This week’s class focused on one sutra. I thought the dawning of wisdom deserved an evening unto itself.
Once the perfect discipline of consciousness is mastered,
Just to reiterate, Patanjali’s Book III concerns itself with the final three limbs of classical yoga: concentration (dharana), meditation/absorption (dhyana) and integration (samadhi). These three limbs form the perfect discipline of consciousness, aka samyama, referred to in the above sutra.
If you imagine the mind/body system as myriad layers of consciousness, some clear, some dense, some hard, some soft, some open, some closed, some sticky, some slippery — you get where I’m going with this — you can see why it’s so hard to get the whole mess integrated. All this to say the practice of samyama does not come easily. We have to work at it. The mind is a slippery instrument, more often attuned to the kleshas, than its innate wisdom. [Should you want to review the kleshas, go to the May 2011 archive]. Yet wisdom, like the sun, is always blazing. We may be oblivious to its light. That doesn’t mean it’s not here. Which is why taking a moment to turn within can evoke a profound sense of clarity, calm, insight, or wisdom. Of course, Patanjali’s technology for yoking the mind/body system is designed so those moments of clarity, calm, insight, and wisdom stretch into the norm.
This week’s dharma talk attempts to unpack some of the above:
For reasons that will become clear over the next few weeks, I’m feeling a connection between the teachings and practices I’ve come to call the Laksmi Work and our current immersion in Patanjali Book III. More on that as it unfolds. For now, suffice to say we opened class chanting the Laksmi-Murti-Mantra combined with the Dhumavati Bija. I’ll write these mantras out for those unfamiliar with them and also include a clip of the actual chanting:
Here are the mantras:
Here’s an audio clip of the chanting:
Contemplating wisdom inspired me to go down the rabbit hole of parallel teachings:
From the Laksmi Tantra:
I am recognized by the wise as the bliss and tranquility inherent in each state of being. Though that is my true nature, [the individual] does not experience me spontaneously. However, after receiving a mere particle of my anugrahashakti [grace], she discovers me instantaneously…Then after propitiating me by various means [i.e. samyama], the jiva [individual soul] washes away all the kleshas and blows away the dust of impressions; whereby the jiva that has already severed its fetters through meditation, fuses with true knowledge [aka wisdom] and attains me, who am Laksmi and whose nature is supreme bliss.
From the Jneshwari:
What is action? What is inaction? Thus, even the wise are confused in this matter. This action, I shall explain to you, having known which, you shall be released from evil [i.e. the lack of wisdom].
One must know the nature of action, the nature of wrong action, and also the nature of inaction. The way of action is profound.
He who perceives inaction in action, and action is inaction is wise among men; he is is a yogi and performs all actions.
Such a person seems like other people, but he is not affected by human nature like the sun which cannot be drowned in water.
He sees the world without seeing it, does everything without doing it, and enjoys all pleasures without being involved in them.
Though he is seated in one place, he travels everywhere, for even while in the body he has become the universe.
From the Ashtavakra Gita:
The wise man knows the Self,
And he plays the game of life.
But the fool lives in the world
Like a beast of burden.
The true seeker feels no elation,
Even in that exalted state
Which Indra and all the gods
Unhappily long for.
He understands the nature of things.
His heart is not smudged
By right or wrong,
As the sky is not smudged by smoke.
He is pure of heart,
He knows the whole world is only the Self…
Of the four kinds of being…
Only the wise man is strong enough
To give up desire and aversion.
From Lalleshwari , tr. by Coleman Barks
The soul, like the moon,
is new, and always new again.
And I have seen the ocean
Since I scoured my mind
and my body, I too, Lalla,
am new, each moment, new.
My teacher told me one thing,
Live in the soul.
When that was so,
I began to go naked,
Trying to be Thoughtful in the First Brights of Dawn
I am thinking, or trying to think, about all the
imponderables for which we have
no answers, yet endless interest all the
range of our lives, and it’s
good for the head no doubt to undertake such
meditation; Mystery, after all,
is God’s other name, and deserves our
considerations surely. But, but —
excuse me now, please; it’s morning, heavenly bright,
and my irrepressible heart begs me to hurry on
into the next exquisite moment.
[w/ humble apologies to MO for this blog template’s refusal to format her poem as written…]