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Yoga Practice

The Yoga which, after weakening the hold of the afflictions and causing the real truth to dawn upon our mental vision, gradually leads us towards the attainment of our final goal, is only possible for the last two kinds of minds and is of two kinds: (1) samprajnata (cognitive) and (2) asamprajnata (ultra-cognitive). The samprajnata Yoga is that in which the mind is concentrated upon some object, external or internal, in such a way that it does not oscillate or move from one object to another, but remains fixed and settled in the object that it holds before itself. At first, the Yogin holds a gross material object before his view, but when he can make himself steady in doing this, he tries with the subtle tanmatras, the five causes of the grosser elements, and when he is successful in this he takes his internal senses as his object and last of all, when he has fully succeeded in these attempts, he takes the great egohood as his object, in which stage his object gradually loses all its determinate character and he is said to be in a state of suppression in himself, although devoid of any object. This state, like the other previous states of the samprajnata type, is a positive state of the mind and not a mere state of vacuity of objects or negativity. In this state, all determinate character of the states disappears and their potencies only remain alive. In the first stages of a Yogin practicing samadhi conscious states of the lower stages often intervene, but gradually, as the mind becomes fixed, the potencies of the lower stages are overcome by the potencies of this stage, so that the mind flows in a calm current and at last the higher prajna dawns, whereupon the potencies of this state also are burnt and extinguished, the citta returns back to its own primal cause, prakrti, and purusha attains absolute freedom.

The first four stages of the samprajnata state are called madhumati, madhupratika, vishoka and the samskarashesha and also vitarkanugata, vicharanugata, anandanugata and asmitanugata. True knowledge begins to dawn from the first stage of this samprajnata state, and when the Yogin reaches the last stage the knowledge reaches its culminating point, but still so long as the potencies of the lower stages of relative knowledge remain, the knowledge cannot obtain absolute certainty and permanency, as it will always be threatened with a possible encroachment by the other states, of the past phenomenal activity now existing as the subconscious. But the last stage of asamprajnata samadhi represents the stage in which the ordinary consciousness has been altogether surpassed and the mind is in its own true infinite aspect, and the potencies of the stages in which the mind was full of finite knowledge are also burnt, so that with the return of the citta to its primal cause, final emancipation is effected. The last state of samprajnata samadhi is called samskarashesha, only because here the residua of the potencies of subconscious thought only remain and the actual states of consciousness become all extinct. It is now easy to see that no mind which is not in the ekagra or one-pointed state can be fit for the asamprajnata samadhi in which it has to settle itself on one object and that alone. So also no mind which has not risen to the state of highest suppression is fit for the asamprajnata or nirvija state.

This reading on the practice of Yoga is Chapter XI of Surendranath Dasgupta's Yoga as Philosophy and Religion.

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