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Yoga Practice

In its negative aspect, vairagya is of two kinds, apara and para. The apara is that of a mind free from attachment to worldly enjoyments, such as women, food, drinks and power, as also from thirst for heavenly pleasures attainable by practicing the vedic rituals and sacrifices. Those who are actuated by apara vairagya do not desire to remain in a bodiless state (videha) merged in the senses or merged in the prakrti (prakrtilina). It is a state in which the mind is indifferent to all kinds of pleasures and pains. This vairagya may be said to have four stages: (1) Yatamana—in which sensual objects are discovered to be defective and the mind recoils from them. (2) Vyatireka—in which the senses to be conquered are noted. (3) Ekendriya—in which attachment towards internal pleasures and aversion towards external pains, being removed, the mind sets before it the task of removing attachment and aversion towards mental passions for obtaining honor or avoiding dishonor, etc. (4) The fourth and last stage of vairagya called vashikara is that in which the mind has perceived the futility of all attractions towards external objects of sense and towards the pleasures of heaven, and having suppressed them altogether feels no attachment, even should it come into connection with them.

With the consummation of this last stage of apara vairagya, comes the para vairagya which is identical with the rise of the final prajna leading to absolute independence. This vairagya, sraddha and the abhyasa represent the unafflicted states (aklishtavrtti) which suppress gradually the klishta or afflicted mental states. These lead the Yogin from one stage to another, and thus he proceeds higher and higher until the final state is attained.

As vairagya advances, sraddha also advances; from sraddha comes virya, energy, or power of concentration (dharana); and from it again springs smrti—or continuity of one object of thought; and from it comes samadhi or cognitive and ultra-cognitive trance; after which follows prajna, cognitive and ultra-cognitive trance; after which follows prajna and final release. Thus by the inclusion of sraddha within vairagya, its effect, and the other products of sraddha with abhyasa, we see that the abhyasa and vairagya are the two internal means for achieving the final goal of the Yogin, the supreme suppression and extinction of all states of consciousness, of all afflictions and the avidya—the last state of supreme knowledge or prajna.

As sraddha, virya, smrti, samadhi which are not different from vairagya and abhyasa (they being only their other aspects or simultaneous products), are the means of attaining Yoga, it is possible to make a classification of the Yogins according to the strength of these with each, and the strength of the quickness (samvega) with which they may be applied towards attaining the goal of the Yogin. Thus Yogins are of nine kinds: (1) mildly energetic, (2) of medium energy, (3) of intense energy.

Each of these may vary in a threefold way according to the mildness, medium state, or intensity of quickness or readiness with which the Yogin may apply the means of attaining Yoga. There are nine kinds of Yogins. Of these the best is he whose mind is most intensely engaged and whose practice is also the strongest.

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