep or anything that he liked, for his only object was to stop the flow of his conscious states and to weaken for final destruction all the potencies of the states of consciousness. There was thus no limitation of the object of the samadhi, as the whole thing proceeds not in any miraculous way but quite naturally and consistently in accordance with the general principles of Yoga psychology. But yet the real road generally adopted by the Yogins was the meditation of Ishvara. It is most likely that from the earliest period of the growth of the Yoga method, the Brahman was the object with whom the individual soul wanted to connect itself and we read in the Shvetashvatara: "And when by means of the real nature of his self he sees as by a lamp, the real nature of Brahman, then having known the unborn eternal God, who is beyond all nature, he is freed from all fetters." When the Yogin thus meditated upon God, God was pleased to make the advance of his trance realization easier for him by removing all obstacles which could stand in the way. It was by his will that all the movements of the prakrti were intelligently guided, and it was in him that the world was held, and it was unto him that the Yogin returned like a drop of water in the ocean. The knowledge that is brought about by the Yoga salvation is infinite; all the hindrances and barriers which limit our knowledge and serve to express them in concepts are removed, and there is little to know, till at last when salvation is earned, the supreme intelligence shines forth in eternal sunshine never again to be sullied, darkened or eclipsed—the oilless lamp that forever shines.

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